Today it was time for sandbagging at the Sargent Central School. Water has flooded the football field and is getting closer to the school’s air ventilation system. Thanks to several Good Samaritans another row of sandbags was added to the pile which should help for a while — but we’re expecting rain. There are lots of areas that are already under water and the Sargent County Emergency Management has issued a road report that includes today’s road conditions. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. Drive safely out there and stay home if possible. If you venture out, watch carefully ’cause not even the County Highways are safe. Check out today’s closings here.
By Bill Anderson
The V formations of Canada geese beating their way north through gloomy skies and drizzly rain, coupled with the rush of water from melting snowdrifts, muddy roads and slush filled yards, portend impending Spring in Rutland and vicinity. The hardy Canada geese, among the first of the migratory waterfowl to move north each year, are already setting up housekeeping in their usual locations, while local soybean and corn growers are marking the sites in preparation for the annual anti-depredation campaign that will soon commence. The vanguard of the snow and blue goose migration is now in Nebraska and heading this way, a point of interest to those who wish to participate in the Spring Conservation Hunting Season now open on those wily birds. Sunshine and temperatures in the 40’s on Tuesday and Wednesday brought a lift to the spirits and put some spring into feet that have been slogging through the winter bearing the weight of 5-buckle overshoes for the past several months. Mother Nature even removed some snowbanks to expose some green grass in honor of St. Patrick’s day. The forecast is calling for a relapse into winter conditions for the weekend, but Winter’s icy grip has now been broken. This is not the end, but it most assuredly is the beginning of the end.
If you have been thinking that 2010 has had some dark and gloomy days so far, you have been right. The National Weather Service for North Dakota reported last week that there was fog and overcast conditions on 54 of the first 68 days in 2010. If the old-timers’ were right about getting rain 90 days after a fog, we are in for an abundance of precipitation during the months of April, May and June. Don’t put your overshoes away just yet.
Rural mail carrier Jim Lunneborg escaped serious injury from an exploding battery on his farm on Thursday evening, March 4. Jim had the battery charger hooked up to the battery on an old tractor that had not been started for a while and, when he hit the switch to crank the engine over, the lead-acid battery blew up. He had intended to move the tractor from the shed where it had been in winter storage to make more room for calving cows. The hard plastic of the exploded battery case shattered one lens in his eyeglasses and left him with several cuts on his face and forehead. Fortunately, there were no acid burns. The incident did keep Jim off the mail route for a couple of days, though, until repairs to his eyeglasses were completed. It is expected that there will be no permanent scars on Jim’s handsome visage. No report has been received on the condition of the tractor. Jim is a collector of vintage Allis-Chalmers tractors and equipment, and some of the local aficionados are concerned about possible damage to the tractor, too.Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – March 19, 2010”
By Bill Anderson
“Tough times don’t last. Tough people do,” says the Rev. Robert Shuler. A brutal winter, the worst since 1996-’97, ended on March 20 and has been followed by a Spring that has turned into a cruel April Fool’s joke. Temperatures into the 50’s for a few days turned the 6 feet of snow that fell during the Winter into rapidly moving floodwaters, sweeping away approaches and culverts, as well as County and Township roads. Two miles south of Rutland, the rampaging Wild Rice River undermined County Road #10 and then swept it away on Wednesday, March 25, leaving a yawning chasm, through which the foaming, frigid waters of the normally placid stream roared, in their headlong rush to reach the Red River, Lake Winnipeg and Hudson’s Bay. Damage to Township roads has been even more extensive, and caution is advised when traveling throughout the area, especially when crossing water covered roads, as the road may have been washed away. In Rutland, Mayor Narum spent several days pumping water backed up by frozen culverts away from residential areas. Other than the normal spring seepage into a few basements, no serious water damage has been reported in town. To the north, our neighbors in Milnor spent most of the week of March 21-27 sandbagging and diking to protect their community from the rising waters of Storm Lake. An exhaustive, round the clock effort saved Milnor and the City officials, employees and volunteers who accomplished the feat deserve a pat on the back and a hearty, “Job well done!” from their fellow Sargent County citizens. A number of volunteers from Rutland went up to Milnor to assist with the flood fight there. Further to the north, the City of Fargo made national news headlines with its fight to save North Dakota’s largest city from the floodwaters of the overflowing Red River of the North. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” the old-timers used to say, and Fargo proved to be tougher than whalebone, as thousands of volunteers from the city, from throughout the tri-state region and from across the nation poured in to fill sandbags, build dikes and evacuate threatened homes. Rutland native and current Fargo resident Gary Narum (RHS Class of ’60) reports that he spoke with volunteers from Chicago, Minneapolis, Manitoba and even Rutland while he was working on sandbag dikes on Fargo’s south side. Gary said that he saw several volunteers wearing the distinctive Rutland-Cayuga Fire Department shirts working on the dikes. Among the volunteers from Rutland who participated in the Fargo flood fight were: Cameron Gulleson; Jim Fust; Peder Gulleson; Trent Mahler; Paul Anderson; Mitch Mahrer; Mike Mahrer; Kyle Mahrer; Rob Wyum; Mike Kulzer; Diane Kulzer; and, a number of others whose names are not known by this reporter. As a punctuation mark to the flood disaster, Mother Nature gifted the area with a snowstorm that deposited anywhere from a foot to 26 inches of wet, heavy snow on the 30 & 31 of March, the ultimate April Fool’s joke for shovelers on the morning of Wednesday, April 1. Certainly, when compared to some other natural disasters that have occurred in this nation in recent years, North Dakotans can be proud of the way they have conducted themselves in facing this crisis. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” it has been said, and there is no doubt that those who have endured and survived the Winter and Spring of ’08-’09 are the stronger for it. They have earned the titles of Tough, Hardy and, in some cases, even Heroic. For the vast majority of the volunteers who fought the flood, their only reward will be the satisfaction of knowing that, in a time of crisis and need, they came to the aid of their neighbors, and prevailed. When this crisis ends, as it soon will, North Dakotans will pick up the pieces, clean up the mess, repair the damage, go back about their normal lives and start preparing for the next test. That next tough time won’t last, either, but the tough people will.Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – April 1, 2009”
Well, I’m glad to report that the Wild Rice River has stopped running over our township road. The change in the water flow is due to the fact that a portion of County Road 10 here South of Rutland collapsed on Wednesday. Yesterday a portion of the westside lane fell into the Wild Rice near the culvert. This morning the rest of that portion over the culvert collapsed. We are lucky in that we can get to town easy but I pity those who live south of that culvert because now they have a bigger challenge of getting into Rutland to enjoy the amenities it offers!
It has been a while since I’ve blogged. I didn’t mention the snowstorms or freezing weather of another long winter. Those have come and gone. The big issue throughout the State — mainly Fargo and surrounding communities to the north and south — is the force of nature in the form of water. Rutland and its area is not immune. There are “holding ponds” in Rutland proper. We’ve got a wonderful view of the water on the westside preventing us from getting on the blacktop (Hwy 10) leading to Rutland. The water from the Wild Rice River is slowly receding but it is a force not to be reckoned with. Hopefully we won’t have to sandbag this time like we did two years ago (and in 1997!).