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Be thankful

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We tend to grumble a lot. Perhaps it’s human nature to do so—an innate trait dating back to our earliest ancestors griping over who had the nicest cave, the best spear, or the biggest share of the kill.

One only has to read today’s headlines to know life is pretty good here in Rainy River District. We are spared the horrors of the civil wars raging in places like Syria and eastern Ukraine; not to mention all the other armed conflicts wreaking such a terrible toll in lives lost and destruction.

Meanwhile, so many millions of people live under brutal regimes where even the most basic of human rights are quashed. Or the countless millions living in abject poverty with no hope of ever improving their lot in life.

Then there’s the fury Mother Nature unleashes around the globe, whether it be hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, or earthquakes.

That’s not to say life here is perfect, of course. The shuttered mill in Fort Frances stands as a testament to the economic woes that have beset forest-based communities. We still struggle with the out-migration of our youth and now are seeing more and more of our seniors—unable to live in their own homes anymore but not yet ready for Rainycrest—leaving due to the lack of assisted-living facilities.

We face a chronic doctor shortage and skyrocketing hydro rates that many residents, particularly those living in the rural areas outside of Fort Frances, simply cannot afford.

But all is not bleak. New Gold’s Rainy River Project, which already has brought jobs and economic spin-offs right across the district, remains on schedule to begin operating next year. The lots at the Huffman Court subdivision here have started to fill up while townhome development is underway.

Several local businesses have undergone renovations or moved to larger spaces of late, with new ones having popped up. Even the Fort Frances Power Corp. has expanded its service territory (with two more expansions planned) in anticipation of future development here.

We’re also blessed with the incredible generosity of district residents in supporting a wide variety of worthy causes, whether fighting diseases, improving health care, or helping families facing hardships. Equally important is our penchant for welcoming refugees fleeing war and persecution in hopes of starting new lives here, rather than fearing their arrival.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, let’s remember its meaning and be thankful for all we have. In the grand scheme of things, we truly are fortunate, indeed.

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