It was 7:00 p.m. on Friday, August 1, 2014. At least that’s what it was when the house lights went down, the stage lights came up and the curtain opened on Entertainment Unlimited’s 19th annual Childrens Summer Theater production, “There Ought To Be An App For That,” in the Rutland Town Hall. It didn’t take long, though, for both the date and time to take a dramatic change. Using a little known smart phone application, 3 time travelers stayed in one place, right here in Rutland, North Dakota, but traveled back in time for more than a century, to 1900, and then made stops in 1930, 1970 and 1990 on their way back to the present, meeting up with their great-great grandparents, great grandparents, grandparents and parents on the way. With snappy dialogue, period jokes and contemporary music, the time travelers and their ancestors demonstrated the old truth that the more things change, the more they stay the same. The cast included: Jacob Mehrer; Emma Howey; Gaven Christianson; Josephine Nelson; Thomas Mehrer; Hannah Siemieniewski; Cora McKinney; Jaylin Fulin; Abbey Erickson; Tyson Siemieniewski; Devonte Allen; Tyler Banish; and, Gabi Christianson. Musical numbers performed by the cast were: You’re A Grand Old Flag; God Bless America; The Ragged Old Flag; and, God Bless The USA. The play was directed by Diane Smith. Barry Christianson and Brad Siemieniewski set up the stage; Shannon & Hilary Mehrer worked with the sound system and stage sets; and, Ron Narum set up the lighting for the performance. The large crowd in attendance thoroughly enjoyed the performance, which had them laughing from beginning to end. Congratulations to Entertainment Unlimited on another successful production.
The big performance was on Rutland’s Main Street on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, August 2, as a dozen rib chefs demonstrated their skill and practiced their art for the benefit of the gathered throng of rib aficionados in the 6th Annual Rutland Rib Fest. Prior to serving their wares to the public, each chef submitted a sample of his or her ribs to a panel of 3 judges: Pastor Liesebet Gravley of Rutland; rib expert Mark Wyum of Rutland; and Gerald Martin of Sequim WA, father of Rebecca Christensen; to determine who made the “Best Ribs In Rutland” for 2014. As the judges tasted and pondered, diners enjoyed ribs, sauerkraut, corn on the cob, chicken on a stick, cotton candy and other delights prepared and served by vendors on Main Street. The “Earl Fust Band” entertained the early crowd with Golden Oldies from the outdoor stage set up at the intersection of First (Main) Street and Front Street, and the “Raw Sugar” band took over as the sun went down to keep the crowd dancing in the street well into the late evening. Miss Rutland, Hailey Hamilton, sponsored 2 fund-raisers: a “dunk tank” that offered chances to hit the target with a baseball, plunging a volunteer victim into a tub of cold water, that raised funds for the Rutland Park District; and, a bake sale that soldd home-baked breads cakes and cookies to support the training of “Sarge” the service dog. Among those who volunteered to take a dunking for a good cause were Rib Fest promoter Debbie Liermark and local handyman Jim Brown of Rutland. Winner of the Best Ribs In Rutland title for 2014 was Lisbon native, now Milnor businessman, Lee Hanna, who recently acquired ownership of Chunky’s Standard Service Station in Milnor. 2nd place went to another Milnorite, Harold Thorson, who has competed in all 6 Rib Fest events and markets his special barbecue sauce in many local retail establishments. Third place and the People’s Choice Award went to the Mahrer brothers, Mike & Kyle, of Rutland, for their Mahrer-B-Que ribs, prepared with their own “secret recipe” rub and sauce. For dessert, the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary served pie, ice cream and coffee in the Seniors’ Center. During the early hours of the event, many sought refuge from the heat of the sun in the cool air-conditioned interiors of the Lariat Bar, the Seniors’ Center, The Rutland General Store and The Old Parsonage, but as the evening progressed it became obvious that Rib Fest attendees had been blessed with a perfect Summer evening – no wind, comfortable temperature, no mosquitoes, stars in Heaven, good ribs, good music and good friends. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
The Nordland and Trinity Lutheran congregations of Rutland and Havana bade farewell to Pastor Liesebet Gravely at a combined service held in the Pioneers’ Pavillion at Silver Lake Park at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 3. The service was followed by a pot-luck dinner in the Park. Pastor Gravley has served the 2 congregations for the past year as an intern in a co-operative program sponsored by the Nordland and Trinity congregations, the Eastern North Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran seminaries sponsored by the ELCA. Pastor Gravley will be returning to the seminary in Chicago to conclude her pastoral training before ordination. Her final services at Nordland and Trinity will be on Sunday, August 10, and she has also promised to conduct a wedding ceremony in Rutland on Saturday, August 16. Retired Pastor Curt Larson, a member of the Nordland Congregation, will be conducting Sunday services on August 17, and the new intern pastor, Erik Karlson, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday, August 21. It is reported that Pastor Karlson had experience in the U. S. military and in private business prior to being called to the ministry.
The Rutland City Council met at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4, with Mayor Ron Narum, City Auditor Debbie Banish, and Aldermen Brad Christensen, Rodney Erickson, Mike Mahrer and Bertha Siemieniewski present. The financial report showed all funds to be in the black. The Council approved 3 applications for raffles, one to the Rutland American Legion Auxiliary for a Quilt Raffle on Sunday, October 19, one to the Wild Turkey Federation for a gun raffle on Sunday, December 6, and one to the Sargent County Chapter of Pheasants Forever for a gun raffle on Sunday, December 6. The Council also adopted 2 resolutions, one authorizing the County Auditor to levy up to 1 mill against the taxable value of property in Rutland to support the County Park at Silver Lake, and the other requesting that the question as to whether the City of Rutland should be authorized to grant a property tax exemption as an incentive to improve or construct retail business property within the City of Rutland be placed on the November General Election Ballot. Both resolutions were adopted, unanimously. Council members discussed several delinquent water, sewer and garbage collection accounts that exceeded $200.00, and decided that the time had come to start turning off the water service to thos properties. The Council also discussed the matter of collecting for the expense of removing a derelict mobile home from the Cityback in June. Information obtained by the City had indicated that the derelict property was owned by Kyle Mahrer, but Mr. Mahrer now denies that he was the owner and disputes the assertion that he is responsible for the cost of removal. The Council tabled the matter pending further investigation. Due to the Labor Day Holiday on Monday, September 1, the next meeting of the Rutland City Council will be at 5:00 p.m. on either Tuesday, September 2 or Monday, September 8, in the Rutland Town Hall.
The Rutland Community Club met at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4, in the Rutland Town Hall. Lori McLaen updated members on preparations for Rutland’s 30th Annual Uff-Da Day, scheduled for Sunday, October 5, 2014. Bill Anderson reported that the Aberdeen SD Fire Department Pipe & Drum Marching Bagpipe Band that led the Uff-Da Day Parade back in 2012, will be back in the Uff-Da Day Parade in 2014. Paul Anderson reported that plans are also moving ahead for the Uff-Da Day pedal-powered tractor pull. Lefse production for Uff-Da Day will commence later this month, Lori reported. Club members also discussed the possible acquisition of a sweeper bucket for the City’s Bobcat, the purchase of new bleachers for use at Lou Sanderson Field and for other community events, and the addition of community information to an updated version of the Nordland Lutheran Church sign currently in place along ND Highway #11 north of Rutland. Paul Anderson reported that Prof. Amy Phillips of Minot State University and Prof. Scott Bolduc of Minnesota State University-Moorhead will be at the Rutland Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 11, to present “Coffee, Chickens And Conversation: The Role Of The Post Office In Rural North Dakota.” The presentation is based on research conducted by the 2 professors following the Postal Services aborted attempt to close thousands of Post Offices across rural America back in 2011. Professors Phillips and Bolduc had interviewed several Postal patrons in the Rutland community while gathering information for their report.
Wheat harvest has begun in the Rutland area. Ted Lee reports that Joe Breker was harvesting winter wheat 4 miles south of town on Tuesday, August 5. No report of yield or quality has yet been obtained, so for now, “It sure looks good from the road!” will have to do. Ted states that the harvest of spring wheat will likely begin on the Lee farm within the next week.
Paul Anderson drove to Fargo for a Grape & Wine Association board meeting on Tuesday, August 5. Paul states that grapes are very sensitive to most herbicides, and the grape growers are working with the producers of other ag commodities, as well as with ground and aerial chemical applicators, to minimize adverse impacts from the inadvertent drift of herbicides. Paul also reports that many North Dakota vineyards suffered losses due to the long period of severe cold last winter. Paul is currently serving as secretary of the North Dakota Grape and Wine Association. He has a small vineyard here in Rutland, and he is also a partner with Kurt Breker in a larger vineyard on Kurt’s farm south of Cayuga.
Veblen South Dakota native Dan Tobkin accompanied his father-in-law, Orvis Pearson, to the Rutland Café for coffee, conversation and a hearty breakfast on the morning of Wednesday, August 6. Dan, along with his brothers, John, Joe and Doug, is a former owner of the Spring Valley Cheese Factory that used to be located in Veblen. He states that the family sold the cheese plant back in 1994. Dan and his wife, Cindy, currently make their home in Tucson AZ. His brother Joe lives in New Mexico, John is in Watertown SD and Doug makes his home in Kindred ND. Dan says that he doesn’t miss the Dakota winters, but he is considering becoming a summer “Sunbird” to escape Arizona’s mid-summer heat.
Coming up at the Coteau des Prairies Lodge this weekend is the Neapolitan Pizza event from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 9, and from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Sunday, August 10. The pizzas are hand made, and baked in a super hot, wood fired, brick oven. For reservations, go on line to the Lodge’s internet web site at www.cdplodge.com, or call Olivia at 701-680-1175. Also, don’t forget the First Annual Tewaukon Music Festival featuring several entertainers, including the fantastic “TigrLilly” duet, that will be held on Saturday, August 30, in a natural, outdoor amphitheater near the Lodge. Thirty years from now, when someone says, “Do you remember the first one?” you will want to be able to say, “Remember it? I was there!”
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 www.rutlandnd.com, and stop by the Rutland blog and Facebook page while you’re cruising in cyberspace, too. Remember to keep the pressure on the U. S. Postal Service and the North Dakota Congressional delegation to SAVE OUR POST OFFICE! Just because we managed to hang onto 4 hours of service each day at the Rutland Post Office doesn’t mean that Darrell Issa and other corrupt and venal members of the Tea Party caucus have given up on their quest to destroy the Postal Service in rural America. Be in Rutland on Monday, August 11, to hear the presentation on the role of the Post Office in rural North Dakota. Thanks to Debbie Banish for her excellent writing, and for the great job of reporting community events that she has done for the preceding 7 weeks. When you see her, let her know that you appreciated her efforts. Later.