The Rooster Crows – March 26, 2010

By Bill Anderson

Spring has sprung! The northward migrating snow and blue geese, which had been down in Nebraska only a week earlier, arrived here in huge numbers by Thursday and Friday of last week, their noisy, squawking flights over town nearly drowning out the rattle of diesel powered pickup engines on Rutland’s Main Street. The Spring conservation hunting season on these birds has been open for a month, and some shooting near town was heard last weekend. No reports of hunter success have been received as of this writing, though. These geese may be bird-brains, but they are not totally devoid of sense. By the time they arrive at this point in their Spring migration, they have already been shot at for 1,500 miles, and have become quite adept at avoiding their ground bound pursuers. The successful hunter, even in a season in which there are hundreds of thousands of geese and there is no legal limit on the number that may be taken, must be at least as wily as a goose, and an embarrassing number find that they have difficulty crossing that intellectual threshold. The Spring conservation hunt of snow and blue geese is held in an attempt to keep the prolific birds from over-populating, over-grazing and destroying their summer range in northern Canada. The huge populations of snow and blue geese, as well as of other waterfowl, including their cousins, the magnificent giant Canada geese, are the products of conservation efforts begun more than a century ago, during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, himself an avid hunter and outdoors enthusiast. The efforts have been so successful that some species, once thought to be headed for extinction, are now so numerous as to be regarded as pests in many areas. Well, it is the hunter’s good fortune. When it comes to fishing, waterfowl hunting, upland game hunting or big game hunting in southeastern North Dakota, the “good old days” are right now.

Friday, March 19, was the day for the Grand Opening at the remodeled and renovated Rutland Café. The Rutland General Store, owned and managed by Gretchen Vann, acquired the Café from Shari Leinen back in mid-October, and spent the next 3½ months in a make-over of the facility that was originally built and equipped in 1948. Carpenter John Buskohl of Milnor did most of the remodeling work, while Calvin Jacobson and crew of Jacobson Plumbing, Heating and Excavating of Rutland took care of their specialties and Harvey Kleingarn of B&K Electric of Forman re-wired the business. At 10:00 on Friday morning, Shirley Mahrer cut the ribbon opening the corridor between the General Store and the Café, after brief remarks by owner Vann. Mrs. Mahrer’s late husband, Bernard Mahrer, was the original builder, owner and operator of the Café, 62 years ago. Other operators and owners, including: Bernard’s parents, Frank & Minnie Mahrer; Harry & Martha Christensen; Henry & Mabel Hare; David & Adeline Brakke; Edna Anderson & Lois Nelson on behalf of the Rutland Commercial Club; Ralph & Lois Nelson; Sue Nathe; and, Shari Leinen were also recognized and honored during the ceremony. A number of prizes were awarded in drawings held throughout the day, including a Grand Prize of an “Auto-Start”, with installation, contributed by Dick Nelson Sales & Leasing of Valley City. Dick’s parents, Ralph & Lois Nelson, owned and operated the Café for 36 years, from 1962 through 1998. The Grand Prize was won by Ella Lou Nelson of Rutland. The Rutland community is fortunate to have such a fine commercial facility on its Main Street, and extends congratulations to the owner and employees on a job well done.

Radio personality Joel Heitkamp was originally scheduled to broadcast from the Rutland Café on Friday morning, but the flood fight up in Fargo required his presence there. Mr. Heitkamp apologized for canceling out, but promised that he would broadcast from the Rutland Café later this Spring. Heitkamp is the host of KFGO Radio’s “News & Views” show that is heard weekday mornings at 790 on the AM dial, or at on the station’s internet web site.

Saturday, March 20, was another big night in the old home town, when the Rutland Community Club’s annual supper and play was presented at the Town Hall. Diners enjoyed a supper of lasagna, green salad and mixed vegetables, with a cheesecake dessert prepared by the staff of the Rutland General Store & Café. The play, a take-off on the 70’s TV classic, “The Gong Show”, was another hit for the Not Ready For Prime Time Players. The audience was treated to some real talent with musical performances from Tansey Hosford, Cher Spieker, The Jacobson Sisters and Jeannie Leinen, as well as some questionable talent from the paper bag wearing Unknown Comic, played by Vaughan Rohrbach, and some definite gong material from other volunteer hams including: Deb Liermark; Klaas Vanderwolf; Calvin Jacobson; and, Jason Smykowski. The surprise hit of the evening, though, was Paul Anderson’s portrayal of stand-up comic and haphazard magician Ole Houdini Anderson, as well as his 2 beautiful assistants, Pam Maloney & Carolyn Christensen, and 3 volunteers from the audience, Cal Jacobson, Vaughan Rohrbach and Jason “Schwank” Smykowski. The act was intended to be gonged, but was so bad that it was actually good, and brought down the house, along with the First Prize of $158.67. The 3 judges: Karen Nelson of Havana; Pastor Curt Larson of Milnor; and, J. J. Gordon of Fargo; had awarded the magic act and Tansy Hosford the same number of points, but the tie went to Ole. Ole Houdini Anderson and his crew graciously shared the prize with Ms. Hosford, though. Next year, on the 3rd Saturday in March 2011, be at the Rutland Town Hall to see if the 3 volunteers who magically disappeared this year will be brought back to the stage for another performance. Best bet – they’ll be there.

Pastor Justin Senger of this community and Miss Katy Christianson of Appleton WI made the announcement on Sunday, March 21, that they are engaged to be married and are planning a June 26 wedding at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland. Pastor Senger has been serving the Lutheran congregations at Rutland and Havana since last Summer. The Rutland community extends congratulations and best wishes to the couple.

Word was received here on the morning of Sunday, March 21, that life-long Rutland resident Phyllis (Sundlie) Lee had passed away at the Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Oakes at the age of 88 years. Phyllis had been preceded in death by her husband, Olaf Lee, back in January of 2009. Throughout her life Phyllis was active in church and community activities in Rutland. She is survived by 3 daughters: Sharon Butz of Minneapolis; Sarah Dobmeyer of Fargo; and, Chrissie Malheim of Oakes; by 2 sons: Erling Lee of Dublin, Ohio; and, Russell Lee of Omaha, Nebraska; by 1 sister: Hazel Preble of 4 Seasons Healthcare Center in Forman; by 1 brother: Leif Sundlie of Palm Springs CA; and, by numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews.  She also leaves a host of friends in the Rutland community. The funeral will be on Monday, March 29, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the family of Phyllis Lee.

“We do not avoid challenges, we confront them.  We do not shrink from responsibility, we embrace it. We do not fear the future, we shape it.” With those words, President Barak Obama concluded remarks delivered following his signing of the National Healthcare Insurance Reform bill into law on Tuesday, March 23. The Healthcare bill passed the U. S. House of Representatives last Sunday, March 21, by a vote of 219 to 212. The Senate had previously approved the legislation by a vote of 60 to 40 back in December. The legislative battle over healthcare reform was the most vicious political fight waged in America since the landmark struggle over civil rights legislation in the 1960’s. The battle lines were drawn a year ago, on March 5, 2009, when the President met with Congressional leaders of both Houses and both Parties to discuss putting the bill together. The voice and face of the Republican Party, conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh, responded to the President’s offer of bipartisan cooperation with, “I hope he fails.” A few days later, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told the GOP Senate caucus that he intended to make the healthcare issue, “Obama’s Waterloo.” Throughout the process the opposition pulled out all the stops, with no tactic too low, no lie too blatant and no smear too shameless, in their attempts to derail the legislation. Prior to the vote in the House, Republican organized protesters outside the U. S. Capitol, encouraged and incited by Republican members of the Congress, shouted racial and homophobic insults at Representatives known to be supporters of the bill and, in some cases, threatened bodily harm to their families. Even though the final legislation contained more than 100 proposals put forward by Republicans, not one Republican in either the Senate or the House voted for the bill. Following the vote, offices of several Congressional supporters of the legislation were attacked and vandalized by so-called protesters. Commentator Limbaugh called those who supported the legislation “Bastards”, and called on his followers to “wipe them out.” Another conservative commentator, Glenn Beck, called on his listeners to arm themselves and get ready for “the revolution.”  House GOP Leader John Boener of Illinois said that he did not condone violence, but the actions of these so-called protesters were justified because they were “angry.” Really? Does anger justify abandoning all decorum and decency in public debate? Does anger justify threatening bodily harm to the children of those who may disagree with you? Does anger justify inciting and encouraging the simple-minded, gullible and deranged to commit acts of violence against those with whom you disagree? The Party of Lincoln has fallen to a sad state if the answer to any of those questions is “yes.” Anger against injustice can be a powerful force for change, when channeled and guided by reason. But anger fueled by the prejudices of the unreasoning mob can be a very dangerous thing, both for those against whom it is directed and for those who have unleashed it. Republicans inspired by Lincoln, not Limbaugh, need to step forward to rescue their Party from the crazed lunatics who would destroy it over a lost debate in the National Legislature.

Meanwhile, the Healthcare Insurance Reform bill is now the law of the land. For North Dakotans, according to data released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reform means that: 8,200 North Dakotans currently denied insurance coverage due to pre-existing conditions will now be able to obtain healthcare insurance coverage, without exclusions; 178,000 North Dakota families and 19,000 North Dakota small businesses will be eligible for tax credits and other assistance to obtain healthcare coverage for themselves and their employees; 27,500 currently uninsured North Dakota citizens will obtain coverage; 600 North Dakota families won’t have to file for bankruptcy protection due to medical bills which they have no hope of paying; and, 106,000 North Dakota Seniors will get full prescription drug coverage, with no “doughnut hole”. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the 10 year cost of the program will be $938 billion, which is $143 billion less than would be spent if the reform bill had not passed. The CBO also estimates that the healthcare reform legislation will reduce the national budget deficit by more than $1.2 trillion over the next 20 years. So, after all is said and done, the privately owned healthcare delivery system remains intact; the private healthcare insurance industry remains intact and picks up a minimum of 32 million new policyholders; and, the taxpayers save $143 billion over the next 10 years and $1.2 trillion over the next 20. Sort of makes you wonder what all the fuss was about, doesn’t it.

The Rutland Town Hall will be the scene of Nordland Lutheran Church’s annual Palm Sunday Dinner on Sunday, March 28. Serving is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. This dinner is prepared by cooks who learned their art at Grandma’s knee, so they know how to make it good.

Well, that’s it for this week. For more information on what’s going on in Rutland, check out the community’s internet web site at Later.

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