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Jim Cumming - From the Publisher's Pen

Jim is the former publisher of the Fort Frances Times Ltd. He writes a weekly column and can be contacted at jcumming@fortfrances.com

Making masks mandatory

We will celebrate Canada Day tomorrow. It will be different than any previous July 1st day in the history of Canada. In Fort Frances there will be no Canada Day Parade. There will be no big celebration at the Point Park. There will be no gathering along the river to watch the fireworks. Family get togethers will be restricted to less than 10 persons. Social distancing, family gatherings for reunions, weddings and funerals may all be restricted until such time as a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment is created.

Bridging divides

Over the last 60 years, multiple plans have been developed to move traffic quickly from both the east and west to the international bridge connecting Fort Frances and International Falls. Traffic movements were studied. With the mill in full operation, much of the traffic arriving in Fort Frances terminated on Portage Ave. near the mill property.

Baby come back

The windows in the cabin that look out over the lake are diamond crystal clear. The pollen that has fallen from the pines surrounding the cabin has been washed away. The grime that has been built up has been removed. The floors have been washed. The linens have been changed on all the beds. The flashlights will all have new batteries by next weekend.

Save tourism with a staycation

The clouds have disappeared after the heavy overnight rains. As I look out, the flag is drooping around the pole.

The winds are from the southeast today and we are on the leeward side of the island. I look out to the northwest and can see waves climbing over the rocks of islands.

Sparkling diamonds of water cling to the end of the Norway and white pine needles. The branches of the cedar and balsam trees are drooping from the water being held by their needles.

Grandparenting in a COVID world

We became grandparents for the first time only eight months ago. Within a week my wife and I were holding our new granddaughter in our arms in Calgary. It was love at first sight. We were back at Christmas building our bonds with this new wonderful young lady named after her great grandmother, grandmothers, and grandfather. She had stretched out and was becoming more aware of what was going on around her. She would let you know when she was hungry and when she needed changing.

Health a shared responsibility

How will we know that it is safe to ease restriction of social distancing and community lockdowns? Will we be responsible enough to protect one another? Each province, city and town will be faced with their own decisions. Each regional health authority will offer guidance. We have learned during this lockdown that our freedom is a shared responsibility. Each of us is responsible to care for ourselves and our fellow citizens. If that means social isolating by staying in our homes and reducing our visits to grocery stores, we have been ready to do it.

Cottage life in COVID-19

It is Victoria Day and I am writing my column from the sunroom of our cabin. My wife and I arrived Thursday afternoon with a full load of supplies to restock the shelves and replace everything that we brought home when the cabin was closed last fall. I suppose everyone who is returning to their cabins this long weekend is restocking shelves, too.

The border debate

A debate is forming on Facebook. Should the border be opened to out of area summer residents or remain closed to protecting residents of the district from the virus. Both sides have solid arguments. I have mixed emotions. Our summer residents on our island hail from Wisconsin and Texas. We enjoy their company and often share weekend meals with them. They remain friends throughout the year and we exchange emails, and phone calls through the winter months.

Springing with hope

My lawn has been raked. The grass grows greener by the day. Almost two weeks of sunshine and being outside in the yard makes me feel almost whole again. Buds are forming on the branches of the trees in my yard. Green leaves are starting to shoot our from the shrubs.

I thank my lucky stars that my wife and I live in a small community in Northwestern Ontario. Isolated and remote from the rest of Ontario and Canada and the border shut off from the United States does have its blessings.

Publisher

Councils across the district are going to have to face the realities of the new norm. A loss of revenue for arenas, curling rinks, halls and municipal parks will create enormous strains on their budgets. Fort Frances, Couchiching, Emo and Rainy River all have experienced a shortening of their ice rink seasons. Tour de Fort shows have been cancelled. Spring Fever and the Emo Walleye classic have been cancelled, both having brought revenue to the community. Will the Emo and District Fall Fair continue, having already existed through two World Wars and a depression?