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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

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.

Timeless messsage carries on

In this edition of the Fort Frances Times, we will publish the “Message of Glad Tidings” taken from the New Testament Book of Luke, Chapter 2 verses 8-11.

Published for the 80th time with this Christmas edition, it is a tradition that was begun by my grandfather and his partner in 1934, which was carried on through 20-some years when he was the publisher.

The selection taken from the Bible is a message of hope for everyone.

Success can create failure

Sometimes success creates failure.

Here in Fort Frances, as more people have turned to filling blue boxes, the volume of garbage at the landfill site declined. Revenue, in turn, declined.

In order to maintain the site, Fort Frances has had to increase tipping fees. The success of the blue box program has created funding problems for the landfill site.

Wishing for a short winter

The blue-white cold of Saturday and Sunday mornings heralded that winter was in its full delightful white dress.

Hoar frost clung to the trees. Ice crystals hanging in the air created giant rainbows. The sidewalk snow squealed under the crunch of footsteps.

Winter cold was penetrating everywhere.

Winter has come fast to our area of the world. But it has come with equal speed and ferocity to most of North America.

Squirrels are a nuisance

Those grey things running around neighborhoods, and using the power and telephone lines to cross streets, are a nuisance.

There are always three in my yard and the mother kicks the young out of her nest in the early fall. Her nest is in a hollow of a tree near our back door, but four metres up.

This year, the mother died in early May and her kits played in the yard until they reached full size. One managed to knock the power out by somehow crossing the wires that run down Victoria Avenue (we receive one power outage a year from a squirrel that tries to defy electricity).

Common sense missing

Do you fist bump or shake someone’s hand when you meet them.

In sports, you often see players bumping each other’s hands with a closed fist on a successful play or goal. They are not getting ready to fight.

Michelle and Barack Obama bumped fists in Minneapolis and now regularly exchange bumps all around the meetings they attend.

With leaders from around the world, Barack opens his hand to shake a hand. But what is safer—a closed fist bump or an open hand greeting?

Snow can be beautiful

There are times when I really enjoy snow.

In the darkness of night, fat snowflakes drifting through the streetlights and covering the ground with a blanket of soft white wool is a beautiful sight.

Wet snow falling through the black branches and clinging to the naked trees also is really pretty. And in the sunlight of the day following the snowfall, the trees blossom with a spectacular beauty.

I look forward to those snowy winter days and enjoy the beauty of those winter sights.

A magical time for children

The snow sits firmly frozen to the ground. The temperature did not even reach the melting point yesterday.

Stores have begun the changeover to the Christmas season, with local retailers planning special Christmas promotions across Rainy River District.

My neighbours down the street, the Carlsons, already have their white lights up and shining in the trees surrounding their home.

More lights will be added to homes across the district in the next few weeks as preparations are made for the holiday season.

We cannot forget them

My uncle Ron posted a picture of Private Ronard Kleven of the 78th Battalion, Winnipeg Grenadiers, taken in November, 1918 on Facebook this past week.

Ronard was my mother’s father. My grandfather, James Alexander, whose family had immigrated to Canada at the turn of the 20th century, was a medic in the Great War.

It was my uncle’s way of remembering his father’s commitment to his new country, Canada.

My father was a navigator with the Canadian Royal Air Force during the Second World War.