Apr 272017

With thanks to State Secretary Sharon Morton, we’ve recently added two documents to the “Program Books and Information” Page:

  1. The Journal of Proceedings – 2016 Convention is a summary (93 pages) of last year’s convention, including committee reports, budget information, etc.
  2. The Membership Recognition Order Form which has been updated to reflect the recent price increases announced by National Grange.

The Maine State Grange website is your “goto” place for information!

Jan 142017

by Rick Grotton, State Master

While attending the Agricultural Trade Show in Augusta on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday evening, I was very pleased at the number of people who stopped by who were interested in joining Grange. Over the number of years I have attended, this year seemed to be different; the visitors consisted of farmers and others who want to learn the how to grow food or just interested in agricultural programs. One young farm couple wants to organize a Grange which would be similar to the operations of Halcyon and Farmington Granges. A deeper interest in the agricultural aspect seems to be desired by most of the visitors. It is up to us to welcome them. Is this the wave of the future that we have been searching for? Let’s let it happen and find out.  It was interesting listening to them; their needs and desires from what they expect as members of the Grange. Contact information was given for Granges in their respective areas, so Masters, expect a call from one of these prospective members.

If anyone needs information concerning insurance for Grange Halls, I have information for two companies.

Great American Insurance Group (513-389-1869) and Bob Clouse Insurance (844-472-6431). Martha Stefenoni is the agent for the latter.

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming? I am working still on mine! Any new plans for the year for your Grange? I know there are many Granges that do not meet in the Winter, however, Grange doesn’t stop there and start up again in the Spring. Use the time to plan for the year, to research, to visit other Granges. Once you meet for the first time you will go in with a solid agenda and fresh ideas.  Use the time to explore the State and National websites.  Keep up on the activities of the State Committees and upcoming contests. One goal this year is to have a talent contest representative at National Grange in 2017. It has been a few years since we have had representation. There is much talent in our membership!

The dates for State Grange Session in Skowhegan this year are October 19-21. Set up will be Wednesday, October 18 and session will begin at 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning. The banquet will be held Thursday evening. Time, place and menu TBD.

Hope everyone is safe and warm!!!

Jan 122017

Flagg (640x640)By Karen Flagg, CWA Director

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone is staying warm and not over doing it with snow removal. This month, I hope everyone is working on contest entries.

I would like to remind each and every one of you to be aware that if your donation checks are sent to State Headquarters, it could take up to a month before I get up there to get them so please try to remember to send them to my home address.

Next, if checks are mailed directly to one of the organizations that we support, you WILL NOT get a certificate from Maine State Grange acknowledging that donation. I know several Granges have done that and it’s your choice but it is your choice as every cent collected goes straight to that charity.

I would also appreciate it if you had any items ready to donate to the Big E Grange that it can be brought to State Grange (make sure someone is there) or any State Officer or any Committee member as I will send items down as they are collected so that we do not overwhelm them.

Until next month, be safe.

Dec 112016

Flagg (640x640)By Karen Flagg, CWA Director

Happy Holidays to all of Mike and my Grange friends. Hope everyone is staying warm and working on projects for all of the upcoming contests. How about making an extra pair or two of mittens to donate to the Little Wanderers next year. Another idea I had was for any of you that ENJOY shopping after Christmas, consider picking up some of those after the holiday sales for the children? Perhaps if there is enough interest we could do a toy or clothing walk to donate at State Session, sort of like we do for the “Penny Collection” for House in the Woods.

For those that like to stay busy, I have been told that the House in the Woods could always use lap robes and shawls for either men or women. I will take any and all that are donated and store them until the “House” actually opens. As usual, any questions, please feel free to call me. Until next year, have a safe entry into the new year.

Nov 132016

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Thank you to the delegates and attendees at State Session for your input as this was a crucial session. The fifteen resolutions required discussion and hard choices needed to be made. These decisions  affect all of us and our Grange future.  Every Granger has a right to be involved in making these decisions. That is why every operating Grange should send a delegate to State Session. The delegates will report to their Granges the results of the resolutions.

The biggest decision involved  whether to sell the State Headquarters building. It was approved by the delegates.  Just a note that this process is not going to happen overnight as much research needs to be done in order to get the best deal. Should the building sell before the next State Session, we will find a temporary place to operate until a permanent place is decided upon.

Thanks to all of you who helped me get through my first State Session as Master. Thank you to our chief deputy, Maynard Chapman and to all deputies for their hard work. Thank you to the  Directors and their committees. Their displays and raffles at State Session were enjoyed and visited by many. Also to fellow State Officers for their hard work, support, and encouragement and to Sister Ruby Bryant for filling in as Lecturer. Thank you to Sister Yvonne Johnson for leading the Rose Drill. Thanks to our pianist, Merton Ricker. Thanks to Sister Christine Hebert and the Junior Committee for running the kitchen.  Thanks to our retiring Ag Directors, Agnes and Robert Nelson for their work the last five years. This could go on and on so thank you to all who participated in any way.

Congratulations to our new Sixth Degree members. I am happy to announce that one of them, Sister Carolyn Van Horn of Manchester Grange #172 is our new Soloist, replacing Sister Margaret Morse who is now Lecturer. Another, Sister Linda Cobb,  also from Manchester Grange #172, will be our backup pianist at State Session.

Welcome to Sister Karen Gagne of Danville Junction #65 our new Agriculture Director and new Deputies Tom Cooper in Hancock and Missy Baldwin in York. New leaders mean new ideas. Many changes have been happening inside and outside of Grange. Let’s walk down this path into the forest of changes together, as a family, without fear, resistance  or negativity. Instead take advantage of the opportunities available, embrace the new ideas and the benefits that await for the GOTO. There are many areas in which today’s Granges can be of help or to develop their own ideas. Be alert, plan, plan , plan and most of all have FUN.

A draft of the new roster has been completed from information returned by Granges this year. The format of the roster will go back to booklet form  as discussed as State Session. There are 35 Granges and 3 Pomonas who have not sent in their roster information. Based on the high number, this confirms why last year’s roster was inaccurate. Whether changes were made or not, it is every Grange’s responsibility to send the correct information to the State Secretary as soon as possible after elections.  The contact information for the Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chair is needed. This includes the name, address,  telephone number and email address. The deadline is really July 15 but this year it was extended to November 1.  In the past, last year’s information was used if none was submitted. This next roster will NOT include any contact information, just the name, location directions and meeting times.  If your meeting times have changed, please let us know. Instead of erroneous information based on assumption, none will be published. The following Granges need to get their roster info in ASAP (November 30) in order to have their information published. The deadline to have the roster available is February 1 so the choice is yours!

Benton, Branch Mills, Manchester, Harraseeket, Aurora, Greenwood, Schoodic, Trenton, Castine, Halcyon, Verona, Oceanview, Penobscot View, Pleasant River, Minerva, Old Town-Riverside, Garland, St Albans, Wayside, Merriconeag, West Bath-Seaside, Woolwich, Fernwood, Mt Philip, Somerset #18, Seven Star, Tranquility, Alexander, Perry, Indian River, Jacksonville, Osceola, Bauneg Beg, Mousam Lake, Saco and the following Pomonas: Green Mountain, Sagadahoc and West Washington.

I will report to you next with news about the 150th National Grange Session. Sherry Harriman and I, as your delegates,  are certainly proud to represent Maine and will certainly work hard to make the best decisions for the benefit of our members and the GOTO.

On behalf of the Maine State Grange, we wish all a safe and Happy Holiday season.

Nov 132016

Flagg (640x640)By Karen Flagg, CWA Director

First of all a belated thank you to all Veterans, especially Grange members. Everyone that participated in the Penny Collection for House in the Woods should give themselves a big pat on the back as $1,125.50 is what was collected on Friday during the march at State Session.

Am still waiting for the two checks from the Big E so that they also may be donated.

There were only two suggestions in the box:the first asked how we will be able to tell if the chest is handmade or bought? The way the chest is made is not what is being judged, it is the way/method/design is what will be judged. I hope that answers the question. The second was a complaint that there was not enough Rum Fudge, that has been passed on to the Grange member that made it so it will be up to her for next year, perhaps she will share the recipe with me?

I would like to clarify that the “chest” can be rounded at the top or flat as I have checked several craft shops and the only so called chests have a slat-like top with narrow gaps between them which would make it very difficult to have a smooth continuous surface to work on.

Next year’s conference will again be different as we will take a coffee, tea, punch, etc., break mid-morning and then finish around noon, as there is no sense dragging it on just to fit in lunch. As usual, we will see how this works.

Please remember to save your books, etc. for the CWA sales table, work on all of your contest entries. Also, any items that you make to donate to the Big E Grange Store can be given to me, Rick, any CWA Committee member or dropped off in Augusta if Sharon is there.Until next, please take care and enjoy your family and Thanksgiving.

Nov 122016

volunteer-1326758_1280By Christine Corliss, Community Service/FHH Director

CS/FHH had another great state session.  Raffles were successful and raise over $150.00 and $50.00 towards a Breast Cancer Research Donation.  Thank you to everyone who donated something to the table.  All the efforts of our Grange Family make a difference.

Community Service Book Contest was a pleasure this year (not for the judges–only a total five points separated the top seven books.

Winners were:

  1. Maple Grove Grange #148
  2. Riverside Grange #475
  3. Saco Grange #53
  4. Bangor Grange #372

Congratulations to all the winners and Maple Grove Grange’s book will be heading to National again this year.Family, Health & Hearing Contest took off this year and went from 2 entries to 13 entries.  This year’s winner was Oxford Pomona #2.  They received a check for $50.00.

Community Service Person of the Year Awards were also a success this year and produced several entries.  The following individuals were presented awards and checks to a charity of their choice during the Annual Banquet at State Session and their entries have gone on to Northeast Region of Granges and National Grange for consideration.

  • Officer of the Year – Elgin Physic nominated by Danville Junction Grange #65
  • Fire Fighter of the Year – Troy Lare nominated by Bangor Grange #372
  • Educator of the Year – Andrew Elwell nominated by Riverside Grange #475

Thank you to everyone who spends each year doing community service and recognizing those that give back to the community.  Let’s strive to make a difference one project at a time.

Oct 262016

State Master Rick Grotton addresses the assembly.

To our Sister Susan Noah, Pomona of the National Grange, Brother Mark Noah, Past Master of the Oregon State Grange, Officers, Delegates and  Brothers and Sisters of the Maine State Grange,

It gives me great pleasure to present to you my first annual Master’s Address. I wish to thank the delegates for their confidence in me to lead this wonderful organization called the Grange.  Much thanks for the support and help received from my Brothers and Sisters. Your willingness to help when called upon, the hard work you have done and keeping me out of trouble is very much appreciated.

It has been quite a year; right from the start we lost two active State Officers, two friends, two family, two mentors rich in Grange knowledge, two advisors always there to listen to us and give us solid advice, two devoted Grangers who have been called to another duty.  Did we give up? No, all of us know it is our turn. Our turn to carry on what we learned from them as they would expect us to. Their love and devotion for this organization has been felt by many and they have inspired many of us to be leaders,  to pay attention and to move Grange forward to continue where they left off. We owe it to them and to all who have passed who touched our lives with such love and knowledge. May their legacies live on! Past State Master Vicki Huff was appointed to fill the empty Executive Committee seat and Brother Merton Ricker was appointed State Musician.

Many thanks to Sister Sharon Morton and Brother Jim Owens  for their work and keeping me in line. Sister Sharon has been instrumental in assisting in and assuring that events being held at State Headquarters went smoothly and without incident. She has attended a number of the agricultural fairs this year as well as cooking and preparing  for these events.  Brother Jim, as the Administrative Assistant, has been busy doing the administrative duties and planning certain events such as State Grange Session and the banquet.

Of course I need to thank my other half, Greg Rafferty for  all of his support. He  made sure I was on the ball often testing me and keeping me on my toes . I certainly am very grateful!

Our State officer meetings this year were very much fulfilling. Each contributed with ideas, suggestions and problem solving. I am happy Continue reading »

Oct 102016

by Rick Grotton, State Master

As the first year of my term has come to a close it is interesting to note some of the things that have need attention this year. In talking to many brothers and sisters it has been noted that there are many concerns and questions that need to be answered. Some of my observations are as follows:

First, there have been many questions about procedures and what each office entails. It is the duty of all of us to ensure that our successors are educated about their new positions. This needs improvement.  There are many who take office who have no idea what the duties of their position entails or have been given wrong information. For instance, the position of Master is to facilitate the meetings, assign committees and make sure meetings flow smoothly. They act as a delegate to State Grange, representing their Grange or Pomona. They have no “special powers” or should not be telling other members what to do because of their status. This is a leading cause of loss of membership.

Second, those Granges which are active serving the community, fundraising, involved with other organizations and that work together are the most successful and are growing. Some Granges just exist with just having meetings with little community involvement or no Lecturers programs. This is also a leading cause of loss of membership. Most members would rather stay home than to go to a meeting just to go through the motions with no involvement or excitement.

Third, it seems that the purpose of the Grange is missing the mark which means that there is no uniformity, we have drifted apart, doing their own things and act more like a social club than a Grange. Remember what the objectives of this organization are and teach them to your members. Change officers often, nobody should “own” a position. The position does not belong to any one individual and often it causes discontent within.  Do it for the GOTO! Deputies and State Officers are there to help you but they need to know what you need. Your ideas are very important. We need to be united to help one another. Remember no member should say “this is MY Grange because you do not own it but should be saying this is OUR Grange. This is one of the most common reasons that members leave or others will not join. So many times have I heard that members will do not attend because of a domineering individual, bad attitudes, or they don’t feel welcome. Sadly, the domineering individual often does not have a clue they are doing anything wrong.

Fourth, the trend toward being self-sufficient in growing our own food, the growing number of young farmers, and the interest in agricultural area are drawing the interest of the public. Thus, it is kind of a “retro” surge and some Granges have already tapped into the resources and have been successful in their endeavors. Remember the Grange supports the small farmers, always has and always will.

Fifth, we need to train new leaders, delegate assignments rather than to have one or two people dominating and to involve all members, other organizations and non-members in our endeavors. We need to take these issues seriously but at the same time HAVE FUN! This will be a leading cause to get new members and to bring back non active members.

Overall, we need to work within to be united, to be involved, to be a leader, to contribute, to get along and to help our farmers and communities. Keep writing resolutions, keep a positive attitude, smile, invite others to your Halls, give your time and energies to good causes and educate all about office duties, rituals and procedures. Attend State Session, attend State events, be involved in the numerous contests offered by State Committees and attend your Pomona. Ask questions of your deputies and State Officers. Remember, the public picks up on whether your Grange is a place to go based on your attitudes, your activities and the energy they feel when they enter your hall.

In the second year of my term we all will be acting upon these observations. Deputies, State Committees, State officers are there to help you. Take advantage of the resources!