Another week of perfect weather, with plenty of sunshine, temperatures pushing up to 80 for a couple of days and no rain for the past 3 weeks. Harvest of the 2010 soybean crop in the Rutland area is now complete, and the only thing slowing the corn harvest is the size of the crop. With both yields and prices up, even the most stoic of local farmers have been hard pressed to suppress an occasional grin when the market reports hit the airwaves. At the Round Table, the worst complaint is that things just have to get worse, because they can hardly get any better. Well, every silver lining has its cloud, doesn’t it?
The ideal harvest conditions have local combine operators going round the clock, barely pausing to eat or sleep. On the afternoon of Thursday, October 7, Ione Pherson was at the corner of First & Cooper Streets in Rutland, tossing sandwiches into the combines, tractors and trucks of Pherson Custom Harvesting as they went by, heading from fields west of town to those south of town. They just opened a door or a window as they went by, and Ione, with an arm like an NFL quarterback, passed the sandwiches to the intended receivers, with no fumbles, no interceptions and every team member heading non-stop for the goal line. Maybe that’s just one more reason why they’ve been in business for 57 consecutive harvest seasons.
Patrick Flanagan of Two Harbors MN stopped in at the Rutland Café for breakfast on Saturday morning, October 9, after completing an early morning pheasant hunt with the assistance of his dog, an English Springer Spaniel. Mr. Flanagan reported that the mosquitoes were intense, thicker than he had ever seen them at this time of the year. He also reported that there were plenty of pheasants in the areas he had been hunting in Rutland Township. He had been hunting sharptail grouse out in the Mott ND area earlier in the week, and reported that the grouse hunting there was excellent, too. Mr. Flanagan was camping at Silver Lake Park for the weekend and stated that the facilities there were excellent. An employee of a steel processing firm at Two Harbors, Mr. Flanagan reported that business there is booming. Much of their product is being shipped to China, he stated, and, as long as Chinese manufacturing remains strong, he expects the steel industry in Minnesota to continue strong as well.
Rutland native Milton Erickson was visiting in the old home town on the afternoon of Saturday, October 9. Milt now lives near Wimbledon ND, and works in Jamestown, where he is employed by the Goodrich Co., formerly known as Western Gear. Milt reports that the company is now making the cargo systems for the Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, and for the Airbus A-380, the huge 800 passenger plane that is manufactured in Europe by a British & French consortium. He states that the demand for their product appears to be quite strong. Milton grew up on the farm north of Rutland where his sister and brother-in-law, Mavis & Jim Marquette, now reside. His parents were the late Melfin & Doris (Bergstrom) Erickson of this community.
About 175 diners stopped by the Rutland Town Hall for pancakes, eggs and sausages between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 10, according to the plate count of the dishwashing crew. The breakfast was a fund-raiser put on by the members of Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion, reports Post Commander Larry Christensen. Proceeds of the event are used to support the Post’s activities in the community, says Larry, activities that include Boys’ State and support for the Rutland Fitness Center. The Post has another event, this time a Valentines’ pancake breakfast/brunch/dinner planned for Sunday, February 13, 2011, at the Rutland Town Hall. Pancakes made with the Rutland Post’s secret recipe are not only good, but they’re good for you, too, asserts Commander Christensen.
The Rutland American Legion will be conducting a U. S. Flag retirement ceremony on the afternoon of Veterans’ Day, Thursday, November 11. Persons with worn or soiled American Flags that are in need of respectful retirement and disposal may contact Commander Christensen to make the proper arrangements.
County Commissioners Bill Anderson of Rutland, Maurice Orn of Stirum and Jerry Waswick of Gwinner drove out to Bismarck on the afternoon of Sunday, October 10, to attend the North Dakota Association of Counties annual conference at the Ramkota Hotel. Other Sargent County officials attending the conference were County Auditor Sherry Hosford and County Recorder-Treasurer Gina Hillestad. The Commissioners met with officials of the North Dakota Department of Transportation on Monday morning and were informed that there was little likelihood of receiving any meaningful financial assistance for road maintenance or construction from the State or Federal governments during the coming year, as the Congress has not yet passed a new Highway-Transportation Funding Bill, and that’s the money that is usually passed through to local units of government. One by one, all of the State’s 53 counties were given the same news during the 2 day conference. In a speech to the Associations membership on Monday, October 11, Gov. John Hoeven thanked the assembled county officials for their service to their communities, touted the accomplishments of the past 10 years and promised more tax revenue for roads and bridges. The disconnect between the Governor’s speech and the information supplied by his own Department of Transportation was not explained. Another North Dakota political leader, U. S. Senator Kent Conrad, addressed a breakfast gathering of the membership on the morning of Tuesday, October 12. Sen. Conrad recounted the events that started with the collapse of Lehmann Brothers in the Spring of 2008 that had put the entire world financial system on the verge of collapse by September of that year. That imminent collapse led the Bush Administration to take over the insurance giant AIG and propose the Toxic Asset Recovery Program (TARP) during the Fall of ’08, said Conrad. He reminded his listeners that by the beginning of January, 2009, the last month of the Bush Administration, the American economy was losing 800,000 private sector jobs each month, and the stock market was in a free fall during which half of its value was lost. He also pointed out that the number of private sector jobs has grown during every month since September of 2009, but not yet at the rate needed to get workers back on payrolls in a hurry. Sen. Conrad also warned, as he has since first being elected to the Senate in 1986, that the continued growth of deficits and debt are a threat to the future of the United States. He also said that the nation’s finances cannot be rescued by spending cuts, alone, but that additional revenue will be needed to get the job done. Although the current Farm Bill is paid for, and does not contribute to the budget deficit, the Senator stated that farm programs are not likely to be immune from cuts, a prospect that should be of concern to North Dakota, as farms in this State receive twice as much, per capita, in Federal farm program payments as do farmers from any other State. County officials from the western part of the State reported that the oil boom is bringing economic activity, but is also destroying the transportation and community infrastructure of much of that area. With no planning for the orderly development of North Dakota’s energy resource, the water, sewer, transportation and housing infrastructure of western North Dakota is being overwhelmed. Further east, in the Devil’s Lake area, Ramsey County Commissioner Joe Belford, long a proponent for a regional plan to control the level of the Lake, reports that it is now just 6 feet away from catastrophe, and the time needed to develop an effective plan is probably past. Belford stated that every 6 inch raise in the lake level now inundates another 25,000 acres. Despite water and infrastructure problems of their own, the 5 southeastern counties, including Sargent, appear to be in better shape than most other areas of the State. During the conference, the Commissioners and other officials from Sargent County also attended continuing education seminars on such topics as: the implementation of the Patients’ Protection and Affordable Care Act, Healthcare Reform, and how it will affect counties; the siting of energy generation and transmission facilities; property tax valuation computation; electronic data technology; Emergency/911 issues; dispute resolution; and others. Commissioners Anderson, Orn & Waswick returned home on the evening of Tuesday, October 12.
Chuck and Caroline Kiefer of Big Lake MN visited in Rutland on Tuesday, October 12. They joined Chuck’s sister and brother-in-law, Mary & Jim Breker, for dinner at the Rutland Café and General Store. Chuck is one of the sons of the late Bill and Cecilia Kiefer of Cayuga. Like the ducks and geese, Chuck and Caroline are lingering in the north country during October’s mild weather. Their plan is to be heading for their winter range in Houston TX as soon as the first cold weather hits.
Joe Breker reports that, if all goes well, there are no breakdowns, the good Lord’s willing and the creek doesn’t rise, he could have his entire 2010 corn crop harvested by this coming Sunday, October 17. This contrasts with last year’s corn harvest, which was not completed until the Spring of 2010. What a difference a year makes.
Jack Brummond stopped by the Rutland General Store on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 13, and attended a session at the Round Table with the Assembled Wise Men. Jack reports that soybean harvest has been completed in the Havana area, and that the corn crop is well on the way toward completion in that region as well. With good weather, good crops and good prices for both grain and livestock, Jack is even more cheerful than usual these days.
Silver Lake Park manager Dennis Goltz was in Rutland on the morning of Wednesday, October 13, picking up supplies for the Park’s facilities. Dennis states that 2010 has been another big year for camping and recreation at Silver Lake. With Minnesota resorts disappearing, more and more people are discovering recreational opportunities right here in Sargent County. Dennis is in the process of preparing the Park for the coming winter, and states that waterlines will be drained and electrical service turned off at the Park’s campsites on October 20.
Paul & Sue Anderson, Joanne Harris, Bill Anderson & Kathy Brakke of this community attended the chili and pie supper at the Catholic Church in Milnor on Wednesday, October 13. In addition to the supper, the ladies of the congregation also raffled off a handmade quilt as a fund-raiser, and the lucky ticket holder happened to be Kathy Brakke of Rutland. Although Wednesday’s weather was more like mid-summer than early autumn, hot chili and a warm quilt are likely to be a good combination in a month or so.
Well, folks, that’s about it for this week. Don’t forget that the final day to vote in the 2010 Election is now only 18 days away. Sargent County is a “Vote By Mail” County which sends out ballots to all eligible County residents who request them. There will be one polling place in the County, at the Sargent County Courthouse in Forman, on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, and anyone who has not cast a “Vote By Mail” ballot by November 1 may cast a ballot there. Call the Sargent County Auditor at 724-6241, Extension #1, to request a “Vote By Mail” ballot, or for more information about how to vote in Sargent County. For more information about what’s happening in Rutland, check out the community’s web site at www.rutlandnd.com. Take a look at Rutland’s blog and Facebook pages while you’re at it, too. Later.