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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

Safest place in the world?

Carl Schubring, a former editor of the Fort Frances Times, jokingly told me the following story.

When the community had a sole lawyer, the poor lawyer could barely put food on the table for his family. When a second lawyer appeared on the scene, together they comfortably could feed their families.

When a third came into the community, all made a very good living.

I remembered this story in reading about the fact our community does not have a full-time sitting judge. Back then, there was a magistrate and district judge in Fort Frances.

Week features lots of history

A report in the Falls Journal noted that Borderland already had received 14 more inches of snow this year than is normal—and that was without Saturday’s snowfall.

And we have a higher amount of snow still sitting on the ground than we normally do. As you read this, the official first day of spring is just over a week away.

But before we get there, there is lots of history in the coming week.

Spring is almost upon us

Inside retail businesses, the inventory is changing. There’s still snow on the ground but swimsuits and colorful skirts, tops, and shorts are finding their way into store windows.

In hardware stores, barbecues are popping up right in front of you as you walk through the doors, as are seed stands.

When I go to work shortly before 7 a.m., and the sun is just appearing above the horizon. And in the evening, it doesn’t fall below the western horizon until almost 6 p.m. Daylight at both ends of the day is wonderful.

Will the ‘golden geese’ survive?

Killing the goose that laid the “golden egg” is among the most famous of Aesop’s fairy tales.

It is the story of a cottager and his wife who had a goose that laid a golden egg every day. The couple believed the goose contained a huge lump of gold and they killed the goose to grab it—only to find out that the goose was totally common.

But in killing the goose, they lost their wealth generator and were deprived of all the good things the goose could provide for them in the future.

Must you always be connected?

Did you ever wonder what you did before you had a cellphone? Have you wondered how you possibly could have lived without a smartphone?

Some of you reading this column quickly will think, “I don’t have a smartphone, let alone a cellphone” and so there is no wonderment in the first two questions.

And they have another question: “Why do I need a cellphone?”

Snowblower bliss

I finally broke down and bought a snowblower.

Two weeks ago, after the town had plowed in my driveway for the second time, without even getting my vehicle out of the driveway, I decided that the 30 years of debate on acquiring a mechanical snow shoveller were over.

Now I can readily admit no one buys a snowblower at the end of January. In fact, part of the dilemma is that once you reach the end of January, you realize that winter is almost over.

You only face six more weeks of snow and the days become milder, allowing the snowbanks to slowly recede.

Farewell to the lowly penny

Does a penny for your thoughts now cost a nickel?

Is penny wise and pound foolish now nickel wise and kilo foolish?

Monday marked the end of the penny in Canada as banks no longer will issue this historic piece of Canadian money. Since 1858, the coins have jingled in everyone’s pocket.

More recently, though, many Canadians have chosen to leave the penny behind. In fact, few today would stoop to pick up what once was known as a “lucky penny” (it is just too much work).

The penny today costs more to create than its value.

Libraries needed more than ever

More than a year ago, I wrote of my enjoyment of having an e-reader. I still enjoy it very much.

The advent of e-books has had a lasting impact of book paper producers around the world as readers have adopted this new technology.

People have claimed that electronic books will lead to the decline of libraries throughout much of the world. However, the creation of e-books has made libraries more important to communities than ever.

New premier will face plenty of issues

By the end of this weekend, Ontario will have a new premier and it is expected to be a woman.

Right now, Sandra Pupatello is leading the race to replace outgoing premier Dalton McGuinty, followed closely by Kathleen Wynne.

If either of them win, they will become Ontario’s first female premier. But it’s also possible the two current front-runners won’t make it to the final ballot as 1,837 Liberals cast their vote for their new leader.

Who expects rain in January?

After this past week, I can’t help but believe global warming is impacting us.

I would never have expected rain in the second week of January. Instead, I would have expected frigid temperatures—the kind that takes your breath away just stepping outside.

I shouldn’t complain about milder weather and its effects. But after shovelling water-logged snow for the second time this winter, I am convinced that light, fluffy snow is much preferred.

That light, fluffy snow produces higher piles but at least you can lift and shovel it.