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MI Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

The recent fires in Polk County and along the Columbia River Gorge serve to remind us that even though the calendar says summer is over, the dangers definitely remain and will for quite some time.

Despite our best efforts at prevention, fires can destroy homes and our lives. This is a reminder that we need to check the batteries in our smoke detectors - and get detectors installed if we don't have them already. They're available at reasonable cost in local stores.


Our hearts and prayers are with all the men and women with the 234th National Guard Engineer Company who were recently deployed to Iraq. Among the Company are three men from Polk County - Bradley Holbrook, Kenneth Shrock and Matthew Hudnall.

Our military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan consist of young men and women from communities not unlike MI Town, and they all volunteered for these assignments so far away from home. Whatever our feelings about the current administration or the war, it is important to respect and honor our young men and women who do their very best to serve our country.


Last week's column addressed concerns about underage drinking and of drug use. I'm pleased to see that a free six-week class for parents of teens will begin October 4 (6:30 to 8 p.m.) at the Academy Building in Dallas. To register for "Decisive Parenting: Powerful Tools for Parents of Teens," or for more information, call the Polk County Juvenile Department at 503 623-2349.

This is an opportunity to learn about how you and your teenagers can meet on common ground and work together as a family, and how to share concerns and solve issues with the best outcome for everyone.


For many reasons, sometimes children cannot remain in their own homes and need to be placed in foster care. The Department of Human Services is working with Catholic Community Services to provide additional homes in Polk, Yamhill and Marion Counties, where children can stay for the duration of their foster care.

This will prevent moving to other foster homes, which can be disruptive for children who have endured a great deal of emotional trauma in their short lives. For more information about Catholic Community Services programs, please call 503 390-2600.


It's almost here. Some of us have been waiting all summer long for the Independence Hop & Harvest Festival, and this weekend's celebration promises to be the best ever.

We've enjoyed the festival's food, fun and activities with friends and neighbors ever since we moved to MI Town several years ago. It's a wonderful way to share in all the good things in our community. See you there!


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