Thanks again, Lt Kane!

An enthusiastic group of well-wishers and supporters took time out of a beautiful spring day to partake of Valley Grange’s free community supper in honor of Lt. Jamie Kane’s recent selection of the Grange Northeast Region Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Vicki Huff, Past Master of the Maine State Grange, was on hand to complete the formal presentation, noting that this really is a “big deal” considering that Kane was selected at the Northeast Regional Conference representing all of the New England States and New York. Huff said that from the stories she’s heard and previous conversations with Kane she knows he does what he does because he loves doing it–not for the awards or recognition–and that is just one of many reasons he deserves it.

Walter Boomsma, Valley Grange Program Director said that there’s a “…notable change in attitudes towards law enforcement due in a large part to Kane’s work at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. The kids are developing an understanding that law enforcement is a very positive resource in our community. They run to him, not away from him.”

During his closing remarks, Boomsma noted that it’s great that as a society we have normalized thanking Veterans for their service. “We think nothing of walking up to a complete stranger, shaking his or her hand and saying thanks for your service. That is as it should be. But we truly have an opportunity to do the same for law enforcement officers who are putting their lives on the line for us every day. Tonight we honor Lt. Kane and many will shake his hand and say thanks. But just maybe we should do that with every officer we meet in our daily lives. These men and women are making incredible contributions and helping us build strong communities.”

Community Night at Valley Grange!

This is our annual celebration of our communities and their citizens. Please join us!

Newspapers in Education Winners Announced

Third and fourth graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the eleventh year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Jane Daniels students labored to produce ads that would promote the grange and its programs.

The winning ads were featured during an assembly conducted at school by Boomsma on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Third Grade winners announced at the recent school assembly conducted by the Grange included Kaydance Benson (3rd), and Macie Littlefield (1st). Macie’s first place drawing encouraged folks to visit the Valley Grange Website and included a bookworm.” Fourth grade winners included Ruth Harford (3rd), Prudence Bridge (2nd), and Danika Wyman (1st). Danika’s ad headline was “Make Your Voice Heard” and encouraged volunteering at Valley Grange to “help school kids learn and grow!”

All of the winners refused to give an acceptance speech with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but most were “media darlings” when interviewed and photographed by local reporter Stuart Hedstrom.

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on April 17, 2019. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor a number of programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love being at the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Community to Honor Lt Kane

Save the date! Spread the word! Come to help us celebrate this honor and thank Lt. Kane for everything he does for our communities!

Lt Kane Honored — Again!

Valley Grange again had the pleasure of surprising Lt James Kane of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department–this time during his DARE class with Mrs. Cleaves fifth graders at Piscataquis Community Elementary School. As he was finishing up the lesson, there was a knock on the door. The class announced in unison, “Come in!” The door opened and in marched Mr. Gregory’s fifth-graders carrying a banner reading “Congratulations, Lt. Kane!” He looked a bit bewildered as they presented him with hand-made cards of congratulations. They were followed by PCES Principal Anita Wright, PSCSS Principal John Keane, SAD 4 Superintendent Kellie McFayden and several members of the media.


Kane, ever humble, joked that he was “going to start avoiding Mr. Boomsma.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange, explained that last year Lt Kane was honored as Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year and the Maine State Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. “We just recently learned that he’s also been selected the Grange Northeast Region Law Enforcement Officer of the year, which is pretty cool because it includes all of New England and New York.”

Boomsma noted that we “haven’t received the official plaque yet but we do have a couple of things for you,” presenting Kane with a a block of cheese labelled “big cheese” and a banana labeled “top banana.” “We think you’re a pretty big cheese and you’re our top banana.”

“I want to thank you very much, I do not do it for any other reason than I enjoy being with the kids,” Kane said. He also thanked the teachers and administrators he has worked with.

Kane told the students the cards will go up on the wall in his office.

Boomsma further noted that the Grange is all about building strong rural communities and “people like Lt. Kane are among the greatest resources we have. I have seen his work. It’s boots on the ground and goes far beyond the job he has. One reason we decided to announce the award here today is I know what the kids mean to him and I know what he means to the kids.

Valley Grange will be announcing a public event which will give the community an opportunity to thank Lt. Kane. “It’s become quite normal for folks to walk up to veterans and thank them for their service,” Boomsma noted. “That’s as it should be but maybe we should also normalize thanking law enforcement officers who literally put their lives on the line every day.”

With this award, Kane also becomes eligible for the Grange National Honor which will be announced in the fall.

Later that morning, Kane met with first and second graders to talk about how kids can help and support policemen. (Photo by Khloe Kimball)

Secret Shoveler Strikes!

snow-shovel-2001776_640I headed to the Grange Hall yesterday with a deep sense of foreboding, trying not to imagine how much snow would be piled up on the steps and porch. There’d been at least three significant storms since someone was last there. I’d even loaded several types of shovels in case I encountered layers of ice and hard crust.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find only a little light snow to remove. It seems a secret shoveler had arrived at some point during recent weeks and removed the major accumulations. If you happened to drive by at the moment I discovered that you’d have seen me leaping for joy at the base of the steps!

The identity of the secret shoveler at this point is, well, a secret! The only evidence remaining was a pink snow shovel left on the porch. Since the shoveler was probably wearing gloves, it will not be dusted for fingerprints. It will, however, remain on the porch either to be reclaimed by its rightful owner or to be used by those who might be inclined to stop at the hall after a snowstorm and clear off the steps.

To our secret shoveler, we say, “Thanks!” It’s great to live in a community where folks help each other and the community. While we’re being grateful, we owe a big thanks to Jim French of French Construction for keeping our parking lot plowed during the winter!

Valley Grange does our best to remain “open for business” throughout the winter and knowing that it’s a community effort strengthens our resolve. This Thursday (February 7) we are hosting the Piscataquis Pomona Grange meeting with a potluck supper at 6 pm and meeting at 7 pm. On Friday (February 15) we’ll get together for our regular monthly meeting which also includes a potluck supper at 6 pm and meeting at 7 pm. We’ll be discussing our annual Community Night in May and selection of Community Citizen of the Year 2019. You’re invited to join us and help!

Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.

Andre Agassi

Kids Write…

SeDo Dictionary DayOne of the best parts for us is reading the thank you notes we get from the kids after a Dictionary Day. They are often very personal and sometimes even we are surprised at what the kids remember from the day! Here are a few of the notes we’ve received from SeDoMoCha third graders:

Dear Guilford Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary and the feild trip. Hope we see you next year. We saw the news! It was funny when Miss Grant put on the soldier uniform. It was super fun to be there there. Thank you all for the fun day. We aprecheate it. Thanks Mr. Boomsma by the way we weere trying to keep you happy. THANK YOU!


Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary. It was funny when Mis. Grant dress up as a soldier. It was exiding to be on the news can we do this again some time. The gardening tools are cool. I wish they where a round still. The tools woud be help full. I saw Mr. Boomsma on the news. It was not boring at all. I hope you enjoyed this letter. Have fun with the ether classis.



Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary! Those were rely nice gardening tools! I alse learnd that if you look at the cameras you are not going to be on the news! That was awesome that we got to see the mail boxs. I realy like the dictionary. My brother still has his dictionary in fifth grade.


Dear Grangers,

Thank you for the dictionary. I can’t believe that we learned the longest word in the English Language! I bet the Civil War was long and not so great time. Are you doing this next year? I thought the gardening tools were cool. I hope you do this next year. My dictionary is still in good shape. Again Thank you! I really like the Grange. I hope this makes you happy there will be a drawing on the back.


Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for the wonderful dictionaries. What I learned about is Corporal Benett and the Civil War. The tools you showed us, spud, the howl the shepard’s crook and the prune. Last but not least what I’m going to use my dictionary for to help me spell, help me find the definitions, help me not use the same words over and over and last but not least learn to do sign language.



Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for my free dictionary! I use my dictionary to find words and definitions. When I was there it was so fun. When we learned about the spud, owl, pruning hook and shepherds hook. I was so happy when I got home I talked all about it it my mom and sister. It was so fun to be on the news.

Blanketeers Needed!

Linus Project

Read the whole story here!

Community Super Supper Celebration

Community Suppah

We recently hosted the Spirit of America Tributes for Piscataquis County—that included some 17 individuals and organizations (community heroes) who were recognized for their community contributions. Most will remember that Lt. Jamie Kane (Community Hero) was presented our Community Citizen of the Year Award last spring. Just this past week, Janice and I were present to see him awarded the Maine State Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. This also means he’s automatically nominated for regional and national awards.

There’s a lot of good stuff going on in our communities… and that’s one reason we’ve decided to schedule a free Community Supper on Friday, November 16, 2018. This will be our opportunity to celebrate our community heroes. We’re of course inviting our past Community Citizens, but we truly hope to honor anyone and everyone who in someway makes our communities strong.

In my closing comments at the Spirit of America Tributes, I pointed out that we shouldn’t be intimidated when people receive awards and recognition for service. People who almost absentmindedly pick up trash are community heroes. If you smile at people in the grocery store, you qualify as a community hero. Several folks commented at the close of that program that it felt so good to be reminded of how good we really are. So let’s do it again on November 16th! We’ll serve from 6 pm until 7 pm—unless the food runs out! All you really have to do is show up but you could also

  • Invite a friend or neighbor
  • Post the enclosed flyer somewhere in your community

Our kid-friendly menu will include baked beans, mac ‘n cheese, ham, and assorted drinks, rolls and dessert. The main dishes are being catered by Bill Bemis (Community Hero) of Garland Grange—he’s famous for his cooking!

While no program or speeches are planned, we will have boards available where people can write the names of those who are community heroes. We hope to fill them!

Thanks to our planned open house, people can visit our little museum and stay for a traditional Grange Meeting starting at 7 pm to learn more about the Grange.

Lt Kane, State Grange LEO of the Year

Kane MSG
Maine State Grange Community Service Director Christine Corliss presents Lt Jamie Kane with the Maine State Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award and a check for a $100 donation to the charity of his choice… He selected Valley Grange as the recipient to “help with their Dictionary and Bookworm Programs.” As the State’s Recipient, Lt Kane becomes eligible for a Regional and National Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Corliss pointed out that it’s possible to receive the National Award without having received the Regional Award.

The State Award was presented at the beginning of the 145th Annual Maine State Grange Convention during the opening banquet and awards ceremony. Lt. Kane was named Valley Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year earlier this spring based on his involvement with and commitment to our kids and our communities.