By Bill Anderson
September arrived a week early, with morning temperatures bouncing off the 50 mark every day from Saturday, August 25 to Wednesday, August 29, and daytime highs hovering in the 60’s. The forecast calls for a warmup for the Labor Day weekend, but we have been given a taste of things to come. As the late Clayton McLaen often observed, “North Dakota has two seasons: winter; and, getting ready for winter.” There are plenty of pleasant days remaining in 2018, and the wise resident of the northern plains will use at least some of them to get ready for what’s on the way. Dick Meyers has informed The Assembled Wise Men at The Lariat that he is following Clayton’s advice and is getting ready for winter by making airline reservations for a flight to Arizona at the first sign of frost.
Joanne Harris reports that she attended the 60th Anniversary Reunion of her high school graduating class, the Morris High School Class of ’58, on Friday & Saturday, August 10 & 11, in Morris MN. Six decades ago there were 92 graduates in the class, states Joanne, and 62 still survive. Of those, 33 attended the reunion, and 29 were unable to attend, for a variety of reasons. Morris is the county seat of Stevens County MN, and the Stevens County Fair was going on during the same weekend as the MHS Class of ’58 reunion, so there were many old friends from her childhood days in town. According to Joanne, some of her classmates are beginning to show their age, prematurely of course.
The former Mayor & First Lady of Perry, Dean & Carol Nundahl, visited in Rutland on the morning of Thursday, August 23. The Nundahls have resided in Mankato MN since leaving the family farm, and giving up their prestigious positions in Perry, back in 2004. Dean & Carol stopped in at The Lariat for coffee and conversation with old friends on Thursday morning.
Preparations for Rutland’s Uff-Da Day Fall Festival on Sunday, October 7, continue to move right along. Uff-Da Day XXXIV Chairperson Marcia Brakke has furnished the following report on Uff-Da Day lefse production: “…We made 328 lefse in the AM shift and 329 lefse at the PM shift last Thursday, August 23, for a grand total of 2,548 over all. We now have the freezer at the hall plum full. We were given a little help when the power went out in Forman for three hours that day and they called off the Girls’ Volleyball game for the upcoming evening. Therefore, Abby Erickson, Gabi Christianson and Gabi’s mom, Jennifer were able to join us to add their help to the effort.” The next lefse making sessions will be during the morning and evening of Tuesday, September 11, and Thursday, September 13, in the kitchen of the Rutland Town Hall. Anyone who wants to help out, learn how to make lefse, or just get in on the fun, can call Marcia at 763-221-7862 for information and inspiration. Uff-Da Day in Rutland will be on Sunday, October 7, all day long.
In the “Be Prepared” category, Sargent Central Kindergarten student Piper Nelson was in the right place at the right time on Thursday, August 23, when the lights went out all over Forman. Piper uses a wheelchair for mobility, and her wheelchair is equipped with headlights, the only alternative source of illumination available in the Kindergarten classroom. Piper turned on her headlights and, “Voila!” she saved the day. Piper is the daughter of Josh and Brianne Nelson of Rutland, and one of the grandchildren of Wayne & Pam Maloney of this community.
A few years ago, Dakota Precision Fabricating, a metal fabricating business owned and operated by Shannon & Hilary Mehrer of this community, with its fabricating plant located in Forman, built metal, movable floodwalls to protect lower Manhattan, a flood prone but vital area of New York City, from storm surge flooding. A month ago, Shannon Mehrer was in New York City again, this time to present Dakota Precision Fabricating’s bids for the movable floodwalls that will protect LaGuardia Airport, now undergoing an $8 billion renovation, from storm surge flooding. Last week, Dakota Precision Fabricating was notified that it is the successful bidder to supply the metal floodwalls for the project. According to Shannon, the initial portion of the contract, fabricating the metal fasteners that will be imbedded in the concrete foundations of the floodwalls, will be completed this year, and the fabrication and installation of the movable floodwalls will be completed in 2019. Involved in Dakota Precision Fabricating’s portion of the contract are the New York Port Authority, Delta Airlines and several private investors. Shannon states that it is somewhat intimidating to deal with these huge entities, but he’s from Rutland, the little city that can, and his company, with its management in Rutland and its factory in Forman, has already proved itself in The Big Apple. Congratulations to Shannon & Hilary Mehrer, and to the employees of Dakota Precision Fabricating, for showing the world what the ingenuity, inventiveness and industry of a few North Dakotans can accomplish.
The Planning & Zoning Commission for the City of Rutland met at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 28, in the Rutland Town Hall, with Chairman Mac Pherson; City Auditor Debbie Banish; and, Commission members Shannon Mehrer, Lori McLaen and Bill Anderson; present. Commission member Andrew Woytassek was absent. The first order of business was a public hearing concerning the proposed revised Zoning Ordinance for the City of Rutland. The Commission members and Auditor Banish have worked on the revised ordinance for the past several months. No members of the public appeared to comment on the proposal. A motion to approve the proposed revised ordinance and recommend its adoption by the City Council was approved by a unanimous roll call vote of the Commission members present. The ordinance will be delivered to the Rutland City Council for consideration at the September 10 Council meeting. The Council may adopt the revised ordinance as presented; amend the ordinance prior to adoption; send the proposed revised ordinance back to the Planning & Zoning Commission for further work; or, reject the proposed revised ordinance and retain the present ordinance. The Commission next took up the application of Mr. Greg Prindiville for a Conditional Use Permit allowing the placement of a mobile home structure on Lots 18 & 19 of Block 6 in Cooper’s Addition, property that is currently zoned for residential, but not mobile home, use. Commission members had several questions about the application, and Mr. Prindiville joined the meeting via speaker telephone at 8:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m. at his home in Washington State. After discussing mobile home age, tie down and other requirements with Mr. Prindiville, Commission members approved a motion to recommend approval of the Conditional Use Permit application by a unanimous roll call vote of the members. There being no further business to transact, the meeting adjourned at 8:45 a.m. The next meeting of the Rutland Planning & Zoning Commission will be at the call of the Chairman, at a time, date and location to be designated.
Cayuga native Bill Kiefer Jr., currently the sole member of the Cayuga Coyote Hall Of Fame Committee, has announced that another Cayuga native, Wayne Gomarko, has been designated as the Charter Member of the Cayuga Coyote Hall Of Fame. According to Mr. Kiefer, Wayne Gomarko’s selection was based on his outstanding achievements on the baseball diamond and the basketball court during the 1950’s & early 60’s. Bill Kiefer’s brother, Chuck, a classmate of Wayne’s, recalls that many pickup games of baseball were played on the ball diamond in Grandpa Charley Kiefer’s pasture back in those days, games in which Wayne Gomarko and Richard Edgerton, the unofficial team captains, would choose teams of local youngsters before play commenced. Dorothy Webb was usually picked first, and, because Dorothy was such a good player, the captain who did not get to pick Dorothy got to pick 2 boys for his team in order to balance the lineups. Chuck remembers that, during the Summer of 1955, Wayne surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record by hitting 61 home runs out of the Cayuga ballpark, 6 years before Roger Maris hit 61 in ’61. According to Chuck, play stopped so his fellow players could honor Wayne’s achievement with all of the solemnity and ceremony due a 12-year-old ballplayer who has just set a record. Wayne, a 1961 graduate of Sargent Central High School, was a member of the first football, basketball, baseball and track teams fielded by the consolidated school during its first 2 years. Congratulations to Wayne Gomarko on his selection as the Charter member of the Cayuga Coyote Hall Of Fame. Mr. Kiefer states that Dorothy Webb has been named, posthumously, as the second inductee into Cayuga’s Hall of Heroes. To join Bill Kiefer on the Hall Of Fame Committee, or to nominate an outstanding Cayuga athlete for induction, give him a call.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, one of the heroes to emerge from the darkness of America’s Vietnam War experience, a Navy aviator who was imprisoned and tortured for 5½ years as a POW in the infamous Hanoi Hilton, and survived to become a distinguished American Senator, respected and admired by his friends, respected and feared by his foes, departed this life on Saturday, August 25, 2018. U. S. Senator John S. McCain III has arrived at his home port, and has disembarked the Ship Of State, assigned to new duties by the Supreme Commander. He has been a steadfast comrade and a loyal companion on the voyage we have shared, a man of principle, courage and devotion to duty, the likes of which we encounter all too infrequently on the stormy seas of life. He set his course by the stars, as he was given the ability to see those stars, with the best interests of his country and his countrymen foremost in his mind and in his heart. By his own admission, he was not always right, and a course correction was occasionally required, but better an admission of error and a course correction than to stay on a wrong course and put the ship on the rocks. He was the embodiment of the patriotic slogan, “My country, right or wrong. When right to be kept right. When wrong to be put right. But always, my country!” The U. S. Navy has 2 mottos in Latin, Semper Fortas and Non Sibi Sed Patriae, which translate “Always Courageous,” and “Not For self, But For Country.” Senator McCain’s life exemplified both. As of Friday, August 31, there will be 84 weeks down and 124 to go until January 20, 2021. On that date, with a little luck, the mottoes which guided John McCain’s life will once again be in vogue at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Welcome home, Senator John McCain. Your comrades in arms salute your sacrifices, and your countrymen are grateful for your lifetime of service.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office and remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.