Apr 142017

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

April is a busy month here at State Headquarters as well as in our Subordinate Granges. My time has been busy with the finishing of the 2016 Journal of Proceedings, which will be published on the website. April is a month to celebrate our grange heritage and what a great way to do so is to have an open house, invite all to enjoy a great meal and program.

I have had the opportunity to issue these Continuous Membership Certificates which have been or will be presented to our members.  Somerset Grange #18, Gwendolyn Knight for 65 years; Farrilyn Chase for 70 years; Bernice Chase for 55 years; Norman Chase for 55 years; Elizabeth Wilder for 25 years; Alice Jones for 70 years; and Marjorie Farrand for 50 years; Manchester Grange #172, Mark L. Johnston 50 years; Brenda L. Lake for 50 years; and Edward Lincoln III for 50 years; Mousam Lake Grange #467, Sylvia Young for 70 years and Clayton Chute for 65 years; Bingham Grange #237, Terry Spencer for 40 years; Bear Mt. Grange #62, Linda Davis for 50 years; Clara Hamlin for 60 years; Prentiss Kimball for 60 years; and Glenn Chute for 60 years; Huntoon Hill #398, Sharon Leeman for 55 and 60 years; Fairview Grange #342, Marilyn Giroux for 75 years; Ellie Zarcone for 40 years and George Merry for 75 years; Hollis Grange #132, Valerie Joy for 50 years; Maple Grove Grange #148, Carol R. Brown for 50 years and Esther L. Kilborn for 80 years; Topsham Grange #37, Julia Wallace for 50 years and Merton Ricker for 70 years; Valley Grange #144, Elizabeth Herring for 70 years; Roderick Lander for 50 years and Harriet Mitchell for 70 years and White Rock Grange #380, Gloria McBee for 55 years.

Quarterly Reports:  Please remember the quarterly reports are due March 31st; June 30th; September 30th and December 31st and are due at headquarters postmarked on or before the 10th of the month following each quarter.

KEEPING MINUTES – As Secretary, your first priority is keeping a record of the meetings of your Grange.  Accuracy should be the goal, for your minutes are your Grange’s permanent record.  Remember that “Robert’s Rules of Order” advises, “They (the minutes) should contain mainly a record of what was done at a meeting, not what was said by the members unless in the form of a motion… Minutes should never reflect the Secretary’s opinion on anything said or done.”

Resolutions and motions should be included in the minutes word for word, as well as the action taken on them.  Detailed accounts of receipts and expenses should be included.  Communications read need not be included word for word, only that they were read and their general subject.  You can refer members to the communication if they wish details.

An exception might be the description of the lecturer’s programs.  If a member says something particularly worthy, or a discussion is important, including it in the minutes should be approved by the Grange.

Next time I will touch on the Secretary’s responsibility on maintaining records.

I will be updating the Roster Information Form that will be sent with your June Quarterly Report. This form will include the name and number of your Grange; physical location of your Grange Hall; contact name and phone number; name, address, phone number, and email address of your elected Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chairman.

Please contact me immediately with any address changes or any changes to the officers listed above so that our records will be correct and updated.

Happy Spring, and enjoy the nice weather.

Feb 142017

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

As I sit here and look out at the snow I am pondering what spring will bring. Grange activities will start anew, as well as, new life on the farm.

Yearly Dues

As I write this column I hope that you have sent your first request for your Grange’s yearly dues.  If you need to obtain first dues notices they are available here at the office.  It is now time to send your second notices.  Both notices are available here at headquarters for .25 cents each.

April is Grange Month

The Maine State Grange has memorial flags and grave markers for sale.  This is a great way to honor our deceased members.   We have two styles of memorial flags black emblem ($7) and colored emblem ($8) and grave marker $30.  You can purchase a memorial flag with a grave marker for $35.  I have a limited number of grave markers so if you would like one please get your request in early.

You will also be receiving in a mailing shortly the Grange Month information from National Grange.  It is also available on our website:  mainestategrange.org.  You will be receiving the 2017 Proclamation, Letter from our National Master and a poster to use for inviting the public to a grange meeting.

National Grange Convention 2018 – Unique as a Snowflake

As I have been chosen the Coordinator for the State of Maine I have been given the task of obtaining funds for the convention.  I have short sleeved and long sleeved t-shirts.  I have a variety of sizes in both styles.  The prices are short-sleeved $10 and the long-sleeved $15.

Membership Recognition Form

I will be updating the Membership Recognition Form as National Grange has made a change in the shipping cost0 Effective March 1, 2017.  Golden Sheaf is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling and the 75 Year Diamond Certificates with folder is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling.  I believe that if you forget to add the shipping and handling National Grange will bill you.

Until next month have a safe winter and a great beginning of spring.

Jan 142017

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

A new year is upon us and with that the hope of spring.

The Roster for 2017 has been mailed.  We, at State Headquarters, hope that you find the Roster helpful.  Roster updates and additions are available and will be published in the Bulletin or through the State Secretary.

You will be receiving requests for donations from the various directors and/or committee chairs in the near future.  I am requesting that all donations from your Grange be sent directly to the director unless their request states otherwise.  Donations to the Kelley Farm should be mailed directly to: National Grange, 1616 H St., Washington DC 20006 with checks made payable to the Grange Foundation earmarked “Kelley Farm Fund.”

Worthy Secretary, “The duties of your office are the most arduous of all.” During the past 149 years Grange Secretaries have realized that their tasks have been somewhat demanding, requiring that they be present at all meetings, that they be alert in recording the minutes, that they be accurate in their accounts, and that they be courteous to all at all times.

Materials for Grange Secretaries

In an effort to aid the Grange Secretary and Treasurer in their labors the following are available from State Headquarters: Secretary’s Receipts, $8.00; Improved Order Book, $6.50; Treasurer’s Receipt Book, $6.00.

The Secretary’s Receipt Books are used to record the yearly dues received from your members.

Treasurer’s Receipt Books are used to record monies received from the Secretary.  All money goes through the Secretary to be recorded in the record book and then turned over to the Treasurer.  The Treasurer will then complete a receipt listing what the monies received from the Secretary was for and gives the receipt to the Secretary to have for her records.

The Improved Order Book is used at each meeting.  The Secretary will fill out the Order form and have the Master sign the form and it should have the grange seal embossed on it.  This is a record that provides the Treasurer with information to pay what bills.  Some bills are automatic as they may come due before a meeting is held but these should be included in the next Order to the Treasurer with a notation that the bill was paid and the date of payment.  This gives you as the Secretary a check and balance with the Treasurer of what bills may be outstanding.

It is to the advantage of every Grange Secretary and Treasurer to have the Grange Accounts audited at least once a year, and also whenever one of these Officers changes.  Using the above record keeping forms will help greatly in your audits.


It is to the advantage of every Grange Secretary and Treasurer to be bonded.  This is not that we expect a Grange Secretary or Treasurer to embezzle funds; it is for their protection in case of theft, loss, or being mislaid.

The Maine State Grange does offer coverage for $5000.00 and administrative cost will be $25.00 for three years.  This is an administrative cost, not a premium, as the State Grange cannot sell insurance.  We are only making an agreement with your Grange that if you have a loss caused by mishandling of Grange money by a covered individual, the State Grange will cover that loss and prosecute the offender.  An application must be filed and the administrative cost paid prior to coverage.  An audit must be taken of all Grange accounts covered by the Maine State Grange prior to filing and each year henceforth.  These audits must be available for inspection any time during the term of the bond.


First of all, it is very necessary that they be collected in a businesslike manner, and that every effort is made to collect them.  Most people pay their indebtedness when they are billed.

A notice should be sent 60 days prior to the first of the year as to the amount of the dues which states that they are payable in advance.

Second, on February 1 send a follow-up notice to each member who has overlooked paying their dues the first of the year.

Final, on April 1 send a final notice and at the next Grange meeting announce to the Grange that you have “X” number of members who have not paid their dues. You may use phone, personal contact, special delivery mail with return receipt, or any other method you see fit.  But every effort should be made to collect these dues and maintain these Patrons on the rolls.

Under no conditions does the Secretary have the right to drop anyone from the books for nonpayment of dues without the action of the Grange.

Quarterly Reports

Quarterly reports are the official membership and dues reporting of Grange Secretaries.   These reports are due on March 31st—June 30th—September 30th and December 31st.  I make available to Subordinate and Pomona Granges who are expected to report, the proper and necessary forms upon which to file these reports. These reports are requested to be mailed no later than the 10th of the month following each quarter.

When mailing your quarterly reports, you should mail the top (white copy) to me at headquarters, middle copy (yellow) is mailed to your POMONA SECRETARY (not State Headquarters) and the last page kept for your records.

As I have been reminded that we must provide our Ganges with the proper paperwork and information I will be adding forms to the Secretary Help Page.  I am sure that those of you who are working more with the internet will find these helpful.  I have not forgotten the fact that some secretaries still need mailings so these will not stop.

Be safe and enjoy the New Year.

Aug 052016
Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Maine State Grange Secretary Sharon Morton has asked us to advise the secretaries of the Subordinate and Pomona Granges that she has completed the forms and if they have received notification from the IRS that their filing had not been received to please disregard that notice.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Sharon.

Mar 132015

caution signAUGUSTA – Numerous Maine corporations have received mailings recently from a business operating under the name Maine Council for Corporations, whose address is usually listed as 126 Western Ave., #338, Augusta, ME 04330-7252.  Please be advised that the form provided by the Maine Council for Corporations is not a document prescribed or recognized by the Department of the Secretary of State.  This is not being sent on behalf of the Department of the Secretary of State, and the records described are not required to be filed with the Secretary of State.

The mailings from the “Maine Council for Corporations” include an official-looking document titled “2015 – Annual Records Solicitation Form” and instructions for completing the form. The Solicitation Form includes an offer from the Maine Council for Corporations to prepare “corporate consent records in lieu of meeting minutes” for a fee of $125.

The Solicitation Form looks somewhat like the CEC’s annual report form. Although the solicitation correctly states that Maine Council for Corporations is not a government agency, some corporations have confused the Solicitation Form for the CEC’s prescribed annual report.

The form provided in this mailing is not an official annual report and will not be accepted as an annual report if submitted to the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. Additionally, the preparation of these records does not satisfy the requirements to file the annual report with the Secretary of State.

The legal deadline to file annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office is June 1st, and those reports may be filed online:  http://icrs.informe.org/nei-sos-icrs/ICRS. Please note that the Division of Corporations does not mail out the annual report form.

The Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions posted an alert last year about similar solicitations to Maine corporations from Corporate Records Service, whose address is identical to the address for Maine Council for Corporations.

Any corporation that has questions about the solicitation or form is encouraged to obtain advice from its lawyer or business advisor. Also, the Maine Division of Corporations can be contacted at (207) 624-7752 for information about corporate annual report and other business entity filing requirements under Maine law.

Jan 132015

We’ve been advised by National Grange that prices for these are increasing as of January 2015. Silver Star and Seals will be $2.50, Gold Sheaf and 75 Year Award will be $3.50, and 100 & 125 Year Grange Hall will be $4.00. Please check with State Secretary Sharon for more information. (Remember, your order for these materials must be sent to Maine State Grange.) A new order form will be available soon! (Check the “program books and information” page under the secretary heading.)

May 112014

Grottonby Rick Grotton, State Overseer

Please look over the Distinguished Grange applications as the June 30 is the last day for this year’s application.  The application year runs from July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014. If you have new members waiting for degrees check around for Degree days before the deadline or organize one at you grange. Any new members may give your grange a net gain for the year.  As I have mentioned previously, there are many Granges in Maine that qualify for the award so please complete the application and send to State Grange or myself. We need 10 qualified Granges in Maine to complete the “challenge” by National Grange. Let’s have fun doing this every year!

Membership is increasing in many Granges. If you have members in waiting, please do not make them wait. In your efforts to get new members do your best. Sometimes it doesn’t take much effort at all. At the recent State Spirit of America event in Augusta, I noticed a lady standing alone watching the ending of the event. I started talked to her and discovered that her mother had liked attend the annual event previously. This lady said that for herself she had free time now and wanted something rewarding to do with her time. Of course being membership minded, the bells and whistles went off in my head. We  talked about Grange, I got her address, sent her an application (guess I wasn’t too membership minded or I would have had one on me) and connected her with a grange in her town. So, in conversations with friends, family, and people you have just met, TALK GRANGE!  It could lead to a new member. Speak with pride and joy of your Grange. It will be noticed. Wear clothing that advertises the Grange in public. Who knows if someone would come up to you and ask you about Grange.  It does happen! Do something unique for your community that will always be connected with Grange. Open your halls for functions whether grange related or not.

Finally, I do want to congratulate those grange members who were honored for volunteerism in their communities at the annual Spirit of America event. Keep up the great work and thank you! For those who were present you might have been shown on WABI Channel 5 news that same evening. Hope you all head into the warmer weather with many rewarding plans for your Granges!

Apr 102014

Grottonby Rick Grotton, State Overseer

When was the last time an audit was performed in your Grange? Many cannot answer this question. Some will say “An audit? On what?”  It is mandatory, as noted in the State by-laws, that any monies handled by any officer of your Subordinate and Pomona Granges be audited at least once a year. This is a specific duty of your Executive Committee or finance committee. Should your Grange need assistance in performing an audit, contact your deputy, Pomona, or neighboring Grange.  An audit is NOT to be done by the officers of the Grange under audit who are in charge of handling a monetary account. The treasurer’s and secretary’s books should match and any transactions in your checkbooks should be compared to the monthly bank statements. The secretary’s books are to be signed by those performing the audit as well as the date of the audit.

Whenever officers change, especially the treasurer or the secretary, an audit should be done as soon as possible before the new officer takes charge of the books. If anything should happen concerning the finances of your grange and you took the office without having an audit performed, the new officer could be liable for any shortages. Always have an audit done before doing any monetary transactions as the new Treasurer.  It is extremely important that the audit be done for the protection of the officer handling the monies and to ensure that your Grange is operating correctly. Don’t put yourself and your Grange at risk. Many potential problems and difficulties can be avoided by having a simple audit done at least once a year.

Apr 042014

AUGUSTA – Numerous Maine corporations have received mailings recently from a business operating under the name Corporate Records Service, whose address is usually listed as 125 Western Ave. #338 Augusta, ME 04330-7252. These unsolicited mailings include a form titled “2014 – Annual Records Solicitation Form” and an offer from Corporate Records Service to prepare documents “to satisfy the annual corporate records for your corporation” for a fee of $125. This is not being sent on behalf of the Department of the Secretary of State, and the records described are not required to be filed with the Secretary of State. 

The solicitation correctly states that Corporate Records Services is not a government agency. However, the form of the mailing and the way the information is presented may create the impression that this is an official government communication. The form provided by Corporate Records Service is not a document prescribed or recognized by the Department of the Secretary of State. 

The form provided by Corporate Records Service is not an official annual report and will not be accepted as an annual report if submitted to the Secretary of State’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions. Additionally, the preparation of these records does not satisfy the requirements to file the annual report with the Secretary of State. The legal deadline to file annual reports with the Secretary of State’s office is June 1st, and those reports may be filed on line: http://icrs.informe.org/nei-sos-icrs/ICRS .

Please contact the Division of Corporations at (207) 624-7752 should you have any further questions or concerns regarding these solicitations. Any corporation that has questions about the solicitation is also encouraged to obtain advice from its lawyer or business advisor.

Dec 112013
This seal doesn't do tricks.

This seal doesn’t do tricks.

Most Granges have or have had a seal. Not the kind that swims in the water and balances a ball on its nose–the kind used to “emboss” certificates and official documents. If you’ve ever had a document notarized, you’ve watched the notary use one.

We’ve had some questions recently about seals and some Grange folks have contributed some answers. (We’re building several unofficial teams of folks with a lot of knowledge about the Grange… if you’d like to participate from time to time, send the webmaster an email!)

What are the Grange seals used for?

Steve Verrill tells us that when his grandmother was secretary she sealed every receipt she wrote! Unfortunately seals have fallen in disuse, one reason they often disappear. But you can use the seal for a wide range of documents including certificates, membership cards, etc. A little research reveals that old seals are considered collectible and often used for bookends!

Where is our seal?

Good question! Try that closet in the back of the hall where no one has looked in for years… Piscataquis Pomona found their seal a few years ago and we didn’t even know it was lost. It turned up at the home of one of our former secretaries and she contacted us when she found it!  In the ideal world it would probably be kept in the secretary’s desk at the hall. (Pomona Granges will need to be a bit creative on this point. Piscataquis Pomona has a suitcase that contains regalia, books, etc. and the Master or Steward makes certain it goes to every meeting.)

What if we really can’t find it?

It is possible to order a new seal. State Secretary Sharon tells us to, “contact Monroe Classic at www.monroeclassic.com and when on website go to hotels and Grange store. Click on ‘Grange’ and when directed to the Grange site click on ‘Grange Basics’ and that should bring you right to the page where you can order a replacement or new Grange seal.  The information that is needed is shown and they range in price from $34.95 to $40.95.”  Seals can be used with or without the gold medallion stickers which are available at most office supply stores.