By Bill Anderson
Spring has been behaving like a reluctant maiden for the past few weeks, first bestowing her warm and radiant smile on her ardent suitors, then chilling their enthusiasm with a dousing of rain, snow and slush. Well, maybe it’s all part of an elaborate April Fools prank. Sooner or later, Spring is bound to bestow the warmth of her embrace upon the land, but, until then, she is delivering the promise without the squeeze. The 3 inches of new snow that fell on Sunday, April 3, was a reminder that April showers do not only bring May flowers. Those showers may also bring snow, slush and hazardous driving conditions. On the bright side, Janelle Brakke drove from Rutland to Fargo on Sunday afternoon, and reports that the clean snow removed all of the exterior dirt & grime from her car, as nicely as if she had purchased the high-priced option at the car wash. Every cloud has its silver lining.
A large group of family and friends gathered at the Rutland Town Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, April 2, to honor Delores “PeeWee” Breker on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Delores is one of the daughters of the late Mr. & Mrs. Harold Evenson. The Evensons made their home in Rutland when Delores was born, but later moved to Cogswell where she grew up and went to school. When she married Ralph Breker, she again became part of the Rutland community, residing on the farm southeast of town where Shane & Carla Breker now make their home. Guests from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota were on hand to help Delores celebrate, and Stephen Ricksecker, a nephew who had made his home with Ralph & PeeWee during his high school years, flew all the way from California to attend the party. PeeWee’s many friends in this community extend an enthusiastic “Happy Birthday!” to her, and best wishes for many more to come.
Confirmation students at Nordland Lutheran Church: Greta Bladow; Kaycee Hamilton; Whitney Mahrer; and Charlize Willprecht; presented their Affirmation of Faith statements to the Congregation; and, 5th Grade students: Julia Mahrer; Loden Jochim; Lilith Pavek; and, Krosby Willprecht; had their First Communion; during worship service at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 3. The Confirmation service, also called Affirmation of Baptism, for Greta, Kaycee, Whitney, and Charlize is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, at Nordland Lutheran Church. This is an impressive group of young ladies: intelligent; articulate; and, confident; of whom their families and their community can be proud.
The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 4, at the Rutland Town Hall, convening first as the Board of Equalization, to review property valuations with County Director of Tax Equalization Denise Ferderer and the public. Mayor Mike Mahrer; City Auditor Debbie Banish; and Council members Rodney Erickson; Delores Lysne; and, Lori McLaen; were present. Council member Colton Corry was absent. Also present were County Water Resource Board member Mike Wyum; Rutland resident Ione Pherson; and, Rutland resident Bill Anderson. There were no questions or comments from the public at the Board of Equalization meeting, and the Board accepted the valuations as presented. Tax Director Ferderer asked the Board to contact her office if any errors or questionable valuations were discovered later. The Council meeting then convened, and Mike Wyum led off by asking the Council for thoughts on the future of Drain #8, the legal drain that runs from Rutland to the Wild Rice River. According to Mike, approximately $100,000 in revenue has accumulated in the Drain #8 fund, and, with matching funds from the State Water Commission, some improvements to the drain might be made if the Water Resource Board knew what the City of Rutland and other affected landowners wanted. Putting a pipe in the bottom of the ditch and covering it with dirt seemed to be the most acceptable alternative. The City had rejected a plan that had called for excavating a wider ditch about 5 years ago. Mr. Wyum said that the City and the Water Resource Board should discuss the matter further to come up with an acceptable, workable improvement plan. Ione Pherson requested permission to have access to the 1 room Country School and the Pioneer House exhibits at the Rutland Depot Museum on Friday, May 13, for a Sargent Central School Field Trip. The Council authorized use of the exhibits for that purpose. Mayor Mahrer brought up the matter of a “Boat Survey” of the Rutland Sewage Lagoon by Team Labs for the purpose of measuring sludge buildup and determining the proper amount of enzymes needed to prevent excessive sludge buildup. The last survey had been done about 30 years ago. Lagoon Cell #1 was built when the municipal sewer system was constructed in 1961. Lagoon cells #2 and #3 were added in 1976. The Council approved having Team Labs perform a boat survey of lagoon cell #1. The Council designated Saturday, May 7, as “Community Cleanup Day.” The City’s inert landfill will be open to accept white goods, such as washers, dryers, stoves, refrigerators, etc. and other inert material such as tree branches & scrap lumber. Electronic items, such as television sets, computers, etc. will be collected at the City Shop on the south end of Main Street.The Council approved Building Permit #240-22 for the construction of an addition and a garage to the residence at 124 North 2nd Street, owned by Rodney & Andrea Erickson. Construction is expected to begin this Spring. The Council approved continuation of the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for The Lariat Bar building on Main Street for the year of 2021. The PILT, which allows for a reduction in property tax valuation on new construction as an incentive for community improvements, was authorized at the time the building was constructed, and may be extended through 2025. The Auditor reported that: Waste Management intends to phase out the 32 gallon trash bins and replace them with 64 and 96 gallon bins due to the fact that the larger bins are more stable and less susceptible to being blown over; that the City is eligible to apply for Tree City USA grants to assist with the removal of dead and diseased trees from City owned property, and to assist with the cost of planting new trees on City owned property; and, that 4:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11, is the deadline for filing petitions for 3 positions on the Rutland City Council and 3 positions on the Rutland Park Board. As of Monday, April 4, only 1 incumbent member of the Park Board had filed a petition for re-election. Mayor Mike Mahrer reported that he had been contacted by a representative of the U. S. Postal Service concerning the Rutland Post Office. According to the Mayor, the USPS wants a facility in Rutland that is between 700 and 1,200 square feet. An e-mail and a certified letter containing the Postal Service’s specifications are supposed to be on their way. This is the first information that the Rutland community has received from the Postal Service since the old Post Office was abruptly closed back on September 30. Council member Erickson reported that he had been informed by a contractor from Fargo that the contractor had been hired by the USPS to install temporary external Post Office boxes on a concrete pad to be installed in the area between the east end of the Stock Growers Bank building and the west side of the U-Stor-It of Rutland building on Gay Street. According to the information received by Council Member Erickson, decisions concerning the Rutland Post Office are being made by a Postal Service official at an office in California. After reviewing the City’s bills and authorizing payment, the Council adjourned. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland residents are invited to stop in to observe their City Government in action.
Covid-19 is still with us, although not quite as deadly as it has been. Both the CDC and the FDA are now advising that all Americans over the age of 50, and all Americans with impaired immune systems, should obtain a second booster shot, if their first booster was received more than 4 months ago. According to Nurse Kelsey Nelson of the Sargent County Health Department, there will be a covid-19 booster shot vaccination clinic from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12, at the Rutland Seniors Center. If you are over the age of 50, or, if you have an impaired immune system, and your last booster shot was received more than 4 months ago, you are eligible for the second booster shot, so come on in, roll up your sleeve and take your medicine. For additional information about obtaining covid-19 vaccinations, call the Sargent County Health Department at 724-3725. Sargent County’s nurses are “painless pokers,” so stop in to get vaccinated and do your part to halt the covid-19 menace.
Finally, after 6 months in limbo, some information has been received from the U. S. Postal Service. Even though the message is confused and confusing, at least it is an indication that the Rutland Post Office is on someone’s radar screen. The Postal Service’s facilities acquisition program appears to have been designed by Rube Goldberg, and it’s anyone’s guess what the end result will be, but at least the process seems to be heading for a result, whatever it might look like at the end.
Meanwhile, on the international scene, graphic evidence of the brutal torture and murder of Ukrainian civilians by Russian military personnel has shocked the world. There is evidence that the atrocities were committed on direct orders from the top level of the Russian command structure. The world, particularly the western world: Europe; Canada; and the United States; has been presented with a moral crisis. Do we intervene to end the atrocities, risking World War III, or do we sit back, adopt the “America First” attitude that preceded World War II, and say that it’s just none of our business? If there is one lesson that came out of World War II, though, it is that inhumanity and war crimes are everyone’s business, like it or not, and the longer we allow the vicious atrocities to continue the worse they will get. So, what do we do? Do we turn our backs on the tragedy, allow the Russian dictator to have his way, and possibly delay the onset of World War III for a while, or do we confront evil, put our lives and fortunes at risk to stand up for the ideals of western civilization and democracy, and, bring the tragedy to an end, possibly at great cost to ourselves? We are at the crossroads. Which road will we, the inheritors of the land of the free and the home of the brave, take? There are things in this life that are worth fighting for, and there are things in this life that are worth dying for. Maybe this is one of them.
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 like 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.