Post Office Closings

Government is at it again trying to find ways to cut costs at the sake of the citizens.  The latest battle round is focusing on rural Post Offices.  On July 26, the US Postal Service released a long-awaited “post office study” of nearly 3700 potential closings in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.  The list was developed based on customer foot traffic and post office employee workload. The US Postmaster General is recommending closing facilities in rural communities which will have little impact on the PO budget but will significantly affect each community.

Last year the US Postal Service had a net loss of $8.5 billion; in 2009 it had a $3.8 billion loss.  The Postal Regulatory Commission has found that maintaining rural post offices only amounts to 0.7 percent of the USPS’s total budget.   The Postal Service has reduced its staff over the past several years, has cut billions from its costs and has asked Congress to cut delivery to five days a week and to reduce its contributions toward future retiree health benefits.

Rutland, Havana and Cayuga stations are on the closing list.  The first step was a Rutland community meeting last week to initiate a call to action by Rutland residents. Over 40 individuals attended the meeting to hear about the proposed closings and to identify steps to take to challenge the closing of the Rutland Post Office.  A petition was started and many residents took copies to obtain signatures of area residents .  Secondly, we are all asked to send letters to our Congressional Delegation:  Congressman Rick Berg, 3170 43rd Street S, Fargo, ND 58104; Senator Kent Conrad, U.S. Federal Building, Room 306, 657 2nd Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58102; and Senator John Hoeven, 1802 32nd Avenue South, Room B, Fargo ND 58103.  Letters should also be sent to our local legislators: Senator Jim Dotzenrod, PO Box 69, Wyndmere ND 58081-0069; Representative Bill Amerman, PO Box 43, Forman ND 58032-0043; and Representative Jerry Kelsh, PO Box 27, Fullerton ND 58441-0027.

Click here for a sample letter that you should modify to make the letter more personal about how the closing will affect you and/or your businesses.  A “Rutland Fact Sheet” is also included for your information.  Don’t forget to mail your letter at the Rutland Post Office!

The Old Parsonage

This Thursday, Rutland’s newest venture — The Old Parsonage, LLC —  has a ‘soft opening’ from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Kathleen Brakke, Sue Anderson, and MaryAnn Thornberg, have been busy for several months sprucing up the old Baptist Church parsonage at 217 -1st Street. Remodeling inside and out has been extensive and the project is truly an outstanding asset to the community. A new porch, roofing and siding has rejuvenated the building for its new purpose.  The store features home decor, unique gifts, furniture, repurposed treasures, antiques & collectibles.  If you know the quality of materials that the three entrepreneurs create, you know there will be an abundance of unique and creative items to choose from.

Starting tomorrow, The Old Parsonage will be open the second weekend of each month with hours Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Noon to 3:00 p.m. and other times by appointment.   Come and explore the new store and then venture over to the Rutland General Store for a light snack, coffee or dinner.

The Parsonage is also seeking photographs of individuals who were married in the old Baptist Parsonage so please let Kathleen or Susan know if you have a photo to contribute. Feel free to leave a comment and they will get your information!

Quilters Day

Yesterday, I dropped by the Rutland General Store to visit with the area quilters who were there for their weekly Friday gathering. Nearly every week one of the quilters has a quilt front or an entire quilt completed. Today’s completed quilt was done by Doris and everyone got an opportunity to see her handiwork. The group of women come from Lisbon, Milnor, Rutland and other area towns and most have been coming when possible on Fridays for several years.

Today, the Store is hosting another group of visiting quilting enthusiasts and more are planned.  Stop by next time you are near the town and shop for quilting supplies or have coffee with the group of Wise Men who also regularly assemble most afternoons.

Woolly Women

Rutland received some more free press in the March/April issue of The Country Register which is devoted to fiber arts and specifically wool.  Jan Brash of Rutland, formerly a Romney sheep breeder, is now a member of the “Wooly Women” group which meets monthly.  They continue to participate in many local events to demonstrate and sell their home made wool products.  Additional information on their group and on Romney and Lincoln sheep breeds can be found through the Dakota Prairie Wool website.

Lariat Bar Grand Re-Opening

After closing at its location for over a year, the Lariat Bar held the Grand Opening for its new building on Main Street on Saturday, July 10, 2010, with a free beef barbecue, live music and a street dance. The music was provided by the Earl Fust Band and by Rockin’ Rodney. Construction of the new building, at the same location as the old structure, began in May of 2009 with the completion date originally set for September, but weather delays set back construction schedules, and the new building was not ready for occupancy until late November. During the interim, the Lariat did business from the American Legion Hall at the corner of Bagley & Gay Streets. Owner Janice Christensen is to be commended on the fine facility she has built on Rutland’s Main Street. There is no doubt that the Lariat will continue to play a significant role in the social and civic life of the community for at least another 125 years, or more.

Party Hardy!

Rutland residents and friends will be partying long tonight to send off the Lariat Bar.  A new bar will be built over the summer with the goal to complete construction by fall.  The Lariat will provide ‘temporary’ service this summer at the American Legion building.  The Rutland Fitness Center has relocated most of its equipment to the Fire Hall so that residents can continue their fitness routines during the summer construction.   The Legion Hall needs some preconstruction to get ready for the bar to open and provide food and beverages to its clientele this summer.  Stay tuned here or on the Lariat website for updates and future photos of the progress this summer.