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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

No stockings filled with coal

Who should get a stocking with a single potato or a lump of coal this year?

There was a pervasive belief in the 19th century that if you were poor, it was because you or your ancestors did bad things. God was punishing you.

If you live in the United States, the Republican majority in both the Senate and House of Representatives seem to have a similar belief.

What Christmas is really all about

As I write this column, I realize there is less than two weeks until that jolly old elf makes his way into households around the world.

Each year, we celebrate Christmas in different ways.

For many, the arrival of that celebrated Christmas gentleman will offer little comfort. I listened Monday morning as Cathy Alex reported on the collection of gifts of food, clothing, and toys that will be delivered by several regional airlines from Thunder Bay to northern reserves.

Future begins now

It is now less than a year until new municipal councils are elected and sworn in across Rainy River District.

But before those elections take place, Ontario residents will go to the polls June 7 to elect a new provincial government.

All these races will have consequences for residents of the communities right across the district.

This riding has been thrown wide open by the decision of Sarah Campbell not to seek re-election as the MPP for Kenora-Rainy River.

'Evie' hasn't slowed down yet

Monday evening's recognition of Evelyn Metke as “Citizen of the Year” in Fort Frances recognizes her years of volunteering for the community.

I have known “Evie” from the time I was 14 years old and she had made a decision to take her bronze medallion course.

It seemed unusual that an older woman, who was my mother's age, would be taking her Royal Life Saving Society bronze medallion class with a group of teenagers, but “Evie” believed she should be able to look after her children on Rainy Lake.

She challenged the class at the Point Park during lessons.

Earlier start to Christmas season

When I first began selling advertising at the newspaper in the early 1970s, the Christmas selling season did not begin until the day after Remembrance Day.

On Remembrance Day, the stores all were closed and the staffs attended the service at the cenotaph. In the afternoon, they returned to the stores and decorated for Christmas.

The newspaper would produce a special edition on the Tuesday prior to the Santa Claus parade that coincided with the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. The merchants went all out to attract customers to their stores on this side of the border.

Climate threat to ecosystems a real concern

Back in 1992, 1,700 scientists from around the world issued a dire warning to humanity. They said humans had pushed the world's ecosystem to a breaking point that would bring about colossal climate change.

The warning noted that air and water pollution, the collapse of world fisheries, and the loss of productive soil would befall human life.

This year, on the 25th anniversary of that warning, more than 15,000 scientists from 184 countries have followed up assessing the latest response to environmental issues.

Worthy investment

Five years ago, I purchased winter tires with studs on them for the first time in my life.

Up until then, I had relied on all-weather tires for all four seasons.

I came to realize how good those winter tires were in the first storm of the year in Winnipeg. I was driving north on Saint James in a snowstorm when I almost was involved in an accident.

The combination of studs and the softer rubber allowed me to veer out of the path of a car sliding out of control into my lane.

Not ready for winter

When I visit the cenotaph on Remembrance Day, it is either a gorgeous, sunny fall day or, more often than not, the winter winds blow down the river and the occasional snow flurry wings by.

On those days, I regret not digging out my long johns, insulated boots, and winter coat.

Hallowe'en is often rainy and wet here. Just before the trick-or-treat day, the glass storm windows are put back into the storm doors.

Which will it be?

When Ainsworth was looking to build its oriented strand board mill here in Rainy River District, they set out to get communities to compete against each other.

Calgary just has re-elected Naheed Nenshi to his third term as mayor of that fine city.

In his re-election bid, Nenshi was criticized for not stepping forward for the city to fund a great portion of the buildings that would house the Calgary Flames, the Calgary Stampeders, the Calgary Hitmen, and the National Lacrosse League's Roughnecks owned by Calgary Sport and Entertainment (CSEC).

Season changes enjoyed

Weekly, my wife and I deliver the Fort Frances Times to our news dealers between Fort Frances and Rainy River. We call it our “date day” as we spend almost four hours with just ourselves without interruption.

One of the other benefits is watching the west end of the district move through the four seasons in slow motion.

By only travelling once a week on the highway, you can notice changes in the fields, trees, and communities.