CWA Meeting to Feature “Past and Present”

Valley Grange’s annual CWA (Committee for Women’s Activities) meeting will be held at the hall on Friday May 20th starting with a potluck supper at 6 PM. CWA Chair Judy Ricker has assembled a program that includes images and music from the past and the present–there will be plenty of opportunity for nostalgia! In keeping with tradition, the evening will also include a brief memorial service. For more information contact Judy.

May 2011 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share!

May has been designated as Mental Health Month. Mental Health Month began in 1949. This year’s theme is “Live Your Life Well”. One in six adults and almost one in ten children suffer from a mental illness. Mental illness is equal to heart disease and cancer as a cause of disability in theUnited Statesand is considered a major public health burden that is under recognized. About twenty five percent of homeless persons in theUnited Stateshave a serious mental illness. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death forMaineresidents and the second leading cause of death for persons inMaine ages 15-24 years.

Mental Health America was started in 1909 and works to educate the public about good mental health and its importance to the well being of every person; to advocate for access to mental health services; to end discrimination against persons with mental health disorders and addiction; and to provide support to the sixty million plus individuals living with mental health and substance use problems.

Mental health is often described as how well a person copes with daily life and the changes that occur at home, at work, and in life. Mental illness is a disorder of the brain and has many factors including genetics, environmental factors, social and cultural factors, AND is non ones fault. Daily challenges to our mental health include extended work hours, multiple jobs, and less vacation time. One in three Americans is chronically overworked. Often we work at home so home is no longer considered a place of rest. Sleep, exercise, and healthy eating all contribute to mental health. We are being overwhelmed with information and may have less contact with family, friends, neighbors, and the communities in which we live. Many children are involved with multiple activities and have no “down time”. Additional challenges may include divorce, the stresses associated with being a caregiver, loss of a job, death of a family member or friend, addiction to drugs and alcohol, domestic abuse, living with a chronic illness, or dealing with a natural disaster.

The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health has designated the first week in May as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week to promote positive mental health, well being, and social development for all children and youth. About one in five children or around 14 million children suffer from a mental illness in a given year and less than twenty five percent get the help they need. Nearly five million American children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness that significantly interferes with their daily lives. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the less severe the disease or disorder becomes.

Risk factors for children’s mental health include violence, poverty, poor nutrition, and inadequate housing and can decrease the chances for a positive outcome. According to the Surgeon General, ninety percent of children who die by suicide have a mental health disorder. Ineffective or no treatment for children with mental health issues has serious negative effects including school drop outs, child welfare involvement, and juvenile justice involvement. It is estimated that sixty six percent of boys and seventy five percent of girls in juvenile detention have at least one mental health disorder.

For more information, visit,,, Healthy Maine 2010,, and

May 2011 Bookworm Schedule

Reading is fun!“This will never be a civilized country until we expend more money for books than we do for chewing gum.”

Elbert Hubbard

On Friday, April 30th Mr. Boomsma meets with folks from Garland Grange who are interested in starting a Bookworm Program in their area! Isn’t that awesome!? Folks who would like to learn more should meet at the Garland Grange Hall on Oliver Hill Road at 7 PM.


May 3 – Mrs. Marsh

May 5 – Mrs. Marsh

May 10 – Mr. Boomsma

May 12 – Mrs.Goodman

May 17 – Mr. Boomsma

May 19 – Mr. Boomsma

May 24 – Mr. Boomsma

May 26 – Mrs. Marsh

May 31 – Mr. Boomsma

Arts Alive is coming Friday, June 3rd!

Community Honors Dodie Curtis

Dodie Curtis reminded everyone, "It takes all of us..."

Guilford— Valley Grange hosted nearly 100 people at their recent open house and celebration of community. Festivities at the annual meeting included a community potluck supper and slide presentation featuring some of the grange’s activities throughout the year. Following the slide presentation, program director Walter Boomsma noted that Valley Grange received the First Place National Grange Award for Community Service last fall and “…in some ways winning was real easy. It’s just a matter of doing what you love and care about.”
In keeping with the community theme, Grange Master Jim Annis presented Valley’s Annual Community Citizen Award to Dolores “Dodie” Curtis explaining that her nomination included the observation “She is a former Chief of Nurses at Mayo Hospital, works with people who need physical therapy at the Fitness Center in Guilford, and spearheaded the campaign for all the tulip ribbon gardens throughout town. She also personally sold hundreds of tulips to individuals for their own gardens in remembrance of loved ones…  She is on the Library Board of Directors, involved with the Garden Club, and teaches marzipan decorating classes… if you mention her name to others you would hear her described as a loving, caring person…”

Friends and family supported this observation with numerous examples of Curtis’s caring for others and her community. Speakers included Fran Moore of the Physically Challenged Club who told Curtis, “You bring such special gifts… we bring a token of our appreciation for all you give.” Flowers and words and hugs and kisses flowed freely, intermingled with a few tears.  In her response Curtis pointed out that “when you give, it all comes back to you…” and reminded everyone “it takes a lot of us.”

65 years isnt THAT long!

Valley Grange member and musician Merna Dunham from Milo was also recognized for 65 years of Grange Membership. Opal Bennett could not be present but was also honored and will be awarded a 75 certificate.

The roots of the Grange date back to Farmers’ Clubs that existed in the 1850’s. The Grange itself was officially formed in 1867 as “Patrons of Husbandry.” Over the years the Grange’s focus has shifted from agriculture to community and community service but without abandoning the rich agricultural heritage.

Boomsma noted that Dunham and Bennett are examples of how Grange Members “Stick with it because it’s a great organization.” He added, “…and Dodie is right; it takes a lot of us” and observed that while Valley Grange is passionate about and active in a wide variety of service-oriented projects, “We really need some help. We’ll take what you can give us; even if it’s just fifteen minutes a month. The Grange is truly and easy organization to belong to, but even if you can’t belong we’ll take your hands, head and heart.”  Volunteer cards allowing citizens to express their interest are available from any Grange Member. Those who are interested can also call Boomsma at 876-4131 or Community Service Chairperson Mary Annis at 465-0820.

Information is also available at the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft where the Grange’s Award-winning Community Service Book is on display through the end of the month.

Tonight’s the Night!

We hope to see you at the Grange Hall at 6 PM for a community potluck supper. If you can bring a dish to share, that will be most helpful… but we usually have tons of food so don’t let bringing a dish be a requirement that keeps you from coming! You can always offer to help in the kitchen! We’re looking forward to fun and fellowship–and announcing the winner of our 2011 Community Citizen Award! So far we think it’s been kept a surprise!

Thanks to our Maine Mud Season, parking will be limited at the hall itself… if you are a young whippersnapper, please park along the road and save space near the hall for those less lively. Maybe some year we’ll offer valet parking, but for now you’ll probably need to walk a bit. If you need parking assistance, ask a grange member and we’ll try to help.

The program will begin at 7:30 PM and should end by 9 PM at the latest. If you have time after dinner check out our museum and information board… there will also be a display upstairs featuring some of our activities and our National Award Winning Community Service Book. (The book will travel to the Thompson Library in Dover Foxcroft next week.)

You know you’re getting cabin fever… here’s your chance to get out and have fun! See you at the Grange Hall — corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road!

Gardening With Purpose

From the Piscataquis/Penobscot County Extension Newsletter

Did you know that summer, the time that all of us look forward to enjoying the bountiful harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables, is also the time that many Maine families experience an increase in food insecurity? For many low-income families, the end of school signals the end of the school-based free and reduced lunch programs. So, rather than being a season of abundance, summer can be a season of scarcity.

Statewide, 15.1% of Mainers (198,790 people) experience times when adequate, nutritional food is limited or uncertain. Moreover, of this population, 43% do not qualify for any government support and rely on charities to make ends meet when an unexpected expense arrives.

Food insecurity is everyone’s problem. As this recession has shown, hunger is not swollen bellies and withered limbs, rather it is the newly unemployed, underemployed or chronically low-paid workers who struggle to pay the bills and have enough left over to buy nutritious food.

So what can you do? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is encouraging everyone to get involved in combating local hunger by enrolling in the Maine Harvest for Hunger Program. The goal of this program is to connect people with excess, high quality produce to those in need of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are many ways to participate: dedicate part of your garden harvest to a soup kitchen or pantry, become part of a team to harvest excess crops from farmers’ fields or help coordinate pick-up and deliveries from participating farm stands to food pantries. There is lots of work to be done and many different types of skills are needed. To learn more about the program, you can contact Kate Garland (942-7396), or Donna Coffin and Thomas Goodspeed (564-3301) or go to

April 2011 Health Beat

Karen’s Kolumn is written by Karen Dolley, R.N. and Grange Friend… we appreciate her knowledge and her willingness to share!

April is National Autism Awareness Month. The Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s to promote awareness about autism, to educate the public about autism, and to educate the public about issues within the autism community. The Autism Society provides parents with information and education about autism so that they are better able to make informed decisions about autism treatment.

Autism is a complex life long developmental disability that usually appears during the first three years of life. It affects a persons ability to communicate and interact with others. There is no single cause of autism but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans of autistic persons do show differences in the shape and structure of the brain. No one gene has been identified as causing autism. Children who have a sibling or a parent with autism are at a higher risk of also having autism. Poor parenting does not cause autism.

In December 2009, the CDC reported that the incidence of autism was 1 in every 110 births in the United States and almost 1 in 70 boys. One to one and one half million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. One percent of children in the United States ages 3-17 years old have an autism spectrum disorder.

Families of autistic children require a lifetime of supports for their children. Children do not outgrow autism but studies do show that early diagnosis and intervention can lead to improved outcomes. Children can and do make developmental progress and are capable of learning new skills.

Some signs for parents to look for are: a lack of or a delay in spoken language; repetitive language or movements; little or no eye contact; a lack of interest in playing with other children; a lack of make believe play; playing with a toy properly instead of fixating on one part of the toy; and difficulty dealing with changes.

There is no scientific data or research to support the idea that vaccines cause autism and there are over two dozen studies that show there is no relationship between vaccines and autism. For more information about vaccines and autism visit or

Valley Grange Plans Open House Celebration

Guilford Maine–April 2011 has been declared as “Grange Month,” and the Valley Grange is inviting community members to learn more about our purpose, as well as our programs and activities. In addition, we will acknowledge the good works of a community citizen by presenting an outstanding individual with the “Grange Community Citizen Award.”

The annual open house and award ceremony will take place on April 15, 2011 starting with a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM. All members of the community are invited; bring a dish to share if you can. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:30 PM.  The Grange Hall is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road in Guilford.

For over 140 years, the Grange has worked to advance the interest of rural Americans by providing a legislative voice for their political concerns and by showing them how to strengthen their neighborhoods through community service,” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said in announcing he program. “During Grange Month, we want our community to know that the Grange is a living organization that has a lot to offer.”  Annis also admitted Grange Members are also looking forward to “showing off” the National Award they received last fall for outstanding community service. The notebook describing the award winning activities of the membership will be on display at the Guilford Memorial Library until April 15th and the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft from April 19th until the end of the month.

The Grange not only provides fun-filled and educational programs and activities for its members, it also (more…)

Let it snow, let it snow…

I suppose if one were to analyze that song the conclusion would be… oh, like we have a choice? Unfortunately, “Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop,” just doesn’t work for the song’s purpose.  If I might purport to offer some snow day entertainment, years ago there was an “annotated” version of the nursery rhyme “Little Bo Peep…” I won’t try to remember the entire thing:

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep (How sad–and perhaps a bit irresponsible on her part.)

And doesn’t know where to find them. (How redundant! of course if she lost her sheep she doesn’t know where to find them! If she knew where to find them they wouldn’t be lost!)

Leave them alone. (You’ve got to be kidding… if she’s lost her sheep and doesn’t know where to find them… how can she do anything BUT leave them alone!)

And they’ll come home. (The basis for this optimistic prediction is… what?)

Wagging their tails behind them. (Well, it would be awfully hard for them to wag their tales in front of them.)

No, I do not believe I have a future writing nursery rhymes.

But I can announce that the Valley Grange Business Meeting scheduled for tonight has been postponed until next Friday (8th) at 7 PM. Come then… wagging your tails behind you! For this week, you have “no particular place to go… so let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”