News & Events

The Rooster Crows – April 8, 2016

It has been a dry Spring, so far, and following on the heels of an open Winter, there are some concerns being expressed about crop prospects for the 2016 crop year.  The dry weather is a blessing for those in whose hearts hope springs eternal, however, as many local farmers have been taking advantage of the weather to get their Spring Wheat planted.  “You can’t harvest a crop if you don’t plant one,” is the comment heard.  Rain is a possibility, as was demonstrated on the evening of Tuesday, March 29, and the morning of Wednesday, March 30, when a general rain dampened the area.  Norbert Kulzer’s rain gauge, the official precipitation measuring device at 415 Gay Street, recorded .4 of an inch by Wednesday morning, and Norbert figures that there might be more to come before the year is over.

The 45th Annual Meeting of Rutland Housing, Inc., was held at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, in the Rutland Town Hall.  The board of directors reported that, after several months of rough going, the corporation has been able to move ahead with some long overdue improvements to the apartment houses that it owns in Rutland.  New heating units have been installed in Unit #1, at 207 First Street, and in Unit #2, at 316 Ross Street, and estimates have been received for new roofing and exterior doors on units #1 & #2, as well as for new siding on Unit #1.  Despite a problem in Rural Development’s Regional Finance Office in Tennessee that has delayed rental subsidy payments since last July, the board has stabilized the corporation’s finances, with both the reserve fund and the operating fund in better shape than they were at the 2015 Annual Meeting.  Bert Siemieniewski, who serves as manager/treasurer for Rutland Housing, reported that two new tenants have recently been approved for occupancy, and there is presently only 1 apartment available to rent.  Delores Lysne was re-elected to a 3-year term on the board of directors.  There is still one vacancy on the board.  Current officers are: Delores Lysne, president; Bill Anderson, vice-president; Carolyn Christensen, Secretary; and, Bertha Siemieniewski, manager/treasurer.  The board of directors of Rutland Housing, Inc., meets regularly on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.  The next meeting is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, in the Rutland Town Hall.

Among those from Rutland who were attending political conventions last weekend were: Paul Anderson, Chairman of the 26th District Democratic-NPL Party; Cameron Gulleson; Zach Temple; Kyla Kinsler, Chairperson of Region 7, which is comprised of the Legislative Districts in southeastern North Dakota; Kevin Gillespie; and Bill Anderson; all part of the 26th District’s 21-member delegation to the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Convention in Bismarck.  Pam Gulleson of Rutland, the Democratic-NPL’s 2012 candidate for the U. S. House of Representatives, also attended the Convention, but this time as an observer rather than as a participant.  The Convention adopted the Party’s 2016 platform and resolutions, and nominated candidates for Governor & Lt. Governor, U. S. Senate, U. S. House of Representatives and other statewide offices that will be on the ballot this Fall.  Delegates to the Democratic-NPL Convention also observed the 100th anniversary of the Non-Partisan League’s first election victories back in 1916, and the 60th anniversary of the alliance between the Non-Partisan League and the North Dakota Democratic Party, which was forged in 1956.  Institutions and services established by the League, such as The Bank of North Dakota; the State Mill & Elevator; Worker’s Compensation; The people’s right to initiative, referendum and recall; and others; are still cornerstones of North Dakota State government.  Some other Rutland natives who were delegates to the Bismarck Convention included Sonja (Anderson) Christensen and Corrine (Narum) Romereim of Wahpeton, both delegates from District #25.  Sonja & Corrine were also accompanied by Sonja’s sister in law, Marilyn Anderson, also of Wahpeton and a District #25 delegate.  Sargent County has been an NPL stronghold since 1916, and its voters have also predominantly supported the principles, programs and candidates of the Democratic-NPL Party for the past 60 years, with only a few lapses in judgment occurring along the way.

The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 4, in the Rutland Town Hall with Mayor Ron Narum, Auditor Debbie Banish and Aldermen Rodney Erickson, Delores Lysne, Mike Mahrer and Bertha Siemieniewski present.  The financial report showed all funds to be in the black.  The Council approved two gaming permits, one for a raffle to be conducted by the Wild Rice Antique Tractor and Plowing Association on Sunday, October 2, Uff-Da Day 2016; and, the other for a raffle to be held by Unit #215 of the American Legion Auxiliary on Monday, November 7, 2016.  The Council reviewed draft job descriptions for the positions of Public Works Supervisor; Public Works Assistant (current vacancy); City Auditor; and, City Hall Custodian/Janitor.  Job descriptions will be finalized and adopted at a future meeting of the Council.  The Council discussed the matter of removing dead and diseased Boulevard Trees and replacing them with new, disease resistant trees.  Tree removal services in the area will be contacted for cost estimates.  Auditor Banish reported that a representative from the North Dakota Forestry Department will be in Rutland this Spring to inventory existing trees and to suggest replacement species.  Trees on the boulevards are the City’s responsibility, while those on private property are the responsibility of the property owners.  The Council approved the replacement of culverts at 2 locations: at the alley on the east side of Bagley Street between Anthony and Cooper Streets; and, on the south side of Gay Street, north of Rutland Housing’s 6-plex on the East end of Town.  The Council authorized Jacobson Plumbing, Heating & Excavating to proceed with the replacements as soon as possible.  Alderman Mike Mahrer reported that he has received several favorable comments about the new “Reduce Speed Ahead” sign with the flashing amber light on the north side of town, and that several have suggested that a similar flashing light be placed at the Main Street railroad crossing.  The matter will be taken under advisement.  After reviewing the City’s bills and authorizing payment, the Council adjourned.  The Council will meet as the City’s Board of Tax Equalization at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12, in the Rutland Town Hall.  The next regular meeting of the Rutland City Council is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the Rutland Town Hall.

Rutland’s City Park Board held its April meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 4, in the Rutland Town Hall with members Barry Christianson, Hilary Mehrer, Hal Nelson, Jeff Olson and Larry Christensen in attendance. Also present was Rutland City Auditor Debbie Banish.  According to board member Larry Christensen, the Park District decided to apply for a grant through the North Dakota Forestry Department to plant additional trees in Rutland’s parks; decided to replace the rubberized material around City Park playground equipment with sand, and accepted an offer from Bobcat employees to assist with that project; and, reviewed price estimates for protective fencing around the outdoor basketball court behind the Legion Hall in the park area on Gay Street.  Estimates received so far exceeded funds available for the project, Larry reported, so Board members will continue to seek estimates from other suppliers.  The next meeting of the Rutland City Park Board is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Monday, May 2, in the Rutland Town Hall.  All meetings are open to the public, states Larry, and all interested persons are invited to attend.

Rutland’s Mayor, Ron Narum, departed on the morning of Tuesday, April 5, bound for Alamo, Texas, via Minneapolis and Delta Airlines.  Ron intends to spend several days visiting old friends who have been wintering in the Rio Grande Valley before accompanying Jerry & June Fritzen of Forman on the drive home next week.  Ron said that he expects to be back in Rutland by the evening of Wednesday, April 13, or whenever he arrives, whichever is later.

Kathy Brakke drove to St. Gerard’s Nursing Home in Hankinson on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 5, to discuss family histories with a number of interested residents.  Kathy also brought along a number of artifacts from her collection, including: rommegrot stirrers; egg weighing scales; and, a table top cream separator; for the residents to inspect and reminisce about.  Kathy reported that most of the residents were descendants of German ancestors, and that one purpose of her visit was to encourage them to preserve the stories of their pioneer grandparents and parents.  All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon, states Kathy.

The Old Parsonage at 217 First Street in Rutland, with its inventory of antiques, collectibles and interesting items will be holding its 2016 Grand Opening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 8, 9 & 10, reports proprietor Kathy Brakke.  Hours are 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday; 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday; and, 12:00 Noon to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.  The Old Parsonage will be regularly open on the second full weekend of each month from April through November, as well as by appointment on other days from Spring through Autumn.  For appointments, give Kathy a call at 724-3467 or 680-9831.

The North Dakota American Legion’s 10th District will be holding its 2016 Spring Meeting in Rutland on the evening of Thursday, April 14, and Larry Christensen, Commander of Bergman-Evenson Post #215, reports that both the local Post and Auxiliary Unit are ready to host the event.  Bill Smith of Forman is currently serving as the 10th District Commander, and Tom Manley, a member of the Rutland Post, serves as Vice-Commander of the District.  This is the first 10th District meeting to be held in Rutland since the local Post was organized in 1946, at the end of World War II.  One of the major topics to be discussed at the District meeting will be the Veterans Tobacco Tax Initiative, the initiated measure to increase North Dakota’s tax on tobacco products to support veterans’ health and community health programs in North Dakota.  The North Dakota American Legion and the North Dakota VFW are among the organizations sponsoring the initiative.  Currently, North Dakota’s tax on tobacco is much lower than it is in neighboring States.  Minnesota collects more than $3.00 in taxes on a pack of cigarettes, South Dakota has a $1.53 tax on each pack and Montana levies a $1.70 tax on each pack of smokes.  If approved by the voters, the initiated measure would increase North Dakota’s tax to $2.20 on a pack of cigarettes.  Currently, public health officials estimate that tobacco use in North Dakota increases healthcare costs in the State by more than $10.00 per pack consumed.  It is also estimated that tobacco use has destroyed the health and caused the death of more World War II veterans than all of the combat deaths of all American military conflicts since 1775, combined.  When a veteran asks for your signature on a Veterans Tobacco Tax Initiative petition, give that request your serious consideration.

Well, the Donald Trump Presidential Juggernaut hit a roadblock in Wisconsin this past Tuesday, as Wisconsin’s Republican Primary voters decided that they would “Dump Trump” in order to “Lose With Cruz.”  Wisconsin’s Democrats gave the Independent-Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders a decisive victory over former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign appears to be falling apart at the seams while the Sanders campaign is gathering steam.  In politics, a day is a lifetime and a week is eternity, so the whole picture could be topsy-turvy by next week.  Harry Hoffman’s observations during the North Dakota Legislature’s 1935 session, are the same today as they were 81 years ago, though, and several more entries from Harry’s diary of that interesting time in North Dakota’s history follow: “Friday, February 15, 1935: It has been a good day, or day of fun, for many reasons. In the forenoon we had a meeting of County Chairman and made a number of good changes. The Governor liked the idea of us making recommendations, but, before it is all over we will get what we want or so help us. We make Governors, and we treat the Governor as any other elected official, for that matter. We got into session in the senate at 1 o’clock and about 3 o’clock the compulsory head hail insurance law was brought up. The IRA loved to fight and away we went. When it was brought to a vote the vote was 15 and 32, with 2 absent senators. Bonzer demanded a call of the Senate and I had to go uptown to round up Sen. Link and Sen. Oscar Erickson. In about ½ hour I found first one and then the other. A vote once more and the vote was 15-34 for the hail bill and for the first time in history have they been able to put it over. Today we control both the house and Senate and the campus. Happy I didn’t go into the Capital again.   Jans called Kinzer to have a drink with me. We went into a joint and there sits Chas. Severs, one of the dorkey pair. We took one whisky and a beer for a chaser and another one. It was now time to go to the County Chairman Huteb Cremh and we went to the upstairs in the Sweet Shop. Everybody was there. We sat down, ate and drinked.  Kidded a flock of legislators at our table and listened to a lot of speaches of and about the gallant 62 men that voted for impeachment. We thought this was all a part of the program. They took a picture 3 times and here it was discovered we were in the wrong church. Our supper was at 9 at the Inner Palace. We had attended a supper for the honor of the 62 men that voted for impeachment. Before they went out the County Chairman wants us and we stayed for another lunch and beer. A few crazy speakers and they called upon Chas. Linton. He would not make a speech and told a story about the clock and the teacher.  I came home at 10 0’clock, 3 sheets to the wind and didn’t even write or read a thing.  Another good day.  February 16, 1935: At 10 o’clock we had a meeting of the County Chairmen and got into session and they changed the whole state setup from one end to the other in regard to employment. Board appointed of 5. Committee of 3 and State Executive Committee.  They endorsed Hidmen Manno from Grand Forks for the job of regulation Committee. Townly spoke and told them that they had not done a dam thing for themselves except fight in the inside.  7 grumpy senators, Tim Green, Mikleten, Melvin Johnson, Matthea and Alex Lind went to see the Gov. And demanded the ½ of the patronage, as I got it from the Governors messenger. He told them “nix,” and so they are out of luck for jobs. They would like to know how to retaliate. Ham and Link bought a jug and Ham got tight and ornery. Went to class at 1.  February 17, 1935: Took in a Farmers Union dinner at the Sweet Shop at 2.  Got out at 5. Run into Chas and the fire Chief of Minot. Went to a show and between the Chief and Chas it was one round after another.  Went to bed at 2.  Phimid L. Farren at Fargo is ready to do the job he wants.  Bill Langer is back and told us Darrow has promised him to be at the trial March 19. I told O.C. Anderson I would endorse Snus Strand for a job and Ole was going to write to him.  I am important as heck.  Wrote a letter to Red and Conrad.  February 18, 1935: About 10 o’clock O. R. Kinger and I went to governor Langer. There was Grapectt, Matt Dahl, Jim Melog, Bill himself, Kimzer and I. The question was who stood the best chance of getting elected in the State of North Dakota at the President’s Election. Franklin Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt, or Huey Long. It was our opinion that it would be Huey Long.  There was a resolution drawn up to call Senator Neye in and prove that there was untold graft in the Registry and a committee of 5 was appointed to have a investigation.  All Lawyers and Attorneys carried. The committee was appointed and the resolution was to be brought up today but it did not. Chas Stevens from VC was celebrating. We had dinner at the Capitol. A bill came up whereby no legislator could be appointed by the Governor for any position as long as this legislator held that position. The Farmers Union Block fought for their bonzer against it. The report was currant the Gov might put Bonzer in the Mill. The Farmers Union rumpers wanted the Mill and when they seen the Gov last Friday and discovered that they were out, they went looking for blood. Twice they voted and Bonzer won by one vote. Senator Matthew went out and did not come back until after voting. Bonzer was mad but satisfied. The session lasted til six. I filed 2 applications for jobs for Less Farran and Miss Litchfield. And that was that.”  Tune in next week for the next installment from Harry Hoffman’s Diary.

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.  Don’t forget to patronize your local Post Office, and remember 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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