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Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Although the calendar says that the official beginning of Fall isn't until late September, for many of us Labor Day signifies the transition. Children begin another school year and we reluctantly pack away our swimsuits and rafts and beachwear.

If history repeats, though, we'll continue to have several weeks of wonderful weather with cool evenings and fresh, crisp mornings. In our house, the unanimous vote would be for endless summer - but changing of seasons in the Willamette Valley in reality is something to look forward to.

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Tonight is the last Memorial Music in the Park concert, with Blackrock Band scheduled to perform. What could be better than an nice late-summer evening listening to free entertainment in Monmouth City Park? The concerts have been well attended all summer, and this is a final opportunity to enjoy another great evening close to home.

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When Don and I moved to Monmouth some seven years ago, we took a break from unpacking boxes and hanging pictures and walked downtown to Sing Fay Restaurant where we enjoyed a wonderful Chinese dinner. Over the years, we've gotten to know Tina and Andy Chen and watched their children grow up (along with savoring all the good things from their kitchen).

The Chen family is moving to the Portland area. While we wish them all the luck and good fortune they deserve, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to such nice people. We will miss them.

Mindy, the new proprietor, is very enthusiastic about being in MI Town and looks forward getting to know all the members of our community. Please welcome her.

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If you've always wanted to learn how to preserve fruits and vegetables, a free program is scheduled for Saturdays beginning Sept. 1 and ending Sept. 22. These "Sharing the Harvest" classes are limited to 30 people. For more information contact Ellen O'Shea at elleno@peak.org.

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My absolutely favorite summer event of the year is here, and it's even more spectacular than ever. The Oregon State Fair is in full swing and truly does offer fun for people of all ages.

A day at the fair is quite unlike any other. I remember my very first state fair when I was a 4-H kid, excited to spend some of my hard-earned berry, bean and chittum bark (anyone else remember that?) money on corn dogs, curly fries and "elephant ears."

It's good to know that some traditions are just as enjoyable, no matter how many years have passed. See you at the fair!

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And speaking of fairs ... congratulations to Mike Reeves for winning the King of the Kitchen Award at our Polk County Fair. For many years, we've seen the Reeves kids' exhibits at the fair, and have enjoyed them so much. Mike and Joyce certainly are living proof that apples indeed don't fall far from the tree.

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