The mercury plunged, the wind blew, the temperature hit the skids, and Spring took off for parts unknown this week. After a month of gentle conditions that had most convinced that Spring was here to stay, Mother Nature dropped the hammer with a double whammy of 20 degree readings on the thermometer and high winds that brought back the dreaded words, “wind chill,” on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, April 9, 10 & 11. The thermometer read in the low 20’s on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Trees that were beginning to leaf out, newly planted fields of wheat that were just showing rows, alfalfa fields and pastures that were beginning to green and grow have all been damaged and set back to some extent. Just how severe the damage is will be assessed over the next few weeks, but one thing is certain: no one is going to risk their short supply of corn seed until the weather moderates. The continuing drought that has relieved fears of flooding for the first time since 2008, shows no sign of relenting any time soon, and those dry conditions only exaggerate the effect sub-freezing temperatures have on growing plants. Well, we do live in North Dakota, after all, where the only thing certain about the weather is that it will be different tomorrow. The old timers used to say, “Every day that it doesn’t rain is one day closer to the day that it will,” so stay tuned, the rain is coming, and warmer weather, too.
Like a precision drill team on parade, Schmidt Movers of Wyndmere stepped out on the double-quick at 7:30 on the morning of Thursday, April 5, and began the process of transporting the house that had spent the last 102 years at 117 Ross Street to its new location on the NE¼ of Section 15 in Ransom Township. With timbers and jacks in place, the movers carefully lifted the structure off its foundations, repairing some of the ravages of time as the process continued throughout the morning and into the early afternoon. As with any entity that is 102 years old, there were some creaks and groans associated with the process of getting up, but the builders of 1910 had done a good job, much to the relief of the movers of 2012, and the solidly built structure sat square on the timbers as it was made ready for its ride. By 3:00 p.m. the moving crew, under the direction of Nick Schmit III, the 3rd generation of the Schmidt family to operate the moving business, had the house up on the timbers, out in the street and ready to go. The movers took the house north on Ross Street, then west on Front Street to Main Street where they turned north and headed out of town. One set of electrical wires, near the corner of Ross and Front Streets, had to be lifted up to allow the house to pass beneath them, but those wires turned out to be the only obstacle in the path of the move. The house was set on blocks at its new location, 3½ miles east of the Rutland corner on the south side of ND Highway #11, by4:30 p.m. The new foundation for the old house is being prepared by Buskohl Construction of Milnor and Jacobson Plumbing, Heating and Excavating of Rutland. The house will be part of a new farmstead being constructed by Jesse and Marcia Brakke at the site.
Joe Breker reports that progress on the new Coteau des Prairies Lodge, in the hills southeast of Rutland, continues at a steady pace. In recent weeks the main entryway has been shingled, wiring and plumbing installation has begun and the large windows on the north side have been installed. The Lodge is a work in progress, says Joe, and the definite date when construction will be complete and the facility ready for operation has not yet been determined, although it will be in 2012, he says.
Richard Bradbury drove down to Rapid City SD on Thursday, April 5, to spend the Easter weekend on the Warren Ranch there. Brad also celebrated his birthday on the 5th of April. He stopped counting birthdays at 21, and that was 46 years ago. Brad was slated to return home on Tuesday, April 10, unless a sudden attack of golf delayed him.
It has been reported that the “Croal Land” in Tewaukon Township has been sold by the Croal family, following a public bidding process, on Monday, April 2. The successful bidder was Joe Breker. The 200 acre tract is situated just west of Joe’s farmstead and has been farmed by Joe, by his father, Clarence Breker, and by his grandfather, Casper Syverson, for the past 8 decades. The official purchase price has not been reported at this time.
Joe Malstrom was released from the Oakes Hospital on Monday, April 2, and is now back home in Rutland. Joe had spent 6 weeks in the hospital, battling a stubborn infection in his right foot.
High winds, cold temperatures and drought conditions have not slowed down area anglers, even the novices. Gretchen Vann caught a 21 inch walleye at Lake Tewaukon on Friday, April 6. Gretchen was using a pink fishing rod, equipped with lights that flashed when the reel was cranked, and a silver colored lure when she hauled in her whopper. She acquired her fishing gear at her place of business, The Rutland General Store, and was advised on the choice of a lure by local expert Norbert Kulzer.
Rutland native John Gulleson was in town on Saturday, April 7, and stopped in at the Rutland Café for some coffee and conversation. John reported that he has recently done some interior work on the cabin he is building on the old Giske farmstead 3 miles east of town. John was preparing ground for a CRP tree planting on land he owns 2 miles east of Rutland during his Saturday visit here. John also reports that he has recently resigned from employment with the Monsanto Company and has accepted a position with the Peterson Farms Seed Company of Prosper ND. Peterson Seeds specializes in corn and soybean varieties developed for conditions on the northern plains, he says. John, his wife, Theresa, and their 2 girls, make their home in Casselton.
Harvey & Judy Preble of Egan MN; Kent Preble of Mandan; and, Garrett & JoLynn Gross and family of Underwood ND; were among those visiting in Rutland on Saturday, April 7. They drove over to Forman on Saturday afternoon to visit with their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Hazel Preble, at Four Seasons Healthcare Center. After attending the Sunrise Service at Nordland Lutheran Church here on Easter Sunday, they drove up to Fargo, to spend the day with Sid and Carol (Preble) Harrison, there.
Ione Pherson spent the Easter weekend in Sioux Falls SD, at the home of her daughter & son-in-law, Lisa & Ryan Sittig, where she worked diligently to spoil her grandson. Ione had also spent the previous, Palm Sunday, weekend in Sioux Falls, assisting Lisa & Ryan with a move into a new home on the City’s north side.
Donald & Yvonne Johnson drove up to Fargo on Saturday morning, April 7, and then accompanied their granddaughter, Natasha Hoelsel and her fiancé, Justin Sailor, to Dodge ND, west of the Missouri River, to spend Easter with Justin’s parents, Kevin & Corrine Sailor, on the family’s ranch there. Don reports that he was surprised on Sunday morning to find that the pastor of the local church was Rev. Ed Langolier, who had served as pastor of the Assembly Of God Church in Forman from the mid 1990’s to 2003. Don reports that they had a nice visit, reminiscing about Rev. Langolier’s years in Sargent County.
Larry & Dianna Anderson were in Fargo, at the home of their daughter & son-in-law, Bob & Paulette Gulsvig, on Easter Sunday. Larry reports that all of the grandchildren are healthy, happy and rambunctious. Wonder who they inherited that from?
Denny Pherson reports that Pherson Custom Combining is getting equipment ready for its 59th consecutive custom harvesting season. Denny says that reports from Oklahoma indicate that a good crop of winter wheat is coming on, although the entire region could use some rain. Drought conditions from Texas throughKansas severely damaged and diminished the winter wheat crop last season, but timely rains throughout the Fall and Winter this season have been just what the doctor ordered, says Denny.
The Rutland Community Club held its April meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 9, in the Rutland Town Hall. Club president Paul Anderson reported that Bonnie Anderson will be chairperson for the Memorial Day pot-luck dinner this year. Mr. Anderson also reported that a single-sided electronic bulletin board could be obtained and installed on Main Street for approximately $10,000.00, to replace the old community bulletin board that had been demolished by the wind last July. Funds to pay for the sign could be obtained from the Horizons Committee and from the Community Club, 50-50, according to Paul. If purchased, it was the intent of the committee that the sign would be owned and maintained by the City of Rutland. After considerable discussion, it was decided to delay a final decision on the electronic bulletin board until additional information could be obtained concerning a “Rutland” sign for the intersection of ND Highway #11 and County #10, 1½ mile north of town. The matter will be carried over to the May meeting. Lori McLaen & Bert Siemieniewski reported on progress being made on the Town Hall improvement project. The new doors have been installed on the chair storage area, and on the kitchen entry, reported Bert, and Clay Kjos is scheduled to get the ceiling in the auditorium painted by the end of the week. Lori has painted the stage area and the front (north) end of the Hall, and will have the remainder of her painting project completed before the end of the month. The floor will be refinished after the interior ceiling and wall painting has been completed. Ione Pherson and Lori McLaen reported that they had been working with Pastor Ben Durbin on the “Welcome Basket” for new residents in the community. Roger Pearson commented that the Rutland Alumni Association had contributed $4,000.00 to the Town Hall Improvement project, and suggested that the gift should be acknowledged and the members of the Alumni Association thanked for their contribution. Bert Siemieniewski, as chairperson and coordinator of the Town Hall improvement project, will see to it. The next meeting of the Rutland Community Club will be at 7:00 p.m.on Monday, May 14.
County Director of Tax Equalization Sandy Hanson was on hand for the City of Rutland’s annual Tax Equalization meeting, held at 5:30 p.m.on Tuesday, April 10. Mayor Narum, Auditor Banish and Aldermen Christianson, Mahrer and Siemieniewski were present. Alderman Arneson was absent. Also present was City Attorney Bill Anderson. Unlike the tax equalization meetings of most years, several property owners attended the meeting, and asked Tax Director Hanson several questions concerning the recent residential reappraisal process that had been ordered by the State Board of Equalization and conducted by Vanguard Appraisals of Iowa. Since 2010, residential property values have increased by 9% in Rutland, Ms. Hanson reported, however, because the County Commission had reduced residential valuations in 2011, the percentage increase to 2012 was 22%. The 2011 decrease made the 2012 increase appear larger than it was, historically, she said. Ms. Hanson went through the procedures employed by Vanguard in arriving at the new valuation amounts, and invited any property owners who thought that their valuations were incorrect to come to her office and go through the information that went into the appraisal. Property owners may also take a look at the information used to arrive at the valuation of any other property in the County, she stated. Following the question and answer session, the City Council removed some demolished structures from the City’s tax roles and reclassified one property from residential to commercial. The next step in the Tax Equalization process is the County Board of Equalization meeting in June, followed by the State Board’s meeting in August. The proposed Constitutional Amendment that would eliminate property taxes based on valuation in North Dakota was also briefly discussed. Some at the meeting were of the opinion that the recent Statewide increase in the valuation of agricultural land and the County-wide adjustment in the valuation of residential property might give some momentum to the anti-property tax measure. The alternatives that might be used to replace the $852 million in annual local property tax revenue that would be lost, Statewide, if the measure passes – special assessments on property; flat fees on property; increased sales tax; increased income tax; among others – appeared to be even less popular than the value based property tax system now in place. The next meeting of the City of Rutland’s Board of Tax Equalization will be in April of 2013, provided that Measure #2 does not pass this June, and provided that the world does not end between now and then.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. “For more 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. Remember to keep the pressure on the North Dakota congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.