I say the same old thing at the start of every new year as it relates to how fast the past twelve months had gone by, and while it’s a tired statement, it always rings true. I feel like I blinked and 2018 cruised right past me.
The year certainly had its fair share of hits and misses, with news and happenings that ran the gamut of good to bad and every emotion in between. Among them:
- Outlook said yes to a pot shop. This was a divisive topic depending on who you were talking to, but ultimately the decision-makers in town gave the thumbs-up for a cannabis store to open up shop. A year later, and the store – Hive Cannabis – isn’t open yet.
- The province virtually split in half with the Gerald Stanley trial decision, with the race card being milked for all its worth not only from the public, but the apparently biased media looking for web traffic and TV ratings. The topic was ugly no matter where you sat on the fence about it.
- A guy who used to live across the street from me went to jail for robbing the Outlook flower shop. Craig Stadler was an outgoing guy who’d help out anyone who needed a hand, but ultimately the choices he made in life took him down a dark path. I hope he finds a light at the end of that tunnel.
- Young people started eating laundry detergent pods and even challenged each other with the “Tide Pod Challenge”. Everyone else with a brain just shook their hands at the sheer stupidity of it all.
- Our Prime Minister continued to show how dangerously out of touch he is with the issues facing Western Canada. He also continued to duck and dodge any attempt at making things right with Canada’s war veterans. I’m sure Justin still thinks they’re “asking for more than we can give”.
- Speaking of war veterans, I was fortunate to be invited to the 100th birthday celebrations of Lucky Lake resident Donald Couch, a party that saw almost 300 people come out and included a fly-over by a military aircraft.
- A young man from Outlook who was almost paralyzed on the ice laced up his skates to play hockey again. I spoke with McKenzie Neufeld and his mom Hope about this miraculous occurrence, and it was pretty obvious that everybody was seeing something special happen in front of our eyes.
- A tragic bus crash killed over a dozen hockey players with the Humboldt Broncos, sweeping up the entire country and beyond in collective grief and mourning.
- The Town of Outlook's administration continued being something of a revolving door, with new faces showing up to take on existing roles as officials tried keeping up a level of consistency, something they'd be the first to say was lacking in the past year.
- I was named Columnist of the Year by the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association for my weekly editorial, 'The Ruttle Report' in The Outlook; a title I hope to retain at the upcoming awards banquet in April.
- The sport of rodeo returned to Outlook for the first time in over two decades, and standing-room-only crowds persuaded organizers to make it an annual event.
- A large crowd came out to honor Outlook's fire department with a banquet and awards ceremony. The event was originally set to become a bust after reports of very low ticket sales, but in typical fashion for around these parts, people waited until virtually the last minute to buy tickets.
- During my summer vacation, I had my photo taken with a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton down in Eastend, something I could cross off the proverbial bucket list as a lifelong fan of dinosaurs.
- Another bucket list item was crossed out when my family and I celebrated Christmas up north at an amazing cabin by Candle Lake. Mom was happy, we were happy, and it was something we’re going to remember for a very, very long time.
Without a doubt, it's been a busy twelve months full of all kinds of news and assorted happenings - some of it good, some of it bad, some of it downright sad. But that's life; it's always going to be a mixed bag.
I'm looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings. I hope it’s a positive year full of prosperity and perhaps some change here and there, but as we know all too well, every year can bring its own set of blessings and troubles, at least depending on one’s own perspective on things.
All the same, here’s to discovering what’s on the road ahead. Buckle up.
For this week, that’s been the Ruttle Report.