Hens Do Crow! Aug. 21, 2020

Thursday, August 13th, was a fun evening to be in Rutland as the Rutland Community Club hosted a Back to School Party at the Veterans Memorial Park by City Hall. Members of the Rutland-Cayuga Fire Department grilled burgers and hot dogs to feed the kids and adults who came for the event. The kids cooled off in the pool provided by the Fire Department and tossed the water balloons provided by the Community Club. Chalk art designs were drawn on the sidewalk to be admired by all. A scavenger hunt was available for kids and adults alike and the evening ended with fresh smores made at the fire pit. The Rutland Summer Block Party is usually held in June but, due to Covid-19, it was postponed to August.

At 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 15, family and friends gathered at the Rutland Cemetery to lay to rest the mortal remains of lifelong Rutland resident Sharon Pearson. The graveside service was conducted by Rev. Nicholas Rohde, pastor of Nordland Lutheran Church of Rutland. Among those honoring Sharon’s memory during the service were the members of the Bergman-Evenson Unit of the American Legion Auxiliary of Rutland. Following the service of the cemetery, a reception and luncheon were held at the Rutland Town Hall. Tributes to Sharon were presented during the reception by one of her daughters, Debbie Reuter of Fargo; and by 2 of her nieces: Tracy Wyum of Rutland; and Tammy Widmer of Devils Lake ND. Sharon Lee McNeil was born on September 27, 1942 to Vernal & Marcella (Johnson) McNeil in Britton SD. She grew up and attended school in Rutland, graduating from RHS in the Class of 1960. On September 23, 1961 she married Roger Pearson of this community at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland. Following their marriage, they lived in Fargo and Hankinson before returning to Rutland to bring up their three daughters. Sharon was active in the American Legion Auxiliary, the Rutland Community Club and Nordland Lutheran Church. For many years she worked in the interior painting business with Phyllis Sjothun of this community. She passed away on April 14, 2020 after a long period of declining health. Sharon was preceded in death by her parents; by three sisters: Marcine Olson; Janet Malstrom; and Loretta Arneson; and, by a brother, William McNeil. Left to mourn her passing and celebrate her life are her husband of 59 years, Roger Pearson of Rutland; three daughters: Debbie (Jake) Reuter of Fargo; Brenda (Roger) Gibbon of Milnor; and, Becky (David) Hicks of Fargo; 8 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; 1 sister: Beverly (Harlan) Arneson of Wahpeton; numerous nieces and nephews; and, a host of friends. The Price Funeral Chapel of Britton SD and Forman ND assisted with arrangements. Sharon’s many friends in Rutland will miss her calm good humor and stead presence. 

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The Rooster Crows – July 20, 2018

By Bill Anderson

The thunderstorm that rolled through at about sun-up on Sunday, July 15, deposited .25 of an inch of rain in Norbert Kulzer’s rain gauge and .2 of an inch in the gauge of his next-door neighbor, Roger Pearson, and brought along some cooler, drier air in its wake. Norbert and Roger have both noticed an interesting development in their lawns this Summer, the presence of an abundant crop of volunteer corn growing in the bluegrass. For quite a few years, Roger has been supplying the local squirrels with several cobs of ear corn each week. The squirrels, being conservative North Dakotans who have experienced hard times, or think that they might, don’t eat all of the corn, but save some of it by burying it in the ground, “squirreling it away,” so to speak. This year, with the abundant precipitation and warm weather of June and July, the squirrels’ corn caches have all sprouted, providing Roger and Norbert with added incentives to mow their lawns on a regular basis. Corn is a grass, though, so as long as moisture and temperature allow, it will keep coming back. The squirrels have not indicated whether or not they have signed up for multi-peril crop insurance or for the Federal Farm Program. It’s pretty certain that their 2018 corn crop will end in disaster, though, but Roger says not to worry. There’s going to be plenty of ear corn this Fall, and he’ll keep on supplying it as long as the squirrels stay out of his attic.

Weather conditions aren’t so great for growing crops everywhere, it seems. Rolf Odberg of Halden, Norway, a cousin of the Anderson family of this community, reports that this Summer has been the hottest and driest in southern Norway and Sweden in more than 70 years. Not since 1947 have the farmers of that region experienced a total failure of the hay crop, but it has happened this year. Norway and Sweden have numerous small farms, and most of them rely on dairy production for a substantial portion of their income. No hay equals no milk, and Rolf reports that some farmers there have been forced to sell their cows on the slaughter market due to the hay shortage. The increased supply of beef on the local market has depressed meat prices, too, so the farmers’ woes have become even more dire. Fortunately for the farmers of Norway and Sweden, their Viking ancestors homesteaded the island of Iceland, out in the North Atlantic, more than a thousand years ago, and their Icelandic cousins are harvesting a bumper hay crop this year. The Icelanders are selling their surplus hay to their Norwegian and Swedish brethren, rescuing the dairy farms of southern Norway and Sweden, and proving once again that nothing that happens is so bad that someone can’t get some good out of it. Thanks to Rolf for the report. Mr. Odberg and members of his family have visited in Rutland several times in the past few years, most recently for family reunions in 2014 and 2017. Ms. Stephanie Watson of Rogers MN, a granddaughter of the late Rudy & Edna Anderson of this community, is planning to be visiting at the Odberg home in Norway at the end of July, Rolf reports.

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The Rooster Crows – April 1, 2009

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.

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The Rooster Crows – December 26, 2008

By Bill Anderson

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor dark of night may stay this faithful courier from the swift completion of his appointed rounds.  Attaining age 63 and 30 years of service allows the courier to turn his rounds over to another and retire, however. Louis Siemieniewski pulled his Jeep off his U.S. Postal Service rural route on Wednesday, November 26, the day before Thanksgiving, and hung up the mail bag for good. Louis started delivering mail back in 1980, as temporary substitute for Ray Murray on the Cayuga and Rutland routes. When Ray retired a few years later, Louis moved up to the full-time position. He turned 63 in October, and his 2 years of service in the U. S. Army during the Vietnam era were added to his years with the Postal Service to give him the 30 years of Federal service needed for retirement. A 1963 graduate of RHS, Louis has also been an avid outdoorsman since youth, and has been a Hunter Safety Instructor for over 30 years. He said that, from now on, whenever the snow starts to fall and the wind starts to blow, he is just going to open his drapes, sit in his recliner, look out the window and smile. The Rutland community extends congratulations and best wishes to a native son on his well deserved retirement. Jim Lunneborg of rural Rutland has taken over Louis’s old route, which now includes addresses with the Forman, Rutland, Havana and Cayuga ZIP codes.

Attorney Trent Mahler has been practicing his profession in Rutland since Monday, December 8, co-officing with Bill Anderson at 316 First Street, here. Trent is a native of Milnor, having graduated from High School there in 1985. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree from Moorhead State University in 1989. Following several years as program director with WDAY TV News in Fargo, Trent enrolled in Law School at the University of North Dakota and obtained his Juris Doctorate Degree in 1999. One of his classmates was Rutland native Daniel Narum, now a District Court Judge. Prior to returning to his home territory, Attorney Mahler served as a prosecutor in the Cass County States Attorney’s Office, as a partner with Kessel, Splitt & Mahler in Lamoure, and as an Assistant Attorney General in the office of North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. He and Attorney Anderson are not partners, but will be sharing office space as he establishes his practice here. Trent’s parents are Curt & Vi Mahler of rural Milnor. Welcome to Rutland, Trent.

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The Rooster Crows – April 4, 2008

By Bill Anderson

March, the month that was put on the calendar to let people who don’t drink know what a hangover feels like – too depressing to live, too tough to die – departed on Monday, throwing a snowstorm and several inches of wet, sloppy snow our direction as it slammed the door on its way out. April Fool’s Day, Tuesday, April 1, fooled us by pretending it was still March.

The Spring conservation snow goose hunting season has been open since mid-February, but there were no geese here until the last 10 days of March. For the past 2 weeks, millions of the birds have been moving through this area, feeding in last year’s corn and soybean fields and providing some great hunting for those hardy enough to go afield and smart enough to outfox them. The purpose of the conservation season is to reduce the numbers of snow and blue geese to a level that can be sustained by their Summer range in northern Canada, so the usual rules that govern waterfowl hunting during the regular Fall season don’t apply. Hunters may remove the plugs from the magazines on their automatic and pump action shotguns, making 5 shots available before reloading is required, and there is no limit, other than their shooting ability and carrying capacity, to the number of snow and blue geese they are allowed to harvest. They must, however, have a valid North Dakota hunting license to avoid running afoul of the law. It’s not a sure thing, either, as the geese seem to fail to appreciate that all of this shooting is for their own good and continue to outsmart the hunters on many occasions, even if they are birdbrains. Hunters from Minnesota, Iowa and Montana, as well as North Dakota, have landed in Rutland, along with the geese.

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The Rooster Crows – March 21, 2008

By Bill Anderson

Temperatures ranging from the upper 40’s on Thursday, March 13, to 52 on Friday, down to 27 on Saturday, back up to 43 on Sunday, up to 52 on Tuesday and no snow on any day that it was predicted. As of Sunday, March 16, most of the snow in Rutland was gone, revealing a display of brown lawns decorated with bones, tree branches and beer cans that must have come down with the snow, because they sure weren’t there when the first snowfall covered things up back on December 1. Spring fever is in the air, evidenced by the fact that both the Canada geese and local farmers have been observed circling fields looking for a likely spot to land and begin production for the 2008 season.It was all quiet at Alley Cuts on Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week, as both Lori McLaen and Jen Christianson were in New York City –Yes, that’s right, NEW YORK CITY!- picking up information on the newest hair styling fashions and the latest beauty tips to bring back to their clients here. Folks who happened to be watching the NBC-TV show on Friday morning noticed Lori & Jen holding up a large banner reading “Good Luck Queen Candidates, Rutland ND”, during one of Al Roker’s weather reports outside Rockefeller Center on Manhattan. Lori and Jen returned home on the evening of Monday, March 17, and were back at work at Alley Cuts on Tuesday morning. They report that, despite its reputation for fashion leadership, they did not find many new or interesting hair styles among the ladies of the city that never sleeps. They did, however, enjoy a large number of sights and experiences, including: the Statue of Liberty; Ellis Island; a Broadway musical, “Chorus Line”; the Staten Island Ferry; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; fine dining at some excellent restaurants; and, many others. The 2 country girls stayed with a friend of Jens who put them on the subway on their first morning there, gave them instructions on where to get off, and told them to walk back home to experience the city. They walked through Chinatown and Little Italy, where no one spoke English, and window shopped along 5th Avenue. They had a great time, Lori reports, but they were glad to get home. New York, with its crowds, fast pace, constant activity and the sights, sounds and smells that go with a huge metropolis, is a great place to visit but they wouldn’t want to live there. Welcome home, Lori & Jen.

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