There is a line in the theme song of the musical “Oklahoma!” that brags, “…the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye…” Well, the corn has been growing so fast around here for the past couple of weeks that an elephant would have to be pretty quick to avoid getting an eye put out by the high speed hybrids currently reaching for the sky in Sargent County. With the mercury hitting the century mark and the humidity to match, the corn crop is thriving as June ends and July begins. “Knee high by the 4th of July,” used to be the gauge to determine whether a corn crop was on its way to success or failure. This year, the corn will be shoulder high, or even head high, by the 4th and, if the height of the stalk is any indication of the size of the crop, the potential is there right now for a real bin-buster this Fall. Mike Kulzer points out that, although all of the corn looks good right now, the best looking fields were planted to Wenzman varieties this Spring and, at least as far as Mike is concerned, they not only are evidence of the superiority of the Wenzman seed varieties sold by Kulzer Feed & Seed, but also of the superior intelligence of the growers who chose to buy and plant them. If you have any doubts, just ask him. The soybean fields, too, appear to be in fine shape, and the wheat crop is racing toward an appointment with a combine in the next 7 to 10 days, according to some of the experts at the Round Table.
The Pherson Combining crew returned to Rutland with 3 combines on Sunday, June 24, to prepare for the impending wheat harvest in this area, leaving one combine under the supervision of Jason “Schwank” Smykowski at Hemmingsford, Nebraska, to complete harvest operations there before heading for home. The Phersons’ custom harvesting business operation has been under the direction of Brian Pherson for the past 3 years. Brian’s Dad, Denny Pherson, reports that, although the wheat crop from Kansas north was quite good, the large number of acres from Kansas north through North Dakota that have been diverted from the production of wheat to the production of corn and soybeans made for a short harvest run this Summer. The drought that began in August of 2011 has had a devastating impact on the corn and soybean crops in Kansas and Nebraska this year, however, and Denny predicts that there will be a big shift back to winter wheat for the 2013 crop year.
Mike & Diane Kulzer of this community towed their travel trailer out to Washburn ND on Tuesday, June 26, and spent the next 3 days visiting at the home of their son and daughter-in-law, Jeff & Katy Kulzer. The wheat, corn and bean crops all look good around Washburn, Mike states, but Jeff informs him that they could sure use a good rain in that area, too. On Friday, the Kulzers: Mike; Diane; Jeff; Katy; and children; drove over to the west side of Lake Sacajawea and spent 3 days visiting with their daughter & son-in-law, Carla and Brian Mortonson, and family at the lake cabin owned by the Mortonsons there. The Mortonsons are in the sand and gravel business at Dickinson, where Brian reports that the oil boom has his business booming, too. The Mortonsons recently sold the restaurant they had owned in Dickinson, and have now purchased a convenience store in that community which Carla oversees. Mike reports that during his brief tour of the west, he visited with a farmer/rancher from Regent ND who was of the opinion that wheat harvest would be commencing in that area before the 10th of July.
As required by State law, Mayor Ron Narum convened the reorganization meeting of the Rutland City Council at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26, at the Rutland Town Hall. Mayor Narum, Auditor Debbie Banish and Alderwoman Bert Siemieniewski were present, and aldermen Brad Christensen, Barry Christianson and Mike Mahrer were absent. Due to a lack of a quorum, the meeting was recessed to the call of the Mayor. The recessed reorganization meeting was reconvened at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 28 with a quorum present and proceeded to reorganize for the coming biennium. Mike Mahrer was re-elected to serve as Council president for the next 2 years, and City Auditor Debbie Banish was reappointed to her position. The Council also voted to retain the services of KLJ of Valley City as the City’s Engineer, and Anderson Law Office of Rutland as City Attorney. The Sargent County Teller of Milnor was designated to continue as Rutland’s official newspaper for the publication of minutes and required notices. The following portfolio assignments were made: Water Portfolio and Maintenance & Tree Portfolio – Barry Christianson; Sewer Portfolio and Park Portfolio – Bradley Christensen; Landfill Portfolio and Garbage Collection Portfolio – Mike Mahrer & Ron Narum; Street Portfolio – Mike Mahrer; and, City Hall Portfolio – Bert Siemieniewski. Newly elected and re-elected members of the City Council and City Park Board, including: Mayor Ron Narum; Alderwoman Bert Siemieniewski; Alderman Bradley Christensen; Park Board member Jeff Olson; and, Park Board member Rob Roney; were sworn in and signed their oaths of office at the reorganization meeting. The next meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for Monday, July 9, at the Rutland City Hall.
Rob Bauman arrived in Rutland from Portland OR on the afternoon of Thursday, June 28, after making another non-stop drive from the west coast to the middle of the continent. Rob accompanied his granddaughter, Marcie Bauman, who was back in North Dakota for a visit with family in Lidgerwood. He reports good driving conditions for the entire trip. Rob expects to be in Rutland, visiting friends and family here, for most of the month of July. He is staying at the home of his sister, Kathy Brakke, at 318 First Street, and old friends can contact him there.
A bus load of friends backing the candidacy of Pam Gulleson for election to the U. S. House of Representatives took The Rutland General Store’s bus over to Joel & Sue Heitkamp’s home on Lake Elsie, near Hankinson, for a campaign rally and fund-raiser on Thursday, June 28. The Heitkamp home is beautifully situated on the shore of Lake Elsie, and the large, well maintained lawn sloping down to the Lake is a terrific setting for a casual Summer event. Those who made the trip report that the weather was excellent, the attendance was terrific and the fund-raising was substantial. Pam’s opponent for North Dakota’s lone House seat is incumbent Public Service Commissioner Kevin Kraemer of Bismarck. Pam has been on the campaign trail almost non-stop since March, appearing at events from Hankinson to Dickinson this past weekend.
Kyle & Kaia Mahrer of this community accompanied Rutland native Mark Cramton and his wife, Kim, to an F-M Red Hawks baseball game in Fargo on the evening of Saturday, June 30. The foursome watched the Red Hawks administer an 11 to 2 drubbing to their opponents from Sioux Falls. Kyle and Mark are classmates from the SCHS Class of ’01.
The Old Curmudgeon, R. Harrington Bradbury III, Millionaire, took a southwesterly course as he departed Rutland on Saturday, June 29, bound for the Warren Ranch near Rapid City SD, with a 4 day stop scheduled at his old home town and high school alma mater, Faulkton SD, on the way. He planned to attend an all school reunion at Faulkton, and celebrate the 49th anniversary of the Class of ’63 that is if he can find the school, find Faulkton and make it to South Dakota. Well, he is scheduled to be back home for a golf game on Monday, July 9, and friends here will then find out if his GPS, calendar and watch are all in working order. Brad’s spouse, Janet Bradbury, reports that conditions are very dry in southwestern South Dakota, where she has spent most of the Spring at the Warren Ranch, her childhood home. Janet states that there have been several forest and grassland fires in the Rapid City area, but nothing as serious as the infernos that have engulfed huge sections of Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
The southwest, be it southwest South Dakota or the southwest US, is not the only area battling fires this Summer. Rodney Erickson reports that he was called upon to fight a range fire near Wyndmere with water from the air last week. The fire had broken out in difficult to access pasture and hay land near the Dan Thompson farm southwest of Wyndmere, and Rodney dropped several loads of water from his AgCat spray plane to quench the flames.
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” it is said, and petitions are now circulating to put a “Smoke Free North Dakota” initiated measure on the State’s General Election ballot this November, and the effort has both supporters and opponents fired up. Currently, State law prohibits smoking in all public places, except bars. If adopted, the initiated measure would also eliminate smoking in bars, as has already been done in our neighboring States, as well as in several of North Dakota’s largest cities, including Fargo and West Fargo. As more than 80% of North Dakotans are now non-smokers who find the stench of second hand smoke to be both obnoxious and offensive, as well as hazardous to their health, it is expected that backers of the measure will have little trouble getting the more than 13,000 signatures needed to put the issue before the voters this Fall. “Don’t Let The Smoke Get In Your Eyes,” has been suggested as the theme song for supporters of the initiated measure effort, while opponents are singing that old country classic, “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette.” We’ll just have to see who runs out of breath first.
Substitute mail carrier Dan Pearson was on the route for Jim Lunneborg on Monday & Tuesday this week, as Jim took a few days off from Postal Service duties in order to get some work done around the farm. Dan reports that he has been putting up hay for the past several days, and that the 2012 hay crop is thinner than it has been in the past couple of years. Dan attributes the decrease in the amount of hay to the drought conditions that prevailed throughout the Spring, and to the frost that hit the area in mid-May. Most local cattlemen still have ample supplies of hay on hand from the last few years, though, so the cows won’t go hungry this coming Winter.
Curt Silseth has been among the halt and the lame this week, laid up with some pulled muscles from an injury sustained at his place of employment. Curt reports that his employer, Precision Wall Systems of Britton SD, has been adding new employees and working them overtime to fill orders from northern and western North Dakota, where a building boom brought on by the oil boom is currently underway. Curt also reports that his older brother, Duane, who has been battling cancer for the past 2 years, appears to have the disease in remission, and has been out and about on golf courses in the Fargo area this Spring and Summer. Duane’s many friends in this community are pleased to hear that he is doing well.
Jesse, Marcia, James & Claire Brakke returned home on Monday, July 2, at the conclusion of a 10 day vacation trip to Italy. The Brakkes were joined by Marcia’s daughter and son-in-law, and by 10 cousins from Sweden at a villa in the northern Italian province of Tuscany near the town of Cortona. The Swedish cousins, Renee Almer, Frederick & Ulricka Almer and boys, Gustaf & Oskar, and Stefan & Ulricka Johnson and daughters, Amelia, Karen and Louisa, have all been guests in Rutland in recent years. Marcia reports that it cost 2,700 Euros, about $3,600.00, to rent the castel, or villa, for 16 people for 10 days, complete with staff for cleaning and cooking. The package also included several cooking classes featuring local cuisine, which they found to be delicious. While in Italy, they also visited Rome, the World War II battlefield of Anzio, and the legendary Renaissance City of Florence. All agreed that it was a trip of a lifetime, with memories to match.
Jack Brummond drove up from his villa near Havana, the Castello d’Brummond, and stopped in at the Rutland General Store on the afternoon of Monday, July 2, for some round Table coffee and conversation. Like many farmers from Regent to Rutland and from Hazen to Havana, Jack reports that the corn and soybean crops are looking good in Weber Township, but a nice rain would sure be welcome. Jack also stated that he very much appreciated the writing of Debbie Banish during the last 3 weeks of June, and was hoping that the change of authors would have been permanent, as she displayed a little more respect for The Sage of Weber Township than he has been accustomed to receiving. The Assembled Wise Men attributed that to the fact that Debbie doesn’t know the Sage as well as do the regulars at the Round Table. As for the progress, or lack of progress, of his non-campaign for the North Dakota Governor’s Office, Jack pleads that he doesn’t have a clue. If the performance of the current occupant of that office and his two immediate predecessors is any guide, that makes Jack eminently qualified for the job.
Kelly Hawkinson of Whitefish MT arrived in Rutland on the afternoon of Monday, July 2, to spend some time visiting with friends and family here. Kelly is a granddaughter of Irene Anderson of this community, and has 2 uncles, Bill Anderson and Paul Anderson who reside in Rutland. Her father was the late Harvey O. Anderson. Kelly reports that driving conditions were very good throughout the more than 1,000 miles from Whitefish to Rutland, and that she encountered very little road construction along her route. She plans to head back to western Montana on Friday or Saturday.
John & Joanne Harris departed Rutland on Tuesday, July 3, bound for San Diego CA. The Harrises will be present at the U. S. Naval Base at San Diego on Friday, July 6, when their son, Commander Michael J. Harris USN, assumes command of the USS Pearl Harbor, one of the Navy’s new class of amphibious assault ships. The Pearl Harbor sails with a full contingent of combat ready U. S. Marines, including infantry, artillery, armor, transport helicopters and combat support aircraft, capable of projecting American military power anywhere in the world at short notice. Commander Harris has been serving as Executive Officer of the ship during its most recent deployment to the Persian Gulf region, and it is expected that the ship will be re-deployed to that area under his command. Command of a ship in the U. S. Navy is a distinct honor and a huge responsibility. Mike’s old friends here are certain that he is deserving of both.
On Thursday, for the second time in 27 months, the world came to an end for our Republican friends when the U. S. Supreme Court upheld the Patients Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as the Healthcare Reform Act and Obamacare. This whole “end of the world” thing is getting somewhat tiresome, though, and you really have to wonder why anyone would pay any attention to the nit-wits who keep proclaiming it. They have never been right yet, and, if they ever are, no one will be left to acknowledge it. The PPACA is the first legislation to make it through the Congress that is aimed at getting a handle on healthcare costs as well as including all Americans in the nation’s healthcare system. At this point, the GOP is promising to repeal the law, if Republicans gain control of both the Congress and the White House in November’s Election, but no alternative is being proposed. Everyone seems to be in agreement that the system, or non-system, that existed prior to the adoption of the PPACA was a mess, with 17% annual cost increases, and nearly 50 million Americans lacking access to basic healthcare. The parts of the PPACA that have been implemented so far are proving to be popular and well liked by the American people. So, why all of the hullabaloo? Well, we do have to have someone, or something, to hate, don’t we? At least that’s what Karl Rove and other right-wing political strategists seem to think. With hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars from unidentified sources pouring into the current political campaign, you can bet that the drumbeat of hatred will not let up, either, at least not until the American people let Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the big money folks know that they are fed up with the lies and manipulations now flooding the airwaves. Back in the 1850’s, the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, made the comment that, “You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” In this election cycle, Rove, Limbaugh and the radical right are betting that 2 out of 3 is enough.
Well, that’s the news from Rutland 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. Many thanks to Debbie Banish for writing a column for the June 15, 22 and 29 issues of The Teller, and for the Rutland web site. Debbie’s talents as a writer and storyteller are obvious, and it is hoped that she will continue to write, at least to keep Jack Brummond happy, if for no other reason. There are many talented people in the Rutland community, as well as in our surrounding communities, and they should be encouraged to let their light shine. Later.