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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

Enjoy staying at B&Bs

This past Sunday, my wife and I were in Grand Rapids, Mn. to hear the Soweto Gospel Choir perform at the Reif Performing Center.

We had taken accommodations at the Morning Glory Bed and Breakfast, where we have stayed previously.

One of the benefits of staying at a B&B is that you get to meet and visit with a variety of travellers over coffee and breakfast.

Hope lion turns to lamb

I believe the whole country is talking about the cold and length of this winter.

In fact, I would suggest that most of North America has experienced more cold this year than in the previous 35.

Historically, one of the coldest days recorded across Ontario happened on March 3, 2003, when temperatures across the province dropped into the minus-25 to minus-30 C range.

It may have been broken this past weekend.

Decision steeped in history

I spent the weekend reading through the decision of Mr. Justice J.S. Fregeau, who presided over the trial of Couchiching FN et al v. AG Canada et al.

I didn’t attend any of the court hearings, which ran here from Feb. 19 through March 28 last year, and now I’m kicking myself for skipping them.

Time to think gardening

The garden seeds are in the stores. So, too, are the starter kits for flowers, tomatoes, and other plants that will be transplanted later this year.

The days are growing longer and there still is light after six p.m. In the mornings, I almost can see daylight now as I head to the office shortly before 7 a.m.

And this week, in fact, we are seeing melting temperatures.

Spring is arriving although winter keeps kicking and fighting to stick around.

Plenty to cheer

There wasn’t a dry eye in our household when we watched the Dufour-Lapointe sisters receive their gold and silver medals as the Canadian flags rose above their heads.

On Saturday, we watched how excited 19-year-old Justine was when she nudged out her sister, Chloe, to capture the gold. And when she realized she had won, she let out a shriek of excitement as she danced across the snow.

Her tears of happiness flowed down her cheeks as they did in our household.

Snowbanks can pose danger

Give a child a mountain of dirt or snow and a group of children can be amused for months.

In climbing to the top of a dirt pile, the only one disappointed is the washerwoman who has to clean ground-in dirt.

When climbing to the top of snow piles, even when the temperature rises above freezing, the only one worried is mom, who is concerned about you being chilled and wet.

Just like cardboard boxes, piles and dirt have proven to be great kid attractors.

We loved building forts as kids

My childhood home was the second one built on the 800 block of Third Street East in Fort Frances.

Art Debenedet had built the first home, which stood at the corner of Third and Frenette Avenue. There was another home at the corner of Third and Shevlin without any between.

Third Street soon developed as a “baby-boomer” subdivision.

No roads ran north of Third Street east of Phair Avenue. Everything north was grown-up bush with lots of willow bushes sprouting up, where once large piles of sawn woods dried from the Shevlin Clark saw mill.

Look to create fresh start for district

The steam continues to rise from the Resolute kraft mill in Fort Frances. The steam still pours through the vents above the paper machines today.

But most workers still employed in the Resolute mill at Fort Frances have received termination notices.

The company has committed to keeping the heat in the buildings through this winter at a significant cost to corporate profits. Resolute has said it hopes to reposition this mill and be able to bring back workers.

Learn to use computer power

I sometimes wonder where the world of computers is headed.

In high school in my day for math and physics, we had to learn to master the slide rule. We had to be able to multiply, divide, find square roots, and many other functions on either that straight stick or the circular one.

Adding machines could add but were big and bulky.

See highways for yourselves

This past week, I was called upon to drive into Winnipeg for medical tests.

We left early Friday morning and travelled along Highway 11 to Rainy River, then across northern Minnesota from Baudette to Warroad, and then north on Highway 12 to the Trans-Canada.

The area was under a severe blizzard warning that stretched across southern Manitoba, northern Minnesota, and Northwestern Ontario. Listening to the radio, one would have thought twice about travelling but medical tests necessitated travel.