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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

Action need to fill job vacancies

Last week's Times had 59 job vacancies being advertised. The newspaper averages more than 40 openings every week.

At one time, there was a surplus of people and any job opening had 50 or 60 applicants. Not so now. Life has changed here in Rainy River District.

Almost every restaurant and fast-food operation has openings for servers and cooks. Almost every retailer in the district continues to look for salespeople to serve customers.

People can now shop for jobs.

Meanwhile, doctors are being sought to fill requirements in both Fort Frances and Emo.

We must remember those who served

November 11, 11 a.m., 1918 marked the silencing of guns in France as an armistice was reached. The war to end all wars was over.

This Sunday, our community will meet at the cenotaph to mark the 100th anniversary of that moment. From Canada, a nation of seven million people, 450,000 left for Europe and 60,000 failed to return. It had a huge impact on us as a nation.

Hope, energy always follow

All the leaves have almost fallen. Nothing but the black skeleton of the branches remain in a lifeless pose.

It is a bleak season where all the colours and shades of flowers and shrubbery have disappeared, leaving only blackness and the grey shadows of the coming winter season.

The last of the leaves still need to be raked, having fallen with the drenching rain of the past week. It is one more chore to complete prior to seeing falling snow again.

We need to stop judging people

Has divisive politics entered into our municipal and school board elections?

Until Monday morning, when I was confronted by a posting from a mother questioning the bullying on Facebook of a school board candidate, I would have said that it was impossible. The posting by the mother has shaken me.

I only have to look to our southern neighbours to see how politics has divided people between black and white, Christian and non-Christian, lesbian, bisexual, gay, and transgender to watch bullying and hate manifest itself.

Questions to be answered

The Northern Policy Institute recently released a paper entitled “Exploring the Need for a Northern Newcomer Strategy.”

It may have come to many as a shock but having watched census databases over the past two decades of the numbers and the reduction of population in the Rainy River District, it was not surprising.

Yes, Rainy River District has seen its population decline by 13.2 percent over the last two decades. Yes, the population of Rainy River District has become much older than the provincial average.

Good for district is good for town

One of the candidates at last Tuesday night's forum made a statement that what is good in the district is good for Fort Frances.

All too often we forget the value that district businesses contribute not only to the economy of the host community but also to the economy of Fort Frances.

Since its opening first as Voyageur Panel, then later as Ainsworth and now Norbord, many of the employees live within the boundaries of Fort Frances. Throughout the area, most of those employees shop the stores and use the restaurants of Fort Frances.

Should 'pot' stores open here?

Will we make the selling of cannabis (a.k.a. marijuana or pot) legal in Fort Frances?

Beginning on Oct. 17, Ontario residents aged 19 and over will be able to purchase cannabis online across the province and then in retail outlets beginning in April.

Municipalities have until Jan. 22, 2019 to determine if they wish to have cannabis sold by local retailers in their communities. Sometime before Jan. 22, councils will have to make a decision.

Assisted living is not inexpensive

For three days, my wife and I are living in an assisted living complex as we visit my mother-in-law.

It is a beautiful building with a huge dining room. An activities co-ordinator plans group activities daily and the residents are given lots of advance notice.

Monday could begin with an exercise session and through the day, knitting classes, Bingo, billiards, and a movie night will take place.

There also are lots of choices at meal time. If you are under the weather, it can be arranged for meals to be brought to your suite.

Is this what the future holds?

Toronto, July 8, 2019—Today Rob Ford, the premier of Ontario, announced he now will move beyond the council of Toronto to reduce government costs.

Having successfully reduced that council by almost 50 percent, Ford now plans to reduce council sizes across Ontario by amalgamating municipal councils into regional governments.

Believing that one person should represent 100,000 voters, Ford now is turning his focus to counties and districts across the province to save taxpayers money.

Technology may be short-changing us

A recent article in The Guardian has had me questioning how I read and my understanding of what I read.

I've always enjoyed reading and for several decades on my birthday and at Christmas, my wife would buy me several hard-cover books to read. I eventually succumbed and acquired a Kobo reader that was easier to transport and read at the cabin and on trips (I just had to remember to plug it in nightly).