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All I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears, and the sound of my ragged breath as I crunched through the snow and ice that covered the trail, trudging slowly up the unforgiving terrain.

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Over the weekend, I took advantage of the smoke-free air and went on a hike with my friends Sam and Claudia, and Sam’s 8-month-old twins, Oliver and Avery.

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If you’re a parent looking for activities to sign your kid up to this fall, Western Oregon University offers community youth swim lessons each term for kids ages 6 months to early teens.

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If you’re looking for a new hobby to pick up, head over to the Health and Wellness Center at Western Oregon University, where they offer rock climbing classes for anyone ages 4 and older on their state-of-the-art 40-foot rock climbing wall.

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Parkside Self Defense, a Taekwondo and mixed martial arts school, offers more than just martial arts: it offers students a way of life, on and off the dojang.

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It only took one run from the Mountain View Toros before the Dirtbags cinched up their defense and brought another triumph to their scoreboard, winning the game 4-1 in Monmouth on Wednesday evening.

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Summer is in full-swing now, which means longer days, good weather and ample time for trying out new things.

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Three generations of Straders will be at this weekend's Memorial Day baseball tournament, located at the namesake field, off of Academy street in Dallas, by LaCreole Middle School.

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The annual Dragon Run, a fundraiser for the Dallas Education Foundation, is fast approaching.

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INDEPENDENCE — Waves collided against the shore. Sailors held on for dear life.

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DALLAS — Registration is open now for the 5K Solar Run on Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. The race will begin at Lyle Elementary School, 185 SW Levens St., Dallas.

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POLK COUNTY — Ride ’em cowboy. The Hell on Hooves Rough Stock Rodeo returns Thursday at 7 p.m. As cowboys and cowgirls compete, expect to see fans flock to the rodeo arena for some high-speed excitement.

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MONMOUTH — Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic condition that affects the brain and spinal cord.

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MONMOUTH — Come for the fun; persevere for the cause. Bike MS returns to Monmouth on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to bring cyclists together to ride for a cure.

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DALLAS — If there’s an event that provides the thrill of competition for the young ones — and provides the staff and spectators the joy of watching it unfold — it would be the Kids’ Triathlon.

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MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — The crowd roared. Runners and walkers charged toward the finish in a blaze of glory.

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INDEPENDENCE — Robert Sanchez, of Woodburn, loves tennis. The 2017 Woodburn High graduate played throughout high school and has competed in United States Tennis Association tournaments.

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MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE — When runners set off on the 47th annual Monmouth-Independence Mini-Marathon, they take part in a unique event.

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DALLAS — The improvised courts set up in the parking lot of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were busy for much of the first of Dallas’ Tuesday on the Square events on June 13.

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INDEPENDENCE — The National Psoriasis Foundation is on a mission to raise awareness about psoriatic disease — and it’s ready to put rubber to the road to do it.

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Dallas’ adult recreation program is ready to get in the Halloween spirit with the Glow Run, set for Oct. 15 at 7:15 p.m.

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INDEPENDENCE — At 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, James Robinson and Nathan Litke were hard at work.

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MONMOUTH — As a child, Shannon Snair made it a point to protect her younger sister Nora from all she could.

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INDEPENDENCE — A 1.5-mile obstacle course stretching from the Independence Dog Park around the soccer fields is nearing completion.