Tomorrow we turn the calendar page over to the new month of September, and even though the warm and summery days will be with us for some time to come, the new season of autumn is peeking just around the corner. Early mornings bring just a hint of the crispness in the air, and Mother Nature is making ready for the inevitable changes to follow. It’s still too early to pack up all the swimsuits, beach balls and picnic baskets. There’s still time to relax with a good book on a lazy afternoon — until the garden calls to remind us of the tomatoes and squash that need tending. Apples are being prepared for pies, and the grapes will be ready for picking in a couple weeks, if not sooner.

OSU Master Gardeners 14th Annual Fall Fling, scheduled for Sept. 17 at the National Guard Readiness Center, was featured in last week’s I-O, and registration closes Friday. The fee of $30 includes various morning presentations, a catered lunch and door prizes as well as wine tasting and tours. For more information, stop by the OSU Master Gardener office at 289 E. Ellendale Ave., Suite 201, in The Ellendale Plaza in Dallas or http://extension.oregonstate.edu/polk/mg. Sponsors include Petals and Vines in Monmouth, Old Mill Feed and Garden and Citizens Bank in Dallas, and Capitol Auto Group, Les Schwab Tires in Dallas, Independence and West Salem.

The Independence Sports Park became a reality on Saturday, with a community celebration and youth tournament, prizes and refreshments. Thanks to a great deal of hard work by many local volunteers, including City Manager David Clyne, Joe Penna and much field preparation by the Oregon National Guard, a 20-year dream came true. The park is located behind the Riverplace Apartments on Deanne Drive in Independence.

Fall sports will begin very soon on both the high school and college level, and we’re looking forward to soccer, volleyball and football games right here in MI Town. Ticket prices are reasonable, and are fun for everyone to attend, especially when friends or family members are participating in a team sport.

Those big, bright yellow school buses will appear on our streets next week, which reminds us all to take extra care when driving near schools. MI Town’s most precious citizens will be walking or riding to school until next spring, and we all need to be mindful of speed limits as well. Plan to take a few extra minutes before driving to work or appointments or to run errands so that everyone arrives to their destination safely.

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