For those who think they have a few good — and even great — ideas about what they would do if they were responsible for determining what should be done in MI Town’s communities, here’s your chance. There are vacancies on various boards, councils and commissions, and you can find out all you need to know about participating in the election process this fall by checking either the city of Monmouth or city of Independence websites, or stopping by city hall during regular business hours. Everyone is also welcome at city council meetings, where the agenda and previous meeting notes are available online, as well. We can all make a difference, but first it’s necessary to get involved. — We’ve all been spoiled this summer by clear blue skies and soft warm breezes, and when we’re blindsided by rainstorms and dark clouds, it’s hard to recall that June weather is typically on again, off again. Those of us who have lived in Oregon for many years know that, no matter what the calendar says, summer doesn’t really happen until after the Fourth of July. Warm and sunny days are a wonderful bonus this time of year. — Speaking of the Fourth of July, we’re eager to celebrate America’s birthday in MI Town as both of our communities have so many outstanding and fun events planned for everyone to share. Celebrating any season in our small towns is wonderful, but I can’t think of wanting to celebrate the Fourth of July anywhere else. Next week’s Itemizer-Observer will publish a schedule of all events in Polk County, and we’ll do our best to attend as many as we can. — Concerts in the parks and at the amphitheater are coming soon, and we’re all looking forward to picnics, movies and music under the stars. — Independence should be celebrating the wonderful honor of recently being chosen as an All-American City, and that’s due to the effort of so many people that our community can receive this award. Sadly, despite all the good things happening in MI Town, the dog of a woman serving our country in the U.S. Navy has been poisoned, and the family members — plus those of us who love our pets — are grieving this terrible crime. After determination by the family’s veterinarian that this dog ingested poison that caused suffering and death, Independence Police are following up on this criminal act. Perhaps by the time this edition of the I-O is in your mailboxes, the perpetrator will be caught and charges will have been filed. Contact the Independence Police Department if you have any information regarding this cruel and heartless criminal activity. No pet is safe from harm until the person who committed this horrible crime is arrested.