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2011 in review

By Staff | Jan 13, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the second installment of the Year in Review for 2011. The first part was in the Jan. 7 issue of The Tribune.


Don’s Drive In in Rugby is destroyed by fire on Saturday, June 25. With fire, smoke, and water damage the business, which has served Rugby for the past 22 years, is a total loss.

Sidewalks near elementary schools and Ellery Park are replaced with funding from a $150,000 Safe Routes to School grant plus $50,000 the city had budgeted for the project. The work was completed by August.

High winds on June 25 wreaked havoc in the town of Barton in the NW corner of Pierce County. The winds were clocked at 100 mph by a local resident with a wind meter. While the wind was whipping around uprooting large trees, some 1600 lb bales at Bruce and Lori Gronvold’s place rolled over and a few blew up from the pressure, according to Lori.

A new water meter system which had been installed in June in Rugby was causing concern in July. The glitches in the system were discovered and remedied.

All School Reunion June 30-July 4 was a trip down memory lane. Riitta-Liisa Arni. b. Halme visited in Rugby. The grandmother of five who was simply called Rita Halme when she attended RHS with the Class of 1960 as the first foreign exchange student in Rugby.

The 125th (Quasquicentennial) Celebration swelled the town of Rugby by over 2,000 more people from June 30-July 4. Many activities including the Pierce County Fair kept people entertained.

Amy Bryn retires on July 30 after 25 years as Rugby librarian.

Rugby residents awoke to the sound of sirens warning them to take cover on July 20 at 6:45 a.m. No lives were lost and no injuries reported in the storm that took down a shop, stripped roofs off outbuildings, uprooted large trees and damaged some crops in parts of the county.

Rugby Police Department arrests one adult and one juvenile after the police were tipped off by a concerned citizen who noticed suspicious activity on July 23. The two were charged with attempting to break-in to the 3rd Street Station Bar and Grill and Jester’s Lounge


Unemployment is at 4% in Pierce County.

Nine new teachers at Rugby schools include: Ashley Brossart, Kevin Leier, Eric Johnson, Larry Sitter for one semester, Mitchell Meyer, Kari Hall, Samantha Prahm, Stephanie Skeen and Kimberly Desautels.

Dawn Hauck is sworn in as new city auditor for Rugby.

Pierce County Schools have total enrollment of 661. Little Flower has 18 pre-school students registered for 2012. Wolford School has total enrollment of 46 with no kindergarten class. Ely Elementary has 233 students enrolled. Rugby’s 7th and 8th grade classes have a total of 94 students while grades 9-12 totaled 196 students.

A tragic motorcycle accident claims the life of Daryl Kuhnhenn at the age of 62 on Sunday, Sept. 18. The business community mourns the loss of one of its own.


Downtown Rugby welcomes a new business, Hometown Quilting owned by Glenn and Vicki Falkner. It is located at 127 South Main Avenue (next door to Senior Center).

The Rugby Job Development Authority (JDA) purchases 14 acres of land for housing development. It is located north of Highway 2 and east of the walking path. the Rugby area has been experiencing a housing shortage for the last couple of years and the JDA has been working on the shortage for at least that long.

Damaged roads and how to get them repaired has bee on the minds of the county commissioners. They are prioritizing by working farm to market roads first.

HAMC sees first profit from operations in many years. The facility has gone from great to excellent. HAMC’s Long Term Care received an excellent state survey and received a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. HAMC experienced growth in a number of areas this year, including an additional physician and two mid-level providers.

A new floor for the Rugby Armory is expected to be installed the first week in November. The cost is $53,000.

Harvest wrapped up at the end of October with rades 9-12 totaled 196 students.

Damaged roads and how to get them repaired has been on the minds of the county commissioners. They are prioritizing by working farm to market roads first.

Harvest wrapped up at the end of October with yields average to below average.

A legislative redistricting plan eliminates District 7 and adds Pierce County to District 14, which is 130 miles long.

Rugby Boys Cross Country Team takes State Championship.


Veterans Day activities held at Memorial Hall.

County Commissioners discuss 2% raises and paying all of the health benefit increases for employees. Employees unhappy as they had heard they were budgeted for 3% raises.

Carla Marks resigns as Clerk of Court effective Dec. 31. Assistant Clerk of Court Kathy Blessum is retiring at the end of the year. This will leave a big gap in the clerk of court offices for the commissioners to fill. Marks worked at the courthouse for 26 years. Another courthouse employee, Peggy Burgard, secretary for the Pierce County Agent’s office, had submitted her resignation to the commissioners two weeks earlier.

No natural gas for Rugby. Mayor Dave Cichos requested that Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) look into running a natural gas line to Rugby. They discovered in the process that the project would be cost-prohibitive. It would cost $6.5 million just to get the pipeline to the edge of town.

Heart of America Medical Center (HAMC) welcomes new technology. An emergency room nurse in Sioux Falls, SD is just a phone call away and will appear on the monitor screen in a patient’s ICU room or emergency room at HAMC. Doctors are also available for consultation. The equipment can zoom in on a patient’s rash or wound for diagnostic purposes. This technology has lots of uses, one of which is that it reduces care delay caused by inclement weather.


Colleen Stutrud accepts clerk of court appointment. Cynthia Sayles has been hired as deputy clerk of Pierce County.

City approves sewer rate increase which includes residences, motels, and campgrounds. The rates had not been raised for at least ten years.

RHS principal, David Zwingel to retire at end of 2011-12 school year.

State Senator Ryan Taylor, rural Towner, announces his candidacy for governor of ND.

Pierce County’s taxable sales and purchases increase from 19% over last year.

The City of Rugby’s sales taxes revenue was totaled at $633,701.89 for 2011. This was an increaseof $91,609.54 from the 2010 figure of $542,092.24. This is the second year of a 2 cent city sales tax which changed from 1% to 2% in 2009.

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