News & Events

The Rooster Crows – December 29, 2017

A “White Christmas” was assured in Rutland and vicinity with the snow that began falling on Friday, December 22 and continued into Sunday, December 24. The strains of Bing Crosby crooning Irving Berlin’s classic line, “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas,” could almost be heard as sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Day and on Tuesday, December 26, made sure that the snow would be around for a while. The weatherman is predicting 30 below before the end of the week, but, what does he know, anyway?

The sub-zero thermometer readings over the Christmas weekend prompted some discussions of temperature extremes on the northern plains, including a report that back in 1918 a Chinook wind blew into North Dakota out of Montana raising the temperature from 33 below to 50 above in 2 hours. To generate that much hot air the Montana Legislature must have been in session. That information jogged a reminiscence of a story about Montana’s Chinook winds told by one of Rutland’s “Old-Timers,” the late Stellan Ahrlin. Back in 1915, Stellan, along with his parents, K. O. & Britta Ahrlin, and his little sister, Arla, had moved from Rutland to the vicinity of Opine, Montana, up along the “High Line,” where they had taken up homesteads, hoping to strike it rich raising flax on newly broken prairie sod. Stellan recounted that on one bitterly cold winter day he and his Dad had harnessed their driving team, hitched the team to the bob-sleigh and headed west to Opine to pick up some supplies. The snow was deep, and frozen so hard that it nearly struck sparks from the irons on the bob-sleighs runners, Stellan had stated. While Stellan and K. O. were loading supplies into the box on the bob-sleigh at the Opine General Store, a Chinook wind began to blow in from the west, and the temperature began to climb. The two Swedes from Rutland figured that they had better get back to the homestead before the snow softened, making it difficult for the horses to pull the sleigh, so they started off at a brisk trot. But, according to Stellan, the wind velocity increased and the temperature climbed at a rapid rate. Before long, they had the team on a dead run, but the Chinook was outpacing them, melting the snow so fast that, by the time they reached home, the front runners of the bob-sleigh were still in snow, but the rear runners were in the mud. Well, that was Stellan’s story, and who was around back then who can argue with him now? As the late Ray Erickson used to say, “It’s my story, and I’ll tell it the way I want to. When it’s your story, you can tell it your way.” Can’t argue with that!

Mark Wyum’s career as a southpaw pitcher may be a thing of the past after he underwent surgery to remove calcium deposits from his left shoulder at Sanford Hospital in Fargo on Tuesday, December 19. Mark reports that he reported in for the pre-surgery prep at 7:30 a.m., had the surgery at about 11:00, and was out on the street by 2:00 p.m. An old friend, Randy Pearson, drove him up and back. He reports that the pain killers were exceedingly effective, and that recuperation and rehabilitation are going well.

Another of Rutland’s “Iron Men,” Charles “Chuck” Sundlie, had outpatient surgery at Oakes on Monday, December 18, and reports that he will be on the disabled list for about a month. “It only hurts when I laugh,” states Chuck.

Old friends in this community were saddened on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, when word was received here that former Rutland resident and businessman Carl B. Olson had departed this life at the Traverse Care Center in Wheaton, MN. Carl had attained the age of 91 years, 6 months and 20 days at the time of his death. Carl Bernard Olson was born May 30, 1926, on the family farm in Ransom Township, northeast of Rutland, to Olaf and Hilma (Peterson) Olson. He grew up on the farm, enjoying life with his eight siblings, and attended Elementary School at Ransom #2, in the 1 room schoolhouse on the north side of ND #11, 3½ miles east of the Rutland corner. He graduated from Rutland High School in the Class of 1944. On October 10, 1948, Carl was united in marriage to Doris Flados. They farmed, living in a trailer house on the family farm, before moving to Rutland in the mid-1950’s, when he began his career in the propane business, first with Tuloma Gas Co., and then with the propane division of Standard Oil. Their 3 children: JoAnn (Jodie); Donna; and, Terry were born while they resided here. Carl & Doris were active members of the First Baptist Church of Rutland, the PTA, the bowling league at Rutland Recreation and the Rutland Commercial Club/Community Club. He also served on the Rutland City Council. Carl participated in several community plays, and played a memorable role in “Flying To The Moon,” a benefit produced by the Rutland community back in 1967 on behalf of a local farmer who had been disabled in an accident, that was directed by Doris’ Dad, Morgan Flados. Some of Carl’s co-stars included: Ronald Donaldson; Earl Anderson; Ralph Nelson; Irvin Nelson; and, Lou Sanderson. In 1970, the Olson family moved to Britton SD, where Carl worked for Dugdale’s and later Brick Propane. He and Doris decided that they liked their house in Rutland so much that the two-story house made the more than 30-mile move to Britton with them! The house had originally been built at 303 Gay Street in Rutland by Iver Donaldson during the first decade of the 20th Century. In Britton, Carl was actively involved in the United Methodist Church, serving on a number of committees and helping with many congregational projects. He was an avid bowler, enjoyed snowmobiling and showing his big cars in parades and car shows. Carl could fix almost anything, big or small, whether it was a lawnmower, a car, a furnace or a jewelry box. He was a skilled carpenter and built many garages, kitchen cabinets, tables, and countless other useful items. Carl and Doris maintained their ties to the Rutland Community throughout their lives, and never missed a school reunion, celebration, Memorial Day, Uff-Da Day or other community event while their health permitted. They made their home in Britton until 2015, when they moved to Countryside Assisted Living Facility in Rosholt, SD. Carl moved to Traverse Care Center in Wheaton MN in July of 2016, and Doris passed away in August of that year. One of Carl’s greatest sorrows was the loss of his eldest daughter and son-in-law, Jodie and Bob LeCrone, to cancer. Also preceding him in death were his wife, Doris; his parents; 3 brothers: Martin; Woodrow; and, Maurice; and, 1 sister: Myrtle Orth. Surviving to celebrate his life are: 1 daughter, Donna Olson of Fargo ND; 1 son, Terry Olson of Rochester MN; 3 sisters: Alice Seline of Minneapolis MN; Violet Wyum of Rutland; and, Shirley Mahrer of Hankinson ND; 1 brother: Donald Olsonof Minneapolis MN; 2 grandchildren; 1 great-granddaughter on the way; 1 “Foreign Exchange” daughter, Marta Vera-Wenoker of Erie Co; and, a multitude of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.  Carl retained his big smile and bright spirit to the end of his life. The funeral for Carl Olson was at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 27, 2017, in the United Methodist Church of Britton SD, with the Rev. Deb Mack officiating. Interment was in the Rutland Cemetery of Rutland, ND. The Price Funeral Chapel of Britton was in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent to Donna Olson, 2701 12th St S #13, Fargo ND 58103. The family requests that, In lieu of flowers, a donation to a favorite charity or organization be considered. The Rutland community extends condolences to the family and friends of Carl Olson, a good friend who always remembered his home town, old friends and good times.

On the morning of Thursday, December 21, Harvey Bergstrom made his first coffee stop in Rutland since suffering a heart attack back in November, on the evening before Thanksgiving Day. The Assembled Wise Men greeted Harvey with an ovation and cheers of welcome when he came through the door. Harvey reports that he has been diligent in his rehabilitation exercise regimen since his November heart attack, and that he is now down to less than 200 pounds for the first time in 40 years. He states that the electronic circuits in his electric accordion are not a problem for the pacemaker he is now equipped with, but, if he starts to detect a polka beat in his pulse, he will switch to the more relaxing tempo of a good waltz.

Brady Seavert & Dan Klug of Fargo were Rutland visitors on the morning of Thursday, December 21. Brady & Dan reported that they had been hunting pheasants with Greg Donaldson of this community, and that their efforts had paid off with several ring-neck roosters in the game bag. Both Brady and Dan are employed by the Doosan Co., the parent company of Bobcat, and had formerly worked with Paul Anderson of this community prior to his retirement back in 2009.

The “Christmas Open House” held at The Coteau des Prairies Lodge on the afternoon of Saturday, December 23, was very well attended, with all attending impressed by the magnificent 22’ Christmas Tree and other beautiful decorations in the Great Room and throughout the Lodge. The Lodge served coffee, hot chocolate and appetizers to guests, and the bar was open for those who preferred a glass of wine, a stein of beer or something stronger. Congratulations to Lodge Manager Olivia Stenvold, and to the investors who have made this beautiful facility a part of our community.

Christmas brings folks home, to Mom’s good cooking and the comfort of familiar places. The following report was provided by Ione Lunneborg: “Aaron and Marne Lunneborg Franklin of Greer SC; Eric and Sherry Lunneborg of Cambridge MN; and, Noah Ward of Grand Forks ND; spent several days at the Jim and Ione Lunneborg farm home in Shuman Township over the Christmas holiday.” Welcome home to Marne and Eric, and thanks to Ione for the report.

Nordland Lutheran Church had a full house: sanctuary; side room; and, balcony; for the Christmas Eve service held at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 24, with the Rev. Michael Buller officiating. A quintet composed of Steven Wyum, Michael Wyum, Mark Wyum, Marcia Brakke and Margot Ganske, accompanied by Phyllis Wyum on the piano, provided special music for the prelude, “One Small Child,” and during the offering, “Go Tell It On The Mountain”; Gaven Christianson provided trumpet accompaniment for the opening hymn, “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”; and, his sister, Gabrielle “Gabi” Christianson, played a clarinet solo, “We wish You A Merry Christmas,” for the postlude. Gaven and Gabi are the son and daughter of Barry & Jen Christianson of this community. The Christmas Eve service was a joint service for the Nordland Lutheran congregation of Rutland and the Trinity Lutheran congregation of Havana. Pastor Buller had conducted a joint 4th Sunday in Advent service for the 2 congregations at Trinity in Havana at 9:00 on Sunday morning.

The Rutland Senior Citizens’ Center at 109 First Street was the site of 2 family gatherings during the Christmas Holiday. The family of Jerry & Jeanne Leinen gathered for a Christmas Eve supper and gift exchange on the evening of Sunday, December 24; and, the family of Roger & Sharon Pearson held a family Christmas dinner and gift exchange on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25.

Norbert & Beverly Kulzer departed Rutland on the morning of Sunday, December 24, bound for Brandon & Hartford SD, near Sioux Falls, to spend the Christmas holiday with the families of their 2 sons, Stan Kulzer & Stephen Kulzer. The Kulzers returned to their home here on Tuesday, December 26.

Rutland native David Susag, now a resident of Fargo, stopped in at The Lariat for coffee and conversation with the Assembled Wise Men on the morning of Wednesday, December 27. David was on his way to Britton SD to attend the funeral for another Rutland native, Carl Olson. David stated that he hasn’t made any trips to the sunny south, yet, but 20 degrees below zero has him seriously considering the proposition.

Paul Anderson of this community drove to Fargo on Saturday, December 23, and took flight to Phoenix AZ via Delta Airlines early on the morning of Sunday, December 24. Paul and a daughter, Betsy Anderson of Lincoln NE, spent the Christmas holiday with Paul’s mother-in-law, Etha Quinlan, at her home in Sun City West AZ. Paul returned home on Tuesday evening, December 26, in time to enjoy a hefty dose of sub-zero weather. Paul’s eldest daughter and her husband, Katie & Josh Elfering of Seattle WA, flew to London, England, on Christmas Eve to spend the Christmas holiday in the company of Charles Dickens, Marley’s Ghost, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim. For those who may be wondering, Ebeneezer Scrooge is still keeping Christmas, every day of the year, as he has since December 19, 1843, the day that Dickens’ novella, “A Christmas Carol,” was first published. Right on, Ebeneezer!

Meanwhile, on the national scene, there is no sign that Marley’s Ghost or the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future were heard at the highest levels of the U. S. Government this year. The 4 did show up at the White House on Christmas Eve, but the President was busy playing golf at Mira Lago after a strenuous week of accepting the sniveling, groveling adulation of the GOP Congressional Leadership, and could not spare the time to hear any cautionary advice. Rumored Presidential plans to emulate the 1st Century Roman Emperor Caligula by naming a horse to the Senate have reportedly been abandoned because, as anyone who has ever worked with horses knows, a horse occasionally has a mind of its own. As of Friday, December 29, there are 49 weeks down and 159 weeks to go until January 20, 2021. Good luck to Marley’s Ghost and Tiny Tim!

Well, that’s the news from Rutland for this week. For additional information about what’s going on in the little city that can, stop by the community’s internet web site at, and check out the Rutland 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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