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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

An idea worth exploring

Today, less than 17 percent of jobs in Canada are found in manufacturing products. Technology changes in manufacturing have reduced the need for people. Technology and services are the fastest growing job areas of the economy. Where does Rainy River District's future lie?

Dave Kircher proposed to the Economic Development Advisory Committee of the Town of Fort Frances that the community should investigate transforming the Resolute Mill into a technical training facility. The idea has some merit. Canada faces a major shortage of skilled workers in the trades.

We forget the value of electricity

It is quite easy to forget how valuable electricity is to us.

Shortly after my father built our cabin on Rainy Lake, we gave up Coleman lanterns and replaced our lights with electricity. We had a small diesel generator that provided enough power to light the cabin and run a few hand tools while the refrigerator and stove continued to use propane.

In the late 1970s, a power line was run from the mainland connecting about 13 island properties on the lake. Two island residents went from island to island talking to cabin owners encouraging them to participate.

We are a country of immigrants

It is July 1 and the 151st birthday of Canada. In typical Fort Frances fashion, the sun gods rained on the Fort Frances parade.

You almost can predict that July 1 will be a rainy day.

The thermometer only was reading 17 C but The Weather Network said the rain would diminish, the sun would break through the clouds, and the afternoon and evening would heat up for the fireworks.

Starting out with baby steps

Doug Ford has hit the ground running and with a few announcements even before being sworn into office, he clearly has demonstrated things will be different.

Gone are the working luncheon caucus meetings with supplied food. Instead, the PC caucus will be expected to “brown bag” it. Or perhaps Mr. Ford will hit the Costco store and bring his barbecue and grill burgers and 'dogs behind the legislature.

I'm looking forward to seeing MPPs grilling burgers behind the provincial parliament building in January.

Only kids can control their future

We are in the season of graduations. Universities and colleges are finalizing their graduation programs. Nursery schools, elementary schools, and high schools all have graduation ceremonies across the district this week.

Proud parents and grandparents look to this occasion as each ceremony brings a new chapter into the lives of their children.

Our family is now even richer

The Greeks have a special word that describes a family joining a Greek family as a result of a marriage. It is a wonderful term that explains the joining of two families through marriage.

We hadn't thought of the expansion of our family to our Brendan's wife family when they became engaged.

We hadn't even given it any thought on our trip as we kept saying pethera (feminine) mother-in-law or pethero/e (masculine) father-in-law. When the syn is placed in front of the term, it means co-in-laws.

What a difference a week makes

What a difference 10 days can make.

Marnie and I drove from Fort Frances to Calgary on the long weekend in May, returning 10 days later. It was a great trip having never crossed the Prairies at this time of year.

We wondered what the vast fields of grain would look like.

We have seen them in bloom, with vibrant fluorescent yellow canola flowers and blue flax flowers bordered by deep green fields of wheat and soybeans. We also have seen the fields being harvested all a golden brown in the fall.

Seniors' housing an election issue

Senior retirement housing, long-term care, and subsidized senior housing all are on the minds of Ontario residents in this year's provincial election.

It also will be part of municipal elections in the fall.

Housing for seniors is an issue. For instance, what types of senior housing do we require in the district? As well, what are we willing to pay for senior housing and who should be building the units?

It's important to understand many of the differences and who will pay for the services.

Which party can bribe us best?

Will we be bought with our own money again this provincial election? It is a question all voters should be asking themselves as the “robot-calls” light up our phones at meal times.

Which party can bribe us best?

When Kathleen Wynne unveiled her election budget in March, she promised free day care for children from age two-and-a-half to kindergarten and free prescription drugs to seniors. Her budget announced the largest increase in hospital funding and expanded mental health services.

She also promised a huge tax cut for middle-class workers.

When will the ice be out?

It is the big question on the minds of district residents these days.

It has nothing to do with the provincial election. It has nothing to do with municipal elections. It is all about ice.

Bill Naturkach reminded me about a visit by delegates from our sister community of Paris, Kentucky. Paris is the home of citizens of Bourbon County and the plan was to take the mayor of that community and Paris' CFO for a tour of Rainy Lake.

There was only one problem. Rainy Lake still was frozen in but arrangements were made.