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The Ruttle Report - New year ahead, but where'd the last one go?

It was an interesting year, but another one awaits us all.
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It's Thursday, September 1, 2022.

A new month, and one that begins the fall season around these parts. The machines are busy in the fields, kicking up a whole mess of prairie perfume that permeates all manner of roadways in this west central part of the province.

Summer says sayonara for the year, but luckily, the heat is taking a little longer to check out. No one's ready for those brisk tings of a sharp fall temperature just yet.

I'm at the house in Conquest packing this and that, and little by little, our home for the last thirty four years is starting to feel emptier and emptier as things leave the shelves and items leave the rooms. Brendon and I are moving to Outlook, something we're both very much looking forward to, and this will be our last night in Conquest.

By the following night, we're already nestled in our cozy apartment in Outlook, and we begin the process of figuring out our 'routine' in this new home of ours that's located in this new community of ours. Sure, Outlook has always been my second home, what with my working in the riverside community for the past 15 years, as well as having gone to school here starting way back in 1996 through 2004. But this, this is different. I was always just a visitor or a daily commuter to Outlook. Now, I was a citizen.

Four months have passed since that time.

It's crazy to type that. Four months - a third of a year already. It's like I blinked and that time happened to just shoot on by.

Now, I know that I say that a lot as every year closes and a new one opens up, but it's the absolute truth. In my job, where I'm not only working one week but also planning out the next two or three in advance, time can get away from you very, very quickly. We'll be nestled in the middle of April, stop to grab a cup of coffee, take that first sip, look back at the calendar and it'll be the May long weekend. We'll rub our eyes in disbelief, and then it's Canada Day on the 1st of July.

Like I said, time just gets away from us.

It's now January, and it's now 2023, which is almost unbelievable. It truly feels like as if 2022 didn't happen, but the stack of newspapers sitting next to me as I type this is physical evidence that it, in fact, did take place. So what does the new year look like? Well, let's look at some facts, and let's ponder some possibilities.

Outlook is going to become home to two fast food restaurants this year. You've heard and read all about the Dairy Queen franchise coming to town in the spring out by the east entrance, but now word has come down that a 2-For-1 Family Pizza franchise is also coming to town, to be located in the space formerly used by the Lucky Dragon.

News such as this will typically result in one of two reactions, especially in small towns like Outlook. One side will welcome the news of more food options in their community, and the other side will not welcome the news, seeing at as more of an invasion of sorts to their cozy, small town lifestyle. Myself, I look at it from a neutral standpoint. On one hand, I see the value and the variety that such places bring, and it's a solid sign that Outlook as a community is moving forward in offering the kind of amenities that you'd find in any other same-sized town in the province. On the other hand, it definitely tells other restaurant owners that the game is on as far as bringing a healthy dose of competition to the culinary cycle in Outlook. It'll be interesting to see how local restaurateurs react to the presence of a new pizza joint and burger/ice cream location.

Who else took in the Winter Wonderland drive-thru event down in the Outlook & District Regional Park last month? Or how about the Celebration of Christmas walkthrough at the Civic Centre? Weren't both of those events just awesome? I always love what events like that bring, but I wonder if one of them could be amplified even further...? Let me explain.

The Winter Wonderland event may have only been the third edition, but it's quickly become a treasured, must-see attraction every December. Now, with that being said, I wonder if perhaps there's a piece missing from the overall presentation, and maybe even an opportunity to generate money from it.

The whole exhibit is a feast for the eyes, but what about the ears? We've all seen those Christmas light decorations that tell you to tune into an FM frequency. The infamous house on Clinkskill Drive in Saskatoon got you to tune in, and even the neighbor of my coworkers over on Christie Street in Outlook had a dial you could tune into to hear holiday tunes over his home's lights. Could the park do something like this for next year?

Going further, I ponder to question if perhaps local businesses and organizations would pay for a little FM advertising. Think about it: you'd hear Christmas music for a while, and then an ad would pop up for, say, AG Foods or Regal Motors or the Esso. Say $25 for a 15-second spot on the air, and you could go $50 for 30 seconds, and then $75 for 45, and $100 for a whole minute on the air. The money generated from these ads, BOOM, right back into the Outlook & District Regional Park.

Yay? Nay? I guess we'll see what the future brings.

Next week, I'll talk about some ideas I have for an event that's been missing from Outlook for almost four years now.

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

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