The Rooster Crows – December 26, 2008

By Bill Anderson

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor dark of night may stay this faithful courier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.  Attaining age 63 and 30 years of service allows the courier to turn his rounds over to another and retire, however. Louis Siemieniewski pulled his Jeep off his U.S. Postal Service rural route on Wednesday, November 26, the day before Thanksgiving, and hung up the mail bag for good. Louis started delivering mail back in 1980, as temporary substitute for Ray Murray on the Cayuga and Rutland routes. When Ray retired a few years later, Louis moved up to the full-time position. He turned 63 in October, and his 2 years of service in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam era were added to his years with the Postal Service to give him the 30 years of Federal service needed for retirement. A 1963 graduate of RHS, Louis has also been an avid outdoorsman since youth, and has been a Hunter Safety Instructor for over 30 years. He said that, from now on, whenever the snow starts to fall and the wind starts to blow, he is just going to open his drapes, sit in his recliner, look out the window and smile. The Rutland community extends congratulations and best wishes to a native son on his well deserved retirement. Jim Lunneborg of rural Rutland has taken over Louis’s old route, which now includes addresses with the Forman, Rutland, Havana and Cayuga ZIP codes.

Attorney Trent Mahler has been practicing his profession in Rutland since Monday, December 8, co-officing with Bill Anderson at 316 First Street, here. Trent is a native of Milnor, having graduated from High School there in 1985. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Moorhead State University in 1989. Following several years as program director with WDAY TV News in Fargo, Trent enrolled in Law School at the University of North Dakota and obtained his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1999. One of his classmates was Rutland native Daniel Narum, now a District Court Judge. Prior to returning to his home territory, Attorney Mahler served as a prosecutor in the Cass County States Attorney’s Office, as a partner with Kessel, Splitt & Mahler in Lamoure, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the office of North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. He and Attorney Anderson are not partners, but will be sharing office space as he establishes his practice here. Trent’s parents are Curt & Vi Mahler of rural Milnor. Welcome to Rutland, Trent.

Santa Claus held back an approaching blizzard in order to make his annual pre-Christmas stop in Rutland for the Rutland Community Club’s annual Santa Claus Day here on Saturday, December 13. There were games and prizes for the kids, an opportunity for all to visit with Santa concerning their Christmas wish lists, and 40 Christmas turkeys awarded to lucky winners. Each Christmas season, Mr. Claus seems to take on the appearance of a local resident, and this year he bore a striking resemblance to Randy Beckstrom. Santa’s next stop in Rutland will be on the evening of December 24, Christmas Eve, but he is only scheduled to stop at the homes of those who have been nice, not naughty. Well, that’s too bad for Ray Erickson, but everyone else should be O.K. Debbie Liermark and Bert Siemieniewski were in charge of organizing Santa Claus Day for the Community Club and Old St. Nick.

The most serious winter storm in a decade swept across the plains, depositing about 10 inches of snow, whipped into drifts and snowbanks by 40 to 50 mph winds, on Rutland and vicinity, commencing Saturday evening and howling through Sunday, December 13 and 14. As usual with the first storm of the season, there were a few mishaps. In Rutland those mishaps mostly involved the snowplow, which managed to snap off a street light pole at the corner of Second and Arthur Streets, across the street from the water tower, and to hit the south doorpost on the City’s maintenance building with the snowplow wing, breaking off the door post, smashing in the west end of the building and rendering the overhead door inoperable until repairs are made. Well, things wear out and get broken only when you’re using them. The only time nothing happens is when nothing is getting done. Rutland’s streets were opened up and traffic was moving freely in town by 6:30 on Monday morning. Most of the street light poles and buildings were still intact, too. The high winds blew the snow clear of most roads in the countryside, building up drifts only in sheltered areas.  According to the Assembled Wise Men at the local coffee shop, the weather pattern that now seems to be developing is very similar to that of the Winter of ’96-’97, when more than 110 inches of snow covered Rutland before the arrival of Spring. Frigid temperatures have also been accompanying the snow, with the mercury dropping as low as 18 to 21 degrees below zero on the morning of Monday, December 22. Well, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of living in paradise.

This community lost one of its unique and colorful characters on Monday, December 15, when Clayton McLaen died, suddenly, at his farmstead 4 miles north of Rutland. He was at the barn, caring for his horses, at the time of his death. Clayton was the youngest son of the late Emil and Clara (Anderson) McLaen of this community, and death came to him 9 days before his 79th birthday on December 24th. Clayton was a 1947 graduate of RHS. He served his country in the U. S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, seeing action in a transportation unit in Korea where he attained the rank of Corporal. Anyone who ever saw Clayton walk across the street knew he never forgot how to march like a Marine, and anyone who ever heard him speak soon learned that he never forgot how to make himself heard like a Marine non-com, either. On his discharge from the Marines in 1954, Clayton returned to Rutland and resumed farming. In 1956 he married Mildred Hilde of Fort Ransom and they farmed north of Rutland until retirement in 1995. Clayton loved his horses and always used horses for some chores, like picking rocks and hauling hay, around the farm. He also restored and rebuilt many horse-drawn implements and vehicles. He was one of the founding members of Company E of the North Dakota 7th Cavalry of Fort Ransom, and he & Millie were also active in the Fort Ransom Sodbusters Association which puts on exhibitions of horse powered farming at Fort Ransom State Park each year. He was active in community events, chairing Rutland’s observance of the National Bicentennial in 1976, and he provided horse drawn wagon rides for the annual Uffda Day Fall Festival in Rutland each October. For more than half a century, Clayton served as Sergeant At Arms of ceremonial details for Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion, and rendered final military honors for many of his comrades during that time. He was also a life-long member of the First Baptist Church of Rutland and a staunch Republican. He often said that he was 17 years old before he learned there was anything but Hereford cattle, International Harvester machinery or Republicans. Clayton was preceded in death by his wife, Millie, in 2003; by his parents; and, by one brother, Alvin. He is survived by one daughter, Vicki Jepson of New Hampshire; by four sons, Jay Hanson of Minneapolis, Jesse Hanson of Hensler ND, Dale McLaen of Rutland and Dennis McLaen of Rutland; by 4 grandchildren; by one brother, Milton McLaen of Forman; and, by a special friend, Izetta Colvin of Rutland. In order to accommodate the crowd, the funeral service was held at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 20, with the Rev. Chris Gaulle officiating.  Military rites were performed by Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion. Price Funeral Home of Britton was in charge of arrangements. Burial, with graveside military rites, will be in the Rutland Cemetery in the Spring. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the McLaen family.  Semper Fidelis, Corporal McLaen!

Students at Sargent Central began their Christmas break on Friday, December 19, and will not return to school until Monday, January 5. The Christmas break was greeted with joy by most, if not all, of the youngsters. A week earlier, though, on December 12, the employees at the Bobcat factories in Gwinner in Bismarck began a break from their duties that was not greeted with joy. All employees have been laid off until the first of February while dealers work through excess inventory. Winter storms across the northern tier of the nation has increased demand for skid-steer loaders, though, and it is hoped that there will be some hope for the future after the new administration takes over in Washington on January 20. In the meantime, the schoolkids play and their parents pray.

The 2008 pheasant season runs to January 4, 2009, but hunters are finding that the blizzard of December 13 and 14 has likely taken a bigger toll of the ring-neck population than all of the hunters who have gone afield so far this season. Birds that took refuge from the storm at the edges of cattail sloughs appear to have fared the worst, being suffocated under the wind-driven hard packed snow. There are still plenty of pheasants out there, however, reports indicate, and hunters could just as well harvest these birds as to have them freeze or starve to death under a snowbank later on this Winter.

One benefit of the frigid temperatures is that the ice on nearly all bodies of water in this locale is now thick enough to support vehicles and ice fishing houses. Reports are that good catches of walleyes and perch have been taken from Consolidated Lake and Walsteads Slough, respectively, in Rutland Township, and that a 43 inch northern pike weighing in at 17 pounds has been caught at Wyum’s Slough on the Ransom-Shuman Township line. The big northern was brought in to Rutland and was weighed at both the Post Office and the General Store, with both scales giving the same weight. There is no information, though, as to whether the fisherman paid priority, first-class or parcel post postage at the Post Office. 

The Rutland-Cayuga Fire Department, or Cayuga-Rutland Fire Department, depending on your address, is putting on a New Year’s Eve Party and Dance at the Rutland Town Hall on Wednesday, December 31. The event is a fund-raiser for the Fire Department and a benefit for Hal Nelson, still recovering from burns suffered when his home exploded back on October 18.  Tickets are available from local firemen at $10.00 apiece. Live music will be provided by “Geneseo Straight”, a recently organized local band featuring talent from Rutland and Milnor. 

The Rutland Community Development Corporation will be holding its annual shareholders meeting on Monday, January 12, at the Rutland Senior’s Center. A supper will be served by the Rutland Café prior to the meeting. Share holders will receive the corporation’s annual report, elect 3 directors and will hear from Rodney Erickson, owner of the Rutland Elevator, about his plans for the recently renovated facility. 

For up to date information on what’s going on in Rutland, check out the community’s recently improved web site at Deb Banish of Rutland is managing the site, so contact her with information, announcements, comments or ideas. See you in cyberspace.

The following are items from the L. S. Sanderson columns of December 17, 24 and 31 of 1953:  Saturday, December 19 will be Santa Claus Day in Rutland with everything free for the kiddies…A party of commercial fisherman are making a test at Lake Tewaukon and some of the other lakes in an attempt to learn the correct fish population. The operations are confined to the shorelines until the ice becomes strong enough to carry a tractor, which is used in pulling in the nets. Dressed bullheads are getting offered for sale at Kiefer Resort. So far, bullheads are the only fish which have been taken…Ralph Nelson was installed as manager at the Producers & Consumers Produce station here Dec. 10, replacing Rudolph Anderson, who has resigned to take over the Greene Insurance Agency. Ralph has secured a house in town and moved from the farm last week…Leo Townsend and family were visitors at the S. E. Ahrlin home. Leo reports considerable interest in oil developments at Ellendale and that a test well is being spudded in one mile north of there…The city dads have completed the necessary preliminaries and have started the ball rolling in a project to install city water as soon as weather permits in the spring…Otto Meyers has transferred to the Breck-Aberdeen line and is now on the morning passenger train. The job on the Rutland-Forbes line has been filled by Walt Bauman…Roman Kulzer announces an auction sale to be held here this week at which his entire stock of hardware will be disposed of and his hardware business discontinued. He will continue in the fuel business…A beautiful Christmas tree was erected in the center of Main Street on Monday and dressed up with enough colored lights to attract attention. Each year a tree has been presented to the town by George Hoflen, but this years tree is the tallest and stateliest of them all…Roger Prindiville arrived here last week after an absence of two years, most of which were spent in Germany…Emil McLaen has invested in a haystack mover and several stacks of hay have been moved through town. “Well, now I’ve seen everything,” was the remark of one stranger, when the stack filled the street stopping all traffic. It will not be long until a farmer will be able to move his farm to a better locality…In an effort to start the New Year off right, the Great Northern has taken off one daily freight train and 595 will now go west one day and back the next. This is the first time we know of that one train a day has been able to handle the business, but poor crops and too many trucks are taking heavy tolls in the railroad business…Lief Sundlie and family came up from Mound, Minn., to spend the holidays here. Lief is in the employ of the Russ Winkstern Co. at Mound…Bill Baumer had an experience last week which he does not care to go through a second time. While driving north of Claire City, the car left the road and overturned and the occupants, his wife and daughter, were forced to break the glass in the doors before they were released. Mrs. Baumer suffered an injured knee, the rest only a shaking up…The seining of fish at Lake Tewaukon is progressing nicely and it appears that undesirable fish may be gotten rid of. In two hauls of the seine, two and one half ton of fish were taken. Of this catch, only about a dozen northerns were found, but they were very large. Some of the carp and buffalo fish taken tipped the scale at 10 pounds…The greatest thing hoped for is more prosperity during 1954, but there is little comfort in this thought when we are told that we can’t take it with us. Well, we will not argue this point, we do know of one, however, who can take it with him and that one is none other than your Uncle Sammy and if you don’t believe that he can take it with him, wait until he calls on you…School will open Jan. 4th.

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