Nov 182017
 

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

2-1-1 Maine works with statewide organizations who are generous enough to provide a Thanksgiving meal, a Thanksgiving basket, a Christmas meal, a Christmas basket, and gifts for your loved ones during the holiday season. For holiday resources available in your area dial 2-1-1 to speak with a Call Specialist or text 898-211 for an online conversation.

Thanksgiving Meals & Programs Across Maine is the 2-1-1 website listing resources for help–and projects that might benefit from some help from your Grange!

Nov 152017
 

Short messages from your Communications Department

Just a quick reminder of a couple meetings and some recently added resources:

  • There will be a MSG Officers meeting at headquarters on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 1:00 pm.

 

  • Deputy School is planned for Saturday, December 2, 2017, at headquarters from 9:30 am until noon. Master Sherry says, “Officers and Directors are welcome to participate if they wish to. We will be covering duties & expectations, some ritualistic floorwork, revised paperwork,  goals, and problem-solving.” Meatball subs and cake will be served for lunch.

 

  • An Executive Committee meeting will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2018, at headquarters at 1:00 pm.

 

 

  • ODD (Officers, Directors, Deputies) Directory has been updated to reflect elections and appointments with contact information and is available for download: ODD-Directory-11-17. Thanks to Master Sherry for her help with this!

 

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 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 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.
Sep 032017
 

The American Red Cross is encouraging people to donate money on its Web site, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10.  Apple is also accepting Red Cross donations via iTunes and the Apple App Store.

Americares, an emergency response organization based in Connecticut, is delivering emergency medicine and relief supplies and is working with a local clinic in Houston.  Make a donation at americares.org.

United Way Worldwide has a relief fund to provide shelter and basic needs, as well as long-term recovery efforts.

The Salvation Army is accepting donations for hurricane relief at give.salvationarmyusa.org.

To help pets stranded by Hurricane Harvey, donations are being accepted by the Humane Society of the United States.

For volunteer opportunities or other places to donate, check with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

Sep 012017
 

 

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

The Maine Emergency Management Agency released the following statement to assist those who are interested in contributing to disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey:

Most often, the best way you can help others during a disaster is to donate money or goods. Here are some helpful tips to make sure your generosity helps the most.

Giving cash is always the best way to help disaster recovery because of its flexibility and ability to boost the local economy’s recovery.

If you’d rather donate goods, make sure you are only donating items that have been specifically requested by an organization directly involved in the recovery effort and that you have made contact with someone at that organization who will receive the items from you.

Here are some websites that can help you determine how charitable organizations rank. Most reputable organizations will allow you to designate your donation for a specific disaster or program:

  • Charity Navigator rates charities based on their financial health, accountability and transparency, and results reporting. They also list some best practices for savvy donors.
  • The Better Business Bureau also rates charitable organizations and allows you to check out specific charities and donor reviews.
  • GuideStar is another place to find reliable information on trusted non-profits, as well as tips on choosing the right charity to give to.
  • The Federal Trade Commission offers this advice for giving wisely after a disaster.
  • The Maine Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division also has excellent tips for donating to charities.

Check out our fact sheet on Volunteering in a Disaster for more information on helping out personally in disaster situations.


Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Aug 282017
 

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. We thought it might be of interest to those Grangers who are heading to the Big E to volunteer at the Grange Building.


The Eastern States Exposition (Big E) is an annual event that takes place in West Springfield, MA.  This event is held each September and attracts over one million visitors yearly during the seventeen days of the fair.  The State of Maine has participated in this exciting display of New England traditions since 1925.

A unique feature of this annual fall classic is the Avenue of States, which is comprised of six exhibition halls that are replicas of architecturally significant buildings from each of the New England states.  The State of Maine building, which was built in 1925, was designed by John Calvin Stevens — Maine’s premier architect.  The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry is pleased to have the responsibility of managing this program for the State of Maine.

The purpose of the program at the Big E is to exhibit, publicize, and advertise Maine’s products and resources in agriculture, industry, fisheries, wildlife, and recreation.  The State of Maine has had an excellent reputation for providing a quality representation of Maine and its resources to the visitors that come to its building each year.  More than 850,000 of the fairgoers visit the state buildings, affording a tremendous opportunity to promote Maine and Maine products.

For more information on the Big-E festivities, click here.

Aug 222017
 

Please provide proper attribution when using material.

The following article appeared in today’s “Word of the Day” email from the Dictionary Project:

During 2016, the Arkansas Corrections Department and the Arkansas Literacy Councils partnered together to send dictionaries to fourteen prisons in the area. Heather Powell, the Training Director at the Arkansas Literacy Councils, reached out to share their story with us.

“Last year we [the Arkansas Literacy Councils] piloted a joint program with ADC to train literacy and ESL tutors within the prisons. To date, we have trained over 200 literate inmates as tutors. The tutors work with other inmates who have low or no literacy skills, tutoring from the Laubach Way to Reading/English programs. These student dictionaries are just the right level for introducing students in how to use a dictionary.”

Often times, we at the Dictionary Project are asked by organizations what they should do with dictionaries that are left over after their distributions are complete. We would ask you to please consider donating them to prisons in your area. Statistics show that literacy rates in the American prison system are at only 40% for adult inmates, and 15% for juveniles (literacyprojectfoundation.org). A vital skill that many of us take for granted, the ability to read could greatly impact the lives of inmates who would otherwise not have access to the basic level of education that every human being should have.

Thank you, Heather Powell at the Arkansas Literacy Councils for this story.

As a big fan of the Dictionary Project, this is interesting on several points. First, the question about left over dictionaries may include something that can easily be overlooked. In our Valley Grange Program, we have learned there is one hazard with keeping leftover dictionaries and mixing them with new ones the following year. Some teachers have the students keep their dictionaries at school for use in the classroom–both to learn dictionary skills and to use as a resource. If there is a change in the dictionary, mixing last year’s edition with this year’s can create confusion. This is easy to manage as long as you aware and pay attention to edition numbers. But it is possible to have “left over” dictionaries even though you are repeating the program every year.

Second, there are additional community service opportunities where we, as Granges and Grangers, can make an impact. As this article suggests, we can offer dictionaries to prisons. Most areas also have volunteer adult literacy programs. I occasionally hear the comment that the schools are already getting dictionaries from another organization. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a dictionary project–it just means it won’t be “Words for Thirds.” It’ll be words for others! Just think Literacy! (We have given our leftover dictionaries to local libraries and keep a few at the Hall to give to any children that visit.)

And it is that time of year to start thinking about your program with your schools. By providing dictionaries in the fall, kids get more use from them! In the twelve years Valley Grange has been providing dictionaries, we’ve learned a lot! You can read the history of our program and, more importantly, if you have any questions or I can help you with your program, please let me know  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  !