News & Events

The Rooster Crows – January 15, 2016

The mercury plummeted below the zero mark for 5 mornings in a row, from Friday, January 8, to Tuesday, January 12, when it bottomed out at 10 below.  Temperatures bounced back up into the 20’s on Wednesday, January 13, but another plunge, this one as deep as 20 to 30 below zero, is predicted for the coming weekend.  This is still North Dakota, and it is January, after all.

Steve Lervik of Dickinson, State Director of the Multi-Family Housing program for the U. S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Agency, and Michelle Laske of the Agency’s Valley City office, met with the Board of Directors of Rutland Housing Inc. at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, at Rutland Housing’s office in the 6-plex at 204 Dakota Street.  Mr. Lervik reviewed management issues with the Board, and approved the appointment of Board member Bert Siemieniewski to serve as interim manager of Rutland Housing’s 3 apartment houses in Rutland.  Mr. Lervik and Ms. Laske also checked on progress that is being made on the replacement of the heating systems in Units #1 & #2, the 4-plexes that are situated at 207 First Street and 316 Ross Street.  Mr. Lervik commended the Board for keeping the bills paid and the corporation going through a rough period.  Now that a manager has been approved, Rutland Housing will again be able to process applications from prospective tenants and to file reports using Rural Developments electronic data filing system.  This was Mr. Lervik’s first visit to Rutland, and he stated that he is looking forward to working with Rutland Housing in the future.  Rutland Housing, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that was formed by the Rutland community back in 1971, to provide housing for low income and elderly residents of the community.  The original Directors were: Norbert Kulzer; Earl Anderson; Aldon Donaldson; Rudy Anderson; and, Skip Sjothun.  Current members of the Board of Directors are: Delores Lysne, President; Bill Anderson, Vice-President; Carolyn Christensen, Secretary; and, Bert Siemieniewski, Treasurer.

The Laurie Greene Benefit that will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, in the Rutland Town Hall is ready for a big day, according to Shawna Bergh, Laurie’s daughter and one of the organizers of the event.  Laurie has been battling cancer, and the purpose of the benefit is to help with some of the extra expenses that are not covered by insurance.  Laurie has been undergoing a series of chemotherapy treatments to combat the cancer.  The benefit will begin at 3:00 with a bake sale, raffles and silent auction.  At 5:00 a free-will dinner of turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings will be served, while the auction, raffles and other activities will continue until the 7:00 p.m. conclusion.  Laurie and her husband, Craig Greene, formerly resided at 115 Forest Street, in the house now owned and occupied by Shawna and Nate Bergh.  Laurie & Craig currently reside in Havana, and Craig is employed at the Bobcat factory in Gwinner.

Joel Susag arrived home on Thursday, January 7, after a month long holiday vacation trip to the nation’s southwest.  Joel flew to Las Vegas on December 11, and spent a week visiting with brother Ron Susag and sister Sandra Grajeda, and her family, before heading off to Florence AZ for a Christmas visit with older brother Ivan Susag.  Joel reports that the weather in Las Vegas was cool and wet, thanks to the El Nino system in the Pacific Ocean that has been drenching California and other areas of North America, even causing flooding on the Mississippi River at St Louis MO.

Joe & Patty Breker, accompanied by Olivia Stenvold, were on the road on Friday, January 8, bound for Frisco TX and the Division 1A College Football Championship game between the NDSU Bison and the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks.  Also heading south for the game, along with about 18,000 more North Dakotans, were Cameron Gulleson; Rob Wyum; Kian McKibben; Kyle McKibben; Hunter Diegel; Roger & Karen McLaen; Rick & Sherry Bosse; and many others from the local area.  Bison fans were not disappointed, as the team won its 5th consecutive Division 1A Championship by a score of 37 to 10 in Frisco’s Toyota Stadium on Saturday, January 9.  The NDSU team is the only one in the history of American college football to have won 5 consecutive National Championships.  Several members of this year’s NDSU football team, including All-Star Quarterback Carson Wentz, are expected to be recruited by the National Football League later this year.

Speaking of the NFL, Brad Christensen; Rebecca Christensen; and Debbie Liermark of this community were among those who drove to Minneapolis on the morning of Sunday, January 10 to watch the NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Sea Hawks.  Fans endured below zero temperatures in the Vikings temporary home at Gopher Stadium, the University of Minnesota’s outdoor football field, to watch the Purple & Gold gang lose to Seattle by a score of 10 to 9 in the closing seconds of the game.  As cold as it was, it wasn’t cold enough, because, as everyone in the Vikings’ fan base knows, they won’t win the Super Bowl until Hell freezes over, and that pre-condition has apparently not yet come to pass.

Dale McLaen was sporting a split lip on Tuesday morning, the result of being hit by a 60-pound flying object.  Dale said that he has 2 dogs at the shop, one an older black Labrador and the other a younger, more active, golden lab.  When Dale closes the shop and heads for home at the end of the day the 2 dogs are eager for their chance to ride in the box of Dale’s pickup truck for the short distance from the shop to the house.  Dale opens the end gate for them, and they jump in.  The younger, more exuberant, dog usually jumps into the truck, then up onto the top of the auxiliary fuel tank/tool box and then off the left side to the ground so he can run around to the back and repeat the process.  On Monday evening the usual ritual was in progress and, as Dale walked to the pickup cab, the golden lab came hurtling off the top of the tool box, head butting Dale in the process.  “It really rang my bell,” said Dale, “and was a surprise for the dog, too.”  Dale said that he was spitting blood and some harsh comments about his dog’s ancestry and intelligence as it slunk away.  The older dog sat in the back of the truck, wagging its tail and looking smug, with an “I’m the good dog,” look about it.  The blow did not loosen any teeth, Dale stated, but it only takes a touch to remind him of the incident.  The dog is still exuberant, and has forgotten all about it.

The Old Time Country Elevator Historical Society, based in Billings Bozeman, MT, has been researching the history of the Rutland Elevator and the Rutland Farmers Co-op Grain Co. since 1998, and Barb Semley, editor of the group’s newsletter, reports that an article will be prepared for publication in the near future.  Ms. Semley has had frequent correspondence with Rodney Erickson of this community since he acquired ownership of the facility several years ago, and began work to restore it to operating condition.  Ms. Semley states that most of the “country elevators” that were once landmarks against the prairie sky have disappeared, and that the Society is trying to document the history of those that still survive.  The Rutland elevator currently serves as a buying and shipping station for the Wheaton-Dumont Co-op; as headquarters for Rodney’s aerial crop spraying service, Wild Rice Air Ag, Inc.; as headquarters for Rodney’s entertainment business, R2, Inc., doing business as Rockin’ Rodney; as headquarters for Rodney’s spray foam insulation business; and, as headquarters for Jake’s Feed & Seed, the business owned and operated by Rodney’s cousin, Jake Erickson. There is also some discussion that Rodney may have to license the elevator as an adult day-care center, but that development is still in the concept stage.  Excerpts from the Historical Society’s article will appear in this column after it has been published.

The Rutland Community Club held its regular monthly meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 11, in the Rutland Town Hall.  The treasurer’s report showed approximately $19,300.00 available for community projects.  Last month, the Community Club had transferred a little over $4,200.00 to the City of Rutland for the purchase of a street sweeping broom for use with the City’s Bobcat skid-steer loader.  Club members voted to contribute $250.00 to the Forman squad of the Sargent County Ambulance Service, and noted that there will be a fund-raiser pancake breakfast for the Ambulance Service on Sunday, January 31, in the Forman City Hall.  A letter from The Salvation Army received just before Christmas was read, and members voted to contribute $100.00 to the Fargo unit of the Salvation Army for its work in this region of North Dakota.  Club Secretary Lori McLaen reported that the terms of Bonnie Anderson and Jake Erickson on the Board of Directors are up this year.  A 2-member nominating committee was appointed to find nominees for those 2 positions, and current directors Rachel Olson, Marcia Brakke, Lori McLaen and Paul Anderson were elected to the offices of president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer, respectively.  Bonnie Anderson stated that Sheila Wyum would be heading up the lunch and dinner committee for the Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament that will be held on Saturday, February 6, in the Rutland Town Hall.  She also reported that several others had volunteered to assist in the event which is being co-chaired by Sonja Christensen and Bryce Carlson this year.  Diane Smith reported that a rip-roaring production with local talent is being planned for the Community Club’s Annual Supper & Play that is scheduled for the 3rd Saturday in March.  Uff-Da Day 2016 Chairperson Marcia Brakke reported that the planning committee has several sessions scheduled and will begin organizing for the October event in the near future.  She also reported that the Uff-Da Day Committee has scheduled another appearance of Ole and Lena for the evening of Saturday, May 14, in the Rutland Town Hall.  Norwegian Constitution Day is on May 17, and Ole & Lena will be celebrating “Syttende Mai” a few days early, on the stage at the Rutland Town Hall.  Following some general discussion of Uff-Da Day events, food sales and committees, the meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting of the Rutland Community Club is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 8, in the Rutland Town Hall.

Sonja Christensen reports that, as of Friday, January 8, there were still 12 openings for teams wishing to compete in the 21st Annual Rudy Anderson Memorial Pinochle Tournament that will be held on Saturday, February 6, in the Rutland Town Hall.  Anyone interested in participating in the Tournament can contact Sonja Christensen at 701-642-6793, or Bryce Carlson at 701-724-3017.

On the evening of Tuesday, January 12, President Barak Obama delivered the 2016 State Of The Union Address to a joint session of the U. S. Congress, and to the American people.  The President’s speech addressed 4 major topics: economic opportunity and security for all Americans; scientific and technological innovation to keep America in the lead among the economies of the world; diplomatic and military initiatives intended to strengthen America and protect American security around the world; and, the importance of political civility, being able to disagree without being disagreeable about efforts to address future challenges with which the nation will be confronted.  The President stated, emphatically, that the State of the Union is STRONG, and that assertions to the contrary are inaccurate, at best.  South Carolina Gov. Nicki Haley, presented the Republican point of view, and basically said that the President was wrong, and whatever he proposed, the Republicans could do it better, faster and cheaper, and with fewer regulations, too.  The one thing that the President and the Governor did agree on was that neither of them cared for the political methods of Mr. Donald Trump, who is campaigning hard to become the Republicans’ candidate to take over President Obama’s job next January 20.  Both the President and the Governor cautioned against the politics of intolerance, anger and fear now being proclaimed by some on the campaign trail.  By Wednesday morning, Gov. Haley, herself elected as a Tea Party Republican, was being attacked by conservative talk show hacks Limbaugh, Hannady and others, for her “liberal” views.  Well, there have been times of disagreement and drama in American politics before, but it sure seems that the right wing’s rejection of rational, reasonable and practical thought, policies and practices is getting a little extreme.  In the struggle for power, though, politicians from Demosthenes to the Donald have been willing to use whatever means furthers their ends, and that includes North Dakota politicians, too.  Back in 1934, in their enthusiasm for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, North Dakota voters elected Thomas Moody, a Democrat, as Governor of the State.  At that time, the North Dakota Democratic Party was the smallest of the 3 political factions maneuvering for power in the State Capitol.  There were 2 factions in the Republican Party then: the progressive Non-Partisan League (NPL); and the reactionary Independent Voters Association (IVA), later called the Republican Organizing Committee (ROC).  Ideologically, the Democrats were in the middle, neither as liberal as the NPL, nor as conservative as the ROC, and 81 years ago, back in 1935, Governor Moody got caught in the crossfire between the 2 Republican factions.  Kathy Brakke recently discovered a diary that her grandfather, Arend “Harry” Hoffman of Ransom Township, kept during that 1935 session of the Legislature, when he was appointed as Sergeant At Arms of the State Senate as a reward for his work on behalf of the Non-Partisan League in Sargent County.  Following is Harry’s entry for JANUARY 7, 1935: “I had made up my mind that from the day that I left home to go with Senator W. S. Handley as what is called by the army slang–a Dogrobber, I would write down from day to day as a memory of my first recognition in politics for duties performed.  On January 7, 1935, I went to Forman to take the train to Bismarck to meet Senator Handley at Bismarck.  There were those who felt that as Senator of Sargent County that he was entitled to the patronage of one man to serve in some capacity during the session of the legislature. O.C. Anderson, a representative of the same district felt the same way, and asked Hans Dyste of Rutland township to go along with him.  So about 9 o’clock Hans and myself met at Forman and boarded the train for Bismarck.  We left Forman at 9:00 o’clock and passing through the smoker into the day coach and took a double seat and started to read some of the magazines which I had taken along.  A number of passengers had been sleeping in their seats and were starting to wake up.  One was an old lady with sharp features about 65 years old.  Grey hare and a long beak.  She yawned and stretched herself and let out a grunt.  “What town is this?”  “I think it is Forman,” another lady replied.  This one was about 36 years old and six feet tall and well upholstered, weighing about 230 pounds, with a great deal of weight below the bottom of her backbone, who had been reading a newspaper and toted 2 or 3 children with her.  She brought the paper down, glared at the old lady and let out a yell, “Can you beat that for guts, that Hauptman is not guilty for the murder of the baby of Lindberg?  Well, I know that the guy is lucky that I ain’t on the jury–I would hang him.”  “Yes,” said dear old grandma, “and if I were on the jury I’d hang Bettie Gow, too.  She has been in with them.”  “Are you men going to Bismarck upon rising?”  “Yes,” we told her.  “Then you are legislators,” she said, glaringly.  It was no use arguing with 230# of frozen jelly and telling her we were Dogrobbers.  “Well,” she said – “Just so women did not start to make laws.  It might be all right but I don’t believe in women doing anything but staying home and let the men do the rest.”  “What is the matter, dear,” she said to one of her children, “Is your head better?  Let me put on another wet rag.”  She grabbed a towel and came to the rear of the coach.  I had my back turned to her and when she passed she throwed a ham in my face which made the conductor smile.  Boy, what a hula dancer she would make.  We crawled along until about dinner time and we reached Kulm.  The train crew went to get something to eat so Hans and I did the same.  We ordered fish and before we were half through eating the brakeman called us and we had to leave.  We held up the train, he said.  We got into Bismarck about 9 O’clock and hunted headquarters, got rid of our grips and took in the meeting of the executive council composed of county chairman only. I went to bed at 11 and faded into the land of nod until daylight.”

Next week, another excerpt from Harry’s diary.  Although the diary is from 1935, and Harry died in 1958, there are still some around who remember this colorful and interesting citizen of the Rutland community.

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, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re at it, too.  Remember to patronize your local Post Office, and don’t forget to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Later.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Hi Bill, Thank you for the blurb about our history research on the elevator at Rutland. Here is some minor corrections.
    The proper name for the historical society is:
    The Country Grain Elevator Historical Society and we are based in Bozeman, Montana, not Billings.
    Also, my last name is Selyem (not Semley) – so, Barb Selyem – and I haven’t been researching the history of the Rutland Elevator since 1998. We have been gathering histories on as many elevators as we can since 1998 but most of our histories are sketchy at best. They become more in depth (like the Rutland story) when we can concentrate more on one particular place in order to write a history that is worthy of publication.
    While many of the old time elevators have disappeared, we collect information on as many as we can whether still standing or not – as you have experienced with my questions about Rutland’s history of elevators. Here is our mission statement: “The Country Grain Elevator Historical Society was created in 1995 to promote the preservation of country grain elevators and their history by the collection, conservation and dissemination of information for documentary and educational purposes.
    Thank again for promoting our efforts. Warmly, Barb

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