Around these parts, every passing year tends to bring us something unique in the form of news that is both the same AND different; we see a lot of the same local events and happenings that have become tradition in the communities that we call home, but each year brings new perspectives, new talking points, and new faces and voices to add different layers to life in our special little ‘chunk’ of small town Canada.
The past year was a time filled with news of all kinds – some of it good, some of it bad, some of it happy, some of it sad. As we all know, life is something of a mixed bag, and the news out of Outlook and the surrounding Lake Diefenbaker region is typically the same thing year after year.
With that, we hope you enjoy our annual look back at the biggest headlines from the past twelve months with ‘2018 – The Year in Review’.
- A long-time business in Outlook celebrated a grand re-opening as the Broderick Garden Centre decided to move some things around to put a bigger spotlight on the store’s bestselling items, as well as inform the public of their new floral department, which saw former Outlook Florist & Gift Shop operator Laura Jones come on board to make flower arrangements and prep orders as they come in.
- It was learned that the Town of Outlook was one of 40 communities across the province that was eligible for a retail permit for the sale of cannabis and related products.
- It was time for a new, fresh and updated look for Variety Place in Outlook, which held a grand re-opening event to celebrate the completion of some impressive renovations and additions to its facility, including a redesigned kitchen, offices and physiotherapy rooms, as well as a dedicated exercise space and a large and expansive lounge area. As well, the facility’s sensory room was dedicated to one of Variety Place’s driving forces, the late Randy Kangas, as the room is now known as ‘Randy’s Room’.
- A gripping one-man play held at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Outlook spotlighted religious persecution. Entitled ‘Solitary Refinement’, actor Dennis Hassell brought to life the troubles faced by Reverend Richard Wurmbrand, who spent considerable time in a tortuous prison after communism gripped his country of Romania and Wurmbrand publicly said that Christianity and communism were incompatible.
- The Town of Outlook shared some massive data when it came to recycling over the past year, revealing that a combined weight of 707,478 lbs of material was processed through the town’s recycling centre.
- The federal government and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation marked an important first step on the road to reconciliation and a renewed relationship when they both signed an agreement for a Whitecap Dakota Treaty.
- The province saw a new Premier named when Rosthern-Shellbrook MLA and former Environment Minister Scott Moe was selected at the Saskatchewan Party’s Leadership Convention held at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon.
- A Montreal-based renewable energy developer, RES Group, held an open house event in Macrorie surrounding their proposal for a wind turbine project to be located primarily within the RMs of Fertile Valley and Coteau.
- Donald Couch of Lucky Lake was the center of attention as upwards of 300 people came out to wish him well on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Held at the village’s community hall, the celebrations for the World War II veteran included a very special fly-over by a massive Hercules aircraft by the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, the same squadron Couch served with in the war.
- An Outlook man sadly lost his life in a truck rollover that happened just south of town on Highway 45. The man was revealed to be 57-year old Brian Anholt, known to many in the community as a mainstay at the Esso station in town and a friend to many others.
- The curling rink in Strongfield made a triumphant return following a nearly seven-month absence after a monstrous wind storm leveled most of it to the ground back in the summer of 2017. Among the first to try out the new digs were students from Loreburn Central School, who held their annual bonspiel event in the new rink.
- BC-based producer United Greeneries, a licensed company from Vancouver Island, announced plans to open a marijuana-growing facility near Lucky Lake, to be housed in a massive, 62,000-square foot building that was a former potato plant once owned by Spudco.
- Outlook’s town council approved the presence of a cannabis retail outlet in the community in a vote held during their regular council meeting. The provincial government gave cities and towns who were eligible for a retail permit the option of saying yes or no to such a business in their respective communities.
- Outlook youth McKenzie Neufeld, 17, took to the ice at the Jim Kook Rec Plex to play in Outlook High School’s annual Telemiracle hockey game. This was the first time McKenzie had laced up to play the game since a horrendous head & neck injury suffered back in April 2017 due to a major hit on the ice almost left him paralyzed.
- Forty-four year old Craig Stadler of the Outlook area was charged with robbery and wearing a disguise with intent after he entered the Outlook Florist & Gifts store and implied that he was carrying a gun while demanding cash from the employee.
- The new swimming pool project in Outlook had reached a point where financial support from the public and the business sector was more crucial than ever, with another estimated $500,000 needed to fully pay off the facility.
- A collision between a vehicle and a train that took place north of Outlook on Highway 45 sadly claimed the life of a 33-year old man from Delisle, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle.
- Craig Stadler of Outlook was sentenced in a Saskatoon courtroom for a robbery he committed at the Outlook Florist & Gifts store. Stadler pled guilty to his charges, and received an 18-month sentence minus 39 days credit on remand and 12 months probation following his release. Stadler also received a 10-year firearms prohibition.
- Roughly 80 people jam-packed the court room of the Outlook town offices building for a public meeting hosted by the RCMP to address concerns from rural and town residents surrounding crime, as well as shed light on the facts and statistics surrounding the hot-button issue. Such meetings were being planned around the province by RCMP detachments in the wake of the Gerald Stanley trial, which caused a great divide among many in the province surrounding rural crime.
- Just in time for the upcoming Easter weekend, Outlook resident Marla Ziegler and her family crafted a giant and colorful bunny made out of the heavy snow piled in their front yard. Anyone who wanted to check out the eye-catching snow bunny simply had to stroll through the north section of Tufts Crescent.
- The village of Kenaston had plenty of reason to celebrate after the community nabbed top honors in the ‘Go Out & Play Challenge’ put on by Saskatchewan in Motion, which encouraged an active lifestyle among those participating by logging the time spent engaging in physical activities. Kenaston wound up logging an incredible 419,650 minutes over a period of ten days and was awarded $10,000. The village planned on creating an outdoor activity area with the prize money.
- The recipients of the 8th annual Community Appreciation Awards given to Outlook’s best and brightest were revealed, and included Darlene Hovdestad (Citizen of the Year), Chastan Sim (Youth of the Year), the Outlook Funeral Chapel (Business of the Year), and the Outlook Fire Department (Group of the Year).
- The Beechy Bombers hockey team won the SHA Senior ‘B’ Provincial Title, marking the first provincial championship win for the team since 1966.
- Jorgen Hus of the Saskatchewan Roughriders stopped by the Outlook Elementary School to talk to students about bullying and the steps they can take to try and stamp out the troubling issue.
- The province and the entire country fell into collective grief after the shocking loss of life suffered in the bus crash tragedy that befell the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
- The official banquet to honor the recipients of the 8th annual Community Appreciation Awards was held at the Outlook Civic Centre. On top of the award presentations to the Citizen, Youth, Business and Group of the Year winners, the evening also featured a talk by DonnaLyn Thorsteinson, a senior director with the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, who spoke about entrepreneurship and conducted an interview with a local business owner, Lee Baker of the Outlook Locker Plant.
- In supporting the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, staff and students at Outlook High School sported their favorite jerseys and also sold green and yellow ribbons for a minimum $2 donation, with all the proceeds going to the fund created for the team.
- Baseball fans in the local area were delighted to discover that a new men’s senior ball team was formed in Outlook for the first time in decades, with the River Hawks set for action in the Fertile Valley Baseball League starting at the end of May.
- Equinox Theatre’s latest spring production was a return to the BBC television hit known as ‘Fawlty Towers’ that played at the Outlook Civic Centre for four performances.
- A meeting by the Provincial Association of Resort Communities Saskatchewan (PARCS) held in Elbow stressed the need to educate the public and continue doing whatever possible to protect Lake Diefenbaker from aquatic invasive species, notably zebra mussels that are capable of irreversible damage to any major water body.
- The writing staff of The Outlook came away from the annual Better Newspapers Competition with some hardware and certificates. Held at the Sandman Hotel in Saskatoon, the event took place in conjunction with the Annual General Meeting of the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association. Columnist/writer Shelley Luedtke placed 2nd in ‘Best Feature Story’ and 3rd in ‘Best Health/Healthcare Coverage – Series of Stories’, while reporter/photographer/columnist Derek Ruttle was named ‘Columnist of the Year’ for his weekly feature, ‘The Ruttle Report’, and also took home 2nd in ‘Best Business Writing’ and 3rd in ‘Best Educational Coverage – Single Story or Feature’.
- The Town of Outlook decided that its new swimming pool facility would not open in the summer of 2018 as originally hoped, pushing the date to the spring of 2019. The long winter and weather conditions that overstayed their welcome were seen as the primary reasons for the delay, but the pushback was seen as a move to ensure that absolutely every frame of the facility would be 100% good to go upon opening the doors later this year.
- Jacq’y Jaye’s Boutique & Espresso Bar celebrated ten years in business in Outlook with evening festivities, including a fashion show, celebratory cake and prize giveaways.
- As the regional area prepared to take in another May long weekend, The Outlook’s Derek Ruttle wrote a special feature story touching on the tragedies and incidents surrounding Lake Diefenbaker and the South Saskatchewan River during the previous summer, urging the public to take extra care and know the risks associated with recreational activities on the water.
- Ahead of the by-election in Outlook to name someone to the vacant town councillor seat, The Outlook ran a special Q&A section that highlighted the three candidates; Kevin Grotheim, Larry Pederson and Troy Simonson.
- A pair of meetings held at the Outlook Civic Centre were centered on community planning, with consultant Chris Fields leading the sessions that may have served as a wake-up call to some in town that Outlook and the surrounding area may need to seriously think about its place in the future as the Canadian landscape is ever-changing.
- The Town of Outlook started going through some administration changes, with both the Chief Administrative Officer (Dean Pickering) and the Assistant Administrator/Director of Finance (Steven Brown) resigning from their positions, mainly due to their respective families unwilling to relocate to Outlook. Pickering had begun his work in February, while Brown had just started in April.
- After phasing out a number of years back, the Rural Crime Watch program began seeing a revitalization as the hot-button topic of crime in lower populated areas continued to be at the forefront of many conversations in small town circles. Because of this, a presentation to ratepayers in the RM of Fertile Valley was held in the gym of the former Conquest School by Cpl. Mel Zurevinski of the RCMP, who went over the program and what it could offer residents in terms of safety, security and peace of mind.
- The newly-formed Outlook River Hawks took to the diamond at the Jim Kook Rec Plex to start the baseball season for the year. With a massive crowd on hand to take in the inaugural first game for the team, Outlook defeated the Kindersley Klippers at a score of 16-14.
- The winning candidate in Outlook’s by-election to fill a vacant seat on town council was Kevin Grotheim, who defeated fellow candidates Larry Pederson and Troy Simonson. The by-election saw a total vote count of 302, with two ballots being rejected for an official count of 300. Grotheim won with 124 votes, while Simonson received 106 and Pederson received 70.
- The operators for the province’s 51 cannabis retail store permits had been selected, with more than two-thirds of the successful applicants either being from Saskatchewan or having operations in the province. In Outlook, the selected retailer was a numbered company simply called 1159711 B.C. Ltd., with Jean Paul Lim listed as the contact person. In the time since, it’s been learned that the store in Outlook, located on Saskatchewan Avenue next door to The Outlook, will be a location for the Hive Cannabis brand.
- Loreburn Central School was named a ‘Leader in Me Lighthouse School’, a level of certification by FranklinCovey Education. The recognition was evidence that the school had produced outstanding results in both school and student outcomes by implementing the Leader in Me process with excellence.
- ‘Big Bert’ was really impressing people down at the Gardiner Dam Visitor Centre in Danielson Provincial Park. That’s because ‘Bert’ was an exact skeletal replica of a massive 19-foot long crocodile that lived over 92 million years ago in the age of the dinosaurs. The model was on display for the summer courtesy of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
- Drama students at LCBI entertained crowds over three nightly performances when they put on a musical production of ‘Aladdin’. The fantastic costumes coupled with the energetic performances helped ensure the success of the show during each performance.
- A large crowd came together at the Outlook Civic Centre for a special appreciation and awards banquet for Outlook’s firefighters, both past and present. A catered meal and award presentations were part of the fun evening, as was a talk by guest speaker Ernie Louttit, a former Saskatoon police officer turned author who shared stories of his time on the force and his interactions with firefighters.
- Peter Kvarnstrom, President of Community Media for Glacier Media Group visited the offices of The Outlook to talk to the team about the strength of community newspapers and the role that The Outlook has in serving readers in the region and beyond. While he was there, he also presented general manager Delwyn Luedtke with an award recognizing his achievement in being named to the Glacier Media President’s Club.
- Young students at Outlook Elementary School had some furry visitors as Cpl. Grant Stebanuk of the RCMP Saskatoon Police Dog Services visited the school to talk about his career working with service dogs who carry out all sorts of tasks on the job. Along with Grant was Sherlock, a 12-year old German Shepherd who retired in 2012 and was now Grant’s personal pet, as well as Relek, a 6-year old black German Shepherd who was active on the force. The presentation to the students was a gift after Grade 4 student Saydee Hlagy was one of the winners in a contest to help name RCMP puppies.
- Grade 6 students at Outlook High School donned the color of orange, grabbed their homemade signs and took to the streets of Outlook to spread awareness of gun violence in the world. The anti-gun violence walk was part of the Grade 6 Social Studies class, and teacher Colette Charpentier said that they’d been discussing issues facing both the community and the world as a whole, and the kids decided they wanted to do an awareness walk.