It was a sad day for North Dakota on Thursday, April 8, 2010, when the State Board of Higher Education, after half-hearted and limp wristed resistance, caved in to the irrational demands of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and abandoned the University of North Dakota’s “Fighting Sioux” nickname, bringing an 80 year tradition at the Grand Forks campus to an end. The NCAA began the campaign to ban the use of native American names and logos for collegiate athletic teams several years ago in what has been, so far, a successful effort to distract public attention from the facts that, under the tutelage of the NCAA: fewer than 25% of American college athletes actually graduate from college; college athletic programs across the country are rife with corruption and scandal; and, the use of steroids and other performance enhancing health endangering drugs by college athletes has exploded. The NCAA says that the use of native American tribal names for athletic team names is demeaning and insulting to the tribes. Anyone who has seen the Ralph Inglestad arena at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks would have a tough time honestly supporting that allegation. It is apparently not demeaning, however, to the Seminole tribe of Florida, the Illini tribe of Illinois or the Irish tribe of West Bend, Indiana, to have their names used by Division 1 athletic programs that command huge amounts of cash and large numbers of wealthy alumni. Well, maybe the NCAA is right. While there has been nothing demeaning or insulting in the way in which the “Fighting Sioux” nickname and logo have been proudly displayed and promoted by North Dakotans, it is certainly demeaning for any tribe or nationality to have its identity associated with an organization as corrupt, decayed and morally bankrupt as the NCAA. At this point, the best course of action for the University of North Dakota is to follow the example of the recording artist, Prince, and let themselves be known, henceforth, as “The Athletic Team Formerly Known As The Fighting Sioux of North Dakota U!”
Roger & Sharon Brekke stopped for coffee and conversation at the Rutland General Store on the afternoon of Thursday, April 8, after an absence of several weeks. Roger has been at home, in Lisbon, recuperating from knee joint surgery. He said that complications that set in following the surgery had him laid up for the preceding 3 weeks. While in town, Roger also stopped in at Alley Cuts for a haircut from Jen. He expects to be operating at top speed, again, in short order.
A temporary measure to mitigate flood damage at Buffalo Lake was implemented last weekend when an additional 48” culvert was placed in County Road #10 east of the Lake and a diversion channel was excavated to drain water off the Lake before it could inundate 3 residences that had been threatened by rising Lake levels. The water crosses land owned by Edwin Erickson, Karen (Brekke) Krause and Randy Pearson before re-entering Crooked Creek, a mile or so downstream. An emergency drainage permit was obtained from the State Water Commission and easements were obtained from property owners prior to the commencement of work on the project. As of Monday, April 12, it was reported that the Lake level had dropped 2 inches from its high on the preceding Friday. The diversion channel has been nicknamed “The Panama Canal” by County Road Superintendent Merrill “Sparky” Engquist. The use of that nickname may be considered to be demeaning by anyone who has seen the real Panama Canal, but, until the NCAA gains jurisdiction, the nickname is likely to stick. Once the level of the Lake has dropped to an acceptable elevation, the diversion channel and culvert are expected to be removed. Landowners along the Crooked Creek drainage are now seeking to have the 121 square miles in the Buffalo Lake drainage area, as well as Crooked Creek from Buffalo Lake to the Wild Rice River, organized into a legal drain in order to more effectively manage the flow of water in the drain area. Once a legal drain is established, the Sargent County Water Resource Management Board, the County Commission, Township Boards and the State Water Commission will have the resources to more effectively work together to improve culverts, grades and bridges along the waterway.
Kate Tagg of MN, Laura Feltes of Anoka MN, Victoria Christensen of Denver CO, Marcia Moen of Elk River MN, Margot Ganske of San Diego CA, Christine Tauer, MN, Carmen Heinen of Elk River MN, Jill Pittman of MN, Marianne and Gerry Parker, all descendants of Rutland pioneers Karl P. and Ingrid Ahrlin, gathered in Rutland, at the home of their cousin, Kathy Brakke, for their annual “Cousins Quilting” weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 9, 10 & 11. Also joining the group were Sue Anderson and Gretchen Vann of Rutland. The ladies occupied their time with quilting, conversation and cousinly camaraderie. They enjoyed supper and breakfasts at the Rutland General Store and lunch at the Mary Ann Thornberg farm home in Weber Township at Noon on Saturday. The cousins ancestors, early day Rutland area pioneers Karl P. & Ingrid Ahrlin, emigrated from Sweden to America and homesteaded on the SE¼ of Section 15 in Ransom Township back in 1889. This was the fourth annual quilting weekend for the group, and they haven’t run out of quilting themes or discussion topics yet.
Dan Pearson has been carrying the U. S. Mail on the Rural Rutland-Cayuga-Forman-Havana Route, normally served by Jim Lunneborg, for the past few weeks. Jim has been on the sick list recently, and his many friends here are wishing him a speedy recovery.
While planting the 2010 crop is currently foremost in the thinking of many local farmers, completing the harvest of the 2009 crop is occupying the time of a number of them. The Wyum brothers — Steve, Mike, and Mark — were at work combining 400 acres of last year’s corn near Crete this past weekend. The yield was reported to be excellent, the test weight about 8 pounds per bushel better than last Fall, and the moisture was at 13%, about 15% below what the moisture content of the corn was when harvest activities ceased back in December. A large number of corn producers left a portion of their 2009 crop in the field over winter, due to the wet field conditions, high moisture content and the high cost of drying the corn commercially.
Pherson Combining of Rutland was at work this past weekend, harvesting a portion of Earl Fust’s 2009 corn crop north of Rutland. It was reported that yield was very good, test weight much improved over last Fall and moisture content was at about 11%. Earl was hauling the corn to the Rutland Elevator, where he has rented bins for storage from owner Rodney Erickson. Denny Pherson estimates that it would have taken 25 to 30% of the crop to pay for drying and storage had it been harvested last Fall, so leaving the corn stand over Winter proved to be a good management decision this time around. Don Wehlander states that modern hybrid corn varieties have stalks like tree trunks that stand up under adverse conditions, and hang onto their ears, much better than the varieties that were planted a few years ago, so leaving a corn crop in the field over the winter is much more practical now than it used to be.
Farmers still have to sow before they can reap, and Kurt Breker and Mark Breker were planting wheat on land near Cayuga last weekend. Kurt reported that field conditions were good where there was no standing water, but there were some areas that were completely surrounded by water and impossible to get at with non-amphibious tractors and planting equipment.
Despite the fact that there is water, water everywhere, a month without rain raises the specter of that other disaster, drought. Very few places in the world have the capacity to suffer both flooding and drought at the same time, but, if anyone can do it, North Dakota is up to the task. Monday night’s storm brought lightning, thunder and wind, but little in the way of precipitation to the area right around Rutland. The area south of town received a good shower, though. Norbert Kulzer reported that his gauge showed a quarter of an inch of rain in Rutland on Tuesday morning, while Ray Erickson’s rain gauge held .7 of an inch a mile south, and Joe Breker’s farm 4 miles south of town received over an inch of rain. Winds of 30 mph, gusting to 45 mph, on Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday had the rain falling horizontally, and took a great deal of it back into the atmosphere before it could soak in. There is no additional rain in the forecast until next week, so it is expected that Spring field work will be in full swing through the weekend.
Rutland’s Home Rule Charter Committee, composed of Paul Anderson, Bertha Siemieniewski, Calvin Jacobson, Gretchen Vann and Larry Christensen, met at Anderson Law office on the evening of Monday, April 12, to begin work preparing a new charter for the City’s government. While the Rutland community dates its origins back to the arrival of the first homesteaders in 1882, the townsite of Rutland came into being with the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1886. For the first 22 years of its existence, the townsite was part of 2 different Townships: Rutland Township on the west side of Main Street and Ransom Township on the east side. The Village, now the City, of Rutland was incorporated as a municipality in 1908, and has been self-governing under the laws imposed by the State Legislature for the past 102 years. Home Rule was not available back in 1908. Home Rule gives a city’s citizens the opportunity to establish their own basic rules for governing their municipality, and can give cities greater flexibility in the management of their financial affairs, including the option of controlling their own property tax mill levy rates and the authority to collect sales and use taxes. Home Rule charters can also reserve the powers of Initiative and Referendum to the people, powers which they do not have currently. In Sargent County, the City of Milnor has operated under its own Home Rule charter for more than a decade, the City of Gwinner has had Home Rule for several years and has utilized its powers to make significant improvements, and the City of Forman adopted its own Home Rule Charter in 2008. The old saying is, “Be not the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last by whom the old is put aside.” For Rutland’s citizens, the question is whether to cling to the past or to move on, with “A New Charter For A New Century.” The Home Rule Charter Committee is working toward having a Proposed Charter ready for review by the public by the First of June.
Well, that’s it for this week. For more information about what’s going on with Rutland and Rutland folks check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com. Later.