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5/23 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Now that the election is over and votes have been counted, congratulations to those who achieved the offices they worked so long and hard to seek. Let's all do what we can as responsible neighbors to support our newly elected judge and district attorney and become real participants in civic activities and events in MI Town and Polk County.

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Last week's editorial regarding taxes and how many of our dollars go to pay them made me first gripe a little bit about what we could do with all that money handed over to the government -- then I thought about the good things tax dollars do in MI Town.

We have dedicated people working to keep our cities running as smoothly as possible. One phone call to 9-1-1 sends police and firefighters to our homes, responding to perhaps life-threatening situations and to keep us safe from harm. Our local schools provide the best education to our children, even in the face of dreadful budget cuts and doing more with less. What happens when we have a power failure, water emergency or a falling tree in a windstorm? Our public utility employees are there 24/7 to do whatever needs to be done.

While most of us in MI Town need to watch every dollar, it's good to know that the tax money spent locally is well worth it.

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It doesn't seem like that many hours ago, we boarded a plane and soared above the Douglas firs and blooming rhododendrons and looked out the window as our beautiful Willamette and Columbia rivers disappeared behind us.

As we go to deadline, I'm watching the palm and banana trees and a real ficus hedge, probably close to 6 feet in height (not those fussy little potted trees we are used to seeing in living rooms) that goes all around the backyard.

By the time this edition of the Itemizer-Observer is delivered to our mailboxes, we will be back home in MI Town -- happy to be in our own familiar surroundings, but wondering why vacation days disappeared so quickly.

We'll watch misty-eyed as granddaughter Bailey Kram graduates from Westminister High School, already excited about beginning her first year of college in Boston. Grandson MacKenzie Kram's first year in high school, even with a diagnosis of Autism, proudly told us how he is succeeding in regular classes. Daughter Beverly is working as a critical-care pediatric nurse for two different hospitals in south Florida, and somehow keeps it all together as she manages to make it all work well.

We are so grateful and thankful and happy to share precious hours and good times together.

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