Jun 292014

Last year we received a number of compliments for our efforts to provide information regarding teams available to conduct officer installation ceremonies. So we’re going to do so again! If you are on a team or know of one, please send some basic information to the webmaster: who to contact, preferred dates and times (if any), and areas of the state the team will cover. This post will be updated as new information arrives and will remain at the top of the site until sometime in September. Also, don’t forget to send your installation dates and details for the events calendar! Send info to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  

State Master Vicki Huff has a team, but regrets to announce the team is already booked to capacity! Let this be a lesson in the benefits of planning early!

Installation team available to install officers for the 2014-2015 Grange year. We are located in the Bangor area, however we will travel as needed. Just call Rolf Staples, Sr  (%20swederolfataoldotcom)  . at 973-3976 or e-mail by clicking name.

Jul 212014

Members and friends of Piscataquis Pomona recently joined together for their annual picnic fun and fund-raiser at the home of Janice and Walter Boomsma. Folks came from around the county to pitch some horseshoes, feed the mosquitoes, eat from a smorgasbord of gastronomical goodies, join in a spirited bidding competition for items ranging from talking flyswatters to little blue Smurfs, and–for those who could handle the late hour, toast some marshmallows!

Birthday Babies Bill Bemis, Dot Hutchins, Walter Boomsma, and Betty VanDyke. Photo by Grace Lommel

Birthday Babies Bill Bemis, Dot Hutchins, Walter Boomsma, and Betty VanDyke. Photo by Grace Lommel

Again this year Harley served as honorary Gatekeeper and Greeter and for his reward received numerous bites of hotdogs and hamburgers as the meal progressed. He admitted he was a mite confused by the ladder game Bob Carroll set up… but did accept the fact he wasn’t allowed to play with those strange balls connected by a short length or rope…

Most saved room for desserts which included a special birthday cake with maple frosting and pine trees designed and baked by Andrea Rollins. Given there were four birthdays to celebrate there was some confusion during the singing!

This year’s auction was a “big one” that included a wide variety of items. While it was all in the spirit of fun, folks learned “there are no friends at auctions” and Dave Pearson attempted to demonstrate his auction prowess by upping a bid by eleven cents. Hotly contested items included some note cards, fresh produce from Rollins Orchards, and handcrafts by Betty VanDyke and Roger Ricker. Auctioneers Walter and Bill noted that some items looked very familiar. “Didn’t we sell this last year?” Unfortunately we can’t really tell you about the pumpkin spice potpourri that Betty “had to have” but if it works as promised on the package, things will get really interesting at Riverbend!

Auctioneers were Bill and Walter, with Mary Annis serving as teller. An “unaudited” report at the end of the evening suggested this might have been a record auction, raising  well over $100. Mary noted “We’re a really low-budget operation and will probably donate most of this to a worthy cause.”

The weather was perfect, there was plenty to eat and lots of smiles and laughs. The only thing missing this year was an item in the auction that could be worn as a hat. Although a small log carrier did function as a bonnet briefly… and we had way too much fun selling Roger’s handcrafted paper towel holder. If you haven’t attended one of these fun and fund-raisers, you’re missing out and now you have to wait a whole year for the next one!


Jul 162014

National Grange recently released an “E-Newsletter” with quite a collection of news and information… there’s an article that asks the question “Is your Grange Hall busy?” and offers a few simple and do-able suggestions to make it look more so. This is so timely given Master Vicki’s recent challenge regarding the appearance of our halls. Appearance is about the physical condition and how many cars are parked outside how often!

There’s a recipe for “Banana Split Pie” — bring one to the next potluck and you’ll be the dessert diva!

And here’s an offer that will surprise many: The National Grange, in conjunction with the Assembly of Demeter and Granges and Grange members in Oregon and Washington, has put together an Instructional Degree video covering the first four Degrees of the Order. This DVD walks you through the key elements that encompass up each Degree.”  The description doesn’t say how long the program is, but it sure sounds like a potential lecturer’s program… you’ll be amazed when you discover how easy and affordable it is! You can bet I’m ordering at least one… I’ll let you know more after I receive and review it!

Speaking of DVD’s… those who used the “Food For Thought” program will be interested in an update and the fact that there are more available…

You’ll also find an article regarding entering member information into a National Database that will include an instruction to contact your State Grange for a log in and password. We are not quite ready to start this here in Maine, so please be patient for a bit—we’ll be in touch.

These are just a few of the stories you’ll find in Grange Monthly! You can read the entire issue on the National Grange Website.

To subscribe, contact Stephanie Wilkins at National Grange by emailing her at swilkinsatnationalgrangedotorg

Jul 152014
Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

The July Bulletin has been released and posted to the website. If you don’t want to wait for the “snail mail” copy you can download yours from the Communications section of the “Program Books and Information Page.” Learn about the Grange Building at the Big E… find out what happened at the Northeast Youth Conference and Junior Grange Camp… where some of the resolutions from the past stand… what goes faster than a John Deer tractor… and a whole lot more! Anyone care to guess how many pounds of  coupons have been shipped overseas thanks to the “Coups for Troops” program? (You might know if you’ve been following the website. You’ll also learn how much of what they read most people actually remember…

You can print a copy and share it with a friend–just remember the Bulletin is designed to be printed on legal size paper.

“What great paper is the Earth; what a typeface is the Day; what ink is the Night! – Everyone prints, everyone reads; no one understands.”

― Xavier Forneret

Jul 142014
NelsonRobert and Agnes Nelson, Agriculture Directors

The summer is moving really fast!  The farmers have gotten their corn in and now are chopping and baling hay steady. Our hay field has already been chopped for the second time this summer.

The local farmers markets are beginning to have more available produce now. The local Amish Market has listed available summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, beet greens, string beans and strawberries. Bob and I went to Raven’s Strawberries in our area and picked fresh strawberries yesterday. They were really good.  The first time we picked three weeks earlier was great picking also.

We have contacted the hall superintendents for the Agriculture Fairs. Grange Agriculture Fair ribbons have been sent out and judges for the Grange exhibits as requested have been set up.  The first fair began over the Fourth of July week-end, Houlton Fair. We were over to Ossipee Valley Fair on July 11. There was one Grange exhibit there. We look forward to getting to as many fairs as we can. If you get to the fairs you want to make sure you take time to check the exhibits out. They are all so different and so much work goes into each and every one. The members of each exhibiting Grange should be commended for all of their work.  It is so time-consuming and rewarding.

The summer comes and goes so fast.  August will soon be here and we will have a booth at Maine Farm Days at Misty Farms in Clinton for Maine State Grange and the Ag Committees.

Our local Grange has started having our monthly Grange suppers on the third Saturday of the month through the month of September and the fourth Saturday in October. Suppers are the way we keep our Grange going financially.

Jul 142014

Matt Dunn

by Matt Dunn, Youth Director

Summer is here and I hope you all are having a great one. Please get to me with any scores for bowling or golf so we can make sure that all are recognized.

I am literally just back from the Northeast Youth Conference–an excellent gathering. I first want to congratulate and thank the New Hampshire Youth Committee for their hospitality and running of the conference. It was an extremely fun event with all the speeches, both prepared and impromptu, the sign-a-song, the radio spot and the drill competition. Also we had a very insightful talk from the National Youth Director on “Yes in the world of No” which I will explain more in the coming months. Please remember that the summer camping is next weekend the 19th and 20th in Saco. I hope to see many there.

Have a great July and please remember the assistants’ competition.

Jul 142014

HeartDr. Lesley Fernow writes a column called “Senior Matters” for the Piscataquis Observer in Dover Foxcroft. Valley Grange is privileged to have permission to use her past columns for our  “Health Beat” Feature and for the information to be reposted to the Maine State Grange website. Address your questions or comments  to lmfatfernowmedicalhousecallsdotcom  (lmfatfernowmedicalhousecallsdotcom)  , 207-992-6822. Please note that information is general in nature and specific questions should be addressed to your health care professional.

It’s summer time and it is time for people of all ages to Live It Up.  There are wonderful ways to start the month and to get out.  We recommend for maximum health benefit, seniors should do it with a kid.   What can be better for the spirit than fishing?  Teaching a “young-un” to fish.

This is a special opportunity for seniors who want to spend some “quality time” with grandchildren (your own or someone else’s!) and share your wisdom, patience and love of the outdoors.  It is also a time for children to remind us of how it was when everything was new and wonderful, to remind us how to really experience life as if it were the first time.   Sharing such moments with children gives meaning to our lives and allows us to pass on our dreams, skills and passions to the next generation.  It sometimes stretches us to answer questions we forgot kids ask, and reminds us to keep open to the joy of discovery which young children always have.  Our young children need the mentorship of older people to grow into healthy, responsible adults.  It is an opportunity for them to learn simple life skills from someone with time to spare who isn’t “measuring” their success.   Their parents may also thank you for spending the time with their child.

If fishing is not for you, or you are looking for more “entertainment,” invite a child to go to a fair or any on the many summer events in your area.  Whatever you do, call up a kid and grab an opportunity to “live it up”.

Whatever you are planning with young children, a few tips to make the trip easier:   pack a few easy, healthful snacks like granola bars, fruit, raisins.  Plan for short outings.  An hour or two may be enough for a vey young child.  Don’t plan on driving a long way to the destination-the child will get bored and may get cranky before you get there.  Most of all, have fun!

Jul 142014
By Karen Flagg,
CWA Director

Karen Flagg

Have you ever been to the Big E in Massachusetts where the Grange Store is located? Through the years, Maine has been a great supporter of this building with all of the beautiful handmade items that each and everyone of you donate and they are greatly appreciated. Along with the store, there is a room designated for each state upstairs that again with your generous donations help maintain the integrity of the Maine room. This year the Big E runs from September 12- 28.

If anyone has any items to donate this year, they can be brought to State Headquarters (check to make sure someone will be there) or bring them to the CWA Conference next month. Again, if anyone has non-Grangers making items and donating them, please let me know as this was an idea from our Community Service Chairwoman while chatting at National last year and the certificate was designed by Laurie McBurnie.

Looking forward to seeing you next month along with all of your various entries. I do want to thank all of my Committee Members for being so very supportive

Jul 112014
By Walter Boomsma,Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

Yes, I am one of those folks who can remember when the Internet first came into being. No, I did not invent it. It may come as no surprise that in those early days there were naysayers and profits of doom. One of the oft-publicized “dangers” seen by many was “information overload.” We were, according to many, in danger of collapsing under the weight of “too much information.” (The term was popularized in the 1970 book, “Future Shock” and we’ve suffered – or gained – an information explosion in the forty years since!)

While that might seem a bit amusing, we do have some issues these days related to the amount of information we receive. A slightly newer term called “information anxiety” has evolved. This is when we start worrying whether or not we have enough information… or too much? Is the information we have accurate and is the source reliable?

One way to reduce stress is to give and access available information efficiently and deliberately. Some readers are no doubt tired of my constant reminders to include the five “W’s” and one “H” when submitting events, but this is necessary to insure we are giving enough information. (And thanks to the Granger who recently submitted an event using those six words as an outline!)

Speaking of words, did you know that the average adult reads at a rate of 250 – 300 words per minute (with 70% comprehension)? When writing a typical Communications Column I tend to keep an eye on the word count. A long article is 750 words–but I know the average reader can finish it in under three minutes! There are times when I wish I could write that fast!

Now I could offer you a lot more information about this… such as why this is true (it has to do with the way we teach reading in school and includes fancy terms like “subvocalization”), but my goal is to encourage you to consider improving your communication skills by boosting your reading speed. If you were a runner, you would probably attempt to improve your speed. A musician would likely not spend his or her entire life playing scales, but would advance to more challenging pieces. Yet once out of school, most folks do little to improve their reading speed and comprehension. This is not an unpleasant task and huge improvments are possible. (Speed readers are known to achieve 1000 words per minute with 85% comprehension.)

You can take a simple, confidential “test” to determine your current speed and comprehension by visiting a number of sites. One I used is Reading Soft. Another is my Read Speed. (Bear in mind most “free” offers are used to entice you to purchase something–but in both of these “no purchase is necessary.”)

Spreeder.com is a free online speed reading tool designed to help you learn the art of speed reading. Wiki How offers tips that are perhaps less intimidating than a full-blown program. Be curious, make this fun! You may decide to enter the lecturer’s reading contest next year as your speed improves!

And I see I’ve reached 500 words. If you’re an average reader, it took you two minutes or so to read this. Invest a few more minutes in self-improvement and enjoy the returns!

Jul 102014
by Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director based on information provided by National Grange

Check out this learning opportunity!

National Grange recently announced that a generous donation from DCI will again allow the use of “fellows” in conjunction with National Conference. (DCI is a worldwide public affairs firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Houston and Brussels, Belgium, that has been a fantastic partner of the Grange for many years related to advocacy and coalition services.)

Is it news if no one knows it?

Is it news if no one knows it?

These fellows learn about basic and advanced communication practices, and put those skills to work by covering many aspects of convention, creating stories, providing assistance with the daily newsletter and much more. When they return home, they will have a better sense of how to provide their local and state Grange with assistance in the fields of newsletter writing/creation and public relations.

This is a great learning opportunity for the right person. Maine State Grange has been given the opportunity to nominate an individual for consideration. The successful candidate will receive lodging and food assistance from National Grange and some travel assistance from Maine State Grange.

Candidates must have a strong work ethic and plan to be available for work in Ohio from November 7 through November 16. While this is a learning opportunity, fellows are expected to work hard. In fact, National Grange has specifically requested candidates not have officer or other responsibilities during the conference. National Grange will supply equipment such as iPads, audio recorders and video/photo equipment.  Any fellow able to provide their own laptop, camera or recording device is highly encouraged to do so.

Please note: If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, you must contact Master Vicki immediately. Do NOT contact National Grange. Candidates must be nominated by their state Grange. Nomination does not guarantee acceptance. The deadline for Maine to submit nominations is August 1, 2014, so you must complete the application process well in advance.

Jul 102014
Harriman 1By Sherry Harriman, MSG Lecturer

Aug 23 Lecturers Conference  9:00 am – 11:45 at State Grange Headquarters.  New programs passed out and review; talent at 10:00; story, skit & poetry awards at 10:30; workshops; door prizes and fun.  Lunch will be served at Noon by CWA before their conf. which starts at 1:00. Talent Contest – Open to Sub members – time limit 6 minutes. Vocal; Instrumental; or Variety Act Advance registration helpful.

Sep 1- Subordinate and Pomona reports due to my home. Thank you to those who have sent in a report or let me know you were re-elcted or changed.

Sep 1 –  Book Reading club due to my home.  Include: name; address; Grange name & no.; total of books read; and total of pages read.  List title, author & number of pages for each book.

Oct 16 – Art and Photo at state session.