Our newly-minted Western Oregon University graduates bid farewell to MI Town following Saturday’s graduation ceremonies that combined happy tears with nostalgia, optimism and abundant good wishes. We’d like to add our congratulations and high hopes as our best and brightest begin another exciting chapter in their lives. Come September, we’ll welcome new freshman students eager to start on a new journey of their own as well as our returning sophomore, junior, senior and graduate students. WOU is indeed the crown jewel in MI Town’s crown and we look forward to so many good programs, classes and activities our hometown university has to offer.

Summer activities are in full swing at the Independence and Monmouth Public Libraries and if you’d like to learn more about what’s happening for kids — stop by your nearest library during open hours or browse through all the program information on their web sites. There are programs for all ages with live music performers, summer book and prize giveaways and free family friendly movies. If you’re new to the area, please take a few minutes from your busy day and see what activities would be best for you and your family. It’s also a great way to meet your neighbors and make new friends. Thanks to the Friends of the Independence and Monmouth libraries for helping to provide funding, so we can all share interesting activities for the summer.

The schedule is out for the Music in the Park Series at Main Street Park Amphitheater in Monmouth. The Shinkle Family Band will entertain us beginning at 6:30 p.m. on July 5. We’ll pack our picnic baskets or have the opportunity to buy food and beverages right in the park, and enjoy a concert featuring folk and country music with our families, friends and neighbors. Several local businesses have provided funding for these free summertime events, so please support your community merchants and organizations.

The June birthday celebration at Monmouth Senior Center is scheduled for June 30 at 1 p.m., and all area seniors are welcome to share cake and ice cream, games and other fun activities. The center is located at 180 Warren St. S., in Monmouth.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to read Larry Dalton’s letter to the editor in last week’s I-O, please take a moment to find the paper or check the webpage (www.polkio.com). No matter what our political or religious views may be, nothing is accomplished by demeaning others whose ideas are different. Let’s take the time to be kinder to one another.

Want to meet a NASA scientist? Stop by the Monmouth Library at 3 p.m. today, and discover what’s going on with the space program. Kids of all ages will enjoy this event.

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