NIE Winning Ads Announced!

Third Grade winners Zachariah Demmer (1st), Olivia Richardson (2nd), Abrielle Kemp (3rd)

Third Grade winners Zachariah Demmer (1st), Olivia Richardson (2nd), Abrielle Kemp (3rd)

Nearly 100 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 seventh 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.

Fourth Grade winners Eli Riitano (1st), Meriel Willey (2nd), Summer Nesbit (3rd)

Fourth Grade winners Eli Riitano (1st), Meriel Willey (2nd), Summer Nesbit (3rd)

The winning ads were featured during an assembly conducted at school by Boomsma on Friday, March 20 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 included Summer Nesbit (3rd), Olivia Richardson (2nd), and Zachariah Demmer (1st). Zachariah’s first place drawing suggested “Don’t be a snail, hurry on down to Valley Grange.” Fourth grade winners included Abrielle Kemp (3rd), Meriel Willey (2nd), and Eli Riitano (1st). Eli’s ad included a book being devoured by a book worm while a nearby apple was left uneaten.

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 Mike Lange.

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on March 25th. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted 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.”

2015 3-1

2015 4-1

Bringing Home the Blue

20140823_71SMValley Grange left the Piscataquis Valley Fair and brought home the Blue Ribbon for it’s “Then and Now” Grange booth.  The display also turned out to be a traffic stopper as some of the older folks remembered… and some of the younger folks said, “What is that?!” Telephones seemed to be of particular interest with children and grandchildren expressing disbelief that their parents and grandparents actually talked “into those things.”

The display also featured information about Valley’s many community service efforts ranging from Words for Thirds Dictionary Days to Coups for Troops. Examples of handcrafts and agriculture rounded out the display which remained in place throughout the fair.

The display was assembled by Mary and Jim Annis, Janice Boomsma, Linda Erwin, and Bob Carroll in the hopes fair-goers would enjoy the contrasts and learn more about the Grange.


Newspapers in Education — First Place Ads!

Don’t miss the Newspapers in Education Supplement in this week’s Piscataquis Observer–look for some stories about Valley Grange’s participation and find these two ads!

Third Grade, First Place ad drawn by Julia Rose Munson

Third Grade, First Place ad drawn by Julia Rose Munson

Fourth Grade, First Place Ad drawn by Taylor Folsom

Fourth Grade, First Place Ad drawn by Taylor Folsom

Valley Grange Celebrates Community and Honors Two

Valley Grange celebrated community with a potluck supper and program on Friday night that seemed to be all about time. The program included some thoughts on the value of five minutes of community service every day. Noting that if every citizen in Piscataquis County between the ages of 20 and 80 gave 5 minutes per day to his or her community, Lecturer Walter Boomsma pointed out ”this would equate to 188 people working full time in our communities–an average of ten per town. Using the median income from 2011, the value of those five minutes would be the equivalent of an annual payroll of over six and a half million dollars per year.” Boomsma also noted “but there’s more than just dollar value, explaining how his association with Valley Grange has allowed him to discover his passion for working with kids–a passion that sees him now substitute teaching at the elementary school level and having his book Small People –Big Brains published recently. “Were it not for my association with Valley Grange, I might not be where I am today,” he admitted.

Mark Putnam, editor of the Observer, “a successful and effective community newspaper is a direct reflection of its community.”

The Grange recognized two news organizations for their community service: local newspaper The Piscataquis Observer, and Bangor-based WABI – TV 5. Both organizations were praised for their “boots on the ground” involvement in local communities and their willingness to work with local organizations such as the Grange. Dover Foxcroft Historical Society President Mary Annis offered testimony and an additional award in acknowledgement of both organizations’ contributions. Representatives from UMaine Extension, Kiwanis, Center Theatre, and other Granges in the area added accolades for both organizations’ local emphasis and their responsiveness to individuals and organizations. Piscataquis Community Elementary School Principal Julie Orton noted that the school genuinely appreciates the recognition students receive for their accomplishments and the kids value that recognition and find it rewarding and motivating.

In his response thanking Valley Grange for the honor, Observer Editor Mark Putnam spoke about how the digital age is changing media, but also noted that “our paper truly belongs to the community” adding “there’s no way we’d be celebrating our 175th Anniversary if that were not true… Much like the Grange, our newspaper wants to be relevant and essential in what will be known as the Digital Age.”

WABI News Anchor Terry Stackhouse noted that there was a certain irony to the fact that he is a “six month employee accepting the award on behalf of a sixty year station.” In reporting the story later, he noted that “everyone was very kind and even sent me home with leftover food.” (You can see his report on the WABI Website. )

As part of the celebration of community, Valley Grange also honored members Herb Dunham for 55 years of Grange Membership and Carolyn Campbell for 65 years of membership.

Observer Staff Mark Putnam, Stu Hedstrom, Jeanette Hughes, Linda Kain, and Keri Foster

We’re Ready for Community Night!

Party 3 (640x464)Well, almost! While this photo doesn’t show it (you’ll have to come see), the stage is painted and looking great! Members are reminded we still have some “primping” to do… and those who can are asked to stop by Friday (17th) afternoon and find a project–sweeping, dusting, setting tables, etc. Our celebration of community begins at 6 PM with a potluck supper… and continues with a 7 PM program that’s sure to please as we honor the Piscataquis Observer and WABI-TV 5 for their service to our communities.

Remember, this is a family friendly event and the price is right–all it “costs” is a few hours of your time! (If you can, bring a dish to share for potluck.) In exchange, you’ll get a great meal, a warm sense of community, some laughs and a chance to see friends old and new.

An audio-visual presentation will surprise you when you discover the value of “Just Five Minutes.” Look for a traffic jam at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road on Friday-because that’s where Valley Grange is located!

Valley Grange to Honor Observer & WABI-TV5

Ad by Nyla Larrabee

Ad by Nyla Larrabee produced for the Observer’s Newspapers in Education Section.

For over a decade, Valley Grange has honored a local citizen each year with their “Community Citizen of the Year” award. This year the Guilford-based organization is breaking tradition by presenting two awards. One will go to the Dover Foxcroft based Piscataquis Observer and another to Bangor based WABI-TV Five at the Grange’s Community Celebration on May 17th. “This is not the first time we’ve presented the award to an organization,” noted Mary Annis, Valley Grange Community Service Chair. “But it is the first time (more…)

First Place Advertisments

Ad by Matthew Burdin

Ad by Matthew Burdin 


Ad by Nyla Larrabee
Ad by Nyla Larrabee


Newspapers in Education

Dictionaries came in handy!

Dictionaries came in handy!

Lots of kids at PCES want to know… and the answer is, “yes!” Our judges have selected the winning advertisements for the Newspapers in Education contest. But we’re keeping it a secret for now! We’ll announce the winners in a special assembly in the PCES cafeteria on Friday, March 22nd at 9:30 AM. The first place ad from Third Grade and the first place ad from Fourth Grade will appear in the Piscataquis Observer on Wednesday, March 27th.

Grange Members Stay Members!

Harriet Mitchell is happy to be a Granger!

In conjunction with our Annual Community Service Program, Valley Grange recognized long-term members. This year the list included Paul Curtis joined May 7, 1952 (60 years ago) and two 65 year members: Elizabeth Herring who joined August 30, 1947 and Harriett Mitchell who joined May 29, 1947. Harriet was able to attend and accept her recognition in person, pointing out that she has a birthday coming soon and will be 87 years young.  She admits that as the years have passed she hasn’t been too active, and there aren’t too many of her generation left. But she still recognizes a few people and proved it by pointing several folks out.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that “Grange Members tend to stick around” because “membership is a great thing and very likely contributes to a long life.” He also suggested Harriet should mark her calendar and plan to come back for her seventieth anniversary five years from now.

Program Director Walter Boomsma said that while the Guilford-based Grange has lots of energy and projects throughout the county, they can always use help and are especially seeking new members. “It doesn’t have to be a 60 to 70 year commitment,” he noted. “But we hope and trust that members will want to remain a part of an organization that is steeped in tradition, but very relevant in today’s communities.”

Open House/Awards Ceremony May 18th

It’s that time of the year when we celebrate the rich tradition of our organization with an open house and award program. Again this year we’re going “all out” with a celebration that will knock yer socks off — or at least make ‘em roll up and down a little!

Ad by Anna Morin

As you know, we’ve always used this special meeting to honor a local citizen who’s made a substantial contribution to our communities and this year is no exception. You’ll also remember that we do our best to keep it a secret and surprise the recipient… so far so good!

So if you haven’t heard who it is you’ll either have to find somebody who knows and ask or come to the party on Friday, May 18th. We’ll start with a community potluck supper at 6 PM (bring a dish to share if you can) and start the meeting at 7:30 PM. This is a family friendly event!