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2/1 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

For all of us who have been swapping January flood stories and are tired of the wet wool smell in coat closets and boots in the hallway, Wednesday marks the beginning of the brand new, bright and shiny month of February.

Let's hope we can put that old wintry month behind us and think about the prospects of longer days and occasional flashes of sunshine.

This year is a leap year, so we will have one extra day this month. Feb. 14 is also Valentine's Day, so here's your early reminder to do something wonderful for that special somebody in your life.

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Thursday, Punxsutawney Phil will be poked and prodded from his warm and cozy den to celebrate Groundhog Day and weather gurus will pontificate on whether we will look forward to an early spring or endure six more weeks of winter, depending upon whether or not Phil sees his shadow.

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

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New Hope Community Outreach Center, located at 260 SW Mill St. in Dallas, has two new programs to banish those dark, rainy days and to do something good for yourselves.

Michele Campione, center director, shares the news of a "goals group" every Monday at 10 a.m., as well as an "inspire program" that meets twice a week.

All programs are free and more information is available by calling 503-831-3996. The Center is also on Facebook.

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Betty Plude is conducting her next "Write It Before You Lose It" workshop Monday at 12:45 p.m. in the Independence Library, 175 Monmouth St. It's a fun and interesting way to spend an afternoon. For more information, contact Betty at 503-838-4039 or the Independence Library at 503-838-1811.

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Hundreds of people attended Polk County Community Connect last Wednesday at Living Hope Church in Dallas. Commissioner Mike Ainsworth was one of the hundred volunteers who assisted people with services for medical and dental care, including vision checkups, warm clothing, pet care, bicycle repairs and help for those who are enduring homelessness. It's good to hear of so many people who take the time to help others in need.

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The "Who's Who in Polk County" directory included in last week's Itemizer-Observer has everything you'd want to know about goods and services available in MI Town and our neighboring communities. Be sure to keep this publication handy so we can keep our money where our town is.

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