January 2013 Health Beat

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

firefighter_running_400_clr_5899The local Maine weather report states frigid temperatures are expected. The high cost of home heating fuels and electricity have caused many people to look for other sources of warmth. More than one third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, and/or space heaters as their primary source of heat. Wood stoves cause over 4,000 residential fires every year. People living in rural areas are more than twice as likely to die in a fire as those living in a city or those living in the suburbs. Heating fires account for 36% of residential fires in rural areas every year.

The United States Fire Administration and FEMA offer the following recommendations for people using wood stoves, pellet stoves and fireplaces. Make sure the fireplace or wood stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should be placed away from combustible surfaces. Stoves require proper floor support and protection. Use seasoned wood only for wood stoves and pellet stoves. Burn the stove hot at least twice/day for fifteen-thirty minutes to reduce creosote build up. Avoid excessive amounts of paper to build a fire. Creosote can ignite in a chimney by over building a fire. Allow ashes to cool, place them in a metal container, and place the container outside and away from the house. Stack firewood outside at least thirty feet away from your home. Never use flammable liquids to start a fire in a wood stove or in a fireplace. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of a fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, to prevent unwanted material from going in, and to prevent the possibility of burns to people in the house. Keep flammable items off the fireplace mantel. Never leave a fire in a fireplace unattended. Before you go to bed at night, make sure your fireplace is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. This can force carbon monoxide into the house.

Inspect your chimney every year and have the chimney cleaned when necessary. You should never burn charcoal in a house. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm. Also place fire alarms inside and outside of sleeping areas. Check fire alarms every month and change batteries at least once/year. Plan and practice a home escape plan. Always supervise children wherever a wood stove, pellet stove, space heater, or fire place is being used. Consider child proof fencing to keep children at least three feet away from these heat sources. Contact your local fire department for any questions about home fire safety.

For more information, visit www.usfa.fema.gov. Stay warm and stay safe.

Bookworm Schedule January 2013

Reading is fun!“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” 

C.S. Lewis

Welcome to a brand new year! How many books will you read this year?

Thursday, January 3 –  Mr. Boomsma will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Christmas returns! Don’t forget the K- 3 Christmas Concert tonight at 6 PM at PCSS, rescheduled from December due to bad weather!

Tuesday, January 8 –  Mrs.Bosworth will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Thursday, January 10 – Mrs. Marsh will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Saturday, January 12 – Mr. Boomsma will be in Portland to speak at the New England Grange Leaders’ Conference.

Tuesday, January 15 – Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Thursday, January 17 – Mrs. Erwin will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Friday January 18 – Bookworms, Grange Members, and friends meet at 6 PM for a potluck supper followed by the monthly meeting at 7 PM.

Monday, January 21 — No School!!

Tuesday, January 22 – Mrs. Bosworth will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Wednesday, January 23 – Bookworms are invited to the GrowME planning meeting at PCSWCD at 3 PM. Contact Mr. Boomsma for information.

Thursday,  January 24 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Tuesday, January 29 – Mrs. Erwin will be at school to read, 9 AM.

Thursday, January 31 – Mr. Boomsma will be at school to read, 9 AM.



Christmas Offering…

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Website Getting “Extreme Make-Over”

under_construction_pc_400_clrWell… maybe not THAT extreme… Ironically I’ve been thinking it was time for a “new look” and coincidentally was advised by the folks at WordPress that the theme we’d been using is no longer going to be supported. So we’ll be starting a new year with a new look!

All of the information that was on the site seems to have moved over, but it may not be in exactly the same places! It’ll probably take a few weeks of sorting and “tweaking” before the layout is easy to understand and things are easy to find. In the interim, be a little brave and explore! Be a little patient and let me know if you can’t find something or encounter a link or page that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do!

Also… let me know what you think of this theme… I chose it primarily for its clean look and ease of navigation–like all themes, it has its limitations. Thanks for your patience and understanding…

Hats Headed to Kyrgyzstan!

Dear Members of the Guilford Valley Grange,

The students in the Penquis Valley Life Skills Program would like to thank you for contributing to their project to collect winter hats and caps for the children in Kyrgyzstan. We managed to reach our goal of 200 caps thanks to your help. This was a meaningful project for the students and we thank you for your generosity.

Students and Staff

Penquis Valley Life Skills Program

Milo Maine

Note… special thanks to Blistered Finger Knitter Pat Engstrom for helping us help the kids!

Be Ready to Help a Child…

All of us have some contact with children, as volunteers, bookworms, parents and grandparents, or just friends. Please be prepared for possible questions or statements… here is one well-written, easy-to-read article that will help you:


Thanks to the JD Foundation in Abbot Maine for sharing this… if you need additional assistance, please reach out to a grief support group or professional. You can reach Cheryl at the JD Foundation at 207 876-2295.

Santa’s Bag Gets Fuller!

santa_claus_carry_bag_150_clr_748Guilford—They came from over the river and through the woods to help fill Santa’s Bag—Piscataquis Santa, that is. The first day of December brought some winter weather but that didn’t deter folks who visited the  Valley Grange Hall for generous helpings of Barbeque and Bluegrass. The event was a collaborative effort which saw Penquis—the organization responsible for Piscataquis Santa—and Valley Grange, well-known for its support of local schools and children. The event raised over $700 thanks to community support and sponsors.

“This does say a lot about our communities,” said Walter Boomsma, program director for the Grange. “But it also says a lot about our volunteers. All of our food was donated and we even managed to auction off some leftovers and remaining home-baked pies to add to the cause.” Organizers estimate at least sixty meals were served and no one left hungry.

The goal is to provide warm winter clothing (i.e. jackets, ski pants, boots, hats, mittens) and a Christmas gift for children, infant to 16 years of age, who live in any of the five school districts in the greater Piscataquis area (MSAD #4, #41, #46, #68, and Union #60). Parents register their children to receive these items. These items allow children to have clothing that will keep them warm and to receive a gift marked especially for them at Christmas time. With over 400 children already registered, Penquis Office Coordinator Sheree Brown estimates that 700 children will be served through the program in some fashion this year. “Thanks to the support of many individuals, organizations, and businesses, we are very confident we’ll be able to meet every need.”

Brown also notes that parents were invited to write a few sentences about what the program meant to them when they registered this year. One parent wrote, “We have nine children and never enough income, so Christmas is a big hardship for us. This project is such a wonderful outpouring of love and support for the community. We feel truly blessed to be recipients of such generosity.”

Boomsma said he agrees with that parent. “The food was great, the bluegrass music had toes tapping, but the best part of the evening was feeling the love and support of the volunteers and attendees. Collaborations between Penquis and Valley Grange are always good, but there’s something very special about this one. You just knew you were being part of something that is both important and good.”

Music for the evening was provided by members of the Cambridge-based Back Porch Bluegrass Band and Santa himself arrived both to hear the requests of children attending and to say “thanks” to his helpers. A complete list of sponsors and donors can follows. Additional information regarding the Santa Fund is available at http://www.penquis.org.


I Really Like My Dictionary!

Third graders from SeDoMoCha Elementary write…

SeDo drw

Dictionaries are cool!

I liked how you people had been so nice. I especially liked it when we did the race. Thank you for giving us those dictionarys. I really like my dictionary. I use it for a lot of stuff and I keep it in a very safe place. Thanks for everything.

Thank you for the small dictionarys. On the cover it looks like Californa is over flowing with lava. I’ve been trying to read the biggest word in Amarican history. It takes me twenty minutes to read every line. I think that word is in the language, gibrish. I also looked up the word dragon. It said that a dragon is a mythical creatur that breathes fire. The floor was realy cold when we sat down. The stairs felt like they were going to fall, and the Grange felt like it was haunted by ghosts. I at least had fun holding the farmers tool that Mr. Mowry had. I at least had fun standing in front of all the other classes. Have a great day.

Thank you for the dictionary. My favorite part was learning about the farmer’s tools. I learned a new word. It is patron. That means someone who supports to a cause. I really appreciated it. Thanks.

Thank you for the dictionary and for telling us about how the Grange was started. My favorite part was when you told us all the garden tools that the farmers used. I learned a new word. It is Patron. That means someone who provides financial support to a cause. I really appreciated it. Thank you.

Thank you for the dictionary. I will be keeping my book in a extra safe place. You are a very nice group. I will be using my dictionary a lot. I am so proud that I have my own dictionary. Thank you again.

Thank you for the dictionary. I plan to keep it on my bed, take VERY good care of it, and give it to my children and tell them what I did. I also plan to find a word, ask my sister Elisabeth what it means and if she gets each word right she gets a dollar, but if she misses one word she gets a nickel. Thanks again.

Thank you for the generous gift. I even looked generous up in the dictionary. I’m very thankful for the dictionary. I’m going to keep my dictionary at school so I can use it. I liked the tools. One is the spud, the other one is the pruning hook and the owl. I forget the other one. At least I remember three of the tools. I liked the tools. And I really wanted to read the longest word in the English language.

Thank you for the dictionary. I will always use it if I need to. And when I get home I’ll try to get my mom to read the 1909 word in the back. And at my house I like to write storys so I can use it all the time. I’ll make sure to keep it extra safe. And every night I’ll try to read the really long word.

Santa says, “Thanks!”

Barbeque and Bluegrass was a great success!

Special thanks to our sponsors for their generous support–stop by or give them a call to let them know you appreciate it:

      • Engstrom & Tumosa Tree Service – 564-8290 or 876-6907
      • Mallett Real Estate – 564-8073
      • Dover Foxcroft Chiropractic – 564-2211
      • McKusick Petroleum – 564-3406
      • Lovell’s Hardware – 876-2222
      • Walter Boomsma, teacher and trainer – 343-1842
      • Troy Brown, building and construction – 672-5586

And to the many individuals and businesses who helped in so many ways including:

      • Abbot Village Bakery
      • Jim and Sherry French, French Construction
      • Bill Bemis
      • Garland Grange
      • April Sargent
      • Vicki Curtis
      • Jim Macomber
      • Sheree Brown
      • Jessica Davis
      • Parvanah Withee
      • Dennis and Becky Patterson
      • Walter and Janice Boomsma
      • Valley Grange  Pie Makers: Judy Ricker, Cheryl Morin, Mary Annis, and Janice Boomsma
      • Penquis and Valley Grange  volunteers who worked from preparation through clean up!

And, of course, to the many folks who attended… you have helped many children to have a happy holiday–you should too!

 “Our family has had a rough year with one of our children suffering with congenital heart defects and undergoing nine operations and multiple complications trying to repair her heart. This has been very difficult on our family and financially caused us great strain.  Programs like this are what gives us a chance at rebuilding and getting life back on track while still giving our children the joy and fun of the holidays. It’s an amazing gift you give not just the children but the parents as well.”

You can still help–http://piscataquisresources.org/


December 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!

Parenting children during the holiday season can be very challenging. Sometimes it feels more like the “holi-daze”! As parents, our own expectations of the holidays are often unrealistic. In a perfect world, Christmas is family time. All family members get along well. The Christmas dinner magically appears on the table with an abundance of pies and other home-baked treats for dessert. Everyone gets everything they wanted as they open their holiday gifts on Christmas. Our homes are decorated perfectly. These images rarely match up with reality.

But it’s not a perfect world! Parents should begin by making realistic goals for the holiday. Before the holiday arrives, make a list of the things you would like to do during the season. Then, look at this list and decide which ones are family priorities. Try to limit your “to do” list to three or four activities and then stick to the list!

Don’t start holiday activities too early. Children have a hard time waiting weeks for Christmas to arrive. Do have children make their own wish lists but in addition have them describe the reasons why they want those items. They will begin to think about their requests and to determine which items are really important.

Try to keep your routines, especially for bedtime and meal times. Young children find comfort in routines. Adequate sleep and a healthy diet help children cope with the additional activities associated with the holidays. Decreased child stress helps to reduce parent stress.

There are many ways to involve children in holiday activities. Children can help with holiday baking. Making home-made gifts is a good way to involve children beginning with the plan for the “right” gift, a trip to the local craft store, and then putting the gift together. Children can help wrap presents. Allow children to help decorate the Christmas tree and talk about favorite family ornaments. Get children involved with contributing to a local charity, a homeless shelter, or a hospital. Take children for a drive to see the local Christmas lights. Listen to Christmas music together. Involving children in holiday activities gives children extra parental attention and provides opportunities for parents to talk with their children.

Children love to “help”. Be honest with your children and tell them when you need their help. Make sure your request is age appropriate ie: help making dinner, setting the table, or help with folding laundry.

With some planning and flexibility, any family can enjoy the holidays.

For more information, visit www.mpf.org, www.aap.org, or www.healthychildren.org.