Editorial – Most read, farewell, and hello!

Jeff Burgar

As is our custom, we tallied up the most read local news stories of 2023. It sometimes happens the “big” stories are oddball happens. As in the mystery KKK hood story in Grimshaw in 2021. That story remains one of our all-time most read. So, too, is the 2021 story of RCMP dog Jago criminally shot and killed at Winagami Lake. The words of High Prairie S/Sgt Warren Wright are very true. It emphasizes that each officer never knows from day to day what will happen.

“It can happen in a flash,” he said. Or as said so many times by so many people, “Tomorrow is promised to no one.”

In 2023, the biggest story was simply, wildfires. With so many fires causing so much upheaval, evacuations and damage, there was not just one fire story. It was one story after another. In our area, from Gift Lake to East Prairie to Hay River to Slave Lake and Smith, story after story appeared week after week and online in the spring of 2023.

As an individual story, the death of Starr Felix Sasakamoose Sr. on Driftpile Cree Nation is our most read story in 2023.

It was followed by the business story on the massive Treaty 8 Hockey Tournament moving from its traditional home in High Prairie to Slave Lake.

Obituaries continue, as usual, as the most read category of news. But of note in 2023 as a most read is the obituary of well-known businessman and character in High Prairie, “Uncle Nicky” Nick Shybunia.

Although the Treaty 8 story could be considered ‘sports’ or ‘business’ it also has a political connection. Namely, questions still remain exactly how High Prairie politicians managed to send the second or third biggest event of High Prairie’s year, after the Elks Stampede and High Prairie Gun and Sportsmen Show, to another town.

Another political story made the list. Scott Sinclair winning the Lesser Slave Lake UCP nomination.

These stories are only a numeric count of which stories got the most readership at our online papers smokyriverexpress.com and southpeacenews.com.

Like our readers, we also have personal opinions of “big stories.” The proposed ABO Canada wind farm in Smoky River. Ongoing court cases disgracefully dragging through an uncaring justice system. The Grouard church burning. Bridges. Health care. Emergency rooms closing. So much more.

The end of a year is for many a time of reflection. We may join together, be by ourselves, or in prayer, to remember both good times and bad times. We may toast friends and relatives we have lost over the year, giving thanks we had them in our lives. At such moments we may also give thanks we live in a great country. A country full of opportunity far away from the troubles and hardships so many people in the world face each day of their lives.

The end of one year is the beginning of a new year. We might make plans for a better life.

Farewell to last year’s so-called slings and arrows of fortune. We will remember the joys of life that were ours. We dealt with all the bad, and enjoyed all the good. Each and every day.

As we surely will this coming year

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