MI Town: Patty Taylor Dutcher

Our February weather provides us with more twists and turns than a Monte Carlo road rally. One day we're working in the yard without even a light jacket, and the next we're curled up in a big chair trying to soothe our chilled bones.

For those of us who venture out on these chilly mornings for a trek around MI Town, the rewards are numerous and the feeling of accomplishment can quickly replace thoughts of midwinter gloom.

It's easy to envy friends and family members who are away for this season - soaking up sunshine beside a pool or walking on warm sands beside tropical waters. But when Mr. Sun makes his occasional appearances in the midst of a clear blue sky in Polk County, it's wonderful to be outdoors to see the crocuses and daffodils and hear birds singing everywhere.

Have faith that our beautiful Willamette Valley will soon wake up from a long winter's nap - even though the rain keeps getting in its licks.

Congratulations to Mike Eisenhauer, pitcher for our Western Oregon University Wolves, who threw a shutout in a recent 3-0 win over San Francisco State at the Wolves' home opener.

MI Town's sports programs provide us with great entertainment all year long - and that youthful energy and enthusiasm gives us reason to look forward to the next event.

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With all of the pre-election activities going on around the country, primaries and caucuses and candidate visits, we Oregonians won't have the opportunity to vote until May - and many people are commenting that the national presidential candidates will be all but decided by then.

All politics begin at the local level, and we have the opportunity to visit our city council and county commission meetings.

Aaron Felton of West Salem, a candidate for Polk County District Attorney, will be at Rick's Place, located at 123 Main St. in Monmouth, to present "Java and Justice" at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. For more information, call 503-371-0374.

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Good books and DVDs and videos for MI Town residents of all ages are featured Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, at the old Independence Library building, located at 311 Monmouth St., from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. This is another great opportunity to fill your bookshelves at bargain prices, right here in our own community.

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The next local Red Cross blood drive is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, at Central High School from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. For more information, please contact Jeff Witt at 503-838-0480.

The first time I donated blood, I was pretty nervous about the process. But my fears disappeared quickly when I met the cheerful volunteers. The feeling of doing something really positive - plus the cookies and juice - is a good reward.

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