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Mi-Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Our newly-minted Western Oregon University graduates bid farewell to MI Town following busy weekend graduation ceremonies that combined nostalgia, optimism and abundant good wishes. We'd like to add our congratulations and high hopes as our best and brightest begin another exciting chapter in their lives. Come September, we'll welcome new freshman students eager to start a new journey of their own, as well as our returning sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students. WOU is indeed the crown jewel in MI Town's crown and we look forward to so many good programs, classes and activities that our hometown university has to offer.

In the meantime, we're knee deep in June and getting set to enjoy all of the goodness of summertime in the glorious Willamette Valley. Concerts in the parks are just around the corner and so close that we're making plans for packing picnic baskets with sandwiches, cookies and pitchers of lemonade as we gather with friends and neighbors to enjoy socializing and good music. It just doesn't get any better than this!

Summer activities for readers of all ages are in full swing at both public libraries in Monmouth and Independence and it's not too late to participate in the programs offered. There will also be movies for everyone to enjoy. Stop by either library to discover lots of hidden treasures and good ideas for summer fun.

We're all gearing up for MI Town's Fourth of July celebration activities in both our communities, and this year promises to be the best ever. We're anxious for the senior center chili feed, the concert in Monmouth's Main Street Park, breakfast at the fire station, the parade, fireworks and everything in between. I can't think of anything more fun than saying "Happy Birthday, USA," right here in MI Town.

The Ted Vaughn Blues band opens this year's Music in the Park Series on July 11 at 6:30 pm in Main Street Park. Pack up a picnic and bring the family and enjoy the first of many fun and interesting music programs that will be held during July and August. Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Summertime's bounty includes so many good and wonderful things, but there are far too many unwanted and uncared for cats and kittens in our communities. They are prone to disease, injuries and death, and are a hazard to songbirds and other small animals. Residents of Polk County who receive federal or state income assistance can have a female cat spayed for $20 or a male cat altered for $10 at Willamette Humane Society. For more information, call 503-480-7729.

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