We Did Fairly Well!

Jim Annis, Judy Ricker (sweeping up), Roger Ricker, and Mary Annis putting it together.

A team of six spent a few steamy hours in the Grange Exhibit Building assembling the Valley Grange Booth on Wednesday. While the flowers are probably wilted, the results of the effort will be on display at the fairgrounds until Sunday afternoon.

Mary Annis is our organizer and cheerleader every year. This year the booth builders included Jim, Roger and Judy, and Janice and Walter. Thanks also go to Bob Carroll and Linda Erwin for “fair flowers.”

Our theme for this year was “old farm tools” and nobody got hurt hanging them up! We even survived Roger’s puns.

“…the choices products of orchard, farm, garden, dairy, and household skill…”

We did fairly well at the fair–the red ribbon on our bale of hay proclaiming we were judged “second” by the judges from Maine State Grange. Congratulations to South Sangerville on taking the blue! Garland Grange was unable to participate this year and we missed them! Is it too early to start planning next year?

The Overseer’s charge in the fifth degree includes that we “preserve and bring together for exhibition… the choicest products of orchard, farm, garden, dairy, and household skill… that we may incide one another to good works…”

Valley Grange Featured on “National Grange Radio!”

National Grange Radio is available in the form of “podcasts” on the National Grange Website… Programs run about 20-30 minutes in a talk show format on a wide variety of subjects. (They are referred to as podcasts because of the popularity of listening to them on I-Pods, but you can also listen on any computer, tablet, or even smart phones as long as you have Internet accesss.) National Grange Program Assistant Austin Miller recently sat down with Tracey Hanson, Junior Grange Activities Director at the Rhode Island State Grange, Walter Boomsma, Publicity Director at Valley Grange No. 144 in Guilford, Maine and Steve Runkel, President of Cape Fear Grange in North Carolina, to talk about the types of programs Granges participate in to get area children ready to tackle a new year of school. Hear what they discussed and enjoy the ideas. (When you arrive at the site you’ll need to click “launch podcast” at the end of the description.)

Welcome, New Members!

Becky and Dennis Patterson

Valley Grange is pleased and excited to welcome our newest members, Dennis and Becky Patterson from Abbot. Both decided to join after recently attending the Italian Buffet to benefit Smart Starts. They enjoyed the atmosphere and appreciated the work of the Grange.

Becky works with Charlotte White and Dennis is recently retired from True Textiles where he was a high pressure boiler operator. After hearing just some of the activities we have Becky joked, “What have I got myself into?!!” Both are enjoying meeting new people and making friends and Dennis is considering becoming a bookworm! Look for them at Valley Grange events and say a word of congratulations and welcome!

Grange membership has become a lot “easier” than it was years ago and it’s affordable–dues are currently only $25 per year. The rewards are many including an opportunity to have fun helping your community and neighbors. Our next meeting is September 21 when we have a planning roundtable to outline our projects and programs for 2012-2013. Come join us and see what we mean by American Values–Hometown Roots.

Valley Grange Supports Resolution to Protect Child Photos and Info

At their August business meeting, Valley Grange members voted unanimously to support a resolution drafted by Publicity Director Walter Boomsma. The resolution asks the National Grange Organization to create policies, procedures and programs that will guide it’s members “in the distribution of photographs and information concerning children who are involved in or attend Grange programs and functions.” Boomsma notes that the resolution does not suggest a specific policy. “This is an area with some controversy,” he explains, “and I certainly do not have all the answers. This resolution is really just asks for help.”

Boomsma believes an important aspect of this for the Grange is whether or not their meetings and events are considered private or public events. “I’ve always followed the model used by schools in complying with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). I’m oversimplifying a bit, but in practice schools differentiate between “private” (a classroom during normal school hours, for example) and “public” (a sports event at the school) settings. A private setting creates the right to expect privacy and a photo cannot be published without parental consent. Public events do not carry the same restriction because there is no ‘right to an expectation of privacy’ in the public setting.”

Boomsma also is quick to point out that Valley Grange has “never had a problem” with using children’s photographs or information. He attributes this to a “cautious and conservative approach” that emphasizes protecting children and parent’s rights. “If I know a parent would prefer their child not receive publicity I’ll withhold it even if something involving that child happens at a public event.” His concern is, he says, “there are a lot of gray areas… and there are a lot of people throughout the Grange organization handling children’s photographs and information who may not fully recognize the hazards and responsibilties accompanying them–particularly when it comes to the Internet and Social Media where the risks are at least different if not greater. Just having this resolution in the system will at least create discussion.”

The resolution will next be considered on September 6th by the Piscataquis Pomona Grange made up of community Granges in the area. Assuming it receives support, the Maine State Grange will consider it at their State Conference in October. Again, assuming it is supported, it then is considered at National Grange Conference in November.

Read the resolution here.

Some additional resources:

An article published by the NY Times in October 2009 reveals a number of incidents where children were endangered or embarassed as a result of photos online.

About Dot Com provides a short discussion of the risks associated with posting children’s photos online and some links to resources and further reading for parents.

WikiPedia Discussion of COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act)

WikiPedia Discussion of COPA (Children’s Online Protection Act)

Wikipedia Discussion of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

August Meetings…

Friday, August 17th we’ll have our regular monthly potluck supper (6:00 PM) and meeting (7:00 PM). We’ll be draping the charter in memory of member Paul Curtis, welcoming two new members, and having a six minute lecturer’s program!

Wednesday, August 22nd we’ll be meeting at the Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds at 3:00 PM to assemble this year’s booth. Our theme this year will be “farm tools.” Help and ideas are needed! Contact Mary Annis for more information. We’ll also need helpers on Sunday for “tear down” in the afternoon.

Saturday, August 25th we’ll be visiting South Sangerville Grange for officer installation. Supper is at 6 PM and installation under the direction of state deputy Vernon Dunn will start at 7 PM. All area Granges are invited to participate. This meeting is open to the public and provides a great opportunity to learn more about the Grange.

Special Request — Help our Students!

Smart Starts for Students and Piscataquis Area Students Still Needs Your Help!

We’ve been asked to help with a “last minute” push to help our kids who need school supplies for back to school. With just a week left, we haven’t quite met the need that exists! As of this writing some of the addtional items needed include:

140 Packs of Markers, 140 Bottles of Glue, 650 Glue Sticks, 1,200 #2 Pencils, 1,700 Pencil Erasers, 350 Pencil Sharpeners, 1,100 1-Subject Notebooks, 350 Packs of Filler Paper, 240 Composition Notebooks, 750 Pocket Folders, 184 Packs of Colored Pencils, 150 Rulers, 650 Pens, 350 Highlighters, 150 Pencil Boxes, 200 Zippered Pencil Pouches, 180 1” Binders, 100 Packs of Index Cards,

Any and all donations are welcomed and appreciated. Deadline for drop off of supplies or cash donations is August 17th by 4:30 pm at Penquis office at 50 North Street (across from the Post Office), Dover-Foxcroft so volunteers will have time to sort and package the items into backpacks that can be distributed in time for the start of school–that’s August 29th in Guilford (SAD 4).

Credit cards payments are accepted on-line at this secure site. Remember, every little bet helps. If you stop at Penquis, tell ’em Valley Grange sent you!


Pizza and More… that’s amore!

Valley Grange Goes Italian!

Penquis Volunteers and Valley Grange recently partnered for the second annual Italian Buffet to benefit the Smart Starts for Students Program. This event is a winner on a number points. For one thing, we’ve got two organizations who share a passion for the cause and a collaborative spirit. The food is incredible and the cause is one that people understand–we even had people drop off donations who couldn’t stay to eat. Penquis Volunteers served nearly 100 hungry diners and a few “meals to go,” raising over $500 in the process. But those who missed the dinner have not necessarily missed the opportunity to support the cause. Valley Grange continues to accept donations of cash and school supplies. We’ve currently increased the amount raised to over $600, thanks in a large part to the Piscataquis Pomona Grange’s recent decision to donate the proceeds of their recent “fun and fundraiser.” Please consider joining hands with us in support of our kids. We do have some pledges of and can accept actual school supplies, but we are so close to the deadline for distribution, “cash” is best–very soon volunteers will begin packing the backpacks and cash donations allow us to purchase items needed. Contributions can be made directly to Penquis or through Valley Grange.

Pizza was only part of the menu!

Special thanks go to those who generously supported the dinner: Will’s Shop & Save, Nor’easter Restaurant, Living Word Community Food Cupboard, Shiretown Pizza, Sav-A-Lot, and Forget Me Not Flowers.This is truly a community effort with unmeasurable support and effort.

While these local efforts truly remain local and benefit “our” kids, we are part of larger effort. WABI-TV 5 recently reported on the effort, covered by Diana Bosch in what is, unfortunately, her last story as she will be relocating to North Carolina. Diana has always reflected the stations commitment to covering community events in our area and will be missed. Again, thanks to the many folks who are volunteering their time and energy to help kids truly have a “smart start” this year with the basic school supplies they need. While the official fundraising drive ended on July 31, the need hasn’t stopped! If you need help making a donation, email Walter Boomsma or call 343-1842 today!

August 2012 Health Beat

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

Summer in Maine!  What do you think about? The list could include picnics, swimming, boating, family reunions at camp, and many other outdoor activities. Does your list include thunderstorms and lightning safety? If you hear thunder you are in danger of becoming a lightning victim. Lightning is one of the top three storm related killers in the United States. Lightning injures more people than it kills and many victims have life-long health problems. The United   States averages fifty four lightning deaths per year. About ten percent of people who are struck by lightning are killed. Ninety percent are left with various kinds of disabilities.

Lightening is a giant spark of electricity in the atmosphere or between the atmosphere and the ground. Height, pointy shape, and isolation are the major factors that control where lightening will strike. Thunder is the sound made by a flash of lightning and can be heard as far as ten miles away from a lightning strike. Lightning can strike an object as far as ten to fifteen miles away from a thunderstorm. There is NO safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. WHEN THUNDER ROARS, GO INDOORS!

A safe shelter from lightning is in an enclosed building or in an enclosed metal vehicle like a car, truck, or bus. Unsafe buildings include open garages, beach pavilions, tents, baseball dugouts, sheds, and greenhouses. Unsafe vehicles include golf carts, convertibles, and motorcycles. Metal does not attract lightning but does conduct it so remember not to lean on car doors if you are in a vehicle.

If you are not able to get to a vehicle or a building during a thunderstorm, avoid open fields, avoid hilltops, get out of the water, try to find a ravine or other low area and stay away from tall trees or other tall objects. If you are caught in your boat, stay inside the cabin and avoid all metal objects. If you are in a small boat, drop anchor and get as low as possible in the boat.

Lightning enters a building by direct strike, through wires or plumbing, and through the ground. If you are in a building, stay off corded phones, don’t touch electrical equipment or cords, avoid plumbing, and stay away from windows and doors. Try to unplug electronic equipment before the storm arrives. Please do not forget to bring your pets inside!

A lightning strike can result in cardiac arrest. Lightning victims ARE safe to touch. The human body does not store electricity. Call 911 and give first aid and CPR. Lightning victims may experience intense headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, personality changes, forgetfulness, ringing in the ears, and slow reaction times. Delayed symptoms can include seizure like activity and depression.

When you hear thunder, run to a safe building or vehicle. Stay inside until thirty minutes after you hear the last clap of thunder. Remember, you are not safe anywhere outdoors.

For more information visit www.nws.noaa.gov, www.lightning-strike.org, or www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov.