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2/3 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Looking out the window this morning tells me that raindrops will be falling all over MI Town before the Itemizer-Observer goes to press.

The first bulbs are beginning to peek out from the flower beds, all those seed and plant catalogs are arriving in the mail, and I'm tempted to pick up a bouquet of tulips or daffodils. The potted azaleas also look mighty tempting, and it won't be long before we can do some outdoor gardening.

Punxsutawney Phil was poked and prodded from his warm and cozy den on Groundhog Day and all of the weather gurus will be cussing and discussing whether or not we will have an early spring this year.

Be that as it may, I'm not in any big hurry to check out the latest in spring and summer fashions quite yet. No matter what Phil's weather friends have to say, we'll have days and weeks of bundling up before we venture outdoors in shorts and T-shirts.

In the meantime, following the boys and girls basketball games at Central High School are a lot of fun these cold and rainy days and evenings. It's great to see friends and neighbors as we cheer on our favorite teams. For a complete schedule of sports activities, check out the CHS Web page at www.chspanthers.org.

Both Western Oregon University men's and women's basketball teams also have their seasons in full swing, and the fun is contagious.

We are so lucky to have such great family entertainment right here in MI Town.

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Lots of political happenings of late, with Measures 66 and 67 passing, both statewide and in Polk County. We listened to President Obama's first State of the Union speech last week, where he spoke of plans and ideas for the future.

No matter what side of the political fence we sit on, it's a good reminder to everyone that we all have a voice in the legal and electoral process in our country. Any of us are free to contact our state and national senators and representatives when we need help, and to share our concerns and ideas with them.

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The Wild Women 8 Art Show opened Saturday at 134 S. Main St. in Independence, and the River Gallery is definitely the place to be to find all kinds of interesting items to light up any winter's day or evening. What a wonderful showcase of our talented local residents and friends, and it's right here in MI Town.

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Mark your calendars and get your appetites ready for the Monmouth Senior Center Breakfast this Saturday, Feb. 6. Hours are from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and hungry diners of all ages will be welcomed by smiling faces and wonderful breakfast fare.

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