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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

Fishing memories of Mike

There are times that you often regret not doing something.

I hadn’t thought about this until I received a call from Irene Baranowski at my cottage on the weekend. Her husband, Mike, had been determined that I should catch a musky and for the last few years, we have arranged fishing dates in mid-June to catch that elusive trophy fish. Mike had died earlier that week.

The two previous years, I had been skunked, but this year we were determined to go out and reverse my fortunes. The date was set and then giant storms loomed in the forecast and I called and cancelled.

Watch for first driverless car

Just as the horse-and-buggy changed the mode of transportation, driverless cars are set to change our lives dramatically in the coming decades.

We already have witnessed the self-parking vehicle. And Google has pioneered a fleet of cars that currently are travelling hundreds of thousands of miles to prove they are safe on the road.

The future will offer huge potential savings to people and the trucking industry. Just sit back and enjoy your drive.

We must not let the lights go out again

We have begun marking the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.

It supposedly was the “war to end all wars” but looking back, issues that caused the war—and the festering in nations created by the Versailles treaty that divided up the world again—are causing worry and problems in today’s world.

The end of that war found the Ottoman, Romanov (Russian), and Hapsburg empires had disintegrated. New states and borders were created.

France ended up with Syria. England gained Palestine and Iraq. Poland was created, as was Slovakia, Bosnia, and Czechoslovakia.

You will make a difference

Volunteers help make the world go around. And as we examine all the activities that take place in a year across Rainy River District, it would be difficult to measure the value volunteers contribute to the economy.

One only has to follow the Fort Frances or Emo minor hockey programs to begin measuring the time spent by coaches and support parents to make teams and leagues functions.

Each league hosts its own tournament, and hotels and restaurants fill with visiting families contributing to the economy of the community.

Hard work, sore muscles

For the past two weekends, I have been helping my brother build a deck at his cabin.

I chuckle when I think about this and our competitive nature when my father used the two of us to carry lumber to our cabin on Turtle Island. Over 45 years ago, we bragged about how many studs we could march up the hill to the building site.

We showed off our strength when we carried 2”x8” joists up the hill. We had maxed out on being able to carry 12 studs at a time.

Book are revered in Europe

Travelling through Europe this past spring, I was amazed at the number of small book stores that were found in the centre of the cities we visited.

I couldn’t help but wonder why in Europe, small book stores could be so successful. Yet here in Canada, we seem to see all the independent stores disappearing in favour of box store sellers.

Perhaps the clue to the book store phenomena is the fact that travelling through five countries, each has their own language and separate culture. The stores cater focus on their uniqueness.

Lives may have been much richer

I was wondering the other day if by living in a simpler time, in a remote area of the province, our quality of life and lifestyle was greatly improved over today.

Back in the 1960s when I was in high school, almost everyone had an after-school job that often carried on through the year.

If you were a male and 17, you probably already were on the spare board at the mill. Working there was like winning the lottery today.

At mercy of Mother Nature

We are at the whim of the weather.

Emergency planners across Rainy River District have gone to extreme lengths to protect property and infrastructure over these past two weeks. And as the water has risen, everyone is looking at the skies—wondering if the darkening clouds are the precursor to more rain.

On June 20, forecasters were calling for substantial rain for that weekend based on weather conditions to the west and southwest of the Rainy Lake basin.

Can’t rest on laurels yet

Coming up this weekend, and through to Tuesday and the following weekend, are celebrations marking both Canada Day and the Fourth of July across Borderland.

A combined effort on both sides of the border has created a week-long celebration, although the flood threat unfortunately has forced both the Dragon Boat Festival and cross-border “Pulling for Peace” tug-of-war events to be cancelled.

Still, together we can celebrate how successful we’ve been in holding back Rainy Lake and protecting our neighbours and communities.

Rainfall having big impact

In a little more than a decade, Rainy River District has experienced two extreme rainfalls. They may be a result of climate change that is affecting our weather patterns.

What was a 50-year extreme in 2002 is now repeating itself—and may mimic a 100-year extreme that brought on the flooding of 1950.

An almost 80-year-old landmark broke loose and floated up on the beaches of the Point Park in Fort Frances. The wharf on Sand Bay, originally built to handle barges and tugboats carrying supplies and people to far destinations on Rainy Lake, is no more.