By Bill Anderson
The winter storm that began on the evening of Wednesday, November 9, and continued through Thursday & Friday, November 10 & 11, covered Rutland and vicinity with an inch thick coating of solid ice, and left a trail of broken branches, snapped power poles and downed lines in its wake. Otter Tail Power’s service in Rutland had only a few, brief interruptions of a couple of minutes or less, but downed power lines on the Dakota Valley (formerly RSR) Rural Electric Co-op’s system left several hundred farm and rural customers in Sargent, Ransom, Dickey & Lamoure Counties without electric power for a day, or more. Several dozen linemen from surrounding RECs came in to assist Dakota Valley meet the emergency and get its lines back in service.
Most rain gauges have been taken in for the season, but a few of the sophisticated all-weather electronic gauges were still in operation during the storm. Chuck Anderson reports that the electronic gauge at his Weber Township farm had filled up with ice, so he had to bring it in to let it thaw out before it would give him a reading. He states that once the ice had melted the gauge held .94 inch of liquid water. An unconfirmed report of .68 inch of precipitation was received from Sargent County’s Hub City, our neighboring community of Forman.
Jim & Mary Ann Levery called their Ransom Township neighbors, Mike & Jill Anderson, on the evening of Wednesday, November 9, to check on the weather. Mike gave Jim the bad news, and then Jim informed Mike that he & Mary Ann were at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville TN, attending the annual Country Music Awards ceremony. They had great seats, Jim reported, as far back and as high up as you can get. The acoustics were very good, though, and they could hear the music just fine. Anyone who has heard Jim sing and play the guitar during Rutland’s Uff-Da Day might have thought that Jim was in Nashville to receive an award, but he said, “Not this year.” The Leverys had departed for Nashville on Sunday, November 6, and met up with a tour bus that took them to Nashville for a week of touring the sites and enjoying country music. One of the places they visited was the Johnny Cash Museum which contained many artifacts from that Star’s career. Jim said that the weather in Nashville was very pleasant during most of their visit, with the temperature in the 70’s most of the time. The temperature began to drop and the rain began to fall right after they departed Nashville, headed for home. They arrived home on Sunday, November 13, and report a very good time in the Capitol City of Country Music.
Roger Pearson, Jim Huckell, Gary Thornberg, Karen Anderson, and Mike & Linda O’Brien returned from a week of country music in Branson MO on Sunday, November 13. Roger said that they enjoyed very nice weather in Branson, with the daytime temperature in the 80’s during most of their stay. The 6 local folks were the only North Dakotans in the group, Roger said. He also said that the amplifiers in most of the theaters they visited were very powerful, and he had to put his hearing aids in his pocket in order to listen to the music. Branson’s nice weather ended when the folks from Sargent County headed for home, taking the sunshine with them.
Most of the Veterans’ Day programs in Sargent County that had been scheduled for November 10 & 11 were either postponed or cancelled due to bad weather and icy roads. The Veterans Day program at the Sargent Central Activities Center in Forman that had been scheduled for Thursday, November 10, was rescheduled to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, November 14. The students, faculty, and staff of Sargent Central produced and performed an excellent program of patriotic songs, poems, and readings, all expressing their appreciation for the service of the community’s military veterans. Rutland’s Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion provided the Color Guard for the event. Members of the Color Guard were Roger McLaen; Larry Christensen; Ted Lee; and Andy Harris. As was reported last week, November 10 was the 247th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and Sargent Central faculty member Ben Ponzer, a Marine veteran of the War in Iraq, provided the inspiration to have a Birthday cake and the Marine NCO’s sword with which to cut it. As the oldest Marine present, Bill Anderson of Rutland, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, assisted by his Great-Grandson, Sargent Central student Brody Mahrer, cut the first slice of cake and presented it to the youngest Marine present, Holly Ponzer, also a Marine veteran of the conflict in Iraq, as a symbol of one generation of Marines passing the knowledge, experience, and traditions of the past to succeeding generations of Marines. Following the program, a light lunch was served to those in attendance. Those veterans present expressed their thanks and appreciation to the students, faculty, and staff of the Sargent Central School System for the outstanding program they presented.
Lariat Bar Manager Sue Kaehler and several volunteer workers, among them: Patty Woytassek; Ann Erickson; Ione Pherson; and Katie McLaen; were hard at work cleaning, painting, and organizing at The Lariat Bar on Tuesday & Wednesday, November 15 & 16, getting ready for opening day. Katie McLaen, Secretary of Rutland Improvement d/b/a The Lariat Bar LLC, reports that 3 new upright freezers have been purchased to replace 3 old freezers that were in need of some tender loving care. The old freezers were advertised as “give aways,” and were removed from the premises by Mark Breker and Jon Anderson. A meeting of the Board of Directors was scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, November 16, to discuss what remains to be done, and to set a schedule for getting it done prior to opening.
Former Rutland area resident Marcia Brakke of Delano MN and her twin sister, Margot Ganske of Phoenix AZ, were Rutland visitors on Tuesday, November 15, guests of Mark & Kathy Wyum of this community. The two sisters were in Rutland to visit old friends, and to pick up some Christmas decorations for Marcia’s new home in Delano. Old friends Jim & Mary Ann Levery; Joanne Harris; Norbert & Bev Kulzer; and Bill Anderson; were Tuesday evening supper guests, along with Marcia & Margot, at the Mark & Kathy Wyum residence at 217 First Street. The 2 sisters were overnight guests at the Wyum residence and headed for home early on Wednesday morning. Margot had flown to Fargo from Phoenix on Tuesday morning to meet Marcia, and Marcia took her back to the Fargo airport on Wednesday morning before driving back to Delano. These two ladies are very familiar in and with Rutland, having worked together on Uff-Da Day for several years. Many people did not know that Marcia had an identical twin sister and thought that Marcia had the ability to be everywhere at the same time, as they met one sister or the other every time, they turned a corner and thought that they were seeing Marcia each time. Now you know the rest of the story.
The Rutland Seniors Center was humming with activity on the morning of Wednesday, November 16, as Lefse Lena and her helpers made their last batches of lefse prior to Thanksgiving. The ladies will also have two pre-Christmas Lefse Days on December 6 & 13. Thanksgiving Dinner at the Seniors’ Center, complete with freshly made lefse, will be on Thursday, November 17, one week early, reports Head Chef Janny Kiefer. Nothin’ gives you that holiday thrill like somethin’ from the lefse grill!
Meanwhile, on the national scene, all of the pundits and prognosticators who were predicting that the Democrats were going to be washed away by the gigantic Republican Red Tidal Wave in the November 8 Election, are now busy explaining why the Democrats did a lot better than expected, and the Republicans did a lot worse. The best explanation so far came from conservative columnist David Brooks during the PBS News Hour on Friday, November 11. Brooks explained, “The voters preferred a political party that is out of touch to one that is out of its mind.” In more good news for Democrats, the architect of the 2022 GOP debacle, former President Donald J. Trump, announced this past Tuesday that he is volunteering to be the Republicans’ Presidential candidate again in 2024. After leading their Party to a humiliating defeat in 2018; to a landslide loss in 2020; and, to an election disaster in 2022; The Donald says that he is ready, willing, and able to do it again. He sat on his $100 million campaign war chest while one after another of his personally endorsed candidates went down to defeat in 2022. With friends like that you don’t need enemies. With leadership like that you don’t have to worry about moving to Washington. Well, Mr. Trump has been counted out several times in the past, and has each time arisen from the political tomb to confound his GOP critics. Let’s give him one more chance!
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.