The Rooster Crows – June 10, 2022

By Bill Anderson

“There’s naught so rare as a day in June,” the late Earl W. Anderson used to say, and the first week of June 2022 proved the accuracy of his observation. Warm, sunny days, blue skies and gentle breezes replaced the cold, raging winds that were our constant companions throughout the Winter and Spring. Local farmers are still finding it difficult to locate fields that are dry enough to work in, but conditions are markedly improved from what they were in May. Mark Wyum reports that he has been “coltering” around sloughs in some fields in order to get them dried out enough to plant a few more acres. The piece of equipment that Mark is using for his task has shanks that are about a foot apart, and 2 colter blades attached per shank. Old timers remember a colter as a straight bladed disc that ran ahead of a plowshare, opening the ground to make it easier to keep the plow in the ground. Well, nobody plows any more, but the colter still has a use. The implement Mark is using is 41 feet wide and can cover a lot of territory when the need arises, as it has this Spring.

Despite some encouraging news about a month ago, the Post Office situation in Rutland has returned to the same old same old of no information; no action; no service; and no Post Office. Rodney Erickson reports that, as of Thursday, June 2, he has heard nothing further from the Postal Service office in Colorado that had previously informed him that it would be 1 or 2 months until they could get someone to Rutland to take a look at available facilities. One hundred sixty years ago, the Pony Express could deliver the U.S. Mail across the trackless wilderness from St. Joseph MO to San Francisco CA in 10 days. Of course, those horses are a lot older now, and may have slowed down some. Perhaps the Postal Service officials involved could hook a ride from Colorado to North Dakota on a Coors beer truck. Those trucks seem to be able to make the trip in a couple of days. The drivers must be properly motivated.

On the brighter side, the Waloch-Johnson Insurance Agency has informed this writer that Ms. Michelle Sagvold has been hired to run the agency’s Rutland office. Ms. Sagvold is still in the process of training and getting licensed, and a firm starting date for her take over of the Rutland office has not yet been set. Waloch-Johnson’s many clients in the Rutland community are looking forward to having a full-time agent in the local office once again.

Correction: The wedding of Miss Hailey Hamilton and Mr. Evan Wyum was on Friday, May 27, not on Saturday, May 28, as was reported in The Rooster Crows last week. Apologies for the error are extended to the bride & groom. Despite the incorrect information that appeared in this column last week, Hailey & Evan are definitely officially married and living happily ever after at their home in Fargo.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – June 10, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – May 20, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Sunday & Monday, May 15 & 16, were not only the two nicest spring days of May 2022, but they were the two nicest days of the entire year of 2022, so far. Actually, they were the two nicest days since mid-October of last year. With the sun shining, the birds singing, the temperature hovering around 70 and, for once, the wind not howling like a hurricane. the experience was almost nice enough to make enduring the most miserable Winter in recent memory worth the effort. Nothing lasts forever, though, especially nice weather. By Tuesday, the rain clouds had moved back in and made the afternoon of Tuesday, May 17, a soggy Syttende Mai for those inclined to celebrate Norway’s Constitution Day. Rick Bosse reports that his rain gauge at his farm near Brampton registered .25 of an inch from Tuesday’s rain, enough to keep the already saturated fields saturated, and to require cancellation of Brampton’s Syttende Mai Parade. Chuck Anderson had a .23 of an inch reading on the gauge at his farm in Weber Township; Duane Lock stated that .3 of an inch was measured at his farm near the center of Rutland Township; and Mike Banish said that .23 of an inch of rainfall was measured at his farmstead 2 miles south of Rutland. 

The wet weather has continued to hamper planting progress throughout southeastern North Dakota. Even so, some local farmers have made a little headway. Last week, Larry Erickson managed to get a field of corn planted west of his farmstead 2 miles south of town, and Mark Wyum reports that his son, Rob, has managed to get some field work done on fields near Brampton in the southwestern quadrant of the County, and on fields near Crete, in the northwestern quadrant of Sargent County. As of the morning of Wednesday, May 18, Mark says that two acres of corn planted, along with a few more acres of soybeans and wheat, is a good start.

Kristine Radke, longtime manager of the Waloch-Johnson Insurance Agency’s Rutland office, has accepted a position at Town & Country Bank in Fargo and has resigned from her position here as of the end of April. According to Walt Johnson of Lisbon, owner and general manager of the agency, the search is on to find a replacement for Kristine at the Rutland office. Anyone interested in the position can give Walt a call at 701.724.6484. The Rutland community is sorry to lose Kristine. She was dedicated to her profession, and to her clients.

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The Rooster Crows – May 6, 2022

By Bill Anderson

The year of 2022 is one-third gone and we are now enjoying the merry month of May, when a young man’s fancy blithely turns to thoughts of a new fishing boat with which he can pursue those lunker walleyes. Sometimes romance enters into the equation, but neither a boat nor a walleye are capable of returning much in the way of affection. Well, at any rate, at least we are now getting some sunny days and some temperatures in the low 60’s that are in the “normal” range for this time of the year. Of course, we had all of those “below normal” days in April that must be made up in the coming weeks. Cam Gulleson reports that he had recently heard a weather expert explaining that the month of April 2022 was the coldest, wettest, and windiest April since the year of 1886. 1886 was the year that James J. Hill’s Great Northern Railway constructed its tracks and brought its trains to Rutland, and the year that Prindiville’s Saloon was built. None of Rutland’s residents who were residing here in 1886 are disputing Cameron’s report, so it must be true. Rutland’s current residents are just hoping for “normal” in 2022. That’s not asking for too much, is it? Just once, once in 136 years, can the month of May, and maybe June, be normal? Well, we do live in North Dakota, where “normal” is a point on the weather spectrum that we pass on our way from too cold to too hot, too wet to too dry and back again.

Another report from Cam Gulleson is that the Gulleson Ranch is nearly done with Spring calving. As of Monday, May 2, the Gullesons had delivered more than 600 calves, and had about 70 to go. They didn’t think that they would have to be battling Winter in April, but this is North Dakota, after all.

Four young ladies of this community: Greta Bladow, daughter of Brian & Trish Bladow and the late Wendy Bladow; Kaycee Hamilton, daughter of Kenny & Tanya Hamilton; Whitney Mahrer, daughter of Mike & Kayla Mahrer; and Charlize Willprecht, daughter of Kevin Willprecht and Wendy Willprecht; affirmed their baptism and became confirmed members of Nordland Lutheran Church here on Sunday, May 1. These young women impress all who meet them. Their families, their church and their community are justifiably proud of them all.

The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2, at the Rutland Town Hall, with Mayor Mike Mahrer; City Auditor Deb Banish; and Council Members Rodney Erickson; Delores Lysne; and Lori McLaen present. City Council member Colton Corry was absent. Sargent County Water Resource Board Member Mike Wyum and Water Resource Board Engineer Nathan Trosen of Moore Engineering, Fargo, were present to discuss Drain 8 with the City Council. Mr. Wyum said that the Water Resource Board had discussed what it can legally do with the Drain, and what the city would be legally able to do with the drain. The State of North Dakota requires a cost-benefit analysis for all County Water Resource Board water projects. Engineer Trosen discussed the slope and pipe requirements of the project that would have to meet State criteria. An economic analysis is required by the State to determine the cost and benefits of any future project. Mr. Wyum said that safety is a big concern but that is not a factor in the State’s analysis. Another option is for the Water Resource Board to abandon the drain to the City and the adjoining property owners. The Water Resource Board currently has about $103,000 in the Drain #8 fund that is available for a project; and, that an engineer’s analysis of a proposed project would cost about $20,000. Mr. Trosen said that a storm water model analysis could be done comparing the cost and effectiveness of 8”, 10” and 12” pipes. a full summary had been done in 2015 and that data could be used. The Council discussed the cost of an analysis and the different size pipes. The Council agreed that a 12” pipe would be the minimum needed. Moore Engineering will use the existing data and studies and develop an analysis based on those figures using a 12” pipe. There are also minimum standards and safety issues that must be complied with in any project. The Drain #8 matter will continue to be discussed at future meetings.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – May 6, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – Apr. 29, 2022

By Bill Anderson

The thunderstorm that moved through the Rutland community late on Friday night and early Saturday morning, April 22 & 23, was a real rip-roaring, rumbling, rattling, rocking & rolling sound and light show, combined with a downpour that dumped .84 of an inch of rain at the Mike & Debbie Banish farm south of town; 1 inch at the Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson farm in Weber Township; .85 of an inch at the Mark & Kathy Wyum home in Rutland; 1½ inch of rain at Jesse Brakke’s Ransom Township farmstead between Rutland & Cayuga; and, more than 2 inches at Rick Bosse’s farm near Brampton. A 4.6” gully-washer near Crete, in the northwestern corner of Sargent County, washed out a substantial section of County Road #2 near Kraft Lake, according to Sargent County Commissioner Lyle Bopp. The temperature shot up to 72 above by Noon on Saturday, and then began a rapid decline to 24 degrees by 6:00 on Sunday morning, as the weather front moved through. The forecast for the week calls for more rain and more cold, with freezing temperatures most nights until the first week of May is behind us. Well, at least there was half a day of nice weather on Saturday, April 23. There was some consternation on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 26, when a bright object appeared in the sky to the south southwest of Rutland. Concerns were relieved, though, when it was confirmed that the object was actually the Sun, making its first appearance in quite some time. It was a welcome sight, and it is hoped that it will show up a little more often in the future. There is general agreement that a week or two without freezing temperatures sometime between now and Labor Day would be nice.

Rodney Erickson reports that the paperwork he submitted to the U.S. Postal Service concerning a new Post Office location in Rutland has been received by the office in Colorado in charge of the project and is under consideration. Rodney was informed that it might take a month or two for the Postal Service to get someone up to Rutland to look things over and make a recommendation about the floor plan for a new facility. It takes a lot of planning to figure out how to put a lobby for the public up front; office space, work area & storage in the rear; and a screen line with customers’ Post Office boxes and a service window in between. Speed does not appear to be of the essence. The Post Office boxes, service window and other USPS equipment were removed from the old Post Office last week and taken to the Gwinner Post Office to be stored until they can be installed at the new location. Let’s hope that the Postal Service can remember where it put this stuff when the time comes to use it again. As of the end of April, it will have been 7 months since the door on the old Post Office was locked “for a few days.” Since then, several local volunteers have been making daily trips to Forman to pick up mail at the Post Office there and deliver it to the intended recipients in Rutland. A few years ago, before the gang that now runs the Postal Service from its lair in Washington DC was appointed, the aim of the operation was to be faster, more efficient, and less expensive. The current Postmaster General has a new goal: slower; less efficient; and, more expensive. It is time for the Congress of the United States, the body that has the statutory and Constitutional responsibility to oversee the operations of the Postal Service, to fire the Postmaster General and the entire Board of Governors of the USPS. They can then be replaced with competent individuals of good character who have the best interests of the American people in mind. So, come on John, Kevin and Kelly, step up and do your job!

In another Main Street development, The Stock Growers Bank, formerly The Sargent County Bank, has listed the Lariat Bar and its contents with the Steffes Auction Company in Fargo, to be sold sometime in mid-June. According to Casey Bopp of Stock Growers Bank, it is the Bank’s intention to sell the property as a “turnkey operation,” ready for a new buyer to get up and running in short order. The Lariat Bar has been closed since March 5, when former operators Pete & Michelle Denault, decided to terminate their lease. The Denaults had a good business going but decided to leave the business due to personal concerns. Anyone wishing to obtain additional information about the Lariat Bar in Rutland can contact Casey Bopp at Stock Growers Bank in Forman, 701-724-3216, or check out Steffes Auction’s web site at steffesgroup.com. The Lariat Bar is a great business opportunity for anyone who is willing to put forth some effort. It’s better than having a license to print your own money.

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The Rooster Crows – Apr. 15, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Good Friday and the deadline for filing your 2021 State & Federal personal income tax returns are both on Friday, April 15 this year. The symbolism is obvious. Everybody gets crucified on the same day. Easter Sunday, April 17, commemorates the Resurrection of One, and the redemption of all the rest of us. Redemption, better than a Presidential Pardon, won’t get anyone who cheats on their taxes out of Leavenworth, but it will get everyone who accepts it into Heaven. That’s a better deal, and a better destination.

Despite the fact that the Spring Equinox occurred 3½ weeks ago, the actual arrival of Spring has been an elusive prize. So far, the warmest day of the year, just above 60, was experienced back in March. April has seen nothing above the mid-50’s, and the temperature has had difficulty breaking the 30 mark this week. More of the same is being predicted for next week. What’s the world coming to!? A steady rain rinsed some of Winter’s accumulation of dirt and grime away on Palm Sunday, April 10, but it didn’t warm anything. Gary Thornberg reported that his farmstead rain gauge in Weber Township measured 1¼ inch of rain on Sunday, and the gauge of his neighbor, Chuck Anderson, registered 1.22” from the same event. Chuck reported another .53 of an inch from the rain on Tuesday, April 12, with Mike Banish’s rain gauge 2 miles south of town registering .32 of an inch on Tuesday. The weather system that has brought cold temperatures and rain to Rutland has also blanketed most of the State with anywhere from 6” to 30” inches of snow. This is cause for celebration in the western 2/3 of North Dakota, which has been in a severe drought for the past 2 years. This snow and rain will not end the drought, but at least there will besome green grass when the Sun finally does shine, which it will, one of these days.

Just because the bar is closed doesn’t mean that there isn’t any excitement in the old town. According to a report from Sargent County Sheriff Travis Paeper, Rutland resident Jason “Schwank” Smykowski was driving north on Ross Street at about 11:00 p.m. on Monday, April 11, when he paused at the intersection with Gay Street, just ½ block west of his home, and apparently lost consciousness. His pickup truck was in gear with the engine running when his foot slipped off the brake pedal, allowing the pickup to idle forward. The vehicle angled slightly to the right and crossed the front lawn of Rutland Mayor Mike Mahrer’s house. The pickup missed a tree but passed close enough to fold the external mirror on the passenger side back. It proceeded north, still at idle speed and passed by another tree, this one on the driver’s side, that folded the external mirror back on that side, too. The pickup, with Mr. Smykowski still slumbering, then hit the south side of the attached garage on the house belonging to Calvin & Wendy Jacobson. The wall sustained some damage, but it did stop the truck. According to the Sheriff, the speed of the pickup at the time of impact was estimated to be about 3 mph, and Mr. Smykowski was cited for DUI. Fortunately, no one was injured, and the damage to both Schwank’s pickup and to Calvin & Wendy’s garage appears to be minimal. And they say that nothing exciting ever happens in a small town! This is the second time in less than a year that a vehicle has collided with a building in Rutland. Last fall, the mini-van driven by Vaughan Rohrbach, and owned by the late Joe Malstrom of this community, went through the front wall of The Lariat Bar building on Main Street. One more reason to not sit too close to the door.

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The Rooster Crows – April 8, 2022

By Bill Anderson

Spring has been behaving like a reluctant maiden for the past few weeks, first bestowing her warm and radiant smile on her ardent suitors, then chilling their enthusiasm with a dousing of rain, snow and slush. Well, maybe it’s all part of an elaborate April Fools prank. Sooner or later, Spring is bound to bestow the warmth of her embrace upon the land, but, until then, she is delivering the promise without the squeeze. The 3 inches of new snow that fell on Sunday, April 3, was a reminder that April showers do not only bring May flowers. Those showers may also bring snow, slush and hazardous driving conditions. On the bright side, Janelle Brakke drove from Rutland to Fargo on Sunday afternoon, and reports that the clean snow removed all of the exterior dirt & grime from her car, as nicely as if she had purchased the high-priced option at the car wash. Every cloud has its silver lining.

A large group of family and friends gathered at the Rutland Town Hall on the afternoon of Saturday, April 2, to honor Delores “PeeWee” Breker on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Delores is one of the daughters of the late Mr. & Mrs. Harold Evenson. The Evensons made their home in Rutland when Delores was born, but later moved to Cogswell where she grew up and went to school. When she married Ralph Breker, she again became part of the Rutland community, residing on the farm southeast of town where Shane & Carla Breker now make their home. Guests from North Dakota, Minnesota and South Dakota were on hand to help Delores celebrate, and Stephen Ricksecker, a nephew who had made his home with Ralph & PeeWee during his high school years, flew all the way from California to attend the party. PeeWee’s many friends in this community extend an enthusiastic “Happy Birthday!” to her, and best wishes for many more to come.

Confirmation students at Nordland Lutheran Church: Greta Bladow; Kaycee Hamilton; Whitney Mahrer; and Charlize Willprecht; presented their Affirmation of Faith statements to the Congregation; and, 5th Grade students: Julia Mahrer; Loden Jochim; Lilith Pavek; and, Krosby Willprecht; had their First Communion; during worship service at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 3.  The Confirmation service, also called Affirmation of Baptism, for Greta, Kaycee, Whitney, and Charlize is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, at Nordland Lutheran Church. This is an impressive group of young ladies: intelligent; articulate; and, confident; of whom their families and their community can be proud.

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