By Deborah Banish
Mother Nature packed another wallop for the three-day weekend which became a four-day weekend January 17-20 for many. She rolled in the winds and snow on Friday resulting in school closings to the delight of many children and the angst of parents. Kids not only got an extra day off but they were restricted to the indoors for most, if not all, of the weekend.
Rutland residents received an extra surprise in the early evening of Saturday, January 18th, when water slowly trickled out of the faucets. The City of Rutland sent out an alert to not use water around 5 p.m. that evening. A hearty crew bundled up and drove around town in an attempt to find the problem. The water tower was checked and appeared to be functioning during the storm, although it had a malfunction earlier in the week. The piles of recent snow did not help in that effort. Mike Mahrer and Rodney Erickson, along with the help of Calvin Jacobson, soon found the break near the intersection of First and Front Streets. By this time an army of helpers had gathered to assist with turning off the valve to stop the flow. Mike, Rodney and Calvin were joined by Rutland residents Mitch Mahrer, Chuck Sundlie, Colton Corry, Brad Wyum, Andy Harris, Kyle Mahrer and Mac Pherson. Staff from Southeast Water Users also traveled to Rutland to assist with the locating the break. Turning the valves proved to be a huge task as it takes about 21 turns to shut the valve and one turn of the valve was nearly a Herculean task. The entire town was without water until about 5 p.m. on Sunday. When the water returned to the south side of the tracks, it was again just a trickle. The water in the tower itself had a thick sheet of ice on top and needed to be thawed. A two-man crew from Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls drove to Rutland on Tuesday to thaw the tower; however, they had to give up due to the high winds that followed the storm. They resumed the job on Wednesday thawing out the large chunk of ice that reduced the water flow. On Wednesday morning, the parts needed to repair the main break were on their way from Fargo to Rutland so that they could be installed to hopefully restore water to the North side residents on Wednesday.
The City Council held an Emergency Meeting on Tuesday, January 21, regarding the water break issues. The Council approved payments to Jacobson Plumbing, Heating and Excavating upon receipt of invoices and approved a contract with Sweeney Controls to install new remote valve access and live water readings for the water tower. The new system will eliminate the need for daily readings and live information will be available from the City computer and to others through a phone app. Roger Pearson will finally get to retire from his daily reading job (Sorry Roger!). The City Auditor reported that insurance claims have been filed with both insurance companies as one covers the water tower and another company handles the water main and underground infrastructure.
Sonja Christensen reports that there are forty-three teams signed up for the annual Pinochle tournament on Saturday, February 1. The weather forecast for the next couple of weeks look good so be sure to get your team registered for the annual event.
The Rutland American Legion Bergman-Evenson Post #215 will host their free-will pancake breakfast on Superbowl Sunday, February 2, in the Rutland Hall from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Be sure to stop in for a hearty breakfast and to visit with family and friends in Rutland.
The next City Council meeting is Monday, February 3; Tuesday, February 6 is the Rutland Blood Drive at the Town Hall sponsored by the Rutland Community Club. Call Janet Kiefer or Sheila Wyum to sign up or go to bloodhero.com and use sponsor code: rutland. Walk-ins are also welcome.
Friday, February 7th, the Rutland Community Club is sponsoring a live improv comedy show by the LineBenders, featuring hometown comedian Shelly (Pherson) Fink. The Lariat Bar will sell homemade pizza by the slice and there will be a cash bar. Tickets at the door are $10.00. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 7:30pm. Mark your calendar for a night on the old town!