By Bill Anderson
Oh, say can you see, by the New Year’s first light, what so proudly we hailed at September’s last gleaming; Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through 3 months of perilous nights, O’er the old Franzen Building were so gallantly streaming; And the street lights’ bright glare, the stars shining in air, gave proof through the nights that our flag was still there; Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the little city that can, home of the free and the brave? Well, the Flag still flies over the Rutland Post Office, and the door is still locked. The Postal Service has provided no information to the Rutland community as to when, if ever, service may be expected to be restored. In the meantime, there has been no additional clean up or repair activity observed at the Rutland Post Office building. No information. No action. No service. No Post Office. It could be described as a heck of a way to run a railroad, except that, back when the railroads hauled the mail the Post Office was open, and the mail got delivered. So much for 50 years of progress! Benjamin Franklin, America’s first Postmaster General, would be appalled by the disrespectful and cavalier attitude of today’s U. S. Postal Service management.
Mother Nature and Old Man Winter teamed up to deliver the first blizzard of the season, commencing on the day after Christmas, Sunday, December 26, and continuing into the early evening of Monday, December 27. Depending on whose report you choose to listen to, the storm delivered either 1 to 3 inches of new snow or 6 to 8 inches of new snow, along with sustained wind speeds of 30 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, and temperatures falling from the mid-20’s above Zero to the sub-Zero regions by Monday night. Below Zero conditions are predicted to continue throughout this week and into the New Year. While there is no relief from cold, snow and wind foreseen in the near-term forecasts, most prognosticators are of the opinion that warmer conditions will return to the region before the next summer solstice.
The blizzard had both I-94 and I-29 closed to traffic on Sunday night and Monday morning, and a “No Travel” advisory posted for the entire eastern end of North Dakota. Roads were also closed in northeastern South Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. In Sargent County, the State & County snowplows were out opening roads by Monday afternoon, and in the City of Rutland Scott Haan was opening streets with the City’s snow removal equipment by mid-afternoon, with some assistance from Bernard Mahrer Construction’s big equipment, as well. There is now enough snow on the ground to provide employment opportunities for snow removal crews every time the wind shifts. As the old-timers used to say, “There’s nothing so bad that it doesn’t do someone some good.”
Covid-19 continues to be an unwelcome intruder that refuses to leave. Not only that, but about the time we have the rascal under control and about to be evicted, it brings in its offspring to torment us anew. First it was the Alpha strain, then came the Delta variant, and now the Omicron variant is sweeping over the country and around the globe. In this country, the epidemic is primarily one of the unvaccinated, hitting hardest those who have refused, failed or been unable to avail themselves of the protection afforded by one of the vaccines currently available. But one of the problems is that getting vaccinated does not provide 100% protection for everyone, although those who have been vaccinated and get a “breakthrough” case of covid-19 are much less likely to develop serious symptoms; be hospitalized; have long term after effects; or, die; as a result of the virus. European countries are also being hit hard by the Omicron variant and are taking steps to control its spread. Frequent Rutland visitor, Rolf Odberg of Halden, Norway, reports that the recently re-opened border between Norway and Sweden has now been closed, again, and will remain closed until both nations are sure that the virus is in check. Although a major shut down is not expected in the U.S., the best advice is still what it was at the beginning of this pandemic: wash your hands; maintain social distance; wear a mask; and get vaccinated. If you can’t, or won’t, maintain social distance, make sure that the folks you are with have been vaccinated and have not tested “positive” for the virus. Slow but steady wins the race. There is no reason to get excited or panic. The coronavirus is not even a living thing. It has no intelligence whatsoever. So, don’t let it outsmart you.
The coronavirus is also playing hob with airline schedules in this country. In just one day during the Christmas weekend, more than 1,000 flights had to be cancelled and 2,500 were delayed because airline and airport personnel were down and out with the virus. Paul Anderson of this community enjoyed Christmas with his family in Seattle WA and was scheduled to arrive back in Minneapolis at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 27. His flight out of Seattle was cancelled, however, and Paul, an experienced air traveler, managed to get on the last flight from Seattle to Minneapolis on a “stand-by” ticket. He arrived in Minneapolis at 11:00 p.m., and then drove as far as Monticello MN before securing a room for the remainder of the night. He arrived back in Rutland early on Tuesday afternoon. Paul is planning to drive to Sun City West AZ sometime next week, and to stay there until the temperature stays above the freezing mark and the snow is gone in Rutland.
Sonja Christensen sent out a message on Tuesday, December 28, reminding all pinochle players that the 26th Annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament is coming up on Saturday, February 5, 2022, in the Rutland Town Hall. Play will commence at 9:00 a.m., sharp. The registration fee is $40 per team. To register, contact Sonja Christensen at 1645 11th Street North #2, Wahpeton ND 58075. Phone numbers are: 701-642-6793 or 701-899-1463. Sonja’s e-mail address is email@example.com. If pinochle is your game, this is the premier pinochle tournament in the region. Don’t miss it.
The next time that The Rooster Crows appears in The Sargent County Teller, or on-line, it will be next year, 2022, and all of the pundits are pontificating on what’s going to happen in the new year. Well, here are some predictions that are guaranteed to come to pass: events will occur that no one predicted; events will be predicted that do not occur; The Rooster Crows will continue to observe, report and comment on national, State and local events, often missing the mark, but occasionally nailing it right on; and, the little city that can will continue to chug along, amusing some and amazing others with all that a small community can accomplish when everyone pulls together. Best wishes to all for a Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year!
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.