Mar 312015

submitted by State Historian Stanley Howe

Obediah Gardener was a Senator from Maine; born near Port Huron, Mich., September 13, 1852; moved to Union, Maine, with his parents in 1864; attended the common schools, Eastman’s Business College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Coburn Classical Institute, Waterville, Maine; engaged in the lumber, lime, and creamery business in Rockland, Maine, and also in agricultural pursuits and in cattle raising; member of the State board of agriculture; Master of the Maine State Grange 1897-1907; unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Maine in 1908; appointed as chairman of the board of State assessors 1911, but resigned, having been appointed Senator; appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William P. Frye, and served from September 23, 1911, until March 3, 1913; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1913; appointed a member of the International Joint Commission created to prevent disputes regarding the use of the boundary waters between the United States and Canada in 1913, and served as chairman of the United States section 1914-1923; returned to Rockland, Maine, and retired; moved to Augusta, Maine, where he died July 24, 1938; interment in Achorn Cemetery, Rockland, Maine.?His wife Corinna S. Gardner was State Flora from 1902 to 1907.

Mar 282015

WABI GrowME 2015

by Walter Boomsma

Third graders at PCES in Guilford were already pretty excited because Valley Grange volunteers and bookworms Mrs. Boomsma and Ms. Erwin were coming to help them make “dirt babies” as part of the GrowME Collaboration. But they became even more pumped when they saw WABI’s Caitlin Burchill and a camera operator headed their way.?One teacher asked us to pop in and say “Hi” to the kids… and a third grader came rushing up to Cait with a quickly made card for the “wether woman” that said inside, “I love you!”

The resulting video can be viewed on the WABI TV 5 website.

GrowME is?a collaboration between Valley Grange, PCSWCD (Piscataquis Soil and Water Conservation District) and UMaine Piscataquis County Extension designed to build a truly local program of agriculturally themed, hands on activities for kids led by local volunteers. The program was developed three years ago as an outgrowth from Valley Grange’s program with PCES (Piscataquis Community Elementary School). Teachers and students had been enjoying and learning from activities conducted by the Grange and it was thought expansion of the program might be possible by forming a collaboration. This year’s volunteers included Grangers, Master Gardeners, 4-H Club Members, and community citizens interested in GrowingME, growing kids, and growing plants. These volunteers will visit six schools, approximately fifty classrooms and 700 students, kindergarten through third grade.

Kindergarteners complete a graph showing the class’s favorite farm animal, first graders taste and sort apples provided compliments of Rollins Orchards in Garland, second graders make butter, and third graders assemble dirt babies. Volunteers often have some great stories to tell about their experiences with the teachers and kids and often report learning themselves. For example, when asked what the difference is between a horse and a “horsey,” one kindergartener explained, “Horsey’s are smaller.”

For additional information about the GrowME Project:

Visit the GrowME website.

Visit the Valley Grange website.


Mar 282015

jump_around_and_celebrate_300_clr_11856 (1)April is Grange Month across the nation! Founded in 1867, the Grange was the first fraternal farm organization in the country.? Today it is also recognized as America’s number one rural family organization.? There are nearly 300,000 members in 3,400 local or “Subordinate” Granges across 37 states.? Grange month includes a number of opportunities for visiting a Grange near you. Here’s a sampling of Grange events in the Piscataquis area.

On Thursday, April 2, Piscataquis Pomona Grange members visit Parkman Grange for a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by their monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. Pomona Grange is the regional association of local Granges and anyone may attend. Piscataquis Pomona Grange includes East and South Sangerville Grange, Parkman Grange, Garland Grange, Dexter Grange, and Valley Grange in Guilford. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Grange closest to you. For additional information about this meeting or Granges in the Piscataquis Area, contact Bill Bemis at 924-3537.


Several Grangers visit with State Community Service Director Christine Corliss and husband Dan following a recent Pomona meeting. Granges in our area are proud to serve our communities.

On Friday, April 10, Garland Grange will serve up a Baked Beans and Pasta Public Supper from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The menu includes baked beans, mac and cheese, homemade bread and desserts. All you can eat for $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children age 5 – 12, under age 5 eat free. Takeout is available and proceeds benefit the Garland Grange Building Fund. For more information call 924-6954.

Also on Friday, April 10, Garland Grange hosts a Family Contra Dance from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.—a great family friendly program with live music. All dances are taught. Admission is $7 per person or $12.00 per family. Caller is John McIntire and music by Some Reel People. For more information call 924-3925 or 277-3961. Garland Grange Hall is located on Oliver Hill Road in the center of Garland.

On Saturday, April 11 East Sangerville Grange will host their annual? “Cultivating Community” program from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.? Conducted in partnership with the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, this free program “Healthy Soil Matters” will be of interest to commercial farmers and home gardeners. A complimentary lunch will be served by the PRYMCA Healthy Community Initiative. For more information and a reservation contact Erin Callaway at eecallawayatgmaildotcom  (eecallawayatgmaildotcom)   or 343-0171. East Sangerville Grange is located on East Sangerville Road.

On Saturday, April 11 Parkman Grange will host their third Daddy Daughter Dance at the Parkman Grange Hall. Any girl thirteen and under may bring that “special man” in life. Tickets are $5 per person, available at the door. A DJ will be spinning tunes and running dance contests. Light refreshments will be served and door prizes give. Keepsake photos will also be taken. The dance will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. For more information contact Sue Manchester at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is also taking reservations for their Fifteenth Annual Mothers Day Tea on Saturday, May 9. Tickets are $5 and reservations can be made by calling Sue? at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is located at the four corners in Parkman.

On Friday, April 17 Valley Grange Bookworms and friends will attend the Bikes for Books Assembly starting at 8:00 a.m. at Piscataquis Elementary School. The Bikes for Books Program is sponsored by the Mount Kineo Masons Lodge to support literacy and Bookworms who visit school to listen to kids read love it!

On Friday, April 17, Valley Grange hosts a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by a CWA Program starting at 7:00 p.m. The CWA committee of the Grange celebrates domestic skills such as crafts, sewing, woodworking and all are invited. For more information visit or contact Jim Annis at 564-0820. Valley Grange is located at 172 Guilford Center Road.


Mar 272015

Spring Potluck 3-21-15The East Sangerville Grange (ESG) and the Maine Highlands Chapter of MOFGA (MeHiMo) opened the doors and kitchen of the old Grange hall Saturday March 21 for a community potluck meal, inviting any new area farmers to come and meet the Grangers.? Nearly?thirty people enjoyed a wide array of foods, many of which were produced and prepared from local Grange and MeHiMo members’ gardens and farms.

Seven farm families new to the area or beginning their farming journeys accepted the invitation.? Grange Master Erin Callaway led a round of introductions which revealed that local agriculture opportunities have recently attracted people from as far away as Alaska and Michigan and encouraged native sons and daughters to return home again.? After the meal, informal socializing cemented new webs of friendship and knowledge.

Increasing local food production on both the home and commercial scale is an important mission of the Grange and MeHiMo groups, which plan to hold many workshops and events during the year to help strengthen community skills.

On April 11,? the third “Cultivating Community” gathering will be held at the Grange from 10 AM to 2:30 PM, honoring the importance of Soil to our livelihoods.?For more information contact Erin Callaway at eecallawayatgmaildotcom  (eecallawayatgmaildotcom)   (564-7167) or Sam Brown at infoatddattdotorg  (infoatddattdotorg)   (277-4221)

Webmaster’s Note: East Sangerville Grange’s Master Erin Callaway will be a featured speaker at our Leadership Conference on April 12… come and discover how this Grange is growing!


Mar 262015
Treasurer Bonnie Goodenow goes over plans for the flea market and Grange Month supper with Master Craig Johnson

Treasurer Bonnie Goodenow goes over plans for the flea market and Grange Month supper with Master Craig Johnson

By Merton Ricker

West Bath Seaside Grange #592 will celebrate Grange Month with a public supper. It will be on Saturday, April 18th, from 4:30 to 6:30. Honored guests will be former members of West Bath Grange #154.

That Grange was chartered in 1875, meeting in members houses at first, but with plans to build a hall. This was completed at the present location of the Grange on New Meadows Road and dedicated in 1901.

That Grange had a long history, but was closed in 2011. Just a few years later, a group of local residents didn’t want to see the Grange and all its history forgotten. They reorganized in 2013 and received a charter for West Bath Seaside Grange #592. Now, to celebrate Grange Month, former members of West Bath #154 have been contacted and will be recognized at the supper on April 18th.

West Bath Seaside will also hold an indoor flea market on Saturday, March 28 from 9 to 2 p.m.? There will be tables with crafts, antiques, yard sale items, and a special Grange table to reach out with information for those who attend. Grange members also will be offering “goodies with coffee” at the event.

Mar 252015
NIE Fourth 2015SM

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

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

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

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 4-1

Mar 252015

leader at helmThis Leadership Conference will be one of the more unique things we’ve done in some time—a truly “open conference” that just about anyone can attend—even non-members!

We’re featuring some experts! We’ve already told you about Halcyon and Danville Junction Grange, but we’ve got one more and it’s amazing! Another Grange that’s “making things happen” is East Sangerville?Grange from Piscataquis Pomona.

East Sangerville Grange has been enjoying increased interest — related largely to ESG’s renewed emphasis on the traditional Grange mission of supporting local agriculture. In 2013, ESG introduced a new annual event called “Cultivating Community” to provide a local forum for area farmers, gardeners, and growers to learn about current agricultural trends and opportunities. In 2014, ESG helped create the Maine Highlands MOFGA chapter. ESG also partners with other Piscataquis organizations to support their programs. Meanwhile, ESG Master Erin Callaway attends lots of agricultural and local food events around the state. As a result, she has been invited to speak about ESG at state ag events and ESG was included in a recent MOFGA article about the resurgence of Granges in Maine.

There will be plenty of time for questions (and answers!)… You do not want to miss this opportunity! In fact, if you know someone from an organization (like MOFGA), why not invite them to come and get a taste of how Granges and like-minded organizations work together!

Registering for the event is not required, but will help us have some idea of how many to prepare for… there will be some handouts! We’re encouraging Granges to carpool and make it a semiofficial event for your Grange…?it could be like the “mystery rides” of days gone by… for that matter, why not organize your Pomona!? You could even look into chartering a bus! It’s time for us to start “thinking big!”

You can register right here!


Mar 222015
I can do this!

I can do this!

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

I don’t think I can recall a meeting at state level when I’ve not been reminded, “Not everyone has a computer.” The obvious implication is that we are an older organization and most members cannot or will not adopt technology. Or perhaps it’s more fundamental and there are people who think I just don’t know that there are some people who are do not own a computer.

Aside from assuring everyone that I do know that not everyone has a computer (the reality is just about everyone uses a computer–when driving a car, using an ATM, etc.), we might take a look at the myths behind the bias that “old folks” are not suited to using computers. This article is a fairly short read that starts with a younger person trying to learn to knit. (Not everyone has knitting needles and knows how to knit.)

Click the link and give the article a quick read and see what prejudice and bias you may have about seniors and computers!

Too Old for Technology?

Mar 192015

It’s Spring, which means it is time for Garland Grange’s Annual Public Supper Season. For well over a decade, Garland Grange has been providing monthly public suppers as a major fund-raising effort.

The public meals have grown the organization’s treasury to allow for minor improvements to the building over the years.

“We really appreciate the community’s support of Garland Grange,” says Garland Grange Master and Chef Bill Bemis. ” We have developed quite a following for our suppers.”

Over the past few years loyal supper patrons have come to expect Bill’s famous baked beans and macaroni and cheese as well as the homemade bread and desserts. However, as the treasury was building, some community members asked about what the money was being used for.

“I am the first one they see when they come into supper,” says Secretary Andrea Rollins, “so I am often asked what their money is being used towards.”

Rollins is happy to be able to have a great answer for them this year. The fall of 2014 saw Garland Grange undertaking two major capital projects on the historic hall.

First, was the drilling of a new well. For many years (no one is certain as to when), Garland Grange has been getting water from the next door Garland Community Baptist Church. When the water line froze under the parking lot between the two buildings in the spring of 2014 causing delay of the Grange’s 2014 public supper season, the need for an independent water source was brought to the forefront. The fall of 2014 a new well was dug and pump installed.

Second, the major project was the installation of a new heating system. For a couple years now, the oil furnace at the hall was giving the organization more problems than heat. The need for a newer, more energy efficient system was obvious. So in January of 2015, an oil furnace and new duct work was installed.? The furnace was of no cost to the Grange, thanks to Treasurer and local business owner Ernest Rollins. Rollins spoke with a neighbor who works for Bangor Natural Gas. Thanks to the movement in Bangor to switch to natural gas, there was an oil furnace available free for the taking. All it took was three Grange members and a family member a Sunday afternoon to disassemble and remove the furnace from the basement of an apartment house on Forest Avenue in Bangor. However, the cost came when hiring a licensed heating contractor to reassemble the “Humpty Dumpty” furnace. While he was there, he suggested some rearranging of the heating duct work at the hall to improve the efficiency of heating the large, old building.

The new heating system and well will allow the building better year-round use. “Right now, we shy any from much going on in the winter time at the building. Our hope to allow rent of the building for weddings and parties as well as other events such as game days,” says Bemis.

The first public supper will be held on Friday, April 10 from 5 to 7 pm. The menu will include Baked Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, homemade bread and desserts. As always the meal is all you can eat for $7.00 for adults. $3.00 for children, under age 5 FREE.

Garland Grange thanks the loyal patrons for their continued support, and invites the public to come check out the upgrades at the hall.

Another exciting addition to the public supper schedule is the conjunction of a Family Contra Dance following each supper. This tradition was started last year and the great collaboration has continued. The first contra dance will be held on the same night of the supper starting at 7:00 pm. This a great family friendly event with live music. All dances are taught, so anyone can do it. Admission to the dance is $7.00 per person and $12.00 per family. The caller is John McIntire and the music is provided by Some Reel People.

In addition, as Community Service Committee chair, Andrea Rollins wants to thank all the supper patrons for using the suppers as opportunities to bring in all the items collected by the Grange. These include Campbell Soup Labels, Box Tops for Education, soda can tabs, pennies for House in the Woods, used postage stamps, and Coupons for the Troops. Rollins encourages everyone to keep bringing these items in.

Garland Grange meets every first and third Friday of the month at 7:30 pm at the hall which is located on Oliver Hill Road in Garland. For more information about Garland Grange call Bill Bemis at 924-4123 or check Garland Grange #76 on Facebook.

Mar 182015

leader at helmHave you registered yet? This Conference will be one of the more unique things we’ve done in some time—a truly “open conference” that just about anyone can attend—even non-members!

We’re featuring some experts! But these experts aren’t just folks who have a title or office. They can be considered experts because they are actually “doing it!” We’ve identified three community Granges that have track records of “making things happen” and you’ll get to hear how each does it. One of the Granges we will be featuring is Danville Junction?Grange from Androscoggin?Pomona.

Danville Junction Grange presents more dictionaries to third graders than any other Grange in Maine! They have also been successful in raising money and collaborating to make some of the much needed changes to their Grange Hall. They also place high importance on membership (approximately 100 members on the roster!) and have been very successful in recruiting new members. Danville Junction Lecturer Glenys Ryder will be sharing some of their “secrets!”

There will be plenty of time for questions (and answers!)… depending on how many participants we have either by panel discussion or “breakout” sessions where you can visit with one of these featured Grange leaders.

Registering for the event is not required, but will help us have some idea of how many to prepare for… there will be some handouts! Why not invite a friend who is not currently involved in the Grange? What a great opportunity to show him or her what the Grange is about!

You can register right here!

Stay tuned… we’ll be announcing another presenter soon…!