Miss Autumn has definitely arrived right on schedule, with cooler mornings, sunrises arriving a few minutes later each morning and the return of college students to MI Town. Our streets are full of U-Haul trucks, family vans and SUVs on their way to campus dorms, apartments and houses where students will settle in for another academic year. It’s always fun to see young men and women bring optimism and enthusiasm to our communities.

Monmouth Public Library will host a Family Fun Night on Friday. Singer-songwriter Okaidja Afroso, from Ghana, West Africa, will share music and stories about faraway places. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m., everyone is invited to an evening of fun and activities, and it’s all free.

It’s been said over and over by politicians and government officials that small businesses are the backbone of America. In MI Town, most of us do our best to put our money where our towns are and purchase goods and services without driving to larger cities. We get to know the owners and managers as friends and neighbors and wish these small businesses the very best. With all of that in mind, it’s good to know that Matthew Lind, who purchased an old gas station and rebranded it as Mecanico, has received an extension on his real estate transaction with the city of Independence. Ray Walter’s IndePit Barbecue will continue at the Mecanico location, and it’s good that our communities will support local investment and business ventures.

There’s still time to purchase tickets for our first Western Oregon University home football game of the new season — scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m., when the Wolves host the Humboldt State University Lumberjacks. We’ll be there, anticipating the opening kickoff and looking forward to a great afternoon of football. Humboldt State fans are always enthusiastic and friendly, so this is our opportunity to share our hospitality and enthusiasm, and enjoy a wonderful day.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m., where we’ll celebrate our friend, Mark Fancey’s retirement with a reception at the amphitheater in Main Street Park in Monmouth. This is a bittersweet day for many of us who have seen all the good and positive things that have been accomplished under his leadership, but we want to wish Mark all the best in his well-earned and deserved retirement. Mark has been community development director for the city of Monmouth for many years and has spent countless days and weeks shepherding so many projects for the benefit of all of us. Best wishes and Godspeed to our friend as he begins yet another chapter in his life.

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