On these occasional days when we can celebrate the increasingly rare sun breaks by getting out for a good brisk walk around MI Town, it's great to saunter along through the colorful autumn leaves and remember how much fun it was to be a kid at this time of year. Somehow when raking those same leaves and trying to keep the sidewalks clear of wet and soggy clumps of twigs and branches, it becomes a necessary task and there's nothing fun about it. It all goes easier, though when there's a comfy chair beside the fireplace and a steaming cup of hot cider waiting for you when the job is done. A warm cat in your lap and a sweet dog at your side brings sunshine and happiness into your heart and home, no matter what the calendar says.---It's that time of year when "people of a certain age" -- including yours truly -- have the opportunity to review Medicare Advantage and Prescription Plans for 2014. We've spent a good deal of time reviewing plan costs, options and coverage available and it can be a daunting task, especially when there are so many plan booklets and cards arriving on almost a daily basis. Mark your calendar for Wednesday (Oct. 30) and bring your questions and concerns when Craig Parker, senior Medicare patrol coordinator for SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance, with the state of Oregon), will be at the Monmouth Senior Center on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at 10:30 am to help with open enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Prescription plans and answer questions. Individual counseling will be available at this meeting.---If the founding fathers of Monmouth and Independence were to return to our communities, they would be both surprised and pleased to see so many positive changes that are going on. Buildings along our main streets are becoming more attractive -- and provide us with many needed services - almost on a weekly basis. Sidewalks are easier to navigate and our libraries are bright and welcoming to all of us. We have dog parks being developed and all kinds of activities available. Our communities have come a long, long way.---Positive commitment and service from MI Town's volunteers has enhanced our community so much. For the past several years, Marie Kristiansen and Diane Nordyke have given an extraordinary amount of their time and energy to raise money for the Monmouth Senior Center's building fund. As a frequent user of the center, I cannot say enough good things about their dedication and commitment to making our community a better place. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart.