Springtime came early to the prairie in 2012. With Winter still officially controlling the calendar, the Dakota plains has been basking in sunshine and warm temperatures more reminiscent of June than mid-March. The mercury hit 75 on Saturday, March 17, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and topped 80 on Sunday, March 18. Those local farmers who still plant wheat have been out checking fields, looking for the right place to start, and a few have pulled tillage and planting equipment out to the field, just to get the neighbors excited. If current conditions hold, or even drop back to normal for this time of year, look for planting to be under way before the end of the week.
Water was over County #10 north of Rutland last week, not because of this Spring’s snowmelt, but due to last year’s high water. A 10 inch tile that Rutland Township installed last Fall has allowed water to run out of Consolidated Lake, formerly known as Bill Erickson’s Slough, all Winter. It took most of the Winter for the water to make the journey from the middle of Rutland Township to the Wild Rice River just west of Cayuga, filling up every pothole in its path in the process, but Kurt Breker reports that it started running into the creek a couple of weeks ago. The water level north of Rutland had dropped enough so that the pavement was dry by mid-week, but it is expected that the water will continue to run for some time to come. The 10 inch pipe allows about 1 million gallons a day to drain out of consolidated Lake, a rate that could drop its level by a foot over the next 3 to 4 months, if no additional water ran into the Lake. At this time, though, water is still draining into Consolidated from the south and west, so don’t look to be hunting pheasants on the bottom any time soon. The Lake, which is now 20 to 30 feet deep in places, was a cattail slough that held a little water in the Spring and was dry by Fall from the 1930’s through the 1980’s, but filled up in the early 90’s and has been rising steadily ever since. In 2011 it finally ran over, connecting to another large slough to the east, and began its run to the Wild Rice.
All roads led to Rutland on Friday, March 16, for the annual Rutland Community Club supper and play. All 120 reserved seat dinner tickets were sold in advance, and those who only wished to see the performance purchased their tickets at the door to complete the standing room only crowd that filled the Rutland Town Hall to overflowing. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. diners enjoyed a fried chicken dinner prepared by members of the Rutland Community Club, headed up by Delores Lysne and Bert Siemieniewski. Following the supper, the curtain went up on the annual Rutland Community Club play, a musical entitled, “Lucky Dollar – Private Eye.” The cast of characters, and characters they were, were: Lucky Dollar- Peder Gulleson; Florence, Lucky’s lovesick secretary- Carolyn Christensen; Earthquake Debris, a street urchin- Rachel Olson; Pandora Sugarland- Taylor Wyum; Lieutenant Brush Mohair-Vaughn Rhorbach; Detective Babs Doyle-Trish Pearson; Joe Weasel-Tom Manley; Mrs. Mintworth- Marcia Brakke; Conchita, the Mintworth’s mouthy maid-Hailey Hamilton; Seabrook Mintworth, the spoiled rich kid-Ben Durbin; Claire Mintworth, the conniving daughter-Kylie Hambeck; Montrose Hogsbreath,, an overweight villain-Kyle Pherson; Chartreuse the Chanteuse, the girl in the know at the Club Lariat-Pam Maloney; T. Mintworth- Kean McGibbon; Polly Wolf, the promoter-Jeanne Lienen; The Kimono-Deborah Banish; Mona Lepaint-Claire Brakke; Nurse-Rachel Olson; and, Lucky’s Dollars- Michael Wyum, Kathy Wyum and Andrea Erickson. As with most performances, a few unexpected events caused some last minute changes, including Claire Brakke taking on 2 extra roles when Rachel Olson was unable to perform due to a family obligation. Musical accompaniment was provided by Kathy Brakke and Mayor Ron Narum set up the stage lighting. The play was directed by Diane Smith. Special thanks are extended to Kyle Pherson, who not only had a major role in the play, but also created and painted the stage sets and backdrops. The Rutland Community Club was started in 1967, succeeding the Rutland Commercial Club, and has hosted the annual supper every year since 1969. The 2012 production was the 35th consecutive play presented by the Community Club in conjunction with the annual supper. The next production is set for the 3rd weekend in March, 2013. Don’t miss it!
This community was shocked and saddened on Tuesday, March 20, when it was learned that a body discovered near the railroad tracks in Buffalo River State Park near Dilworth MN on Monday was that of Mr. Jared Nilles. Mr. Nilles, along with a friend, J. J. Gordon, had directed Entertainment Unlimited’s Children’s Summer Theater program in Rutland from 2002 through 2006, and he had many friends here. He was 27 years old at the time of his death. The cause of death had not been determined at this writing. Many of the young thespians who got their start in theater under Mr. Nilles direction have gone on to appear in many community, high school and college theatrical productions. His work impacted many young lives in a positive manner, and his many friends here mourn his loss. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, March 24, at Atonement Lutheran Church in Fargo. The Rutland community extends its sympathy and condolences to his family in Fargo, and to his many friends across the Midwest.
Bert Siemieniewski reports that her son, Ryan Siemieniewski, was at Taos, New Mexico, during the week of March 11-17, working on a “Pay It Forward” project sponsored by the NDSU chapter of “Students Today, Leaders Forever,”. The project that the NDSU students were working on was the construction of community garden greenhouses on one of the American Indian reservations in the Taos area. A 1,000 year old native American village is on the site of the project.
Hard on the heels of the mourning doves and meadowlarks, Vincent Young arrived in Rutland on Monday, March 19, after spending part of the Winter in Fort Collins CO, part of it in Mesa AZ, and the past 2 months enduring insufferably pleasant conditions in Hawaii. Vince states that he’s glad to be home, and even happier that Spring arrived before he did.
Pam Gulleson of this community was officially endorsed as the candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives by the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party’s State Convention in Grand Forks on Saturday, March 17. Pam’s name was placed in nomination by former U. S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan, who represented North Dakota in both the House and the Senate from 1980 to 2010, and her nomination was seconded by Bill Anderson of Rutland. Following the nomination speeches, Cogswell native Scott Stofferahn moved for Pam’s unanimous endorsement by the Convention, a motion that was approved by acclamation. In her acceptance speech, Pam pledged to be an independent voice for North Dakota, and to work toward building consensus and cooperation to address the problems facing the nation. The GOP will meet to endorse Pam’s opponent on March 30-31. Others from Rutland attending the Democratic Convention were: Bill Gulleson; Cody Gulleson; Cameron Gulleson; Paul Anderson; Steve & Sheila Wyum; Bill Anderson; and, Mark & Kathy Wyum.
March 17 was a big day for Pam Gulleson’s mother, Sargent County native Marlys (McDermott) Harris of Oakes. In addition to seeing her youngest daughter endorsed for North Dakota’s lone seat in the U. S. House of Representatives, she also observed St. Patrick’s Day; celebrated her 89th birthday; had her picture taken with former President Bill Clinton; and, had a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung to her during the Noon luncheon/reception honoring the former President. Marlys has long been active in the Democratic-NPL Party, as was her father, the late William McDermott, before her. Mr. McDermott, a staunch FDR New Deal Irish farmer Democrat, was one of those who helped engineer the merger of the North Dakota Democratic Party and the Non-Partisan League back in the 1950’s & 60’s.
Roger Brekke stopped in at the Rutland General Store for coffee and conversation at the Round Table on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 20. Roger reports that the Brekke-Krause herd of Angus heifers and cows is in the process of delivering the 2012 calf crop in some of the best calving conditions he can ever remember. Roger states that those newborn calves seem to draw strength from the warmth of the sun and this year’s calf crop has been remarkably strong and healthy, so far. He states that the heifers are about done calving and the cows are just getting started, so they have about a month of “maternity watch” to go. Pastures are looking good, too, Roger reports, and it is likely that much of their herd will be out to pasture by mid-April, barring an unexpected turn in the weather. But, then, what does North Dakota weather consist of other than unexpected turns?
Randy Pearson stopped in at the Rutland Café on the morning of Wednesday, March 21, and reported that he intended to seed wheat in one of his fields in Shuman Township that afternoon. Randy stated that he had worked the field the day before, Tuesday, and that a number of his neighbors had followed suit by Wednesday morning. The earliest date on which corn can be planted and have the multi-peril crop insurance coverage is on April 10, so look for the big surge in planting activity to commence just after Easter, which is April 8 this year.
Randy Kiefer of Riverside CA stopped by to visit friends in Rutland on Wednesday, March 21. Randy has been up in North Dakota, enjoying the Spring weather and visiting with his parents, Pete & Verna Kiefer at West Fargo and with his sister and brother-in-law, Pam & Keith Hoistad, at their farm northwest of Milnor. Randy reports that his parents are currently residing at Sheyenne Crossing in West Fargo, an assisted living facility there.
Tuesday, March 20, marked the official arrival of Spring, as well as the second anniversary of the “End Of The World.” That’s right, as you may recall, it had been predicted by such luminaries as Rush Limbaugh, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner that the world would end if the Patient’s Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Healthcare Reform and ObamaCare, ever passed the Congress and was signed into law by the President. Well, back on March 20, 2010, PPACA became the law of the land, and life after the end of the world has not been altogether unpleasant. In fact, there have been some notable improvements in the American healthcare industry since that time, not the least of which have been: requiring that at least 80% of the money paid in to insurance companies by policy holders actually be spent on healthcare; allowing children going to college to remain on the parent’s policies until age 26; removing “pre-existing conditions” exclusions from children’s coverages; and removing lifetime coverage caps from healthcare policies. Other improvements include the requirement that medical records be kept in electronic, portable form and that the various medical service providers develop protocols that allow a patient to have immediate, remote access to his or her medical records. Despite these obvious improvements, many GOP leaders continue to beat the drum to repeal the Healthcare Reform law. Much like the scene in the old movie classic, “The Wizard Of Oz,” when Dorothy’s dog pulled back the curtain to reveal the Wizard to be a fake and a fraud, these GOP leaders tell us to pay no attention to the facts, just believe what they are telling us. The question is: Why would they do that? Well, the end of the world can be a mighty traumatic event, particularly for those whose predictions of its arrival have been shown to be dead wrong. It appears that Limbaugh, McConnell, Boehner, Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and crew are all suffering End Of The World Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (EOTWPTSD) but don’t worry, once PPACA is fully implemented in 2014, they’ll be covered for that, too.
Well, that’s it for this week! For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, check out the community’s internet web site at www.rutlandnd.com and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook pages while you’re at it, too. The U. S. Postal Service’s moratorium on Post Office closings will end on May 15, so remember to keep the pressure on the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.