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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

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).

Fall is approaching

Labour Day now is behind us. The yellow school buses are on the road and students are lining up on boulevards waiting for them to arrive.

The sun is setting earlier each day and climbing out of bed later in the morning. Daytime temperatures are still warm but the evenings are much cooler, making it easier to sleep.

The parking lot at the marina was much emptier this past weekend as families either had returned home to the cities or were transporting their sons and daughters off to universities and colleges across the country.

Storm repsonse comforting

Two storms roared through the district this past weekend.

The first on Saturday night brought lots of rain and gusts of wind, something that we needed.

Then, early Monday morning with weather warnings out, Fort Frances and east of the town had trees toppled across power lines and streets and power outages from east of Fort Frances through to Rainy River.

We depend on our electricity and waking up in darkness Monday morning with lights flashing on the street, I had reached for a light switch, only to realize that we were without power.

Times passes us by so quickly

Having had no rain for more than two weeks, the birch trees already are turning their leaves golden. The maples along the shorelines also have begun turning their green leaves to red.

Even the ash trees seem to be changing colours. It is much earlier than normal and yet it's one of the signs that summer is ending.

While fishing on Saturday, we watched a mother merganser shepherd a flock of 21 ducklings along a shoreline. They would dart into little shoreline pockets of weeds and reeds.

The opportunities are just endless

At the Fort Frances council meeting on Monday night, we saw the first decisions of Resolute to begin divesting themselves of property here in town.

The town, in acquiring the old Dr. Boyle property on Mowat Avenue, now will have a means of connecting the back alley that runs behind the businesses on the south side of the 200 block of Scott street from Portage to Mowat.

It was a good decision of council to acquire this property for a nominal amount of money.

We must be ever more vigilant

One has to wonder how the Rusty Crayfish entered the waters of Rainy Lake. One also has to wonder at how fast the crayfish moved out across the lake.

One also must wonder at how the smelt entered Rainy Lake and how it spread across the north basin until it almost was wiped out one fall as the lake overheated and the oxygen was depleted at lower depths.

Zebra mussels, foreign to North America, have invaded the Great Lakes and many of the tributaries that run into the system. Asian carp are another invasive species that's gradually making its way across North America.

Young leaders vital to district

A story that was printed in Monday's Bulletin, “Young people looking for younger leaders,” noted that young people across the United States are looking for a generational change in leadership.

A poll conducted found that young people are looking for younger leaders who share their aspirations and political beliefs. More women today are running for office in the United States than ever before.

Youth did not look favorably on candidates who were life-long politicians.

Where might a detour lead?

Where might a detour lead? It is a question often pondered when travelling by car and the bright orange signs announce detour ahead.

Follow the signs. Sometimes it is only a narrow work-around that has been created for this one project. Sometimes the next sign indicates the road narrowing to a single lane and stop lights tell you when you can travel.

Sometimes after stopping, you are led through a working area by a guide truck leading a parade of 20 or more trucks and cars.

An idea worth exploring

Today, less than 17 percent of jobs in Canada are found in manufacturing products. Technology changes in manufacturing have reduced the need for people. Technology and services are the fastest growing job areas of the economy. Where does Rainy River District's future lie?

Dave Kircher proposed to the Economic Development Advisory Committee of the Town of Fort Frances that the community should investigate transforming the Resolute Mill into a technical training facility. The idea has some merit. Canada faces a major shortage of skilled workers in the trades.

We forget the value of electricity

It is quite easy to forget how valuable electricity is to us.

Shortly after my father built our cabin on Rainy Lake, we gave up Coleman lanterns and replaced our lights with electricity. We had a small diesel generator that provided enough power to light the cabin and run a few hand tools while the refrigerator and stove continued to use propane.

In the late 1970s, a power line was run from the mainland connecting about 13 island properties on the lake. Two island residents went from island to island talking to cabin owners encouraging them to participate.