Back in January, KX News brought you a story about the smallest town in the state.
The city existed thanks to long-time mayor, 86-year-old Bruce Lorenz.
In July, Lorenz passed away.
As of eight months ago, Ruso’s population would be doubling from two to four people once Winter turned to Spring.
It’s still expected to grow, but now, the city is in need of some new leadership with the same love that Lorenz had for the rural town.
KX News reporter Becky Farr drove over to Ruso to see who’s stepping up to the plate and what that means for the city.
“In this town, there’s quite a bit that’s changed,” Greg Schmaltz said.
For one thing, it’s a lot more green in Ruso compared to the last time I checked in.
Mayor Bruce Lorenz passed away about two months ago, leaving the city’s leadership in the hands of just one part-time and two full-time residents.
“I want to live out here,” Schmaltz added. “I’m proud to be out here.”
He bought land in Ruso three years ago.
At first, it was a place to build a farmstead. But now he said, “We got to thinking that we could go ahead and save the city this way.”
He was appointed temporary Mayor, plans to run in November, and move to Ruso for good.
“So, we moved a house out here, brought a cabin in, built a barn, and we’re going to keep the church. Just don’t know what we’re going to do with it yet.”
The population in Ruso will soon spike to five people. That’s with the Rololson’s, Greg Schmaltz, his wife, and his step daughter. But there’s more than that. Here is Rainbow. There’s also Jack, Bada Bing, and Annie.
You can expect to see some chickens and horses, too – there’s Ranger and Buddy behind the barn.
Schmaltz said, “The whole area is known for good growing conditions when the weather’s right.”
That brings us down the road to the Rololson’s .. and, not to be forgotten, their dog Basil.
“Well, we garden, so that extra land helps us garden. And our dog! We like our dog to be free and not have to worry about having him tied up or in the house all the time,” Laurinda Rololson said.
She and her husband Terry have lived in Ruso for eight years, taking advantage of the garden space and making the most of life in the country.
So Ruso will remain a very ‘real residence’, in memory of this man, and many more.
“I just want to keep it going, for Bruce’s sake,” said Rololson. “It has a lot of history here. There’s a lot of people that grew up here that still care deeply about what happens in this little town. We want to keep it nice for them, for their memories.”
In January, Lorenz told me that snow removal is the city’s biggest expense.
Schmaltz said that the taxes are just enough to cover that, street lights, and garbage.