Times up for awards

This column was written in Toronto. It comes following three days of meetings with other publishers from across Canada.
Next week in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and the Atlantic provinces, publishers and their staffs will be meeting to celebrate the achievements of newspapers. On Saturday evening, three regions will hold their prestigious awards ceremonies recognizing photographers, writers, columnists, and ad designers.
Almost 400 community newspaper people will converge on Toronto for Ontario’s celebration. The Fort Frances Times is up for awards by its writers, its ad sales people, and its electronic publishing department.
Tony Sutton, one of North America’s leading newspaper designers, will critique the Rainy River Record on Friday afternoon. He will offer suggestions on ways the look and read of the paper can be improved.
Times co-owner Linda Plumridge, who is on the board of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association, will spend a considerable amount of time in Toronto this weekend looking at newspaper industry initiatives that will have an impact on papers across Ontario and the country.
One of the initiatives would make it easier for area businesses to examine opportunities in Rainy River District.
Rainy River Record editor Ken Johnston will be attending the annual Ontario conference. On such a busy weekend coming up, with the skating show and the Rainy River winter carnival, we will have to rely on Anne Mailloux and Linda Johnston to perform yeomen’s service.
During the day, the two will be active reporting on, and taking pictures of, the carnival’s outdoor activities. Then Saturday evening, Times reporter Michael Hilborn will be on hand to cover the skating events and the crowning of the carnival queens.
We also will look to volunteers to help the paper by writing stories and supplying pictures.
Here in Fort Frances, Times editor Mike Behan also will be away and that will require the staff to shift responsibilities, too. This, too, is a busy weekend. The community of Nestor Falls will be hosting its winter carnival while the Muskie senior boys’ basketball team will host the NWOSSAA playoffs against the Port Arthur Collegiate Redmen.
The Muskie boys’ hockey team is slated to open the best-of-three NorWOSSA final here Friday against the Dryden Eagles, with the Borderland Thunder also wrapping up their regular season here this weekend.
All these events will keep new sports reporter Amy Scanlon hopping.
Duane Hicks will assume the role of editor in Mike’s absence as well as carrying on his regular reporting responsibilities. Melanie Béchard will be covering various other activities across the community.
In short, the staffs of both newspapers will be busy.
The local Liberals have announced their nomination day for the new riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River. Membership sales ended Feb. 29. Meanwhile, the new Conservative Party will be announcing its candidate nomination meeting shortly, as will the NDP.
That will quickly bring us to a federal spring election if political pundits are correct.
The doldrums of winter have passed and the residents of Toronto are coming out of hibernation. In Toronto, the north sides of streets are jammed with pedestrians.
The people of Toronto are experiencing their first break in winter. They have been blasted by more snow than normal, and the temperatures also have been colder than normal this winter.

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