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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

Plenty of requests to Santa

It is Christmas letter-writing season again.

Both local MP John Rafferty and MPP Sarah Campbell have sent out letters to all of their constituents, wishing them a wonderful holiday season and showing how active they have been in their ridings.

They also have addressed another letter to Santa, with both looking for Santa’s intervention on behalf of the Resolute mill here in Fort Frances.

Losing more than 200 jobs on your watch is not an enviable record to run again on and Sarah already is feeling the heat of a looming provincial election in 2013.

Hoping to meet Christmas expectations

For the first time in more than three years, the Cumming family, with all the cousins, will be together for Christmas dinner.

The family has expanded, and with the expansion new traditions likely will be established. A grandchild will be the centre of attention.

We will, in our separate families, maintain most of our common traditions. But instead of the Christmas dinner taking place at my mother’s home, Don and Mags will host the family gathering this year.

Santa is coming to town

“He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows if you’ve been bad or good.

“Oh, you better watch out, you better watch out, Santa’s coming to town.”

It’s a great Christmas song—one that parents have been using on their children for years to try and reduce the excitement that builds for Christmas.

This coming weekend, the jolly old elf will be making appearances in both International Falls and Fort Frances, and the streets will fill with young families all anxious to catch a glimpse of that symbol of Father Christmas.

Christmas comes earlier each year

Two weeks ago, I noticed that the Carlsons had put their Christmas lights up on their home.

Wasn’t that rushing the season a bit? But then I looked at the flyers with Thursday’s newspaper immediately after Hallowe’en and all were promoting Christmas.

We hadn’t even gotten to Remembrance Day, which used to be the day when the community went to the cenotaph and then in the afternoon, the merchants and their staffs converted their stores to Christmas.

Today, that changeover occurs earlier on the calendar.

Take time to pause, reflect

Canadian troops in Afghanistan remain out of sight and away from the conflict, but they should not remain out of our minds.

Almost three weeks ago, the first group of soldiers from the Quebec region left for an eight-month rotation to provide training and professional development to the National Security Forces of Afghanistan.

It is the role the Canadian government chose when our combat troops left that country.

It is Canada’s commitment to NATO and to Afghanistan. Today Canada continues to provide the second-largest contingent of men and women in that country.

Our elections are less tedious

We all are counting down the days to Nov. 6—Election Day in the United States.

It can’t quick enough, though I already realize that within a matter of a few months, the election season will be refreshed for the House and Senate races coming up in 2014.

We know the presidential candidates have been well-fortified with political donations. Just for the presidential elections this year, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each have raised $1 billion.

If you are in the television or commercial creation business, this has been a windfall year.

World teetered on brink of war

Fifty years have now passed since the Cuban missile crisis.

In some ways, I feel that it couldn’t have been that long ago. It still plays in my mind that the world almost found itself in a full nuclear war—and that it would have affected everyone.

Our home had only a black-and-white television at the time. Yet almost daily, NBC, with Chet Huntley and David Brinkley in their report, and Walter Cronkite on CBS, we watched in fascination as the United States and Russia seemed to be inching their way to war.

Care close to home is essential

We can pay for the best health services that can be offered in Rainy River District.

There always will be services that can’t be provided locally, but we can fund those services and supports that make a difference in the lives of district residents.

And when we need more care than the district can afford, we are provided that care elsewhere in Ontario and Manitoba.

Memories of a good first job

We all pass through milestones in our lives, and many change the direction of our lives for better or worse.

You will remember the day you married, the birth of your first child, the death of a parent. All are important days in our lives.

For children, a big event is their first day of school. On that day, parents realize their youngster is growing up. And on their graduation from high school, it is the sudden realization that their child is moving on into the bigger world.

Autumn is well upon us

Before dawn was breaking Monday morning, I left my home heading to work. As I went down the stairs at my side door, the golden leaves from the Manitoba maple crunched under the soles of my shoes.

I looked up and almost all the leaves had fallen from the two trees that guard my driveway. Fall has really come to our region.

On the lake over the weekend, the gold of the ash, poplar, and paper birch stood out from the pines that cover the land. The brilliant red leaves of the occasional maple broke up the brilliant gold colours.