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5/30 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Summertime in MI Town is getting so close -- just out there on the horizon -- and once we see the varieties of Oregon strawberries appear on our grocery shelves, in our backyard gardens and at farmers markets we can celebrate with homemade shortcake and whipped cream.

Students in our schools are counting down the days until books and homework can be traded for swimming in the river and at the coast and in nearby lakes.

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Another sure sign of summertime is the advertisement for "help wanted" at the fairgrounds in Rickreall for this year's Polk County Fair. Dates for this year's fair are Aug. 9-12, and the theme is "Fun for the Whole Herd." More information regarding jobs is available at the fairgrounds office during regular hours.

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Be sure to save the "Explore Polk County" magazine that was included in last week's issue of the Itemizer-Observer, so you can plan events for your family all year long -- and find good places to share with friends, with folks visiting from out of town, and lots of activities for any time you want to get out and enjoy life. Every page showcases many things that are fun to do and there are no reasons for anyone to say "I'm bored."

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Celebrate the brand new month of June at the Monmouth Senior Center community breakfast on Saturday. You'll feel welcomed by a group of volunteers who will happily serve pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and biscuits and gravy for the whole family at a price everyone can afford ($6 adults, $3 kids under 12). It's a great way to begin a busy weekend.

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I was lucky enough to see Asleep at the Wheel several years ago during da Vinci Days in Corvallis, and had such a great time. Now, thanks to Western Oregon University's Smith Fine Arts Series, we all have the opportunity to see this Grammy Award-winning group at Rice Auditorium on June 8. Tickets are $28 in advance and $31 at the door. Student prices are $15. Call 503-838-8333 for more information.

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When looking over the menu at a restaurant in Palm Beach, Fla., during our visit with Don's son, David, and his wife, Pat, we came upon a listing of Rogue Ales, which gave us the opportunity to talk about their facility in Independence.

As we were leaving the restaurant, we noticed an Oregon map, prominently displayed on a chalkboard. I asked one of the servers if we could change the location from Portland to Newport and Independence, explaining that we were familiar with both communities, and she happily handed me a piece of chalk.

What fun to share a little bit of MI Town with others.

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