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8/29 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Summertime ... and the living is busy these days in MI Town, as families begin to make preparations for their sons and daughters for another year of school.

Whether your child is excited about his or her first day of kindergarten or you are busy helping your off-to-college student load the car for their university experience, this is the time of year when emotions run high and just about any sentence spoken can be filled with both tears and laughter.

During these wonderful late summer days, memories can be made that last a lifetime: picnics in the park, swimming and hiking, building bonfires at the beach and sharing sticky (and sandy) s'mores with good friends -- those are the good things. Unfortunately, those memories can disappear in an instant and be replaced with sadness and grief when car crashes occur and lives are forever changed. Drive carefully and don't even think about drinking and driving.

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It's not too early to remind folks of the upcoming Jensen Arctic Museum's annual Salmon Bake, scheduled Sept. 9 at Gentle House on the Western Oregon University campus. Cost is $32 per person, which includes a full evening of entertainment as well as a silent auction. Call 503-838-8147 or e-mail arctic@wou.edu for more information.

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The Friends of the Independence Library would like to extend an invitation to meet fourth-generation Oregonian and businessman Gerry Frank on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the library, located at 175 Monmouth St.

Frank, owner of Gerry Frank's Konditorei in Salem, served as chief of staff to former Sen. Mark Hatfield. Frank will be signing copies of his recent book, "Gerry Frank's Oregon." Refreshments will be served.

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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 opened last Friday at the state fairgrounds in Salem, where there is something truly wonderful for people of all ages.

A day at the fair is quite unlike any other -- with so many opportunities to have a great time. I remember my first state fair when I was a 4-H kid and how exciting it was to spend some of my berry and bean picking and chittum bark money (anybody remember what hard work that was?) 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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