Archive for the ‘local’ Category

So last weekend was the annual convention for the SWNA (Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association) down in Regina, and as a finalist up for an award in the Better Newspapers Competition, held in conjunction with the convention, I was headed south for the weekend and put up in a free hotel room at the Delta, where everything was held.

To make a long story short, which isn’t my style if you know my writing, I actually won the freaking thing! I landed the Best Feature Story Award for my article on the late Lisa Rendall, a woman who was born and raised in this area and nominated as the Saskatoon Citizen of the Year on December 31, 2010. At the time, Rendall was going through Hell with the breast cancer she’d been fighting for over a decade, and sadly, it was winning. My article appeared in our January 13, 2011 issue, and although Lisa found herself physically able to attend her own award banquet two months later in March, she passed away in April.

Looking back now, I’m incredibly grateful that she gave me her time, and provided me with a look into her world as the disease ravaged her from the inside. I had no idea that the story I was writing would come back and benefit me with such a groovy accolade well over a year later.

I’m all for entertaining my readers, so I thought I’d throw together the entire weekend scenario as a journal-like series of events.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21

– I set the alarm on my cell phone to go off at 9 am, which it does with no problems, except for the craving I have for just a little more sleep. I set it for a half hour later, surmising that I’ll still have plenty of time to pack up, get ready and hit the road by roughly 11. Still, even though I’m really not asleep and just want the luxury of staying curled up in the warmth of my bed with my thoughts, I can hear Dad yelling from his chair in the living room that I “better get a move on”. Although cocktails aren’t until 5, dinner until 6, and the awards ceremony until 7, he must think my getting down to Regina will require a team of Clydesdales, plowing and pulling their way through thick forest while I engage in fisticuffs with the most diabolical of thieves, braggarts and shady individuals. Dad is just gonna keep hollering every few minutes until he hears my bedroom door open, so I just get up.

– I’m on the road to Regina by exactly noon, after a few errands in Outlook. These include hitting up the ATM, fueling up, and stopping at the Bargain Shop for a couple things. I’m looking for Brylcreem, but instead settle for some AXE version of pomade called ‘Clean-cut Look’. Whatever. I’m Regina-bound.

– Hitting the highway and throwing my Ford into cruise, my entertainment for this 2.5 hour drive is a blend of an mp3 disc I recently made and the best of the Howard Stern Show from the past week on Sirius. As I arrive in Davidson and hit up the A&W restaurant, I chow down as Howard wraps up an interview with John Cusack. The show never ceases to be that reliable driving partner, keeping me alert, making me laugh and passing the time when my job or other activities require me to hit the road.

– I’m in Regina by roughly 3 that afternoon, and after finally getting to my hotel and obtaining a parking pass while experiencing the superb downtown traffic the city has to offer (damn one-way streets), I’m on my way up to the 24th floor and open the door to my room. A Kong-sized bed and a cool view of the city are among the highlights of it, and even cooler is the fact that I’m not paying one dime for any of it – thanks, SWNA!

– Settling down from the day’s travel and after laying out my clothes for the night, I flop down on the bed and watch Storage Wars on A&E. At around 5:30, I start putting on my fancy evening wear – dark purple dress shirt, black pants, black dress shoes, a black/silver/red tie, and then I top it all off with a black zip-up vest. Hardly fancy when I think about it, but certainly better than sweatpants and a wrestling t-shirt, which was, obviously, my first choice.

– I find all the goings-on on the second floor of the Delta and begin the mingling process, shaking so many hands that they all seem to blend together. This is my first time at the yearly convention, so I figure a little networking is in order. There are faces I instantly recognize and new ones that I eventually meet, and then I find my table where Delwyn (my boss) is sitting and dinner begins shortly.

– What a feast! Roast beef, BBQ ribs, chicken breasts, fish, potatoes, veggies, the whole nine yards. Everything kicks ass.

– After dinner, the awards ceremony begins and my eyes are trained on the white board in the northwest corner of the room, which is showing the nominees in each category as MC Chris Ashfield (of the Whitewood Herald) reads them out. Winners come and go with each category that comes up, and the ‘Best Feature Story’ one is inching closer and closer as others collect their plaques for the best in advertising, photography, and so forth.

*Daniel Bryan mode* YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!

– Here it comes. Ashfield begins reading out the nominees for ‘Best Feature Story’ and I see the front page of my article come up on the white board. The hair on my arms raises just a little at the sound of my name, and I turn my gaze down to my table, preparing myself not to win and trying to look gracious in defeat. The only problem with that is that Ashfield says my name a second time, just after he says ‘And the winner is…’. I win. My eyebrows raise, I silently mouth ‘Holy shit!’ and I make my way to the side of the stage, where SWNA President Alison Squires greets me with a smile, hearty handshake, and a photo is snapped. “Ended up being worth the drive, huh?” she asks. Indeed it has been.

– Handshakes around my table, and Delwyn is beaming. Obviously, I am too. I never expected to win, and designated myself to that comfy “Just cool to be nominated” position in the weeks leading up to this event. Actually taking home the plaque was by no means a certainty in my mind, so this is very, very cool.

– I’m a happy man. So happy that after the evening comes to a close, I go back up to my room, grab my little Canon Powershot and shoot a number of photos, including one of the plaque resting against a window that looks out onto the city of Regina at night. But not before I make the obligatory phone call home to announce my hearty triumph to the family. Ma sounds a little choked up after I tell her that I’m “coming home with more than what I left with”. Crazy dames, with their feelings and whatnot. All kidding aside, I’m more than a little proud to tell the woman who is arguably the biggest fan of my work that my peers in the paper business seem to share the same sentiment.

– I throw the photo of the plaque on Facebook and within mere seconds (not an exaggeration), I start getting a flood of “likes” and words of congratulations from friends, family and assorted acquaintances. Ah, the power of social media.

– Having had some time to celebrate by myself and put it out into cyberspace, I head back downstairs to the ‘hospitality suite’, which is a politically correct way of saying, “Hey, you in the purple shirt! Get in here and drink with us, cuz it’s open bar and we don’t work tomorrow!” Sounds good to me. I indulge in a few rum and Cokes, shake even more hands and find myself going over the Lisa Rendall article all over again. A lot knew her name because she was a longtime radio personality on C95 in Saskatoon, or else they knew her from the endless breast cancer fundraisers she organized over the years.

– One more rum and Coke (didn’t I say that two of them ago?) and I head back up to my room, where more comments have hit my Facebook page. I’m feeling good, but now a little hungry, so I order some wings and pizza from Domino’s. I devour the wings while watching Corner Gas, but I guess that’s all I needed, because the pizza goes untouched. It’ll have to make the trip home with me. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just gotten room service.

– I didn’t think of it when I was packing, but I’m now stuck with no form of white noise so that I can actually get to sleep. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember – I just can’t sleep without some kind of background noise. I’ve used a fan in my bedroom for the longest time, but just this past week my sleep therapy machine arrived in the mail. I now get my beauty rest with the help of ocean waves, and sometimes the sound of a summer night. A word of warning to the future (ex)Mrs. Ruttle – you land me, you land my sleep machine.

SUNDAY, APRIL 22

– I ended up using the Food Network as background noise to lull me to sleep. Strangely enough, that didn’t make me dream of steak, pasta or seafood, though it’s not like I didn’t want it to. Even though I set my cell phone alarm for around 10, I’m up by 8. Weird how that happens. Must be the unfamiliar sleeping environment. Also funny is the fact that despite this bed being stupidly large, I stayed on only one side of it all night. Hmmm. Guess I could’ve invited one of the many lovely ladies clamoring to be my date for this gig. Ha ha ha…………..is he joking?

– I’m packed up again, checked out of the Delta and back in my car by a little after 11 am. But I’m not headed home yet, as I told myself that once everything in Regina was over with, I was gonna take a trip down to Rouleau, where Corner Gas was filmed. I make my way out of the city and arrive in ‘Dog River’ after a half-hour drive.

– This is pretty cool, now that I’m here. I’m staring at the Dog River police station, as well as the bar, and I snap photos. Finally, I make the actual Corner Gas station and Ruby Cafe set the main event of the early afternoon, getting many more snapshots. As it turns out, the inside of the gas station is being renovated because that’s where the memorabilia and gift shop is being moved to as of May 1. It was in the Dog River police station, but now people will actually drive out to Corner Gas to buy something related to Corner Gas, all because of their fondness for the TV show………Corner Gas. CORNER GAS!!!

– Back in the car, and I make my way back home. Again, Howard Stern and the gang keep me company, save for an hour or so when I’m blasting tunes good and loud. I arrive home a little past 4:30, and walk into a house full of people congratulating me once again, this time in person. Feels good. They hear all about the convention, the awards ceremony and my trip down to Rouleau, and it turns out they’ve been preparing a congratulatory supper. We sit down to steak right off the BBQ, seasoned potatoes, asparagus, and then a choice of either chocolate or butter pecan cake for dessert. Good eatin’.

Such was my entire Regina experience. I went, I saw, I ate, I won, I drank, I drank some more, I ate again, I slept, and I left. All in all, a great weekend. I suppose time will only tell if I am summoned to next year’s convention to defend my title. We’ll see.

For now though, I’m happy.

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Looking Back & Looking Ahead

Posted: January 10, 2012 in events, life, local, writing

Nice knowing you, 2011.

Another year has come and gone, and just as I’m sure everyone else says it, I’ll say it too – where the hell did the last twelve months go? Is it just me, or does it feel like it was only May or June a couple of months ago? Yet we’re over a week into 2012 already. Son of a bitch!

I work in a very lightning-paced environment. Now this requires some explanation, because I DO NOT mean that my two coworkers and I run around the office like tweens loaded up on Red Bull. In fact, there are days that seem to crawl by with little to no activity. No, I mean that this chosen profession of ours – the weekly newspaper gig – operates under a five business day cycle in which the ultimate goal is to be done with one issue on Tuesday afternoon and already try to have in mind what’s going in the next issue before the current one even arrives by courier to our back door. What might be the hottest topic of one week is just a memory after two or three more issues, and the cycle continues as I resume that voodoo that I do do.

It’s because of this that time seems to jet by without a moment’s notice, and 2011 is now in the record books.

With that, I feel it’s appropriate to try and make sense of the last 365 days and highlight some of the most notable occasions that I’ll take with me to my grave.

Overall, I feel that my 2011 was a pretty good year, all things considered. Work has been steady, and the raise I got near the beginning of the year was a nice boost to my morale in addition to my bank account. In non-office related news, my Stephen King project, “Mute”, saw some significant progress, though I’m still a good deal away from yelling “ACTION” on set. So far, the script has been finished for nearly a year, having been completed after an all-night write-a-thon and hitting ‘Save’ at roughly 5:30 am on Saturday, February 19. Perhaps the biggest chunk of the project’s budget was taken care of in October, when I snagged the camera I’m going to use to shoot it, as well as any other ideas in the future – a Canon Vixia HF M-400, one of the newest ones on the market. This came as a result of a car rally that my mom hosted at her bar (that’s Ma’s Tavern in Conquest, everybody!) that people paid $5 to take part in. It raised over $260, so it was a huge help in buying the camera. Yes, you read that right – people in small towns still help each other, and being neighborly is not a thing of the past.

Right now, I’m trying to get my hands on a few set pieces to use and hammering down locations, as well as working on getting the script to a few actors, although I do have my ‘deaf and blind’ hitchhiker cast, so that casting call has been heeded! If I were forced to reveal any kind of deadline, although there isn’t one and I’d only be giving myself a date that would be looming over my head, I’d say that I want to be finished shooting by the end of April and use May as my obsessive, two packs a day, mucho-cursing-from-the-basement editing period. Progress is slow, but it’s coming.

The recent Christmas and holiday season was a damn good one, at least from my point of view. We were done here at the paper on Wednesday, December 21 and had a sweet, mini-vacation of an eight day break before coming back on the 29th. From there, it was just two days of work before the New Year’s long weekend, and here we are, back into the groove once again.

My Christmas celebrations shaped up like this:

December 21: Done work for over a week, I celebrated by preparing myself a gourmet feast and popping the most enjoyable Christmas movie ever made into my PS3 – “Die Hard”. Consisting of a baked lobster tail, two seasoned chicken breasts, potato wedges and crab-stuffed shrimp, the meal cost a little more than grabbing a burger and fries (altogether, and glancing at grocery store receipts, it was roughly $38), but I had a holiday to ring in, dammit! Hardly the modest type, I snapped a pic and threw it on Facebook, claiming that I had just “won the Internet tonight” before chowing down.

December 23: The day before Christmas Eve, I got together with my gang of fellow rapscallions – Alex, Chris and Kyle – up at Alex’s condo in Saskatoon for a night of movies, cards and intelligent discussion and debate regarding the state of the world economy as we head into 2012. (Try and guess which one of those is complete bullshit. Oh c’mon, guess!) As plans have a way of changing, we ended up getting together a little later than planned, but all was well when Kyle finally got to Alex’s at roughly 8:00, having made the drive all the way from Swift Current, and a kudos to ‘Big Country’ for making the cross-province trip with no complaints. We had originally planned to watch a few movies, but once I brought out the cards, we ended up playing and sitting around Alex’s kitchen table all night, talking about anything and everything and listening to ’70s and ’80s classic rock (thank you, Sirius satellite online radio). Exchanging gifts, it turned out my friends decided to go the gift card route, as they doled them out from Best Buy, Walmart and HMV, respectively, and I think they were happy with the t-shirts I found for each of them, consisting of Ghostbusters, Mortal Kombat and Back To The Future, respectively.

Though there was no tree or turkey to tear into (we opted for Domino’s), the night was a huge highlight of my holiday, and I think it was something that all of us needed. Among the bigger news items to come out of it was the fact that Chris and his wife Kristin have found a house they want to buy and are currently in the midst of a mountain of paperwork and negotiations. Here’s hoping they get it, even if I’m just looking forward to the housewarming party. Hehehehehehehe, is he joking?

December 24: Running around and picking up a few last-minute things before all the stores close, I ran into an old chum of mine in front of the Co-op in Outlook, Kevin Guillet, who was down for his own massive family gathering out at the farm. Kev lives in Victoria, a former stomping ground of mine, and seems to be doing well for himself with film and video gigs here and there. Back at home, we had Christmas Eve celebrations over at my brother Perry’s, though by this time a stubborn and ill-timed nose congestion really decreased my enjoyment. We played Uno, ate food, joked around – a typical Ruttle family gathering. When everyone else either went home or back to their motel rooms, Brendon and I stayed behind and we all watched “A Christmas Story”. I hadn’t seen that movie from start to finish in years. After getting home, I wasn’t ready to go to sleep so some fat guy could break into my house and leave me a bunch of shit I didn’t ask for, so I watched “Christmas Vacation”, a must-see staple of the holiday season.

December 25: The main event. I was the last one to wake up – remember my duty to watch Chevy Chase attempt a family holiday at home – and open a few gifts, consisting of some new clothes, new bedding, couple of books, and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. I never asked for anything specific and made no list of any sort, so whatever I got, I had to be happy with. No complaints. We had our big family dinner, gift opening and all the aftermath at the tavern, which was an odd idea on paper but turned out great because it had tons of room. Again, more food, more games, lots of photos taken and yes, just as an Irish-Scottish family will partake in, plenty of liquid courage flowing.

The rest of my time off before heading back to work was spent unwinding and recharging my batteries, as well as blowing my nose alot and trying to get that cleared up. I also watched a ton of “Degrassi Jr.” and then “Degrassi High” on Netflix, which really took me back to my childhood when I watched the show on CBC after school every day. Someone send the guy who invented Netflix the finest bottle of scotch they can find, and send the bill to someone who isn’t me.

On December 30, I hit the city looking for some good shopping deals and came out of it pretty decent, picking up seasons three and four of “Oz” and the TRON: Legacy soundtrack for the magnificent total of just under $22, thanks to Kyle’s HMV gift card. I cruised over to Amazing Stories and bought a Batman comic collection I’ve been looking for forever, as well as a neat Freddy Krueger action figure, and he now stands on one of the shelves of my entertainment unit at home, guarding the place along with my larger figure of The Undertaker in all his finger-knived, red and green-sweatered glory.

After satiating my retail urge, I went and saw David Fincher’s North American remake of “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. Overall, I thought it was an incredible film, unique at times and very disturbing in others (rape is a heavy theme), but Fincher knocked it out of the park. I wasn’t exactly ‘wowed’ with “The Social Network” last year, but “Dragon” is Fincher at his best – directing an epic (nearly 2.5 hours) with real, gritty and dark drama that makes for some fantastic storytelling. Daniel Craig sure as hell isn’t James Bond here, and Rooney Mara – a relative unknown now getting some much-deserved attention – throws herself into a role that more than half the actresses in Hollywood don’t have the balls to try. As well, it doesn’t hurt that the opening credits sequence of the film is a total creative mind-fuck. Just gotta see it.

My New Year’s Eve was actually quite uneventful, to be honest. I don’t usually make a big deal out of it, as I consider Christmas to be more significant during that week-long time period where both events take place. I cooked up some skewered shrimp (or lollipop shrimp, as the marketing folks at President’s Choice call it), poured myself a rum n’ Coke or three and bounced back and forth between the South Park and Drew Carey Show marathons on TV. Man, what a bad boy I grew up to be.

Rewinding back to the summer months of 2011, I loved the Conquest Centennial long weekend celebrations back in July. I wore many hats over the course of those three days; reporter, photographer, proud Conquest resident, as well as a son, brother, nephew, uncle, and pyrotechnics supervisor as I blasted off a bunch of fireworks on the night of July 1. Saw some family, took in the events to celebrate my hometown’s 100th, and just enjoyed being in that environment.

I gotta say though, I think the village of Milden got it right with their own centennial celebrations just four weeks later. They kicked it off with a parade on Saturday morning that seemed to never end, and had a street dance that night, filling the prairie air with the sound of music. As fun as our own community’s weekend was, I wish we’d taken advantage of what we have and done the same things. Oh well.

In August, I took a day out of my two-week break from work and drove up to my late uncle’s old cabin at Candle Lake at the beginning of August. It was only for one day and night, and I was by myself, but I have to say that it was the best thing that I experienced last year, bar none.

My original intention was to just make a day of it and actually drive home late, but I’m glad I ended up staying overnight. Making the four-hour drive and armed with a loaded MP3 disc, a change of clothes and my trusty Canon PowerShot, all my old memories came flooding back to me almost instantly as I approached the cabin. This was a place where my family vacationed for many summers when I was a kid, and I hadn’t been up there in 11 years. Older, wiser, and experiencing a lot more in life since that time, I started to feel like a kid again as I saw all the same buildings and businesses that made my summers up there so memorable; the general store/laundromat that even in 2011 still rents out VHS tapes and VCRs, the walk-up fast food restaurant on the corner with vintage advertisements and a carnival-like color scheme, the mini golf course, the petting zoo, and everything else from the mechanic shop to the restaurant/lounge. There’s also quite a bit of new infrastructure up there, including more food services like Family Pizza, a clothing outlet, and even a health centre. What’s neat is the way Candle Lake has been able to adapt to the new century and capitalize on the economic boom and public demand, but a lot of things are still the same and seem to have not changed a bit. It’s an old school meets new school fusion that seems to work for everyone.

I got to the cabin and just took in the surroundings. It’s definitely an old cabin, and quite frankly you’re living a bit rustic when you’re up there, but it’s got power and four walls, so I was happy. I grabbed my camera and just took a drive around the area, taking in the sights and getting reacquainted after a decade-long absence. Saw some wildlife, checked out the trout pond used by those who just want a quaint and quiet day of fishing instead of the choppiness of the lake, and obviously, Candle Lake itself, which seemed no more bigger or smaller than when I was a kid. The water had a silvery grey color to its surface and was alive as it churned tide-by-tide to the shore.

I picked up some dinner, consisting of two medium pies from Family Pizza (pepperoni & bacon, shrimp & mushrooms), as well as a few things at the store before sitting down to watch some electrifying entertainment – whatever the hell was on either CTV or CBC. The cabin is equipped only with an antenna, so you’re stuck with whatever happens to be on those two channels. To hell with it, I say. In the middle of summer, you shouldn’t even be indoors at Candle Lake during the day. I watched the news and then went back down to the lake, relaxing in my lawn chair with my feet in the sand. It wasn’t long before I walked into the water, and doing so once again threw me back in time to when I was up there as a kid, splashing around with my brothers and tossing handfuls of wet sand at each other, which the other guy would take square in the chest and pretend he got shot.

I'll be back.

I fired off quite a bit of photos while both on the sand and in the lake, simply because my surroundings were begging me to. It was roughly 8:00 pm, and the sun was starting to call it a day. As it descended in the northwest, it created an incredible silhouette out of a bunch of tall trees, and the dimming light had begun to shine a light off the surface of the water. It literally looked like some painting a tourist would buy in a gift shop, so I snapped away. The lake is surrounded in this U-shaped section of land, and trees and lakeside cabins dot the properties, which has always made me jealous. I’d kill for a cabin right by the water up there, because I’d be driving up there all the time and nobody from around here would see much of me in the summertime. Christ, I wish I was there right now. No lie.

The next morning, I took one last drive down to the lake and just sat there for a little while; looking out at the beach, the water, the cabins all around the area, a few boats cruising around, and some family enjoying the day. I told myself that I’d be back a hell of a lot sooner than another 11 years, and I fueled up before making the long drive back home.

I intend to keep that promise. I don’t mean to get all soft and ‘deep’ on this, but I went up there to try and reestablish a connection that had gotten lost years ago. I wanted to feel like a kid again. In this hyperspeed world we live in, life jets by waaaaaay too fast at times, and we get lost in our daily lives that consist mainly of work and just waiting for Friday to come so we can recharge and get ready for another workweek. You have to wake up and smell the coffee. Step back and look at things from a different point of view. I went up to Candle Lake to try and reawaken some form of worry-free emotion in my gut that everybody had when they were growing up; to take in my former source of childhood memories and – even if only for one day – not worry about a fucking thing else on Earth and just do as Frankie says, and that’s relax. I’m happy to report that I was successful on all fronts.

And it seems that I got up there just in time, as the word going around my mom’s side of the family is that my aunt Hazel has told her kids to put the old cabin up for sale. Not that it’s worth much, and frankly it’s mainly the land that someone would be buying, but I still wish they’d reconsider and keep it in the family in some way. Hell, I’m sure my family would put some money into it and share it with someone. Time will tell on that front, but when I return to Candle this coming summer, I’ll more than likely be renting a cabin anyway.

From asking ‘Are we there yet?’ to renting my own cabin – yup, getting old sucks.

From there, I actually drove home into a somber affair. My aunt Mabel, on my dad’s side, had died in June and while there was a funeral service out where she lived in Cochrane, Alberta, the graveside service and burial was in Conquest in early August. As my clan tends to do, we managed to turn a negative situation into a positive, and the outpouring of relatives that I hadn’t seen in many years made it into a makeshift Ruttle Family Reunion as we celebrated Mabel’s life with enough food to feed two and a half countries and plenty of alcohol. Hey, it’s what we do.

Looking back, these events were really just a taste of what I encountered and experienced in 2011, but they were the ones that left the biggest lasting impression by far. I don’t know how your year was, but I can look back on mine and say it was satisfying on several different levels. Hope you can say the same.

With that, I don’t know what 2012 holds for me. I know what I’d LIKE to accomplish – getting “Mute” off the ground, shot/edited, and then submitted to film festivals around the country – and I know what I’d like to do again – return to Candle Lake – but that’s the mystery of a new year, I suppose. No idea just what will happen.

In the meantime, it’s nice to think about.

DWR

Just Let This End Already…

Posted: October 21, 2010 in local, news

So if you live in Outlook or anywhere near there, the big agriculture issue right now, and has been for the last five months is this whole Namaka Farms feedlot proposal. In a nutshell, the Thiessen family has gone to the RM of Rudy and proposed a vision for a feedlot operation to eventually house up to 36,000 head of cattle. There are those for it and those against it, and two public meetings were held over two back-to-back Thursday nights in June.

Now, the RM is reaching their decision and will hold one last public event tonight in the Outlook court room. There really is no official word on what is going down in this meeting, but it’s being said that the RM councilors will either be voting or have already reached a decision on the proposal and will simply announce it.

Whatever the case, I won’t be attending the meeting. For one, my brother and I have tickets to see a comedy show up in Saskatoon tonight (Ricky, Julian and Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys! FTW!), but secondly I put a lot of my own personal time into my job as a reporter, and I think I deserve to go out and have some fun and be off the clock, for a change. My buddy Tim, a co-worker and also a great writer is filling in for me.

However, I did attend last night’s meeting, which was a closed door affair held by the RM in their council chambers. This served as a last-minute forum for those with views or concerns to share them with the RM councilors.

Probably the most significant pieces of news to come out of the meeting is the fact that people opposed to Namaka’s idea put together a petition and went out gathering signatures. They reportedly received over 300 names and the results of their findings were as follows:

– 60% against the feedlot
– 10% for it
– 30% disinterested and/or having no opinion

What was interesting to hear is that some people reportedly told these petition carriers that they were told to refrain from sharing their position or views on the proposal.

But what I find particularly interesting when it comes to these signatures is that a number of them are from people who don’t live or pay taxes in the RM of Rudy. Just this past Monday night, people were knocking on my door and I live in Conquest, which is in the RM of Fertile Valley. We don’t get our drinking water from anywhere near this proposed feedlot site, so in that sense aren’t affected at all when it comes to any potential harm. How much weight can this list of over 300 names even carry if some of the signatures are from people looking in from the outside?

Wherever people sit on the fence with this issue, I think it’s safe to say that they’ll be glad when all this debating, arguing and finger pointing is over so the RM can make their official decision.

In the meantime, here’s the link to a groovy little piece of audio. I appeared on NewsTalk 650 radio this morning to discuss last night’s meeting and just some general points about the feedlot proposal with show host, Brent Loucks. In truth, I wish I wasn’t so nervous but I don’t think I was horrible. I had two pages of notes in front of me and was ready to read some of them off, but it just sounded like Brent wanted to hit on some general feedback points, which was cool with me.