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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

Farmers truly at the mercy of weather

As we travelled across the prairies this past week, Marnie and I couldn't help but see the difference in crop harvesting and the impact weather has played on this year's crops across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Rainy River District is not alone in suffering from too much moisture during the months of September and October.

Much of the grains grown in the west end of the district were in wet, sodden ground and the ability to get on the fields was almost impossible.

Years of anticipation fulfilled

I have watched as young people become excited when birthdays come around and they can understand that there will be a party for them.

There are the constant questions of how many sleeps will there be before Christmas arrives.

There are questions about “When will I go to school?” as they wave older brothers and sisters off on the bus.

As we grow there is the anticipation of going to high school and later the relief when you walk across the stage having graduated. Then comes the worry. “What am I going to do?”

Privileged to record our histories

In 1934, my grandfather, James Alexander Cumming, with his partner, Roscoe Larson, came to Fort Frances and took over the Fort Frances Times.

Later, they created a second paper—the Fort Frances Daily Bulletin.

My parents took over the paper in the late 1960s and my brother, Don, sister, Linda, and myself assumed control of the newspaper in the early 1990s.

For 85 years, the paper has been a full part of our lives and we grew into the industry as youngsters delivering papers as early as eight years old.

Read up on candidates' platforms

Are you watching the four main political party leaders as they seek to outdo each other in promises to win the national election on Oct. 21?

Who can outpromise the most? Who is being most honest with the electorate?

Where do smoke and mirrors end and when will we hear promises that can be fulfilled?

How much additional debt do Canadians wish to take on annually—$5 billion, $10 billion, or $20 billion? It is your choice to make!

Let's be judged by how we've changed

Who am I today? It is a question that must be pondered by countless Canadians in this election.

Am I the same person who did not feel comfortable to be around gay young men in high school who were frightened to come out and let schoolmates acknowledge their differences or am I now the person who now accepts gay and lesbian people and same sex marriage?

I grew up, went to university and discovered that several of my friends who I played with in the neighbourhood were in fact gay, and in knowing them and others, my thoughts and feelings changed as did my attitudes.

Thankful election campaign is short

I had barely gotten back from delivering across the west end of the Rainy River District when the first red and orange signs appeared on lawns and driveways. The election was less than six hours old.

I might think that the important issues would revolve around young people and health, yet there appears to be no dynamic issues facing voters.

The Liberal slogan is to “Keeping moving forward" while the NDP slogan's is "New Deal for People" and the Conservatives is "It's time for you to get ahead.”

E-learning raises many questions

I wonder who is really listening to students attending secondary school?

In a race to reduce costs and seemingly to reduce teachers in Grades 9 through 12, the provincial government is mandating students take 4 courses on-line in their high school years beginning next year.

It is interesting that 95 percent of the over 6,000 secondary students surveyed reject learning from online courses.

Only Ontario—in all of North America—has shifted education to the technology forcing students to take a minimum of four courses online to graduate.

Maybe a trade school isn't a bad idea

The Northern Policy Institute has been focussing on human capital across Northern Ontario.

Their findings do not provide for a great deal of optimism for either the Kenora or the Rainy River Districts.

Even though both districts have high unemployment rates, they also have high job vacancy rates.

In the report, it was noted that 50 companies in advanced manufacturing, mining and professional and scientific services when surveyed the biggest barrier to growth in Northwestern Ontario that was found was the difficulty in finding qualified employees.

Making memories on Rainy Lake

Before there was the Noden Causeway, the highway ended at the Five-Mile dock and weekly my mother would have sandwiches ready and right after work my father, brother and I would be on the dock, having bought some minnows there.

The dock was exciting as it was the jumping off spot for barges and tugs delivering supplies to the north and south arms of the lake.

We fished all the way around the dock, often from the decks of barges.

Fishing was something that my father relished, and he introduced us to fishing at an early age.

Future leaders in green energy

I recently spoke with two young graduates from university about what they viewed their beginning career moves. One looked to go on to post grad studies for a law degree to develop green energy policies for the future.

The other was looking to begin his engineering career in developing green energy projects.

Green energy comes from natural sources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat.

These energy resources are renewable, meaning they're naturally replenished.