Santa Needs Some Helpers

This year there’s an attempt being made to coordinate the many efforts to help families and children in the area during the holidays. Toys for Tots, Dover-Foxcroft Kiwanis, Three Rivers Kiwanis, Penquis and Maine’s Best are just a few examples… of the great programs being done. You can find a bit more information about the coordination efforts  at Valley Grange is currently considering what role we might take, and thought we’d share this resource with other organizations in the area.  There are lots of ways we can help both as individuals and as organizations:

  • Become a partner
  • Become a drop off location
  • Run a Piscataquis Santa Drive
  • Make a donation of gifts or cash
  • Host an employee or volunteer in-house drive
  • Offer to volunteer as a Santa’s Helper
  • Create a fund-raiser for the project.

So let’s not leave others out of our Holiday Plans… time’s a-wastin’ and there aren’t that many days left! Visit the resource web site or email for more information.

S.A.D. 41 Dictionary Day!

webstudentenc2It’s now official! Friday, November 2oth is Dictionary Day for S.A.D. 41! Many thanks to all the teachers and administration for their cooperation it helping us come up with a schedule! This time we do a “traveling road show” that puts us at the Marion Cook School in Lagrange at 8:30 AM, then on to Milo at 10:00 AM. After that, there might be time to stop for coffee on the way to Brownville for our 11:00 AM program. We’ll be handing out a total of over fifty dictionaries during this trip!

Based on our current plan this will complete our program for this year and while I haven’t completed a final tally, we’ll have placed the familiar red book “from Monson to Milo” and, I think, distributed close to 175.

A special thanks goes to almost member Roger Ricker for helping with our “set.” It seems in my haste to build a holder for the staves (try as she might, Nat just doesn’t have enough hands) I messed up the size of the holes! Roger got crafty (and in this case that doesn’t mean sneaky) and we now have a great stand! Thanks, Roger!

November Bookworm Schedule

BookwormNovember is a short month due to Holiday and Teachers’ Workshops!

Tuesday November 3–Barbara Goodman —Don’t forget to vote today!

Thursday November 5–Guy Downing

Tuesday November 10–Walter Boomsma

Thursday November 12–Nathalee Marsh

Friday November 13–Reading is Fun at SeDoMoCha… so far: Mary Annis, Guy Downing, Susan Burleigh, and Walter.

Tuesday November 17–Guy Downing

Thursday November 19–Susan Burleigh

Have A Smile…

One thing we enjoy from working with the kids is our own version of “Kids say the darndest things.” While these two examples aren’t from “first hand” experience, they could be!

The Good Samaritan

A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?”

A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I’d throw up.”

A Higher Power

A Sunday school teacher said to her children, “We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?”

One child blurted out, “Aces!”

County Extension Service Office Closure Threatened

Piscataquis County Commissioners are recommending a significant cut to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis county office and if approved would close the office – resulting in loss of jobs, terminating all UMaine Extension Piscataquis county programming and reallocation of remaining staff to other parts of the state.

Cooperative Extension’s successful educational programs result from a federal, state and county partnership.
Since 1919, when the Maine legislature passed the County Extension Act, the University of Maine has been in all Maine communities with a local county office that is funded by county government. A quick look at the Extension’s Web Site will demonstrate the wide variety of programs ranging from 4-H and gardening to nutrition and a Senior Companion Program.

Mary Annis from Valley Grange attended a recent meeting on the subject and tells us that while a number of speakers made good points in favor of keeping the C.E.S. operating, “it doesn’t look good.” A representative from the University of Maine indicates that if the County fails to fund its share the office will close. At this point the County Commissioners appear to be leaning towards not supporting the office, but another hearing is scheduled for November 16th, 7 PM at the Superior Court House in Dover Foxcroft.

P.S. Since this post has generated a lot interest (traffic) I thought I’d add a link to the article by Diana Bowley in the Bangor Daily News. There’s a bit more detail than I’ve given here.

Reading Is Fun! (Help Wanted)

Reading is Fun! (Help wanted!)

SeDoMoCha students and staff love Grangers! We’ve been invited to participate in the school’s annual “RIF” (Reading is Fun) Program. This is a one-time commitment (unlike the Bookworm Program which is ongoing) on Friday November 13th in the afternoon. Financial support and readers are provided by the Kiwanis Club… but there can’t be too many readers! You’ll be committing to read a short story (or something similar) to a class—Kindergarten through Fourth Grade. The teachers will select a book that is appropriate to the grade level. The school will also handle the scheduling and is willing to attempt to meet your preference for time. When I asked at our last meeting 5-6 raised their hands… now I need names and a preferred time–if you have one. I think the slot will be from about noon until 2 PM or so and a one class minimum should take about 20 minutes. Instead of raising your hand, reply send me an email!

Guilford Scholars Learn to “Look it up!”

Sergeant Eric Boothroyd and Mrs. Mary Annis talk with the children about the Civil War Era.

Sergeant Eric Boothroyd and Mrs. Mary Annis talk with the children about the Civil War Era.

Over forty third graders from Guilford Primary School descended on the Valley Grange Hall to receive their new dictionaries along and some history. Special thanks to our Civil War Sergeant Eric Boothroyd for helping out. His experience proves the unpredictability of kids. This time he measured his sword in anticipation, but nobody asked how long it was! Mary Annis wore her era dress and also spoke with the kids about the times.

The Guilford part of our Words for Thirds Program is cosponsored by South Sangerville Grange. It hardly seems possible, but this is our sixth year providing dictionaries to Guilford students. (Yikes! That means the first recipents are now freshmen in high school!)

Anxious Guilford scholars learn a little history.

Anxious Guilford scholars learn a little history.

Parents of homeschooled third graders are reminded that dictionaries are available for them by contacting the school or a Valley Grange Member.

We now begin scheduling presentations in SAD 41 at the Cook School in LaGrange plus Milo and Brownville. Also, we are currently working with the DAR Tisbury Manor Chapter in Monson. They will be looking to establish a program in the Greenville area in the near future.  There will be lots of the familar red dictionaries throught Piscataquis County!

Valley Grange Wins Second Place Community Service Award

During the recent State Grange Conference in Augusta, Valley Grange took second place in a statewide contest for excellence in Community Service. In addition to the honor, Mary Annis, Community Service Chairperson, accepted a prize check from the Maine State Grange which has since been added to our treasury.

Mary assembled the 5″ binder that became the entry, noting that “I couldn’t make this binder if it weren’t for what everybody in our Grange does.” (The binder is now on display at the Grange Hall.) Mary admitted that winning was great, but tempered a bit by the fact she had to speak in front of the entire State Convention and describe our Grange’s Community Service Program.

One difference this year is the fact that judging was done by “non-Grange” people–community leaders and business folks. The competition for these awards is always fierce. Master Jim described the tension during the presentations. “When they announced fourth place I thought, ‘I could live with that.’ When I didn’t hear our name I thought, ‘Well third will be okay.’ As the number climbed I foolishly thought our chances of a prize were diminishing. Now I’m not so sure but what we just might take first place next year!”

Valley Grangers are certainly proud of our award, but even more proud that we are part of an organization that makes service to our communities such an important effort.

Dover Dictionary Day is “cool!”

Dictionaries wait for their new owners to finishe learning a little history.

Dictionaries wait for their new owners to finish learning a little history.

Third graders from SeDoMoCha Elementary School are now proud owners of their own personal dictionary and all the words in it thanks to our Words for Thirds Program! Even though I’ve had the opportunity to experience this many times, it still makes my heart warm to see how excited the kids get when they discover how much they can “look up” and that the dictionaries are theirs to keep.

And, as a bonus for visiting Valley Grange, each class received a “class mailbox” for use. When I delivered the mailboxes to the school later in the day I was especially pleased to note that Mr. Mowrey’s class was completing the dictionary activity sheet we provided as part of the program. I’ve been told in the past that one downside of the program is that it’s tough for the teachers to get the kids to put their dictionaries down and move on to their regular lessons!

Another feature of Friday’s program was the special appearance of Segeant Eric Boothroyd in this Civil War Uniform. The kids were truly fascinated and wanted to know if he’d ever been shot and how long his sword is!

For the most part the kids were able to ignore the presence of the TV Camera… For the video clip and a brief news story you can visit: By the way, you can comment on the story at the site… I’ll bet comments and compliments will help keep TV 5 coming to our area and broadcasting stories about our great communities!

Got Your Flue Shot?

Public Health Nurse Karen tells us she is still busy with flu clinics, administering vaccine, tentatively waiting for our supplies of seasonal flu vaccine to increase. She also reminds us, “Do not forget  good hand washing, coughing and sneezing in the sleeves of your shirts, avoiding persons who are sick, staying home when you are sick.”

Karen also suggests getting the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible noting that (more…)