Blanketeers Needed!

Linus Project

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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.

Dictionary Day!

Check out this story by WABI-TV 5… what a great time we all had!

Third Graders get the gift of words in Guilford

SeDo Dictionary Day

Dictionary Days Are Coming!

According to the Dictionary Project records after we complete this year’s distribution we will have given out 2,766 dictionaries! Thanks to those who support our program and our fundraising efforts!
receipt-certificate-2018.jpg

Bells of Peace

bell-3652226_640I’ll confess–up until recently, it had totally escaped my attention that this year is the centennial of the WWI Armistice. I owe Mary Annis, our Community Service Chair a word of thanks for calling it to my attention and for suggesting that we promote the “Bells of Peace” Remembrance–a nationwide moment of remembrance with bells tolling for those who served and the fighting that stopped 100 years ago. “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month local time Americans across the nation will toll bells in remembrance of those who served and sacrificed.

The Remembrance is being sponsored by The United States World War One Centennial Commission, along with some other events and opportunities. Yes, I do know that our Grange Halls do not have bells… but that’s not a problem! As the saying goes, “There’s an app for that.” You can visit the website and download an app for your phone that includes a countdown timer and choice of the bell that will ring on your phone at the appropriate local time! Imagine Bells of Peace tolling from every device, 21 times, in remembrance of this very special moment when the fighting stopped “Over There.”

The 21 times symbolizes the Nation’s highest honor, the 21 gun salute. If you visit the website you’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot and find some amazing resources. Another way to honor those who served and the day is to spend a few minutes becoming better informed regarding this important part of our history. You’ll also find suggestions for promoting the Bells of Peace to other organizations in your area. This truly could become a proud moment for our country.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Bookworm Schedule for October/November 2018

Tuesday, October 16 — Mr. Boomsma will be at school for a program kickoff at 8:00 a.m.

Tuesday, October 23 — Mrs. Kimball will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, October 25  — Mrs. Lander will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Monday, October 29 — Dictionary Day! Third graders will be visiting Valley Grange for some fun and a dictionary!

Tuesday, October 30 — Ms. Erwin will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 1 — Mr. Boomsma and Mrs. Katz will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, November 6 — Mrs. Kimball will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 8 — Mr. Boomsma will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Friday, November 9 — SAD 4 Veteran’s Celebration at PCSS… 8:15 am!

Tuesday, November 13 — Ms. Erwin will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 15 — Mrs. Orton will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Friday, November 16Community Night at Valley Grange! Join us for a free supper at 6:00 p.m. and say “Hi” to your neighbors and friends. We’ll be featuring the famous beans and mac ‘n cheese by Bill Bemis of Garland Grange! Stick around for our regular meeting 7:00 p.m. Kids are welcome!

Tuesday, November 20 — Mrs. Boomsma will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 22 — No school — Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 27 — Mrs. Orton will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday, November 30 — Mrs. Lander will be at school for reading starting at 10:00 a.m.

Spirit of America!

SOA Winners

It was “standing room only” as Valley Grange hosted the Piscataquis County Spirit of America Awards Ceremony with nearly 100 in attendance. Seventeen individuals and groups were honored for their volunteerism and community contributions. (The complete list is available on the Valley Grange Website.) The program was emceed by Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange with awards presented by Senator Paul Davis and Representatives Paul Stearns and Norm Higgins.

Valley Grange Hosts Spirit of America Awards

Maine member releases easy-to-read book ‘Exploring Traditions’ of the Grange

Reprinted from the September 2018 issue of The Patrons Chain–The Official Newsletter of the National Grange


Walter Boomsma, Program Director of Valley Grange and Maine State Grange Communications Director has authored the book, “Exploring Traditions–Celebrating the Grange Way of Life.”

While this is not his first book, Boomsma believes it may be one of his most important.

“The primary goal in writing it was to encourage exploration,” Boomsma said. “The Grange is a 150-year-old organization with a strong agricultural focus and many are questioning its relevance to today’s society. I wanted to encourage people to develop a deeper understanding of what the Grange is all about–including our members. The Grange is very much about a way of life and, while farming has changed, people have not.”

Boomsma said he also believes people who are not familiar with the Grange will appreciate exploring the value of tradition in general since “tradition and ritual create stability and a sense of community, especially when we understand the basis for them.”

Betty Van Dyke accepts the “very first copy” of Exploring Traditions from Walter Boomsma, the author.

National Grange Master Betsy Huber provided a foreward to the book, in which she wrote, “These essays by Walter Boomsma unpack the teachings of the Grange and relate them to today’s world
and our everyday lives. He has a gift for taking the lessons from the farm and showing their relevance today, even for those whose only interaction with agriculture happens through their food and clothing choices. He understands the meaning the Grange Founders intended and interprets the sometimes archaic language to reveal the principles they wanted to teach to farm families who often had no other opportunity for education.“

Boomsma dedicated the book to a woman he affectionately calls a “Granger Extraordinaire,” Betty Van Dyke of Guilford. During a presentation of the first copy of the book, Boomsma said Van
Dyke explained the great influence she had during his “formative years” as a Grange member.

“I came to appreciate both her knowledge of the Grange’s teachings and her commitment to what I later came to understand as ‘the Grange Way of Life.’”

At the height of her Grange career, Van Dyke held a number of local and state positions, including serving as the Maine State Community Service Director. At 94, Van Dyke still keeps track of what’s going on at Valley Grange and is a strong supporter.

Boomsma will sign copies of the book at the 152nd Annual Convention where it will be available for sale. It is also available through the Grange Supply Store. Contact Loretta Washington at sales@nationalgrange.org or by phone at (202) 628-3507 ext. 109.