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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

Safety goes beyond the workplace

Here at the Fort Frances Times, Tanya Cumming attends to everyone’s safety.

She constantly is reminding everyone about health and safety rules, which often includes information about nutrition, diet, exercise, and working with computers to reduce the risk of injury.

I like to think that our workplace is a very safe place to work.

Downloading a major burden to small towns

Municipalities across Ontario complained that former premier Mike Harris downloaded many provincial costs to them.

But in doing that, the Conservative government transferred additional funding to offset some of those.

In a more subtle method, Premier Dalton McGuinty—in a bid to eliminate the provincial deficit—has handed over to Rainy River District many additional costs. And communities are just beginning to see where those costs lie.

A great weekend for swimmers

For almost two decades, I have spent the Memorial Day weekend at the Canada Games Complex in Thunder Bay officiating at the Thunderbolts’ swim meet, which attracts swimmers from Minnesota, North Dakota, and Manitoba as well as across Northwestern Ontario.

For local swimmers, it is their one meet a season to compete in a 50-metre pool. The racing and strategy is much different that in the shorter 25-metre pool.

It also is the graduation ceremony for many 17- and 18-year-old swimmers from across the region, who will be heading off to colleges and universities this fall.

The lake is alive again

Rainy Lake came alive this Victoria Day weekend.

Since our first weekend at the cabin almost five weeks ago, hardly a light has been seen at night on the lake. But this past weekend, several lights lit the windows of cabins that we can see.

Over the previous two weekends, we have cut and split wood, building a supply for next year’s hot tub season. Heating the hot tub water with a down draft wood-burning stove is not the most efficient method, but it does work.

Police officers deserve our support

When I was growing up in Fort Frances, the police department only had two cars and the station was a small brick building attached to the old town hall.

The town hall, the fire department, and the police station all existed in the space in front of the current Civic Centre.

Louis Camirand was the chief of police back then. There was a story that circulated around Fort Frances that if you ended up in front of him in his office, he would pull his revolver from its holster and slam it on the desk loud enough to make you jump—and wonder why it hadn’t fired.

Level playing field needed

While many cross-border shoppers may cheer the increases in merchandise allowance that Canadians will be allowed to return with from the U.S., many towns and cities along the border are petitioning the Ministry of Finance to rescind his June 1 changes.

Currently, Canadian residents returning to Canada after 24 hours only are permitted $50 in merchandise. That will rise to $200 on June 1.

And residents who are away for 48 hours or more now will be permitted to return with $800, up from $400.

Retail businesses along the border are expected to take the biggest hit.

Congrats, Don

Don Cumming received a very special award from the Canadian Community Newspapers Association last Thursday evening at the Royal York Hotel.

He was the recipient of the “Gold Quill” Award, which is bestowed upon individuals who have worked within the newspaper years for 50 years and have been involved in their community.

I was fortunate to offer Don’s name to the CCNA and to actually present him with the award.

Nothing like a wood fire

Sunday was Earth Day.

I hadn’t paid much attention to the day until I watched the news on CBC that evening and saw the parades and people working to cleaning up waterways and parks across Canada.

People also planted trees along roadways and replaced fallen trees in parks.

In my lifetime, I’ve planted lots of trees in my yard. And now, more than 30 years later, I’m blessed with shade in the summer and huge drifts of leaves in the fall.

The leaves go into bags or onto my compost pile.

Some decisions warrant questioning

Sometimes it is necessary to question the thinking of senior government.

As the federal government seeks to eliminate thousands of jobs from departments across Canada, you must question how decisions were arrived at. It is especially true of border services.

Similarly, in Ontario, we already have seen the announcement of Ontario tourism information centres closing in the northwest and at four other locations in Canada.