By Bill Anderson
The Calendar said February 24 on Wednesday morning, but the thermometer said it was the 55th day of January, according to the Assembled Wise Men at the Rutland Café. Depending on whose thermometer was checked, the mercury was hovering at somewhere between 21 and 25 degrees below zero. “Is it cold enough for you?” was the question of the day, to which the correct answer was, “Not until the fat lady sings!” The answer was nonsense, but so was the question.
Kevin and Wendy Willprecht returned from a Winter vacation get-away in Jamaica on Friday, February 19. They had flown out of Fargo a week earlier, making stops at Minneapolis and Atlanta before landing at Montego Bay. The Breezes Beach Resort near the city of Nigrel was their final destination. Kevin reports that 7 miles of white sand beach and ocean water temperatures hovering around 80 helped make their stay a pleasant one. Coffee beans and sugar cane are the two major crops grown on the mountainous island, says Kevin, with much of the sugar cane becoming the raw material for the production of Jamaican rum, one of the island nation’s major exports, along with bauxite, the ore from which aluminum is made. A former British colony, Jamaica has been an independent nation since 1962. Despite a booming tourism business, much of the island nation’s population appears to struggle with Third World economic status, says Kevin. All in all, he reports a very enjoyable time on the tropical Caribbean paradise. The Wilprecht’s children spent their vacation time in the Grandma and Grandpa Resort at the home of Arlen & Jan Willprecht in Lidgerwood, where the attentive staff catered to their every need.
Rob & Lacey Wyum departed Rutland on Friday, February 19, bound for Minneapolis, where they boarded a flight to Miami on Saturday, Feb. 20, with their destination being a cruise ship headed for the eastern Caribbean. The cruise is a delayed honeymoon trip for Rob and Lacey, who were married in Milnor last October. Rob is employed with his father, Mark, and uncles, Steve and Mike, in the Wyum Brothers Ransom Township farm business. Lacey is employed at the Sargent County Abstract Co. in Rutland and in the Clerk of Court’s office at the Sargent County Courthouse in Forman.
Here’s some urgently needed information! The Spring Conservation Snow and Blue Goose hunting season opened in North Dakota on Saturday, February 20. Although we have plenty of snow, right now we have no geese. According to Jack Lalor, Assistant Project Manager at the Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge, the geese are still down in Texas, Louisiana and Mexico with the rest of the snowbirds, waiting for the snow between here and there to melt. As conditions appear now, Mr. Lalor stated, it is unlikely that many geese will be seen here before late March or early April. The purpose of the Spring conservation season is to reduce the numbers of snow and blue geese so they do not over populate, over graze and destroy their summer nesting range in northern Canada. Resident hunters need a valid 2009 North Dakota hunting license and a shotgun in order to participate in the hunt, according to Mr. Lalor. There is no daily limit or possession limit during the conservation season, and hunters may remove the plugs from shotgun magazines, as well. Non-resident hunters may also participate in the hunt without the usual limitation on the number of days that restricts their hunting opportunities during the Fall season. Non-residents may purchase a license to participate in the Spring snow and blue goose season from the North Dakota Game and Fish Department for a fee of $50.00. The season ends on the first Sunday in May. Even though the season is open right now, though, an expedition afield will probably not be very productive for several more weeks, in Mr. Lalor’s opinion.
Jeff Olson, Rachel Olson and Rachel’s dad, Mark Breker, were fishing on Nathe-Wyum Slough, about 7 miles northeast of Rutland, on Saturday afternoon and report that they brought their legal limit of perch home with them. A limit of perch, according to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department’s Fishing Proclamation, is 20. Fishing through the ice has been a hit or miss proposition this Winter, with none of the hot-spots of the past few years being consistent producers. The heavy snow has also made it difficult for fishermen to get onto the ice, even on foot, to say nothing of getting an ice-fishing house out on the surface. With temperatures pushing 30 on both Saturday and Sunday last weekend, though, the 2009-2010 ice fishing season is likely to be over for most anglers, without ever having gotten a good start.
The fishing derby held at Silver Lake last Sunday, February 21, appeared to have been a successful effort, judging by the number of vehicles that passed through Rutland on their way to the Lake. The fishing derby is an annual fund-raiser sponsored by the Cogswell Gun Club and the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club. In prior years the money raised has been donated to the Sargent County Park Board for improvements to Park facilities at Silver Lake.
A report has been received here that former Rutland resident LaVerle Syverson passed away at Princeton MN on Sunday, February 21. He was the eldest son of the late Raymond and Dorothy (Wittich) Syverson who resided in this community during the 1940’s & 50’s before moving to the St. Paul area. LaVerle was a 1956 graduate of Rutland High School and still has many friends in this community. The Rutland community extends condolences to the family of LaVerle Syverson on his passing.
Kathy Brakke drove to Minneapolis on Tuesday, February 23, to visit her son, Jesse, who has been recuperating from heart transplant surgery there. On Wednesday afternoon Jesse was informed that his recovery has progressed so rapidly and so well that he will be allowed to return home. Jesse underwent the heart transplant surgery on the night of February 2, to have such an exceptionally successful recuperation in only 3 weeks is almost unheard of. Kathy & Jesse are scheduled to arrive home on the afternoon of Thursday, February 25.
Meanwhile, President Obama released his proposal to break the deadlock on healthcare reform in the Congress this past Monday, and scheduled a meeting with both the Democratic and Republican Congressional Leadership to discuss the matter on Thursday, February 25. The health insurance industry wasted no time attacking whatever compromise might come out of the meeting, even though they don’t know what it might be, yet. It would seem to be somewhat unethical for health insurance companies to use their unlimited access to policy holder premiums to finance advertising campaigns opposing reforms that would reduce their stranglehold on the nation’s healthcare delivery system, but, when the control of trillions of dollars is at stake, ethics, as well as truth and rationality, tend to be among the first casualties of the struggle. Right now, Americans spend twice as much per person for healthcare as any other industrialized nation, but the United States ranks among the worst in the areas of infant mortality, longevity, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and many other health problems. One reason for the disparity between cost and result is that America really does not have a healthcare system. We have a “Sick-Care” system, which pays a premium for treating acute and chronic illnesses, but not much for preventing them. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” old Ben Franklin advised us over 250 years ago, but when it comes to health we have not done a very good job of following Ben’s lead. Reform proposals now before the Congress do place more emphasis on keeping people well, on disease prevention and on early diagnosis and treatment of illnesses at a stage when treatment is less expensive and more likely to be effective. This would result in less money being funneled through the insurance companies, so we can understand their opposition to it, just as we can understand why criminals are opposed to law enforcement. Because we understand their motives, though, does not mean that we have to either agree with them or approve of them.
Not to be outdone, North Dakota’s Republican Party leaders, including Gov. Hoeven & PSC Commissioner Kevin Cramer, invited Minnesota’s 6thDistrict Congresswoman Michele Bachman to be the keynote speaker at their February 12 pep rally. Congresswoman Bachman could be an Olympic class contortionist, as she is the only known member of Congress who can walk with both feet stuck in her mouth at the same time. She routinely makes racist and sexist comments, accuses those who disagree with her of being un-American in tones reminiscent of Joe McCarthy, advocates the “privatization” of both Social Security and Medicare (privatization is the right-wing Newspeak code word for elimination) and has opposed every Farm Bill introduced since she has been a member of Congress. In a State in which agriculture is the largest industry, an industry that has benefited hugely from the provisions of the last two Farm Bills, and in which the elderly are the fastest growing segment of the population, the only question that comes to mind for North Dakota’s GOP leaders is: Have you taken complete leave of your senses?! It’s one thing for the voters of Minnesota’s 6th District to play a practical joke on the country by sending this walking, talking wing-nut to the Congress, but it’s quite another for the leadership of North Dakota’s majority party to endorse the policies she espouses, policies that would, if adopted, devastate huge segments of the population and economy of this State. As has been said before, “It ain’t what they don’t know that bothers us. It’s what they know for sure that just ain’t so.”
Paul & Sue Anderson departed Rutland on Tuesday, February 23, bound for Phoenix and Sun City, Arizona. The Andersons are making the trip by automobile, and expect to reach their destination by Friday.
Nearly 750 pounds of northern pike filets will be arriving here during the coming week in preparation for the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club’s annual fish fry on Friday, March 5. Ticket sales for the supper, which features both deep fried and pan fried filets, are limited to 550. Serving will commence at 5:00 p.m. in the Rutland Town Hall. It’s the best fishing you will have all Winter, and there’s no limit!
Plans are now in the works for the production of the Rutland Community Club’s annual supper and play, scheduled for the evening of Saturday, March 20, in the Rutland Town Hall. Last year it was “Laugh In”, but this year it will be “The Gong Show” that will entertain the crowd. More information is expected to be available next week. Stay tuned.
Well, that’s it for this week. For more information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out Rutland’s community web site at www.rutlandnd.com. Later.