The Ruttle Report - Holidays followed by the ‘Great Unknown’

This is the last edition of this column and this newspaper before my coworkers and I turn off the lights, lock the doors and head home for our annual summer break; a time to rest, relax, and reboot.

To say that it’s been an ‘interesting’ year thus far would be an understatement the size of Trump’s ego.  (“Really huge, supremely huge, it’s fantastic, you’re all gonna love it!)

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I’m not just talking about the ridiculously obvious elephant in the room, either.  Yes, of course the Covid-19 pandemic has dominated every morsel of media out there since we fell into this mess back in March, and we certainly covered our fair share of it, but it’s been a busy seven months outside of the Covid bubble too.  Stories of small-town scandal, political headlines, tales out of school, and how we’ve all done our part in coming together to make the best out of this whole situation.

Typically, the first couple of months of any year are kinda dead around here as far as captivating news is concerned, but that wasn’t the case in 2020.  I’m proud to say that I believe The Outlook has been putting out a pretty damn stellar amount of interesting, attention-grabbing, and talk-producing content since we first said hello to 2020.

But now, we pause momentarily to go home and recharge our collective batteries.

What’s funny about this summer break is that I’m actually doing the same thing I’ve already done the past two years, only this year I simply have no real choice in the matter.  In 2018 and 2019, I stayed within my province’s borders (well, aside from a day trip to Drumheller last year) and decided to get to know Saskatchewan a bit better.  Over these next two weeks, I’m doing more of the same.  It might not sound all that attractive to some, but there really is so much more to our province than what most people have probably seen, and I’m looking forward to it.

There’s Candle Lake (a given for those who know me), a museum trip down to Regina, a jaunt further south down to Rouleau because my brother’s a big Corner Gas fan, a planned excursion up to Prince Albert National Park, and about half a dozen other things on my list.  Outside of those day trips, the plan is simply to make this break about resting, relaxing, recharging, and rebooting.  Make no mistake, the pandemic still has us in a mighty grip – a stronger one at the moment with the increased numbers lately, in fact – but while I’ll do my due diligence with my mask, sanitizer and all that jazz, I’m not letting the virus win and destroy my summer.  I intend on “finding the good” still out there, and we can’t live in fear in our corner of the world.

But it’ll be interesting to see what exactly we come back to in mid-August, and to go even further, what these last few months of 2020 will be like.  This year has been historic for mostly all the wrong reasons, and there are a number of upcoming events that have more questions than answers.

Essentially, this last third of 2020 is shaping up to be ‘The Great Unknown’ and we’re all just going to have to sit back and watch it as it rolls over us wave by wave.

The big question on everyone’s minds right now – most notably, parents – is what the new school year may look like in Saskatchewan.  The calendar currently says that kids are headed back on September 2, but in what capacity?  Do class sizes get halved?  Do you have one student seated every two desks?  Do you slice the student body in half into Group A and Group B, then have students adopt a Kindergarten schedule of going once every two days, A on one day and B on another?  Do you give them the choice to come to school or learn online?  Do the school divisions shell out for state-of-the-art iPads and technology to make sure home-based kids have what they need?  It’ll definitely be interesting to see how this pans out!

Then there’s that matter of, oh yes, two elections back to back in November at the municipal and provincial levels.  Who’s going to step up and put their names in the hat for mayoral and council positions in communities in this area?  What platforms will they run on?  What goals do they have?  What approach will the opposing parties take against the Moe-led Saskatchewan Party?

As well, here at the more local level, I’m looking forward to the Better Newspapers Competition at the end of September, and I’m curious as to what may happen with the Community Awards Night banquet that obviously had to be shelved due to the pandemic.  Again, questions without answers at the moment.

Whatever the next few months may bring us, we look forward to presenting it to you, dear readers.  We live in a world where journalism at the grassroots level has never been more important, and we don’t take that responsibility lightly.

For now, though, a time of rest, relaxation, and some recreation.

For this week, and actually for the next couple of them after that, that’s been the Ruttle Report.

© The Outlook

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