Oct 172017
 

Check out WABI – TV 5’s coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

Check out WVII – Fox News coverage of Valley Grange’s Words for Thirds Dictionary Day!

This was our first dictionary day of the season… we still have more kids coming to the Grange Hall and three schools to visit! We’ve given out over 2,500 dictionaries in the sixteen years we’ve been doing this and it’s still one of the most exciting and fun things we do! Yesterday’s event included eighty kids from SeDoMoCha Elementary School. What fun!

Oct 162017
 

The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. As of yesterday, no Grange Halls have been lost, but several Grange members have lost their homes.

California State Grange Master Ed Kominski describes one Grange, Redwood Valley Grange as having some “Amazing Patrons” and note the hall has been opened to start serving their community in conjunction with the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department and North Coast Opportunities and Animal Control. Among services being provided:

  • The Hall will be open 10-6 every day until not needed and are providing Free Child Care
  • Free Professional Crisis Counseling and referrals are available
  • Lunch at 12:30 every while there is a community need.
  • All day refreshments are available
  • Town Meeting will be at the Grange – date TBD
  • The hall is a place to come, share, play music, and game tables are available.

All this is being done by Grangers who are having their own personal struggles.

Maine Grangers can help by participating in the California State Grange Fundraiser. Kominski notes, “Support and funds are coming in great numbers. We have seen fantastic support but we need to reach more people.”

The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. Every donation of $25 or more will receive a t-shirt in appreciation for the generosity – “California Granges – Moving Together”

Donate to the CA Fires Support Fund

Oct 092017
 

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

In a fire, seconds count.  Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 8 – 14) theme:  “Every Second Counts:  Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important.  It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.

Here are this year’s key campaign messages.

  1. Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  2. Practice your home fire drill twice a year.  Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  3. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  4. Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  5. Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  6. Once you get outside, stay outside.  Never go back inside a burning building.

Fire Prevention Week was established to observe the “Great Chicago Fire,” of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned in excess of 2,000 acres.  The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, including access to great resources for kids, families, and teachers, visit the National Fire Protection Association Web site.


Webmaster’s Note: As a “retired” volunteer firefighter, I can attest to the importance of this! October is also a good month to change smoke detector batteries and check any fire extinguishers you have in your home! If you have an older, powder-based extinguisher, remove it from the holder, turn it upside down and “bang” on the side a few times with your hand to make sure the powder remains viable and does not clump. Why not make fire prevention a lecturer’s program or an FHH report?! By the way… this is also a good time to remind everyone to make sure the number of your Grange Hall (and 911 address) is clearly marked and all members know it. It will be important information to provide the dispatcher if you ever require emergency assistance!

Oct 082017
 

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

The Department of the Secretary of State is taking orders for buttons to honor our veterans on Election Day.  The button, which reads “I’m Voting in Honor of a Veteran,” is personalized with the name of a veteran the voter wants to recognize for his or her sacrifices to ensure our freedoms, including the right to vote.

Order forms for the Vote in Honor of a Veteran button can be found online here.  The buttons are mailed directly to voters’ homes, and there is no cost for the button or for shipping.  To receive the button before the election, voters should place their orders as soon as possible.


Subscribe to the Maine State Grange Website–Don’t miss news like this!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Sep 292017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

Can’t wait for State Convention to learn about activities and accomplishments? The following annual reports are now available on the site:

Directors and Committee Chairs are reminded that the deadline for submitting your annual report was yesterday. Please send your report to Jim Owens  (jimowens1atmyfairpointdotnet)   and copy the webmaster  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   so your report can be posted to the site.

Sep 182017
 

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

Maine’s Secretary of State has finalized the wording of the two citizens’ initiative questions that will appear on the Tuesday, November 7, 2017 referendum election ballot.  Below is the title of each initiative and the final question that will appear on the ballot.

QUESTION 1:  An Act To Allow Slot Machines or a Casino in York County.  “Do you want to allow a certain company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to State and local approval, with part of the profits going to the specific programs described in the initiative?”

QUESTION 2:  An Act To Enhance Access to Affordable Health Care.  “Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?”

The full text of each proposed bill is available for viewing on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions’ Upcoming Elections Web page.

The Secretary of State received more than 150 comments on the wording of these initiatives during the 30-day public comment period, which was open Wednesday, August 2, 2017, through Friday, September 1, 2017.  He reviewed and considered these comments, which were submitted from individuals and organizations throughout the State during the drafting of the final ballot question language.

The Bureau of Corporations, Elections, and Commissions will create a Citizens’ Guide to the 2017 Election this fall, which will be available on the Web site and at public libraries across the State.  All voters are encouraged to read it to inform themselves of the details of each bill, including the fiscal impact statements.

In addition to the citizens’ initiative questions, the November referendum election ballot will also include one bond question and one constitutional amendment, both of which will appear below the citizens’ initiative questions on the ballot.  The legislation titles are listed below, along with the questions that will appear on the ballot:

QUESTION 3:  An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Improve Highways, Bridges and Multimodal Facilities and Upgrade Municipal Culverts – Legislation found online here.

“Do you favor a $105,000,000 bond issue for construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of highways and bridges and for facilities or equipment related to ports, harbors, marine transportation, freight and passenger railroads, aviation, transit, and bicycle and pedestrian trails to be used to match an estimated $137,000,000 in federal and other funds, and for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings?”

QUESTION 4:  Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine To Reduce Volatility in State Pension Funding Requirements Caused by the Financial Markets – Legislation found online here.

“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to reduce volatility in State pension funding requirements caused by the financial markets by increasing the length of time over which experience losses are amortized from 10 years to 20 years, in line with pension industry standards?”

For more information about the November 2017 referendum election, click here.  Information on voter registration and locating your polling place is also available on the Corporations, Elections, and Commissions Web site here.

Sep 152017
 

Congratulations, East Sangerville Grange! A recent post on the Maine State Grange Website about the adventures of the “Fighting 177th” was picked up by the National Grange and printed in the current issue of Good Day! the magazine published by National Grange. We can debate whether or not programs like this are traditional but there’s no question they generate excitement in the Grange and the community. So let’s hear a Grange Cheer for this exciting Grange and these exciting Grangers!

East Sangerville’s Fighting 177th

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Sep 152017
 

A mug WB

Every year at this time, I go through a major cleanup of the website, starting with the Program Books and Information Page. One reason for starting there is that the Program Books and Information Page gets over twice the number of visits as any other page on the website. Our Granges want and need information. I encourage and remind state leaders (especially directors and committee chairs) to make certain the information there is current. As we move into a new Grange Year, it’s my hope that each section will have, at a minimum:

  • 2016-2017 Annual Report (due by September 28, 2017) – a summary of committee activities and accomplishments for the Grange that Grange Year.
  • 2017-2018 Information – obviously this will vary by committee but should include any contest information and resources for Subordinate and Pomona Granges, including a program book if appropriate.

I recently have had some interesting discussions with some colleagues in the field of education. A respected company involved in real estate education completed an “in-depth” study that showed (among many other things) over 60% of real estate educators say “decreasing attention spans” is a significant “challenge” for instructors. One colleague and I have concluded that data may be missing the boat.* (Stay with me because this is about communication.)

Look at that “fact.” It is really saying that there is something wrong with the students. When we dig below the obvious, here’s what my colleague and I think is actually happening. (I have the advantage of experience teaching five-year-olds as well as seniors.) Today’s adult students grew up learning very differently than previous generations. There is nothing “wrong” with them—they are just different. The real problem may be that instructors haven’t figured out how to adapt to their new learning habits and experience.

Well, ditto that when it comes to communication. I used to be a prolific letter writer. I now can count on one hand the number of letters I write every year. I am dealing with companies on the internet for whom I only have a phone number and email address; no readily apparent “snail mail” address.

But beyond that, I’m constantly learning that younger people are used to getting information differently—just like they are used to learning differently. There are a lot of people who no longer read newspapers and, as a result, there are many newspapers struggling to survive. Media moguls are increasingly turning to “sound bites” of information that can be digested in a relatively short period of time. When I coach people to prepare for interviews, I encourage them to think in “bites” that are only two or three sentences. I recently worked with some sixth graders at school who were being interviewed by a reporter. They were nervous, but I couldn’t help but notice when the reporter asked a question, they rarely rambled. The responded directly—sometimes bluntly—and succinctly. They have learned to communicate differently. (For example, a text message can only include 140 letters and spaces.) Conversely, I’ve watched reporters interview older folks for the same story. The reporter stops writing notes and I can tell he or she is thinking, “Will you please get to the point?”

As I work with the media, I find they are far more interested in the “hook” than a few years ago. While I don’t have hard data, it also seems to me that articles are generally shorter and tend to include less detail. The pattern is very parallel to what’s happening in the educational environment. People are learning differently; people are digesting information differently and people are communicating differently.

As I sometimes tell my adult learners when they react negatively to a concept, “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to learn and understand it.” I remember fondly picking up the two pound Sunday edition of the local newspaper and engaging in the ritual of a coffee and a leisurely read, sorting sections while nibbling on toast. I can’t, however, remember the last time I did that. I haven’t given up the coffee and toast, but I’m now reading the news on my iPad and completing the process in a lot less time.

As newspapers, educators and other communicators are learning “resistance is futile.” We need to adapt if we expect to be viable in the world as it exists.


*For those with additional interest, Stop Teaching Me is an article I wrote on the topic of how today’s learners differ and what it means to real estate educators.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

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Sep 142017
 

Several months ago, a “little birdie” sent me a news tip and a copy of a poem written by Wes Ryder of Danville Junction Grange along with the explanation I might be able to use it on the website since it was about the Grange’s 150th Birthday. I read it and decided not to use it. (Wait for it!)

Instead I forwarded it to National Grange for further consideration. Now we need a Grange Cheer for Wes. His poem is featured as a full page of the current issue (Fall 2017) of “Good Day,” the magazine of the National Grange. This issue is hitting mailboxes all over the country as we speak.

When your copy arrives, tear open the plastic cover and turn immediately to page 20 to enjoy Wes’s ability to turn a phrase and rhyme a word. Then congratulate him by commenting on this post. As a writer and publisher, I can attest to the fact that getting poetry published in a National publication is not an easy achievement. Many try, few succeed. Congratulations, Wes–you’re part of a very elite group and our poet laureate!


To comment and congratulate Wes, click the link in the upper right corner of the post. If possible, shake his hand in person! And remember, we love contributions from local Grangers and Granges.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

Sep 082017
 

Each October, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control conducts a program to collect and properly dispose of banned and unusable pesticides from homeowners and farms. Pre-registration is required and collections are held at four sites across the state. More information about the program may be found below.

Next collection will be in October 2017, one day each in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland. Registration by September 22 is required, no drop-ins will be accepted. Use the forms below to register.

The Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the Department of Environmental Protection provide citizens with a responsible, free solution to their obsolete pesticide problem. Once a year, these agencies collect obsolete pesticides brought to sites across Maine. The materials are then shipped to out-of-state disposal facilities. Banned pesticides and pesticides that have become caked, frozen or otherwise rendered unusable can be accepted. The program is available to homeowners as well as non-corporate farmers and greenhouse operators

How to participate

  1. Registration Form Instructions
    • Option 1: fillable PDF fileOpen the file, fill in the information, print it out, and mail it to the BPC (mailing address on the form).
    • Option 2: Word fileOpen the file, fill in the information, and
      • either save it to your hard drive, attach it to an e-mail, and send it to pesticidesatmainedotgov  (pesticidesatmainedotgov)  or
      • if your e-mail program allows it, send it directly from the open file to the BPC at the address above.
    • Option 3 Request paper copy: Contact the BPC (207-287-2731, or the e-mail address above) to have a copy of the form mailed to you.
  2. On the registration form, identify the common name of the pesticide active ingredients shown on each product’s label. Common names are often listed on the front of the label followed by the chemical name. If the active ingredient is not listed, or is unreadable, please describe the product using the brand name, EPA registration number, or any other identifying information you can find on the label. Unidentified products without labels or markings should also be described in as much detail as possible.
  3. Store obsolete pesticides properly until the next annual collection drive. The BPC will contact you several weeks prior to that drive to inform you of your local collection date and location. Can’t make an upcoming drive? No problem…the BPC will keep your name on file for the next collection.
  4. After your inventory form is received, the BPC will mail a map and instructions 10 days before your collection date.
  5. Bring your obsolete pesticides to the assigned site. Once there, stay in your vehicle and present shipping papers to officials. They will direct you to place obsoletes in an appropriate receptacle.