February Bookworms

There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.  ~G.K. Chesterton

We’re pleased to welcome new Bookworm Linda Erwin to the schedule this month!

Tuesday, February 2nd — Barbara GoodmanReading is fun!

Thursday, February Feb 4th — Nathalee Marsh

Tuesday, February 9th — Walter Boomsma

Thursday, February 11th – Guy Downing

Don’t forget school vacation!

Tuesday, February 23rd — Walter Boomsma

Thursday, February  25th — Linda Erwin

Friday, February 26th is deadline for Newspapers in Education Advertismments!

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Future Advertising Experts

A future advertising expert hard at work

Valley Grange now has nearly 100 assistant publicity directors, thanks in part to the Piscataquis Observer’s “Newspapers in Education” program and Valley Grange’s willingness to sponsor a couple of ads developed our bookworm buddies… second and third graders from Guilford Primary School. For those unfamiliar with the program, businesses and organizations pay for the ad space (at a price far lower than regular display advertising) and local students are challenged to develop the ads.

Earlier last week I had the fun of working with one second grade class under the direction of Jane Daniels, S.A.D. 4 art teacher who loves the program because it “gives us a way to integrate art into practical terms.” The kids seem to enjoy exercising their creative skills by trying to capture what’s great about the Grange in a picture. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal their ideas and approaches.

I can tell you that third graders are familiar with the Grange’s Words for Thirds Program and all G.P.S. students know the Grange “Bookworms” who appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays to listen to them read. Most of the ads have an agricultural aspect as the kids understand the Grange started as “farmers helping each other” and continues the same theme today: “people helping each other.” I’m just glad I’m not the one (more…)

Shopping For Tires

Thanks to Jim Annis for the tip and information providing the basis of this article which we’ll categorize as a “family health issue.”

There is some evidence that aging tires mean failing tires and safety issues, according to an ABC 20/20 news story. The story suggests that tires have a “shelf life” not unlike food and other products. Tires over six years old lose their elastiscity and are prone to tread separation and sudden blow-outs. (I did a cursory Internet search and found a fair amount of support for this six year limit.)

Reporters for 20/20 found many stores and garages selling tires much older than six years. Consumers have no reason to question this because the tires look brand new.

What most people don’t know is there is a code that gives the date of manufacture. You’ll need to look on the “inside” of the tire (on tires on the car this will mean crawling under the car with a flashlight)… find a string of numbers… the last four digits will be the week number and the year. For example, 1404 would mean the tire was manufactured in the 24th week of 2004 and is about five years old. Obviously when purchasing new tires this gets a lot easier! You could just ask.

The point of this is not to create paranoia but to create informed consumers!

How NOT To Run A Raffle

Young John moved to Maine and bought a horse from a farmer for $100. The farmer agreed to deliver the horse the next day.

 The next day he drove up and said, “Sorry son, but I have some bad news, the horse died.”

 John replied, “Well, then just give me my money back.”

 The farmer said, “Can’t do that. I went and spent it already.”

 John said, “Ok, then, just bring me the dead horse.”

 The farmer asked, “What ya gonna do with him?”

 John said, “I’m going to raffle him off.”

 The farmer said, “You can’t raffle off a dead horse!” (more…)

Francis Limoges Benefit Dinner

Saturday, January 23rd there will be a bean supper at the Masonic Hall in Guilford from 4 PM to 7 PM to benefit Frances Limoges and his family… Francis is currently battling a major illness requiring multiple trips to Boston. He has been active in the Guilford Community for a long time and many of the children have been involved in 4-H and other agricultural pursuits. A raffle is also being held with tickets available at a number locations throughout the area… Valley Grange members are providing desserts for the dinner. Grange members can email Nat Marsh for direction regarding desserts and to get on the list of people helping out. For more information about the dinner or raffle email Tootie Bennett or call her at 876-3073 or Karen Graham at 943-2390.

Ag Show Delights!

Sue & Steve Verrill, Jim Owens and Terry Spencer share a moment in the Maine State Grange Booth.

Grange and Agriculture go together like… pick your simile! I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours at the Augusta Civic Center attending what must be one of the last free trade shows in the country. I saw some old friends… learned a lot… and just had a good time in general.  It’s difficult to pick out highlights… but one certainly had to be getting introduced to the “MooMilk” packaging and sharing in the excitement of this product coming to the shelf soon. The short version is that its organic milk produced locally. Look for it and try it. You’ll love the profiles of the local dairy farms on the container! Check it out at www.moomilkco.com

And speaking of previewing, I also got to preview an advance copy of the book we’ll be giving to classes as part of the ReadME program this year. Awesome! the title is Agriculture ME and it truly is about Maine agriculture. I’d say it’s going to be fun to read and the kids will find it interesting too! 

Lots of maple syrup related stuff at the show this year… and a big surprise for me. (more…)

Reading Aloud–it’s not just for kids!

Author and friend Jack Falvey writes a Daily Sales Tip (if you are interested in sales and influencing – it’s free and highly recommended–more information at the end). A recent one has application to bookworms and parents.

As sales professionals, we are all public speakers. The audience is usually only one or two people, but we earn our living delivering a verbal message. On occasion we address a conference room full of people, and sometimes larger groups. Reading aloud is an exercise professional public speakers do on a regular basis. It allows them to listen to their own voice without performance distractions. Being comfortable with how you sound to yourself is a good start on being comfortable with how you sound to others. Do you speak too fast? Do you know where to pause and for how long? Can you make eye contact with people while you are reading?

If you have young children, read aloud to them. If you are early for an appointment, read your pre-call objective and answers to your customer’s basic questions to the windshield of your car. When given a chance to use a microphone, take it. Get as comfortable as you can speaking in front of people. The more you do of it, the more relaxed you will get. With practice you will be able to slow down in pressure situations. You will use confident pauses for emphasis, and the pitch of your voice will not noticeably deviate. All this from daily reading out loud.

That’s just excellent advice all around. (I’m not sure Jack really meant to suggest we literally read to the windshield while driving—I do, however, (more…)

Mid-year Planning Meeting

Just a reminder that our mid-year planning roundtable takes place on Friday January 15th. Note we’ll be having a Spaghetti Supper at 6 PM, not potluck. Among the topics for discussion:

  • Newspapers in Education Project (March/April)
  • Maurice Fairbrother Scholarship
  • ReadME Program (March)
  • Grange Month Community Citizen Program (April)
  • Grange Month Community Service Program (April)
  • Valley Grange Wicked Huge Yard Sale (June)

We’ll also review all of our ongoing projects and programs. Bring your energy and ideas!

January Health Beat

“Karen’s Kolumn” is researched and written by Public Health Nurse Karen Dolley. We appreciate her support and willingness to share!

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and January 4-10th is National Folic Acid Awareness Week. There is a reason why the two are observed in the same month.

One of every 33 babies born in the United States is born with a birth defect and birth defects cause 1 in 5 infant deaths. Seventy percent of birth defects have no known cause. Thirty percent are caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, or a combination of both. Many birth defects occur during the first three months of pregnancy when many women are not aware that they are pregnant. It is important for a woman to be aware of her own personal health, risks and behaviors BEFORE becoming pregnant.

Some of the most common birth defects include heart defects, cleft lip and palate, Down Syndrome, neural tube defects like spina bifida, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

To decrease the risk of birth defects, do not drink alcoholic beverages, do not smoke cigarettes, avoid second hand smoke, and do not use illegal drugs. It is very important to get early and regular prenatal care and to take a prenatal vitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid. Folic Acid helps a baby’s brain and spine (more…)

Maine Ag Trade Show

The 69th Annual Maine Ag Trade Show will be held at the Augusta Civic Center January 12th, 13th, and 14th. The show provides an atmosphere for everyone to walk through, observe and educate themselves about the different areas of agriculture. Not only does the trades show furnish a showplace for farmers and producers to come and see the most up-to-date farm equipment and farming needs, but provides an opportune juncture for networking and exchanging ideas. The show provides a wealth of knowledge for non-farmers to learn about agriculture and is a great opportunity to learn how the locally grown products they consume are harvested and processed. You can get program and exhibit information at the web site.