Many reasons to be thankful

Children write letters to Santa. Political leaders write to Santa. Community leaders have their wish list for the jolly old elf.
And along with that, they also have a long list of acknowledgments for the blessings that have been bestowed on the communities they represent.
Locally, MP John Rafferty must be saying thank you to Santa for not having any elections in 2010. For the first time in almost half-a-decade, John wasn’t running to become a member of either the provincial or federal legislatures.
His request for Christmas, besides wishing all of his constituents health and prosperity, is another year without an election.
Local MPP Howard Hampton, who has represented the district so well for so many years, is giving thanks to having the burden of being the provincial NDP leader removed from his shoulders.
That already has returned two inches of height to him and given him time to really enjoy watching his children grow up.
He already has asked Santa for more time at his cabin on Rainy Lake in the coming year.
Fort Frances town council is saying thank you to the bankers and world economy for bringing on a recession. Without it, Fort Frances would have found both the provincial and federal governments much more stingy in funding projects like the new public library and technology centre.
They also have given thanks to the residents of Fort Frances who diligently took to recycling so much so that garbage rates are climbing because of lost revenue from bag tag sales.
The remaining companies in the forestry sector are giving thanks for still being barely alive. Their request for Christmas is a successful retail season and a growing demand across North America for paper and wood products.
Across the district, the agriculture community is giving thanks for the completion of the abattoir and its grand-opening at the end of January. With the opening will come new opportunities for district livestock producers to again be in the retail meat business.
Additional opportunities will follow for processing of di strict meats that are recognized for their premium quality.
The tourism industry found little to be thankful for in 2009. Today, they are thankful that the recession is coming to an end and with that change, they are asking Santa to fill their lodges with guests in 2010.
And they hope many of their guests now will be comfortable with the new rules for crossing the international border.
We may have complained about the lack of summer in June and July, but we have been thankful for the months of September and November with the unseasonably warm weather.
As we endure the current deep freeze, many are eying the ice being made over district lakes. Many missed good ice in early 2009 and discovered how much they missed using their cabins in the winter.
They have tucked a message into their prayers asking for lots of ice to be made before any large snowfalls are recorded, so that ice roads and safe snowmobile routes can be made again this year.
As district residents, we have much to be thankful for. In July, when we wondered if our gardens would grow, we were rewarded with lots of produce in August and September.
When, in early November, we worried about the H1N1 ’flu and the delay in vaccination clinics, we eventually could be inoculated and the ’flu was not as terrible as our minds had imagined.
We are a fortunate country and region. Even though we may complain, we know our lives are made whole by where we live and the opportunities that exist here in Rainy River District.
To all of those who read the Fort Frances Times and Rainy River Record, I wish you good health and prosperity during this festive season and the new year to come.

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