By Bill Anderson
As of Saturday, February 5, the bone-chilling cold that had characterized the month of January and the first few days of February gave way to more moderate temperatures, still not warm, but at least able to peek above the freezing mark for a few hours and provide some hope to those who had been considering giving up on Spring. It’s still Winter, though; the wind still blows; it can still get cold; the snow still falls; and the streets are still covered with packed snow and ice; but there is hope. In the middle of a North Dakota Winter what more can you want or expect. We can ask the one who put it there to relieve us of the snow, but not too far south of us, in south central and southeast South Dakota, there is no snow, and the weather experts are predicting severe drought conditions in the Spring, while signs warning of the extreme fire danger are posted on nearly every corner. We have to be careful what we ask for, we just might get it.
Local anglers have gotten what they wanted: ice; water; and fish; and they are happy with it, at least for now. Walleyes, northerns, perch and crappies have been biting, but sometimes here and sometimes there. One day there may be 40 ice fishing houses on a fishing hot spot, but when the catching slows down and a report is received that the fish are biting somewhere else, like an old-time gold rush mining camp, the fishermen and their houses pick up and move elsewhere, leaving their former location looking forlorn and deserted. We know that the fishing is pretty good, though, because the fishermen aren’t talking about it. In fact, it’s so good that they don’t even lie about it. That’s what’s called a contrary indicator. Whatever it looks like, it’s really the opposite.
This community was saddened last week when word was received here that Violet Wyum, a life-long member of the Rutland community, and a long-time elementary school educator in Sargent County, had departed this life on the evening of Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at the Four Seasons Healthcare center in Forman. She had attained the age of 97 years, 2 months, and 25 days at the time of her death. Violet Martha Olson was born on the Olson family farm in Ransom Township on Friday, November 7, 1924, to Olof and Hilma (Peterson) Olson. She grew up on the farm and attended elementary school in a 1 room Ransom Township country school. She attended high school in Rutland and graduated in the RHS Class of 1942. She earned her 2-year teaching degree from Valley City State Teachers’ College in 1944, and taught school in 1 room country schoolhouses in Ransom and Tewaukon Townships before teaching in Cayuga, Cogswell and Rutland. While teaching, she took classes at Bethel College in St. Paul and at Valley City State to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1959. Thirty-two years of Violet’s teaching career were spent in Sargent County, including country schools, town schools and the Sargent Central Elementary School in Rutland. She also taught for one year in Bismarck ND, and one year in an elementary school in San Juan Capistrano in California. While at San Juan Capistrano she encouraged elementary students from Rutland to become pen pals with her students in California. Sixty-five years later some of those pen pals are still corresponding with each other. She is remembered by her former students as an effective teacher who knew how to maintain discipline in the classroom. Violet was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church in Rutland, serving as a Sunday School teacher; Sunday School Superintendent; Deaconess; Clerk; and, as a member of the choir. On June 3, 1961, she married Robert Wyum of Rutland in a ceremony in the First Baptist Church in Rutland at which Pastor Jack Reif officiated. They made their home on the Wyum farm 3 miles north and 1 mile east of Rutland. They became the parents of one daughter, Wendy Sue, and Violet became the stepmother of Robert’s 3 sons: Steven Robert; Michael Charles; and Mark Obed. Robert passed away in 2001, and Violet continued to make her home on the farm until she moved to Four Seasons Villas Assisted Living Center in 2019. From the time she retired from teaching until she moved to Four Seasons Villas, Violet served as the “go-fer” on the farm, making parts runs and performing other errands as well as preparing meals when called upon. For Violet, the speed limit was a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. Her children and grandchildren often referred to her as “The Energizer Bunny” because she was always going full speed ahead, whether she was running for parts or scrubbing the floor. She relocated to the Four Seasons Healthcare Center nursing home in 2021. Violet is survived by: one daughter, Wendy Honchl; by 3 step-sons, Steven Wyum of Rutland; Michael Wyum of Rutland; and, Mark Wyum of Rutland; 1 sister, Shirley Mahrer of Hankinson; 1 brother, Don Olson of Mound City MN; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren & 1 on the way; numerous nieces, nephews & cousins; and by a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, in 2001; her parents, in 1955 & 1979; 4 brothers: Woodrow Olson; Martin Olson; Carl Olson; and Maurice Olson; and, by 2 sisters: Myrtle Orth; and, Alice Seline. The funeral service for Violet M. Wyum was at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, with Pastor Julie Johnson officiating. Also assisting in the service were Pastor Wayne “Hutch” Hutchins of the Baptist Church in Lisbon; soloist Karen Hutchins; vocalists Michael Wyum & Janet Kiefer; and, Phyllis Wyum, organist. Interment will be in the Rutland Cemetery in the Spring. Condolences may be sent to Michael Wyum, 9720 139th Avenue Southeast, Rutland ND 58067. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the family and friends of Violet Wyum, a woman of intellect, ability and character who devoted her life to her family, her community, her career and her country. Many will remember that Violet provided a moral compass for the Rutland community. If you couldn’t answer “Yes!” to the question “Would Violet think this is OK?” you had better not do it.
The Rutland Sportsmen’s Club held its annual meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, in the dining room at The Lariat Bar. Club members re-elected Shannon Hajek to another 3-year term as President. Other members of the Executive Committee are Kyle Mahrer, Vice-President; and Mark Wyckoff, Secretary Treasurer. Two members Bryce Carlson and Trent Nelson were re-elected to the Club’s Gaming Board. The biggest item on the agenda was a proposal to acquire another 20 acres of land adjacent to the Club’s current rifle, trap and archery grounds north of Silver Lake, to accommodate the increased demand for outdoor recreation facilities. The additional acres would allow the rifle range distance to be increased from a little over 100 yards to 600 yards. After a lengthy discussion, members voted to go ahead with the acquisition and development of the property. Club members also voted to go ahead with “The First Annual Gopher Classic,” a competition to bag the most gophers in one day, on Saturday, April 30. President Hajek also reminded members of the upcoming coyote hunt on Saturday, February 12. Registration will commence at 5:00 a.m. at the John Narum Trap & Rifle Range north of Silver Lake. Tickets are now available for the Sportsmen’s Club’s annual Great Northern Pike Fish Fry, which will be held on Friday, March 4, the first Friday in March, at the Rutland Town Hall. The Rutland sportsmen’s Club was founded in 1973, and the existing trap & rifle range grounds were acquired at that time from John Narum, an original member of the club. During the past 49 years, the club has advocated for sportsmen’s issues; promoted youth involvement in hunting and shooting sports; and kept its facilities open and available for use by the public, as well as by the members. There is a monthly meeting, usually held at the club’s grounds, on the 2nd Thursday of each month. Check out Rutland Sportsmen’s Club on Facebook.
The 26th annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament was held on Saturday, February 5, in the Rutland Town Hall. Fifty teams had pre-registered as of Thursday, February 3., and all but 1 of them were there when play started at 9:00 on Saturday morning. Seven hours and 16 rounds of pinochle later, a mother-son team from Oakes, Joan Orner & Dustin Orner, took the first prize of $300 with a score of 1,644. Raymond Hogness & David Hogness of Milnor took second place with a score of 1,636. David had recently returned from China to participate in the tourney. Local folks who also completed the tournament “in the money,” were Jeri Christiansen; Bobbi Tompkins; Trent Nelson; Dennis Nelson; Clem Severson; Sandy Mund; Roger McLaen; Roger Lunde; Orvin Hogness; Warren Sundquist; Turk Nelson; Caleb Nelson; and, George Resler. The youngest participant in this year’s tournament was Mia Huffman, age 8, from Dickinson ND, who partnered with her Dad, Wylee Huffman. She told tournament organizer Sonja Christensen that she has been playing pinochle since she was 5 years old. Mia’s grandparents are Randy & Vicki Huffman of Rutland. Roger McLaen & Stela Bell received recognition for having played in all 26 tournaments, and John Hayen was recognized for having 4 generations of his family playing in the tournament. Jason Hayen, who drove up from Oklahoma to play pinochle in Rutland, stated that he has been participating in this tournament since he was 15 years old, and he’s quite a bit older than that now. Drawings were held for door prizes from Fairmount Lockers and Full Circle AG at the conclusion of play. Sonja reports that $1,430 in prize money, including the $300 for First Place, was awarded to the 16 teams with the highest scores. Throughout the day, participants enjoyed forenoon & afternoon lunches and a scalloped potatoes with ham dinner served by the Rutland Community Club. The net proceeds of the tournament will be donated to the Rutland Community Club for maintenance & equipment in the Rutland Town Hall. The 2022 tournament would have been the 27th annual, but covid-19 prevented it from being played in 2021. The next Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament is already on the calendar, scheduled for the first Saturday in February, that’s February 4, of 2023. See you then.
The Rutland City Council met at 5:10 p.m. on Monday, February 7, in the Rutland Town Hall with Mayor Mike Mahrer; City Auditor Debbie Banish; and Council Members Rodney Erickson & Lori McLaen present. Council Members Colton Corry & Delores Lysne were absent. Also present at the meeting was City Attorney LeeAnn Even. Council members reviewed & approved a service agreement with North Dakota Sewage Pump & Lift Station Co. to provide maintenance services for the city’s sewer lift station at the corner of 1st and Cooper Streets through the year of 2022. Council members reviewed the requirement recently imposed by the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that the city conduct a survey of public and commercial buildings to identify possible points at which cross-contamination of water could occur, and to adopt a city ordinance requiring backflow preventers wherever advisable. Attorney Even stated that the new ordinance will be in Chapter 7 of the City’s Ordinance Book. The State may also impose additional requirements in the future. The Council held the First Reading of the proposed ordinance and scheduled it for the Second Reading and possible adoption at the Council’s March meeting. The State DEQ requires that the survey be completed and the ordinance be in place by April 1, 2022. Auditor Banish reported that the North Dakota League of Cities will be holding a training session for Council members and other City officials in Bismarck on March 29 & 30. Registration can be completed after the Council’s March meeting. The Auditor also reported that there are currently 7 delinquent water, sewer and garbage accounts that will be subject to having service discontinued if the bills are not paid prior to February 15. After reviewing the City’s bills and authorizing payment, the Council adjourned at 5:45 p.m. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 7, in the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland residents are encouraged to stop in to see their City Government in action.
Meanwhile, on the Postal Service scene, in Rutland the report is still the same: no action; no information; no service; and, no Post Office. On the bright side, though, as of Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the U. S. House of Representatives, by a bipartisan vote of 3 to 1 in favor, passed a bill repealing the requirement that the U. S. Postal Service divert money from its operating fund in order to fund retirements 75 years into the future, covering potential future employees who have not yet been born. The requirement, imposed by the GOP controlled Congress back in 2006, was the brainchild of then Republican Representative Darrel Issa of California, a former FedEx executive whose aim was to destroy the Postal Service and turn the task of delivering the mail over to private companies. He did succeed in nearly wrecking the USPS, but not quite. Postmasters were eliminated; employees’ wages were cut; Post Office hours were cut; and, in some cases, Post Offices were eliminated. Elimination of the retirement account pre-funding requirement should help restore the USPS to financial health, and allow for its services to improve rather than continue to deteriorate. The U. S. Senate is expected to take up the bill passed by the House and adopt it in short order. Every now and again there is some good news that comes out of Washington DC. Pay no attention to the resolution recently adopted by the Republican National Committee (RNC) describing the assault on the U. S. Capitol that occurred on January 6, 2021, as “legitimate political discourse.” Obviously, the RNC is so detached from reality that its members wouldn’t know the difference between legitimate political discourse and a barroom brawl. Maybe they should read the speeches of Abraham Lincoln & Theodore Roosevelt to learn what real legitimate political discourse is all about.
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. 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.