By Bill Anderson
Back in the 1930’s, our parents & grandparents used to sing, “It ain’t gonna rain no more, no more; It ain’t gonna rain no more. So how in the heck can I wash my neck if it ain’t gonna rain no more.” Well, it finally did rain, and, as those Old Timers used to say, “It always rains after a long dry spell.” We’re looking for that rain around here, but there hasn’t been any precipitation of any consequence for quite a while. Meanwhile, the growing crops have been reaching for whatever moisture is in the soil, and that’s starting to run short on the hilltops. It’s not the first time it’s been dry around here, and it won’t be the last, but, for this summer, it has gone on long enough. We’re ready to be too wet, again.
Steve & Sheila Wyum took off on a summer vacation trip on Friday, July 22, with their first stop at Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where they saw the sights and took in the Medora Musical at the Burning Hills Amphitheater. Next on their agenda was the Little Big Horn Battlefield where a Native American guide from the Crow tribe gave them a guided tour of the area where Gen. George Armstrong Custer and the 7th U. S. Cavalry met their end at the hands of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and the combined might of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes. (It should be noted that Crow scouts also guided Custer and the 7th on that fateful day back in June of 1876.) From there, they enjoyed the scenery of the Big Horn Mountains as they headed for Cheyenne, Wyoming, where they took in the Rodeo & Frontier Days. The last stop on their tour was the ranch of Steve’s cousin, Tommy Fabris, a grandson of the late Isabel Kulzer, in northwestern South Dakota. Tom was a professional rodeo bronc buster in his younger days, until one broke his back, once again proving that old cowboy proverb that, “There’s never a horse that couldn’t be rode, and never a cowboy that couldn’t be throwed.” He made a complete recovery, but now restricts himself to horses that can be, and have been, rode. The Wyums returned to their Ransom Township farm home on Tuesday, August 2, known to Icelanders as “The Deuce of August,” and celebrated by them as their National Day.
Debbie & Mike Banish, Rick Banish and Mark Wyum departed Rutland on Thursday, July 28, bound for Belton MO, a suburb of Kansas City, where Debbie, Mike & Rick checked out a motor home RV. They bought one, a 2019 Integra 45’ Motor Home, equipped with a full kitchen, living room, 1 master bedroom & a pull-out sleeping area, 2 bathrooms, a 605 horsepower X1500 Cummins diesel engine and a separate engine with a generator that produces enough electricity to run the motor home’s 3 air-conditioners. “It’s nicer than our house,” said Debbie. While at Belton, they looked up one of Mark’s & Mike’s old classmates, Becky (Reif) Hall, and her husband, Kirby. Becky is the youngest of the 3 children of the Late Rev. Jack & Martha Reif who were part of this community from 1953 to 1964 when Jack served as pastor of the First Baptist Church and Martha was a teacher and principal in the Rutland school system. Becky & Kirby invited the quartet from Rutland to their home in Belton for supper on the evening of Friday, July 29. Mark served as an unpaid consultant during the trip, and, as any lawyer can tell you, “Advice is worth what you pay for it.”
The TNT Parish, composed of Trinity Lutheran Church of Forman; Nordland Lutheran Church of Rutland; and, Trinity Lutheran Church of Havana; held a joint service at the Silver Lake Park Pavilion at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 31, the 5th Sunday of the month. It was Pastor Julie Johnson’s Sunday off, so Rachel Hoistad from Trinity at Forman conducted the service. Mrs. Hoistad is currently studying for the ministry. Following the service, a pot-luck dinner at which the cornucopia of good, home cooked fare overflowed, was served. Pastor Johnson will be departing for Holden Village WA on Friday, August 5, where she will take part in a retreat for pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). She plans to return on Saturday, August 13.
The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 1, in the Rutland Town Hall with Mayor Mike Mahrer; Auditor Deb Banish; and, City Council members Bill Anderson; Delores Lysne; and, Lori McLaen; present. Council member Rodney Erickson was absent. Also present were City Attorney LeeAnn Even of Even Law Office, Cogswell; and, City Engineer Mike Bassingthwaite of Interstate Engineering, Wahpeton. The Council took up the City’s Preliminary 2023 Budget, a task made more difficult by the failure of the State Tax Department to have approved valuations prior to the Preliminary Budget deadline. The Council approved the draft using the City’s maximum mill levy of 105 mills, and will review & revise it at the September 12 meeting when the valuations should be available. Notice had been received that residential and commercial values would be increased for the coming year. The City Engineer discussed problems with several water main valves on the municipal water system and the condition of the City’s water tower, as well as possible sources of funding to assist with replacing the sidewalk on the east side of the 100 block on Main Street. He advised that installing a drain tile beneath a new sidewalk would very likely lessen the damage caused by the freeze/thaw cycle. Engineer Bassingthwaite and Mayor Mahrer will review the maps of the City’s water system and discuss potential plans for updating the system. Mayor Mahrer said that the municipal sewer system & Lagoons had been inspected, and that Jacobson Plumbing, Heating & Excavating would be making some necessary repairs. The City Attorney responded to a question concerning the authority of a city to operate a municipal liquor store. Although municipal liquor stores were once fairly common in North Dakota, the State’s current statutes do not clearly either permit or prohibit the operation of a liquor store by a city. Attorney Even has contacted the Attorney General’s office for clarification, but a reply had not been received by meeting time on Monday. A question concerning the possibility of the City of Rutland suing the U. S. Postal Service to force restoration a Post Office facilities and local service in Rutland was dropped when information was received that the USPS has recently hired a Post Master Relief (PMR) employee for the Rutland Office, Ms. Alice Sutherland of Gwinner, who is currently handling Rutland’s mail at the Forman Post Office. The new PMR will be working in Rutland as soon as new Post Office facilities have been secured. The old Post Office was closed back on September 30, 2021, for health and safety reasons. The Council appointed Kyle Mahrer to a 4 year term on the Rutland Park Board, and appointed Richard “Mac” Pherson to a 2 year term on the Park Board. Both had received the highest number of write-in votes for their respective offices at the June Election, and both had stated their willingness to serve on the Park board. The Auditor announced that Rutland will be honored with the Tree City USA designation by the North Dakota Forestry Department and the NDSU School of Forestry during a North Dakota State football game in the Fargo Dome this September. The City has earned the designation for its work in identifying and removing dead & dying trees and replacing them with hardier varieties more suited to North Dakota’s weather and climate conditions. Council member Delores Lysne has had oversight of the City’s tree program. The Auditor also announced that the North Dakota League of Cities Annual Conference will be held in Grand Forks during the month of October. Numerous training sessions on municipal finances, taxes and services will be provided during the convention. After reviewing the City’s financial reports and bills, the Council authorized the payment of bills presented and adjourned. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 12, at the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and citizens of Rutland are invited to attend and observe their governing board in action.
A meeting of potential investors in an enterprise to acquire and reopen the Lariat Bar was held at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 1, in the Community Room of the Stock Growers Bank’s Rutland Station. Thirty-three individuals attended the meeting. The meeting had been called by Dennis Pherson and Bill Anderson for the purpose of determining community interest in accepting an offer from Stock Growers Bank to sell the bar building, equipment & furniture for $150,000.00, about 2/3 of what was owed at the time the Bank was forced to foreclose on its mortgage. Thirty-three individuals attended the meeting, which was called to order by temporary chairperson Bill Anderson. A great deal of discussion was had on how the enterprise should be run, and on the fact that any investment would be speculative in nature, with no guarantee of a return. At the conclusion of discussion, those interested were asked to make a pledge of the amount they intended to invest in the project. Twenty-two pledges were received, totaling $204,000.00, enough to proceed. A steering committee consisting of Mike Wyum; Paul Anderson; and, Katie McLaen was selected by those in attendance to deal with the bank and to put together a plan for organizing the enterprise. More pledges of support are expected to be received from additional interested parties who were not able to attend the August 1 meeting. Pledges of $10,000.00, or more, were requested, but pledges of lesser amounts were also accepted. The Steering Committee has called a follow-up meeting of interested parties to be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 9, at the Rutland Town Hall.
A retirement ceremony and party honoring Captain Michael J. Harris USN, complete with a ship’s signal bells and a Bosun’s pipe, was held beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2, in the Rutland Town Hall. Mike joined the Navy back in 1987, and is retiring after 35 years on active duty, 8 of those years as an enlisted sailor, and 27 of them as a commissioned officer. During his time in the Navy, Mike served on 10 different warships, ranging from service as a Seaman aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise to Captain of the amphibious warfare ships USS Pearl Harbor and USS Green Bay. He is currently on extended leave with his last official day on active duty being November 1, 2022. As of July 28, when a retirement ceremony was held at the San Diego Navy Base, he has had no duty assignment. The retirement ceremony here was conducted by Mike’s long-time friend and comrade, Captain Brian Diebold USN (Retired). Mike and Brian were commissioned together and rose through the officers’ ranks, from Ensign O1 to captain O6, together. Although Brian now makes his home in Tampa, Florida, they retired together, too. It is believed that the ceremony and its traditions, the origins of which date back to the 15th Century, with all the bells and whistles, literally, is the first of its kind to be conducted in Rutland. Capt. Harris received his final salute as an active duty officer in the U. S. Navy from his younger brother, L/Cpl Andrew Harris, USMC (Ret.). Following the Retirement Ceremony, guests enjoyed a supper meal supplied by the ladies of Rutland’s American Legion Auxiliary and local volunteers, with a Filipino specialty, lumpia, prepared by Mike’s wife, Joy Harris, a retirement cake supplied by Mike’s sister, Kathy Stout, and a variety of wines and beer supplied by Capt. Harris, Capt. Diebold & L/Cpl Harris. Among those from out of town who attended the event were: Mike’s wife, Joy Harris of San Diego CA; Mike’s sister, Kathy Stout, from West Branch IA; Sonja Christensen, Wahpeton; Marilyn Anderson, Wahpeton; Steve Grohs & Judie Seavert Grohs, Rosholt SD; Capt. Brian Diebold USN (Ret.) of Tampa FL; Maureen Oechslin of Spencer IA; Carol Fridgen of Nevis MN; and others who got by undetected.
Kim Rasmussen of rural Havana stopped in at the Rutland Seniors Center for coffee & conversation on the morning of Wednesday, August 3. Kim reports that crops west of Havana are in good shape for the shape they’re in, so far, but that a good inch or two of rain would be welcome.
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.