Feb 182018
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

The February Bulletin is now available on the website! Get your copy: MSG Bulletin February 2018. While all of the content has also appeared as posts on the site, it’s a great summary and could be printed (legal-size paper) and posted on your Grange Bulletin Board and handed out to members.

While it doesn’t quite qualify as “going viral,” there are some comments posted on this month’s “Exploring Traditions…” column. Check out the discussion by clicking the responses link just under the title on the righthand side of the post. (You can comment on any post this way.) It is especially rewarding to hear that this has helped “explain the Grange’s relevance in this fast-paced society.”

Don’t forget that Grange Month is fast approaching… additional information and some resources are available in this post. If you plan to include a Community Citizen Award, you’ll want to order it soon!

Coming soon! Information on the first quarter results of the Amazon Smiles Program… and some information about how Valley Grange “hired” a bunch of “ad managers.”

What’s happening at your Grange? Inquiring minds want to know… photos are encouraged! (Attach them to an email.) Please understand that I do not have time to search Facebook for posts–as most regular Facebook users know, they have recently changed their algorithms and I may not even see your post. When you post news to Facebook, copy the post and paste it into an email addressed to the webmaster. It only takes a few seconds.  The best way to distribute your Grange news is still through this website, where we don’t use algorithms to decide what others should see. It’s available to all–especially subscribers!

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

 

Feb 172018
 

Thanks to Harraseeket Grange in Freeport and member Sebastian Meade for a great idea! Harraseeket is now including a drawing (a photo would also work) of their hall on all their flyers and promotional materials, “so [the hall] starts to become recognized from a distance.”

In a word, “awesome!”

This particular drawing was done by Sebastian who also runs a business called buttonspinzandthingz.com — he does things like buttons, magnets, and original artwork. Small quantities are available…

Another step that Harraseeket Grange has taken is to include “Freeport” in their name… if your Grange isn’t named the same as your community, that might something to consider.

This might also be a good opportunity to remind you of the importance of knowing a street address (911) for your Grange. Not only does it help visitors set their GPS unit, it will be critical in the event of an emergency.

Oh, by the way, Sebastian holds two offices in his Grange: Assistant Steward and Building Agent. How’s that for another great idea!?

What other exciting ideas are out there?!

Feb 152018
 

A mug WB

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin pointed out Newton’s law of thermodynamics postulates that energy is constant and can neither be created or destroyed. Seth goes on to point out the in organizational dynamics, the exact opposite is true, energy is constantly being created and destroyed. He also notes it’s easy to find acceptable reasons/excuses/explanations for being the passive person who takes out more than puts in.

That’s a powerful consideration for Grange members because whether we create or destroy is really is a choice. That’s even true in the conversations we have. If you’ve ever tried to have a conversation with someone who is clearly not interested, you know how quickly energy can be destroyed.

One of the reasons communication is so important in any organization is this “law of organizational dynamics.” What and how we communicate either creates energy or destroys it. In fact, the very absence of communication can be energy-destroying. If we’re not talking about it, how important is it?

This is one reason I’ve been emphasizing photos and news about what local Granges are doing. There have been some great posts on the website recently reporting on “exciting Granges and Grangers.” Because of my interest in kids, I liken it to posting the kids’ school papers on the fridge where the whole family can see them. We are creating energy

And some of that energy spreads literally across the country. The National Grange magazine “Good Day!” recently printed a half page full-color photo of Dave Gowen and his daughter Hannah (Highland Lake Grange). The story behind the photo is that the Gowen’s were recently recognized as a “Grange Legacy Family” – Hannah is the sixth generation of a family in which every generation has been Grange Members.

And that’s not the only reference to Maine Grangers in this and past issues. Last fall Wes Ryder’s Poem (Danville Junction Grange) about the Grange’s Birthday filled a complete page of this National Grange Magazine.

So I’m going to plug Good Day! It’s an energy creator and much of it is relevant to Maine. It’s also very affordable at $14 per year (member price)—a great value. Shouldn’t there be at least one subscriber in every Grange in Maine? (I checked the numbers, we’re not even close.)

Who are the energy creators? How do we support them?

“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


2017 National Grange Good Day! Subscription Order Form–information and form for subscribing to the Good Day! Magazine.

Speaking of subscriptions… why not

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Feb 112018
 

The most recent issue of Good Day! National Grange magazine includes a half-page photo of David Gowen and his daughter Hannah. That, of itself, is exciting, but even more exciting is the reason and the story behind the photo. During the awards reception of the 151st Annual National Grange Convention, the Gowen family was one of seventy families across the nation who were honored with Legacy certificates. The certificates recognize the decades of service running through some Grange Families. For the Gowen Family, that includes six generations of membership in the Grange, starting in 1875 when James and Clarinda Gowen (first generation) and James and Ida Gowen (second generation) were all members of Westbrook Grange #87 (now Highland Lake Grange #87). That’s a lot of Grangers and a lot of Grange Service! Congratulations to the Gowens–the only family from Maine to receive this honor!

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Your family may qualify for recognition as a Grange Legacy Family if you can provide information about five or more generations of your family that have been part of the Grange.  Learn more about the program here. Awards are presented annually at the National Grange Convention. Deadline for applications for this year is August 6, 2018.

Feb 082018
 

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

Unclaimed property consists of money and other personal assets that are considered lost or abandoned when an owner cannot be located after a specified period of time.  It includes checking accounts, certificates of deposit, overpayments, gift certificates, paid-up life insurance policies, unpaid wages, commissions, uncashed checks, death benefits, dividends, insurance payments, money orders, refunds, savings accounts, stocks, and contents of safe deposit boxes.  Unclaimed Property does not include real estate, animals, or vehicles.

Millions of dollars are turned over annually to the State of Maine by entities who cannot locate the owners.  There is no fee charged to process your property claim.

To search for unclaimed property, please visit Unclaimed Property Search and Claim.  If you find your name on the list, you can make a claim right there by filing online or you may print a claim form and mail it to Office of the Maine State Treasurer, Attn:  Unclaimed Property, 39 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333-0039.   Some claims may take up to 90 days to process.  Claims involving stocks or mutual funds may take considerably longer.

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Maine State Treasurer at (207) 624-7470 or send an e-mail to updotgeneralinquireatmainedotgov  (updotgeneralinquireatmainedotgov)  .


Webmaster’s Note: A few years ago I did this and found some–an uncashed check! Admittedly it wasn’t enough to take an extended vacation but was, literally, “found money.” It’s worth a look.

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Feb 072018
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

A couple of additions to your website today…

We’ve uploaded the most recent “VA Wish List” — you’ll find a link to it in the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page. Remember, it makes sense to check this list to also learn what is NOT needed at this time!

We’ve created a new link to National Grange Legislative Bulletins in the Legislative Section of the Program Books and Information Page.  These Bulletins are issued monthly and are chock full of useful news and updates. Just one example this month–some great information on the work that’s beginning this month on the Farm Bill.

Thanks to those Exciting Granges and Grangers who have been submitting news and photos… Please keep ’em coming! Your fellow Granges and Grangers love hearing good news about what’s happening around our state.

Remember, we’re still counting down to Grange Month 2018. Rather than repost all the National Grange Resources on the MSG website, use this link to download what you need: 2018 Grange Month Page on the National Grange website.

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Jan 292018
 

Click to enlarge image

I know we do not usually feature local Grange events as posts to the website, but I’m making an exception with this one. because it may well represent an exciting future of “local” Grange events on several points!

First, at least three Granges are involved in this Community Discussion being held on February 2, 2018. It’s obvious from the flyer that Kennebec Valley Grange is hosting and East Madison Grange is sponsoring. What’s not as obvious is that Halcyon Grange is also involved–Master Heather Retberg and Bonnie Preston will be sharing their experience and expertise as part of the discussion.

Second, there’s some creative scheduling involved with a potluck before and music following. That’s three different incentives and opportunities at Kennebec Valley Grange right in a row–and each truly does follow the “community” theme.

Along those same lines, Highland Lake Grange recently shared information about the Beekeeping Program they offered before their “regular” meeting. As an exciting epilogue, Master Dave McGowen reports that two folks who attended the Beekeeping Program “stuck around” after and expressed interest in information about joining the Grange!

These are great examples of “everybody wins” ideas and programming! We often talk about our “grassroots” and how there can be and are differences in Granges and their focus. But the opportunities for collaboration, cooperation, and creativity abound!

Certainly, our structure suggests this could happen at the Pomona Level–one of the purposes of the Pomona Grange is to provide an opportunity to share and support. If there’s diversity in our Pomona, would it make sense to do a Pomona Event that features every Grange? A piece of the event might be to set up tables for each subordinate/community Grange and invite the public to come and learn about all the Granges in the area. (The host Grange would best be the most geographically central.

But informal arrangements can also work extremely well based on shared interests or physical location. There’s an old example explaining synergy (the combining of energies) as two plus two equals five. When two Granges get together to collaborate and cooperate, one plus one equals three!

And remember, collaboration and cooperation are not limited to other Granges. Valley Grange is currently working on a spring event that will potentially include Project Linus, quilting clubs, and high schools.

Share your stories! Do not underestimate your successes! Something as simple as how you schedule programs and meetings may trigger an idea that another Grange can use. Take photos of your successful events and send them for sharing.

Collaboration, cooperation, and creativity — another example of “the Grange Way.”

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

Jan 272018
 

Webmaster’s Note: Information provided courtesy of California State Grange.

A note of explanation… this information comes to us courtesy of California State Grange. These are grants available nationally… that might be of interest to Granges interested in Community Service Projects and rural development. Unfortunately, the information has passed through several hands and formats. As a result, the “clickable links” have been lost. I suspect, however, an Internet search wouldn’t be too difficult. Admittedly, most are fairly large scale but I thought any grant information is better than none and might start the wheels of creativity turning.

If you know of any grant sources, send whatever information you have and we’ll share it on the website! Sharing resources is also “the Grange Way.”

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Support for Communities to Prepare for Environmental Challenges

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation: Resilient Communities

The Resilient Communities program, an initiative of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) with support from Wells Fargo, is dedicated to helping communities prepare for future impacts associated with sea level rise, water quantity and quality, and forest conservation. The program places special emphasis on helping traditionally underserved, low- and moderate-income communities build capacity for resiliency planning and investments in “greener infrastructure. In 2018, grants will be offered in the following two categories: The Regional Adaptation through Regional Conservation Projects category will support projects that help prepare for fire in the Western Region, floods and droughts in the Central Region, and sea-level rise in the Eastern Region. Grants in this category will range from $200,000 to $500,000. The Community Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects category will support projects that help communities understand, organize, and take action to address risks and opportunities through

improved resilience brought about by enhanced natural features. Grants in this category, ranging from $100,000 to $250,000, can take place anywhere in the U.S., but should address multiple cities and communities. Nonprofit organizations, local governments, and Indian tribes are eligible to apply in both categories. The pre-proposal deadline is February 15, 2018; invited full proposals must be submitted by May 10, 2018. Visit the NFWF website to review the request for proposals.

New Dance Works Funded

National Dance Project: Production Grants

The National Dance Project (NDP), a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, is widely recognized as one of the country’s major sources of funding for dance. NDP’s signature approach invests in artists to make new work and provides grants to the organizations that present those works on tour in their communities. The program provides a package of support that includes up to $45,000 towards the creation of a new work, approximately $10,000 in general operating support, and up to $35,000 to support a U.S. tour of the work. Grants are highly competitive and are awarded to around 20 dance projects each year. The upcoming inquiry application deadline is March 1, 2018. Visit the New England Foundation for the Arts website to review the funding criteria and access the application forms.

Grants to Develop Rural Community Design Workshops

Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) provides rural communities throughout the United States access to the resources they need to convert their own good ideas into reality. CIRD is offering competitive funding to as many as four small towns or rural communities to host an intensive, two-day community workshop to help build their capacity to solve their design challenges. The CIRD 2018 program is focused on helping rural leaders and residents come together to find creative solutions for the following design issues: Multimodal Transportation, Healthy Living by Design, and Main Streets. CIRD’s contribution includes a $10,000 stipend and in-kind technical assistance services. Support is provided for rural communities with a population of 50,000 or under. The application deadline is February 16, 2018. Visit the CIRD website to learn more about the program and to download the Request for Proposals.

Hiking Trail Projects Supported

American Hiking Society: National Trails Fund

The National Trails Fund, sponsored by American Hiking Society (AHS), provides support to grassroots nonprofit organizations throughout the country working toward establishing, protecting, and maintaining foot trails in America. The Fund’s grants, ranging from $500 to $3,000, help local groups build and protect America’s public trails. Grants will be considered for the following: projects that have hikers as the primary constituency; projects that secure trail lands, including acquisition of trails and trail corridors and the costs associated with acquiring conservation easements; projects that will result in visual and substantial ease of access, improved hiker safety, or avoidance of environmental damage; and projects that promote constituency building surrounding specific trail projects, including volunteer recruitment and support. Applying organizations must be AHS Alliance Members. Online applications are due February 16, 2018. Visit the American Hiking Society website for application guidelines, as well as information on becoming an AHS Member.

Funds for Literacy Programs in Company Communities

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation supports nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and libraries that offer literacy programs in communities served by Dollar General in 44 states. The Foundation provides support through the following grant programs: Adult Literacy Grants support nonprofit organizations that provide direct services to adults in need of literacy assistance. Family Literacy Grants support family literacy service providers that combine parent and youth literacy instruction. Summer Reading Grants help nonprofit organizations and libraries with the implementation or expansion of summer reading programs for students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or readers with learning disabilities. Online applications for the three programs described above must be submitted by February 22, 2018. In addition, Youth Literacy Grants support schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations that work to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. The application deadline for this program is May 17, 2018. Visit the Foundation’s website to access guidelines for each grant program.

Historic Preservation Supported

National Park Service

The Save America’s Treasures program provides preservation or conservation assistance to nationally significant historic properties and collections. The application deadline is February 21, 2018.

Award Honors Young Environmentalists

Environmental Protection Agency

The Presidents Environmental Youth Award honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes, summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. The application deadline is March 1, 2018.

Jan 212018
 

The revised National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry Digest of Laws, 2018 Edition, that applies to all Granges of the Order, including Junior, Subordinate, State and Pomona’s, is available for free download on the National Grange website. Click below to save or print the PDF.

You may also order a printed copy of the Digest through the Grange Supply Store for $20 plus shipping.  It includes all 112 pages with cover hole-punched and bound in a three-ring binder that allows you to quickly slip in updated pages as they become available each year.

There were few changes in 2018, mainly regarding language about trusts, now referred to as custodial accounts. Please do take time to familiarize yourself with the Digest.

Download the 2018 National Digest

 

Jan 212018
 

Let the nagging begin!

Seriously, this is your first reminder to start planning for Grange Month… National Grange recently announced, “One hundred fifty years—what a milestone! This year’s Grange Month should be filled with celebrations in every Grange, coast to coast! We have a proud history of supporting, educating, advocating, and entertaining rural Americans. Very few organizations last for 150 years so this is our time to celebrate.

Our theme for 2018 Grange Month is “That’s the Grange Way.”  Following up our Doers theme from 2017, it’s the Grange Way to be doers, to volunteer and give and contribute to life where we live.  To be outstanding citizens and be the bridge between two sides who won’t compromise. To teach the world how to get along, what faith, hope, and charity really mean in everyday life.  How to love others even if you don’t like them or don’t agree with them.   We want to tell the world what the Grange Way means, and why they should care, why they should want to join us and help with our efforts to improve lives from the grassroots up.”

And the really good news is the following resources are already available from the National Grange website:

There are a few more items, so you may just want to visit the 2018 Grange Month Page on the National Grange website. (The one thing that’s currently missing on the page is the order form for community service awards–that was available in the January issue of the Patrons Chain, but I’m also working on making it readily available, perhaps on the MSG website. More to come on that!

While it is traditional to think of April as “Grange Month,” when your Grange celebrates it is truly optional. Here in Maine, some Granges choose to wait until May when the weather tends to be more cooperative.

You’ll need to start making decisions soon, though! A good Grange Month Celebration should include advance planning and publicity. Celebrating a “Community Night” that includes honoring a local citizen is one of the more common practices. But this would be a great year to think outside the box! How about planning a special community service project that ties in? Would it make sense to have a special guest speaker or a panel discussion regarding community… or to announce the start of a community garden? 2018 is a great year to put your Grange “on the map” and in the public eye.

Here’s a publicity idea for you. At your next meeting, have someone snap a photo of members sitting in a circle having an intense discussion. Write a short “cutline” (caption) describing how members are planning your Grange Month Celebration, then send both to your local newspapers–and the MSG website. (Email the photo as an attachment–photos cannot easily be sent using the “submitting information” tab.)

If you need some help or have some great ideas to share, let us know! Let’s work together for the most successful Grange Month ever! That’s the Grange Way!

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster