Only a few complaints remain!

So, Santa Claus and I shook hands and called it a draw on expenses before he turned Rudolph north and whipped his reindeer team towards the high Arctic. And I hoped we would not be following him in our colder months ahead.
Meanwhile, as the calendar turns, I could reflect on all of our great weather over the past year, marred only by that shocking six-inch rainfall in early June.
As Celebration City here, we could also rejoice in our continued prosperity, full employment, and freedom from epidemics leading to no more deaths than normal in this last year of our town’s first 100.
Life here just keeps on rolling in as it should. We keep our tragedies all small and our public mistakes are rarely overwhelming, if frequently, controversial.
Three items mentioned mostly as complaints:
The town’s unfair interest in real estate ownership in competition with private owners, principally the new large condominium on Front Street that stands three stories tall and contains 32 units. Private taxpayers have been offended and expecting a loss of housing income.
Other standing sources of public agitation have been need for a bypass to control truck traffic as more and larger “box cars on rubber” wheel into our narrow, old-fashioned streets from all points of the compass, threatening to choke off car traffic, which also has grown tremendously of late.
The old proposal of a fresh route for heavy trucks to run across the north end of town, all the way from the Five-Mile dock to the Crozier railroad crossing, would be a formidable expense, but such projects are popular elsewhere.
Then we’ve still got our old red brick mountain of a high school blocking out the centre of town and completely bare of suggestions.
This seems the most significant barrier to downtown development and little serious thinking seems to be going on despite its great location and business potential.
Big bucks are required to move this mountain, or turn it into something more successful than its useless chunk of several acres in our most desirable location. And each passing year attracts less and less interest.
Evidently, our best brains remain baffled here (perhaps we should be contacting Wal-Mart here despite recent criticism of that chain).
But say, think about sports promotion and there is little doubt about where our future lies—as long as local wages hold up. We’re back into hockey here again, with possible soccer or school football coming on strongly, although such sports as snooker and horseshoe pitching have pretty well gone.
Shooting pool (snooker) had many more players years ago than the handful today at the Sister Kennedy Centre as the choice of games narrowed.
Fishing, however, is taking over as the top summer pastime as even baseball fades away. Girls’ hockey is growing here now and a district league is expected.
But the awesome success of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship each July on Rainy Lake, backed heavily by American sportsmen, is becoming an industry of itself. It seems there will continue to be excitement building here during all the years to come, though whether from fresh sports or industry remains to be seen.
All this will be resolved as our prosperity holds on—as you might as well expect it can with a 100-year-old track record already.
Even while the rest of Canada faltered in the early 1930s, Fort Frances managed progressive years. And everyone expects it can again!
Drop in again next year, Santa. You’re always welcome to check us out!
• • •
Barry Rogers and others are keeping traplines going again this year and enjoying conditions, with just enough snow and our mild temperatures. Barry’s trapline goes north 150 miles!
I remember when his father, Bob, trapped around Bad Vermilion Lake near Mine Centre, where I grew up.

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