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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

Travel bans hurting students

There are new questions facing school boards and organizations planning trips for students to the United States.

Is it safe to travel to that country? And will all of the students and participants be able to cross the border given the new immigration orders signed by U.S. President Donald Trump?

It also is a question being asked by millions of Canadians who traditionally have travelled to the U.S. to vacation in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California.

Time to 'spring forward' again

There's a story circulating for a couple of centuries now that the American inventor, Benjamin Franklin, started Daylight Saving Time back in 1784.

He had suggested to Parisians that by moving their clocks forward, they could save on candles.

It actually was a New Zealander, George Hudson, who came up with the novel idea. He was a laborer and an entomologist who liked to collect insects, which he did that after work.

He published a paper in 1895 proposing two hours of daylight shift. It was re-published several times.

Internet now more difficult to access

All three levels of government are working to meet the requirements of the Disabilities Act, and they all should be applauded for their efforts.

The act was designed to remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities. The legislation probably never thought about financial disabilities, or technology disabilities or infrastructure issues.

I'll offer up one example of how the system works. All three levels of government now are using the web to store forms and information to assist residents in their everyday life.

We don't expect rain in February

It was Family Day in Ontario on Monday and here in Fort Frances, we had a thunderstorm and rain for most of the day.

Needless to say, it was not the most wonderful day for outdoor family activities.

Driving back from Dryden under a sunny sky Saturday afternoon, I could not help but notice all the snowmobile tracks across the snow-covered lakes. By the time I reached Rainy Lake, the trails criss-crossing the bays suggested hundreds of snowmobilers were out and about.

Spring is on the way

It is probably a little early to start talking about spring, but there are signs everywhere that spring is just around the corner.

Leaving my mother's house on Sunday just before 6 p.m., there still was some light in the western sky as I drove home. Yes, the days are progressively getting longer.

A huge seed display, as you walked through the door, caught my eye two weeks ago when I dropped into Emo Feed. It almost was tempting enough to pick up some seed packages.

What to do on Valentine's Day?

Should it be chocolates, flowers, and a quiet candlelight dinner at a restaurant? Or should I prepare a special romantic dinner for my wife?

Maybe a combination of ideas should be considered.

I don't often think about Valentine's Day but every year when Feb. 14 comes around, I can't help but think how lucky I have been in my life.

My wife makes every day special and although I can't remember doing anything particularly wonderful for her on Valentine's Day, I try to make up for it throughout the year.

Create a climate to attract best

The ban on accepting Muslim refugees into the United States may have a silver lining for Canada.

Several huge technology companies in the U.S. already are asking the Canadian government to provide special exemptions for their employees to stay in our country.

Taking up the call, Canada's immigration minister offered up temporary residence to any traveller stranded in Canada as a result of the confusing travel restrictions implemented by the Trump administration.

It is a valuable opportunity for Canada.

Apply tax reduction equally

I was dumbfounded when I read that both Canadian Tire and Walmart were going to receive back taxes from the Town of Fort Frances after a hearing by the Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

Where was the province and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in opposing the reductions in taxes?

Canadian Tire has at least 67 stores spread out across Ontario, in addition to “Parts Source" stores and 74 "Mark Work Wearhouse” outlets in southern Ontario.

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?