By Bill Anderson
Well, it’s still winter out here on the prairie. Highs in the teens and low 20’s accompanied by snow and 25 to 30 mph winds were replaced by clear skies and below zero readings by Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Although it appears that winter has settled in for the long haul, there are glimmers of hope that this, too, shall pass. The seed catalogs, with their tantalizing pictures of rich golden ears of sweet corn, luscious red tomatoes and sinfully sensuous strawberries are out, bringing with them the promise of warm Summer days ahead. It has often been said that, “There are only two things that money can’t buy, true love and home grown tomatoes,” but at least you can purchase the hope of home grown tomatoes from a seed catalog. When it’s 10 below zero on a mid-February morning, it’s hope that keeps us going. A recent national survey revealed that North Dakotans are the happiest people, believe it or not, in the 50 United States. Well, after three months of winter, several blizzards and winter storms, more than four feet of snow and sub-zero temperatures, North Dakotans are happy because they know that it has to get better – it can’t get much worse. It’s only when conditions have been good for a while that hardy North Dakotans become unhappy, because they know that good times can’t last forever, either.
Members of the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club held their February meeting in the dining room of the Lariat Bar on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 11. The first order of business was the election of officers for the coming year, with Wyatt Nelson, Vaughan Rohrbach and Travis Paeper being re-elected as president, vice-president and secretary/treasurer, respectively. Plans for the Club’s annual Fish Fry to be held on Friday, March 5, at the Rutland Town Hall were discussed and tickets for the event were distributed. Only 550 tickets for the event are available. They may be obtained from Club members. Get ‘em while they’re hot! Club officers also delivered a report on the Club’s Charitable gaming revenues. After 6 months of operation, the Sportsmen’s Club’s pull-tab machine at the Lariat Bar had generated more than $57,000.00 in gross revenues, approximately $50,000.00 of which had been paid out in cash prizes. A portion of the remainder may be used to defray operating expenses and the rest is available to be distributed for charitable purposes. The Sportsmen’s Club’s Charitable Gaming Board consists of the 3 officers plus Jerry Sapa and Trent Nelson. Rebecca Christensen and Polly Rohrbach run the day-to-day operations of the gaming project for the club.
Bill Walters of West Bend, Wisconsin, and a band of hardy Wisconsinites have been at work making improvements to the house at 222 Bagley Street which Bill purchased last Fall from Shawna McKinney. Working through a period of extremely cold and inclement weather, Bill and crew have torn the old porch off the east side of the dwelling; commenced the construction of a new, slightly larger, front porch; torn off the old shingles and installed new metal roofing on the residence; commenced construction of an addition to the porch on the northwest corner of the house; and, installed several new windows. The improvements will improve both the appearance and utility of the structure. The community congratulates Mr. Walters for his investment in Rutland, and commends him and his crew for their hardy industry and endurance. This dwelling, located on the northwest corner of Anthony and Bagley Streets, was formerly owned by: Eddie & Ida McLaen; Edith & Otto Malpert; Rudy & Gladyce Malpert; Bryon Malpert; Tommy & Rosalie Jones; and, Shawna McKinney. Mr. Walters and his family own and operate construction, property management, commercial fishing and sport fishing businesses in Wisconsin.
Bertha Siemieniewski returned from a visit with daughter Kari and grandson Caleb at their home in Round Lake IL on Saturday, Feb. 13. The flight Bert was on made it into Fargo all right on Saturday evening, but she was forced to stay there due to the rough weather that had most of North Dakota west of I-29 in its grip Saturday night. Bert managed to get home on Sunday, though, despite the wind and drifting snow that made driving difficult.
The storm last Saturday & Sunday dumped another 7 inches of new snow on Rutland and vicinity, but the 20 to 30 mph winds swept some areas clear while stacking up 6 foot high drifts in many shelter belts, farmsteads and city backyards. Autos driven by Richard Nelson & Bill Hoflen hit the ditch north of Rutland because of reduced visibility. Fortunately, no damages to vehicles or injuries to persons were reported.
Despite Sunday’s foul weather and adverse driving conditions, the Valentines Day dinner served by the Rutland General Store was well attended. A group of 10 even came down from Fargo by limousine for the event, stopping at the Dakota Magic Casino long enough for one of the party to have her dessert before dinner by winning a $1,100 jackpot on a penny slot machine. The dinner, served in 8 courses, included: Bacon Wrapped Barbeque Shrimp; Blue Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms; White Bean and Lamb Soup; Almond Strawberry Salad; Lemon Sorbet; Lobster & Crab Thermidor with Tenderloin Steak and Baby Red potatoes; and, Chocolate Covered Strawberries with White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake. Diners were entertained throughout the dinner with a live rendition of harp music performed by a talented musician, Ms. Luba Dobos from Enderlin. Each of the ladies attending the dinner also received a sculpted chocolate rose. All in all, a delicious dinner and a most enjoyable evening.
Mac Pherson represented Pherson Simmentals of Rutland at the purebred livestock sale in Valley City on Monday, February 15. Three purebred livestock breeders, including the Pherson Farm, have sponsored the sale for the past several years. Pherson Simmentals had listed 10 bulls for the event. No report on prices paid has been received as of this writing.
Lori McLaen of this community boarded Allegiant Airline’s flight to Las Vegas on Monday February 15, for a scheduled nine day reprieve from winter weather. Lori plans to take in the sun at her mother’s Winter home at Lake Havasu.
A large number of Rutland folks took in the annual Buffalo Supper at Cogswell this past Monday. Lenny & Kathy Runyan were among those taking in the supper, accompanying Craig & Tiffany Wisnewski to the event.
Mike & Diane Kulzer returned home from their Las Vegas vacation on Monday, February 15. Rumors that the Las Vegas casinos had relieved Mike of his shoes, socks, shirt and trousers proved to have been greatly exaggerated. Mike was wearing shoes when he came back to work at Kulzer Feed and Seed on Tuesday.
United Blood Services of Fargo held the first of two blood drives scheduled to be held in Rutland during 2010 from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, in the Rutland Town Hall. According to Janet Kiefer, one of the organizers of the event, 47 volunteers turned out and 42 were able to donate, with 3 donating double units of red blood cells. There were two first time donors. Since June of 1991, United Blood Services has held 38 blood drives in Rutland, collecting approximately 1,900 pints, or about 267 gallons, of blood from local donors during that time. The next blood drive in the community will be held in June.
Speaking of blood, since 2007 the American economy, as well as the world economy, has been through a bloodletting the likes of which has not been experienced since the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 30’s. February 17 marked the one year anniversary of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as “The Stimulus Bill.” The 787 billion program, divided among spending programs and tax cuts, was intended to stimulate the economy and encourage the creation of jobs by American businesses. Ninety-five percent of American taxpayers had their Federal taxes reduced by one or more of the 25 tax cuts contained in the measure. No Federal taxes were increased by the bill. Slightly more than half of the bill’s funds were allocated to tax cuts, with the rest being direct spending, primarily on infrastructure improvements. One year after passage, approximately $450 billion, mostly in the form of tax cuts, had been implemented. The Obama Administration claims that the program has created or saved more than 2 million American jobs. Partisan opponents call the 2009 Act a boondoggle and a waste. At the one year mark, though, it might be a good idea to take a look back at where the nation, and the world, stood at this time last year. At that time: the stock market was in free-fall; the world financial system was teetering on the brink of collapse; the American auto industry was disintegrating; unemployment was sky-rocketing; and, there was not an encouraging word to be heard, except from President Obama, who said that the problems being experienced were man made and could be solved by man, if we acted rationally rather than emotionally. Today, serious economic problems remain, but the stock market has recovered substantial portions of its losses, the financial system has pulled back from the brink and has regained some stability, unemployment is still high but is not climbing; and, the economy has created, rather than lost, new jobs during the last 2 months. So, the question is: is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act responsible for the improvement from conditions a year ago? Republicans say “NO!”, but then they are still trying to tell everyone that Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal didn’t do any good during the Great Depression, either. Their motives are suspect, and they are lacking in credibility. Democrats say “YES!”, but they, too, have a political motivation for their response. The fact is, though, that President Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress took decisive action in an emergency situation a year ago, and conditions are better now than they were then. Thinking Americans can make their own decision. It might be a good time, as well, to look back to where the nation, and the world were at the beginning of the 21st Century, when, with Bill Clinton’s 300 billion budget surplus in his pocket, unemployment at record lows and the world at peace, President Bush stood before the GOP controlled Congress and the country to tell us that we could give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans, strengthen Social Security and reduce the national debt, all at the same time. Well, the Bush Administration delivered on one of the three. Over the next 8 years we borrowed trillions for untargeted tax cuts for the wealthiest, tried to fight 2 wars on a credit card, pulled the props out from under the world’s financial structure and set the stage for the demolition of American industry. It did, after all, take 8 years of mismanagement, incompetence and ineptness to create the situation that existed in February of 2009. It will probably take more than one year to dig our way out of it.
Four score and six years ago, a baby girl was born between two Presidents. On Wednesday, February 17, that baby girl, our own Izetta Colvin, celebrated her birthday, right in between Lincoln’s birthday on February 12 and Washington’s birthday on February 22. The gang at the Rutland Café greeted Izetta with a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” when she walked in on Wednesday morning. Also celebrating was another Rutland girl, Borghild Lee, who observed the 96th anniversary of her birth with cake, ice cream and coffee at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman. The Rutland community extends birthday greetings to Izetta and Borghild on their special day. We’re glad you met us, ladies!
Well, that’s it for now. For more information about what’s going on in “The Pride Of The Prairie”, the little city that can, check out the Rutland community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com. Later.