The Rooster Crows – Feb. 11, 2022

By Bill Anderson

As of Saturday, February 5, the bone-chilling cold that had characterized the month of January and the first few days of February gave way to more moderate temperatures, still not warm, but at least able to peek above the freezing mark for a few hours and provide some hope to those who had been considering giving up on Spring. It’s still Winter, though; the wind still blows; it can still get cold; the snow still falls; and the streets are still covered with packed snow and ice; but there is hope. In the middle of a North Dakota Winter what more can you want or expect. We can ask the one who put it there to relieve us of the snow, but not too far south of us, in south central and southeast South Dakota, there is no snow, and the weather experts are predicting severe drought conditions in the Spring, while signs warning of the extreme fire danger are posted on nearly every corner. We have to be careful what we ask for, we just might get it.

Local anglers have gotten what they wanted: ice; water; and fish; and they are happy with it, at least for now. Walleyes, northerns, perch and crappies have been biting, but sometimes here and sometimes there. One day there may be 40 ice fishing houses on a fishing hot spot, but when the catching slows down and a report is received that the fish are biting somewhere else, like an old-time gold rush mining camp, the fishermen and their houses pick up and move elsewhere, leaving their former location looking forlorn and deserted. We know that the fishing is pretty good, though, because the fishermen aren’t talking about it. In fact, it’s so good that they don’t even lie about it. That’s what’s called a contrary indicator. Whatever it looks like, it’s really the opposite. 

This community was saddened last week when word was received here that Violet Wyum, a life-long member of the Rutland community, and a long-time elementary school educator in Sargent County, had departed this life on the evening of Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at the Four Seasons Healthcare center in Forman. She had attained the age of 97 years, 2 months, and 25 days at the time of her death. Violet Martha Olson was born on the Olson family farm in Ransom Township on Friday, November 7, 1924, to Olof and Hilma (Peterson) Olson. She grew up on the farm and attended elementary school in a 1 room Ransom Township country school. She attended high school in Rutland and graduated in the RHS Class of 1942. She earned her 2-year teaching degree from Valley City State Teachers’ College in 1944, and taught school in 1 room country schoolhouses in Ransom and Tewaukon Townships before teaching in Cayuga, Cogswell and Rutland. While teaching, she took classes at Bethel College in St. Paul and at Valley City State to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education in 1959. Thirty-two years of Violet’s teaching career were spent in Sargent County, including country schools, town schools and the Sargent Central Elementary School in Rutland. She also taught for one year in Bismarck ND, and one year in an elementary school in San Juan Capistrano in California. While at San Juan Capistrano she encouraged elementary students from Rutland to become pen pals with her students in California. Sixty-five years later some of those pen pals are still corresponding with each other. She is remembered by her former students as an effective teacher who knew how to maintain discipline in the classroom. Violet was a faithful member of the First Baptist Church in Rutland, serving as a Sunday School teacher; Sunday School Superintendent; Deaconess; Clerk; and, as a member of the choir. On June 3, 1961, she married Robert Wyum of Rutland in a ceremony in the First Baptist Church in Rutland at which Pastor Jack Reif officiated. They made their home on the Wyum farm 3 miles north and 1 mile east of Rutland. They became the parents of one daughter, Wendy Sue, and Violet became the stepmother of Robert’s 3 sons: Steven Robert; Michael Charles; and Mark Obed. Robert passed away in 2001, and Violet continued to make her home on the farm until she moved to Four Seasons Villas Assisted Living Center in 2019. From the time she retired from teaching until she moved to Four Seasons Villas, Violet served as the “go-fer” on the farm, making parts runs and performing other errands as well as preparing meals when called upon. For Violet, the speed limit was a suggestion, not a hard and fast rule. Her children and grandchildren often referred to her as “The Energizer Bunny” because she was always going full speed ahead, whether she was running for parts or scrubbing the floor. She relocated to the Four Seasons Healthcare Center nursing home in 2021. Violet is survived by: one daughter, Wendy Honchl; by 3 step-sons, Steven Wyum of Rutland; Michael Wyum of Rutland; and, Mark Wyum of Rutland; 1 sister, Shirley Mahrer of Hankinson; 1 brother, Don Olson of Mound City MN; 10 grandchildren; 20 great-grandchildren & 1 on the way; numerous nieces, nephews & cousins; and by a host of friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Robert, in 2001; her parents, in 1955 & 1979; 4 brothers: Woodrow Olson; Martin Olson; Carl Olson; and Maurice Olson; and, by 2 sisters: Myrtle Orth; and, Alice Seline. The funeral service for Violet M. Wyum was at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at Nordland Lutheran Church in Rutland, with Pastor Julie Johnson officiating. Also assisting in the service were Pastor Wayne “Hutch” Hutchins of the Baptist Church in Lisbon; soloist Karen Hutchins; vocalists Michael Wyum & Janet Kiefer; and, Phyllis Wyum, organist. Interment will be in the Rutland Cemetery in the Spring. Condolences may be sent to Michael Wyum, 9720 139th Avenue Southeast, Rutland ND 58067. The Rutland community extends its condolences to the family and friends of Violet Wyum, a woman of intellect, ability and character who devoted her life to her family, her community, her career and her country. Many will remember that Violet provided a moral compass for the Rutland community. If you couldn’t answer “Yes!” to the question “Would Violet think this is OK?” you had better not do it.

Continue reading “The Rooster Crows – Feb. 11, 2022”

The Rooster Crows – Dec. 31, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Oh, say can you see, by the New Year’s first light, what so proudly we hailed at September’s last gleaming; Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through 3 months of perilous nights, O’er the old Franzen Building were so gallantly streaming; And the street lights’ bright glare, the stars shining in air, gave proof through the nights that our flag was still there; Oh, say, does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave, o’er the little city that can, home of the free and the brave? Well, the Flag still flies over the Rutland Post Office, and the door is still locked. The Postal Service has provided no information to the Rutland community as to when, if ever, service may be expected to be restored. In the meantime, there has been no additional clean up or repair activity observed at the Rutland Post Office building. No information. No action. No service. No Post Office. It could be described as a heck of a way to run a railroad, except that, back when the railroads hauled the mail the Post Office was open, and the mail got delivered. So much for 50 years of progress! Benjamin Franklin, America’s first Postmaster General, would be appalled by the disrespectful and cavalier attitude of today’s U. S. Postal Service management.

Mother Nature and Old Man Winter teamed up to deliver the first blizzard of the season, commencing on the day after Christmas, Sunday, December 26, and continuing into the early evening of Monday, December 27. Depending on whose report you choose to listen to, the storm delivered either 1 to 3 inches of new snow or 6 to 8 inches of new snow, along with sustained wind speeds of 30 to 35 mph, with gusts up to 45 mph, and temperatures falling from the mid-20’s above Zero to the sub-Zero regions by Monday night. Below Zero conditions are predicted to continue throughout this week and into the New Year. While there is no relief from cold, snow and wind foreseen in the near-term forecasts, most prognosticators are of the opinion that warmer conditions will return to the region before the next summer solstice.

The blizzard had both I-94 and I-29 closed to traffic on Sunday night and Monday morning, and a “No Travel” advisory posted for the entire eastern end of North Dakota. Roads were also closed in northeastern South Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. In Sargent County, the State & County snowplows were out opening roads by Monday afternoon, and in the City of Rutland Scott Haan was opening streets with the City’s snow removal equipment by mid-afternoon, with some assistance from Bernard Mahrer Construction’s big equipment, as well. There is now enough snow on the ground to provide employment opportunities for snow removal crews every time the wind shifts. As the old-timers used to say, “There’s nothing so bad that it doesn’t do someone some good.”

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The Rooster Crows – Dec. 10, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Santa Claus is comin’ to town! He’s making a list and checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who’s naughty and nice. Jolly Old St. Nick will be making his 76th annual pre-Christmas visit to Rutland on Santa Claus Day, Saturday, December 11, at 5:00 p.m., at the Rutland Town Hall. He will be handing out bags of candy, consulting with kids of all ages about their Christmas wish lists and awarding Christmas hams donated by local businesses to the lucky winners of the annual drawing. Other Santa Claus Day activities will include: crafts & games for the kids; BINGO for all; and, a spaghetti supper. This is your chance to see Santa Claus in the flesh and to have a personal, face-to-face visit with him before he swings through town to make deliveries on Christmas Eve. Don’t forget: Santa Claus Day in Rutland from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, in the Rutland Town Hall.

Winter has definitely arrived, making its presence known with a thermometer reading of 2 degrees below Zero on the morning of Monday, December 6 and a 60-mph wind that battered the area the night before. Less than a week earlier, on Wednesday, December 1, the mercury had topped out at 58 degrees above Zero. Preceding the wind on Sunday, Mother Nature, or maybe it was Old Man Winter, had deposited about 2 inches of snow on Rutland and vicinity in a series of snow flurries that began on the afternoon of Saturday, December 4 and ended on Sunday, December 5. After sidewalks and driveways had been cleared of snow on Monday, another half an inch of the white, powdery stuff was delivered to the community on Tuesday morning, just to show us who’s the boss.

CORRECTION: Last week’s column contained a few errors that need to be corrected. It was reported that, as of Tuesday, November 30, there had been no activity at the Rutland Post Office building. In fact, workers were observed doing some cleanup work around the exterior of the building, and removing materials from the interior on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday, November 29, 30 & December 1. No explanation of what is planned for the building has been received, however. Apologies for the error. We’ll try harder in the future.

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The Rooster Crows – Dec. 3, 2021

By Bill Anderson

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25, opened with a thermometer reading of +4 degrees F., and has turned out to be the coldest day of Autumn 2021, so far. The remainder of November, and the first few days of December have reached highs ranging from the upper 30’s to the mid-50’s. Not too bad for the month before Christmas. A return to more seasonal temperatures is forecast for this weekend, though, with even some snow included in the prediction. What a surprise! Snow in North Dakota in December. Will wonders never end?

Ted Lee reports that some consistent cold would be welcomed down on “the flat” south of Rutland, near the Lee farm in Tewaukon Township, where wet field conditions have prevented the harvest of several cornfields. Despite last summer’s drought, the rains of September & October turned the fields to mud, making them impassable for combines and impossible to harvest. Once the ground freezes, if it does, the task can be completed with relative ease. A covering of snow, which would insulate the ground and prevent its freezing, is not a possibility which the affected farmers prefer to contemplate.

Some local folks have been on the move this week. Chuck & Mary Beth Anderson; Mike & Debbie Banish; Mark & Kathy Wyum; and Roger & Caryn McLaen boarded the Farmers Union bus for a trip to Branson MO on Monday morning, November 29; and Joe & Patty Breker were seeing the sights in New York City during the weekend after Thanksgiving. The Brekers took in an NFL football game on Sunday, November 28, the Philadelphia Eagles v. the New York Giants, but, as they are Eagles fans and don’t like to see their team lose, the final score of Sunday’s game will not be reported here. Joe noted that it is ironic that the 2 NFL football teams claiming New York City as their home, the Giants and the Jets, both play their home games at a stadium located in New Jersey. Something to think about.

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The Rooster Crows – Nov. 12, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The first weekend in November may have been the last weekend of “Indian Summer” for the year of 2021. Friday through Sunday had temperatures in the 60’s, topping out at 67 degrees (that’s above Zero) on Saturday, November 6. Monday and Tuesday, November 8 & 9, were both bright, sunny days with the mercury hitting the mid-50’s, but the TV weather experts are assuring us that the pleasant conditions will end by Wednesday, November 10. Those dreaded 4 letter words, rain, cold, wind and snow are in the forecast for the days ahead. Farmers with crops still in the field have been running their combines and trucks day and night, trying to reach the end of the harvest before Mother Nature puts an end to it for them. Well, it’s not as if we didn’t know it was coming, and it won’t be the first time, nor the last, that mud and snow have made life difficult for local farmers. Still, it’s always preferable to have the harvest all wrapped up before Old Man Winter arrives, rather than to have him riding in the combine cab with you.

The 2021 North Dakota rifle season for Whitetail deer opened at Noon on Friday, November 5, but local hunters are not reporting much success, so far. The weather has been too nice, and neither the deer nor the hunters have been in the mood for the chase. The situation is expected to improve this coming weekend, though, as more seasonal conditions move into the region.

There has been one report of deer hunter success so far this week. Jim Huckell, who has been successfully hunting deer in the coulees of the Coteau des Prairies Hills south of Rutland since the days of John C. Fremont and Joseph Nicollette, well, maybe not quite that long, bagged a good sized 4 X 5 buck just before sunset on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 9. Jim has farmed and ranched in the hills since his childhood days, and knows every draw and coulee like the back of his hand. When you know the land you’re hunting on; the habits of the animal you’re hunting; and, the characteristics of the weapon you’re hunting with; you’re halfway to deer sausage on the grill.

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The Rooster Crows – Oct. 29, 2021

By Bill Anderson

The rain keeps on coming, a little here, a little there, and the next thing you know, we’re talking real water. Roger Pearson’s rain gauge registered .8 of an inch after the rain stopped on Wednesday, October 20, and held another .55” after the rain on the afternoon of Sunday, October 24, while Norbert Kulzer’s gauge registered nothing from either event, as he had taken his gauge in so it doesn’t freeze up when the hard freeze does finally arrive. Mike Banish reported that the gauge out at the Banish farm, 2 miles south of town, held .88” on the 20th, and .55” on the 24th; and Chuck Anderson said that the gauge at his farm in Weber Township measured .79” from the 20th and .42” on the 24th. As of this writing, on the morning of Wednesday, October 27, it is raining again, and Chuck Anderson reported that .4” had fallen at his place by 9:00 a.m. Tune in next week for the complete report.

Sargent County Public Health District’s nurses are scheduled to be at the Rutland Senior Citizens’ Center from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, November 1, to administer covid-19 booster shots. These boosters are the Moderna brand. There is no charge, so stop by and get boosted. Sargent County Public Health District Administrator Brenda Peterson reports that Health District nurses have also been delivering the Pfizer booster. According to Ms. Peterson, those seeking a booster for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are being referred to the Forman Drug for assistance. Ms. Peterson also reported that there are still some folks who are coming in for their first vaccination shots. For information about covid-19 vaccinations and boosters, call: Sargent County Public Health at 724-3725; Forman Drug at 724-6222; or Sanford Clinic at 742-3267. In Sargent County, the vaccinations are not only administered with efficiency, but those getting a shot will also receive a big smile, free of charge. A new staff member, Tracie Ruch, has recently joined the Sargent County Public Health District team. Her position is funded by a grant, according to Ms. Peterson. The grant is good to 2023 and will have to be reapplied for at that time.

The Rutland Community Club met at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20, in the Rutland Town Hall. President Katie McLaen reports that the first topic of discussion was a review of Uff-Da Day XXXVI that was held on Sunday, October 3. All agreed that the event was a big success, and planning for next year’s Uff-Da Day, scheduled for Sunday, October 2, 2022, has begun. There will be some tweaking of the formula, with some new Uff-Da Day events and activities in the development stage. The preliminary financial report indicates that the 2021 version of Uff-Da Day resulted in net income of approximately $13,000 for the Community Club. In other business, club members present approved the purchase of new Christmas decorations and banners for Rutland’s Main Street. Santa Claus has accepted Rutland’s invitation to make his 76th annual pre-Christmas visit to Rutland since the end of World War II travel restrictions. Santa Claus Day in Rutland will be on Saturday, December 11, this year, with Santa scheduled to make his appearance at the Rutland Town Hall from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Mark it on your calendar: Santa Claus Day in Rutland on Saturday, December 11.

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