Part Two of The Outlook's annual look back at all the biggest news items and stories of 2019!
The time had finally come to open the doors on the brand-spanking-new swimming pool facility in Outlook, which took place on Canada Day, July 1st. The line-up to even get into the building to pay admission stretched out the doors and all the way down the sidewalk, a visual reminder that people had been waiting quite a long time for this project to finally come to fruition. Once inside and in the water, swimmers were all smiles as they enjoyed something that turned out to be well worth the wait.
Canada Day festivities in Outlook included the aforementioned first day of business for the Van Raay & Community Swimming Pool, as well as activities behind the Jim Kook Rec Plex and a morning parade. A heavy rainstorm late in the afternoon put a damper on the celebrations for a little while, but luckily it didn’t last too long and people enjoyed musical performances inside the rink before the fireworks display at 10:30 pm.
Kim Sobkowicz, a long-time educator at Outlook High School, was honored as the West Central Athletics’ Official of the Year. Kim was the recipient due to his commitment to officiating in sports of all types in the community, and he can continually be seen today serving as an official for numerous sports, including volleyball and senior hockey. As well, fellow Outlook teacher and coach Lloyd Tulp was also honored, being named West Central’s Male Coach of the Year. Tulp has 13 years experience in coaching, guiding young athletes in the sports of senior football, golf and track and field.
Sandy Shores Resort, a growing community of lakeside homeowners near Lake Diefenbaker and Danielson Provincial Park, announced on July 6 that plans were underway for a marina to be developed. The project had been approved by the Ministry of Parks, Culture & Sport, and it was expected that the inland marina would have a minimum of 200 slips, as well as a retail area.
The Reel Theatre in Outlook ‘went Hollywood’ by snagging two premiere movies on their opening weekends. First up was ‘Men In Black: International’, followed by the release of the highly anticipated ‘Spiderman: Far From Home’, which packed the theater with patrons waiting to see the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the global phenomenon that was ‘Avengers: Endgame’.
Mother Nature showed just how ferocious she could be at the drop of a hat on July 13 when an epic storm swept through parts of the Lake Diefenbaker area, affecting a number of smaller communities and camp sites. Heavy rains, piercing winds and golf ball-sized hail did a number on vehicles, sidings and windows. The damage was perhaps most noticeable in the resort village of Mistusinne and in Douglas Provincial Park south of Elbow, with several vehicles written off and shreds of trailers and debris strewn about the area.
Captain Cory McCutcheon, who grew up in the Conquest area, spoke to The Outlook about receiving the Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation. The special award ceremony was held at the Canadian Forces Base in Edmonton back in the spring. Cpt. McCutcheon was joined by his parents, Neil and Carol McCutcheon, as well as his wife Shanna and daughter Madison for the ceremony, where he received the commendation from Lieutenant-General Jean-Marc Lanthier.
The official grand opening of the Van Raay & Community Swimming Pool in Outlook was held on August 10, and in attendance was the man behind the facility’s name himself, Cor Van Raay and his wife. The opening included an open house of the facility, as well as a ribbon cutting. There was some controversy leading up to and following the opening as the date was decided on even after those with the pool’s fundraising committee stated that they couldn’t be in attendance.
The village of Milden was the recipient of some impressive funding by Enbridge on August 21, with $9600 being given towards the costs associated with purchasing new LED lighting inside the Milden Community Hall. Those who accepted the cheque were Lorraine Bell, Linda Bahr, Wendy Reglin, and Marlene Hendricks of the hall’s executive committee.
Just over 330 people packed the Outlook Civic Centre on August 22 to take in a musical by performing arts group SaskExpress entitled ‘Reel Music’, which delighted the crowd with a laundry list of hit songs from some of the biggest movies of all time, including songs from ‘The Lion King’, ‘Grease’, ‘Frozen’, and ‘A Star is Born’.
The Outlook Riverbank Rodeo marked its second year in town, with two nights of rodeo action taking over a plot of land south of LCBI High School over August 23 & 24. For those wondering if the inaugural 2018 event was a one-hit wonder, they were quickly proven wrong as the stands were filled with fans on both nights.
A concern was brought to Outlook’s town council by rec director Jordy Jones related to the swimming pool. It appeared as though one person or a group of people had been letting themselves into the facility after hours by way of hopping onto the roof of the mechanical building and jumping down, bypassing the barbed wire fence.
Grant McGrath, President of Western Sales Ltd., which includes the location on Highway 15 coming into Outlook, showed a big heart when he donated big money to the STARS Air Ambulance service, handing over a cheque for an eye-popping $1 million at the ‘Rescue on the Prairie’ event held in Saskatoon on September 5.
Gregory Fertuck, the man police arrested in late June for the alleged first-degree murder of his missing wife Sheree of Kenaston, learned that he would be set for a preliminary hearing in January 2020. The process determines whether there is sufficient evidence for a case to move forward with a full-blown trial. To this day, there has been no update on where the remains of 51-year old Sheree Fertuck may be located.
The year saw the return of the big trade show event at the Jim Kook Rec Plex in Outlook after an absence of a few years. Organized by the Outlook & District Chamber of Commerce, the day-long festivities took place on September 21 and saw many vendors display their wares and expertise, but also several attention-grabbing events such as a baby crawl and a pie-eating contest.
A freak snowfall that included blizzard conditions in parts of the province did a number on power lines and trees in much of the Outlook and surrounding area over September 29 & 30. The heavy snow caused trees to become severely weighed down, which caused branches to tough power lines and knock out electricity all over the map. In Conquest, heavy branches snapping like toothpicks and being leveled violently to the ground was all The Outlook’s Derek Ruttle could hear on that fateful Monday morning on his way to work.
Bob Mason and Cora Greer of the Mason Family Christmas Tree Farm located between Hanley and Kenaston announced that they were closing up shop after three decades. Shortages due to variable weather conditions were the main culprit, resulting in major tree losses.
A dedicated crew was on hand at the old Bounty Theatre hall on October 7, pouring cement and smoothing it out for the completion of the wheelchair accessible ramp that runs up the side of the building. Doreen Bell of the Outlook & District Heritage Museum said the next plans involved tackling the interior of the once-popular dance hall. The goal to date is to have the building running and functional to hold community events in the very near future.
Co-op locations in both Macrorie and Conquest were set to commence downsizing into more of a convenience store setting, it was revealed to Co-op members. Sales at the two stores had been trending downward over the last five years while the costs to provide specific services had risen, factors which helped necessitate the decision to downsize.
The Outlook’s Shelley Luedtke explored the inner operations of the new Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon as told through the perspective of ICU nurse Taylor Sobkowicz, originally of Outlook, as well as recreation therapist Kelsey Luedtke, the niece of Delwyn Luedtke, publisher and general manager of The Outlook.
It was revealed that local residents Brian & Eddy Spigott now had the permit to open and operate a cannabis retail outlet in Outlook. The father/son pair were the runners-up in the provincial government’s permit process, and in speaking with this reporter, it was learned that plans were underway to set up shop at 221 Franklin Street.
Residents of the town of Outlook woke up on the morning of Tuesday, October 15 to the abrupt news that the community’s recycling depot facility had been permanently closed, its employees terminated, and that the Town had signed a multi-year agreement with waste management giant Loraas Disposal out of Saskatoon.
Two days after the closure of the recycling depot, the topic was very much the ‘main event’ at a public meeting hosted by the Town of Outlook at the Civic Centre, where a packed house was on hand to learn information, such as the announcement of a massive $733,300 in grant funding for the decommissioning of the Town’s landfill. But residents mainly wanted to discuss the recycling situation, including Eloise Layton, whose daughter Taylor had run a popular recycling pickup service of her own for years. Many felt that the Town didn’t have solid reasoning for the lack of any advance notice to ratepayers as to the closure of the depot, but the hard money numbers behind it showed how financially straining the situation had become.
On the national stage, Canadians went to the polls on October 21 in the 2019 federal election. The Liberals were re-elected, this time to a minority government, and Western Canada sent a clear message by going virtually “all blue” and putting many new Conservatives in power, including Saskatchewan ousting its only Liberal politician, Ralph Goodale.
On November 1, the RM of Rudy’s council and administration welcomed people to a grand opening celebration of their new headquarters office building located in the village of Broderick. Reeve Dennis Fuglerud cut the ceremonial ribbon, assisted by councillors Kent Harrington and Marcel Vermette, and everyone was welcome to stay for coffee and refreshments.
The Outlook’s Shelley Luedtke explored the work being done by Loretta Lyons of Outlook and her daughter Cheryl over in Ukraine, with mother and daughter serving side by side more than 8000 km away from home, helping to enrich the lives of Ukraine’s youth.
The community of Outlook turned out to be a winner in the province’s ‘Communities in Bloom’ ranking competition. Outlook received three ‘blooms’ and ranked first among those in the population ranking of 2001-3000 residents, beating Pilot Butte, Fort Qu’Appelle and Assiniboia.
Grade 11 and 12 students at Dinsmore Composite School hosted an excellent Remembrance Day program on November 7, but a special unveiling of a unique banner courtesy of the Macrorie branch of the Royal Canadian Legion spotlighted the efforts of student artists Savanna Blackwell and Wendy Wang. The banner was being called the first of its kind in Canada to recognize students who do exceptional work in the Legion’s annual Poster & Literary Contest.
The village of Beechy was selected to play host to a special NHL alumni game of the Montreal Canadiens, which will take place in February 2020. Justin Dubasov of the planning committee spoke to The Outlook’s Derek Ruttle about putting together the blockbuster event, which will undoubtedly go down in the history books of the small community.
‘Purses with Purpose’, spearheaded by Outlook High School teacher Karla Duchesne, was an initiative that collected donated purses and handbags and basic hygiene products to eventually deliver to women’s shelters. Duchesne spoke with The Outlook about the program, and the goal was to have as many purses as possible to deliver just before the holidays.
Outlook’s Equinox Theatre hosted its latest production, ‘Mom’s Gift’, an uplifting and sobering story of redemption and forgiveness in the wake of personal tragedy. The show received rave reviews for its performances by the main cast, and it’s likely to be remembered as a landmark show for many years to come.
Renowned fiddle player Scott Woods and his band from Ontario played to a packed house at the Outlook Civic Centre on November 29, performing their Christmas and holiday-themed show with a vast number of costume changes and some impressive singing chops from young Naomi Bristow, an aspiring country music performer.
There was potential being explored when it came to the idea of a memorial park being established in Outlook to honor departed veterans. John McPhail and Brian Benson of Outlook’s Royal Canadian Legion branch spoke with town council about the possible relocation of the old war memorial arch in the regional park, and this opened up discussions on the possibility of a memorial park to be constructed in the greenspace area located at the town’s four-way stop.
The late Darcey Busse, a fondly remembered teacher and coach at Outlook High School who passed away back in 2008, was posthumously honored for his highly decorated skills in athletics as the former U of S Huskie was inducted into the Canada West Hall of Fame. Busse was a top-notch volleyball player in his youth and he was a standout at the University of Saskatchewan.
Santa Claus Day in Outlook was another hit with kids and families on December 14. Organized by the Outlook & District Chamber of Commerce, the day’s events included pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Heritage Museum, free cookies and hot chocolate, hay rides around town, and Christmas carols helped ring in the lighting of the community Christmas tree to close out the day.
Shelley Luedtke explored the effects of the social assistance program, notably on families who need to rely on it in times of struggle. This included the story of one local woman in Outlook, who was honest in opening up about some of the trials and tribulations that come with having to depend on such government programming.
It was revealed that the Town of Outlook is moving forward on plans for a new fire hall for the local fire department, set to be located adjacent to the town shop. The project was something being discussed for the last few years.
One of the more eye-catching attractions in Outlook was erected down on a hill in the Outlook Regional Park. An ice carving that spells out ‘Outlook’ was created by local resident and Park Board member Cara Drury. The nifty creation has turned out to be a popular attraction this winter season, with many driving down on Santa Claus Day to take photos with it as the gates to the park were opened for the day.
Our final front-page story of the year was an exclusive one-on-one interview with Santa Claus himself, who spoke about all things Christmas and his greatest memories of delivering good cheer and instilling holiday spirit into every good boy and girl for generations.
It goes without saying that 2019 was a very busy year, full of headlines that ran the gamut of news topics. Here’s to another busy year in 2020 and beyond!