News & Events

The Rooster Crows – August 4, 2017

Well, maybe it really is a drought! The .05 of an inch of precipitation that fell on Rutland on Sunday evening, July 30, hardly qualified as a rain, or even as a heavy dew, but it’s all we got so we might as well brag about it. The dry weather has been welcomed by those with wheat fields to harvest, though, and the combines have been rolling throughout Sargent County this week. Reports of yield and quality are running from good to outstanding, and the market price of wheat has been the one bright spot in the commodity markets lately. Reliable definite bushel per acre figures have been difficult to obtain, however. One local wheat producer reported that he arrived in town late one morning and was unable to join in the discussion of wheat yields then in progress because, “All of the good numbers were already taken.” Just goes to show that you still have to get up early in the morning to be a success around here.

Maguire Iron of Sioux Falls SD had a crew in town to do regular maintenance and cleaning on the municipal water tower on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 25. They found the tower and tank to be in good shape, the result of regular maintenance by City Dads & Moms during the 63 years since the water system was installed and the water tower constructed back in 1954. Mayor Narum reported that there was a brief interruption in water service when the tank was drained for inspection, but regular water pressure was restored within 15 minutes, a small inconvenience to ensure a reliable supply of good water.

The members of Bergman-Evenson Post #215 of the American Legion met at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, in the American Legion Hall/Rutland Fitness Center. The Adjutants report indicated that approximately $2,300 was on hand for Post activities in the community. Two new members have joined the Post since the membership drive commenced at the end of June, and several other potential members have been contacted, Commander Christensen reported. Members voted to contribute $200 to the Lidgerwood Babe Ruth Baseball Program to help defray the team’s expenses while attending the State Babe Ruth Baseball Tournament in Thompson ND on Friday & Saturday, July 28 & 29. A new sidewalk and ramp to the front door of the Legion Hall has been installed, replacing the old sidewalk and step that were becoming dangerous, and the Post will have new handrails installed prior to Uff-Da Day on October 1. Plans to conduct meat raffles as fund raisers have been put on hold. A note from Miss Hannah Siemieniewski thanking Post members for their assistance with her trip to Music Camp at the International Peace Garden earlier this Summer had been received, reported Commander Christensen. The next meeting of Post #215 will be held at the call of the Commander. Current officers of Post #215 are: Commander, Larry Christensen; Vice-Commander, Tom Manley; Adjutant, Douglas Olstad; Chaplain, Theodore Lee; and, Sergeant at Arms, Calvin Jacobson.

Friends here were saddened last week when word was received that Rutland native Jeanne (Gast) Kessel had passed away on Tuesday, July 25, after a courageous struggle with cancer. She had attained the age of 70 years 3 months and 6 days at the time of her death. Jeanne Marie Gast was born April 19,1947, three minutes older than her twin sister, Jackie, in Breckenridge, MN to Ernest and Mary (Zupon) Gast. The Gast family made their home on the farm in the NE¼ of Section 28 in Ransom Township, about 2 ¾ miles east of Rutland. Jeanne attended Rutland Elementary School through the 7th Grade, and her class was the first in the Rutland school system to attend Kindergarten. Some of her classmates were: her sister, Jackie Gast; Patricia Anderson; Bruce Bauman; Lynnette Aus; David Sundlie; Carolyn Jacobson; Douglas Olstad; Harold Young; Richard Nelson; Earl Fust; and others. In 1960 the family made the big move from the farm at Rutland up to the big city of Fargo. Jeanne attended eighth grade at St. Mary’s, then went on to Shanley High School where she made some more lifelong friends. She started working at the Dutch Maid Café with her longtime friend, Dorothy Barlow, and while working there with her sisters, Cecelia and Jackie, she met the love of her life, Larry Kessel, a student at the barber college across the street. They were married on May 26, 1973. After their marriage they resided at Bowman ND where Larry worked as a barber and Jeanne was a housewife. They decided to move back to Fargo when Larry went to work at the Fargo VA.  In March of 1976, their son, Benjamin J. Kessel, was born. “He always made her smile, up to her last hours,” Jeanne’s family recalls. She worked as housekeeping supervisor at TNI for ten years, and served as den mother for BJ’s Scouts, too. Jeanne & Larry were regulars at the Rutland Alumni Association’s School Reunions, and also rarely missed an Uff-Da Day visit to the old home town. After Larry retired from the Fargo VA, they enjoyed traveling and exploring the USA. They drove to the east coast, covered 19 states, all 5 great lakes and 3 Canadian provinces in 34 days and 8400 miles, including Mount Washington in New Hampshire, where Jeanne drove to the summit. The highlight of the trip for her was the Crayola factory and the Jell-O museum. They had planned a trip to the west coast for this coming Fall, but that was not to be. Jeanne is survived by: her husband, Larry “Smooch” Kessel of Fargo; her son, Ben “BJ” Kessel of Fargo; 3 sisters: Patricia Buchanan of Mankato MN; Cecelia Gast of Fargo ND; and, Jackie Grenstiner of Black Hawk SD; by 1 brother: Anthony “Bud” Gast of Colorado Springs CO; and, by many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents, Ernest and Mary Gast, and by 1 sister, Mary (Gast) Leonard.  A prayer service was held at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 30, at the Bolger Funeral Home and Celebration of Life Center in Fargo. The Funeral Mass for Jeanne Marie (Gast) Kessel was at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, July 31, at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Fargo, with burial at Holy Cross Cemetery North. Bolger Funeral Home of Fargo was in charge of arrangements. The Rutland community extends its sympathy to the family and friends of Jeanne Kessel, a kind, caring and joyful person who always remembered her friends, and never forgot where she was from.

Joe & Patty Breker arrived back home on Thursday, July 27, after a 2-week trip to Washington DC, during which Joe attended meetings of the National Corn Growers Association and met with members of Congress concerning agricultural issues. The Brekers were joined in Washington by their son and daughter-in-law, Phil & Lindsey Breker of Plymouth MN and their 9 children. Joe stated that the children handled the Metro, Washington’s subway system, National Monuments and museums with ease, and, to the best of Joe’s knowledge, everything that was intact when they arrived was still intact at their departure. Phil, Lindsey and family also visited the great Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg PA where, 154 years ago on July 3, 1863, President Lincoln finally found a General who could stop the Confederate Army under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and the tide of the war turned against the Confederacy and in favor of the Union. Joe reported that 3 of the grandchildren had the honor of accompanying their congressman, Representative Erick Paulson of Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District, onto the floor of the U. S. House of Representatives, and to be present while a vote was being cast on national legislation. One of the boys happened to be wearing a Fargo Marathon T-shirt that attracted the attention of North Dakota Congressman Kevin Cramer who also came over to introduce himself to the Breker boys. One of the grandsons told Joe that being on the floor of the House was the most memorable event of the family trip to Washington. On Friday morning, July 28, Joe was inspecting fields and concluded that during the 2 weeks of his absence the crops had made considerable progress and were still looking pretty good. A little more rain would be welcome, but that’s one thing that can’t be arranged in Washington, or in Rutland, either.

Miss Opal Brown, daughter of Jim & Shari Brown of this community, became the bride of Mr. Nicholas Jones on Saturday, July 29, in an outdoor ceremony held in the backyard of her grandparent’s, Jerry & Jeanne Leinen’s, home at 124 Cooper Street. Ms. Gretchen Vann, a minister of the Universal Life Church, officiated at the ceremony. A reception for family and friends was held at the Rutland Town Hall following the wedding. Reversing the usual custom, the groom has opted to take the bride’s last name, and henceforth the newlyweds will be known as Mr. & Mrs. Brown. Nicholas & Opal are making their home in Fargo, where both are employed. The Rutland community extends congratulations to Nicholas & Opal Brown on the occasion of their marriage, and best wishes to them for a long and happy life together.

Trent Nelson had his TON Construction crew, consisting of Wyatt Nelson and Ray Peralles, assisted by Tyson Siemieniewski & Braeden Siemieniewski, at work completing the sidewalk replacement project on the north side of Gay Street ½ block east of Main Street during the first half of the week. The project had been halted last week to accommodate the Nicholas & Opal Brown wedding reception in the Rutland Town Hall. The first half of the job, from the Veterans Memorial east to Bagley Street, including the sidewalk and ramp into the Legion Hall/Fitness Center, had been completed by Friday, July 21. Cement was being poured on the morning of Wednesday, August 2, for the remaining section of sidewalk, curb & gutter, and the apron into the front door and kitchen entrance of the Town Hall. The old concrete sidewalk, some of it installed in 1982 and some much older, had deteriorated badly, and the improvement was sorely needed. Rutland’s community leaders are to be commended for getting the job done.

Jim Lunneborg reports that, during his recent visit to the Allis-Chalmers Exposition at Hutchinson MN, he happened to spot a concession stand selling souvenir caps. The caps, Jim said, all had “Make America Great Again” embroidered on them. He picked one up to check it out, tipped it over and saw the label on the inside that read, “Made In China.” So much for campaign slogans! Jim put the cap down and walked on without making a purchase.

For history buffs, this coming Monday, August 7, will be the 75th anniversary of a milestone on the American march to victory in the Pacific during World War II. On that date back in 1942, the First Marine Division under the command of Gen. A. A. Vandegrift waded ashore on the islands of Guadalcanal & Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. The Marines seized an airfield that the Japanese military had been constructing for its operations aimed at the conquest of Australia. The August 7, 1942, invasion, 8 months to the day since the Japanese attack on America’s naval base at Perl Harbor, Hawaii, was the first offensive action taken by American forces against the Axis forces of Japan, Germany & Italy. Three years and 1 week later, on August 14, 1945, Japan accepted the “unconditional surrender” terms set out by America and its allies, and World War II was over. North Dakota Army National Guardsmen, members of the 164th Infantry Regiment, joined the Marines on Guadalcanal at the end of September 1942, and within a few weeks were on the front line of one of the most horrific battles of the Guadalcanal campaign. Among the soldiers of the 164th were Dennis Prindiville and Ben Thornberg of Rutland and 2 of Irene Anderson’s half-brothers, Les & Norman Henjum. Gen. Vandegrift, commander of all U. S. forces on the island at that time, was so impressed with the combat effectiveness of the North Dakotans in the Battle of Bloody Ridge that he referred to them as “the 164th Marines.” Today, as in 1942, North Dakota’s National Guard units serve shoulder to shoulder with regular Army and Marine Corps units in war zones, hot spots and danger areas around the world. Seventy-five years later, time and age have almost eliminated the line of strong men armed that Japanese bombs, bullets and bayonets could not bend, but the tradition of excellence they established lives on in those who wear the uniform today.

Meanwhile, on the national scene, with 28 weeks down and 180 weeks to go, the revolving door at the White House is spinning so fast that it is said to be responsible for the change in wind patterns along the East Coast. Even the climate change deniers are having trouble disputing that one!

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 Uff-Da Day and Rutland Facebook pages 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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One Comment

  1. Pat (Gast) Buchanan
    Posted August 6, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Hi Bill, thank you for the very nice article on my sister, Jeanne (Gast) Kessel. She was a sweet and loving sister, and an inspiration to all of us as she courageously dealt with health issues, especially over the last ten years. We will miss her dearly. Your tribute to her is very much appreciated by the family.
    I am so glad Bud was able to see the veterans monument at Rutland last week with Cec and Jeanne’s husband and son. My husband and I were there with Cec to see it a couple of years ago. We were very impressed with the nice job done by the community to honor Rutland’s vets. Well done!!!

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