It’s a Busy Week!

Just a quick post to review this week’s schedule…

Tuesday, October 22, is PCES Dictionary Day and third graders will be visiting the Valley Grange Hall to receive their dictionaries!

Wednesday, October 23 is Ridgeview Dictionary Day and the Valley Grange Team will journey to Dexter to meet third graders and present dictionaries.

Thursday, October 24 is Bookworm Day at PCES and we’ll start with a kickoff assembly at the end of morning meeting… I wonder who will be the first student to ready with a bookworm?

If you have any questions about these events, let us know!

Film at Eleven!

Valley Grange Dictionary Day with SedoMoCha Third Graders to be featured on WVII ABC 7-Fox 22 News   

Today was Dictionary Day for 75 third graders and their teachers who came to the Valley Grange Hall filled with anticipation. In addition to learning about the Grange, students talked with Captain Jack Battick about the Civil War and how the Grange helped reunite the country when it ended. Program Director Walter Boomsma explained what the Grange does, including what we can learn from the four staves. “When we look at the pruning hook, what are examples of things we might want to prune from our classrooms?” In the course of all this, students encountered some unfamiliar words which necessitated a dictionary. Valley Grange members and bookworms helped distribute dictionaries and the kids, as always, went a little wild with excitement. They not only looked up the unfamiliar words, many searched for their names and other information.

A reporter from WLVI–Fox 22 captured much of the excitement and will air a story about the program tonight on the Six and Eleven O’clock News. The story should also be available on their website tomorrow.

Here is the link to the Piscataquis Observer Story: Valley Grange continues to be the definition of generosity.

Captain Jack Battick talks about the Civil War and the Grange’s role in bringing the country together after it was over.



That’s a lot of dictionaries!

This year’s pledge certificate from The Dictionary Project confirming Valley Grange has distributed close to 3,000 dictionaries throughout the area since starting our program! It’s great to be part of this! It’s almost inconceivable that the project has reached over 32 million students!

Valley Grange is Getting Busy!

The dictionaries for this year’s “Words for Thirds” program are on order (9 cases!). That meaans Dictionary Days are coming soon! But that’s not all that’s happening!

Bookworms will also be starting their visits to PCES in just a few weeks… We’ll have exact dates for these programs very soon!

Some dates we’re already sure of:

  • Tuesday, October 15 is SeDoMoCha Dictionary Day!
  • Friday, October 18 we’ll have our regular monthly meeting–potluck supper at 6 PM and meeting at 7 PM.
  • Tuesday, October 22 is P.C.E.S. Dictionary Day!
  • Thursday, October 25 is Bookworm Kickoff Day!
  • Friday October 25, Piscataquis County 4-H Clubs will have their annual awards dinner and celebration at Valley Grange starting at 5 PM.
  • Friday, November 15, Valley Grange hosts the Spirit of America Awards for Piscataquis County starting at 7 PM. We’ll also have a Community Social Hour following the meeting with drinks and desserts–and we’ll draw the winners of our Meat or Heat Raffle.

We could really use your help this year with our raffle! See a Grange member, stop by an event… buy some tickets and help us continue to support our communities!

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