A “hot time in the old town” is not unusual for Saturday night in Rutland, but last Saturday, May 18, was hotter than normal and a little too hot for comfort. At about 11:30 p.m., as thunder rumbled, lightning flashed and storm clouds rolled overhead, patrons on the sidewalk out side the Lariat Bar witnessed a bolt of lightning strike the west end of the feed warehouse attached to the west end of the grain storage annex across the street at the Rutland Elevator. Flames were seen, and a 911 call went out immediately, summoning the volunteer fire fighters of the Rutland-Cayuga Rural Fire Protection District to action. The firemen were on the scene with a pumper truck within minutes, but the lightning had damaged circuit breaker boxes on the exterior of the warehouse that provided power to Jake’s Feed & Seed’s seed handling system on the site. The arcing, snapping and popping of electricity could be heard all over town, and water could not safely be applied to the flames until the electrical power could be cut. Ottertail Power, which supplies electricity to Rutland and most other communities in this area, was notified of the emergency at 11:38 p.m., and the fire crew had to wait, watching the fire grow in size and intensity, until Ottertail’s emergency crew arrived an hour and 40 minutes later to cut the power. In the meantime, anticipating that more equipment and personnel than the local department has available might be needed to control and extinguish the fire, neighboring departments were called. By the time the power was cut and water could be applied to the flames the Rutland-Cayuga fire fighters had been joined by units from Forman-Havana; Gwinner; Milnor; Cogswell; Lidgerwood; Lisbon; Hankinson; and, Oakes. By that time, the warehouse was completely invested in the flames and the fire was licking up the west side of the grain storage annex. The wind, which had been dead calm when the fire started, was blowing briskly from the northwest by the time fire fighting efforts could begin in earnest. Pumper trucks were connected to 3 of the city’s fire hydrants, one on Main Street, one a block west of Main, both south of the elevator, and one on Main Street to the north of the elevator, and poured water onto the flames. Additionally, several larger water tankers were brought in by the responding departments that also supplied additional water to the effort. It is a tribute to the training, skill and discipline of the firemen, and to the investment in modern equipment that has been made by many area departments in recent years, that the fire was contained to the warehouse, and that the entire grain storage facility, approximately 110,000 bushels of capacity, was saved from the conflagration. Once water could be applied, a track-hoe and tractor-backhoe owned by Calvin Jacobson were brought in to knock down the burning structure to keep the fire from spreading. As a precautionary measure, occupants of residences both north and south of the elevator were awakened and evacuated shortly after the fire started, and all were relieved to find their homes undamaged after the fire had been extinguished. By the time the crisis had ended, more than 120 volunteer fire fighters from 9 different fire departments had responded to the call. Rutland Fire Chief Cam Gulleson expressed the gratitude of the local community for the assistance supplied by our neighbors in the emergency. Rodney Erickson, owner of the elevator facility, reports that the 32’ X 48’ warehouse structure is a total loss, along with the feed and other supplies belonging to Jake’s Feed & Seed that were in the structure when the fire began. Clean-up work began on Sunday afternoon and good progress at clearing the debris had been made by Tuesday afternoon. Local farmers were relieved that the office, site of a morning coffee klatch and conclave each day for the exchange of news and opinions, was undamaged and intact after the fire. The main house and the office of the current elevator facility was constructed in 1946, following the destruction of the original Rutland Farmers elevator by fire in August of 1945. The west grain storage annex and warehouse were constructed in 1960. At this point, Rodney says that he is concentrating on cleaning up the mess, and has not made any definite plans for replacing the warehouse portion of the facility. The delay in getting the power cut off, a delay that was serious and could have been disastrous, revealed a weak link in the response capabilities of local emergency response units, and Sargent County Emergency Manager Sandy Hanson will help coordinate efforts between local units and the companies supplying electrical power in Sargent County to shorten response times. As one observer pointed out, though, the most important line in this story is the one that ends”…and no one was injured.” Read More
Rutland, ND Welcomes You!
Mothers’ Day, Sunday, May 12, turned out to be Mother Nature’s day, as well. Early risers were greeted by a chilly 28 degrees and frost on the windshield, but by Noon summer-like temperatures prevailed and the afternoon proved to be quite pleasant. A large number of Moms, along with their families, enjoyed the Mothers’ Day Brunch at The Rutland General Store & Café, where management and staff pulled out all the stops to provide a delicious and abundant repast. The day that began with frost and cold ended with a pleasant summer evening, and the promise of more summer weather to come. The next 2 days, May 13 & 14, featured high winds and temperatures in the 80’s, pushing 90 on Monday, more reminiscent of early August than late May. The forecasters are predicting thunderstorms for the coming weekend, though, and the consensus of the Assembled Wise Men on Tuesday afternoon was that some thunder, lightning, and rain would get rid of the remaining frost in the ground, and would do a world of good for newly planted crops. There’s a reason why these guys are known as the “Wise Men.”
Wildur Benites, a native of the South American nation of Peru, has been staying at the Joe & Patty Breker farm in Tewaukon Township for the past couple of weeks. An experienced construction worker, he is assisting with improvement and touch-up projects at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge. Wildur has been a frequent visitor in Rutland over the past several years, and his many friends and acquaintances here are pleased to have him back in the community.
The Veterans Memorial Committee, the group coordinating the construction of the proposed Rutland Veterans’ Memorial, composed of Debbie Banish, Ted Lee, Joan Lee and Bill Anderson, met with Jen Christianson and Hilary Mehrer of the Rutland Park Board at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, and agreed on the location of the Veterans Memorial in the area between the Legion Hall and the Rutland Town Hall. The site selected by the committee has now been approved by both the Rutland City Council and the Rutland Park Board. Following the joint meeting, the Memorial Committee met to review plans and progress. The projected cost of the Memorial, including the concrete base, the stainless steel monument, lighting, flagpoles, benches and planters, is $15,000.00. The American Legion Auxiliary has already raised more than $6,000.00 for the project. It is expected that the concrete base will be installed this year, and that the project will be completed in steps, as funds become available. Read More
Minutes of the Rutland City Council, April 1, 2013 Regular Meeting 5:45 p.m.
Council Members Christensen, Christianson, Mahrer and Siemieniewski present; Mayor Narum presiding. Also present – City Attorney Bill Anderson; Auditor Deborah Banish.
Agenda. Christensen/Mahrer moved approval of the agenda. Motion carried unanimously.
Minutes. Siemieniewski/Christianson moved approval of the March minutes as submitted. Motion carried unanimously.
Gaming Site Permits: The Council was informed that the City of Forman charges $100.00 for gaming site permits. Rutland may want to consider a similar fee for next year.
ND Department of Health Contract: Siemieniewski/Mahrer moved approval of the ND Department of Health contract for laboratory services through 2013. Motion carried unanimously. Read More
Hooray, Hooray, for the First of May! This year’s Spring planting began that day! Spring planting in the Rutland-Cayuga area began on Wednesday, May 1, with Mike Anderson, Kurt Breker & Mark Breker getting together to seed wheat in some of their Ransom Township fields. According to Kurt, they got started at about 1:00 p.m. and made good progress throughout the day. He reports that there are some muddy spots, as there usually are in the Spring, but that the fields are generally in good condition with the soil quite mellow, providing an excellent seedbed. Despite the heavy, wet snows of March and April, there is no excess of moisture, and the .3 of an inch of rain that fell on Sunday night was welcomed by all. With reports from the South indicating a disappointing to disastrous winter wheat crop from Texas to Kansas, North Dakota spring wheat may prove to be the crop of destiny this year. Planting the 2013 corn crop also got underway this week with the Wyum brothers: Steve; Mike & Mark; being among those who first put planters into operation on Tuesday, May 6. Planting a crop is no guarantee that one will be harvested, but it is the first step in the process. Even the best farmer can’t harvest a crop that has never been sown. As Rutland’s Pam Gulleson has said, “No one ever plowed a field by turning it over in their mind.” You have to get out there and get your hands dirty.
A number of friends and acquaintances from this community attended the retirement party held at Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge from 2 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, in honor of long-time Assistant Manager Jack Lalor. Jack had 33 years in with the US F&WS, with 26 of them as Assistant Manager at Tewaukon. Among his duties has been the enforcement of Fish & Wildlife Service easement and other property rights, a duty that occasionally brought Jack into confrontation with local farmers and land owners. Over the years he developed a reputation as a firm but reasonable administrator, an official willing to look at both sides of a problem and then work within the established rules to arrive at a solution that both parties could live with. The skills he developed here could be put to use solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, but until he receives that call Jack plans to do some part-time work at the Chahinkapa Park Zoo in Wahpeton and to pursue his passion for fishing, hunting and the outdoor life. He reported that he has a 10 day Salmon fishing trip to the Columbia River planned, beginning on Saturday, May 4, the first full day of his retirement, and that he really doesn’t care if he catches a salmon or not. Jack and his wife, Korrine, make their home on a farmstead near the Wild Rice River south of Wyndmere, and he says that’s where they intend to stay. Jack’s many friends in this community extend their best wishes to him for a long, healthy and happy retirement. Read More
Finally, a taste of spring! But, winter isn’t giving up without a fight. Jack Brummond had to cut his visit to the Round table short on the afternoon of Wednesday, April 24, when a mini-snowstorm moved through the area, threatening to leave him stranded in town for the duration. The improvement began on Thursday, April 25, with sunshine and a high temperature nearly reaching the 50 mark. On Friday, April 26, the mercury finally broke through the 50 barrier and soared all the way up to a high of 63, marking the latest date ever for the first day over 50, the previous record having been set way back on April 17, 1881. Saturday and Sunday brought temperatures over 70, but predictions are that the area will be back in the cooler by the end of the week. The Old Curmudgeon, Richard Bradbury, was so enthused about the warmth and sunshine last Friday that he dug his riding lawnmower out of storage and mowed part of his lawn, even though he had to skirt around some of the larger snowbanks and plow a few smaller ones to get the job done. Rutland native Mavis (Hoflen) Wold of Minneapolis reports that spring arrived a little earlier in the Twin Cities and the rhubarb in her garden is up and growing. When the aroma of that be-bop-a-ree-bop rhubarb pie and rhubarb crisp starts wafting from Mavis’ kitchen, we will know that spring is here to stay.
Larry Christensen and Richard Bradbury drove over to Forman to renew their golf course memberships on Monday, April 29, took a look at the course and decided to open the season by playing 9 holes. The course is not yet up to its usual tip-top form, and neither were the two golfers, but Brad reports that it felt good to swing the clubs again, and he sure did sleep well on Monday night.
Meanwhile, there are some things in nature that just won’t, and can’t, wait for nice weather, like the arrival of calves, for instance. Roger Brekke stopped in for a Round Table session on Thursday, April 25, and reported that the Brekke cattle operation in Shuman Township had about 2/3 of its anticipated 2013 calf crop on the ground and doing well, with 1/3 left to arrive. Larry Erickson reported that he had 10 cows left to deliver their calves at his farm 2 miles south of town. Mac Pherson says that the last pregnant cow in the Pherson Simmental herd delivered twin calves on Saturday, April 27, making twins the bookends for the 2013 season, as the first calves delivered this year were also a set of twins. With spring just barely arrived, these local cattlemen, and others, will soon be getting ready to begin putting up hay in preparation for the coming winter. The cycle rolls on. Read More