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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

E-learning raises many questions

I wonder who is really listening to students attending secondary school?

In a race to reduce costs and seemingly to reduce teachers in Grades 9 through 12, the provincial government is mandating students take 4 courses on-line in their high school years beginning next year.

It is interesting that 95 percent of the over 6,000 secondary students surveyed reject learning from online courses.

Only Ontario—in all of North America—has shifted education to the technology forcing students to take a minimum of four courses online to graduate.

Maybe a trade school isn't a bad idea

The Northern Policy Institute has been focussing on human capital across Northern Ontario.

Their findings do not provide for a great deal of optimism for either the Kenora or the Rainy River Districts.

Even though both districts have high unemployment rates, they also have high job vacancy rates.

In the report, it was noted that 50 companies in advanced manufacturing, mining and professional and scientific services when surveyed the biggest barrier to growth in Northwestern Ontario that was found was the difficulty in finding qualified employees.

Making memories on Rainy Lake

Before there was the Noden Causeway, the highway ended at the Five-Mile dock and weekly my mother would have sandwiches ready and right after work my father, brother and I would be on the dock, having bought some minnows there.

The dock was exciting as it was the jumping off spot for barges and tugs delivering supplies to the north and south arms of the lake.

We fished all the way around the dock, often from the decks of barges.

Fishing was something that my father relished, and he introduced us to fishing at an early age.

Future leaders in green energy

I recently spoke with two young graduates from university about what they viewed their beginning career moves. One looked to go on to post grad studies for a law degree to develop green energy policies for the future.

The other was looking to begin his engineering career in developing green energy projects.

Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat.

These energy resources are renewable, meaning they're naturally replenished.

Resolute blocking any competition

One company offered $10 million to Resolute Forest Products to buy the Fort Frances mill operation and was rejected by them.

Riversedge was paid $1 for the Fort Frances mill operation, but before signing the final papers on July 9, Resolute paid a numbered company (Riversedge) $2 on July 2 to make sure the mill would never operate again.

Riversedge also received $950,001 from Resolute for other considerations.

What are our solutions for global warming?

It is a sweltering 95 F on the second day of August.

The Weather Network calls for four consecutive days of this heat wave. The blistering sun has heated Europe to its highest temperatures. President Trump volunteered to send fire fighters to Siberia—not as Stalin used to do to get rid of agitators—but to assist in fighting fires. Those Siberian fires are raging across 15,000 square miles and are pumping millions of tons of green house gases into the atmosphere.

Canada, too, has reported a rise in Arctic wildfires this year.

No accountability

Last Wednesday as my wife and I travelled to Rainy River dropping off papers at stores and restaurants along the way, we were tuned into the radio listening the testimony of Robert Muelller who was asked to investigate claims that there was Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Near the end of the testimony, Mueller clearly stated that the Russians were already involved in the upcoming U.S. elections.

He added that there were more foreign countries working to sway voters in the coming state and national elections.

How do we attract new immigrants?

Is Rainy River District a welcoming community?

On Monday evening, my wife and I attended the Festival of India at the Rainy Lake Square. It was a fun event organized by members of the local East Indian community.

Song, dance, and music representative of different areas of India were featured. It made me wonder what had attracted this group to the Rainy River District and how their foods, customs and music had already added to the culture of the district.

Looking about the audience, it was interesting to see that we are very a culturally diverse community.

Great memories of bass tournament

I remember the first Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.

On the Sunday of the tournament, I went out on Rainy Lake with Rick Socholotuk to check some fishing boats in the afternoon. We ducked under the low side of the causeway and snapped the antennae that was in contact with the main command centre.

I remember the afternoon as a person recovering from some broken ribs and crossing some pounding waves that only made things worse. I shouldn't have been out in the boat.

Can't remember smoke being so thick

The National Post headline reads: “Pikangikum First Nation faces second evacuation in just over one month.”

I can't imagine what it is like to live in that community where two fires have combined into one giant fire shooting a plume of smoke high into the air.

I can't imagine fleeing from my community even once threatened by fire yet a second time in such a short period. I can't imagine wondering if I will have a home to return to.