By Bill Anderson
Spring has sprung! The northward migrating snow and blue geese, which had been down in Nebraska only a week earlier, arrived here in huge numbers by Thursday and Friday of last week, their noisy, squawking flights over town nearly drowning out the rattle of diesel powered pickup engines on Rutland’s Main Street. The Spring conservation hunting season on these birds has been open for a month, and some shooting near town was heard last weekend. No reports of hunter success have been received as of this writing, though. These geese may be bird-brains, but they are not totally devoid of sense. By the time they arrive at this point in their Spring migration, they have already been shot at for 1,500 miles, and have become quite adept at avoiding their ground bound pursuers. The successful hunter, even in a season in which there are hundreds of thousands of geese and there is no legal limit on the number that may be taken, must be at least as wily as a goose, and an embarrassing number find that they have difficulty crossing that intellectual threshold. The Spring conservation hunt of snow and blue geese is held in an attempt to keep the prolific birds from over-populating, over-grazing and destroying their summer range in northern Canada. The huge populations of snow and blue geese, as well as of other waterfowl, including their cousins, the magnificent giant Canada geese, are the products of conservation efforts begun more than a century ago, during the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, himself an avid hunter and outdoors enthusiast. The efforts have been so successful that some species, once thought to be headed for extinction, are now so numerous as to be regarded as pests in many areas. Well, it is the hunter’s good fortune. When it comes to fishing, waterfowl hunting, upland game hunting or big game hunting in southeastern North Dakota, the “good old days” are right now.
Friday, March 19, was the day for the Grand Opening at the remodeled and renovated Rutland Café. The Rutland General Store, owned and managed by Gretchen Vann, acquired the Café from Shari Leinen back in mid-October, and spent the next 3½ months in a make-over of the facility that was originally built and equipped in 1948. Carpenter John Buskohl of Milnor did most of the remodeling work, while Calvin Jacobson and crew of Jacobson Plumbing, Heating and Excavating of Rutland took care of their specialties and Harvey Kleingarn of B&K Electric of Forman re-wired the business. At 10:00 on Friday morning, Shirley Mahrer cut the ribbon opening the corridor between the General Store and the Café, after brief remarks by owner Vann. Mrs. Mahrer’s late husband, Bernard Mahrer, was the original builder, owner and operator of the Café, 62 years ago. Other operators and owners, including: Bernard’s parents, Frank & Minnie Mahrer; Harry & Martha Christensen; Henry & Mabel Hare; David & Adeline Brakke; Edna Anderson & Lois Nelson on behalf of the Rutland Commercial Club; Ralph & Lois Nelson; Sue Nathe; and, Shari Leinen were also recognized and honored during the ceremony. A number of prizes were awarded in drawings held throughout the day, including a Grand Prize of an “Auto-Start”, with installation, contributed by Dick Nelson Sales & Leasing of Valley City. Dick’s parents, Ralph & Lois Nelson, owned and operated the Café for 36 years, from 1962 through 1998. The Grand Prize was won by Ella Lou Nelson of Rutland. The Rutland community is fortunate to have such a fine commercial facility on its Main Street, and extends congratulations to the owner and employees on a job well done.
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