“April showers bring May flowers,” the old saw goes. A quarter of an inch of rain last Friday and Saturday, April 27 & 28, and another .1 of an inch on the night of Monday, April 30, have kept the green things green, while temperatures moving up from a cool 36 above on the morning of Thursday, April 26 to 75 and muggy on Tuesday, May 1, have kept them growing. May flowers are not far off. Pleasant conditions in the late afternoon of Monday, April 30, prompted Bruce Peterson to vow that he would get the Peterson’s family garden planted when he got home. Well, at least he would get it tilled and get started planting. Well, at least he would look the situation over and give it serious consideration. The problem is that gardens always look so much better in the seed catalog than they do in reality. The seed catalog only shows the final product, but never the stiff knees, sore back and calloused hands that a garden usually produces even more abundantly than zucchinis and cucumbers. Some of the Assembled Wise Men have noted that it is a good thing to have your own garden, but it is even better to have a neighbor who is a good gardener and produces a surplus.
Steve Wyum reports that he and Sheila vacationed at a resort in Cancun, Mexico, from Thursday, April 12, to Tuesday, April 17, and witnessed the marriage of their youngest son, Paul, and his fiancé, Brittany LeClerc, in a beach ceremony at the resort there on Sunday, April 15. Others from this community who made the trip to Cancun for the wedding were: Kenny & Tanya Hamilton and family; and, Paul’s cousin, Jesse Wyum. Steve states that the resort was lush, plush and luxurious. One of the memorable activities he and Sheila participated in during their stay at the resort was “Zip-lining,” a method of traveling from point to point by hooking onto a cable line while wearing a sling similar to a parachute harness, and then “zipping” through the jungle along the cable for several hundred yards, from tree house to tree house, ala Tarzan and Jane. The zip-lining traveler wears a heavy leather glove on one hand, in order to brake their speed by grasping the cable behind them. Attendants are stationed at each station along the line to make sure that travelers don’t slam into walls or trees, Steve says. On one occasion, Sheila braked a little too soon, and stopped short of the next treehouse, leaving her dangling above the jungle floor. The attendants had seen this happen before, though, and quickly retrieved Sheila from her predicament. At the conclusion of the Zip-line trip, Steve noted, the traveler has the option of releasing the harness and plunging into the lagoon below from a considerable height, an option which he exercised. He was not quite prepared for the impact, though, and observed that the plunge has the capacity to turn a bass voice into a soprano if done incorrectly. Steve still has a fine bass voice, friends note. The bride and groom, Brittany and Paul, are making their home in Fargo where both are employed. Their many friends here extend congratulations to the couple on their marriage, and best wishes for a long and happy life together.
Paul Anderson and Bill Anderson of this community drove over to Hankinson on the evening of Wednesday, April 25, to take in a meeting concerning Measure #2, the proposed Constitutional Amendment eliminating the value-based property tax. The measure will be voted upon at the June 12 Primary Election. Present at the meeting were 26th District legislators Sen. Jim Dotzenrod of Wyndmere, Rep. Jerry Kelsh of Fullerton, Rep. Bill Amerman of Forman, Sen. Larry Luick of Fairmount and Rep. John Wall of Wahpeton; Richland County Commissioners Perry Miller of Wahpeton, Dan Thompson of Wyndmere and Tim “Soup” Campbell of Fairmount; and, Sargent County Commissioner Bill Anderson of Rutland. Several dozen local residents were also present, and directed comments and questions concerning the measure to the officials, although most were directed at the five legislators in the panel. No one spoke in favor of the measure, although several citizens warned that the legislature either had to address the inequities in the State’s current tax structure or be prepared to face a similar measure in the near future. The biggest concerns of legislators, commissioners and citizens, alike, were the uncertainty about what kind of funding for local government would replace the property tax if the measure should pass, and the loss of all local control over the allocation of resources if all funding for local government services is dependent on State appropriations. None of the 5 legislators, 2 Republicans and 3 Democrats, and none of the 4 Commissioners present favored passage of the measure, and all urged a “No” vote.
The “Frayed Knots” played to a packed house at the Lariat Bar at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. The newly organized Band, comprised of Tansey Hosford, Peder Gulleson and Ben Durbin, is still developing its repertoire, but the quality of the music produced was outstanding, those in attendance report. All 3 band members have considerable talent and experience, and Ms. Hosford’s vocal performances are of the highest quality. Those present agreed that they are looking forward to hearing more music from the Frayed Knots in the near future.
Recent rains have not slowed 2012 Spring planting activities much. Larry Erickson reports that he finished up his corn planting during the last week of April, and that calving is going well with his herd of cattle after a rough start.
Jerry & Trish Martin of Sequim, Washington, departed Rutland, bound for the west coast on Saturday, April 28, after spending a week here, visiting at the home of Mr. Martin’s daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca & Bradley Christensen. The Martins stopped here on their return from a vacation stay in Indiana where they had visited members of Mrs. Martin’s family. Mr. Martin is now retired, but previously worked as a computer specialist and, before that, manufacturing torpedoes for the U. S. Navy’s submarine base on Puget Sound. “Torpedo Juice” was a popular home brew in the World War II Navy, but is not yet on the drink list at the Lariat Bar, reports Rebecca.
Carpenters Chris Fagerland and Chad Fagerland of the Britton/Langford area have been assisting Rodney Erickson complete the installation of new siding to his building at 202 First Street. Both the north and south walls have now been sided, and work has commenced on the east side, facing Main Street. Chris Fagerland is also Rodney’s brother-in-law, being married to Rodney’s sister, Tammy.
Well, here it is, May already, and the softball season will soon begin with games at Lou Sanderson Field, on the north side of town. Lou Sanderson Field was once the home of the Rutland Roosters baseball team, always tough competition and a perennial contender for the State Championship from the end of World War II into the early 60’s. Prior to 1976, Lou Sanderson Field was just known as the Rutland ballpark or “the diamond.” The ballpark received a facelift and a renovation in 1976, however, as part of Rutland’s observance of the National Bi-Centennial, and it was then re-dedicated and given the name of one of Rutland’s best known and most colorful citizens, Lou Sanderson, then 100 years old and still going strong. Today, many, perhaps most, of Rutland’s citizens never knew or don’t remember Lou Sanderson, and probably don’t have any appreciation of the role he played in forming the character of this community. So, now, when the grass is green in the outfield, and the crack of the bat and the slap of the ball into a well used and well worn glove can once again be heard at Lou Sanderson Field, it is perhaps appropriate to once more remind ourselves of who Lou Sanderson was, how he got here and why he stayed. The following article appeared in The Rutland Leader several years ago. LOU SANDERSON, 1876–1979: Louis S. “Lou” Sanderson was a native of Mason City, Iowa. He was born on May 30, 1876, and grew up in that community. Upon completing his formal education, he secured employment with a bank there, and proceeded to learn the business. In 1905, Lou decided to seek greener pastures and obtained a position with a large bank in Seattle, Washington. While traveling from Iowa to Washington, however, he stopped off to visit a friend who was employed by a large bank in Minneapolis. That bank had a business relationship with John R. Jones of Hankinson, and with his chain of banks which included the newly established First State Bank Of Rutland. Lou’s friend asked him to delay his trip to Seattle for a few months and go out to Rutland to help Mr. Jones get his new bank up and running. Arrangements were made with Lou’s Seattle employer and he agreed to the proposition, which was to last for no more than 6 months. Lou boarded the Great Northern passenger train at Minneapolis with his destination temporarily changed to Rutland, North Dakota. Lou recalled that one of the first sights that greeted him upon his arrival at Rutland was local livery barn owner Frank Nickeson, sporting a large Stetson hat and packing a 6-gun on his hip, riding a spirited horse and leading a string of horses down the street. There were also several Native Americans on horseback, their steeds decorated with paint and feathers, riding down Main Street. Rutland looked like a Wild West frontier town, and Lou said, “I knew right then that this was the place for me.” He immediately took up his duties as Cashier of the First State Bank and remained in that position until the bank closed during the economic hard times of the 1920’s, on November 1, 1926. During those years Lou was very active in the community. He played on Rutland’s semi-pro baseball team, played the coronet in the Rutland band as well as in a local dance orchestra, starred in community plays, wrote articles for the Rutland Leader and became Treasurer of the City of Rutland in 1908, a post he held for 51 years, until 1959. Lou courted and married Miss Edna Bentson, the daughter and youngest child of Rutland pioneers Ed & Mary Bentson. The Bentsons owned and operated Bentson’s General Store, the Walmart of its day, on Rutland’s Main Street. Lou and Edna had two children: a son, Robert, who died in childhood; and, a daughter, Bonnie (Mrs. Clyde Salter), who resided in Beaufort, North Carolina, until her death several years ago. After the bank closed, Lou went to work in Bentson’s Store, in partnership with Edna’s brothers, George & Malvin. He continued to work in the store until it closed in 1967. In 1938, Lou began writing the Rutland News for the county paper. His unique blend of news and commentary made his column the first thing readers turned to when each weekly edition came out. He continued writing the Rutland News, which became known as “Sanderson Says”, until 1968. Lou’s commentary was often satirical and he never hesitated to point out, in plain, and often humorous, language, what he perceived to be the hypocrisy or stupidity of political and business leaders, from the local to the national level. He was an outspoken Rutland booster and a true fan of America’s pastime, baseball. Lou never missed a baseball game if he could help it. The ball field in Rutland now bears his name. When baseball faded out and was replaced by softball in the 1960’s, Lou followed softball, but he thought it was a poor substitute for the real thing. He continued to attend every game he could and, in 1976 when he was 100 years old, he once observed that the combined ages of the 5 players he accompanied to an out of town game was 10 years short of his own age. When the Sargent County Bank opened its Rutland Station on November 1, 1976, Gilman Klefstad, then president of the bank, asked Lou to do the honor of unlocking and opening the station’s front door for its first day of business. As he inserted the key into the lock, Lou observed that it was then exactly 50 years, to the day, since he had locked the door on the old First State Bank of Rutland for the last time, and he was glad that he had lived to see the day when a new bank facility was opened on Rutland’s Main Street. In 1978, at the age of 102, Lou suffered a broken hip and was forced to move from his home in Rutland to a nursing home in Wahpeton. Lou died in 1979 at the age of 103. His mind was clear and active until the hour of his death. On the day he died, Lou was listening to a Minnesota Twins baseball game on the radio when orderlies came to take him to the hospital. The game was in the 9th inning and he refused to be moved until the last batter was out. The Twins won. So did Lou.
Lou’s mortal remains were buried in the Rutland Cemetery, next to his wife, Edna, and son, Robert, but his spirit still moves in the Rutland community, and, whenever a ball game is played at Lou Sanderson Field, Lou is sure to be there, cheering for his beloved Roosters until the last batter is out.
Speaking of old ballplayers, Greg Donaldson of this community reports that a committee has been formed to nominate Rodney Nelson of Havana for induction into the North Dakota Softball Hall of Fame. For the past 37 years, Rod, better known as “Guts,” has been an active participant and promoter of slow-pitch softball, both on and off the diamond. He has been a player on teams in Rutland, Havana, Gwinner and Lidgerwood, as well as a pick up player on numerous tournament teams; been a team manager, coach and umpire; and, has served as League Commissioner for this region. Currently he coaches the girl’s softball team for which his daughter plays. Prior to his involvement in softball, Rod was a hard-hitting, hard throwing high school and American Legion baseball player on the SCHS & Cogswell Legion teams. If the committee’s effort is successful, Greg says that Rod would join Rutland native Arden Anderson and Louis Gaukler of Cayuga as members of the prestigious Hall of Fame. The Committee needs endorsements from people who are familiar with Rod and with his involvement in softball and other community activities to accompany the nominating petition, and Rod’s friends are asked to send their letters of endorsement to one of the following committee members: Greg Donaldson, PO Box 184, Rutland ND 58067; Betty Maly, PO Box 65, Havana ND 58043; or, Joe Holmgren,7441 127th AV SE, Lisbon ND 58054. The Rutland General Store is preparing a spot for Rod’s picture on the “Wall of Fame” here.
Meanwhile, on the national scene, the President surprised everyone on May 1 when, on the first anniversary of the elimination of master terrorist Osama Bin Ladin by U.S. forces, he traveled to Bagram Air Base, Kabul, Afghanistan, to finalize plans to turn over that nation’s security to Afghan forces and to remove American combat forces from the area by the end of 2014. Due to the time difference, the President spoke to the people of the United States at shortly after 7:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, May 1, 2012, and to American military personnel serving in Afghanistan and the people of Afghanistan at shortly after4:00 a.m.on Wednesday, May 2, 1312, there being a 9 hour, 700 year time difference between the 2 countries. The President noted that, since 2001, more than 500,000 Americans have served in the U. S. military in Afghanistan, and that several thousand have died there, in order to make sure that the Al Q’aida terrorist organization can never again use that country as a base from which to attack America or Americans. Shelly Pherson of Rutland, youngest daughter of Denny Pherson and Ione Pherson of this community, is currently serving with the U. S. Air Force at Bagram Air Base. The decision to end American military involvement in Afghanistan is a good one. It’s just too bad that it can’t be accomplished sooner, rather than later. Over the past decade, the American military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has added more than $3 trillion to the national debt. The old adage is, “When you’re in the hole, stop digging.”America is in the hole, financially, in part because the U. S. military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has been paid for with borrowed money. Ending involvement in those conflicts is the first step in getting this country out of the hole and back on top. Like him or not, what President Obama has done in Iraq and Afghanistan is the best thing for America, and for Americans. Thanks, Mr. President.
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, too, while you’re at it. May 15 is the date the moratorium on Post Office closures ends. Now is the time to keep the pressure on the Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.