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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

Voicemail obsolete

When the Fort Frances Times initiated voicemail, we believed it was really important for a caller to speak to a real person when phoning the newspaper.

We still believe that, but we do have a voicemail system so that calls after hours, or when a person is away from their desk or on another call, the caller can leave a message.

Where will computers lead us?

I sometimes wonder where computers will lead us in the future.

I watched in amazement Sunday morning as several manufacturers showed off their reality systems. What might it be like in a classroom where a teacher takes a whole class through a safari in Kenya?

Within the safari, they could witness the circle of life viewing exotic animals in their natural habitat.

Would giving the students the opportunity to dive along the Great Barrier Reef of Australia provide them a better appreciation for the reef by viewing it live in three dimensions?

Wallets to feel much lighter

If your wallet feels a little bit lighter in the New Year, it’s not a figment of your imagination.

Your wallet will have been picked by the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne. In her haste to make Ontario “green,” the only greening that’s taking place is all the extra revenue the government is grabbing from its citizens as Ontario’s new cap-and-trade energy policy came into effect Jan. 1.

2017 may bring surprises

’Tis the Christmas season and the time to look to the New Year.

I often have made fun of our politicians, who toil on our behalf, with their Christmas “wish” lists and their resolutions for the New Year. So, too, this year, though not so much with the Christmas wish list but rather with their hopes for 2017.

Enjoy your Christmas traditions

Christmas Day will arrive shortly.

My friend, David Iwanyszyn, posted a photo on Facebook on Sunday night showing off the Christmas tree in his home loaded with gifts and wishing everyone a “Happy St. Nicholas Day”—a Ukrainian tradition.

On the eve of Dec. 19, children receive gifts from St. Nicholas.

The traditional Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated on Jan. 7 (following the Julian calendar). Dave’s family follows many traditional Ukrainian celebrations.

Getting ready for the holidays

Driving through Fort Frances on Sunday evening, I was surprised by all the outdoor lights that are illuminating yards in our community.

From large blow-up snowmen to white lit deer and moose and dancing lights across the front of homes, the darkness that falls shortly after four in the afternoon is whisked away by the lights of Christmas.

The merriment of the seasonal lights and figurines denies the cold darkness of December.

Winter rest stops needed

The Ontario government must believe that we all have better bladders in winter than in the summer.

I make this comment having travelled numerous times to Thunder Bay and noticed all the pull-off rest stops are now blocked and marked as closed.

The gates are across the entrances and even if you wade through the snow, you’ll find the bathrooms all locked up.

I realize the province is being cautious. They don’t want any butts frozen to the seats of their toilets nor do they wish to heat the buildings for fear that someone might want to winter in the structure.

Be sure to get a ’flu shot

Everyone needs to get a ’flu shot.

I know we can find many reasons to avoid the shot, such as “It takes too much time,” “I don’t like needles,” or “Often it really isn’t effective.” The excuses are easy to come by.

However, let’s just debunk some of the excuses. With doctors, the health unit, the family health team, and all the pharmacies offering ’flu shots, it really doesn’t take too much time.

I was in and out—filling out the paperwork, having the shot, and waiting around to make sure I didn’t collapse—in less than 15 minutes.

Railway taxation must change

Way back in 1904, H.J. Pettypiece, MPP, addressed the Empire Club at a noon luncheon and his topic of conversation was the taxation of railways.

He complained then that Canadian railways were not paying their fair share of taxes to villages, towns, and cities in Ontario.

Some 112 years later, Fort Frances Coun. Ken Perry is pushing for railways to pay their fair share of taxes to the towns, cities, villages, and First Nations across the province.

Canadian forces busier than ever

In today’s paper, we are telling the story of two men who left the district to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Both returned to Fort Frances, raised families, and seldom ever told the stories of their lives in the Second World War.

Stan Ward and his wife, Millie, raised four sons just down the street from me. He was my Cub master and although I knew that he had been in the air force during the war, I did not understand what he endured.

He was much a quiet, soft-spoken gentleman.