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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

District highways being improved

We are all too prepared to accuse the provincial government—centered in Toronto—of not understanding Northwestern Ontario and investing in our communities.

Some of those criticisms are warranted. Many are not.

The province, for instance, has set an aggressive schedule rebuilding Ontario’s highways. Right across Rainy River District, we are experiencing a grand upgrade of our highway system.

Driving to Rainy River on Saturday for the Rainy River Walleye Tournament’s final weigh-in, I couldn’t help but appreciate the road construction going on across the district.

Difficult decision to be made

Back on April 1, 1985, we wrote on the front page of the Rainy River Record that as owners, we intended to keep separate the publications of the Fort Frances Times and Rainy River Record.

“We hope to aid in the growth of business, educational, and cultural activities in the community, and we encourage the participation of all our readers through ideas, articles, letters, and pictures,” we had said.

In acquiring the newspaper from the Ricci family, we recognized that it had to have a business presence in the community.

Rainy Lake a fishing gem

Sometimes it takes someone from “away” to show you what a treasure you have in your own community.

I frequently write about the bass tournaments and the great bass fishery of Rainy Lake, and I’ve caught numerous big smallmouth bass to prove my point.

Those fish always are released back in the water to have another person enjoy the thrill of the fight they display.

Volunteers make things happen

There is a sign posted at the Civic Centre that reads, “Volunteerism is the rent we pay for living in a great community.”

I’m regularly reminded of this quiet saying that Mohammad Ali originally spoke as I look throughout the district at all the projects that continue to benefit residents.

It is not just the arenas, the hospitals, and the community centres that contribute to our quality of life; it is the people who volunteer countless hours to making things happen.

Years flying by faster

The yellow school buses were circling the block yesterday picking up students with new backpacks and brightly-coloured runners.

Lineups of cars at Robert Moore and other schools had parents dropping off their children for the first day of school.

Alas, we are heading into the last long weekend of summer. As I get a little bit older, summers become shorter and shorter. It feels like we only opened the cabin a few short weeks ago at the end of April.

Use the world as a classroom

Schools will be starting soon. Some parents will experience worry as their first youngster walks out the front door and boards a waiting school bus.

Almost a decade later, that group will move on to high school and parents suddenly will realize that their children are growing and quickly will disappear from home in just a short time.

All too soon, those children who boarded that school bus now are being loaded into the family car and heading off to university dorms.

Fall fair is still going strong

Large golden round bales dot the fields along the highway. Today, some are lined in rows along fence lines waiting to be moved to feeding areas later this year.

The tops of barley quickly are turning brown and will be harvested soon. The oats are turning from green to gold and will be harvested in the fall.

Driving through farm country, you see young calves nursing from their mothers. At the research station in Emo, the soy crop appears to be thick with leaves and pods.

The fruits of the agriculture industry are shining on.

Trees say a lot about a community

In my youth, I was a paper carrier. My route extended from Central Avenue to the Memorial Arena and included all the avenues between First and Second Street.

Tall American elm trees grew up from the edge of properties and the arching branches from one side of the street met the arching branches from the opposite side.

The canopy of the branches shaded and cooled the sidewalks from the summer sun. I could almost do my entire paper route in the rain with hardly getting wet as the umbrella of trees protected me.

Tourism on rebound

I think that Newfoundland Labrador must have some of the very best television ads promoting travel in its province.

When Marnie and I travelled to Newfoundland in early June, we found it difficult to find accommodations when we started looking in March. The bed and breakfasts were all booked up.

Today Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are experiencing the best tourism growth in almost a decade.

The same can be said of Ontario, the western provinces and British Columbia.

Tournaments develop friendships

The Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship came to an exciting conclusion early Saturday evening.

The finalists kept exchanging the “hot seats” as the crowd wound up from the blare of music and the showmanship of the anglers.

I had not volunteered for the tournament in several years, but had kept up an ongoing relationship with the anglers by visiting them at the various motels that housed them from year to year.