December 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!

Pertussis. Whooping Cough. What do you think about when you hear these words? There have been a lot of news reports in recent months about Pertussis and about Pertussis outbreaks across the country and in our State.

Pertussis is caused by the bacteria (Bordetella pertussis). It is spread from person to person through the air by droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. A non-infected person breathes in the droplets and gets sick. Whooping Cough is one of the most highly communicable childhood diseases. Even in immunized populations like those in the United States, outbreaks occur. Adults may carry the bacteria without symptoms but they transmit the disease to children, especially when immunization rates decrease.

Pertussis begins with cold like symptoms. These include a runny nose, sneezing, low grade fever, and coughing. After a few weeks, the cough gets much worse. The cough is often much worse at night. The cough is uncontrollable and one cough may follow another and another without a break. Vomiting frequently occurs after coughing. Many children will make a high pitched “whooping” sound when breathing in after a coughing episode. The cough can last for several weeks or months! If you have a cough that lasts for two weeks or longer, please see your healthcare provider.

Pertussis is treated with antibiotics and treatment is important in preventing the spread of the disease to others. Antibiotics may also be given to close contacts of persons with Pertussis to prevent them from getting sick. Persons who are sick with Pertussis can infect other people during the first three weeks they are coughing. Cough medicines are not helpful.

Pertussis in infants is often severe and life threatening. Infants are more likely to develop complications like pneumonia and seizures. Older children and adults can get Pertussis but it is usually less severe. They can however still spread the disease to younger children and infants.

There is a vaccine for Pertussis. The vaccine is given in combination with the tetanus vaccine and the diphtheria vaccine. Children under age seven should get five DTap shots at 2,4,6,12-15 months and again at 4-6 years of age. Adolescents should get a booster usually at 11 years of age. Adolescents 13-18 years of age should receive a booster if they have not received a tetanus shot within the past five years. Adults should receive a booster if they are in contact with infants that are less than 12 months of age, are elderly, or work in the healthcare industry. If you are pregnant, check with your healthcare provider. There are new recommendations based on studies that show a pregnant woman who receives a booster may transfer antibodies to the unborn baby that will help to protect him/her from the disease during those first few months of life. Children who are vaccinated may still get Pertussis, but the disease will generally be milder. Protection does decrease over time so ask your healthcare provider if it may be time for a booster.

In Maine, Pertussis has been reported in all counties and outbreaks have occurred, especially among school aged children.

Pertussis can be prevented by vaccinating all children on time, avoiding close contact with others who are sick or coughing, frequent handwashing, staying at home if you are not feeling well, covering your mouth with a tissue or coughing into your sleeve, taking antibiotics as directed by your health care provider, and by finishing all medications as ordered.

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December 2011 Bookworm Schedule

Reading is fun!

“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

 – Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

 We’re welcoming a new Bookworm! Mrs. Leeman is from Abbot and she’s looking forward listening to kids read!

Thursday,  December 1 – Mrs. Leeman will be at school at 9 AM

Saturday, December 3 – Don’t forget the Pancake Breakfast with Santa from 8 AM until 10 AM…!

Tuesday,  December 6 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school at 9 AM

Thursday, December 8 – Mrs. Leeman will be at school at 9 AM

Tuesday, December 13 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school at 9 AM

Thursday, December 15 – Mrs. Leeman will be at school at 9 AM

Sunday, December 18 – Don’t forget the Bluegrass Music Association of Maine Christmas Jam to benefit the Piscataquis Santa Fund… starts at 11 AM at the Cambridge Town Hall.

Tuesday, December 20 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school at 9 AM

Sunday, December 25 – Merry Christmas! Let’s hope Santa brings us all lots of books!

Hope everbody enjoys the long school vacation… see you next year for more reading!

Just Makin’ Sure…

We’ve gotten a couple of calls on this… this week’s edition of the Eastern Gazette has our (Valley Grange/Penquis) Breakfast listed correctly in the Compass, but an article on page five mentions “…by attending Brunch with Santa at the Masonic Hall on Hudson Avenue in Guilford, hosted by the Valley Grange.”

So we’re just making sure you know:

Saturday, December 3—Pancake Breakfast with Santa to benefit Penquis Journey House hosted by Valley Grange. Admission is $3, under 2 years old free. Breakfast will be served from 8 AM until 10 AM. (Valley Grange members plan to join Santa at 9 AM and meet shortly after.) Donations of baby and personal care items for Journey House appreciated. Valley Grange is located at the corner of Guilford Center Road and Butter Street in Guilford.

Volunteering is Business Development

By Scott Levitt, as originally published in the Tuesday Tactics Newsletter produced by Oakley Signs & Graphics. Reposted with permission.

In your quest for new business, you might want to consider what you can give instead of what you can buy. Specifically, your time.

Raising your profile in your community doesn’t always mean putting your face on a sign. In fact, one of the best ways you can build relationships with people in your market is through regular volunteerism.

While it’s generous of you to sponsor an event, make a donation, or promote a cause, there’s nothing that equals the “boots on the ground” impact that volunteering has when it comes to meeting people.

Consider some of the benefits:

1. You’re helping your community. Whether it’s a soup kitchen, a tutoring program, or a weekend a month on a Habitat for Humanity construction site, you’re making a positive contribution to the place you live and work.

2. You’ll feel good about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little private “patting yourself on the back” for your good deeds, and there’s no shame in the feeling of pride you get from giving back through action. You might just find it’s a tremendous stress-reliever.

3. You’ll get better perspective on your life. It’s funny how problems with your smartphone synching sort of fade into the background when you’re volunteering at a hospice care center. Stepping back from the day-to-day can help you refocus your priorities.

4. You’ll meet people. We meet some of our best friends in situations where we’re simply forced to work together. School, summer jobs, sports teams… they’re all great sources for networking.

5. You’ll seem more successful. Having the “free time” to volunteer is a subtle sign that you’re successful enough in your life that you can afford to give back to the community. You must be good at what you do if you’re not running from pillar to post, trying to scrape by.

Look for opportunities in your community to volunteer. While the good you can do should be reward enough, there are probably unanticipated benefits that will develop in time.

Webmaster Note:  Valley Grange offers lots of “boots on the ground” opportunities to volunteer! Check out our “give us a hand” program.

We get thanks…

The kids really do love their dictionaries! Here are some thank you notes from the kids at Piscataquis Community Elementary School (SAD 4)… some of the mistakes are probably mine!  By way of explanation, the kids made a field trip to the Grange Hall and the visit included some information about the Civil War by reenactor Eric Boothroyd. We include some history, some information about the grange, and some dictionary skills.

Mrs. Patten’s class:

I really liked visiting the grange. Thank you for the dictionary. I will use the dictionary for spelling and writing. I liked the sword. I liked the owl and the pruning hook, the spud, and the shepherd’s hook. I liked the sword because it was sharp. I liked having to find the word with your class. The word was patron. It means a person who gives generous support or approval.

I love the dictionary you gave us. I will use it every day and on Friday it was so cool seeing myself on TV. It was so cool seeing the shepherd’s hook and the owl and the spud and the pruning hook.

Thank you for everything that you did for so many classes. Kyle is so lucky to get the 1000th dictionary. You are so sweet. I loved the sword and the dictionary. I will always use it to look up words.

I miss you guys. I really like the dictionary. It is very very useful, although I’ve only used it once. I will use it more than once. I promise. I also liked the man dressed up in the army suit. I mean I can’t believe I that sword was REAL. Anyway, I really liked the owl, spud, shepherds hook and the pruning hook. They were really neat. I was embarrassed when I had to come up and take the shepherds hook from Mrs. Patten. I think I was blushing really badly. Oh well, I’ll see you in 5th or 6th grade.

I had a great time. What made it a great time was the dictionary. I really like it. I like it because it might get me through the year. Out of the sticks, that was really cool. Kyle got lucky because he got the 1000th dictionary.

Thank you for the dictionaries. The visit was great. I loved the trip. I wish I could come again. I found China in the dictionary. We have been working on it. What I loved most is the sword because it almost made me faint.

The visit to the grange was fun because we got the dictionary. I could really use it because I am a really bad speller. By the way thank you for the dictionary. I always wanted a dictionary. My brother and sister have one. They will not let me use it. I love the owl, pruning stick and the shepherd hook.

We really appreciate the dictionaries you gave us. We will use them wisely like for writing time when Mrs. Patten says that we have to spell a word correctly. I learned that the grange was made 50 years ago. I love the dictionary because we can look up new words or how many presidents there are and what their names are.

I really liked the visit to the grange on Friday. Thank you for the dictionary. We needed the dictionary for our homework and the dictionary helps us spell words better. Thank you for the dictionary.

Thank you for the visit. We had fun at the grange. Thank you for the dictionary. We like it. We enjoyed the visit. I like the owl, spud, weed puller. Thank you.

Thank you for inviting us to the grange. It was nice for you to give us the dictionaries. The are very useful for spelling words and learning word meanings. I liked it when the Sargent told us about the Civil War. I learned that a patron is a person who gives generous support. (more…)

Short and Easy–Valley Grange Site is Memorable!

Thanks to a recent change, we’ve become more memborable! The URL for our website is now simply:

(The old URL will continue to work so no changes to your favorites, etc. are necessary.)  You can think of us as ValleyGrange Dotcom!

We’re Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re thankful for lots of things. We especially appreciate the opportunities we have to be a resource to our communities… the fact that those same communities are a resource to us, providing the support and help we need to do what we do.

Individuals and organizations are an important part of those communities–we appreciate them too! There are really too many to list… the schools for helping us implement our Words for Thirds Program…  the kids for their enthusiasm… the folks who help us with fundraisers and attend our events… and the organizations who truly understand what it means to collaborate.

These are exciting times for us; we’re looking forward to a couple of awesome projects next year. So yes, we’re even thankful that it doesn’t matter what direction we look–backwards or forwards–there’s lots to be thankful for!

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.

~Theodore Roosevelt

Dictionary Day at SAD 41

We’re a little sad that we’re almost finished distributing dictionaries this year… but happy that so many kids have new ones! Our dictionary team will be visiting SAD 41 on November 19th following this schedule:

8:30 – 9:15 at The Marion C. Cook School in Lagrange

10:00 – 10:45 at Milo Elementary School in Milo

12:00 – 12:45 at Brownville Elementary School in Brownville.

Grangers who are interested in being part of the team should contact Walter Boomsma–or arrive at the school a few minutes early. Don’t forget to stop and sign in at the school office. (Media representatives must also sign in.) Thanks to everyone who makes this program possible!

I love my dictionary!

Nearly 60 third graders arrived at the Valley Grange Hall last Friday to pick up their coveted dictionaries–a tradition that started some five years ago and has since become a “rite of passage.” This year two students from the very first class to receive the Words for Thirds dictionaries came to help explain to their underclassmen how a dictionary has helped them with their homework.

Maci Poulin and Brianna Adkins not only offered some formal help. they got “down on the floor” with the third graders to help them look up words often associated with the Grange–words like “steward, patron, and husbandry.”

Brianna helps a third grader

Grange members Roger and Judy Ricker came all the way from Wellington to help with the presentation because “it’s so much fun to see the kids get so excited–not just that they are getting a free book, but at what’s in it,” said Roger. “The label where they write their name says, ‘This book and all the words in it belong to…’ and they seem to appreciate that.” Members Nathalee Marsh and Mary and Jim Annis also came to help with the distribution.

Jim Annis noted that the Grange has one more dictionary day left this year. “On the 18th, we’ll be headed to SAD 41 with dictionaries for kids in Lagrange, Milo, and Brownville… this is one of the best programs we have.”

Program Director Walter Boomsma agrees. “I never get tired of the kids’ reactions to the program and their dictionaries, but I do get tired!” he joked. “A nap usually sounds good after an hour with the kids. I can only imagine what it takes for these teachers to do this for an entire day.”

“Special thanks go to third grade teacher Linda Johnston for being our champion and coordinator,” he added. “Since the beginning she’s helped us with all the arrangements–including finding our seventh grade helpers this year. We love these partnerships with our teachers, schools, and kids!”

Get Paid to Advertise!

Well, maybe! Non-Profit Eats is a totally free site where folks can list or find a community, church, benefit or fundraising breakfast, lunch, supper or event at low or no cost.  The site’s developer is providing an even greater incentive with a promotion that may entice some participation in visiting the website and adding meals to it. He is giving a $100 Wal-Mart gift card to a randomly selected person or organization that visits the website and uses it to enter a community meal!

This is really a win/win/win situation! Visit the site, check it out and see if you can increase your attendance and maybe win a little cash all at once. Note that the link to the site is always available in the “Friends of the Grange” section of our site.