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With fall well on underway, the sunset is coming earlier. Often the evening feels even darker earlier as clouds and rain cover the county. That doesn’t mean people aren’t out enjoying the crisp evening — and morning — air! What it does mean is those who are out for walks or jogs or bicycle r…

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Western Oregon University is back in session this week with New Student Week. Classes start full time on Monday.

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Saturday in Polk County is packed with opportunities for entertainment, exercise (for a good cause), getting ready for disaster, and an event at the Polk County Museum, to name a few.

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This year seems to be the year of the tree. Earlier, the development of a youth center in Independence required removing some well-established trees. In Monmouth at the S-curves, trees were removed to make way for development of the area.

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We’ve been talking a lot about sidewalks in our community lately. In Monmouth, sidewalk repair is the responsibility of home or business owners.    We’ve heard repeatedly about the burden that places on people, particularly those on fixed incomes. Their city staff and council are looking at …

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As your local news source, it is our job to ask questions, particularly of public officials and contractors — and when your tax dollars are being spent.

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The Polk County Fair has come and gone. Projects completed and awarded, livestock raised and sold. It’s officially the Dog Days of August.

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It’s that time again! The Polk County Fair kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday, packed with events and activities for the whole family. The fair takes year-round work by groups and individuals to make it successful. This year, we’ll have perhaps one of the mildest weather seasons…

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The city of Dallas is hiring a new city manager, and residents have an opportunity to meet the candidates Monday evening at the Dallas Civic Center.

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The Dallas School District is paying for unpaid lunches after coming up short by about $20,000 in the food service program.

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We’ve long noticed that in our county, our young Boy Scouts seem to be motivated to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

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Polk County Relay for Life was Saturday through Sunday morning at Riverview Park in Independence. Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society event, is a 24-hour walk and fundraiser to help find a cure for cancer. It also raises money for programs that are built to support those in the battle.

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With Memorial Day behind us, the summer events in Polk County start heating up, starting Saturday with more things to do than there is time to do them all.

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Regardless of how you vote, remember ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21. It’s probably too late to get them in the mail, so look for a drop box near you (see page A3) and be sure to swing by and deliver it. The good news about the drop boxes is no postage is required.

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You can tell the weather has turned nice again as people of all ages — and often their pets — are out using our parks and walking the paths, soaking in the sun.

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The city of Dallas has taken over planning the city’s events for 2019. Previously, the Dallas Area Visitors Center was charged with organizing the Polk County Bounty Market, the Fourth of July, Summerfest and Winterfest, along with a few other things sprinkled in such as the Old Timers Picni…

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Facebook and other social media outlets have a myriad of benefits to users — connecting people, families and communities. They can provide an open forum for discussion about local issues or spread information quickly — whether good or bad.

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This week, let us pause for a moment and reflect on the planet we call home. Those who celebrate Easter are in the middle of Holy Week while flowers and trees bloom.

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Dallas has joined efforts in welcoming our two- and three-wheeling friends to town, from building a bike hostel above Latitude One to looking at bike trails, repair stations and generally increasing access for those who prefer to travel via bicycle.

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At the Itemizer-Observer, we encourage and welcome letters to the editor. We appreciate the time you take to let us know what’s on your mind, from thanking people and organizations who have helped make a project reality, to letting us know when you have an adverse experience, to sharing posi…

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The Youth MIC group met Thursday to begin discussions on how they can affect change in their communities. The Monmouth Independence Council, made up of young people aged 16 to 24, gathered with mentors and members of the Multnomah Youth Council to get ideas started.

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 What a weekend. While some athletes came back disappointed they didn’t do better, let’s take a moment and recognize how far they went.

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The Dallas City Council should listen with an open mind to guests invited to speak at a future meeting about forming a consolidated fire district.

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It’s somewhat strange to feel relieved at reading in the daily logs from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office that deputies found someone passed out behind the wheel of a vehicle.

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The holiday celebrations throughout Polk County kicked off on Small Business Saturday last week with a new tradition that we hope continues: Making Spirits Bright in Monmouth.

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The towns of Dallas and Independence will have a variety of events this weekend — enough family fun that one may forget it’s mid-September.

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At Monday’s Dallas council meeting, Councilor Micky Garus suggested that the community consider closing its aquatic center, putting roughly $400,000 a year into public safety officers for Dallas police and fire, essentially eliminating the need for a safety utility fee.

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CLARIFICATION: The council has not approved the public safety fee itself, but rather approved asking the city attorney to draft an ordinance to establish the fee. That ordinance will be read at the council's next meeting on Sept. 4, and, if approved, will move toward final adoption at its second reading on Sept. 17.

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Dallas High School has requested making classrooms “cellphone free” zones, meaning students would lock their devices away during class times.

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You can tell it’s summer. We are in the longest heat wave — defined as a string of days with temperatures above 90 degrees — that Oregon has seen on record.

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We are grateful to serve a community who is active in expressing themselves publicly through letters to the editor.

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It’s that time of year again, where we come out as a community and celebrate our nation’s birthday, Independence Day

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If there’s one thing we don’t like to see, it’s teachers — kindergarten teachers — in tears at a school board meeting because their students are out of control.

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According to people who were involved in city leadership at the time, high-speed internet services were at least a decade away from coming to the rural cities of Monmouth and Independence.

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It’s that time of year again, when people will pitch tents and take turns walking a track for 24 hours, all while dressing up in various themes, carrying a baton and rallying together against cancer.

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Two events will happen this weekend in Monmouth, Independence and Dallas that promote downtown businesses and the shop local movement.

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The second election season of 2018 is nearly here. Next week will be the last week to submit a letter to the editor on an election-related topic until fall, when we gear up for November’s general election.