We’re an entire month away from the solar eclipse, but it seems like there are so many mugs, T-shirts and other items that are for sale all over the internet — and at some stores as well. Several people have compared notes with one another about members of their families and friends who want to camp in their fields or backyards to view this historic occasion. Others have questioned the cost of hotel and motel reservations at various locations, as well. Oregon’s last eclipse of the sun was back in 1979, and while many don’t think it was a big deal — a generation of school children and young adults will have the opportunity to learn more about science, and the rest of us might learn something new, too.

Summertime brings about blood shortages for many reasons — regular donors are on vacation; there are more car crashes because of the increase of summer travelers, people plan elective surgeries during this time of year, and other factors contribute to the need for blood donations. The next scheduled American Red Cross blood drive scheduled for MI Town will be at First Baptist Church, located at 1505 Monmouth St., in Independence, on Monday from 12:45 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. More information is available at www.redcrossblood.org. The Red Cross has many other dates and times where you can schedule an appointment, as the need continues to rise during these next few months.

Both Independence and Monmouth libraries continue to have fun and interesting programs available during the summertime for readers and curiosity seekers of all ages. There are two events today worth checking out, where students in fourth through 12th grades can Build a Better Galaxy Craft at the Monmouth Library at 2 p.m. Juggler, Henrik Bothe, will be featured in the Build a Better World at 3 p.m. at the Independence Library.

Pack up a picnic supper – or get everything to feed your family from vendors in the park or nearby — and come to Main Street Park this evening (Wednesday) where Hillstomp, a blues group, will be featured from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Be sure to patronize the many merchants and other businesses who help pay for these great evenings.

Let’s all try to remember to stay hydrated on these hot summer days — cold water, iced tea and lemonade are great thirst-quenchers and help us maintain sound and healthy bodies. Another good idea is to keep fresh water in pet bowls outside so our pets and neighborhood birds and squirrels have access to needed liquids. Fire season is definitely upon us, so use added care when using any kind of burning materials and grills or barbecues.

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