News & Events

The Rooster Crows – December 8, 2017

Blow ye winds, Hi-Ho, coming in with ice and snow!  Winds of 45 to 55 mph pummeled this area on several occasions last week, the final blow being inflicted by the dreaded Polar Vortex that added rain, snow and ice for a nasty combination on the afternoon and evening of Monday, December 4.  The blowing snow resulted in white-out conditions for a while on Monday, leading to “No Travel” advisories by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.  Sargent Central, a school with a long-standing reputation for braving any kind of weather, sent its students home at 12:30 p.m., and Sargent County Sheriff Travis Paeper closed the County Courthouse at 3:00 p.m.  Predictions of up to 6 inches of snow were not realized, though, and normal activities resumed on Tuesday morning.  We have survived the first winter storm of the season.  We can do the rest of the winter standing on our heads!

County Sheriff Travis Paeper reports that an Oakes woman narrowly avoided serious injury in a 1 car roll over on ND Highway #11 near the Sargent-Dickey County Line at about 2:30 on Monday afternoon.  The woman pulled out to pass the vehicle in front of her, lost control of her car on the icy road surface and rolled over into the deep drainage ditch on the south side of the highway.  The driver of the vehicle she had been trying to pass happened to be glancing at his rearview mirror when the car rolled, and called 911 to report the incident.  According to Sheriff Paeper, the visibility was so bad and the ditch is so deep and steep that had the other driver not witnessed the rollover at the time it happened, the car and driver would very likely have been upside down at the bottom of the ditch for a long time before being discovered.  As it was, she and 3 dogs were rescued from the wreck with only minor injuries.  It was while directing rescue efforts at the roll over site that the Sheriff made the decision to close the County Courthouse early.  “The visibility was so bad,” he said, “that it seemed best to send everyone home while there was still some daylight left.”  Only 2 more weeks until the days start to lengthen again, but right now daylight is in short supply.  Whatever happened to all of that daylight we deposited into the Daylight Savings Time plan last Summer?

Three of Rutland’s Wise Men, 1 from the northwest corner and 2 from the east side of town: Rodney Erickson; Norbert Kulzer; and, Mac Pherson; decorated the Community Christmas Tree on Main Street with strings of lights on Friday, December 1.  The 3 took advantage of a lull in the wind and the availability of Rodney’s high lift to get the job done on Friday morning.  They even got the Christmas Star fastened to the peak of the 20’ blue spruce that had been donated by Joe & Patty Breker.  The tree was one of several that the Brekers have had to cull from the grove at their Tewaukon Township farmstead in recent years in order to allow the rest of the trees room to grow.  With that tree lighting the way, Santa Claus should have no trouble finding Rutland on Christmas Eve.

Speaking of Santa, the jolly old elf will be making his 72nd annual pre-Christmas visit to Rutland on Saturday, December 9 to take part in the Rutland Community Club’s Santa Claus Day activities.  The action is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and Santa will be on hand to visit with kids of all ages, pose for pictures and award Christmas turkeys donated by local businesses and individuals. The Rutland Community Club will be serving home made soup and sandwiches from the Town Hall kitchen.  Everyone is invited.

Austin Streifel of West Fargo and 2 friends, Dawson Streifel and Jared Cowan, also of the West Fargo area, were hunting pheasants around Rutland on Saturday and Sunday, December 2 & 3.  Austin reports that they hunted on lands of the Tewaukon National Wildlife Refuge near Lake Tewaukon and on private land in Ransom Township, southeast of Rutland.  They bagged 4 ring neck roosters on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  Jared has a young hunting dog that he has been training for the past year and a half, and Austin reports that the dog performed like a champ, flushing birds that they never would have seen, and retrieving downed birds that they never would have found without the dog’s assistance.  The trio plans to return to Rutland for at least one more hunt before the end of the season.  Austin is employed at Air Mechanical in West Fargo, where he works with Rutland native Todd Sjothun.  The trio of hunters resided in the Bagley House at 301 First Street during their stay here.

Roger Pearson reports that the unseasonably mild temperatures of the last couple of weeks, with the assistance of the high winds that have recently hammered the area, had cleared a number of area lakes of ice by Friday and Saturday, December 1 & 2.  Roger took advantage of the situation to try his hand at fishing from the shore at Lake Tewaukon last Sunday, December 3.  He reports that there seemed to be plenty of Open water, but no fish.  The walleyes, it is feared, have already become accustomed to anglers fishing through the ice, and refuse to bite on any bait that isn’t dangling straight down from a hole drilled through the frozen surface of the lake.  The memory of a fish, scientists have found, lasts for 1.5 to 3 seconds, depending on the mental capacity of the fish.  This means that they are all eligible for election to the Congress.

The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 4, in the Rutland Town Hall.  Following is a report of the meeting from City Auditor Debbie Banish: “The meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Mayor Ronald Narum with Council Members Erickson, Lysne, Mahrer, and Siemieniewski present. City Auditor Banish was also present.  Minutes: Approved November 6, 2017 minutes.  2018 Meeting Schedule: Adopted the 2018 schedule with the same day/time -meetings held on the first Monday of each month at 5:00 p.m. except holidays when the Council will meet on the second Monday of the month.  Beer and Liquor License: Approved The Lariat Bar & Grill liquor license for January 1 through June 30, 2018 and the 2018 beer license.  2018 Fees and Charges: Approved 2018 Fees and Charges. – Fees were adopted for Conditional Use Permits and Variances and the separate fee for Sunday liquor was eliminated as the fee is no longer allowed under HB1245 this past session (it’s included in their license).  ND Department of Health Contract: Approved ND Department of Health, Division of Microbiology, agreement effective January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 to perform all bacteriological analyses and required rechecks necessary to comply with current department drinking water regulations.  Financials: Approved November Financial Reports – Garbage fund has a $46.34 balance!  Bills:  Approved payment of bills from the general fund.  Next meeting January 8, 2018.”  Thanks to Debbie for the report. The official minutes of the Rutland City Council are available online at

Rutland native Leif Sundlie was a dinner guest at the Rutland Senior Citizens Center at Noon on Tuesday, December 5, accompanied by his daughter & son-in-law, Debbie & Jim Fust of Park City MT, and by his youngest son, Chuck Sundlie of Rutland.  Leif, a youthful 94, resides at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon.  He had suffered a fractured hip several months ago, but has made an excellent recovery from that incident.  Janet Kiefer, cook at the Rutland Seniors Center, reports that 18, many of them Leif’s old friends and acquaintances, were on hand to enjoy a spaghetti dinner with Leif.  There are still many who remember Leif’s exploits on the baseball diamond during the Hay-Day of the Rutland Roosters baseball team back in the 1940’s and 50’s.  His record for the most strike-outs in a single game in the North Dakota State Amateur Baseball Tournament still stands more than 65 years later.  The team from Makoti was the victim of Leif’s masterful pitching.  It should be noted that Leif made a considerable sacrifice to visit old friends here on Tuesday.  They were serving Leif’s favorites, lutefisk and lefse, for dinner at the Veterans Home that day, but they did promise to save some for him.  Youngsters who want to improve their baseball skills should follow Leif’s example, and eat their lutefisk.  It’s not just for breakfast any more!

With ice and snow on the ground, and the northwest wind bearing down on North Dakota, it’s easy to forget that it ain’t that way all over the country.  Paul Anderson of this community recently received a message from his UND college roommate back in the 1970’s, Ross ND native Don Hynek of Ventura CA.  According to Don, he and his wife, Sandy, have had to evacuate their home in Ventura due to the wildfires being blown in by the 70 mph “Santa Ana winds” sweeping in out of Death Valley.  As of Tuesday, December 5, Mr. Hynek reported that the fire was “just up the hill behind the house,” but it appeared that it might be blown on past without serious damage to their home.  Homes and property valued in the billions of dollars have already been consumed by the fires that ravaged California from the Mexican border to north of San Francisco this year.  Rutland native Darby (Brakke) Sebree, and her husband, Robert, recently sent the following message to friends here concerning the fire danger in their neighborhood of Los Angeles: “…While we are in no imminent danger from fire, with the winds whipping around and the fire companies spread thin, everyone is in danger should a dissatisfied spark decide to go all “Trump” on us and decide to make noise and wreak havoc.  It’s been a bad year in Southern California for fire and rainfall and winds.  It’s a cycle that seems to be the “new norm” and one that perpetuates itself with greater and greater consequences each year.  I know that the ND blizzards are not exactly pleasant but both Darby and I have been away from such weather long enough now that we have forgotten the downside and romanticize cold, miserable conditions with reverent nostalgia.  I am sure it would take just one nasty winter to set us straight, but we are honestly jealous when we hear about your conditions.  As you know, Darby longs all year for the holidays and I’m no Scrooge but it is hard to get into the spirit of the Holidays when you are wearing sunscreen and cranking up the AC!  Wishing you a warm and happy holiday season!”  Thanks to Robert & Darby for the report.  Maybe the Polar Vortex is not quite as bad as a Santa Ana wind.

Well, the Senate passed its version of the GOP tax plan last Friday, and the final version, after reconciliation with the House version, is expected to be approved by both chambers of the Congress to be sent to the White House for the President’s signature within the week.  The President calls it a “massive middle-class tax cut,” and he’s right, if your idea of the Middle class is folks who have an income of $1 million, or more, each year.  That group, according to the Census Bureau, includes 0.2% of American households.  Those folks, according to the Congressional Budget Office will pay $5.7 trillion less in taxes to the Federal Government over the next 10 years.  If you’re a deficit hawk, that may give you some cause for concern, as the Federal Government has been operating with a deficit ever since G. W. Bush became President back in 2001.  His Administration’s final budget for 2008-09 had an annual deficit of more than $1 trillion, and his Vice-President, Dead-eye Dick Cheney, said “Deficits don’t matter.”  But Americans will be happy to know that the new GOP experiment in “trickle down economics” will not produce an additional $5.7 trillion in deficit spending.  The Congress has addressed that matter by requiring those Americans with annual incomes from $50,000 to $125,000 per year to pay $4.2 trillion more in Federal taxes over the next 10 years, reducing the increase in deficit spending to a puny $1.5 trillion.  They plan to attempt further reductions in the deficit by gutting Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and by cutting or eliminating Federal infrastructure improvement programs.  They know what they’re doing!  After all, GOP Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa recently said that people who already have plenty of money will invest their tax cut to improve the economy, while those Americans who don’t have that much just waste their money on “women, booze and going to the movies.”  You can’t make this stuff up!  Well, at least it’s nice to know that he’s thinking of our welfare, keeping us from becoming immoral wastrels!  Does he think that women spend their money on women, too, or is it just men that he’s worried about?  Of course, the GOP’s support of that Populist Practitioner of Pedophilia, Senate candidate Roy Moor of Alabama, seems to belie their concern for the moral welfare of American women.  Meanwhile, the President is abandoning 70 years of American leadership in the world, and yips and yaps around Vladimir Putin’s heels like a puppy seeking his master’s approval.  The old Chinese curse is “May you live in interesting times,” and China has given us North Korea to make sure that we do.  Fortunately for us, there are now 45 weeks down and only 163 weeks to go until January 20, 2021.  Fifty years ago, Bob Dylan was singing “The times they are a’changin’” but neither he nor we ever thought that they would be changing like this.

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 Facebook page while you’re wandering around in cyberspace, 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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