Apr 182017
 

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Over thirty people were present recently to help Danville Junction Grange celebrate the one-hundred-fiftieth birthday of the Grange at their annual Open Meeting in conjunction with National Grange Month.

A birthday cake was enjoyed during the dessert, which preceded the meeting.

A re-dedication ceremony, which was issued by National Grange for their 125th anniversary, was conducted by Lecturer Norma Meserve and other officers.  Wes Ryder read an original poem commemorating the occasion.

Angelo Giberti entertained the audience by providing music on the guitar.

Maine State trooper Elgin Physic was presented with the Community Citizen Award by State Community Service Committee Chair Christine Corliss and Danville Community Chair Glenys Ryder.  Trooper Physic was named “Officer of the Year” at state session last fall.

State Community Service Chair Christine Corliss surprised Sister Glenys and Danville Junction Grange by presenting a framed certificate of appreciation for their continuous service.

A Membership Award for sixty- five years of continuous membership was presented to Glenys Ryder by her husband, Past Master Wesley Ryder.   She is still active at the Subordinate, Pomona, and State levels of the Grange, currently being Chairman of the Maine State Grange Executive Committee.

It was a marvelous evening of food, fun, and fellowship!

Apr 112017
 

This past Saturday, April 8, a benefit spaghetti supper was held at Somerset Grange #18 in Norridgewock. We had a great turnout, people from many towns around came. Was so good to see the dining hall full and folks milling all about visiting. this was a benefit for a long time Norridgewock resident who is now living in Madison. The apartment she had was totally destroyed in a fire a few weeks ago. Somerset Grange was happy to be of some help.

Sallie Wilder Master, Somerset Grange #18

Mar 272017
 

By Rick Watson, Master of Fairview Grange

Hello, friends of the Fairview Grange. Thanks for keeping an eye on what is going on at your local Grange, #342, in Smithfield Maine.

This week we celebrated 119 years of continuous operation with a great dinner on Thursday evening. We were especially pleased to have Grange members from other Granges join us. They came from at least Abbot, Bingham, Norridgewock, Madison, and we also had visitors from the State Grange level. Former Master of the Maine State Grange, Vicki Huff, Communications Director Walter Boomsma with his lovely wife Janice, and three from The Maine Grange Agricultural Committee (I think Mr. And Mrs. Rance Pooler and Mrs. Barker represented that committee). Also attending to help us celebrate were Terry and Harriet Spencer, local to us in Smithfield, but also involved in various capacities with the State and Pomona. Special thanks to Walter Boomsma for sharing some stories about what he sees and hears successful Granges doing. We thank all of them for helping us celebrate 119 years.

Noteworthy speakers in addition to Walter were Secretary Sharon Wood and Lecturer Kerry Cubas. Sharon read a Grange history her mother had written in 1971 about the early days of the Grange. Kerry has started a “living history, or spoken history” of our local Grange working with Shelby Watson, and gave us a taste of the project by telling us what her first two interviewees had to say. Fittingly for this event, the recollections of Marilyn and David were told. Kerry hopes to interview all our members so we may keep our history alive. Working in a similar vein to document and to preserve our history, Karie Watson has started reframing the pictures in the Grange and is working to get the people, our people from the community through the years, identified and noted.

Making the night extra special was being able to recognize Marilyn Giroux for her 75 years of membership in the Grange. Marilyn is one of our favorite “Grange Gal’s” and we were pleased to celebrate this milestone with her. She was surrounded by several generations of family and friends Thursday and many from the community took a minute to share a story about their interactions with her through the years. David Hartford, another long time member presented her with certificates of appreciation and recognition from the National and State Granges. He also read her a poem he had written, and shared a couple stories from their youth. A nice tribute. Special thanks to David.

We had plenty of great food, great company, and it truly felt like an evening spent with family. The Hall looked great and I would be negligent to not recognize Karie Watson for her efforts putting on the meal and also to her and to Sharon for making the Hall look so fresh, Springlike and inviting for our celebration.

Thanks to all who cooked, cleaned, lugged and tugged, decorated, hauled trash, washed dishes, spoke, made the trip to join us or in any other way helped make it a fitting tribute to 119 years in Smithfield.

Mar 252017
 

We shook it and it’s changing to butter!

In something of a perfect storm, Valley Grangers are experiencing a bit of March Madness with two major community service projects involving local students and community volunteers. First up was their annual GrowME Collaboration–a joint effort with Piscataquis County UMaine Extension and Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District. By pooling resources and volunteers, the three organizations are visiting with nearly 750 students from Kindergarten through Third Grade in Piscataquis County. With a mission of “increasing agricultural literacy and making it fun,” volunteers help kindergartners build an animal graph, first graders taste and sort apples, second graders make their own butter, and third graders construct their very own “dirt babies.”

Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange is especially proud of the fact that “we have no budget and not much structure–just a bunch of people who love working with kids and providing positive experiences around agriculture.” His specialty is making butter with second graders. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning–some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” He notes that teachers are often integrating the activities into their regular curriculum by using the experience as a writing prompt or a math lesson. But he maintains that the best part is everyone has fun. “Every year there are new stories to tell,” he notes.

Third graders make dirt babies that grow sprout and grow “hair” (grass). The babies include a birth certificate that tracks important events such as “first haircut.” In one classroom this year, as the babies were being collected and placed on a windowsill, one new “parent” exclaimed, “Uh oh! My Dirt Baby had an accident! She pooped and peed on my desk!” (There was some water and soil on the desk after the assembly was completed.) Perhaps in addition to “agricultural literacy” the GrowME program is teaching the joys of parenthood!

Boomsma notes that one school has requested an activity for their Pre-Kindergarten classes this year. “Finding activities that are grade level appropriate can be a challenge because we also have to make certain our volunteers are comfortable with it. This year I’ve agreed to be the guinea pig volunteer for this new activity and we’re trying a project involving sprouting bean seeds so the kids not only help with the planting, they get to watch the sprouting take place.”

Another initiative Valley Grange has supported long enough that it’s a school tradition is a contest among third and fourth graders to design two advertisements for the Grange in the Piscataquis Observer’s Annual Newspapers in Education Supplement. The program is a favorite of Piscataquis Community Elementary School Art Teacher Jane Daniels because it “gives the kids a practical side of art.” Valley Grange Master Jim Annis notes that “We have strong ties to kids…” with Grange members involved regularly at the local schools. “We’ve actually built a series of programs that range from Bookworming and Words for Thirds to our blistered finger knitters making hats and mittens for the kids who need them. The kids know us and we know them.”

Valley Grange Community Service Chair Mary Annis is quick to note that this is not a one-way street. “In addition to the fun we have, the kids help us. We collect  ‘Coups for Troops’ most of which came from collection boxes placed in local schools. We like the feeling that we are redefining community and good ways of working together.”

Additional information about all of the Valley Grange Programs can be found on their website, http://valleygrange.com. The GrowME Collaboration maintains a basic information and resource site at http://growmehelp.wordpress.com. If any other Granges are interested in starting similar programs, Valley Grange will be happy to help!

Ad created by Fourth Grader Kaelyn Bussell

Mar 242017
 

Lois McCarthy (shown) and Lisa Goucher visited Cape Cod Hill School in New Sharon on March 17 to present dictionaries to the third-grade students there.
A word game was played and each student signed his or her own copy. This is the second year that Mill Stream has participated in the national “Words for Thirds” program as one of their community service projects.

Mar 172017
 

By Marilyn Stinson

Exciting times coming to Enterprise Grange. We are Do-ers at 15 Alexander Reed Road, Richmond, ME. Contact Marilyn Stinson, beedlehillatroadrunnerdotcom  (beedlehillatroadrunnerdotcom)  ,  737-2611 or on facebook.

April is ‘Grange Month’ and lots of activities are planned. ‘Art by the Kennebec’ and ‘Art in the Schools Month’ will be celebrated April 1st & 2nd . Sat from 10:00-4:00 and Sunday from 1:00-4:00. Free for the exhibit, art will be for sale.

Dresden Elementary students and some RHS/RMS students will have exhibits as well as Scott MacMaster, Lawreston Crute (Distinctive Views) and Grangers with photos, Jim Decker, Ernest Deraps and Samantha Merrill with their paintings, Brian Seigars and his drawings, Melanie Stout with stained glass, Janet Clement with quilts, and SpinOff creations.! Jim will be painting as the days go by – interesting to watch his work come together.

Free coffee all day and baked stuff for sale to benefit Building Fund. Check out Enterprise Grange #48 Facebook page and see what will be there.

Saturday, April 15 is Breakfast with the Easter Bunny & egg hunt. From 7:00 – 10:00 am. Pancakes & eggs, $5.00 per person with family rates.

Scott MacMaster will be taking pictures with the Easter Bunny; donations for the pictures will benefit Grange charities – Barbara Bush Hospital, Home for Little Wanders and House in the Woods.

Then, to top off the month with Awards Day!! Laurie Saunders has been chosen to receive the Community Citizen Award for Richmond, and David Probert for Dresden. Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. Free, followed by Birthday Cupcakes.

We have been donated items for a raffle to benefit the Building Fund (we need new roof, tighter windows, and more handicap access) A quilted throw from Janet Clement, value $150.00, a ‘Canvas Wrap’ photo from Maine Made Photos with $50.00 value and gift  certificate to Village Café for $25.00. Expected donations for the tickets are $1.00 each or 6/$5.00. Tickets will be sold during every activity until the drawing on Awards Day.

FMI Marilyn Stinson, 737-2611

Mar 022017
 

by Walter Boomsma, 
Communications Director

What an exciting Granger and Grange! Barbara Bailey of Victor Grange in Fairfield called me recently to share her enthusiasm for a program her Grange and Community does and asked if I “could put something on the website.”

She admitted she was a bit skeptical when she first learned about the program, but you only have to talk with her for a few minutes to discover that she’s now more than sold, she’s a passionate advocate of the program. And she thinks it’s a perfect program for Granges to consider because everybody wins!

The program is briefly described on the Window Dressers website: “WindowDressers is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization dedicated to helping Maine residents reduce heating costs, fossil fuel consumption, and CO-2 emissions by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows.

“We have developed a community-based volunteer model that taps into individual and collective interest in saving on fuel costs, helping fellow citizens and sparing the environment from unnecessary CO2 pollution. We call this the Community Build program.  We’ve augmented that effort with specialized equipment and computerization to insure the efforts of our volunteers are boosted to the highest degree possible.

“Our target is leaky windows in Maine’s housing stock, the oldest in the nation.  Inserts offer an inexpensive alternative to window replacement.  Our customers save, on average, ten to twenty percent on their fuel consumption which translates in most cases to payback within the first heating season. We donate twenty-five percent of our inserts to low-income families whose only cost is a $10 service charge for insert installation…”

Barbara was particularly impressed by the training and support WindowDressers provides. (The program for next fall is already gearing up with Training Sessions.) “WindowDressers needs space to make the inserts,” she said, “and Grange Halls often have it! This is a perfect program for Granges because it’s engaging and hands on. We ended up with a lot of folks in our Grange Hall for the first time in their lives.”

Maine State Grange Community Service Director Chris Corliss plans to talk with Barbara soon and learn more, but Barbara said she’d be happy if folks call her (207 453-9476)—she loves talking about the program and the benefits of it. She’s a pretty busy Granger, so leave a message if she’s not there–she’ll call you back. You can also visit the WindowDressers website.

In addition to her passion for WindowDressers, Barbara is the lecturer for Victor Grange and a big fan and promoter of the Maine State Grange website. She is constantly encouraging people to subscribe because she says, “they’ll love the little bits of information that are always interesting, entertaining, and helpful”–one reason she wanted us to post information about WindowDressers. Thanks, Barbara, for your energy and support of your community, your Grange, and our website!


The contact at WindowDressers is:

Laura Seaton
Director of Community Builds and Business Development
WindowDressers.org
207-230-9902 (direct line)

directoratwindowdressersdotorg  (directoratwindowdressersdotorg)  

Feb 142017
 

Members of Danville Junction Grange recently prepared over 175 valentines for Veterans, thanking them for their service to our country.  These were distributed to Veterans at Togas VA Hospital and at nursing homes in the area.

Feb 102017
 

Falls Church, VA—February 2, 2017—The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) is proud to announce that Maine farmer Heather Retberg is the winner of the second annual Gravel Road Gang Activism Award, an honor recognizing FTCLDF members for success in working on food freedom legislation and initiatives. Heather is a farming mother, the lead organizer and advocate for Local Food RULES, a board member for Food for Maine’s Future, and is working with her local grange, the Halcyon Grange #345 in North Blue Hill to rebuild food and farming infrastructure while maintaining legal space for traditional food exchanges. Retberg and her husband Phil own and operate Quill’s End Farm in Penobscot, producing raw milk, meat, and eggs. Utah farmers Symbria and Sara Patterson were the winners of the inaugural Gravel Road Gang Award in 2016.

The award is named in honor of Donna Betts, a longtime farmer and activist in southeastern Ohio. Betts has been a walking history of farming and farm politics in Ohio since World War II. A longtime advocate of measures favoring small farmers and local food production, Betts has not been afraid to take on the government. She was a successful litigant in an eight-year court battle with the Ohio Department of Agriculture over her right to sell raw pet milk, a case in which she recovered attorneys’ fees from the Department. The Gravel Road Gang is Betts’ name for a group of women that have been meeting in her area the past 16 years to discuss farming, activism, and other matters of the day.

Retberg has been instrumental in the passage of the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSGO) in 18 Maine towns. Under the LFCSGO, farmers and other local food producers can sell their products direct-to-consumers within the ordinance town’s borders without licensing or inspection. Along with her husband Phil, farmer Deborah Evans, farmer Bob St Peter, and Larissa Curlik, Retberg drafted the ordinance in 2010, and in 2011 five towns including Penobscot became the first to adopt the ordinance. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) subsequently challenged the ordinance by filing suit against dairy farmer Dan Brown, claiming he was violating state law by selling raw milk and canned goods from his farmstand in the ordinance town of Blue Hill without a state license. The case went all the way to the Maine Supreme Court, which did not strike down the ordinance but did rule against Brown. The Court avoided preempting the LFCSGO, choosing to interpret the language “narrowly” to exempt farmers and food producers only from municipal licensing and inspection. While the case was making its way through the courts, the Maine legislature passed a bill requiring DACF to support policies that through local control preserve the ability of communities to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume locally produced foods. The 2014 state Supreme Court decision has not slowed the LFCSGO’s momentum; since the court’s ruling, seven towns have adopted the ordinance.

Retberg is the lead organizer advocate of Local Food Rules, a non-profit organization whose mission is to encourage the passage of local food ordinances in Maine. She has traveled around the state since 2011 supporting and assisting the efforts of local leaders as their own towns consider its passage. She is currently working with local organizers toward passage of the ordinance in Rockland, which would mark the first time a city has adopted the LFCSGO. FTCLDF has provided financial support for her travel expenses and many hours spent the past three years working to increase the number of ordinance-protected towns.

On the state level, Retberg has worked successfully on scale-appropriate regulation for on-farm poultry processing and has been part of several attempts to adopt the LFCSGO statewide. In 2016, a constitutional right to food amendment that would have enshrined a right to food of our choosing and food freedom in Maine’s constitution, passed in the Maine House of Representatives but died in the Senate. Retberg helped draft the amendment. In addition, she worked closely with legislator allies on four other bills that same session approaching food sovereignty, food self-sufficiency, and food freedom from different tacks.

In the 2017 legislative session, Retberg will be working to support more people in rural communities who aim to help their town adopt the LFCSGO on the local level. At the state level, she is working primarily on two bills: another effort to adopt the ordinance on a statewide basis as well as a measure toward state recognition of food sovereignty, effectively addressing the threat of state preemption to local control of community food and water systems. Towns and counties in other states have passed food sovereignty ordinances, but when it comes to the number of towns and the strength of the ordinance language, Maine is still ahead of the curve. Retberg has been a leader from the beginning.

FTCLDF works with its members at the federal, state, and local levels on legislation and other initiatives to promote food freedom of choice; we welcome those working on or wanting to work on food freedom bills or similar measures.

Feb 082017
 

Communication Bullets are short but important news!

We’ve been asked to announce:

Because of the expected nor’easter, Enterprise Grange #48, 15 Alexander Reed Road, Richmond, ME is postponing our February meeting which is scheduled for 2/9/17. According to our by-laws, if we have to cancel, then we meet the following Thursday, same time. We will meet Feb. 16, 2017, with supper at 6:00 p.m. and meeting at 7:00 p.m. We’ve had a change of officers and will have an Installation of our new officers. Guests are welcome!! FMI – Marilyn Stinson 737-2611 or beedlehill@roadrunner or check us out on Facebook!


Note that we’ve added a new In Search of… regarding Pittston Grange #214… see if you can help


Thanks to Rolf Staples for noticing we had the wrong name for one Grange Hall for sale! It’s fixed!


We’ve also uploaded the VA Wish List for February 2017 to the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page.


Congratulations to Fairview Grange #342–for partnering with local volunteers resulted in raising just about $4,000 on behalf of a deserving young family. That’s what “doers” are all about!