Help Wanted! Knitters Kneeded!

We are looking for a few more folks to join our Blistered Finger Knitters! Thanks to these folks, we are able to provide local schools with knitted hats and mittens for kids who need them for recess and beyond.

During our recent dictionary deliveries to area schools, we included shopping bags with mittens and hats produced by our B.F.K. These hats and mittens are always appreciated but this year several schools almost literally leaped for joy as the need is great and the supply is critically low.

Since we’re constantly being reminded to stay home… and can only bake so many cookies or clean the house so many times… if you’d like to knit a few pairs of mittens or a couple of hats, we’ll make sure they get put to good use! In fact, we’ll even arrange for “contact free” pick up or drop off. Email or call Community Service Chair Mary Annis (564-0820) or Program Director Walter Boomsma (343-1842).

Our focus tends to be on children’s sizes but we can make use of adult sizes too! They don’t have to be fancy, certainly. And you don’t really have to knit until you get blisters!

We are having some spring-like weather right now and the kids are on school break, but cold weather is coming! Let’s keep our kids warm!

Introducing the Backwards Bookworm!

Find out what’s cool about introducing the Backwards Bookworm on December 23!

Dictionary Days Are Coming!

Admittedly, we had to get a little creative this year… but dictionaries are being delivered to schools this week! The actual presentation of dictionaries will be completed by third-grade teachers… we’re working on some resources and should have everything ready in a day or two! Stay tuned!

(L-R) Mrs. & Mr. Annis, Mrs. & Mrs. Ricker, and Mr. Boomsma got the dictionaries ready at the December Meeting… Mrs. Engstrom helped but hid when the photo was taken by Mrs. Boomsma! We also sorted hats and mittens to deliver to school nurses for distribution to students who need them, thanks to our Blistered Finger Knitters.

December Meeting Changes!

Friday Meeting will now take place on Thursday in conjunction with Piscataquis Pomona Meeting

After careful consideration, we’ve decided to combine the Valley Grange “Breakfast for Supper” with the Piscataquis Pomona Meeting on Thursday, December 3, 2020! That means our supper Thursday night at 6 p.m. won’t be the traditional Pomona Potluck… but folks are encouraged to bring a breakfast-type dish to share. Walter will provide his classic “Apple French Toast” casserole… Bill says he’ll bring beans, they’re for breakfast too… Mary’s makin’ bacon! Questions regarding the meal are welcome!

We are scaling back a bit… which means we’ll eliminate the optional gift exchange usually held during the December Pomona Meeting–these are challenging times, and we’re trying to simplify! We also won’t be collecting items for a food cupboard, instead, we’ll consider cash donations to a food cupboard or the Parkman Grange SAD 4 Santa Project.

One activity we’ll be looking for some help with is labeling dictionaries! It looks like we’ll just be dropping off the dictionaries this year. I did manage an in-person presentation at PCES but that will probably be the only exception.

To further clarify, we’re talking about Thursday, December 3rd… Breakfast for Supper at 6 pm, primarily the responsibility of Valley Grange… the meeting at 7 pm will be a Piscataquis Pomona Meeting and we’re hoping Pomona Lecturer Dave Pearson will regale us with an appropriate “Lecturer’s Program.”  And this takes place at Valley Grange. Frankly, we don’t expect a crowd so we should be able to respect physical distancing… bring your facemasks. We’re Grangers; we can make this work!

Annis Receives Award

GUILFORD — An area Grange member who has been dedicated to the organization at the local and state levels, served the region in the Maine Legislature and in local government and has given back to the community in many other ways was honored by Piscataquis Pomona — the local Grange district — on June 4. Jim Annis of Dover-Foxcroft received the Piscataquis Pomona Award for Public Service as part of the monthly Piscataquis Pomona gathering held at the Valley Grange.

Piscataquis Pomona Overseer/Maine State Grange Communications Director Walter Boomsma said the honor is being bestowed upon Annis “for personal commitment and involvement as a servant to the public.” He added, “It is a real honor and pleasure to give you this Jim.”

Pomona Grange Overseer Walter Boomsma presents Public Service Award to Jim Annis

Annis was also presented with a Legislative from the area’s Augusta delegation, Rep. Norm Higgins, I-Dover-Foxcroft, Rep. Paul Stearns, R-Guilford and Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville. 

“Jim we all know has been a dutiful public servant and has served in many, many rolls,” Stearns said. He said he worked with Annis on the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council board and Annis always “does the right thing, for the right reason.”

Higgins said he and his wife have sat behind Annis and his wife Mary (a fellow Grange member) at Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church services for many years. “Jim leads by example, he quietly demonstrates that. 

“For me it has always been your religious life that has always been the outstanding example for my wife and I,” Higgins said.

Davis said he and Annis campaigned together in years past and “I say we’re friends for life.” 

“Jim worked hard when he was in the Legislature, he was there every day,” Davis said. He said Annis is dedicated “not only to Grange, but to Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis County and the State of Maine.”

Annis, who first learned of the award during the pre-meeting supper, recently stepped down as legislative director of the Maine State Grange. Those present were reminded about some of Annis’ other community endeavors including the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society and serving as a Piscataquis County commissioner. 

Past Maine State Master Steve Verrill said he appointed Annis to the state legislative committee, where he served for about a decade. Verrill said Annis “was a big asset to the committee and if we had any resolutions we needed someone to sponsor them in the Legislature he always took care of that.”

“We want to thank you for all you have done for the Grange and you are not done,” Verrill said.

Mary Annis spoke next and she said, “I am very supportive in all he does going back to when we were first married and he gets involved in the board of education in Wallingford, Connecticut.” 

“It’s been fun and we have met a lot of wonderful people along the way,” she added.

“You have been a great master for the Valley Grange and what you have heard tonight is true,” Boomsma said.

“I started off as a PTA president and cub master at the same time and from there it’s just blossomed,” Annis said.

He said after his family moved to Dover-Foxcroft he was asked to run for the Legislature. Following his time in Augusta, Annis said he was asked to serve on the town selectboard and later encouraged to run for a seat on the county commissioners. Annis mentioned he would be 83 by the time his current term as a commissioner comes to an end at the conclusion of the year and had planned to step down from the government seat.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Annis said. “My father said when you take on a problem you give it 100 percent, you don’t slow down.”

Exploring Traditions and Connections

Here you can watch and listen to the discussion between National Grange Communications Director Amanda Brozana Rio and author Walter Boomsma as they explore some of the topics from the book and what they mean to Grangers and Granges today–especially during the current pandemic.

Walter’s book is available from

Connect with us!

The Grange Salutation is “A Granger places faith in God, nurtures hope, dispenses charity, and is noted for fidelity.” Now more than ever, we need to connect. We are all in this together. If you agree, connect with us by leaving a comment, contacting any Valley Grange Member, or sending an email!

VALLEY GRANGE ANNOUNCES AD CONTEST WINNERS

Guilford—Over forty 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 twelfth 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 Mark Arthers students labored to produce ads that would promote the Grange and its programs.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is a 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.”

Winners included Teegan Pomerleau (3rd place), Lillyon Boutilier  (2nd place), and Ava Edes (1st place). Ava’s ad included a book being devoured by a book worm and two people reading together, noting that “volunteers are needed” to “come help kids learn.”

Ava’s first place ad will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year and featured on the Valley Grange Website.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor several programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love involved with the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Town Meeting Time!

It’s town meeting season and time to do your civic duty by attending! And as long as you’re going, Valley Grange could use your help.

We appreciate the strong support we receive from individuals, communities and businesses. That support comes in the form of time and money. And since we’re good stewards, 100% of that support directly benefits our local communities in some way.

In spite of our best fundraising efforts, we continue to struggle to support everything we do. However, we are financially challenged every year. Therefore, for 2020 we’ve decided to turn to our local communities for some help. Earlier this a letter was mailed to each town that benefits from our Words for Thirds Dictionary Project. We are asking those towns to consider a small donation to Valley Grange as part of the town’s budget.

When you attend town meeting this year, please stay until the end when these warrant articles are reviewed and voted on. We’d genuinely appreciate a word or two of support from those who are familiar with our efforts to support our kids and communities. Thanks for ALL you do to keep Valley Grange “going and growing.”

As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas do not hesitate to contact a member of join us for a meeting!


View a copy of the letter sent to towns.

View the Valley Grange Fact Sheet summarizing our projects and programs.

Klicking Kneedles Knit!

You are more than welcome, Mrs. Viera! For those not familiar with this, we have knitters as far away as New Jersey who help us produce hats and mittens for our kids in area school districts where we also distribute dictionaries… If you’d like to help keep kids warm, contact Mary Annis or any Grange Member… we’ll take one or one hundred!