Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

3/27 MI Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

March 27, 2013

It's pretty quiet on school campuses this week, with students enjoying a week of spring break and time to relax with family and friends before the next term begins.

Faculty and staff members of local elementary and secondary schools are gearing up for the upcoming spring and early summer programs as well, while students are spending some carefree time of their own.

Spring fever and thoughts of summertime are beginning to creep in around the edges, and it's hard to concentrate on learning when sunshine floods the classroom windows.

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The upcoming closure of Henry Hill Elementary School after the current school year must be heartbreaking for everyone involved.

Students, teachers, school workers and parents have worked so hard to keep their school going and, sadly, there are no winners here. It is just plain awful to see a school building closed because of funding issues.

I remember those good old days when schools always had enough money, and my heart hurts because hard work and diligence by so many people wanting to keep the school open just wasn't enough. The school board's decision was no doubt difficult to make, as well.

Even use of the word "repurpose" sounds cold, uncaring and is one of those buzzwords that makes it all even more hurtful. Someday it will be good to have a community center, and siting district administrative offices at Henry Hill will be an appropriate use of the building. But for the moment, too many people are grieving the loss of a community landmark and the sadness of it all.

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The new OSU Extension Master Gardner Program will soon develop a demonstration garden at Mountain Fir Park, along Ash Creek in Independence. Polk County residents are welcome to submit names for this new garden by emailing PolkMG@oregonstate.edu before April 1. Be sure to write "Demo Garden Name" in the subject line.

Local Master Gardeners will create and maintain up to 4 acres of the 7.3-acre park, which may include sensory and medication gardens, herb gardens, flower and vegetable gardens, fruit trees and native plants. This will be a multi-year project and workshops will be presented on tree pruning and vegetable gardening.

For more information on the Polk County Master Gardener program or to find out more about the demonstration garden: 503-623-8395.

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Tuesday night was the beginning of Passover, an eight-day celebration that commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt. Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it is the most important feast day in the Christian calendar, on Sunday.

Springtime is the season of renewal, hope and promise. Let's look to the future on a positive and happy note.

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