Aug 262018

It all started with an inquiry regarding Hope Grange #299. Emily Saladino wondered if we might have, buried somewhere and gathering dust, archived historical information regarding the Grange, their membership, and programming. Fortunately, our conversation didn’t stop there.

As?we talked, I learned that Emily has undertaken an interesting project for The Hope Elementary School. Her project has been endorsed by the Hope Historical Society but they had very little information regarding Hope Grange.

Emily’s filling a large traveling trunk with information, symbols, and items that represent Hope’s history in particular and Maine history in general. The trunk will become a resource when the school children (ages 7-11) study their local history. The starting point is 1792, with concentration is between the years 1856 – 1946. (Some of the best Grange years in terms of membership growth and expansion!) Emily says, “Granges were a huge part of life in this rural town, filling practical and social needs.? As Hope was a farming community up to the early 1960s most kids, then, belonged to 4-H or Young Farmers clubs.

Emily is seeking information and small artifacts or facsimiles to be included in the trunk. At this point, she only has photos of buildings and the Grange Logo. She’d like to have some general history of the accomplishments of Grange, how it influenced the lives of members and some interesting anecdotes about programs and events.

Can we help her with this project? I’ll bet we can! I’ve already sent some information and on my next trip to the Valley Grange Hall will be poking around to see if we have some items we can donate. Obviously, any information or memories specific to Hope Grange would be great but bear in mind general information and historical items will work. This is a great opportunity to help preserve history in a meaningful way while broadcasting the value of the Grange to curious young minds. Emily adds that she would be happy to “include a pitch for Grange participation and any of its youth-oriented programs.”

If you think you can help, you can comment on this post, contact Emily directly by email  (esaladinoatoptonlinedotnet?subject=Hope%20Trunk%20Project)  , or send your information, ideas, etc. to the Maine State Grange Webmaster  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg?subject=Hope%20Trunk%20Project)  ?for forwarding.

Just in case it hasn’t occurred to you… this could also be an idea and inspiration for other Granges around the state. Teachers and administration are currently very busy starting the school year, but in another month or two it would be great to hear about some Granges who’ve contacted their local schools with an offer to provide a trunk of historical resources! It’s also a wonderful way to connect to other community organizations such as the local historical society, bring history to life, and promote the Grange. Let me know if I can help!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

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Aug 182018

Webmaster’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from an email newsletter published by Paul Stearns, Maine State Representative for District 119.

As summer draws to a close and children start heading back to school, family life can get pretty hectic.? It is important to remember – and share with your children – some key?tips that?will help?keep them safe and healthy throughout the school year.

Getting to School

Whether children walk, ride their bicycle, or take the bus to school, it is vitally important that they – and the motorists around them – take proper safety precautions.

Walkers ?

  • Walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk and you must walk in the street, walk facing traffic
  • Before crossing the street, stop and look left, right and left again to see if cars are coming
  • Never dart out in front of a parked car
  • Parents:? Practice walking to school with your child, crossing streets at crosswalks when available
  • Never walk while texting or talking on the phone
  • Do not walk while using headphones

Bike Riders ?

  • Always wear a helmet that is?fitted and secured properly
  • Children need to know the rules of the road:? Ride single file on the right side of the road, come to a complete stop before crossing the street, and walk the bike across
  • Watch for opening car doors and other hazards
  • Use hand signals when turning
  • Wear bright-colored clothing

Bus Riders ?

  • Teach children the proper way to get on and off the bus
  • Line up six feet away from the curb as the bus approaches
  • If seat belts are available, buckle up
  • Wait for the bus to stop completely before standing
  • Do not cross in front of the bus if possible, or walk at least 10 feet ahead until you can see the other drivers

Drivers, Share the Road ?

  • Don’t block crosswalks
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and take extra care in school zones
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Never pass a bus loading or unloading children
  • The area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children; stop far enough back to allow them to safely enter and exit the bus

Prevent Injuries at School

The following are more discussion topics and resources for parents of school-age children.

Jul 312018

Webmaster’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter?published by Paul Stearns State Representative for District 119. Sounds like a great opportunity!

One of the many challenges adults face as they return to college is financing their education.? The University of Maine System (UMS) has an?Adult Degree Completion Scholarship?fund to help Maine residents return to school and complete their academic studies.? For many, this may have begun years ago, but for a variety of reasons, final coursework was not completed.

These funds are dedicated to support adult students returning to college after an absence of at least three years or more and who are completing their very first baccalaureate degree.? Applicants may qualify for up to $4,000 per academic year for up to eight consecutive semesters.

Students returning to school have two opportunities to apply for the Adult Degree Completion Scholarship.? The priority* deadlines for new applicants are listed below.

*Please note:? Applications will continue to be accepted after the deadlines if funding remains available.

  • August 1 – to be considered for a full academic year award beginning in the fall semester.
  • December 1?– to be considered for a spring semester award.
  • All renewal applications are due no later than June 1 of each year.

The electronic application takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and may be found?here.? Prior to completing this application, it is recommended that you contact your campus?navigator?to review your eligibility and discuss your plan for completing your bachelor’s degree.? Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for consideration:

  • must be a resident of the State of Maine;
  • must be a matriculated student at a UMS institution seeking a first baccalaureate degree;
  • must be an undergraduate reentry student who has experienced a gap (three years or more) in the pursuit of postsecondary education;
  • must have a minimum of 30 credits earned from any institution toward your degree;
  • must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed FAFSA; and
  • must be registered at least part time — six‐eight credits per semester.

Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Brochure

Jun 122018

Mill Stream Grange Master, Paul Lavender, presents 25-year membership certificates to Jill Sampson (l) and Louise Kilponen.

Mill Stream Grange secretary Jill Sampson (r) presented the 5th annual Dorothy L. Waugh Memorial scholarship to Mt. Blue High School senior Maggie Murray on June 5. The scholarship is awarded each year to a student who will be going on to college to pursue a career in agriculture, horticulture, or animal husbandry.

Jun 082018

We can’t resist sharing a few notes we’ve received from Mrs. Gokas’ Third Grade Class at Piscataquis Community Elementary School! The kids wrote them as part of wrapping up this school year and getting ready for summer.

Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for all you do for our school. It means a lot to us. We enjoy all the stuff you help make happen. For example, Bookworm, Arts Alive, Words for Thirds, and GrowME.?

I have a lot of fun doing all of these programs you help with.

I like the dictionary that you gave us.

Thank you for letting us read to you and be able to have Arts Alive and other programs like Arts Alive.


(We think she really likes Arts Alive!)

Valley Grange Bookworms Rock!

Dear Valley Grange,

Thank you for all that you have done for our school. We really appreciate it.

The GrowME Program was really fun. My grass plant is still alive.

The dictionary, Words for Thirds that you have given third grade has been really helpful for me in the time that has passed.?

The Bookworm Program has been really enjoyable in the passed two years. It has taught me to read more comfortably with other people each time.

The Arts Alive Program that you’ve helped with over the years have made it very enjoyable for our school.

Thank you so much!!



Nearly 2,000 dictionaries presented so far!

Dear Vally Grange,

Thank you for all the stuff you do for us.

A few things you do are GrowME, Word for Thirds, Bookworms, and Arts Alive.

You do that for our school.



Dear Valley Grange,

Promoting Agricultural Literacy!

Thank you for all of the things you have done for us.

One thing you have done that I know that all of us appreciate is you giving all of us a dictionary. I know we use it a lot.?

The next thing you have done for us is that you put on the program GrowME. For example, this year we built dirt babies. That was really fun.

My favorite part is when you come in and have us read to you. I love to read with Bookworms.



Dear Third Graders,

Thank you for your letters. We are glad you enjoy and appreciate the things we do together.?

We really like learning, working, and playing with you. We have fun too!

Have a good summer. We’ll see you in the fall!

Valley Grange Bookworms and Members

P.S. Come see us at the River Festival this summer!

Apr 042018

At least one second-grader from Guilford now knows it does NOT come from brown cows, thanks to the GrowME Program created by Valley Grange of Guilford and delivered with the assistance of Piscataquis County/UMaine Extension/4-H.

We completed activities at SeDoMoCha Elementary (353 students), Milo Elementary (121), Greenville Elementary (77 students), and Piscataquis Community Elementary (79 students) for a total of 630 students and 40 classes in four districts.

As impressive as the numbers are, volunteers take pride in the impact we have on kids and teachers. Mrs. Kimball’s letter speaks to that… and our experience confirms it. For example, in several butter-making classes, we had “teachable moments.” In one case, the teacher and I “co-taught” a couple of math lessons… reinforcing my belief that relevance and curriculum fit is what makes this program work. In one kindergarten class, a young “farmer” shared that he has “6,000 horses” which he “rides and feeds every day.” (I whispered to the teacher, “I’ll bet you’ve told him a billion times not to exaggerate.”) I think he represents enough excitement for agriculture, farming, and the GrowME program that we may forgive him for his distortion.

A surprise visit from Channel Five and Channel Seven kept Mrs. Bosworth and I hopping during our last day of activities in Guilford. While Mrs. B tried to hide, she did end up in the story… and you’ll have to laugh at some of the faces the kids made while tasting apples:

Link to WABI TV5 Story:

Link to Fox22/7 Story:

A sincere thanks to those who contributed time, materials and support to this program. There’s always lots of growing in GrowME!

SeDo Thank You

Nov 182017

Meenahga Grange member Laurie McBurnie presents a $300 check to Nobleboro Central School’s Battle of the Bookers club. Front from left: Izzy Peterson, Cheyenne Wadford, Paige Lafrenaye, Olivia Stiles, Dante Maskell, and McBurnie.?Back: Alden Hunold, Ivan Coffin, Ben Sawyer, William Sherrill, and John Rice. (Paula Roberts photo)

Meenahga Grange, of Waldoboro, donated $300 to Nobleboro Central School’s Battle of the Books teams. The money is to be used to purchase books for the AOS 93 program.

“We appreciate the support of the Meenahga Grange for our Battle of the Books effort this year,” said NCS librarian Kris Harriman, who co-coached the teams last year with eighth-grade teacher Laurie Stiles. “Our students already are thrilled and ready to start reading.”

Teams consist of four to six students each. Nobleboro fielded three teams last school year and captured three of the top four spots in the competition for grades six through eight at Lincoln Academy. The sixth-grade team, The Professors, placed first; The Bucket Squad came in third, and The Lit Squad took fourth.

The winning team won gift cards from Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shop in Damariscotta. All students received T-shirts and celebrated with a pizza party after the competition. The LA library staff and student aides hosted the event. Pizza was donated by The Penalty Box, Hilltop Stop in Damariscotta, and the Newcastle Publick House.

The five AOS 93 schools will compete this season. Schools pick a book each to read. Students then write trivia questions about each book. Librarians and Lincoln Academy staff then pick the best questions from each book for the trivia competition. “The better the question, the more likely you will get your own question,” a Nobleboro student said.

Last year students read “Misadventures of the Family Fletcher,” “The Boys Who Challenged Hitler,” “Crossover,” and “American Born Chinese.”

Sample questions from “American Born Chinese” include: Why did Gin change his hair? What did Tim say when Gin was first introduced to class? What does Gin turn into and why?

Nobleboro teams met every Friday at lunch last year and practiced by forming questions and asking other teams in their school to answer them.

“Part of it is to get books into students’ hands. Lincoln Academy is a big help. They donate one book and we have to buy the other three,” Harriman said.

Part of the fun of the Battle of the Books competition is to dress up in costumes. The Professors dressed up in lab coats and safety glasses, and the Great Salt Bay Community School team dressed like the Fletcher family.

This year’s Battle of the Books event is scheduled for March 23, 2018 at Lincoln Academy. LA students will moderate the event.

Oct 172017

Check out WABI – TV 5’s coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

Check out WVII – Fox News coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

This was our first dictionary day of the season… we still have more kids coming to the Grange Hall and three schools to visit! We’ve given out over 2,500 dictionaries in the sixteen years we’ve been doing this and it’s still one of the most exciting and fun things we do! Yesterday’s event included eighty kids from SeDoMoCha Elementary School. What fun!

Aug 182017

Webmaster’s Note: ?The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter?published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Looks like some potentially good resources for a timely Lecturer’s Program or?Family Health and Hearing Report!

As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect.? Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school.

The National Safety Council has a number of helpful resources that promote safety, including Pedestrian Safety, Safe Riding in a Car, Distracted Walking, First-Time Rider School Bus Tips, and more.

Also available on this site are video PSAs on Back to School:? Driving Safely with School Buses and Stop Bullying:? What Parents Can Do.

There are also?bullying and suicide prevention resources available on my website. For a slightly different perspective on the issue of bullying, read Where you fly makes a difference.