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6/23 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Longtime Oregonians usually chuckle when people new to the area complain about the lack of summertime weather, knowing the hot and sunny days can appear very quickly and linger for several weeks.

However, watching TV meteorologists continually report about rain and cold weather records being broken on a daily basis is beginning to get very old, very fast.

The lack of summer sunshine and threat of daily rain isn't funny anymore. It's pretty hard to think about standing knee deep in June when we need to wear sweaters and jackets on daily walks, or sitting in the backyard in the afternoon or evening. Let's hope that by press time we'll see sunshine in MI Town, and can enjoy glasses of cold lemonade with friends and family.

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Our garden is growing by leaps and bounds, and the apple trees in the backyard promise lots of good things to come. We've picked fresh lettuce for salads and enjoyed strawberry shortcake. The grapevines are full of the tiny clusters, which will materialize into deep purple grapes as the next few weeks go by.

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MI Town's outdoor markets bring us all the goodness of summertime and the opportunity to eat good and healthy foods at the peak of their season. I found the best strawberries and beets this past week to share with friends from the city.

I've discovered that by shopping at the Monmouth Farm and Craft Market, located at the old fire hall on Warren Street North on Wednesdays (noon to 6 p.m.), and the Independence Farmers Market in the Sterling Bank parking lot on Main Street on Saturdays (9 a.m. until 1 p.m.), wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables are always available.

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It won't be too many weeks before MI Town celebrates America's birthday with our unique and special Fourth of July celebrations.

Main Street Park in Monmouth will be the setting for a Chili Cookoff contest on July 3. There will be several prizes given for the best chili, including a People's Choice Award. Here's your chance to showcase your favorite recipe and share in the fun.

Contact Mark Fancey at 503-751-0147 for more information.

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Independence's River Gallery is calling all artists to participate in a juried art show titled "Fur, Fins and Feathers," featuring animals, fish and birds.

The deadline for applications is Friday, July 9. More information and applications are available on the Web at www.rivergalleryart.com or in person at the Gallery, located on Main Street in Independence.

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Summertime means more kids, pets and adults walking or riding bikes to playgrounds, libraries and summer school activities. Let's all stay watchful and alert on busy days and evenings.

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