May 302017

By Rick Grotton,
Master, Maine State Grange

If there is any Grange out there that needs staves, implement cases, ballet boxes, older manuals, cloths, and sashes, etc. there are plenty of items available at Headquarters. Please let me know what you need and when to arrange to pick up.  June 24, 2017 is our yard sale so that would be a good time for pick up.

May 142017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

The vegetable garden is in and doing well, my herb garden looks great (to me, anyways) and the warm weather is finally here. This has been a busy time for all Grangers, especially with elections happening. If you have changed positions please help your successor to learn the duties of the office.  New Treasurers and Secretaries need to know the correct procedures to do their duties. New Masters need to know what their duties are and how to run a meeting effectively. New Assistants need to learn the floor work and new Stewards to do the same and the procedures to announce distinguished or invited guests. The Deputy ‘s role is to help answer your questions and to have your Grange go through various floor work rituals. When your Deputy is present, use this time to bring any concerns, questions, or explanations. The Deputy is there to help you. They are the liaisons between the Subordinate Granges and myself.  Most Granges run smoothly, however, issues do arise and need to be resolved. If your Grange cannot solve your issue or disagreement, contact your Deputy, who will contact me should the issue still exists. I will then visit or resolve the issue. This “chain of command” has been working well and a big thank you to all (including the Deputies) for making this successful.

There seem to be quite a few members who have email addresses but are not subscribed to the website. Some seem unaware that it exists. Please alert members of your Grange or Pomona how to subscribe (this could be a Lecturer’s program) so that they will receive a wealth of information of what is happening in Granges throughout the State. Subscribers will have then received all the information by email which is also the same information in the bulletin. The website information is effective and excellent communication for all members.

Secretaries, please include the list of your newly elected members, the phone numbers, addresses and emails of the Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chair and the PHYSICAL address of your Grange with the June 30 quarterly report. If your meeting dates have changed, please include new date and time.

On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 1:00 p.m., Manchester Grange will be hosting a spectacular 150th Grange birthday party at their Hall with ALL Grange members throughout the State invited.  If there is anyone receiving their 50-year certificate this year, this may be of special interest to you. The highlights of the afternoon include presenting 50-year certificates, Maine humorist Gary Crocker, and a 150th birthday cake. I can envision how spectacular this could be having Masters or representatives of various Granges presenting the certificates to their own members. I have seen Mr. Crocker perform. He is very entertaining. Please mark your calendar. For more information, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

Wishing you all a Happy July 4th!


Apr 132017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

I want to thank all of you that helped in any way to make the visit from our National Master, Betsy Huber, an enjoyable one. It was a pleasure to have her come to Maine to visit. She arrived on April 5 to attend our Legislative Luncheon and that evening we went to Androscoggin Pomona where we had some good laughs and enjoyed a program on Laughter: How it Affects your Health.

Thursday, she visited the State Capitol and was able to see the House and Senate in action with a trip to the Maine State Museum following. We had a wet trip to Piscataquis Pomona that evening where a town hall was held for the program. There were some great questions asked and some great discussions. Participants from area Pomonas and Granges attended.

Friday was a laid back day, however, during the evening, beginning at 5 pm we had a potluck dinner with Betsy addressing us on what is happening at National and by answering pertinent questions by the attendees. Independent media coverage was present for the evening, taping the session and interviewing Betsy. Saturday was the Junior Contests and the obligation ceremony performed on two new Junior members. Thank you, Christine. her Committee, and Sherry for their work.

In the afternoon, three teams participated in the Assistant’s Contest.  Christopher Heath, New Hampshire State Master attended as a judge. Sister Betsy and I served as judges. Thank you, Brother Chris! The winners were Jim Meserve and Laurie McBurnie. Henry and Sharon Morton and Adrian Griffin and Marilyn Stinson were the other participants. That evening we enjoyed a fun visit to Lincoln Pomona witha program on Maine Trivia. She enjoyed visiting with Maine Grangers and I thank all who came out during the week to meet her.  She left early Sunday morning to head back to Pennsylvania.

One thing I do want to share concerns ritual. Since we are no longer considered a “secret society,” it is customary to allow non-members (prospective members) to sit in our Grange meetings and the strictness used in the past concerning ritual has been lessened. The opening and closing ceremonies are to be used, however, in the newer manuals, the alternative ceremonies that are included can be used. It is an option for any Grange to take up the password. This is a big change for us as New England is the only region that strictly adheres to the ritual. If there are any questions, please let me know.

I think we should be organizing some more town hall discussions in various areas. If your area would like one, please let me know and also your Pomona. These discussions will help all to understand in what direction the Grange is heading, will provide you with answers and information vital to all areas of Grange.

There have been some people interested in leadership positions and I will refer them to the appropriate committees. It is exciting to learn how Grange is understood in different areas of our state. Many dwell more on the agricultural side where others are more into the community service side, however, it appears that all areas are being covered no matter which aspect is favored in any area. The trend seems to be that there are younger farmers appearing and a need to learn how to be self-sufficient on growing food whether you live in an urban or rural area. Thus, many Granges are developing programs based on this trend and are encouraged to do so. Ask those where milk and bread come from. Some will answer ‘from a store.” The Grange has ample opportunities to spread this information to communities and also to create resolutions to favor the small farms. An Agricultural Education Committee is being formed for this purpose and to create programs for agricultural education. I will keep all updated on its progress. In the meantime, keep providing resolutions on agricultural needs. I urge all Grangers to put their thoughts on paper, vote on the resolutions at your Subordinate Granges and filter them through your Pomona. GOTO your deputies, your directors and committee members for help if needed. There are many resources on the Internet how to write resolutions and there have been some resolution writing days at some Granges. Keep up on agricultural issues and trends in your newspapers and from television. Anyone can have their thoughts converted to a resolution. Let’s have some good, agricultural resolutions submitted for discussion at State Session in October.

Grange month activities are in full swing throughout the State. There are many community service nights, birthday celebrations and degree days being held. Check the website calendar for various activities in your areas.

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers? Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

Webmaster’s note: There are resolution writing resources available on the Program Books and Information Page.

Mar 152017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Grange month is upon us so let’s open those halls, invite the community and honor some recipients. Any Grange should be able to host some kind of community event during this month. Ideas include bring a community member with you to a meeting, have a program or speaker on agricultural education for the community, open houses, community citizen awards, or any other community oriented event. This is our 150th birthday so throw a party!

I attended the Master’s Conference last month and have come back with some ideas we can try. Let’s work on them together for the GOTO.

One idea was on the topic of mentoring. There are many of us that have a passion for Grange, visit others regularly and enjoy filling in where needed. We need some of these people to become mentors to help Granges. The duties of the mentor would be to give ideas, provide support, answer questions, help keep them organized and educate members about Grange traditions and rituals. The Mentor does not interfere in the business of that Grange or take charge of the meetings. They will offer suggestions when asked. The Mentor should meet with the Master at the first visit in order to become familiar with the operations of that Grange.This will not interfere with the duties of the Deputies. The Deputy has precedence over the Mentor when present at a meeting. There were a few of us that did mentoring a couple of years ago to help Grangers who took in a slew of new members, ones that were struggling or needed someone help to guide them in the right direction. I would like to plan a Mentoring workshop in the future for those interested.

Another thought is to form an Agricultural Education Committee separate from the Agriculture Committee designed to educate our communities, our young people and support our farmers. The Committee would include a member(s) from the Agricultural Committee Ag in the Classroom and maybe representatives from the FFA and 4H and other agricultural organizations. The purpose would be for the organizations to work together for a common cause; to promote and design educational agricultural programs.

Massachusetts has a program through the UMass System that has a hands on living classroom and a summer scholars program where students are given stipends for their work.

There is increasing interest in our communities to grow their own food but many need direction. This is where the Grange steps in. Holding agricultural programs on canning, sowing, how to maintain your gardens for successful harvests, soil, seeds and various other topics. People of all ages benefit from these programs. Invite the public and maybe have hands on projects or even start a community garden. Ask someone where their milk or bread comes from; more than one will answer “from a store.” Let’s take the lead as Grangers!! We are Doers.

By now many may think I’m daydreaming or other but why not try?

Feb 132017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

How are things coming for Grange Month in April?  The 150th birthday parties? There is a lot to do and many Granges are preparing for their Grange Month ceremonies.  After your event, It would be great if each Grange posts their celebration  (complete with pictures) on the website. As we look around and see a divided country it is up to us to take charge. Plan some fun activities or lectures for the public to enjoy. Let’s help our country as we did 150 years ago. It can be done. Work with other Granges, your Pomonas, loyal nonmembers and supporters to plan these activities. It is very important for our growth  and our future,  Honor the public, give certificates to members, just have fun. Let your hall we warm and welcoming, comfortable and positive, inviting and enjoyable.

We all are aware that our country is undergoing changes. People are uncomfortable and protests are happening. But is it the fear of the unknown, things happening beyond our comfort level and control or the fear of the outcome of these changes that are consuming the people? Fear, it is so easy to think of the negative, but what happens when we shed this fear and to dwell on the concept that changes can be good. Use the positive energy to help the change become welcome. As our country undergoes these changes, so does the Grange. The fear of changes holds us back we do not grow, we struggle and are divided. If we can all accept these changes and work with them, we grow and prosper. The Grange has been through these periods of change before, however, today technology has moved so fast we have a hard time keeping  up.  Let us think positive; how can be learn to survive in this changing world? Look for solutions instead of being fearful and holding back growth. We can accomplish so much together.  As your leader, I will certainly say that I have been worried about some changes, but as your leader, it is up to me to focus on growth and prosperity, to do what is best for the GOTO, and to help our members through these changes  with a smile with confidence in my directors, deputies, and members. We are family, we are the Grange!

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers. Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need an active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

The date for the Legislative luncheon at headquarters has been changed to April 5.

It is good to know that more and more people  (members and nonmembers) are contacting the website with various questions and seeking answers. The answers are being promptly transmitted. Thank s to all!

I will be headed to Master’s Conference this Friday and am looking forward working with fellow Masters and our National Master. I will distribute information gathered with the appropriate Director.

Smile, do and grow!

Jan 142017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

While attending the Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening, I was very pleased at the number of people who stopped by who were interested in joining Grange. Over the number of years I have attended, this year seemed to be different; the visitors consisted of farmers and others who want to learn the how to grow food or just interested in agricultural programs. One young farm couple wants to organize a Grange which would be similar to the operations of Halcyon and Farmington Granges. A deeper interest in the agricultural aspect seems to be desired by most of the visitors. It is up to us to welcome them. Is this the wave of the future that we have been searching for? Let’s let it happen and find out.  It was interesting listening to them; their needs and desires from what they expect as members of the Grange. Contact information was given for Granges in their respective areas, so Masters, expect a call from one of these prospective members.

If anyone needs information concerning insurance for Grange Halls, I have information for two companies.

Great American Insurance Group (513-389-1869) and Bob Clouse Insurance (844-472-6431). Martha Stefenoni is the agent for the latter.

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? I am working still on mine! Any new plans for the year for your Grange? I know there are many Granges that do not meet in the Winter, however, Grange doesn’t stop there and start up again in the Spring. Use the time to plan for the year, to research, to visit other Granges. Once you meet for the first time you will go in with a solid agenda and fresh ideas.  Use the time to explore the State and National websites.  Keep up on the activities of the State Committees and upcoming contests. One goal this year is to have a talent contest representative at National Grange in 2017. It has been a few years since we have had representation. There is much talent in our membership!

The dates for State Grange Session in Skowhegan this year are October 19-21. Set up will be Wednesday, October 18 and session will begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning. The banquet will be held Thursday evening. Time, place and menu TBD.

Hope everyone is safe and warm!!!

Dec 212016

by Rick Watson, Master, Fairview Grange #342

In this season of giving, I’d like to share some of what our little “Grange that Could” has been up to, starting with a fundraiser dinner on 10/30 for a local Smithfield resident who is fighting cancer. We heard of her plight and decided to see if we could ease some of the burden. Whether or not her family had insurance to help with her illness, there is still the matter of gas for the numerous treatment trips, a lunch for whoever is taking her, maybe a hot meal for the family while she is sidelined and so on. We decided on a donations-accepted dinner on her behalf. To our delight, and to the surprise of her family, we raised over $2500 in a couple hours. Our Grange purchased most of the food and our members rounded out the dinner, bread, dessert and so on. As an aside, we have been looking for some menu alternatives to round out our summer supper selection and took the opportunity to try a lasagna, salad, roll, dessert, beverage dinner. It was a “hit” and will likely become one of our offerings next summer. Easy to serve to a lot of people in short fashion and in line with the food cost for our other dinners. A win-win for all.

In planning for our Grange Christmas Party, we decided to bring food and paper goods for our local food cupboard. By the end of the night, we had a mountain (OK, a small mountain, but still a lot) of donations from our Grangers. Truly in the Christmas spirit, we also made goodie bags, 50 of them, for the veterans at the VA in Augusta. One of our members works there and she was the one who brought us the opportunity to make the veterans there feel comforted in the fact that someone cares about them. We brought snacks and sugar-free candy and made a big pile on a table and some sat and stuffed the bags while others in the hall that night sang Christmas carols. Truly a night to be cherished by all in attendance. As Master, I had sent out individual invites to all paid members detailing the plans for the night, with a suggestion to bring a guest, one who might be inspired by our citizenship, (and maybe somewhat selfishly,) as a membership drive. We always need (and TRULY welcome) new faces and ideas. I was delighted with the turnout. Our largest Christmas party in years.

Next for Fairview Grange is an opportunity to help a young family who is expecting baby Emma in February. Emma will need a LOT of medical help going forward. She is being born with a heart defect. There is a lot of positive energy behind this event and we feel confident in our ability to make a difference. A spaghetti supper will be held on January 28 from 4:00  p.m. until  7:00 pm in Smithfield at the Fairview Grange. For more info please contact “Faith” (Hmmn…how fitting is THAT?) at 441-6929 to donate, lend a hand etc. or Mindy at 248-2066. There will be Mary Kay and Tupperware sales and any sales will send a portion of the proceeds to baby Emma and family. YOU CAN HELP! (This event is listed on the MSG Website event calendar and you can download a flyer with details.) Please plan on attending if you can or contact one of the gals to donate if you can’t make it on the 28th.

Thanks for listening. Good luck with YOUR Grange. Brainstorm. Take responsible risks. You will probably be delighted with the results.

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Dec 142016

by Rick Grotton, State Master

This month is flying by. The last three months have been extremely busy. With State Grange, National Grange, Deputy School and a State Officer’s meeting behind us it looks like January and February will be equally busy. Northeast Leader’s Conference and Master’s Conference are on the horizon as well as the Agricultural Trade Show and Fair Association meeting.

National Grange this year was the 150th National Convention in Washington, DC. We enjoyed our tour of DC going to Arlington National Cemetery for a wreath-laying and changing of the guard, a tour of the National Grange Building, the War Memorials and the Lincoln Memorial. It was a great session and our National Master, Betsy Huber, did a great job.  We now have a new National Lecturer, Christine Hamp, from Washington State. Many of you remember Sister Chris . She attended our State Session a couple years ago as our National Representative with her husband Duane. Also, Brenda Rousselle, Vermont State Master, was elected as National Lady Assistant Steward.

Congratulations to Riverside #475 as they received the 2016 Distinguished Grange Award for the third year in a row and to Maple Grove #148 for receiving  Honorable Mention for their Community Service Book. Great job!!! A beautiful Memorial Service was done by Sister Barbara Bordereaux, National Chaplain. A tribute to our own Nancy Clark  as well as other deceased past delegates and National dignitaries were part of the service. National membership had a net gain this year! Our state needs to have all 120 Granges bring in 2 members apiece and we will be at that same level.

One of our convention speakers elaborated on a great point. The Grange was formed at the time our nation was divided . It helped tremendously to bring people back together. Today, our nation is divided again and the Grange is needed more than ever to help bring this country back together. Let’s work our magic and do what great Grangers do. Be there to help others, provide a place for them to meet and socialize, and to support our communities. Whether you are a small Grange or a large one, let everyone know you are still the Grange and the Grange is here for all. This is our time to shine and to grow. All the tools are at our disposal and the mix of current events occurring nationally and statewide is where Grangers prosper. Let us not miss out on this opportunity. Our communities need us!

December 4 was the 149th birthday of the Grange meaning 2017 will be the 150th, meaning:  You got it! Celebrations! I would suggest every Grange do a program or celebration next year. Let your communities know we are 150 years old and proud of it! Invite the public, provide  visitors with a copy of the history of your Grange for all to enjoy  and/or put on a meal or refreshments. Be creative, be proud, and most of all, smile! State Grange will be hosting a celebration the first weekend of December so planning has to start soon! Whatever type of event you hold, make sure to take pictures and send a write-up for the website. Share with your Brother and Sister Grangers throughout the state! After all, it is a milestone and we must show that we made it and will continue to grow!

We had a good time at Deputy school and a very productive State Officer’s meeting.  I would encourage all Directors to attend Northeast Leaders Conference in Rutland, VT on Jan 27-29. Information will be on the website. This is a great opportunity if you are on a State Committee as there will be breakout sessions for most committees. Our National Master will be in attendance.

By the way, whenever your Grange is considering changing your by-laws, there are certain steps which must be done. Ensure that all members know that this meeting is happening; each member should be allowed the chance to attend this meeting. A two/thirds vote is necessary for passage. By-law changes are not to conflict with National and State by-laws. Then, the new by-laws must be approved by the State Master. Refer to the National Digest and State By-Laws if changes are forthcoming.

Have your Grange make some New Year’s resolutions for the coming year. Write down some goals at or by your first meeting of the year and strive to make them reality. Have fun doing it. Make resolutions for your own consideration and make them come true. Make it a competition. Have members write down five (or whatever you choose) goals each member vows to do for Grange. At the end of the year, see who has completed their list. Make your goals challenging; bring in two members next year, chair a supper or event involving the community, set a fundraising goal of whatever number of dollars. Imagine if just five members could complete such a list then your Grange would have at least  ten new members, there would be five suppers/community events held and a good sum of fundraising money. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It sounds easy because it is. Each example is highly attainable. You will be so caught up in the hype and not want to be outdone by others that you won’t even think about reaching your goals; they will just happen.

I wish all a happy holiday season, May all your Christmas wishes come true and your New Year be a happy and healthy one!!!

Nov 132016

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Thank you to the delegates and attendees at State Session for your input as this was a crucial session. The fifteen resolutions required discussion and hard choices needed to be made. These decisions  affect all of us and our Grange future.  Every Granger has a right to be involved in making these decisions. That is why every operating Grange should send a delegate to State Session. The delegates will report to their Granges the results of the resolutions.

The biggest decision involved  whether to sell the State Headquarters building. It was approved by the delegates.  Just a note that this process is not going to happen overnight as much research needs to be done in order to get the best deal. Should the building sell before the next State Session, we will find a temporary place to operate until a permanent place is decided upon.

Thanks to all of you who helped me get through my first State Session as Master. Thank you to our chief deputy, Maynard Chapman and to all deputies for their hard work. Thank you to the  Directors and their committees. Their displays and raffles at State Session were enjoyed and visited by many. Also to fellow State Officers for their hard work, support, and encouragement and to Sister Ruby Bryant for filling in as Lecturer. Thank you to Sister Yvonne Johnson for leading the Rose Drill. Thanks to our pianist, Merton Ricker. Thanks to Sister Christine Hebert and the Junior Committee for running the kitchen.  Thanks to our retiring Ag Directors, Agnes and Robert Nelson for their work the last five years. This could go on and on so thank you to all who participated in any way.

Congratulations to our new Sixth Degree members. I am happy to announce that one of them, Sister Carolyn Van Horn of Manchester Grange #172 is our new Soloist, replacing Sister Margaret Morse who is now Lecturer. Another, Sister Linda Cobb,  also from Manchester Grange #172, will be our backup pianist at State Session.

Welcome to Sister Karen Gagne of Danville Junction #65 our new Agriculture Director and new Deputies Tom Cooper in Hancock and Missy Baldwin in York. New leaders mean new ideas. Many changes have been happening inside and outside of Grange. Let’s walk down this path into the forest of changes together, as a family, without fear, resistance  or negativity. Instead take advantage of the opportunities available, embrace the new ideas and the benefits that await for the GOTO. There are many areas in which today’s Granges can be of help or to develop their own ideas. Be alert, plan, plan , plan and most of all have FUN.

A draft of the new roster has been completed from information returned by Granges this year. The format of the roster will go back to booklet form  as discussed as State Session. There are 35 Granges and 3 Pomonas who have not sent in their roster information. Based on the high number, this confirms why last year’s roster was inaccurate. Whether changes were made or not, it is every Grange’s responsibility to send the correct information to the State Secretary as soon as possible after elections.  The contact information for the Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chair is needed. This includes the name, address,  telephone number and email address. The deadline is really July 15 but this year it was extended to November 1.  In the past, last year’s information was used if none was submitted. This next roster will NOT include any contact information, just the name, location directions and meeting times.  If your meeting times have changed, please let us know. Instead of erroneous information based on assumption, none will be published. The following Granges need to get their roster info in ASAP (November 30) in order to have their information published. The deadline to have the roster available is February 1 so the choice is yours!

Benton, Branch Mills, Manchester, Harraseeket, Aurora, Greenwood, Schoodic, Trenton, Castine, Halcyon, Verona, Oceanview, Penobscot View, Pleasant River, Minerva, Old Town-Riverside, Garland, St Albans, Wayside, Merriconeag, West Bath-Seaside, Woolwich, Fernwood, Mt Philip, Somerset #18, Seven Star, Tranquility, Alexander, Perry, Indian River, Jacksonville, Osceola, Bauneg Beg, Mousam Lake, Saco and the following Pomonas: Green Mountain, Sagadahoc and West Washington.

I will report to you next with news about the 150th National Grange Session. Sherry Harriman and I, as your delegates,  are certainly proud to represent Maine and will certainly work hard to make the best decisions for the benefit of our members and the GOTO.

On behalf of the Maine State Grange, we wish all a safe and Happy Holiday season.

Oct 132016
Master Vicki and Jefferson

Past Master Vicki and Jefferson

To My Fellow Grangers,

As we approach State Session, I want to say a big thank you for the cards, gifts, prayers, love and support I have received in the past year. You have demonstrated what the Grange is all about, supporting one another. Words truly cannot express the feeling one receives when they go to the mailbox and know that so many people are thinking of them and supporting them, it is truly overwhelming. I am blessed to be part of this organization.

I hope to see many of you at State Session where I can thank you personally. You have “shined, shined, shined”.