Raffle Winners Announced

Maine State Grange Past Master Rick Groton drew the winning tickets from the large rotating basket made by Roger Ricker:

  • First Place, Wayne Bennett of Abbot.
  • Second Place, Sierra Hanson of Charleston.
  • Third Place, Reid Burgess of Dover Foxcroft.

Special thanks to McKusick Petroleum and Will’s Shop ‘n Save for their generous support of or annual meat or heat raffle! Those who participate help us keep the lights on and our community service programs running.


Meat or Heat Raffle Winners

With a resounding Grange thanks to our ticket sellers and buyers, we are pleased to announce this year’s winners!

First Place $100 meat or heat: Garwood Howell

Second Place $50 meat or heat: Lois Prescott

Third Place $25 meat or heat: Bruce Chamberland

Auction helper Hailee (sorry if that's not spelled correctly) enjoys her reward.

Auction helper Hailee (sorry if that’s not spelled correctly) enjoys her reward.

This year’s top ticket sellers included Roger and Judy Ricker, Janice Boomsma and Pat Engstrom, and Betty VanDyke and her granddaughter Roxanne. Thanks for your efforts!

Winners were drawn during intermission  and following our auction of “leftovers” from our Harvest Festival dinner. Auction helper Hailee still had energy left to draw the winning tickets. In appreciation for all her help, she was rewarded with a dictionary–made possible by your support of Valley Grange and our raffle. We caught her looking up words during the second half of the program!

And a special thanks to McKusick Petroleum and Will’s Shop and Save for prize contributions.

Valley Grange appreciates the support we receive from our communities… thanks for making programs like Words for Thirds and Bookworming possible. Collaborations like our recent Harvest Festival to help Piscataquis Santa… our annual Community Citizen Award presentation, Newspapers in Education, and GrowMe are all made possible thanks to you!

Volunteering is Business Development

By Scott Levitt, as originally published in the Tuesday Tactics Newsletter produced by Oakley Signs & Graphics. Reposted with permission.

In your quest for new business, you might want to consider what you can give instead of what you can buy. Specifically, your time.

Raising your profile in your community doesn’t always mean putting your face on a sign. In fact, one of the best ways you can build relationships with people in your market is through regular volunteerism.

While it’s generous of you to sponsor an event, make a donation, or promote a cause, there’s nothing that equals the “boots on the ground” impact that volunteering has when it comes to meeting people.

Consider some of the benefits:

1. You’re helping your community. Whether it’s a soup kitchen, a tutoring program, or a weekend a month on a Habitat for Humanity construction site, you’re making a positive contribution to the place you live and work.

2. You’ll feel good about yourself. There’s nothing wrong with a little private “patting yourself on the back” for your good deeds, and there’s no shame in the feeling of pride you get from giving back through action. You might just find it’s a tremendous stress-reliever.

3. You’ll get better perspective on your life. It’s funny how problems with your smartphone synching sort of fade into the background when you’re volunteering at a hospice care center. Stepping back from the day-to-day can help you refocus your priorities.

4. You’ll meet people. We meet some of our best friends in situations where we’re simply forced to work together. School, summer jobs, sports teams… they’re all great sources for networking.

5. You’ll seem more successful. Having the “free time” to volunteer is a subtle sign that you’re successful enough in your life that you can afford to give back to the community. You must be good at what you do if you’re not running from pillar to post, trying to scrape by.

Look for opportunities in your community to volunteer. While the good you can do should be reward enough, there are probably unanticipated benefits that will develop in time.

Webmaster Note:  Valley Grange offers lots of “boots on the ground” opportunities to volunteer! Check out our “give us a hand” program.

Valley Grange Is NUMBER ONE!

Jim and a suprised Mary Annis accept National Community Service Award from Terry and Harriet Spencer

At the first annual Valley Grange Hootenanny, State Officers Terry and Harriet Spencer surprised Valley Grange Members with the news that Valley Grange had placed “first in the nation based on their recent community service report.” In presenting the certificate, Terry Spencer noted that this is a “big honor not only for Valley Grange but for the state as well.”

A shocked Mary Annis, Community Service Chairperson, accepted the award admitting she “never dreamed we’d really win.” While Valley members are justifiably proud of their community service program, the competition for the national honor is fierce with over 2,000 granges in 37 states vying for the coveted award and first prize stipend of $400.

"We're Number One!"

Asked to give some examples of the sorts of things that earned Valley the honor, Annis quickly listed off a number of programs that keep grangers involved with the schools and children: Words for Thirds, Bookworm Readying, Newspapers in Education… adding “these are the programs most people know about, but we do lots of other things too like helping with benefit suppers and collecting for food pantries…” She also confessed she’s already started on next year’s entry prompted her husband Jim to comment on how hard Mary works at the scrapbook-like report but “the only problem with it is all the holes in my newspaper when I try to read it because she’s cut out all the news articles about Valley Grange.”

Lecturer/Program Director Walter Boomsma noted that to a large extent the “work is the reward” and he thought perhaps next year’s theme would be “practice random acts of community because it really is about just that: community.” Earlier in the day he and Grange Master Jim Annis had completed this year’s Words for Thirds” program by traveling to Lagrange, Milo, and Brownville handing out dictionaries. “So there’s a lot to celebrate,” he said as he turned the program over to Susan Ramsey and her “accomplices” for some fine foot-stomping fiddle tunes as well as popular songs from country, folk, and gospel genres with a sprinkling of fun back-and-forth banter and educational snippets. Thanks to Susan’s remarkable talent, the audience discovered that fiddle can imitate a bagpipe and, if you close your eyes, you might not know the difference!

During intermission the annual raffle was drawn with the result that Cheryl Ricker of Wellington will receive her choice of whether her prize check will be made out for “meat or heat.” Grange bakers donated a number of pies for an old fashioined pie auction and thanks to the able assistance of the Homachuck Children from Dover Foxcroft an additional $65 was added to the proceeds from an evening meant to be “tons of fun” while raising much-needed funds to keep the Grange solvent and successful.

View the ABC 7/FOX 22 Newsclip!

View the Piscataquis Times Article by Sheila Grant!

A Little Editorial…

Today I had the privilege of “bookworming” with young Taylor. We didn’t get very far into the book before it became clear that she is a very good reader! So it seemed strange that she would occasionally stop dead in the middle of a page.

I usually restrain myself from being quick to help so I got to watch her brow furrow and I could almost feel the concentration as she stared at the words. Then she’d proclaim, “That’s NOT right.”

When I’d look at where she’d stopped it was immediately obvious she was correct. I’m told that it’s not unusual for kids’ books to use dialect in the interest of “realism.” In Taylor’s chosen book one of the characters would occasionally use what we might kindly call “casual language.” He might for example, leave out a word or apply an expression that didn’t necessarily correctly fit.  That’s what stopped her. He wasn’t speaking correctly.

She wasn’t reading words–she was reading meaning. The character’s poor grammar was actually hiding the meaning from her. I don’t know if they give out gold stars in school anymore but I wished I had one to give her. They call that comprehension, right?!

Being something of a grammar nut I enjoyed analyzing the words with her to determine what was wrong and what the character actually meant.

Now we could debate the relative merits of this brand of “realism” in kids’ books but that’s for another day. I suppose we can allow that the end justifies the means, although my old-fashioned mind found it a bit odd that we discussed good grammar as a result of reading bad.

Today was a reminder that sometimes the words interfere with the meaning. But it was also a demonstration of the power of modeling. I gather Taylor wasn’t expecting to encounter bad grammar. She didn’t say, “that’s the way people talk.” She said, “That’s NOT right!”

In a time when we too often expect mediocrity in so many aspects of our lives,  isn’t it great that Taylor had trouble recognizing and understanding something because it wasn’t right?

Call for books!

Public Health Nurse Karen reports that the number of  home visits she’s doing is increasing and her supply of books is getting low! So we’re making a “call for books” to Grange Members and friends.

We’re looking for new or VERY gently used (like new) books written at the pre-school reading level. If  you’re planning to attend the Piscataquis Pomona Meeting on February 13th  you could bring a couple… or get them to a member who’s coming to the Valley Grange Meeting in Friday the 19th… or better yet come to one or both meetings:

Saturday, February 13th, Piscataquis Pomona meets at East Sangerville Grange… East Sangerville is generously providing dinner at 6 PM, meeting will start at 7 PM.

Friday, February 19th, Valley Grange meets for a potluck supper at 6 PM and regular meeting at 7 PM. (Meeting is at Valley Grange Hall.)

To learn more about the Literacy for Health program, read this page. For information about either meeting or the books we need, send me an email.

Reading Aloud–it’s not just for kids!

Author and friend Jack Falvey writes a Daily Sales Tip (if you are interested in sales and influencing – it’s free and highly recommended–more information at the end). A recent one has application to bookworms and parents.

As sales professionals, we are all public speakers. The audience is usually only one or two people, but we earn our living delivering a verbal message. On occasion we address a conference room full of people, and sometimes larger groups. Reading aloud is an exercise professional public speakers do on a regular basis. It allows them to listen to their own voice without performance distractions. Being comfortable with how you sound to yourself is a good start on being comfortable with how you sound to others. Do you speak too fast? Do you know where to pause and for how long? Can you make eye contact with people while you are reading?

If you have young children, read aloud to them. If you are early for an appointment, read your pre-call objective and answers to your customer’s basic questions to the windshield of your car. When given a chance to use a microphone, take it. Get as comfortable as you can speaking in front of people. The more you do of it, the more relaxed you will get. With practice you will be able to slow down in pressure situations. You will use confident pauses for emphasis, and the pitch of your voice will not noticeably deviate. All this from daily reading out loud.

That’s just excellent advice all around. (I’m not sure Jack really meant to suggest we literally read to the windshield while driving—I do, however, (more…)

We Both Read!

With thanks to Mrs. Lombardi, principal of SeDoMoCha Elementary for letting me get a peek at a few samples of these books during the recent RIF Program!

Here’s a resource for parents and grandparents who love to read with children… and homeschoolers, too! This is one of those ideas that makes so much sense you ask yourself, “Why hasn’t somebody thought of this before??!”

I can only explain in “layman’s terms,” but these are books with “alternating pages.” One page is designed to be read by an adult, the next page by the child. In this way the child gets to “hear” part of the book at his or her level, but also is challenged to “move up” a bit to a higher level. The company has introduced a second series called “Half and Half”–half great fiction and half cool facts.

You can see the books first hand and even compare the pages at the WeBothRead website. By the way, these books are very affordable… if you order some for yourself you might consider ordering an extra or two to donate to your school or public library.