Community Night…

We’ve always loved filling the Grange Hall in May and making the rafters ring when we all sing together! That usually happens after a huge community potluck supper with all sorts of dining delights! We missed last year because we were at the height of the pandemic. We’d hoped… but we’re not too disappointed that we won’t be doing exactly that this year. We’re not sure this will be better, but it will be different!

For those unfamiliar, every year in May we celebrate out communities and that includes honoring a “Community Citizen of the Year.” Well, we’re not doing the usual this year in more ways than one. This year we are honoring, literally, hundreds of community citizens–people who have had their boots on the ground and deserve recognition for service to our citizens and our communities. We may regret that we can’t come together and do this in person, but we’re thrilled to recognize these deserving folks and even more thrilled to report some of their many accomplishments.

Another annual tradition is the recognition of our long term members and we will be doing that as well, so keep an eye on our website and Facebook Page. If you have any questions, please let us know!

You’re Welcome, Ridgeview Elementary!

Maine State Granger of the Year

Mary Annis, Valley Grange Secretary, read the following letter to members at the January Meeting.

Dear Valley Grange Members,

Three years ago the Maine State Grange Community Service Committee added a new contest of “Community Granger of the Year.”

This Granger needed to display an attitude worthy of a Granger and take pride and joy in Community Service.

It was with great honor that this year’s winner came from Valley Grange and it was also very pleasing to me personally.

This gentleman has gone above and beyond for the Grange and he proves it everyday between Valley Community Service and state website obligations. At this point you all know who won the award but let me tell you with this was such a joy for me.

Walter has personally helped me for the last 6 years with my Community Service Book packets, columns, announcements, and downright support. He has been there to just give me an encouraging should to rely on when needed.

Walter has helped this committee and myself move forward and keep going even when we have been at our wit’s end.

Failure, quitting, or just stopping is something this man has never done no matter how discouraged I have been, he has helped me to get back on my game.

I truly wish there had been a State Session this year because I truly wanted more pomp and circumstance with this win. That was not an option this year, so I personally wanted Valley Grange to know my feelings on this award.

Walter, thank you from the bottom of my feet to the tip of my head. Just always know you are making a difference one word (key stoke or message) at a time.

Fraternally and with much love!

Christine Corliss, Director
Maine State Grange Community Service &
Family Health and Hearing

Original Letter is available here.

Help Wanted! Knitters Kneeded!

We are looking for a few more folks to join our Blistered Finger Knitters! Thanks to these folks, we are able to provide local schools with knitted hats and mittens for kids who need them for recess and beyond.

During our recent dictionary deliveries to area schools, we included shopping bags with mittens and hats produced by our B.F.K. These hats and mittens are always appreciated but this year several schools almost literally leaped for joy as the need is great and the supply is critically low.

Since we’re constantly being reminded to stay home… and can only bake so many cookies or clean the house so many times… if you’d like to knit a few pairs of mittens or a couple of hats, we’ll make sure they get put to good use! In fact, we’ll even arrange for “contact free” pick up or drop off. Email or call Community Service Chair Mary Annis (564-0820) or Program Director Walter Boomsma (343-1842).

Our focus tends to be on children’s sizes but we can make use of adult sizes too! They don’t have to be fancy, certainly. And you don’t really have to knit until you get blisters!

We are having some spring-like weather right now and the kids are on school break, but cold weather is coming! Let’s keep our kids warm!

Introducing the Backwards Bookworm!

Find out what’s cool about introducing the Backwards Bookworm on December 23!

We Love Our Dictionaries!

Third-graders at Brownville Elementary School show off their dictionaries. Teacher Mrs. Mills writes, “My students were thrilled to receive their dictionaries. They couldn’t wait to look up information in the back. Almost all wanted to try to say the longest word…. They even used them on an indoor recess day to look up words to use when playing Hangman. I would say they were a hit.”

And here are a few kids from Mrs. Higgins Class… photos are a real challenge with physical distancing requirements but it’s great to see so many “smiling eyes.”

We’re told the kids really enjoyed the video… if you missed it, check it out here.

Dictionary Day 2020

This video was created for teachers of third grade students receiving dictionaries as part of the Valley Grange Words for Thirds Program. All are certainly welcome to watch and listen! Teachers, not that additional resources are available by clicking on the “About the Dictionary Project” tab in the upper left hand corner of the site!

Dictionary Days Are Coming!

Admittedly, we had to get a little creative this year… but dictionaries are being delivered to schools this week! The actual presentation of dictionaries will be completed by third-grade teachers… we’re working on some resources and should have everything ready in a day or two! Stay tuned!

(L-R) Mrs. & Mr. Annis, Mrs. & Mrs. Ricker, and Mr. Boomsma got the dictionaries ready at the December Meeting… Mrs. Engstrom helped but hid when the photo was taken by Mrs. Boomsma! We also sorted hats and mittens to deliver to school nurses for distribution to students who need them, thanks to our Blistered Finger Knitters.

MSAD #4 Santa Project

Valley Grange supports Parkman Grange with this important project!

The Parkman Grange is again coordinating the MSAD#4 Santa Project with a few changes this year. The Santa Project provides a coat, boots, and a toy to children in the MSAD #4 school district whose families need a little help this Christmas. Applications will be available at school and at the town offices of Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville, Abbot, and Cambridge. They must be returned by mail or at the locked box at the Parkman Grange.  The application deadline is November 13, 2020. The distribution will be Sunday, December 20, 10 AM-noon at the Parkman Grange which is located at the corner of State Hwy 150 and North Dexter Road. It will be a drive-thru event that will include a turkey dinner from the Masons.

Due to Covid precautions, Parkman Grange is not having their annual hunter’s supper which helps finance this program.  The Grange anticipates a greater need this year, so donations from the community are especially needed this year. Donations can be made at K.C. Store or the Parkman Town Office.  Checks can be made out to Parkman Grange, memo line: Santa Project and sent to PO BOX 114, Guilford, ME 04443.   Another way to help is by sponsoring a child from the Angel Tree at K.C. Store and buying a coat or boots.  For more info call Sue Manchester 277-3942 or check the Parkman Grange Facebook Page.

Annis Receives Award

GUILFORD — An area Grange member who has been dedicated to the organization at the local and state levels, served the region in the Maine Legislature and in local government and has given back to the community in many other ways was honored by Piscataquis Pomona — the local Grange district — on June 4. Jim Annis of Dover-Foxcroft received the Piscataquis Pomona Award for Public Service as part of the monthly Piscataquis Pomona gathering held at the Valley Grange.

Piscataquis Pomona Overseer/Maine State Grange Communications Director Walter Boomsma said the honor is being bestowed upon Annis “for personal commitment and involvement as a servant to the public.” He added, “It is a real honor and pleasure to give you this Jim.”

Pomona Grange Overseer Walter Boomsma presents Public Service Award to Jim Annis

Annis was also presented with a Legislative from the area’s Augusta delegation, Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft, Rep. Paul Stearns, R-Guilford and Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville. 

“Jim we all know has been a dutiful public servant and has served in many, many rolls,” Stearns said. He said he worked with Annis on the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council board and Annis always “does the right thing, for the right reason.”

Higgins said he and his wife have sat behind Annis and his wife Mary (a fellow Grange member) at Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church services for many years. “Jim leads by example, he quietly demonstrates that. 

“For me it has always been your religious life that has always been the outstanding example for my wife and I,” Higgins said.

Davis said he and Annis campaigned together in years past and “I say we’re friends for life.” 

“Jim worked hard when he was in the Legislature, he was there every day,” Davis said. He said Annis is dedicated “not only to Grange, but to Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis County and the State of Maine.”

Annis, who first learned of the award during the pre-meeting supper, recently stepped down as legislative director of the Maine State Grange. Those present were reminded about some of Annis’ other community endeavors including the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society and serving as a Piscataquis County commissioner. 

Past Maine State Master Steve Verrill said he appointed Annis to the state legislative committee, where he served for about a decade. Verrill said Annis “was a big asset to the committee and if we had any resolutions we needed someone to sponsor them in the Legislature he always took care of that.”

“We want to thank you for all you have done for the Grange and you are not done,” Verrill said.

Mary Annis spoke next and she said, “I am very supportive in all he does going back to when we were first married and he gets involved in the board of education in Wallingford, Connecticut.” 

“It’s been fun and we have met a lot of wonderful people along the way,” she added.

“You have been a great master for the Valley Grange and what you have heard tonight is true,” Boomsma said.

“I started off as a PTA president and cub master at the same time and from there it’s just blossomed,” Annis said.

He said after his family moved to Dover-Foxcroft he was asked to run for the Legislature. Following his time in Augusta, Annis said he was asked to serve on the town selectboard and later encouraged to run for a seat on the county commissioners. Annis mentioned he would be 83 by the time his current term as a commissioner comes to an end at the conclusion of the year and had planned to step down from the government seat.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Annis said. “My father said when you take on a problem you give it 100 percent, you don’t slow down.”