2017: The Year in Review (Part Two)

The biggest headlines from the past twelve months

Part One of our special 'Year in Review' retrospective piece highlighted the biggest news and attention-grabbing headlines from the first six months of 2017.  In Part Two, we explore the second half of the year and showcase all the local events and happenings that helped make the past twelve months so interesting and historic, and at other times, shocking and tragic.

JULY

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-  Canada Day weekend in Outlook was definitely one for the record books as the community did its part to celebrate 150 years of this amazing country.  The weekend festivities included nightly performances of ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by the cast from Equinox Theatre, a pancake breakfast, a morning parade that proved to be a major highlight, celebrations on a closed-off section of Franklin Street that featured opening ceremonies and live entertainment, and finally a monumental fireworks display behind the Jim Kook Rec Plex.

-  The ground was officially broke on Outlook’s new swimming pool project as a special groundbreaking ceremony was held the day after Canada Day at the site of the future facility, southwest of the Jim Kook Rec Plex.  Work on the new pool began the following week.

-  A summer-long schedule of free, family-friendly activities was being offered down in the Outlook Regional Park, including presentations on wildlife such as bees and honey production, burrowing owls and bats, as well as treks such as nature walks and pond dipping.  The events were designed to draw attention back to the regional park, which has suffered in recent years from a lack of activity and exposure.

-  The entrance at the SkyTrail walking bridge in Outlook was further fenced off from the public after reports of people finding their way onto the closed structure, which hasn’t been open since late 2013.  The added fencing hopefully sent the message that the bridge isn’t safe for people to use.

-  Three people were charged with two counts of mischief apiece after vandalism incidents in Outlook, including graffiti to vehicles, light poles, streets and sidewalks, as well as flower planters that had been knocked over and their contents strewn across Saskatchewan Avenue.  The very visible signs of vandalism drew the ire of residents on social media, and many were disappointed to see it happen so soon after Outlook had celebrated a monumental Canada 150 weekend.

-  The iconic Gardiner Dam marked its 50th anniversary with an epic celebration event that drew nearly 1000 people to the pavilion at Danielson Provincial Park.  A number of dignitaries were on hand, as well as relatives of James Gardiner, the namesake of the facility.

-  A monster storm that raged through the entire regional area left massive damage in its wake, with endless tree damage and flooded neighbourhoods in Outlook and several communities.  The biggest victim of all was the curling rink in the village of Strongfield, which was levelled to the ground after a major windstorm tore through the beloved facility.

-  The village of Macrorie celebrated a trio of events in one Saturday, including Canada’s 150th birthday, 100 years of the red brick school, and the opening of their Veterans’ Memorial Park.

-  Outlook and the surrounding local area mourned the tragic and heartbreaking loss of 17-year old Justin Warwaruk, who died in the waters of the South Saskatchewan River.  The teen had just graduated from Outlook High School, and in the wake of his death, an online crowdfunding campaign aimed at helping his family had raised just over $28,000.

-  Two men tragically died in the waters of Lake Diefenbaker by Elbow on the same night as the major storm that affected the area.  The waves on the water reached as high as two meters and ended up capsizing their boat.  One of the men was pulled to shore, but it was too late, while the other’s body wasn’t discovered until the following morning.

-  The death of the two men in the lake near Elbow was followed by another drowning in the water after a man fell into Lake Diefenbaker close to Outlook.

-  Variety Place in Outlook reopened and staff went back to work after the lockout was ended.  A new agreement was ratified in a vote and accepted by SIEU-West, the union representing the direct care workers.

-  An impromptu concert broke out in the performance bowl of the Outlook Regional Park on a warm Saturday night and drew out a decent crowd, who heard performers such as Marcia Orton and the Riverbottom Boys.

AUGUST

-  The village of Conquest hosted a fun day of Canada 150 activities over the long weekend and welcomed a large crowd to the community, resulting in many long-time familiar faces reuniting and sparking up conversations of old times and memories.  Events included activities in the campground of the Elks Park, a cake cutting at the Community Centre, a catered roast beef meal at the rink, and a dance featuring live music by Greg McJannet and his son Ben.

-  Work on Outlook’s new swimming pool facility was coming along at a brisk pace, with the topsoil work finished and the job moving down into the dirt in order to start shaping the overall look of the facility.

-  Geoff and Belinda Dawson were two Australian visitors to the town of Outlook, and Geoff chatted with this reporter about their experiences in the community and their thoughts on their first vacation to Canada.

-  Inside the pavilion theatre down at Gardiner Dam, a large crowd was on hand to learn about reptiles and check out some incredible creatures up close and personal, as Elisa Wilke (AKA Wrangler Elisa) showed off animals such as turtles, a tortoise, a tarantula, and several kinds of lizards, including a large and docile tegu named Jed.

-  A reunion of the graduating classes of 1967, 1968 and 1969 from Dinsmore School was held at King George Hall, including a BBQ supper, live entertainment, picture taking and reminiscing among all the former students and long-time classmates.

-  The village of Strongfield was deciding what to do in the midst of losing their curling rink.  Insurance would basically cover the construction of a new one, but it was said that new additions may be able to ensure its longevity.

-  The Outlook RCMP was busy investigating over 12 thefts and break-ins over a timespan of just four days in the community, as well as a number of incidents that had not originally gone reported.

SEPTEMBER

-  With the cost of everyday items continuing to go up, the Outlook & District Food Bank was looking for some more financial support from the public.  Leah Larson of the Outlook Health Centre’s Community Services wing said the number of food bank users in Outlook was increasing to numbers that were higher than normal, and it was getting difficult to meet the demand without more help from the public.

-  The return of the Harvest Festival in Outlook proved to be a smash hit with kids, families and the attending public.  Held on sectioned parts of Franklin Street, the event was put on by the Outlook & District Chamber of Commerce and featured live entertainment, food booths, local business & vendor exhibits, kid and family activities, and even lawnmower races that attracted a big audience.  The success of the event ensured that it’ll likely return for more fun in 2018.

-  Enbridge showed some major generosity when they handed over a cheque for $100,000 to the Town of Outlook and the RM of Rudy.  The funds were to be split up as follows: $50,000 towards Outlook’s new swimming pool, $40,000 to the RM for a new fire truck, and $10,000 for a new playground expansion project at the Jim Kook Rec Plex.

-  The Federated Co-op opened its brand new fertilizer terminal located in Hanley with a grand opening event.  The facility measures 96,000 square feet and has a capacity to house up to 45,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer.

-  A fundraising BBQ held at AG Foods in Outlook raised a whopping $9,436.75 for the Lammers family of Macrorie after family patriarch Doug took his own life in July.  Close to 650 people were fed and people opened not only their wallets, but their hearts for a family that was grieving and heartbroken.

-  Another lake drowning meant another person tragically killed in local waters as a 70-year old male from Saskatoon died over the Labor Day long weekend near Danielson Provincial Park.  The incident marked the fifth and final death in 2017 that was related to local waters in the area.

-  Outlook RCMP were on the lookout and asking for the public’s help after a white, 1996 Peterbilt semi-truck was stolen in Broderick that bore the name “TR Rack Petroleum Ltd.” on its side.

-  Another school year brought with it another season of high school football for the Outlook Blues and LCBI Bisons, who fought for dominance on the field.  In their season opener, the Bisons bested the Central Butte Bulldogs, while the Outlook Blues were still looking for a win in their own division.

-  Irish tenor Emmet Cahill spoke to this reporter over the phone from his native Irelend about his upcoming appearance at the Terrace Dining Room in Broderick scheduled for early October.

-  The Outlook explored the unique friendship that started over 25 years ago between Colorado couple Michael and Donna Mcinerney and Outlook resident Ralph Derdall; a relationship bore from a heroic gesture on Ralph’s part after a fire back in 1992.

-  Seven race car drivers from Outlook and the local area ended up dominating on Saskatoon’s race track as Alyssa Derdall led the bunch by placing first in the ‘Run Your Junk’ feature race, and a number of Outlook names took the majority of point standings.

-  Hunters, wildlife enthusiasts and the general public were being warned that the local deer population was at a high risk of carrying what’s known as ‘chronic wasting disease’; a fatal and progressive brain disease.

-  The popular restaurant located in the pavilion at Gardiner Dam made a move to Outlook, with Harv’s Outlook Café proving to be very popular in the time since.

-  The Beechy Western Days weekend rodeo event celebrated 50 years with its 2017 edition, bringing out massive crowds to take in all the bronco-busting and bull-riding action.

OCTOBER

-  A fatal rollover near Hanley that claimed the life of an 18-year old young man from the area was just one of several deadly collisions and car accidents that happened over one weekend.

-  To date, the new swimming pool project in Outlook had raised $1,225,000, and Tony Peter of the fundraising committee commended the generosity shown by residents, businesses and organizations, and also hoped that it would continue as another approximate $500,000 would be needed to fully pay for the facility.

-  The village of Elbow celebrated Culture Days, which highlighted the various backgrounds, ethnicities and uniqueness of local residents and gave a platform to celebrate the local arts program.

-  Jocelyne Petryshyn of RE/MAX Shoreline Realty, representing the Outlook River Run marathon event, handed over a cheque to Doreen Bell of the Heritage Museum in the amount of $3,200 to be used in the continued refurbishment of the old Bounty Hall facility.

-  Scott Moe, one of the candidates for leadership of the Saskatchewan Party in the aftermath of Premier Brad Wall’s retirement, spoke to this reporter about his vision for the province and his intended goals as potential leader.  Moe was joined by local MLA Jim Reiter, who has pledged his support for Scott in the race.

-  Alvin Patterson and Jaime Spence of Hawarden gave this reporter a walkthrough tour of their haunted high school exhibit in the small village, which is a popular hotspot for many during the Halloween season.

-  Police were warning the public of a phone scam involving the STARS Lottery program, urging people to be cautious with sharing any information over the phone with anyone posing as a representative of STARS.

-  The sudden death of a Manitoba man at an industrial site in the Outlook area had police and a number of officials investigating.  A 29-year old male from Winnipeg was found dead at a site south of Broderick, and the federal government became involved in the investigation due to the site being under federal jurisdiction.

-  Long-time senior hockey player and coach Dean Blenkinsop of Kenaston was honoured with a special jersey retirement ceremony before an exhibition game hosted by the Kenaston Blizzards.  Blenkinsop was gifted with a special captain’s jersey beforehand, and he spoke to this reporter about his life on the ice.  Sadly, Dean lost his battle with cancer just over one month later.

NOVEMBER

-  The old and abandoned business building at 228 Franklin Street in Outlook was demolished, and the move somewhat split the public, with some glad to see an “eyesore” gone so that the space can be used by a new venture, and some sad to see a long-time location levelled to the ground that has ties to Outlook’s history.

-  RCMP were investigating two break-ins in the village of Milden, and a person of interest was being sought in relation the case.

-  Winter arrived in the area with a blanket of snow as people woke up on the morning of November 1.

-  Two special guests were on hand for the village of Dinsmore’s yearly Community Auction event, with retired CFL player Geroy Simon and CFL host Brodie Lawson contributing their time and talents to the evening affair.  When all was said and done, the event raised close to an incredible $80,000.

-  Communities in the area marked Remembrance Day on November 11 with ceremonies speaking to the sacrifices made by Canada’s veterans.  In Outlook, a large audience attended the program hosted by Branch 262 of the Royal Canadian Legion and held in the gym at Outlook High School.

-  Per a number of regulations by the Water Security Agency of the province, the town of Outlook’s free drinking water tap at the Water Works building was sealed off.  To date, there has been no known plan to replace it.

-  Another candidate running for leadership of the Saskatchewan Party, Ken Cheveldayoff, spoke to this reporter at an open house event that he hosted at the Outlook Legion Hall, sharing his goals and vision for the province should he be elected in January.

-  A touching gesture paid tribute to the memory of young Justin Warwaruk, who drowned in the South Saskatchewan River in July, as a memorial bench was crafted in his name as a parting gift from the graduating class of 2017.

-  The Luther Place seniors’ residence in Outlook celebrated its 20th anniversary with an afternoon program, including ceremonial cake and words from a number of dignitaries that spoke to the history of the facility and a vision for a new seniors’ complex in the community.  Harry Johnson, a resident since day one, helped manager Melanie Harris serve up cake following the program.

-  A Folkfest event put on by Grade 6 students at Outlook High School showcased diversity and put a spotlight on different cultures, customs and traditions.

-  Audiences in Outlook enjoyed the latest dinner theatre production by Equinox Theatre; the story of Elvis Presley, as told by people who encountered The King over the years.

-  Clients of the CIBC branch in the village of Lucky Lake were informed that they would be losing the branch effective July 5, 2018.  The business is set to be merged with a branch in Saskatoon, meaning that clients may be in for some major road miles when needing to do bank business in person.

-  The newest operators of the Outlook Bakery, Tina Wall and her mother Anna Dyck, spoke to this reporter about making the move to running their own bakery; a dream that Tina has had since she was a little girl.  Since opening, the location has been a popular one with local residents.

-  A third candidate in the race for Premier and Saskatchewan Party leadership, Gord Wyant, spoke to this reporter about where he’d like the province to go and what decisions he would pursue if he were elected leader.

-  Outlook resident and singer-songwriter Camille Parkman was celebrating the release of her new Christmas album, ‘Sweet Christmas’.

-  A large turnout of nearly 400 people attended a special public meeting held at the Outlook Civic Centre, hosted by Outlook’s town council.  The meeting allowed the public to ask questions of their elected officials and share any comments and/or concerns about issues pertaining to the town, and while the feedback concerning some of the given answers was something of a mixed bag, the general consensus was that people were glad that such a meeting was called, and council saw that residents have a vested interest in what goes on in their community.

DECEMBER

-  Santa Claus Day took over Outlook once again, and the yearly event put on by the local Chamber of Commerce was another hit with kids and families.  People could meet Kris Kringle and take part in some activities at the Legion Hall, as well as go on a horse-driven carriage ride around town, and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony was a festive and colourful addition to the festivities.

-  Stemming from a particular question related to fundraising and distributing funds that was asked at the public meeting in Outlook, a number of letters to the editor in The Outlook featured viewpoints on the matter.

-  It was revealed that Outlook would once again be host to a rodeo event after a very long absence.  Town council approved the proposal brought forward by the CCA, and an outdoor rodeo event is currently scheduled to take place this August.

-  The curling rink in the village of Strongfield was taking serious shape once again, with construction underway to the point where tin was being attached to the walls.  A successful supper and silent auction event raised over $5,000 for the facility, and the spirit shown by the community showed that big things can still happen in small areas of the world.

-  With there being so many homes in Outlook and area that decorated for Christmas, a special photo section was dedicated to spotlighting some of the best.

-  At the most recent meeting of town council, Outlook RCMP’s Sgt. Mark Langager provided data and statistics related to police calls and charges within Outlook, which amounted to 477 calls for the year that were divided into a variety of different areas and charges.

-  Talented students at Outlook High School hosted their annual Christmas Band Concert, putting on a memorable performance and getting people excited for the upcoming holidays with some classic pieces of music.

-  Rick Pederson, the town of Outlook’s project manager for the new swimming pool, spoke to this reporter about the facility and provided a tour of the location.  As of now, things are on track for the pool’s intended opening of July, but things are on hold right now for the winter, and Western Recreation will return in the spring to continue construction.

© The Outlook

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