Ad Winners Announced!

Olivia Riitano, Caroline Goggin, Caitlyn Drinkwater

Guilford–Over 100 third and fourth graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of their annual “Newspapers in Education” Program. This is the fourth 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. Thanks to WABI-TV5’s support of community and school events, these young scholars not only learned about print advertising, they got to experience a bit of television as well during the assembly conducted by Boomsma to announce the winners.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is winner” and the grange provides “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” He also told the Channel Five team that the Grange was particularly pleased that nearly every ad included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Programs. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it. In fact, some of the ads included the message, ‘Thank you for inspiring us.’”

Art Teacher Jane Daniels loves the fact that the program “gives the kids a practical use for art skills.”

Connor Chase, Anna Morin, Anna Fagan--this was as close to the girls as Connor would stand.

Third Grade winners announced at the recent school assembly included Connor Chase (3rd), Anna Morin (2nd), and Anna Fagan (1st). Anna’s first place drawing included apples with bookworms announcing “Valley Grange is a great place to read and have fun.” Fourth grade winners included Olivia Riitano (3rd), Caitlyn Drinkwater (2nd), and Caroline Goggin (1st). Caroline explained to WABI TV-5 news reporter Diana Bosch that she loves to read and had based her ad on her family.

All of the winners refused to give an acceptance speech with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but most were fascinated at the idea of seeing themselves on TV.

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on March 28th. In addition, winning ads are used on the grange’s promotional material throughout the year.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that the Grange is proud of their positive relationship with the kids and school. “We just love being here!” he said. “These kids are our future and they deserve our support.”

Winning Ads Will Be Revealed

Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret… to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink.

And that’s exactly what third and fourth graders at Piscataquis Community Elementary School did with Valley Grange’s recent “Newspapers in Education” Contest. The ads they designed captured the “heart” of Valley Grange and our relationship with the school in particular. Selecting two ads to print is always a challenge–this year no less so! Every kid who participated will receive appreciation magnets as part of an assembly this Friday, March 23rd in the school cafeteria at 9:45 AM when the selected ads will be announced. Those ads will be featured in the March 28th edition of The Piscataquis Observer, posted on this site, and used in other promotional material the grange prepares throughout the year.

We’re Number One — Again!

Guilford—For the second year in a row, Valley Grange members ranked first in community service among all granges in the state of Maine. Local members Jim and Mary Annis learned of the award while serving as delegates to the recent State Conference held in Skowhegan and were more than proud to bring home the award. Valley Grange Master Jim Annis described Community Service Chair Mary’s reaction, “We knew we were getting something. By the time they got to second place and we hadn’t been called, the tears came.”

The couple brought home a certificate, a check for $350 and the news that “our entry is on its way to the National Grange Convention in Tulsa Oklahoma to be judged at that level.” Last year Valley Grange placed first in both the state and nation. Annis says he is extremely proud of the organizations members and accomplishments. “We are setting the standard and leading the way among granges. Of course we’d be doing everything even if there wasn’t a contest. But the recognition is nice and the cash helps.”

The local grange is probably best known for programs geared at children including the Words for Thirds project that puts a dictionary in the hands of every third grader in three local school districts each year. Members also volunteer as “bookworms” and visit Piscataquis Community Elementary School to listen to second and third graders read. All of the grange’s activities are documented throughout the year in a large notebook which serves as a report and the basis for judging.

As community service chair, Mary Annis spends a lot of her time planning, coordinating, and clipping news articles for the notebook that usually ends up being six inches thick. She noted an interesting irony in this year’s award. “Twenty percent of the judging is about cooperation with other organizations and, while we’ve always been cooperative, it’s only recently that we’ve been making collaboration a top priority. Our involvement with the Penquis Smart Starts for Students and Piscataquis Santa has created some great energy and support. We’re also proud that the founders of the JD Foundation are members of our Grange and enjoy supporting them. ”

Members aren’t sitting back and basking in the glory of the honor. Third graders from SeDoMoCha will be visiting the Valley Grange Hall on November 4th to receive their dictionaries and a team will travel to Lagrange, Milo and Brownville later in the month to deliver dictionaries to SAD 41 scholars. Boomsma also noted that the grange has recently joined hands with the Penquis Journey House to plan a “Breakfast with Santa” to benefit their program of transitional housing for pregnant and parenting young women ages 16 -21 who are experiencing homelessness or an unsafe living situation.

Program Director Walter Boomsma believes that collaboration works when “we get and stay focused on our objective” and adds, “We’re pretty busy, but we’d love to hear from organizations and individuals who have some passion and maybe a little time to help.”

Master Jim Annis makes formal presentation to Mary while Floyd and Nathalee Marsh look on

Community Honors Dodie Curtis

Dodie Curtis reminded everyone, "It takes all of us..."

Guilford— Valley Grange hosted nearly 100 people at their recent open house and celebration of community. Festivities at the annual meeting included a community potluck supper and slide presentation featuring some of the grange’s activities throughout the year. Following the slide presentation, program director Walter Boomsma noted that Valley Grange received the First Place National Grange Award for Community Service last fall and “…in some ways winning was real easy. It’s just a matter of doing what you love and care about.”
In keeping with the community theme, Grange Master Jim Annis presented Valley’s Annual Community Citizen Award to Dolores “Dodie” Curtis explaining that her nomination included the observation “She is a former Chief of Nurses at Mayo Hospital, works with people who need physical therapy at the Fitness Center in Guilford, and spearheaded the campaign for all the tulip ribbon gardens throughout town. She also personally sold hundreds of tulips to individuals for their own gardens in remembrance of loved ones…  She is on the Library Board of Directors, involved with the Garden Club, and teaches marzipan decorating classes… if you mention her name to others you would hear her described as a loving, caring person…”

Friends and family supported this observation with numerous examples of Curtis’s caring for others and her community. Speakers included Fran Moore of the Physically Challenged Club who told Curtis, “You bring such special gifts… we bring a token of our appreciation for all you give.” Flowers and words and hugs and kisses flowed freely, intermingled with a few tears.  In her response Curtis pointed out that “when you give, it all comes back to you…” and reminded everyone “it takes a lot of us.”

65 years isnt THAT long!

Valley Grange member and musician Merna Dunham from Milo was also recognized for 65 years of Grange Membership. Opal Bennett could not be present but was also honored and will be awarded a 75 certificate.

The roots of the Grange date back to Farmers’ Clubs that existed in the 1850’s. The Grange itself was officially formed in 1867 as “Patrons of Husbandry.” Over the years the Grange’s focus has shifted from agriculture to community and community service but without abandoning the rich agricultural heritage.

Boomsma noted that Dunham and Bennett are examples of how Grange Members “Stick with it because it’s a great organization.” He added, “…and Dodie is right; it takes a lot of us” and observed that while Valley Grange is passionate about and active in a wide variety of service-oriented projects, “We really need some help. We’ll take what you can give us; even if it’s just fifteen minutes a month. The Grange is truly and easy organization to belong to, but even if you can’t belong we’ll take your hands, head and heart.”  Volunteer cards allowing citizens to express their interest are available from any Grange Member. Those who are interested can also call Boomsma at 876-4131 or Community Service Chairperson Mary Annis at 465-0820.

Information is also available at the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft where the Grange’s Award-winning Community Service Book is on display through the end of the month.

Tonight’s the Night!

We hope to see you at the Grange Hall at 6 PM for a community potluck supper. If you can bring a dish to share, that will be most helpful… but we usually have tons of food so don’t let bringing a dish be a requirement that keeps you from coming! You can always offer to help in the kitchen! We’re looking forward to fun and fellowship–and announcing the winner of our 2011 Community Citizen Award! So far we think it’s been kept a surprise!

Thanks to our Maine Mud Season, parking will be limited at the hall itself… if you are a young whippersnapper, please park along the road and save space near the hall for those less lively. Maybe some year we’ll offer valet parking, but for now you’ll probably need to walk a bit. If you need parking assistance, ask a grange member and we’ll try to help.

The program will begin at 7:30 PM and should end by 9 PM at the latest. If you have time after dinner check out our museum and information board… there will also be a display upstairs featuring some of our activities and our National Award Winning Community Service Book. (The book will travel to the Thompson Library in Dover Foxcroft next week.)

You know you’re getting cabin fever… here’s your chance to get out and have fun! See you at the Grange Hall — corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road!

Valley Grange Plans Open House Celebration

Guilford Maine–April 2011 has been declared as “Grange Month,” and the Valley Grange is inviting community members to learn more about our purpose, as well as our programs and activities. In addition, we will acknowledge the good works of a community citizen by presenting an outstanding individual with the “Grange Community Citizen Award.”

The annual open house and award ceremony will take place on April 15, 2011 starting with a community potluck supper at 6:00 PM. All members of the community are invited; bring a dish to share if you can. The awards ceremony will begin at 7:30 PM.  The Grange Hall is located at the corner of Butter Street and Guilford Center Road in Guilford.

For over 140 years, the Grange has worked to advance the interest of rural Americans by providing a legislative voice for their political concerns and by showing them how to strengthen their neighborhoods through community service,” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis said in announcing he program. “During Grange Month, we want our community to know that the Grange is a living organization that has a lot to offer.”  Annis also admitted Grange Members are also looking forward to “showing off” the National Award they received last fall for outstanding community service. The notebook describing the award winning activities of the membership will be on display at the Guilford Memorial Library until April 15th and the Thompson Free Library in Dover Foxcroft from April 19th until the end of the month.

The Grange not only provides fun-filled and educational programs and activities for its members, it also (more…)

Fourth Grade NIE Winner Ethan Chadwick

Ethan Chadwick

“I came up with my idea when I thought about bookworms,” Ethan told us. “I’ve seen pictures of worms with glasses and books so I decided to use that theme for my picture. In third grade, my class went to the Grange Hall and learned about agriculture. At the end, they gave us dictionaries and that inspired me to do the wagon full of them. I thought it would be cool to put a slogan and the Grange Logo too.”

Congratulations, Ethan! And thanks… I will always remember the tough question you asked me when you started working on your ad. “What is the Grange’s product, Mr. Boomsma?”
You had me stumped for a minute, but I managed to answer, “Kids that like to read and learn.” And I guess I could now say, “Kids like you!”

Ad Contest Winners Announced

Third grade winners about to become media darlings.

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. This is the third 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. Thanks to WABI-TV5’s support of community and school events, these young scholars not only learned about print advertising, they got to experience a bit of television as well during the assembly conducted by Boomsma to announce the winners.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is winner” and the grange provides “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” He also told the Channel Five team that the Grange was particularly pleased that nearly every ad 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.”

Fourth Grade Winners show off their certificates

Third Grade winners announced at the recent school assembly conducted by the grange included Olivia Riitano (3rd), Jemyni True (2nd), and Megan Beckwith (1st). Megan’s first place drawing included the poem, “”Reading is important especially for a test and if you read once a day, you really are the best.” Four grade winners included Ashley Nanney (3rd), Alison Quimby (2nd), and Ethan Chadwick (1st). Ethan explained to WABI TV-5 news reporter Laura Roberts that he loves to read because “It’s a way to express your imagination. You can go into a different world if you’re having a hard time anywhere.”

All of the winners refused to give an acceptance speech with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but most were “media darlings” when interviewed by the news team. At least one suggested that the “best part of winning is seeing myself on TV.”

The ads selected as first place winners will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer on March 30th. In addition, winning ads are used on the grange’s promotional material throughout the year.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Grange Bookworms will be at PCES next week to celebrate Agriculture in Maine by reading and conducting agriculture related activities with twelve classes. “We just love being at the school,” he noted.

For those who missed the coverage, you can check out the story on the WABI website.

She’s 90 Years Young!

Laura Pratt

Our “past master” is rapidly approaching her 90th birthday… and because she’s a frequent participant in the Words For Thirds Dictionary presentation I often “whisper” to the kids that she’s “really old” when I introduce her. Then when she chats with them she’ll tell them how long she’s been a member of the Grange… and that she joined when she was fourteen years old. This gives us a “teachable moment” as the young scholars attempt the math in their heads.

It’s not her age but her smile and her enthusiasm that defines Laura, but this birthday does provide an opportunity to honor this great woman and her many contributions to the Grange, the community, and her family and friends.  So you’re invited to join all those folks for a Birthday Party Open House at the home of Floyd and Nathalee Marsh: 38 Butter Street in Guilford.

Saturday, March 12 from 1 – 4 PM

You won’t have to calculate her age, but you should ask her some questions because she has a great memory. She might even tell you about the time the Grange Outhouse got painted in her honor.

Let Them Eat Cake!

How many reasons do you need to have cake?

We have some ongoing jokes about our Pomona meetings hosted at East Sangerville Grange… but they always have some surprises for us under the heading of “Grange Food.” This last meeting was no exception as we feasted on a delicious cake prepared in celebration of Valley Grange’s National Community Service Award. Diane McCarthy Clark did manage to work up the courage to cut the work of art… it didn’t take much courage to eat a piece or two! Thanks to East Sangerville Grange for hosting the meeting and honoring us with the cake! Yum!