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MI TOWN: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Summertime in MI Town … and while the living is not exactly easy, just being here is pretty close to being in paradise.

For those of us up early enough to enjoy the cool mornings, there’s time to get things in order before the real heat of the day begins. We’re getting more good things from the gardens and filling the pantry and freezer, and the summer flowers are at their best.

Those of us who are too busy or don’t have the space for our own garden will be able to enjoy the benefits of fresh produce, flowers and other delightful offerings twice a week at MI Town’s wonderful farmers markets. Saturday mornings, you’ll be able to get a head start on the week ahead by stopping at two markets in Independence — one at Riverview Park and the other in the parking lot of Umpqua Bank. The farmers market is now open in Monmouth’s Main Street Park, and it has been a delightful addition to the community.

The summertime concerts have begun — and what could be more delightful than packing a picnic supper on Wednesdays and getting together with family and friends at Main Street Park in Monmouth at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy an evening of backwoods blues featuring Hillstomp. Wednesday evening concerts will continue through Aug. 27.

Friday marks the appearance of blues, soul, and rock ‘n’ roll artist Ty Curtis at the River’s Edge Summer Concert Series at Riverview Park and Amphitheater in Independence. The concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.

Both concerts are free and everyone is welcome.

Let’s all patronize our local concert sponsors and say “thank you” to the cities of Independence and Monmouth for helping provide funding for these great programs.

Thursday, catch a movie — “Despicable Me 2” — at Riverview Park and Amphitheater at 9:30 p.m.

For almost everyone in MI Town, the nearby Willamette River is a part of our community, where generations have spent summertime swimming, inner-tubing, water skiing and enjoying the water.

On a hot summer day, nothing feels better than a dip in the cool river. Many of us share memories of picking beans and/or berries on early mornings followed by an afternoon by the river. Now there are better flotation devices to keep children — and adults — safe on and around the water. Let’s enjoy our river and swimming holes, and come safely home to share those good stories.

Just a reminder to everyone: Please don’t even think about backyard burning during these July days and evenings. One good reason is that it’s against the law. Even with diligent and careful watering, everything is tinder dry and a simple little brush fire can get out of control in a moment’s time.

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