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1/12 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

We're deep into midwinter in MI Town and it seems like springtime is a distant future dream.

It's hard to think about sunshine and flowers when there's a constant cleaning of muddy footprints from spouses, children and pets, and the coat closet has a lingering scent of wet wool coats and jackets.

We love those occasional sun breaks and take a few moments to look forward to brighter days.

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Today (Wednesday, Jan. 12) is the M-I Chamber of Commerce State of the Cities luncheon at the Independence Elks Lodge, where we will share lunch with our friends and neighbors and hear from Independence Mayor John McArdle and Monmouth Mayor John Oberst, who will speak of past accomplishments and future plans for MI Town.

Our elected representatives are looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of this upcoming year. As always, there is a need for citizens to participate as volunteers for various committees and groups, so if you have a few hours and good ideas to share, please check city websites or stop by city hall during working hours.

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Return to the days of rock 'n' roll -- right here in MI Town. "Voodoo Catbox Poster Extravaganza" is the current exhibit at the Dan and Gail Cannon Gallery of Art in Campbell Hall at WOU. The exhibit runs through Feb. 4. Original screen printed rock 'n' roll posters will be featured.

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The Smith Fine Arts Series features internationally renowned Flamenco guitarist Adam del Monte on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m in Rice Auditorium on the WOU campus. For tickets and more information: 503-838-8333; http://www.wou.edu/sfa.

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On these cold, winter days and evenings, nothing sounds better than a bowl of homemade chili and some delicious corn bread.

The Monmouth Senior Center is having a fundraiser for its building fund Monday, Jan. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 and available at the center, 180 S. Warren St.

For more information: 503-838-5678.

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MI Town's very own university has received yet another honor.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities recently named Western Oregon University the 2010 recipient of the Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.

This award, named for the first teacher in space who died in the Challenger disaster, has been given annually since 1987.

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Mark your calendars for a free and fun event coming up next month at the Monmouth Public Library.

The Friends of the Library and Youth Services Librarian Krist Obrist would like to invite you and your family to play "Bingo for Books" Thursday, Feb. 10, at 6 p.m. There will be prizes and refreshments for all.

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