“Mrs. Orton” named Community Citizen

Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer includes Walter Boomsma, program director, Bill and Julie Orton, and Jim Annis, master.

Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer includes Walter Boomsma, program director, Bill and Julie Orton, and Jim Annis, master.

Julie Orton, principal of PCES (Piscataquis Community Elementary School) was named Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year during recent Community Night activities.

Program Director Walter Boomsma noted that Mrs. Orton gets credit for a number of collaborative programs between the school and Valley Grange. “It started with Words for Thirds and just took off from there,” he announced. “We quickly added bookworming and Newspapers in Education. Our GrowME collaboration truly started with a program at PCES that’s become huge–this year volunteers visited nearly 5o classrooms and interacted with at least 850 students in the area.”

The event was attended by Mrs. Orton’s fellow teachers, staff, friends, and parents of children attending PCES who spoke of Mrs. Orton’s compassion, leadership, and strong work ethic. Many considered the event somewhat “bittersweet” as this will be Mrs. Orton’s last year leading PCES–she’s retiring and looking forward to a slightly more leisurely pace. She does plan, however, to continue educating and nurturing children and may be back at school to substitute teach.

A “Just Five Minutes” slide program challenged those attending to consider the value of a daily five-minute commitment to communities. Boomsma pointed out that if “each person in our county between the ages of 20 and 80 spent five minutes per day, “the dollar value is over six million per year and equates to 188 full-time workers.”

Valley Grange was the recent recipient of some community service and honors were bestowed on the “Helping Hands” team from Mountain View Youth Development. Audience members quickly rose to a standing ovation after learning of the amazing makeover the kids and their supervisors completed to the Grange’ dining hall.

Maine State Grange Master Vicki Huff made a surprise appearance for the occasion and presented secretary Mary Annis with a certificate recognizing twenty-five years of membership. Annis is also the Grange’s Community Service Director and responsible for many of the programs Valley Grange runs to support our communities.

Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer. Mary Annis, Linda Erwin and Vicki Huff celebrating Mary's quarter century of membership.

Photo courtesy of the Piscataquis Observer. Mary Annis, Linda Erwin and Vicki Huff celebrating Mary’s quarter century of membership.


Health Beat – May 2014


Dr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmf@fernowmedicalhousecalls.com, 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

Gardening for Seniors

How can you enjoy working out, eating local produce, and enhancing your total well being affordably all summer?  Garden!  Gardening builds and strengthens muscles, providing full body exercise for people of all ages.  An hour of steadily digging, weeding, and mulching is the equivalent of taking 10,000 steps!  Enjoying ripe tomatoes and other fresh produce will double your rewards.  Canning or freezing some of your crop will further extend the benefits of your labor well into the winter.

Inviting a friend or young child to work with you may enrich your experience and socially engage your mind in ways that are known to protect against cognitive decline.  While you’re in your garden, take care to plant some pumpkins.  You’ll have homegrown jack-o-lanterns in the fall, and you can harvest the seeds.  Pumpkin seeds are a “super food” containing high levels of fiber and protein.  They may also contribute to prostate health, bone strength, and help to prevent arthritis.  Blueberries are full of antioxidants that boost your immune system.  Other foods you may want to grow in your garden that have crucial nutrients to prevent disease include garlic, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and onions.

For tips on planting a successful garden, call the Piscataquis Cooperative Extension office at 564-3301, or check out their website at  http://umaine.edu/gardening/

You may also qualify for Senior FarmShare, a program that provides fresh seasonal foods for eligible seniors.  You can learn more about this program by calling Eastern Area Agency on Aging at 1.877.353.3771, or by visiting www.getrealmaine.com