The Rooster Crows – March 10, 2023

By Bill Anderson

As of Friday, March 10, the arrival of Spring, the Vernal Equinox, on Monday, March 20, will be only 10 days into the future. So far, though, there is no sign of the imminent arrival of spring-like weather conditions on the horizon. The weather gurus just predict more snow on more snow, without any letup in sight. The old timers used to advise that Spring, in all her glory, would not arrive until after Easter, which is on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Vernal Equinox. In 2023 Easter will be on Sunday, April 9, so don’t look for any nice weather until then, unless an exception to “The Old Timers’ Rule” is found, and then all bets are off.

The actual snowfall amount from the blizzard of Tuesday February 28 and Wednesday, March 1, was higher than the 5 to 9 inches that had been originally predicted. Sargent County Sheriff Travis Paeper was of the opinion that about 10 inches of new snow had fallen on Forman and vicinity by Thursday afternoon. Rutland’s City snow removal specialist, Scott Haan, was of the opinion that Rutland had been blessed with more than 12 inches of the stuff. The snowfall on Sunday, March 5 and the early morning of Monday, March 6, deposited about 2 inches of new snow on the Rutland area, according to City Maintenance worker Scott Haan, with the amount decreasing to the north and east, while Havana reported 7 inches of new snow, with the amount increasing to the south and west. Rutland folks don’t mind being on the short end of snowfall totals at this time of year.

The United States, at least most of it, switches to Daylight Savings Time at 2:00 a.m. this coming Sunday, March 12. At 2:00 in the morning on the appointed day we will all spring one hour into the future, resetting our clocks and watches to 3:00 a.m. We will continue to live an hour ahead of where we would have been without Daylight Savings Time until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 5, when we will all fal back into the past one hour, regaining the hour of sleep we lost on the morning of March 12. One of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, first proposed Daylight Savings Time in America in an effort to save on candles during the Revolutionary War. As there were no Standard Time Zones at the time, though, and every community set its clocks, if it had any, by the Sun, the idea did not catch on. American and Canadian railroads adopted the Standard Time Zones on November 19, 1883, in an effort to keep their trains from running into each other. In 1918, during World War I, the Congress made the railroad’s Standard Time Zones the law of the land, and imposed Daylight Savings Time on the entire nation, as part of the war effort to save on energy. The Day light Savings Time provisions of that measure were repealed in 1919. During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt imposed Daylight Savings Time on the entire nation again, in February of 1942, proclaiming it to be “War Time”, and it remained in effect until the War ended in September of 1945. After World War II, some States continued to use Daylight Savings Time during the Summer months, usually between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and some States just stayed with Standard Time. Minnesota adopted the summer use of Daylight Savings Time, and some of North Dakota’s larger cities on its eastern border, such as Fargo, also adopted it. Later on, North Dakotans approved an initiated measure that outlawed Daylight Savings Time and made Standard Time, or, as Rutland’s John Narum called it, “God’s Time,” the official time of the State. In 1973, during the Arab oil embargo, President Nixon imposed year-round Daylight Savings Time on the entire country as an emergency measure to conserve energy. A lot of people, including John Narum, did not like Daylight Savings Time during the Winter months, and Congress later put Nixon’s proclamation aside with the adoption of the current National Law on the subject. The law has been modified from time to time, but, so far, it has caused no insurrections or revolutions in the Lower 48. John Narum never did adopt Daylight Savings Time, and kept his watch set on Standard Time to the end of his days, and, presumably beyond.

All roads led to Rutland on the evening of Friday, March 3, as fish fry aficionados headed for the little city that can to enjoy the most recent incarnation of the Rutland Sportsmen’s Club’s Annual Great Northern Pike Fish Fry at the Rutland Town Hall. According to Club President, Shannon Hajek, 246 free will donors contributed $4,263.00 for Sargent County’s Food Pantry. Once again, there was fierce competition between the pan fryers and the deep fryers for the public’s favor, and at least one pretty girl, a Rutland native, preferred the deep fried version. The competition is expected to continue into 2024, however, and both groups are fine-tuning their spices and techniques in preparation for next year’s fish fry on Friday, March 1, 2024. Don’t miss it. It’s the best known, and the best tasting, fish fry in the Tri-State region.

Among those in Rutland for the Sportsmen’s Club’s Great Northern Pike Fish Fry on Friday, March 3, were Rutland natives Margaret Ann (Sapa) Hartze and Jeannie (Sapa) Seifert, now of Fargo. The two sisters are daughters of the late Joe and Helen (Silseth) Sapa. They were in Rutland to attend the funeral of their cousin, Curtis Silseth, on Saturday, March 4. Jeannie’s son, John Seifert, and Margaret Ann’s son, Steve Hartze, are 2 of the 4 owners of the house in Rutland formerly owned by their uncles, Bob Gibb of Fargo and the late Jerry Sapa of this community. Joe & Helen Sapa and their family, then consisting of: Alocqua; Margaret Ann; Mary Helen; Jeannie; and Jerry; moved from Rutland to Fargo back in 1958, but, even after 65 years in the big city, the Sapa girls still consider Rutland to be “home.”

Tom Manley was another local person who attended the Sportsmen’s Club’s Fish Fry on March 3. Tom reports that he returned to his home in Forman from New Mexico several weeks ago, and said, in jest, that he would be enjoying winter in North Dakota if it wasn’t for the snow, wind and cold. Well, Tom, so would we all.

The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 6, in the Rutland Town Hall with Mayor Mike Mahrer; City Auditor Debbie Banish; and Council Members Rodney Erickson; Delores Lysne; and Lori McLaen; present. Council member Bill Anderson was absent. Also present was City Engineer Mike Bassingthwaite of Interstate Engineering, Wahpeton. Several members of the public were also in attendance. The City had purchased the tax forfeited property at 217 Arthur Street last fall and had offered it for sale on written bids that were due by noon on Monday, March 6, 2023, with those bidders bidding $5,000 or more being afforded the opportunity to orally raise their bids, in the event that there was more than 1 bidder. Three sealed bids were received: $5,001.00 from Andrew Woytassek; $5,100.00 from Jake Erickson; and, $5,500.00 from Landon Evenson. After spirited oral bidding, Andrew Woytassek became the purchaser of the property with a high bid of $8,000.00. A Purchase Agreement will be executed, with substantial progress on improvements to the property to be done within six months before a Deed is delivered. In the event that there have been no significant improvements within six months, the property will revert back to the City. Council Member Erickson reported that the kitchen door on the Town Hall has been temporarily repaired. He has contacted Fargo Glass and Paint concerning a competitive quote to replace both the main front door and the kitchen door, but his calls have not been returned. He will follow up with other businesses to obtain permanent repair estimates. Margie Johnson, one of the owners of The Rutland General Store and Café property, asked about the sidewalk project that includes the Rutland General Store area. She stated that the sidewalk in front of that property is new and there is a curb cut at the intersection. City Engineer Mike Bassingthwaite said the City submitted the grant for both sides of the street from Front to Gay Street; however, some areas may not need to be replaced, but the City must demonstrate that it is not necessary and also that the sidewalk and curb cuts meet current ADA code. This project will not be bid out until 2024 so there is time to examine the entire project area prior to a final decision. City Engineer Bassingthwaite reported that the City is in the DWSRF funding category concerning funding for water main replacements, which is a loan, rather than a grant, program. If it is time to consider updating the mains, then a plan should be developed. New or replacement water mains are now required to be 8” rather than 6” in diameter. The Mayor stated that there are also some water main valves that cannot be turned and need to be replaced. Erickson said that most of Rutland’s water mains are PVC and that some are asbestos cement (AC). Bassingthwaite said if the mains were done in the 60s there may be an asbestos problem. Engineer Bassingthwaite will meet with the Mayor to review the water main maps. The City Engineer also reported that the ND DOT will fund 80.93% of the actual construction cost of the Main Street sidewalk replacement project. The cost share does not cover the cost of the environmental and archeological studies that are required for the project. Concrete costs have doubled in the past couple of years, but it is hoped that the cost will come down before the project construction phase begins. A field survey will be needed in the spring along with other studies that are not included in the grant award. The City and Interstate Engineering will need to enter into a contract for Engineering Services. He provided a proposed contract for consideration at a future meeting. The preliminary engineering phase maximum cost is $29,500 and the Construction engineering phase is at a “not to exceed” $32,500 limit. The estimated costs are based on time, but the project may not require as many hours as estimated. The City Auditor reported that there will be a North Dakota League of Cities spring training conference for elected and appointed officials in Bismarck on March 21 and 22. The Council approved payment of registration, lodging and travel expenses for the City Auditor to attend the conference in Bismarck on March 21 and 22, 2023. The Auditor reported that there are three delinquents at this time, with one of the bills to be paid by the closing agent. Council Member McLaen inquired about any preparation for excess water in town when the snow begins to melt. Other Council members acknowledged the concern and expect that there will be some water issues this spring. The major concerns would be if the City lift station stops and runs over or if the Lagoon cells overflow. Council Member Lysne asked if there has been any progress on the Post Office situation. Council Member Erickson reported that the Postal Service’s architect has been out to review the building and develop plans for the interior layout of a new Post Office. The meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3, 2023, in the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland citizens are encouraged to attend and observe their City’s government in action.

Rodney Erickson reports that a Postal Service inspection team out of Fargo was in Rutland on Tuesday, February 14, checking out the building at the corner of First and Arthur Streets, just across First Street, also called Main Street, to the west from the Rutland Station of Stock Growers Bank, for use as a Post Office in Rutland. The inspection team liked what they saw, and the project has now been referred to the Postal Service’s Architect’s Department to design the interior layout of the building. Rutland has been without a Post Office since September 30, 2021, but it appears that the restoration of a Post Office and its services is inching closer to realization. With a little luck, the new Rutland Post Office will be in operation by September 30, 2023. The Rutland community extends its thanks to Rodney for his endurance and perseverance.

Bill Anderson, Mike Harris and Andy Harris were in Fargo on Monday, March 6. The roads were in good winter driving condition, with some packed snow and icy patches, but otherwise clear. When the trio was on their way home in the early evening, they stopped at The Antelope Creek Bar & Grill in Mooreton for supper. The food and the service was quite good, they reported. On their way out, someone yelled at Bill, and they turned around to find Rutland area natives Bradley Glarum and Leslie Bergstrom, who had been shooting pool in the game room. Bradley stated that he is now managing the Mooreton Elevator, and Les is employed by the Friskop Farm near Mooreton. Bradley stated that, at age 67 he is still playing slowpitch softball with a local team. He said that 3 years ago he had even played a season with his original team, The Rutland Roosters. He had started playing softball with the Roosters 50 years ago, and he was proud of the fact that when he returned to the team 3 years ago he could still hit a Home Run ball out of the park. Bradley says that his son, Luke, a pharmacist in Wahpeton, plays softball on the same team he is now with. Les said that he is still collecting and restoring antique tractors and classic cars. Even though they have been gone from Rutland for a long time, the boys still remember where home is.

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 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.

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