Brown is long gone

It would be much easier to say goodbye to Ponoka if it were a crappy place to do business and the staff here published a poor newspaper

It would be much easier to say goodbye to Ponoka if it were a crappy place to do business and the staff here published a poor newspaper every week.

Neither is true and that makes this farewell difficult.

Next week’s Ponoka News will be the last in which I will play a significant part in producing as I will leave at the end of the month to take up my duties as a co-owner and editor in chief of the Melville Advance, Fort Qu’Appelle Times and Whitewood Herald, all in Saskatchewan, the Land of Living Skies and grain dust haze.

I’ll wait for the laughter to die down before I continue.

Like I was saying, I’m moving to east central Saskatchewan to take the next step in a newspaper career of more than 30 years that has lurched forward and back for the most part at community newspapers between Red Deer and Edmonton. It’s the first time since I left Sylvan Lake for Wetaskiwin in 1987 that I decided when to leave for greener pastures — a few times that decision was made for me.

I joked the other day that while the time doesn’t change when you cross the Fourth Meridian into Saskatchewan, your calendar flips back to 1973. There may be some truth to that; the province has adopted Alberta’s discarded slogan and touts the “Saskatchewan Advantage.” It seems Saskatchewan is poised for the kind of growth Alberta enjoyed during its modern boom under Premier Peter Lougheed. Resource development, lower taxes and higher wages are attracting immigrants from Manitoba and Alberta. They’re even welcoming new arrivals with a massive paving program.

After arguing unsuccessfully that town council would be wrong to enact its proposed liquor store hours bylaw and force outlets to close at 10 p.m. I’ll now be working in a town with one liquor store that closes at 6 p.m. The irony is not lost on me. Of course there’s late-night off sales but only on Pilsner, I think. Karma, I guess.

I am grateful to you, our readers, my critics and supporters over the past four years; you helped to mould our decisions and improve this newspaper.

But after Sept. 27 you won’t have Brown to kick around anymore, I’ll be long gone to Saskatchewan. Where the getting’s good if you’re getting’ gone.

Keep it real, Ponoka.

— Off The Record

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