The Rooster Crows – April 14, 2023

By Bill Anderson

Spring has finally sprung! All of nature broke into a full throated version of creation’s Hallelujah Chorus on Easter weekend as the last vibrations, tremors and aftershocks of what is hoped to have been the last winter storm of the season died away, the Sun broke free of its winter imprisonment the temperature climbed into the 40’s and southerly breezes brought warm temperatures to the region. The 9 to 12 inches of new snow that had arrived on April 4 & 5, in addition to the several feet of old snow that had been petrified in place since the storms of November and December, began to melt, producing rivers of slush wherever drifting snow met warm pavement. Every kind of wild goose known to North America flew over Rutland, singing their joyous chorus of spring, and they were joined by chattering ducks of every description, the crowing of rooster pheasants, the plaintive cry of the mourning dove, the cheerful songs of robins, red-wing blackbirds & meadowlarks, and other songsters too numerous to mention. The receding mountains of snow revealed new sources of sustenance to the herds of whitetail deer that had been scrounging a meager existence from tree belts and cattail slough for the past several months. Easter, the affirmation of resurrected life, brought the restoration of the possibility of life to all of nature’s creatures, including the human kind. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Winter is dead! Long live spring!

The Rutland City Council met as the city’s Board of Tax Equalization at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 3, at the Rutland Town Hall, with Mayor Mike Mahrer; Auditor Debbie Banish; and, City Council Members Rodney Erickson; Bill Anderson; Delores Lysne; and, Lori McLaen; present. Also present was Sargent County Director of Tax Equalization, LaJuana Hayen. The Board approved two Homestead and three Veterans exemptions as provided for in State Law, and as presented by the County Director. The County Director noted that the State had increased the valuation of residential property, making an increase in the tax levied on property more likely. The Board approved the Assessment Books as presented. No members of the public had appeared before the Board to comment on, or object to, property valuations or taxes levied on property within the City. The Board of Equalization adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

The monthly City Council meeting was then convened at 5:15 p.m. by Mayor Mahrer. City Auditor Banish, Council President Erickson and Council Members Anderson, Lysne & McLaen were present. Council President Erickson reported that he recently met with Rutland native Tanner Hambeck concerning the replacement of the main entrance and kitchen entrance doors on the Rutland Town Hall, and that he is currently waiting for a cost estimate for the replacement of the two South doors.

Mayor Mahrer reported that there are still two more water main valves that need to be replaced: one by the four-plex apartment house on Ross Street; and, the other at the intersection of Ross Street and the alley by the Joanne Harris residence. All the water main valves should be turned on and off at least annually.  Bill asked about replacing the 6” water mains with 8” lines. The larger lines may eventually be needed for the City to retain the Class 8 fire protection rating that results in a substantial insurance break for homes and businesses inside the City Limits. The Mayor said that the City should have a street project right after a water main replacement project, but that the valves should be done first. It was noted that there is a copper water main in the southwest side of town that loops around behind Pherson’s to Siemieniewski’s. The Mayor will consult Jacobson Plumbing about the valve replacements. The Auditor presented information on State assistance to inventory the City’s water lines. It was noted that there may be some old lead and copper lines in town that date back to the old artesian well water systems that predated the Municipal Water System that was installed in 1954. Another option is to have residents provide photographs of their indoor service line/meter area to assist in an inventory. It is thought that the City should no longer have any lead water service lines left in town that would need to be identified.

The Auditor noted that the annual Records Retention Disposal form is due the end of May. There are several documents that would be eligible for transfer to the State Historical Society for permanent retention. The minutes from 1908 to 2012 would be good candidates to transfer. Minutes since 2012 are on the city computer in addition to in print and the Auditor has scanned the signed minutes back to 1989. The State Archives would scan the minutes so there would be access, she said. The originals would be stored in a humidity and temperature controlled atmosphere which would be better than in a file drawer in the office that is subject to varying extremes of temperature and humidity. Council Members asked for additional information, including: any cost; access to the documents; and, return of the originals, if and when requested. The Auditor will provide further information at the May meeting.

The Auditor provided a summary of the North Dakota League of Cities Spring Conference topics, including the ND Insurance Reserve Fund and changes to insurance coverages & rates; and, the State Emergency Assistance funding that will be available to cover 60% of snow removal costs, based on an average of the cost incurred for the past four years. There is expected to be funding for the period of October to December of 2022, and another from October through April 2023. The City will be able to receive funding through the Emergency Snow Removal legislation to assist with snow removal costs incurred during one of those time periods, but not both. After reviewing the City’s finances and approving the payment of bills, the Council adjourned at 5:50 p.m. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 1, at the Rutland Town Hall. All meetings of the Rutland City Council are open to the public, and Rutland residents are encouraged to attend and observe their local government in action.

Approximately 200 youthful participants and adult observers were present when the community’s annual Easter Egg Hunt commenced at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 8, in the Rutland Town Hall. Brooklyn Pherson; Owen Lehman; Riggs Maly; Bailey Anderson; and, Cohen Jensen; won the Grand Prizes, consisting of 2 Razor Scooters and 3 Bicycles. Every child who found a gold or silver egg also won a prize. There were 26 gold eggs, for kids 7 & under, and 17 silver eggs, for kids 8 and older. The ladies of The American Legion Auxiliary served a delicious brunch for those in attendance. The Grand Prizes were donated by The Volunteer Firemen of the Rutland-Cayuga Fire Department. Thanks to Kaia Mahrer and Morgan Peterson for the information in this report.

Sixty-two children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, together with spouses and “significant others,” gathered in the Rutland Town Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, April 8, to help Phyllis Erickson celebrate her 94th birthday. In reality, Phyllis helped her descendants celebrate her birthday, just by being there with a smile and a kind word for each and every one of them. Her birthday was actually on Easter Sunday, April 9, and those attending the Sunrise Service at Nordland Lutheran Church joined in Phyllis celebration by singing “Happy Birthday” to her. Mark Tuesday, April 9, 2024, on your calendar as a reminder that Phyllis will again be partying, on the occasion of her 95th, on that date. With a little bit of luck, winter will be over by then.

Among those who travelled a distance to be with family in Rutland during the Easter holiday were Stephen & Ann Kulzer of Hartford SD, accompanied by their son, Will. Stephen reported that their daughters: Lauren; and, Brooke; were unable to get work and study schedules rearranged for a trip to Rutland. Lauren is an RN, working at a major hospital in Kansas City MO; and, Brooke is continuing to work toward her Master’s Degree in Wildlife Management, currently working on a study of wild turkeys in the State of Georgia. Will states that he will be graduating from South Dakota State University at Brookings in a few weeks, with a degree in Agronomy. He is already employed as a consultant to farmers in the Sioux Falls area. Ann & Stephen are still busy being Mom & Pop.

Becky & Kevin Kotzer of Groton SD were in Rutland on Saturday & Sunday, April 8 & 9, to celebrate the 94th Birthday of Becky’s Grandmother, Phyllis Erickson, on Saturday, the 8th, and to join Becky’s parents, Lyle & Ann Erickson at Nordland Lutheran Church’s Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday morning.

Kaia Mahrer of this community, accompanied by: her Dad, Steve Thorfinnson of Fort Ransom; her Paternal Grandmother, Joanne Thorfinnson of Fort Ransom; and, her 3 daughters, Julia, Adalyn & Kaitlyn; departed Rutland on Monday, March 27, bound for Eastman School of Music at Rochester NY to attend the Flute Recital of one of Kaia’s former Sargent Central music students, Eric Bergeman of Forman.  Their first major stop was at Follansbee & Weirton, West Virginia on March 28, where they visited at the homes of Krissie Thorfinnson and John Thorfinnson. They went on to Rochester NY on March 30th to attend Eric Bergeman’s recital Mr. Bergeman is a member of the SCHS Class of ’19. Following his graduation from the Eastman School of Music this spring, he will be working on his Master’s Degree in flute performance. Kaia and her party of travelers arrived back in Rutland at 4:00 a.m. on Palm Sunday, April 2. As usual, it was fun to go, but great to get home. Kaia’s husband, Kyle Mahrer, and son, Brody Mahrer, kept the home fires burning while Kaia and the girls were gone.

Roger Pearson reports that he has finally recuperated from the nasty cough that plagued him for most of the past winter. He spent both Palm Sunday weekend and Easter weekend at the home of his daughter & son-in-law, Brenda & Roger Gibbon, near Delamere. On Palm Sunday, Roger attended the baptism of his newest Great-Grandson, Asher Gregory Ennis, born September 2, 2022, at Emanuel Lutheran Church near Delamere. Asher is the son of Brenda’s youngest daughter, Nicole, reports Roger. Roger also reports that a Great-Granddaughter, Amelia Ann White, had been born in Fargo on September 7, 2022, to his Granddaughter, Kaitlyn White. Kaitlyn is one of the daughters of Roger’s oldest daughter, Debbie Ruter of Fargo.

After spending the winter vacationing in Rutland, Capt. Mike Harris USN (Retired) headed west on Monday, April 10, bound for an employment opportunity at Gardener MT, on the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park, via his old home town of Billings MT. Mike has a job lined up as a Park Manager at a RV campground at Gardener. His many friends in Rutland extend best wishes to him in his future endeavors.

So, this week we found out that U. S. paper money not only does not grow on trees, it is not even made with cellulose fiber obtained from trees. U. S. paper money, it turns out, is made from the fiber of cotton and linen, and contains no wood fiber at all. It’s made from the same material as table cloths, bed sheets and pillow cases. It turns out that paper money, if it was made using real paper, would not last long enough to be economically feasible. In other words, much like a contract with a certain former 45th President of the US, it would not be worth the paper it was printed on, or not printed on in the case of an oral contract with that certain former President. Even the IRS prefers plastic over paper. We are never too old to learn, and we learn something new every day.

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. 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.

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