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The Ruttle Report - 115 years later, what's next for us?

"Community news changes over the course of over 100 years, but the mission doesn't." - The Ruttle Report
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Life gets so busy-busy in the lightning-fast tech age that we live in these days that it appears like as if sometimes, we forget when something monumental occurs and we just watch it pass us by without a true moment's notice.

But this time, I actually managed to catch something that will occur this coming Monday, February 5.

It was on the date of Friday, February 5, 1909 when the very first edition of The Outlook newspaper was published and made available to the public, with many hoping to catch the latest of what was happening in this new rural community called 'Outlook'.

That's because the town - well, the settlement known as Outlook had only existed for approximately six months prior to that. What started as a settlement on August 26, 1908 when the Canadian Pacific Railway commenced the auction of lots would be a community that would see the citizens welcome the first train, which arrived from Moose Jaw on November 23, 1908.

Within a month, the CPR was running a tri-weekly train service carrying huge piles of lumber, but the supply of workers and materials was far outweighed by the demand for more buildings. With that, the Outlook CPR Station building was built in 1909 and a year later, on November 1, 1910, Outlook was officially declared a town.

History can be interesting, folks.

We predate the actual TOWN of Outlook itself. That's pretty wild.

Over the last 115 years that have passed, there has certainly been a fair share of history that's been documented in the pages - and later, the website - of this great and fair publication. I'm honoured that as of March 27, I can include myself in 17 of those years. Just where does the time go?

So then, when I look back, I'd be remiss if I didn't highlight some of my favorite stories to pass through our pages.

Let's take a trip down Memory Lane together, shall we?

During the late night hours of March 11, 2010, Brigitt Blanchard of Broderick brutally murdered her on-again, off-again boyfriend, 44-year old Rick Murphy. She had taken a knife and stabbed Murphy more than 20 times, and his moans of both pain and dwindling life were apparently overheard by his friend, Ken Brevik, in a neighboring house. Blanchard then went to sleep, woke up, and reported to the Outlook circuit court in the morning, where she sat in between myself and a local farmer. I remember seeing her walk in, take a seat and ask for the time, which I gave her. Then, hours later in the afternoon, the earth moved and a family was shattered when this crime came to light. During the trial a year later in the spring of 2011, Brigitt would eventually be found not criminally responsible for Murphy's gruesome death, with her mental delusions found to be the main culprit.

Almost 14 years later, I sometimes meet people who are completely blind to the fact that someone was stabbed to death in the tiny hamlet of Broderick. I watch as their faces go white, and they ask that inevitable question: "What the F*%@!?" Well, how's this for another kicker - one of America's Most Wanted (yes, THAT America's Most Wanted) was found to be living in Outlook just a few months later in June of 2010. After being captured, Patrick Gage is still behind bars to this day, serving 33 years in Wisconsin for sexual assault charges.

On August 25, 2010, TV crews were on-site down in the Outlook & District Regional Park and joined by a massive mob of people as TSN (The Sports Network) produced a live broadcast of SportsCentre across Canada. Hosts Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole joined residents in celebrating the monumental event, which happened in the riverside community because Outlook was a winner in the Kraft Celebration Tour, where the TSN pair would do their show in ten different Canadian communities in ten days. The town was also awarded $25,000 to be used for the park's swimming pool facility, going toward making repairs to the pool’s foundation to prevent further damage. The event was a fun frenzy of activity and something that many people have remembered since that time.

Over 13 years later, things have certainly changed; namely that the park swimming pool closed its doors years ago, with a new and updated aquatic facility located right by the rink. I'm sure many people have fond memories of swimming in the pool down in the park when they were younger, myself included, but it was high time that change was needed.

Are there more stories that I could highlight here? Oh man, are there ever! I could tell you about the insane and bizarre battle that went down between The Outlook newspaper and the town mayor and council in the spring of 2019, or the amazing and heartwarming stories that came out of several communities during the COVID pandemic. I could go on and on, but that's content that may be best used in an upcoming book. Stay tuned.

There are several long books worth of history that can be both highlighted and spotlighted. That's the power of a local newspaper; they capture moments in time and properly document them to be remembered later. It's a power that no one in this industry should take lightly. We're underfunded, underpaid, and oftentimes unappreciated, but dammit, we still do the work because at the end of the day, the news is important.

And it always will be, no matter how many centuries pass by us.

For this week, that's been the Ruttle Report.