2013-06-20 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

Friday is the official start of summer, and pleasant summery weather is appropriately in this week’s forecast. Highs should range from 77 to 83 degrees with lows between 53 and 62 degrees. It’s that time of year when thunderstorms are standard for forecasts.

Spiffy pooch

Bertram G. “Bert” Retriever was badly in need of a summer haircut, so we made an appointment with Shawnee at 100X Retrievers near Zeeland. She and Bert got along just fine, and the dog did everything she asked him to do. She rolled him this way and that way and moved one leg or another out of the way, and he did not grumble or resist. He acted like he received haircuts once a week when, in fact, it was only his third in his eight years on the planet.

Now that Bert is fancied up with a new “do,” we are committed to brushing the beast daily. That will reduce his shedding, which will add a few years of life to the vacuum cleaner, and make him look more like the high-dollar pedigreed dog he truly is.

Coming when called

Bert is not a particularly well-mannered dog, and we refer to him as being highly untrained. He is a good hunter because of instinct, not because Fred and I trained him beyond the basics.

I asked Shawnee if we could train Bert to come every time we call, and she assured me that a dog is never too old to learn simple obedience training. Consequently, we’ll be looking into commuting to 100X once a week for training (more for Leah and me than for the dog), and then we will be given homework assignments.

Our first dog, Waldo the Wonder Dog, a basset hound, failed obedience training when we lived in Denver, Colo., despite our dedication to doing the homework, so we are a little “gun shy,” to use a training phrase, about it all. We are hopeful that Bert will be a bit more eager to please than his predecessor. I just hope we are not graded on our progress as dog owners.

Rescuing a printing press

Our trip to Bottineau to remove a Walter Scott & Company pony press from the basement of a bakery and restaurant was successful. The threshing crew dismantled the ancient press and covered a flatbed trailer with parts. Some of the components weighed 750 pounds, and we think the assembled press weighs around 3,500 pounds.

We had hoped the press could be removed intact, but there was no way to do that. So, the crew spent about five or six hours taking it apart, bolt by bolt. In July, we hope to get it back together, bolt by bolt. We took some pictures during the tear-down process, and we hope to find more information about the press and its operation from a museum in Plainfield, N.J., the city where the manufacturing plant was located.

Norman and Twilla Glinz, who own the Bottineau Courant as well as the bakery building generously donated the press as well as the services of their employee, Phillip Brekke.

We hope to have the press assembled, if not working, by show time in September. If you want to help put the beast back together, let me know.

In tribute

We lost a dear friend last week in the death of Alice Kundert, 92, of Mobridge, S.D. She was a native of Mound City, S.D., and served as a Campbell County official before entering state politics and being elected State Auditor and later Secretary of State for South Dakota. Most recently, she served two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives before retiring from public life.

In 1986, she was a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor. Had she won, she would have been the first woman to lead South Dakota. Having known her for years, I can say the state would have been a better place had she been elected. She would have been a great governor, and the state probably would not have gotten into financial difficulty with her at the helm. She would have brought integrity and old-fashioned commonsense to the Governor’s Office, and she had the courage to make tough decisions.

The flag above the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre was lowered to half-staff in honor of her service to the people of the state.

“Alice Kundert was a South Dakota institution for decades,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “Perhaps her most lasting legacy is her work with young people, which inspired many to follow her into public service.”

South Dakota owes much to Alice Kundert and her service over the years. We will miss her spark and enthusiasm and friendship.

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