You are here

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

What a wonderful place we live in

Sometimes you fail to understand what a wonderful place we live in.

Watching the devastation from the two hurricanes that struck the southern United States, we can appreciate the fact that the extreme weather condition we might encounter would be a metre of snow overnight.

It will seem nasty but we won't lose roofs or have windows blown out and floods inundating our homes.

I've just returned to work following 10 days of vacation sharing our cabin on Rainy Lake, firstly with my eldest son and his fiancée and her parents who live in Calgary.

Can we handle a metre of rain?

I can't imagine what it's like to live in the city of Houston these days.

Following Hurricane Harvey, the citizens of that U.S. city and the 50 surrounding counties are facing torrential rain that was more than double the annual rainfall there.

Some places already had exceeded more than 30 inches of rainfall, with an additional 20 inches of rain expected to fall.

The city's emergency department had never anticipated the destructive forces of rain in the amounts that have followed Harvey. I certainly can't imagine what it's like to receive so much rain at one time.

New sights to ponder each week

There are now windrows of golden oats ready to be combined in fields west of Fort Frances while fields of golden barley are ready to harvested.

I've driven by these fields almost every week for a year now and watched how the earth has turned to vibrant green, canola has produced its vibrant yellow flowers, and fields that held hay have been cut, with the hay turned into huge round bales and taken off for storage.

It's time to reduce my 'stuff'

My mother moved from her home and has told her children to deal with her belongings.

I don't think we realized how much stuff my father and she had accumulated in their lifetime. For instance, we discovered she had kept every report card for every year the three of us were in school.

My mother also had our earliest artwork from kindergarten. Every ornament that her children and grandchildren had given her on birthdays and Christmas was placed in a special spot.

We always worry about our kids

A mother's job is never finished. Nor do parents ever stop worrying about their children.

Marnie and I have a tradition of calling our sons every Sunday night to hear their voices and those of their spouses. Both live more than 1,000 miles in opposite directions from Fort Frances.

One travels a great deal for his job, which takes him around the world. They often are long business trips. As parents, we know his departure and return dates, and pay close attention to airline schedules.

Trade barriers costing us

There is an interesting court case involving 454 bottles of beer that could very much open up free trade across provincial boundaries.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear an appeal of the New Brunswick Provincial Court's decision. Gerald Comeau had bought several cases of beer and some liquor in Quebec and had returned to New Brunswick and was charged with importing liquor into the province.

Downtown trees will be missed

I was just as surprised as most people were in Fort Frances when the community learned that the trees on the 200 block of Scott Street were going to be removed.

I sat on town council back in the early 1980s when the decision to plant trees along the street was made to enhance its beauty.

I’m told the trees along the street will not be replaced.

Several decisions were made at that time. There was the removal of the parking meters that cost the community more than $30,000 in revenue.

Rusty crayfish now in Rainy

Our bay on Turtle Island of Rainy Lake traditionally has had some thick aquatic plant growth.

It harboured northern pike and bass, and was a great growing ground for the schools of young bass that were hatched on beds in early summer.

Most of those weeds have disappeared this summer—much to the delight of swimmers who choose to enter the water from our beach area.

I have a favourite fishing hole at the top end of Rice Bay on Rainy Lake that traditionally held a great variety of fish. If I had a young person who wanted to fish, this was the go-to spot for success.

Restoring cars a work of love

Have you ever been asked the question: “Do you have a hobby?”

It is an easy question as most of us probably do have such a hobby. I know that I do. So do my wife, my brother and my sister, and many of the employees here at the Times.

Often, the hobby bears no relationship to the job they do during the day.

This week, two different groups will be displaying the rewards of their hobbies. In one case, bass anglers will demonstrate their catching skills honed by countless hours spent practising on waters across the area.

Lazy days beckoning

We don't have a television at the cabin. The radio, which is tuned to CBC, seldom is on.

Yes, we do have the Internet. iPads and cellphones are logged in, but the search of news seldom is happening. Instead, in our quiet way, time often is spent reading hardcover and paperback books, as well as electronic ones on our gadgets.

This year, our weekends have been filled with serious construction work building walkways from the dock to the cabins. By the end of each day of work, I was feeling exhausted.