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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

We don't expect rain in February

It was Family Day in Ontario on Monday and here in Fort Frances, we had a thunderstorm and rain for most of the day.

Needless to say, it was not the most wonderful day for outdoor family activities.

Driving back from Dryden under a sunny sky Saturday afternoon, I could not help but notice all the snowmobile tracks across the snow-covered lakes. By the time I reached Rainy Lake, the trails criss-crossing the bays suggested hundreds of snowmobilers were out and about.

Spring is on the way

It is probably a little early to start talking about spring, but there are signs everywhere that spring is just around the corner.

Leaving my mother's house on Sunday just before 6 p.m., there still was some light in the western sky as I drove home. Yes, the days are progressively getting longer.

A huge seed display, as you walked through the door, caught my eye two weeks ago when I dropped into Emo Feed. It almost was tempting enough to pick up some seed packages.

What to do on Valentine's Day?

Should it be chocolates, flowers, and a quiet candlelight dinner at a restaurant? Or should I prepare a special romantic dinner for my wife?

Maybe a combination of ideas should be considered.

I don't often think about Valentine's Day but every year when Feb. 14 comes around, I can't help but think how lucky I have been in my life.

My wife makes every day special and although I can't remember doing anything particularly wonderful for her on Valentine's Day, I try to make up for it throughout the year.

Create a climate to attract best

The ban on accepting Muslim refugees into the United States may have a silver lining for Canada.

Several huge technology companies in the U.S. already are asking the Canadian government to provide special exemptions for their employees to stay in our country.

Taking up the call, Canada's immigration minister offered up temporary residence to any traveller stranded in Canada as a result of the confusing travel restrictions implemented by the Trump administration.

It is a valuable opportunity for Canada.

Apply tax reduction equally

I was dumbfounded when I read that both Canadian Tire and Walmart were going to receive back taxes from the Town of Fort Frances after a hearing by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

Where was the province and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in opposing the reductions in taxes?

Canadian Tire has at least 67 stores spread out across Ontario, in addition to “Parts Source" stores and 74 "Mark Work Wearhouse” outlets in southern Ontario.

Voicemail obsolete

When the Fort Frances Times initiated voicemail, we believed it was really important for a caller to speak to a real person when phoning the newspaper.

We still believe that, but we do have a voicemail system so that calls after hours, or when a person is away from their desk or on another call, the caller can leave a message.

Where will computers lead us?

I sometimes wonder where computers will lead us in the future.

I watched in amazement Sunday morning as several manufacturers showed off their reality systems. What might it be like in a classroom where a teacher takes a whole class through a safari in Kenya?

Within the safari, they could witness the circle of life viewing exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Would giving the students the opportunity to dive along the Great Barrier Reef of Australia provide them a better appreciation for the reef by viewing it live in three dimensions?

Wallets to feel much lighter

If your wallet feels a little bit lighter in the New Year, it’s not a figment of your imagination.

Your wallet will have been picked by the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne. In her haste to make Ontario “green,” the only greening that’s taking place is all the extra revenue the government is grabbing from its citizens as Ontario’s new cap-and-trade energy policy came into effect Jan. 1.

2017 may bring surprises

’Tis the Christmas season and the time to look to the New Year.

I often have made fun of our politicians, who toil on our behalf, with their Christmas “wish” lists and their resolutions for the New Year. So, too, this year, though not so much with the Christmas wish list but rather with their hopes for 2017.

Enjoy your Christmas traditions

Christmas Day will arrive shortly.

My friend, David Iwanyszyn, posted a photo on Facebook on Sunday night showing off the Christmas tree in his home loaded with gifts and wishing everyone a “Happy St. Nicholas Day”—a Ukrainian tradition.

On the eve of Dec. 19, children receive gifts from St. Nicholas.

The traditional Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated on Jan. 7 (following the Julian calendar). Dave’s family follows many traditional Ukrainian celebrations.