Solutions arising for all our town’s problems

Our contentious new bag tag, or garbage disposal, bylaw, you know, is merely a small part of a much larger picture being developed over a series of years while the Civic Centre continues shucking its responsibilities.
This is the modern system known as “downsizing.”
Eventually, justified by that mysterious “shortfall” in last year’s budget of almost $3 dollars, instead of this garbage dilemma, the town’s bookkeeping will be turned over to some outside agency while the bag tag furore serves as a convenient distraction.
This municipality already has lost control over its telephone system, which formerly employed probably a dozen ladies on a town hall switchboard.
And the town police department also was abandoned, again with substantial loss of local jobs. In this regard, I cannot forget the remark by your former chief of police, who became angry and swore “that super-duper McBain will never take over my town!” (Louis Camirand was referring to the district commander of the provincial police).
Yet it was an OPP officer who stopped my truck downtown the other day to protest my slow speed as “only 28!” That’s in kilometres, of course, where our American visitors wonder how crazy we can get while they stick to our former British mileage rules.
But there again, we do thrive on change!
So when will we be asking Lands and Forests to take over the town’s fire department? Are there any other branches of town administration we can hand over to anyone else—along with resultant losses of local employment and income?
Maybe the Red Cross has extra swimmers somewhere who could be sent onto our Point Park beach as lifesavers—before area First Nations kick us out of there completely?
But wait a minute here before giving up on our garbage hauling.
I’ve met regular summer home owners here from Minneapolis whose comment on our garbage situation bears consideration. Their city of two million residents turns garbage into a beneficial program with a huge incinerator that supplies heat for part of the city while a magnet extracts all the metals for recycling!
And if that is not a likeable idea, why think of this: Now that Wal-Mart has arrived, that huge and diversified business could take over all of our town hall departments as just another sideline.
It’s come out that Wal-Mart already handles more money than Great Britain altogether.
Why, Fort Frances management would be “duck soup” to Wal-Mart, which undoubtedly would be grateful for this suggestion on its way to complete management of towns and cities everywhere.
So, if we can’t handle our own little town without squawking every time someone spits on a sidewalk, there are others who certainly can.
You know, Wal-Mart must make a habit doing things right the first time! And it shows!
• • •
The U.S. presidential election picture seems pretty grim!
First George Bush falls off his bike! Then John Kerry, his democrat challenger, falls off his bike. Now the Americans are looking for a president who can sit on a bike, according to the Sunday morning newscast.
• • •
But if tornadoes keep striking all over (Newfoundland was warned to expect 10 of those wild winds on Monday) when does our turn come! A very pounding but brief rain occurred here Sunday.
• • •
Mike Pearson reports his Friends of Animals adventure has gone over big-time while he looks after around 40 dogs for other people. Some have been kept around his Old Shambles Road in the west end by the river, where Mike continues building and selling homes.
He inherits his fondness for animals from his father, Eric, who once kept a good herd of beef cattle around his Glenorchie sawmill with help of an experienced farmer, Harry Caul, formerly at Frog Creek.
But the herd failed to survive a railroad accident where 40 cattle, under a new owner, were killed by a train.
• • •
Howie Hampton has been introducing the federal NDP candidate, John Rafferty, an Irishman from Thunder Bay, around town and district, and it will seem strange to have our federal riding stretched to the Lakehead in the coming election.
Rafferty seems keen on restoring our beef cattle exports that were cancelled by the mad cow disease scare.
• • •
The scientists studying Mars now believe the Red Planet once was awash with water like our own planet. Apparently, it’s also had its share of severe storms such as ravaged Nebraska and neighbouring states a week ago.
Meanwhile, all we worry about around here is the next snowstorm.
But do you know of anyone who went swimming May 24—our old traditional first date for a dip? I remember when we would all meet at Point Park beach on that date every year, considering that was the start of summer.
• • •
I’m not sure I appreciate the presence of seagulls all that much lately. They keep on decorating the hood of my truck every morning while I stop for coffee.
And then, adding an extra insult, one dropped some road kill on my hood—a very flat frog that had been run over but was judged by a seagull as unfit to eat.
• • •
While we always thought of May 24 as the holiday to honour Queen Victoria, American-backed companies operating in Canada have little interest in business closings that day, as we’ve noticed.
So the holiday seems merely an optional thing to salute or not as you wish.
• • •
Having just paid Craig Sigurdson, the steward, $90 for back dues at the Legion, I promptly regretted it because with all the steep stairways there, it’s no place for me or any war veteran with a bad leg or walking disability—and appears to have been constructed for mountain goals or kangaroos, not merely beer guzzlers. (did kangaroos actually win the wars for us?)
Most of us veterans will spring to attention every Remembrance Day and my late wife never missed a cemetery service. But I never seem to get to the Legion between times.
When we came back from the Second World War, we all decided to become traditional and join the Legion. It was then a smaller building downtown dominated by the First War vets and now the new building is filled with associate members but too few Second War guys I recognize! (I’m crying because it seems I have wasted my dues).
• • •
Joe Bliss is carrying a full-length page from a California newspaper that praises a former Mine Centre resident, Ed Voges, for all his good works and popularity out there.
He was the son of Louis Voges, who once occupied a spot on the Foley Mine Road. The newspaper spread is covered with Ed’s pictures and it seems his praises were all earned.

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