Season of hope is here

The first Christmas lights sparkled to life on our street last Sunday evening. Circling around the branches of the trees in the yard, the bright white miniature lights marked the beginning of the Christmas season.
Television ratings noted Canadians were watching the results of the U.S. election in numbers as great as they watched the Canadian one. Polls had noted that if Canadians had voted in the U.S. presidential election, more than 80 percent would have chosen Barack Obama.
Obama’s campaign of “hope” has inspired people around the world. In a time of worldwide economic turmoil and growing unemployment, his campaign, along with his stature and style, have lifted the spirit of not only Americans, but people in all nations.
He has given everyone a reason to hope.
Adversity does give hope. Turmoil does provide opportunities.
Christmas has always provided hope.
Walking along Scott Street, many of the stores already had converted to a Christmas décor. Wal-Mart was playing Christmas music in the store. Even on the final day of the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market, traditional “Christmas cake” was being offered for sale.
The Legion Ladies Auxiliary held its annual pre-Remembrance Day tea and bake sale. Signs of Christmas are everywhere.
In many of the communities surrounding us, much of the economy does not look good. Paper mills and sawmills have been shuttered waiting for a revival of the U.S. economy. Some paper mills have closed for good. Wood harvesting has declined.
The loud blasts of steam being released last week announced the pressure testing of the new biomass boiler in Fort Frances. The blue exterior walls of the plant are being finished. The number of construction workers on the project continues to draw down.
The plant should begin operation in January, which will reduce the costs of producing paper in Fort Frances. The investment by AbitibiBowater gives us reason to cheer for the future of our community and district.
The optimism of retailers remains strong. Just walk through the stores and you will discover the racks and shelves are full. With the change in the relationship of the Canadian dollar to its U.S. counterpart, many are seeing shoppers back into the stores.
September and October have been two strong months.
The Santa Claus parade in Fort Frances is set to go on Nov. 29 and “Holly Days” in Emo is set for the first weekend of December.
The season of hope is here.

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