By Bill Anderson
Last week’s thunder, lightning and rain knocked out most of the remaining frost pockets and settled the soil for Spring planting. Here in Rutland, the combined rainfall total from the Friday afternoon downpour and Saturday’s day long drizzle amounted to .7 of an inch but other areas of Sargent County were drenched with considerably more precipitation. Mark Bopp, who farms northeast of Cogswell, reports 2.5” of total precipitation from the Friday-Saturday double whammy. Sunshine, temperatures in the 70’s & 80’s, and light winds from Sunday through Wednesday, May 14-17, helped to get fields in shape to hold machinery, but more rain is being predicted for Thursday & Friday of this week.
Despite the gray, hazy appearance of the sky, and the reddish-orange appearance of the Sun at daybreak, local weather experts have been telling us that there are no clouds and that the sky is perfectly clear. So, what’s going on. Is this the new, “artificial intelligence,” technology at work, telling us to believe what they say, not what we see? Well, not exactly. The gray, hazy appearance of the sky is actually the result of an old-fashioned natural process, wildfires burning in the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, producing smoke that is carried across North America by upper-level air currents. The smoke is so high, the experts say, that we can’t smell it right now, but an approaching cold front is expected to bring the smoke down to Earth to torment creatures, including us, here below. So, that’s the weather story for North Dakota. Always something to look forward to.
Mark Wyum, who is helping his son, Rob, get the 2023 crop planted, reports that the hilltops are in good shape, but the slough edges and low spots are marginal, at best. Rob is planting some spring wheat this year, the first wheat in the Wyum Farm’s crop rotation in 30 years, just to see how it goes. He expects to have his planned total of 600 acres planted to wheat before day’s end on “Syttende Mai,” May 17. Other crews were just getting started on corn and beans, and hope to be hitting it hard by next week.
It is finally Spring, and that means that it’s also time for the Rutland Cemetery Association’s annual meeting. Association President Roger Pearson had scheduled the meeting to be held at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 10, in the Community Room of Stock Growers Bank’s Rutland Station. The meeting was called to order by Vice-President Paul Anderson. The big items of business were: approval of a budget for normal 2023 operating expenses; approval of the appropriation of approximately $7,000 from the Perpetual Care Fund for straightening and repairing a number of larger tombstones in the cemetery; and, election of a new Director to replace Norbert Kulzer on the Cemetery Association’s Board. Norbert said that, by his estimate, he had been a member of the board for at least the past 152 years, but Secretary Casee Carlson said that she could only find records to indicate that Norbert had been serving as a board member since the early 1980’s. Jerry Woytassek was elected to the board for a 4-year term. Members of the Rutland Cemetery Association Board are now: Roger Pearson; Paul Anderson; Casee Carlson; Chuck Sundlie; and Jerry Woytassek. Greg Donaldson serves as the Cemetery’s Sexton. The next meeting of the Rutland Cemetery Association’s membership is tentatively scheduled for the 2nd Wednesday in May 2024. The members of the Association expressed their congratulations and thanks to Norbert Kulzer for his 4, or 15 decades of faithful service on the Cemetery Board.
Bill Anderson and Paul Anderson stopped in at The Lariat Bar for some supper following the meeting of the Rutland Cemetery Association on the evening of Wednesday, May 10. Paul was pleased to meet an old friend, Mr. Lonny Hicks of Gwinner, who was also partaking of The Lariat’s fare. Paul & Lonny have known each other since the early 1970’s, when both began their employment with the Bobcat Company, then the Melroe Manufacturing Co. Although both Paul & Lonny have been retired for several years, they still keep in contact with other current and former Bobcat employees. Whenever old friends get together there is bound to be some reminiscing, and reminiscing necessarily includes the telling of some old stories that have become legend. One such story is the tale of “The Flagpole Bazooka,” that had its origins on Rutland’s Main Street during the early morning hours of a summer night in the early 1970’s, right out in front of The Lariat Bar, the old Lariat Bar, that is. At that time, North Dakota State law required all bars to close by 1:00 a.m. The Lariat had closed, as required, but several young men were not yet ready to call it a night, and were standing around on the street, talking, laughing, joking and, occasionally, firing bottle rockets at each other. AS most of them are still living, their names won’t be mentioned here, but they will be designated by their initials: C. J.; G. S.; S. D.; R. M.; L. H.; and P. A. One of the group happened to take a look at the flagpole in front of the Post Office, at that time the building at the corner of First & Front Streets in which Waloch-Johnson Insurance Agency’s office is now situated, and he noticed that the flagpole was a long pipe that slipped into another length of pipe that was imbedded in the sidewalk. After a few pulls, it was discovered that the flagpole could be lifted out of its holder with ease. About that time, one of the group remembered that he had a left over skyrocket in the trunk of his car, and he estimated that the rocket was about the same diameter as the inside diameter of the flagpole. The skyrocket was produced, measurements were made, and a perfect fit was determined. There is something about partying with friends in front of a bar after 1:00 a.m. that does not lend itself to making decisions with the best of judgment. The group decided to see if the skyrocket/flagpole combination might make something similar to a WWII bazooka. Some of the young men were military veterans and had actually fired bazookas during their military training. It was noticed that a car was approaching Rutland from the north, so, they loaded up the rocket and waited for the car to get close enough so they could “put a scare” into the driver. As the car passed the ballpark, it was noticed by some that there was a lightbar on the roof, like the ones that are mounted on police cars. Like Minutemen of old, though, the young men stood their ground. Several of them were holding the flagpole on their shoulders, aiming for a point above the car, they thought. Skyrockets don’t always go where they’re aimed, though. As the car approached the railroad tracks by the Rutland Elevator, the fuse was lit. As the car crossed the tracks, the rocket ignited and “WHOOSH” went streaking out of the business end of the flagpole/bazooka, headed directly for the car. At a point just ahead of, and just above, the hood ornament, the rocket exploded, surrounding the car, and its driver, Sargent County Sheriff Harold “Swede” Dawson, with a mass of flaming colored fireballs: red; white; and, blue. According to one of the group, G. S., it was a magnificent display of both impromptu marksmanship and courage under fire. Swede, a decent and sensible man, to his credit, just kept driving straight ahead, and was soon out of town. The young men stood in silence for a few minutes, then replaced the flagpole in its holder and called it a night. No one got hurt, no one got shot, and none of them was ever foolish enough to try a stunt like that again. Could the same be said if the incident had occurred in 2023 rather than 1973? Who knows? Well, there was one casualty. At the time, L. H., who was holding the flagpole/bazooka near the muzzle end, was the possessor of a magnificent, bushy beard. As the skyrocket exited the flagpole/bazooka, the hot exhaust emanating from its tail singed off a substantial portion of L. H.’s beard, the only casualty of the night. And some folks say that nothing exciting ever happens in a small town.
Speaking of exciting events in small towns, the 2023 Spring Plant Auction will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m. at the Forman City Hall. Admission-Bring an Item for the Plant Auction: Something from your garden or a purchased item-annuals, perennials, garden tools or garden decorations. The event is hosted by: Colleen Sundquist; Renee Larson; Diane Pierson; Val Bjork; and Ione Lunneborg. Proceeds will be donated to the Four Seasons Healthcare Activity Fund. Chelsey Redler is the Activities Coordinator. Supplemental funds will be from Thrivent. Everyone Welcome! Contacts are Renee Larson, 680-9401, and, Colleen Sundquist, 678-3523. Thanks to Ione Lunneborg for the information about the Spring Plant Auction.
Rutland’s Community cleanup Day is scheduled to be held on Saturday, May 20. According to Rutland City Maintenance worker Scott Haan, there will be trailers for white goods; tires; and, scrap iron; as well as dumpsters for electronic equipment and other items At the City Shop on Main Street. The site at the City Shop on Main Street will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; and, the City Landfill northwest of Lou Sanderson Field will be open to receive trees, branches, leaves and grass from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. City Maintenance worker Scott Haan said that signs will be posted at the landfill site to indicate where specific items should be placed.
Kelly (Anderson) Hawkinson, granddaughter of the late Earl & Irene Anderson of this community, has informed family & friends here that she will once again be working with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Association as secretary and statistician. She supplied the following schedule for the PBR’s 2023 events in this region: June 2 – Kalispell MT; June 3 – Great Falls MT; June 9 & 10 – Deadwood SD; June 16 & 17 – Bismarck ND; June 22 & 23 – Belcourt ND (Tentatively); June 24 – Binford ND; July 14 & 15 – Thief River Falls MN; July 28 & 29 – Spirit Lake ND; August 26 – Eureka MT; and, September 22 & 23 – Minot ND.
Back in January, the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced two new programs designed to assist producers who experienced revenue losses from 2020 and 2021 natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic. These programs are revenue-based and are a little different from the USDA’s regular programs, but the goal is to better support farmers. Both the Phase Two Emergency Relief Program (ERP) and the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) offer a holistic approach to disaster assistance and provide economic support for producers who bear the financial brunt of circumstances beyond their control. To learn more:The Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase 2 Application presentation recording has been posted to farmers.gov/taxes under the heading: Crop Disaster Payments. The recording and resources from the recent webinar hosted by USDA and members of the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee can also be accessed as follows: Video- Emergency Relief Program Phase 2 Application North Dakota FSA Resources: ERP Phase Two Webinar Presentation: Emergency Relief Program Phase 2 Application. With the rollout of any new program, there is a learning curve for producers and employees alike. ERP Phase Two and PARP are no exception. With a June 2, 2023, deadline to apply for both programs, producers should make sure to access the recording and resources to help clear up any confusion about how to apply, what documents are required for participation, insurance requirements and related misinformation making its way across the countryside.
The Rooster Crows is read around the World. Frequent Rutland visitor, Rolf Odberg of Halden, Norway, sent the following message commenting on a recent article in The Rooster Crows: “What is happening in this little old prairie town in North Dakota? I have seen your report about raccoons posing in the windows of the former Rutland Post office, destroying everything indoors! And outside brickworks are falling out and making it dangerous for pedestrians to take a walk for something to drink and eat at The Lariat Bar! It must be possible to steal a slogan from a crazy man living in the South. Make Rutland ND Great again!!!” Thanks for the comment, Rolf. Tell it to the raccoons!
Rutland native Edward Nelson, RHS Class of ’63, visited by phone with old friend and RHS classmate Bill Anderson on Monday, May 15. Ed has made his home in Crookston MN since graduating from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, back in 1967. He reported that he and his wife, JoDee, had a visit from their son, Cody, during Mothers’ Day weekend, May 13 & 14. Cody and his wife make their home in Oslo, Norway, where Cody is employed by an international banking and investment firm. Ed’s parents, the late Ralph & Lois (Colby) Nelson, owned and operated the Rutland Café from 1962 to 1998, and were known far and wide for their excellent cuisine and economical prices.
It has been said that you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy. Rutland native Judy Nathe is proving that the old saying applies to girls, too. Judy, a member of RHS Class of ’63 and UND-Ellendale Class of ’67, has made her home in Salem, Oregon, since the 1970’s, where she pursued a career in teaching until her retirement about 15 years ago. She reports that she is now actively involved in the “Master Gardener” Program, producing bumper crops of nutritious garden produce while maintaining and improving the health of the soil. Judy’s parents, the late John & Dorothy Nathe, farmed in Shuman Township, on the east shore of Buffalo Lake. Judy had visited by phone with one of her RHS classmates, Bill Anderson, on Monday, May 15.
Former Rutland businessman and farmer, Mike Kulzer, stopped in at the Rutland Seniors’ Center for coffee and conversation on the morning of Wednesday, May 17. Mike said that he had driven down from Fargo on Tuesday afternoon and had then driven around the countryside, inspecting fields and expecting that someone would offer him a job picking rocks or performing some other skilled labor. The fields were looking OK, he reported, but his job prospects appeared to be slim. It seems that no one picks rocks these days, they just run a big roller over the field and push the rocks back down into the dirt. Well, with GPS, auto-steer, computerized planters and automated coffee makers, there just wouldn’t be much for Mike to do, anyway, other than to start and stop the tractor, and he can’t find the on-off switch, either.
Rick Bosse stopped in at the Seniors’ Center for an education session at The Round Table on Wednesday, May 17, “Syttende Mai.” Syttende Mai also happens to be Rick’s Birthday, he was born on May 17, 1951, so, in addition to all of the other benefits he received as a result of his visit, he also got a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday,” sung to him. As Mike Kulzer’s Birthday had been May 11, 1952, he was serenaded with “Happy Birthday,” too. Happy Birthday, Mike & Rick, and many more.
Reminder – The Sargent Central High School Graduation Ceremony is scheduled to commence at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 21, at the Sargent Central Activities Center in Forman. The 5 graduating Seniors from the Rutland community include: Gaven Christianson; Abigail Erickson; Joslyn Hamilton; Tyson Siemieniewski; and, Fletcher Willprecht.
Memorial Dayactivities in Rutland on Monday, May 29, are scheduled to commence with military rites at the Nordland Cemetery at 10:15 a.m., followed by military rites at the Rutland Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. The traditional Memorial Day program presented by the American Legion Auxiliary at the Rutland Town Hall is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m., and will be followed by the Community Pot-luck dinner immediately after the program.
Meanwhile, on the national and international scene, the development of new electronic gizmos capable of thinking for themselves using “artificial intelligence” is being viewed with concern by political and scientific leaders. What will happen if the computers take over, tell us what to think and what to do? Well, can it be any worse than what happens now, when many leaders on the World stage possess neither artificial intelligence nor natural intelligence to control their behavior and temper their worst instincts? At this point, no one has the answer, but stay tuned!
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.