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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

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.

Education is the road to jobs

We are in the age of opportunity. It seems like a strange thing to be saying in this new year, but I believe it to be true.

The “Idle No more” protest that has sprung up across Canada has more people talking about the differences between First Nations’ and non-aboriginal peoples of Canada. We also are talking about the differences between rural communities and urban centres.

Embracing all her Christmas firsts

We all have traditions that we enjoy and look forward to each year. But what happens when the traditions that were part of your life change because you move to a country with different one.

How easily could you embrace the changes?

My future daughter-in-law, who grew up in Seoul, Korea, just experienced her first Canadian Christmas.

It is estimated that 30 percent of Koreans are Christians and Christmas has become a holiday in that country. Yet the celebration is mostly religious, with Koreans attending worship services on Christmas Day.

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.