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1/16 Mi Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

We're deep into midwinter in MI Town and it seems like springtime is a distant future dream. It's hard to think about sunshine and flowers when there's a constant cleaning up of muddy footprints from spouses, children and pets, and the coat closet has a lingering scent from wet wool coats and jackets.

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Students are busy with school activities and winter sports. It's always a lot of fun to attend the various games and events, and to cheer for our children and those of our friends and neighbors. It's easy to catch enthusiasm and energy from just being around younger people. As always, our local schools are eager for volunteers in all their programs and it's another great way to chase away those midwinter blues.

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Tune in to any show about law enforcement or forensic detective work and watch how even the most complex of criminal cases are solved very quickly and neatly, with the crooks dispatched to the slammer within the hour.

Reality is that more often than not, weeks and months of hard work, patience and dedication, as well as time and energy, are invested in cases before law enforcement officers can take a breath and share a high-five, confident that the criminals are locked away.

Independence Police Chief Vern Wells and Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe, in cooperation with more than a dozen agencies, recently arrested 11 suspects and seized more than $125,000 in methamphetamine and heroin That's a good amount of illegal drugs that won't be sold to people in MI Town and our surrounding area.

The heartache and physical damage caused by drug use and abuse is overwhelming. Children are victimized more than anyone else, with so much psychological trauma when their parents get involved in the drug culture.

Congratulations to MI Town's law enforcement officers for helping make our communities safer for all of us.

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The most recent Monmouth-Independence Chamber of Commerce newsletter is just loaded with good information and upcoming activities, and I always look forward to receiving it every month. Chamber Director Jean Love and her dedicated group of chamber members from both cities in MI Town have many good things to share with all of us. The chamber office is located at 311 Monmouth St. in Independence, and the newsletter can be accessed online at www.micc-or.org.

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Western Oregon University Service Learning students will volunteer to help MI Town's senior citizens with house or yard projects on Saturday, Feb. 23. If you'd like assistance with a special task like window washing, preparing garden beds, or have other ideas, contact Sue Teal at the Monmouth Senior Center, 503-838-5678, to learn more about this really great project.

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