Aug 182017
 

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

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

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

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

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

Aug 182017
 

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Davis, State Senator for District 4. 

Absentee Ballots for Referendum Election Now Available Online

If you would like to request an absentee ballot for this November’s General Election, they are now available through the Online Absentee Ballot Request Service. Absentee voting is an option for all Maine residents currently registered to vote. Absentee ballots may be requested either through this online service or by going to your town office to fill out a form.

This November’s ballot will include two citizen’s initiative questions including a question to allow a certain developer to open a casino in York County and the seventh attempt to expand Medicaid to more able-bodied adults in Maine. Also on the ballot will be Question 3: “An Act To Authorize Multiple General Fund Bond Issues To Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities,” and Question 4: “Resolution: Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets.”

To apply for an absentee ballot online, go to click here.

Aug 152017
 

A mug WB

I recently encountered two of my little friends from school at the supermarket. They said they were having a great summer but assured me they are ready to return to school. I did not admit I am not so much so… this has been an incredibly short summer! We recently returned from an extended vacation to Canada and I find myself feeling that there is way too much to do before the season’s change. That includes back to school, certainly, but “Grange-wise” we are also in transition with a new Grange year starting soon. That means it’s time to look back at the previous year’s accomplishments and write an annual director’s report. And it means looking ahead to next year and thinking about priorities and objectives for the Communication Department.

The mission doesn’t change—my intention has always been to support Pomona and local Granges with information (communication) that will help you grow your Granges in the ways you deem best. That growth certainly means membership, but it also means programming and the way you “operate” your Grange.

I would dearly love some input from Granges and Grangers—how can I best serve you as Communications Director? What do you like about the website? What would you like see more of…? My current thinking is that I’d like to expand two areas.

One is the “Exciting Granges and Grangers” category. The feedback I receive from you suggests that learning about other Granges and their successes is both motivating and helpful. This past year, some Granges have actually decided to send representatives to other Granges who are reporting success to see first hand “how they are doing it.” That’s pretty cool and it really makes sense. So a priority for next year will be to encourage more success stories and contributions. As if to further support this, we’ve had several cases where the media has picked up those success stories from our website. I’ve also been contacted by media representatives in search of successes to report. As the old saying goes, “Talk is cheap.” And as I have often said, “It really is easier to make news than it is to write press releases.”

A second priority I am considering is expanding the “Resources for Grangers” feature of the website. While we don’t want to “clutter” the site, the goal is to provide Granges and Grangers with resources that may have value personally, provide programming and event ideas, or just be of general value. There are several challenges associated with this, but it does seem to be worthy of pursuit!

Obviously, these are both areas where your help is needed. Don’t underestimate the value of the things your Grange does. Share them! What may seem commonplace to you may be an exciting, brand new idea needed by another Grange. I admit that I get really excited when I receive an email from someone whose name I don’t recognize because I can’t wait to see what you’ve done. Photos are also great—and a photo or two with what we call a “cutline” can tell a story. (A cutline is media talk for the caption explaining the photo—usually a sentence or two.)

In a similar way, you can help with “Resources for Grangers.” If you come across something that you think could be helpful, just submit it! I could be something as simple as a website link. Or it could be an article (I’ll handle the copyright issues) you found beneficial. With our diversity as an organization, there are lots of opportunities! Lecturers–if you conducted a particularly good Lecturer’s Program, share it! Community Service Chairs–if you found a particularly good cause or initiative, pass it on. I could go through the entire list. For example, I recently found a simple checking account program that I am testing and will report on soon—treasurers might be interested! Given the number of Granges and Grangers we have, we have lots of potential for helping each other! I’ll do my best to make that happen!

Another project under consideration is a major revision of the “Communications Handbook.” Some changes are required based on changes made to the website, but it may also be time for a major review and overhaul. If you have some ideas regarding what would be helpful in the handbook, please let me know. I’d like to have it ready for distribution at State Session. I also hope to have a “table” at State Session on Thursday and Friday where you can stop by and chat, subscribe to the website, get help with how to use the website, etc. But you don’t have to wait until then! My preferred method of contact is email, but you can also call or write—just remember that I am still working a “day job,” teaching courses and substituting at school so those methods may be a little slower.

We had some great experiences during our Canadian Vacation. I was impressed by the fact that we were not often asked, “May I help you?” Well, I was really impressed by the fact that most of the people we encountered were genuinely interested in us and knew how to communicate that. There was no doubt they wanted to help us. When I had a semi-technical difficulty with tickets to a special event, I decided to simply appear at the location in person (a performance center on a small college campus). As I stumbled about looking dazed, I was asked: “How can I help you!” My explanation brought up a pointed finger with the explanation “There’s our summer student who can help you with just about anything.” During our conversation, he asked a ton of questions about things like: where I was from, how I was enjoying the area, etc. Yes, he solved my problem quickly and efficiently, but he also made it clear that he was interested, genuinely interested in not only getting me my tickets by making sure I was enjoying my visit to the area. I ended up with a great dinner recommendation… when I thanked him before the performance and told him how great the entertainment at the restauranthe’d recommended was, he realized I was talking about his cousin. Small world, isn’t it.

Now there’s a resource for us as Grangers—a clear demonstration that our Grange world needs to be about being genuinely interested—in each other for sure, but also in others. When we are tempted to whine that folks aren’t interested in the Grange, that might be a good time to ask ourselves how interested we are in those people.

How may I help you? Please share your thoughts and ideas for how the Communications Department can serve and help you.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

 

 

 

Aug 152017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

If your Grange participates in the Dictionary Project, you or your Grange Secretary should have recently received their recent newsletter… I believe it is mailed to all supporters and contributors. It’s a great piece because it can be a poster and even doubles as an order form. Well, this issue is of particular interest because it features Danville Junction Grange! You can read the original post here… and notice the fact that the Dictionary Project folks are subscribers to the Maine State Grange website. If you aren’t… what might you be missing!?

Congratulations to Danville Grange and thanks to Glenys Ryder for submitting the article!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Aug 022017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

I posted the schedule of Officer Installations for Vicki Huff’s team this morning… they are up to twelve planned installations and Vicki says they should be considered “fully booked.” Any scheduled installations I have been told about are listed on the “sticky” post on the site. You may wish to contact the host Grange and see if you might participate! You might even join a neighboring Pomona–it doesn’t matter where your officers are installed.

Also, in honor of summer and all that is good, I will be working reduced hours for the first two weeks in August. I will still post events, columns, and news–and reply to email. Things just may be a little slower than usual! Your patience (and advanced planning) is appreciated. The Bulletin Deadline is still August 15, 2017, and I fully intend to meet that deadline, so regular contributors should submit their columns on time–or better yet, early!


I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.

Bill Gates

 

Jul 232017
 

This article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.

Maine has some of the best agricultural fairs in New England.  If you want to know more about Maine’s great agricultural fairs, go to the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs Web site for the latest news and information.

For a listing of upcoming fairs, or if you wish to receive State fair news, click here.


Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Jul 232017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

Just a short message to point out and explain a few things…

Geek Alert! Some of this is a bit technical–you may skip any portion when your eyes start to glaze over.

  • A recent change to post formatting has been made to accommodate post previews in the new subscription service.  Secondary headlines will be minimized and the contributor’s name will appear in their place.
  • I’ve added some software that will allow the creation of “buttons” for some links. This should increase the user-friendliness of the site by making resources more readily available.
  • We have a new “logo” for Communications Bullets–short messages from your Communications Department.
  • There are currently over 1,800 posts on the site, dating back to 2010 when I assumed responsibility. I plan to begin deleting some of those old posts and any that “no longer apply” to save server space and make the site more manageable.
  • There are currently over 1,200 photos and documents on the site, also dating back to 2010. I plan to begin deleting some of the older photos and outdated documents.

I’m pleased to report that the new website subscription service seems to be working great! Our subscriber numbers are increasing–slower than we’d like, but steadily! If you haven’t, please subscribe–and encourage others to do the same!

Thanks to those Grangers who send feedback (compliments, corrections, and criticisms) on the site! It’s been particularly nice to hear how the website has helped you and, in several cases, created connections between Granges.  We can learn much from each other! It’s always fun to report what works in Granges. With your help, I’d like to continue to develop and expand that aspect of the website. Please send your stories and photos… you can use the “Submit Information” tab on the site or simply send an email to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg. (I think I’ll create a button for that!)

As always, if you have suggestions and ideas for the site, I want to hear them! It’s almost time for annual reports to be submitted and that triggers setting some goals and priorities for next year. How can I help you!?


Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website! Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Jul 152017
 

Please provide proper attribution when using material.

Webmaster’s Note:  The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119.

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

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

Students returning to school have two opportunities to apply for the Adult Degree Completion Scholarship. Each year the deadlines for new applicants are:

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

The electronic application takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and may be found online here. Prior to completing this application, we recommend contacting your campus navigator to review your eligibility and discuss your plan for completing your bachelor’s degree. Applicants must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for consideration:

  • must be a resident of the State of Maine;
  • must be a matriculated student at a UMS institution seeking a first baccalaureate degree;
  • must be an undergraduate reentry student who has experienced a gap (three years or more) in the pursuit of postsecondary education;
  • must have a minimum of 30 credits earned from any institution toward your degree;
  • must demonstrate financial need as determined by a completed FAFSA; and
  • must be registered at least part time: 6‐8 credits per semester.

Adult Degree Completion Scholarship Brochure

 

Jul 152017
 


The July Issue of the National Grange Newsletter is now available. This issue is jam-packed with information and articles like:

  • Let Your Voice be the Reason for Change
  • Three More Interns Join National Office in July
  • Fun 150th Birthday T’s Are Here
  • Donate So They Get Pie’d
  • Recognition Program Unveiled for Legacy Grange Families
  • Online Membership Database, A Step Towards Better Communication
  • Promo Kit on Sale for Summer Fairs
  • Great American Quilt & Handicraft Expo
  • Seeking to Promote Your Sesquicentennial Items
  • Lecturer’s Contest Soon to Close
  • Youth: Learning to Serve
  • Junior Ambassador an Asset
  • Healthcare: Where Are We Now?
  • 2017 Four-Minute-Movie-Contest

Read the July Issue of The Patrons Chain

 

Jul 122017
 

by Walter Boomsma
MSG Communications Director

After Ann’s most recent email, I had to create an award. Ann wrote, in part, “Did you intentionally report that the State Session opens in the 7th degree to see how many of us really read the articles in the monthly Bulletin? If it does I’ve consistently slept through it for years. Just wondering how many more readers noticed the boo boo…”

The answer to the first question is, “No, it was not intentional.” I know in the past I’ve joked that one way to get attention is to make a mistake, but that wasn’t the case this time. My excuse is that I was hurrying to meet my deadline to finish the Bulletin, although that’s really not much of an explanation.

The answer to the second question is, “None!” Or if any others did notice, they didn’t report it.

Ann’s referring to the article in the June Issue introducing the graphic I created for State Session. I erroneously wrote, “Want to help promote State Session? I’ve created the graphic to the right… and can email it to you if you’d like to include it in your local Grange communications. Let’s see if we can increase participation and attendance this year! Remember, you do not have to be a delegate to attend—and you certainly do not have to hold a fifth or sixth degree. While session opens in the seventh, it lowers to fourth almost immediately so any Grange can be part of the convention!” Obviously, that should have read, “While session opens in the sixth,…”

Sorry for the error… although it did demonstrate that at least one person reads the Bulletin closely and it provides an opportunity to have a little fun!