By Bill Anderson
The Summer Solstice arrived at about 10:30 p.m. on Fathers’ Day, Sunday, June 20, starting off the official 2021 summer season with the coolest temperatures in a month. The day had begun with a much needed rain, the initial blast at about 2:30 in the morning being reinforced with a couple of showers during the day. Norbert Kulzer reported .75 of an inch in his rain gauge, while his next door neighbor, Roger Pearson, reported that his gauge held .6 of an inch when the rain ended. Jesse Brakke’s electronic rain gauge at his farmstead between Rutland & Cayuga recorded .65 of an inch from the event. The rain was timely and most definitely welcome. The only thing it could have used to make it better was another inch or two of water.
Speaking of water, those who have been practicing the piscatorial arts on local waters have been having scant, but occasional, luck since the ice melted. A pair of anglers from this community, however, Roger Pearson and Lary Arneson, have been taking their boat to South Dakota in recent weeks, and have returned home with several limits of walleyes and even a few northern pike. Roger said that the number of boats on the lake they have been fishing have increased dramatically in the past week, indicating that the word has leaked out despite the traditional Fisherman’s Code of Silence. Roger can’t ethically disclose the location of this fishing hot spot, but admits that it would be a Bitter Lake, indeed, that did not offer up a limit of walleyes to a worthy fisherman once in a while.
Last week it was reported here that longtime Rutland resident Gretchen Vann had departed this life, suddenly and unexpectedly, on Saturday, June 12. Additional information is now available on the Price Funeral Chapel internet web site. Gretchen had passed away at Sanford Hospital in Fargo on Saturday, June 12, 2021, after suffering a heart attack on Friday evening while at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Margie & Zach Johnson, in Gwinner. She had attained the age of 67 years, 4 months and 5 days at the time of her death. Gretchen Wolterdina Vanderwolf was born on February 7, 1954, in Boskoop, The Netherlands, to Hein and Antonia “Toni” (DeHus) Vanderwolf. In 1956 the family, which then included Hein, Toni, Gretchen’s older brother Klaas, Gretchen, and, Toni’s mother, Klaas’ & Gretchen’s grandmother, Wolterdina DeHus, immigrated to America. They first made their home on the farm of Gretchen’s great-uncle & aunt, Harry & Lydia Hoffman, near Rutland, in Ransom Township. The Vanderwolfs were hard working and ambitious. Hein worked for several local farmers and eventually obtained a job on the Great Northern Railway’s steel gang, then rebuilding the track from Aberdeen to Breckenridge. Hein was readily identifiable, as he was the only member of the steel gang wearing the traditional Dutch wooden shoes. After 2 years in Rutland, opportunity called the Vanderwolf family to move to Beaverton OR, near Portland, but they always remembered Rutland as the community that gave them their start in America. They had made a number of good friends here, among them Arnold & Bee Banish and Jack & Karen Saunders, and most summers they spent their vacation in Rutland. Gretchen recalled that the Vanderwolf family did not go to Disneyland, Six Flags Over Texas or other vacation hot spots. They went to Rutland instead! Gretchen grew up in Beaverton and graduated from high school there in 1972. She always had a good relationship with her cousin, Kathy Brakke, in Rutland, and she came to stay with Kathy and her family after her graduation. She went to work at the Bobcat, then Melroe, Company in Gwinner. She met and married Kenwood Peterson of Milnor, and they made their home on the Peterson farm near Milnor. They had a daughter, Antonia. Gretchen and Kenwood later parted, and she moved back to Oregon where she went to work for the Stevens Company, owner of Leupold optics and Stevens gunsights. She met and married John Stevens, and they made their home on Sauvie’s Island, along the Willamette River, near Portland. They had a daughter, Margie. Gretchen was later briefly married to James Vann of Portland. In 2005, Gretchen, her parents, brother, and sister & brother-in-law, Debbie & Noel Liermark, moved back to North Dakota to be closer to her two daughters, both of whom resided in Sargent County. She had a dream of giving something back to the community that had given her family its start in America a half century earlier. She acquired the property on the corner of First & Gay Streets, took down the existing structures and, in 2007, opened The Rutland General Store which had groceries, hardware, fabric, and many other items in stock. The store also had cooking facilities and gourmet meals were prepared there. In 2009, the Rutland Café, which was next door to the General Store, was acquired, renovated and added to the General Store’s capabilities. Gretchen operated the business until the end of 2015 when she closed both the General Store and the Cafe. She subsequently worked at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon and at Four Seasons Villa in Forman where her outgoing personality and upbeat sense of humor made her popular with the residents. Gretchen is survived by her 2 daughters: Antonia Hajek of rural Havana; and, Margie Johnson of Gwinner; by 6 grandchildren: Nicolas Peterson; Josephine Hajek; Jayden Hajek; TJ Johnson; Easton Johnson; and, Cyprian Johnson; by a brother, Klaas Vanderwolf of Forman; by a sister, Deborah “Debbie” Liermark of Rutland; by numerous cousins in America and in The Netherlands; and, by many friends. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visitation was at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, June 21, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, followed by a prayer Service at 7:00 p.m. The funeral for Gretchen Vann was at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland with the Rev. Julie Johnson officiating. A Noon lunch was served by the Nordland Lutheran Church Ladies at the Rutland Town Hall following the service. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery, near the graves of her parents and grandmother. Terry Price of the Price Funeral chapel of Forman and Britton was in charge of arrangements. In her Last Will And Testament, Gretchen instructed her daughters, “I want to be remembered in death as I was in life, bold, brash and daring. (and possibly broke!)” The Rutland community extends condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of Gretchen Van, a woman who dared mighty things, and who never allowed adversity to hold her back.
Pat Prindiville of Horace ND was a Rutland visitor on Wednesday & Thursday, June 16 & 17. Pat, a member of RHS Class of ’52, stayed at the Prindiville farmhouse during his visit to the old home town. He said that he had recently observed his 87th birthday on June 8. On Thursday, Pat joined old friend Dick Meyers, RHS Class of ’50, and several others, for dinner at the Rutland Seniors Center. The weather, baseball, golfing, the state of the economy and old times in Rutland were topics of discussion. Back during World War II Pat, Dick and their brothers, Roger, Mike & John, guarded the southern approach to Rutland from attacks by German submarines coming up the Wild Rice River and Drain #8, and from Nazi saboteurs coming up the same route. The effectiveness of their efforts is established by the fact that there were no successful attacks on Rutland by Nazi submarines or agents during the war years.
Former State Senator Jim Dotzenrod of Wyndmere stopped in Rutland for a visit withhold friend Bill Anderson on the afternoon of Friday, June 18. Jim had been at a reception honoring Christine Askerooth, wildlife specialist at Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge for many years, on the occasion of her accepting a new assignment at a refuge near Valentine, Nebraska. Jim said that he and his son, Rudy, are about caught up with the current round of farm work, and that he is ready for a little lull in the action until the next round begins. Jim served in the ND State Senate from 1978 to 1994, and from 2008 to 2020. He currently serves as Chairman of the 26th District democratic-NPL political party. Jim said that he is looking forward to having his 70’s vintage “Muscle Car” in Rutland’s 2021 Uff-Da Day Parade on Sunday, October 3.
Harvey & Judy Bergstrom have decided to retire from farming and will be liquidating their line of farm tractors, machinery and equipment by way of an auction sale that is scheduled for September 15, 2021. According to Harvey, the auction will be conducted by Big Iron Auction Service of Nebraska, and will be conducted completely on-line. Harvey says that he has a good line of equipment that is clean, in good repair and field ready. Those who know Harvey know that he wouldn’t have it any other way. The Bergstroms farmland acres have been rented to the Gulleson Brothers of Rutland.
Sonja Christensen of Wahpeton, Corrine Romereim of Wahpeton, Marilyn Anderson of Gilbert AZ and Janet Peterson of Minneapolis MN were participants at the Rutland Seniors coffee roundtable on Saturday, June 19. Janet Peterson is a daughter of Marilyn Anderson and the late Arden Anderson. She said that she moved to Minneapolis from Iowa to be closer to family, and then her mother, brother, sister and brother-in-law all moved to Arizona. Marilyn reported that her son, Jim, is no longer associated with MaxBats, the company he founded that supplies baseball bats to many major league baseball players. He now lives in Tucson AZ, and works with a company that supplies athletic uniforms to professional & amateur sports teams. Cousins Joanne Harris and Bill Anderson of this community joined the group for Noon lunch at The Lariat Bar before they headed back to Wahpeton, Minneapolis and Arizona.
Miss Avery Woytassek, daughter of Andrew & Katie Woytassek of Rutland, and Carl McLaen, son of Nick & Katie McLaen of Rutland, were named “Miss Lefse 2021” and “Mr. Lefse 2021” during the Rutland Community Block Party on Thursday, June 10. Miss Woytassek and Mr. McLaen will be Rutland’s official Uff-Da Day greeters, and will be the Grand Marshals of the Uff-Da Day parade on Sunday, October 3.
Former Rutland area resident Matt Breker was in town on Tuesday, June 22, to attend the funeral of Gretchen Vann. Matt reports that he and Billie have recently rented a summer place on Bad Medicine Lake in Minnesota, and have discovered a number of folks with Sargent County ties already there. Among those at Bad Medicine Lake with Sargent County roots are: Gary Narum, son of the late Edgar & Hilda Narum of Rutland; Roger Olson, grandson of the late Jonetta Olson-Narum of Rutland; and, Larry & Diane Dahl of rural Cogswell. Well, good folks attract good folks.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, the Judge’s gavel has come down and the ACA is here to stay! Last week, on Thursday, June 17, for the third time since the Patient’s Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) became the law of the land in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to declare the act to be unconstitutional. The latest challenge had come from several State Attorneys General of the Republican variety, anxious to use the taxpayers money to make names for themselves. North Dakota’s own Attorney General, the sly and slippery Wayne Stenhjem, was among the losers who have been trying to deny the benefits of the ACA to Americans f Wayne Stenehjem or the past decade. Back in March of 2010, John Boehner, Republican Leader in the U. S. House of Representatives, declared it to be “the end of the world.” Well, here we are, 11 years and 3 Supreme Court cases later, and the world is still turning on its axis and making its way around the Sun. Boehner was correct in one way, though. Adoption of the ACA was the end of the world in which a substantial percentage of Americans were locked out of the nation’s healthcare delivery system; it was the end of the world in which Americans could be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions; it was the end of the world in which coverage limits could leave those who needed it the most without coverage for serious health conditions; and, it was the end of the world in which Americans could expect no help from their government when healthcare disasters struck home. Well, the world ended back in 1935 when the Social Security Act was adopted, and back in 1965, when Medicare was adopted, too. Funny thing about that, isn’t it?
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.