By Bill Anderson
That all roads lead to Rutland has long been well known throughout this region, however, Toni Hajek witnessed an episode last Thursday that indicates the community may be attracting visitors from even more distant vistas. While driving in to work at The Rutland General Store at 6:45 on the morning of Thursday, February 25, Toni reports that she saw a bright flashing light that looked like a huge fireworks display descending over the northeast corner of Rutland. At the time, Toni was in her car on County Highway #10, near the Prindiville farm on the south side of the city. At the same time, Mike Kulzer was in the kitchen of his farm home, about ½ mile east of town, and reports that he noticed the brilliant light, too, but did not see the actual fireball. No debris or impact craters have been spotted, so the source of the phenomenon is uncertain at this time. One theory on the UFO is that extra-terrestrial star trekkers may have been dropping in for a visit to Rutland, either a couple of days early for the February 28 Sunday Brunch at the Rutland General Store & Cafe, or a little more than a week early for the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club’s annual fish fry on Friday, March 5, in the Rutland Town Hall. After traveling at the speed of light for 10 years or more to get here from the nearest star system possessing a planet with the possibility of supporting life, being off by a few days is still pretty good timing. One can only speculate on what these inter-galactic voyagers might say upon being introduced to the cooks and kitchen crew at this Friday’s fish fry. Possibly, “Golly, Toto! It looks like we’re not in Alpha-Centauri any more!” Anyway, they would soon find out that everyone’s welcome in Rutland, and would be put to work rehearsing an act for the Community Club’s “Gong Show” entertainment coming up on Saturday, March 20. They would fit right in, as the entertainment is usually out of this world. There’s no guarantee that they’ll be there, but the rest of us will have to be, just to find out.
Some terrestrial travelers did make a landing back on home ground last Thursday, February 25, though, when Joe & Patty Breker and Mark & Kathy Wyum of this community arrived back home after a 10 day winter vacation visit half way around the globe to Australia. Also among the explorers were Joe’s brother & sister-in-law, Eugene & Kathy Breker of West Fargo, Dennis & Jodie Haugen of Hannaford, ND, and Kerry & Linda Swindler of Mott, ND. Cliff & Janet Kiefer of Cayuga had originally intended to fly south of the Equator as part of the group, but a last minute passport glitch kept them home. The Kiefer’s are considering a trip to the same destination later this Spring. Joe and Mark report a very enjoyable time in “The Land Down Under,” where it is now mid-Summer, even though Mark did sustain a sunburn on his shoulders and the top of his head while swimming in the ocean. The group toured areas in and around Sydney, on the southern continent’s southeastern shore, and attended a farm equipment show at which Eugene demonstrated a no-till planter for his employer, Amity Manufacturing of Wahpeton, ND. The travelers were favorably impressed by the people and country of Australia, but reported that, as much fun as it is to go there, it feels even better to get back home. For additional information on kangaroos, wombats, didgeridoos, boomerangs, dingo dogs, ostriches, emus and other exotic sights, sounds & creatures, as well as the condition of agriculture in Australia, stop by the Round Table at the Rutland General Store at about 3:30 most afternoons.
A couple of long-time Rutland folks have recently taken up residence at Four Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman. Eugene Bergman and Hazel Preble moved to the Center from their apartments here during the month of February. Their new address is: 483 4th Street Southwest, Forman ND 58032.
A report was received here on Saturday morning that Rutland native Olga (Sundlie) Olson had passed away at an Aberdeen, South Dakota, nursing home late on the evening of Friday, February 26, at the age of 82 years. Mrs. Olson had been enduring ill health for the past few years. She was the youngest daughter of the late O. P. and Petra (Klassen) Sundlie of Rutland Township, and was a 1946 graduate of Rutland High School. Her husband, Dean, preceded her in death several years ago. She is survived by: 1 son; 1 daughter; 2 sisters, Hazel Preble of Forman and Phyllis Lee of Oakes; and, 1 brother, Leif Sundlie of Palm Springs CA. The funeral service will be held in Bethel Lutheran Church in Aberdeen at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 6. Throughout the years, Mrs. Olson has been a frequent visitor in her old home town and maintained ties with friends and family here. The Rutland community extends its sympathy to the family of Olga Olson.
Uncle Ed Erickson drove down to Rutland from his home near Buffalo Lake on Monday morning, March 1, and stopped in at the Rutland Café for some breakfast and conversation. Ed reports that he and Marlys had just returned from a trip through Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana on the previous day, Sunday, February 28. The purpose of the trip was to deliver a number of the “Eagle” ditching machines produced by Erickson Manufacturing to customers and dealers in those States. Ed stated that sales were down and business was slow last Fall, but that sales have been picking up nicely since the first of the year and the business picture is much brighter now. The Eagle is a machine that removes silt and sand from road and drainage ditches, quickly and economically. Ed invented and developed the machine in his farm shop several years ago, then formed Erickson Manufacturing, a family owned corporation, to manufacture and market the machines. If you have ditches that need cleaning, call Erickson Manufacturing. If you have a problem that a ditcher can’t cure, call Uncle Ed, and he’ll invent a machine to take care of it for you.
Brian Pherson and Jason “Shwank” Smykowski are in Wichita Falls, Texas, this week, attending the annual Custom Cutters Convention. Custom harvesters from around the nation gather at the convention to exchange information about harvest equipment and techniques, swap war stories, and enjoy some social interaction with compatriots and competitors. Brian is the 4th generation of the Pherson family to be engaged in the custom harvest business. Pherson Combining of Rutland was started back in 1954 by his great-grandfather and grandfather, Percy and Dennis Pherson The 2010 harvest run will be the 57th consecutive season that Pherson combines have made the harvest run from Oklahoma to the Canadian border.
Rutland welcomes another new resident to the community! Kyle and Kaia (Thorfinnson) Mahrer became the parents of Brody Bernard Mahrer on Monday, March 1. Young Brody entered this world on Monday afternoon at St. Francis hospital in Breckenridge, tipping the scales at 6 pounds 6 ounces and standing 19 inches tall in his stocking feet. He arrived at his new home in Rutland on Wednesday evening, in time for Friday’s Sportsmen’s Club fish fry.
Julian & Justin Jacobson narrated a PowerPoint presentation on their Summer of 2009 tour of Europe at the monthly meeting of the Rutland Community Club on the evening of Tuesday, March 2. The two Sargent Central Seniors, sons of Calvin & Wendy Jacobson of Rutland, were among high school music students from North Dakota and Montana who participated in the Ambassadors of Music tour which took them to England, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The Community Club had provided some financial support for the tour. The boys thanked their music instructor, Kaia Mahrer, for recommending them, and the community for its financial support, following their informative and entertaining presentation. In other business, Club members discussed the upcoming Community Club supper and play scheduled for Saturday, March 20, at the Rutland Town Hall. Diane Smith & Pam Maloney are lining up skits for the “Gong Show” entertainment. Supper will be served at 6:00 p.m., and the entertainment will begin at 7:00. Advance tickets are available at $10.00. If available, tickets will be sold at the door for $13.00. Get ‘em while you can! The annual Easter Egg Hunt for youngsters will be held on Saturday, March 27, at the Town Hall this year due to the deep snow at the event’s usual location, Lou Sanderson Field. Jeannie & Jerry Leinen have put this event on for the past decade, with the Community Club making a financial contribution to defray expenses. Club members also voted to support Grand Opening events at the newly renovated Rutland Café and at the new Lariat Bar with a donation of prizes and “Rutland Bucks. The Café’s Grand Opening will be on Friday, March 19, with a scheduled appearance by a well known area radio personality in the morning and prize drawings throughout the day. No date for the Lariat Bar’s Grand Opening event has been set, yet.
Rutland Alderwoman Bert Siemieniewski has announced that the City has received a $35,000.00 grant through Lake Agassiz Regional Council for the purpose of making the entrance, exits and restroom facilities at the Rutland Town Hall handicapped accessible. The grant will be used in conjunction with funds from other sources as part of an overall plan to improve the energy efficiency, accessibility and utility of the Hall. The Rutland Town Hall usually sees about 200 days of use for community and family events and activities each year.
March has come in like a lamb, so the consensus of the Assembled Wise Men is that it will likely go out like a lion. With the temperature climbing up into the 30’s on the first three days of the month, it is beginning to appear that Winter may loosen its iron grip on the region. A long, slow thaw would be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to potential flooding in Wahpeton, Fargo and other communities on the downstream end of the Red River basin. At this point, flooding along the Red River appears even more likely this year than it was last year when the river set a record and crested at over 41 feet at Fargo. This year, the lakes, sloughs and potholes in the upper basin are full, the soil is saturated and the snow pack holds even more water than it did in 2009. The Wild Rice River has continued to run throughout the Winter, and snow melt runoff has nowhere to go but immediately down stream. “Be Prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America, and that’s good advice for anyone living in the Red River basin this year. The Boy Scouts of America, by the way, will be 100 years old on Friday, March 12.
In the area of novel methods for predicting the weather, Norbert Kulzer reports that a friend who works in the meat processing business has informed him that the spleens of butchered hogs have been exceptionally large in recent months, indicating severe weather ahead. On the basis of the size of the pig spleens, Norbert’s friend is predicting another 30 inches of snow before the month of March is over. Well, we will just have to see if a pig spleen knows more than the Weather Bureau. The consensus of the Assembled Wise Men is that there is a better than even chance that the spleens have it.
Patrons of Dakota Valley Rural Electric Co-op met in the Rutland Town Hall at noon on Wednesday, March 3, for the District nominating caucus, in preparation for the Co-op’s upcoming annual meeting. Incumbent Director Kim Rasmussen was nominated for re-election by caucus participants. Those in attendance enjoyed a dinner with a main course of beef stew and biscuits prepared and served by the staff of the Rutland General Store & Café.
Janet Kiefer reports that the Cayuga Hall Committee’s annual Chinese Dinner will be held at the Cayuga Town Hall on Sunday, March 21. The event is a fund raiser for Hall maintenance and improvements. Tickets are $12.50 per person and can be obtained by calling Janet at 724-3504. This dinner is an annual tradition in this area that combines Chinese cuisine with German cooking skills to produce a very tasty and enjoyable dining experience. Not only that, but it’s for a good cause, too. You just have to feel good about eating good food for a good cause.
Two Easter related events are also scheduled to be held in Rutland at the end of March. On Sunday, March 28, Nordland Lutheran Church will be serving its annual Palm Sunday Dinner at the Rutland Town hall; and, on the evening of Monday, March 29, a traditional Jewish Passover Seder will be served at the Rutland General Store. The Seder meal, served family style in the Jewish tradition, is by reservation only. Call 724-3784 for reservations. In lieu of a set price, a free-will offering will be collected.
Well, that’s about it for this week. If you happened to ride into Rutland on a shooting star a week ago Thursday, we hope that you are enjoying your visit with us. For everyone else, stop in for a visit in the little city that can, and see what is bringing interesting characters to Rutland from all over the galaxy. For more information about what’s going on with Rutland and Rutland folks, wherever they may be, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com. Later.