by Bill Anderson
Uff-Da, what a day! Sunday, October 3, 2021, Uff-Da Day XXXVI, was a great day in the little city that can. It was a beautiful day, with a bright blue sky and sunshine all day long, with just enough of a breeze to keep the boxelder bugs grounded. The Sun really does always shine on Rutland! The streets were full of people, and it must have been raining happiness, as every face had a smile. More than 3,000 lefse, 18 roasters of scalloped potatoes with ham, gallons of rommegrot, hundreds of krumkake, sandkaker & abelskivers, Uff-Da Tacos and bratwursts had been consumed by the time activities started to wind down. All that was left was the aroma of good cooking. Among the highlights of this year’s event were: the 2021 car show organized by David & Pat Bladow, and members of their family, that included 83 antique, classic, restored & modified automobiles from throughout North Dakota, South Dakota & Minnesota; the one room country school exhibit in which Val Pherson, Julie Hassebroek and a group of local youngsters, all dressed in period garb demonstrated what school was like back in “the good old days,”, while a panel composed of Gary Thornberg, Harlan Nundahl, Norbert Kulzer, Shirley Mahrer, John Hoflen, Jeanne Leinen and Gerry Leinen described what their experiences had been in the one room schools they had attended out there on the prairie, way back when; Joel Susag grinding wheat flour & corn meal using his mill powered by an old one-lung flywheel motor; the sawmill operated by Sod Buster volunteers from Fort Ransom and powered by Joel Susag’s WD-45 Allis Chalmers tractor; The American Legion Color guard composed of Larry Christensen, Doug Olstad, Andy Hoflen, Andy Harris & Calvin Jacobson that led the Uff-Da Day Parade through town; and, the Norse Mythology unit in the Uff-Da Day Parade in which members of the Nelson & Pederson families portrayed characters from our Scandinavian ancestors’ pagan past. Arts & craft vendors reported a great day, and local youngsters with their wagon loads of pumpkins, squash and other garden produce did a land office business. The Nickel Scramble and Uff-Da Day pedal tractor pull had enthusiastic participation by kids of all ages. At 3:00 p.m. activities paused as the community paid its respects to the late Ronald D. Narum, Rutland’s Mayor from 1972 until his death in 2020, by dedicating a park bench in his memory, with remarks by current Rutland Mayor Mike Mahrer; Ron’s niece, Pastor Julie Johnson; and, an old friend, Bill Anderson. According to Rutland Community Club President and Uff-Da Day XXXVI Chairperson Katie McLaen, planning for Uff-Da Day XXXVII will begin at the next meeting of the Rutland Community Club on Monday, October 11, at the Rutland Town Hall. Uff-Da Day XXXVII will be on Sunday, October 2, 2022.
Among the throng in Rutland for Uff-Da Day were former residents: Pat Prindiville from Horace ND; Mark Prindiville from Fargo; Mike Prindiville from Minneapolis MN; Ann Hoflen from St. Paul MN; John Hoflen from Bismarck; Allison (Hoflen) Glarum from West Fargo ND; Clarence “Stub” & Sharon(Lee) Sundlie from Fargo; Brent Sundlie from Valley City ND; Bonita (Bauman) Sundlie and daughter, Lisa, from Horace ND; Harlan Nundahl from Fargo; Gerry & Jeanne Leinen from Fairmount ND; Mary Alice (Pearson) Oyloe from Williston ND; Alan Bergman from Backes MN; David Bergman from Denver CO; Dennis Bergman from Huron SD; Gary Bergman from St. Paul MN; Jim Thol; Glen Larson from Watertown SD, and 3 of his sisters; Dean & Carol (Henjum) Nundahl from Mankato MN; Corrine (Narum) Romereim and granddaughter, Brandy Romereim, from Wahpeton ND; Gary Narum from Fargo ND; Steve & Judie (Anderson-Seavert) Grohs from Rosholt SD; Dan Narum and son, Asher, from Lamoure ND; Rita (Grammond) Trygstad from Redfield SD; and, many more.
Rutland natives Sonja (Anderson) Christensen and Corrine (Narum) Romereim were in Rutland on Wednesday, September 29, to help make krumkake for Uff-Da Day. They also joined old friends for dinner at the Rutland Seniors Center. Earlier in the week, on Monday, September 27, another Rutland native, Corrine (Herman) Christianson from Milnor was among the volunteers who gathered in the kitchen of the Rutland Town Hall to make sandkaker, also known as sand cakes, for Uff-Da Day. The Rutland community appreciates the participation of former residents in community activities. Wherever they go, whatever they do, they’ll always have that Rutland spirit.
Rutland folks were surprised on the morning of Thursday, September 30, to find the front door of the Post Office locked, with a sign proclaiming that the Post Office was “Closed!” It was later learned that an inspection of the building by the Postal Service had found numerous health & safety concerns that required the closure. The owner of the building, originally built in 1942 as the Franzen Hardware Store, is an absentee landlord who has long neglected maintenance and repair of the structure. The Post Office has occupied a portion of the building since 1981. So far, the Postal Service has not established a temporary Post Office at another site in town to provide service to the community. The Postal Service has been asked to provide a temporary facility, and to permanently move the Rutland Post Office to a more suitable location on Main Street. For now, postal patrons who get their mail at the Post Office have to drive to Forman to pick it up. Not very convenient, but, then, 140 years ago our predecessors out here on the prairie had to walk to Wahpeton, later to Milnor, to pick up their mail. The arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1886 brought in a Post Office, and Rutland residents have been getting their mail in town ever since, until Thursday, September 30, that is. The U.S. Postal Service has a convoluted process for contacting anyone in authority, usually resulting in a keypad exercise on the telephone that eventually goes around in a circle and leaves the caller listening to a dial tone. So far, the Postmaster at Gwinner, Ms. Jackie Lemna, and the Postmaster at Jamestown, Mr. Jeff Olson, have been helpful and informative. The Postal Service has not yet decided when service will be restored to Rutland, but the community will not rest until the sign on the Post Office door once again says “OPEN!”
The rain that fell on Rutland and vicinity on Friday, October 1, .5 of an inch according to Norbert Kulzer’s rain gauge, .4 of an inch according to Roger Pearson’s gauge; and, .457 of an inch according to Chuck Anderson’s gauge; brought harvest activities to a halt for a few days, long enough to allow local farmers to get some fixing done, and to allow them to take a break and enjoy Uff-Da Day in Rutland. Lawn mowing is once again a booming business, and is likely to continue to be so for some time to come. At this point, one week into October, no freezing temperatures are in the short term forecasts. Way back when, in the early years of the 19th Century, 1815 was known as “the year without a summer.” Will 2021-2022 become “the year without a winter”? Time will tell.
The Rutland City Council met at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, October 4, in the Rutland Town Hall, with Mayor Mahrer, Auditor Banish and City Council members Delores Lysne and Lori McLaen present. Council members Rodney Erickson and Colton Corry were absent. Also present were Rutland residents Bill Anderson and Rob Hoflen. A public hearing on the City’s proposed 2022 Budget was called to order by the Mayor. There were no comments from the public, and the hearing was closed at 5:20 p.m. The regular monthly meeting of the City Council was called to order at 5:20 p.m. Rutland resident Rob Hoflen, whose home is ½ block south of the Rutland Fire Siren, asked the Council to eliminate the 9:00p.m. siren test. After a brief discussion the Council decided to eliminate the 9:00 p.m. siren. Rutland residents will now have to set their own alarms to get the 9:00 p.m. signal. The siren will still sound off at 12:00 Noon and 6:00 p.m. each day. The Auditor presented the 2022 Budget for consideration, and the Council approved the Budget as presented. The City’s 2022 mill levy will raise $48,893.28 in revenue. Additional revenue to fund City operations will come from revenue funds, such as water, sewer, and garbage collection, and from State Aid. The Auditor reported that a Raffle Permit had been issued to the American Legion Auxiliary to conduct a raffle for a handmade table runner. Mayor Mahrer reported on the dedication ceremony honoring Rutland’s late Mayor, Ron Narum, that was held on Sunday, October 3. Mayor Narum’s family presented the Rutland community with a park bench into which Mayor Narum’s name had been engraved, and with a picture of Mayor Narum that will be on display in the City office. The Council reviewed the financial statement, which showed all funds to be in the black. After reviewing bills presented, and authorizing payment, the Council adjourned. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 1, 2021, in the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland residents are encouraged to stop by to observe their City’s governing board in action.
Kim Rasmussen stopped in at the Rutland Seniors Center for coffee and conversation on the morning of Wednesday, October 6. Kim reports that harvest activities west of Havana are progressing at a rapid pace. Yields are considerably lower than what producers in the area have experienced in recent years, about 2/3 of normal, but strong prices are easing the pain. Kim, an avid poker player, said that he had recently participated in a poker tournament in Fargo in which he paid tuition to relearn an old lesson – trying to bluff when the player you’re betting against is holding the card he knows you need still doesn’t work. Well, lesson learned. Win it back next time.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, testimony before a Congressional committee this past week produced evidence of what we have long suspected. Social media isn’t very social. In fact, it can be, and often is, downright anti-social. Facebook, Instagram and other so-called social media platforms often encourage anger and hate because those emotions keep many people on line for longer periods, exposing them to more commercial messages. YouTube, though, has recently been doing some self-policing, taking many Fox News programs off of its sites, due to their dissemination of misinformation and disinformation. There is little doubt that we have more than enough misinformed, disinformed, angry and hateful people wandering around in our society today. The big question is, can the Congress get beyond its own misinformation, disinformation, anger and hate to do something constructive about it? The body politic waits and wonders.
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 take a look at the Rutland Facebook page while you’re at it, too. Remember to patronize your local Post Office, and don’t forget to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.