Feb 182018
 

Junior’s, This would be a great opportunity for you to get involved and take a tour of the Capital along with other museums and attractions in DC. Please contact the National Junior Grange Director Samantha Wilkins, her information is at the end of this message.


Good Day Grangers!!

I am excited to pass on information about the  2018 National Grange Legislative Fly-In!

This year as part of the National Junior Grange programming we are inviting Junior Grangers, along with their parents and/or leaders, to attend the Legislative Fly-In, happening this April in Washington DC.

The theme for the Junior Grange in 2018 is “Stand Up and Speak Out”   and what a better way to promote that theme than to have our youngest members walking Capital Hill learning and speaking about issues important to them.

During the few days of the Fly-In Juniors will have the opportunity to visit governmental agencies such as the USDA, speak with representatives, and gain a deeper understanding about how the government works; along with understanding the Grange ties to legislative actions.

There will also be time to take a tour of the capital and other museums and attractions within DC!

Please pass this information on to your Juniors that may be interested in attending the Legislative Fly-In!

Samantha Wilkins
National Grange
Junior Grange Director
210 838 7892
Junioratnationalgrangedotorg  (Junioratnationalgrangedotorg)  

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

Feb 062018
 

Please join us in Washington, D.C. on April 15-18, 2018 as we work with the 115th Congress and the Trump Administration on National Grange policy priorities. Spring is an extremely crowded and busy time in Washington, DC. Tourists and students from around the country and abroad flock to Washington on spring trips making hotel rooms are scare. Appointments with Representatives and Senators are a challenge to confirm, therefore the National Grange encourages those members who will be attending the 2018 Fly-In to register, reserve hotel rooms, and make Capitol Hill appointments early.

Additional Information and Registration, click here!

Jan 302018
 

“For our business interests we desire to bring producer and consumer into the most direct and friendly relations possible, remembering that, ‘individual happiness depends upon general prosperity.” 

–Declaration of Purposes of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

Grangers are connecting the dots to support small farms, access to farm-raised food and growing the zone of food sovereignty across the state of Maine. Madison Granger, Sonia Acevedo of Hide and Go Peep Farm invited fellow farmer, food sovereignty advocate, and Halcyon Grange Master, Heather Retberg to be on a panel at an informational potluck and music night at the Kennebec Valley Grange.  Halcyon member Bonnie Preston, also instrumental in working toward food sovereignty at the local and state levels, will participate in the panel informational session as well.

This is a great example of Grange grassroots advocacy at its finest. The Maine State Grange passed a resolution called Community-Based Food Production in 2015 which resolved that: “The Maine State Grange will use its influence to urge the passage of legislation recognizing municipalities’ authority to regulate by ordinance the direct producer-to-customer exchange of all food grown, harvested, prepared, processed or produced in the municipality.”

In 2016, the Maine State Grange drew on its roots laid out in our Declaration of Purposes and our Constitution to adopt a further resolution to grow the Grange as a relevant farming organization for this century and to support our small-scale, ecological farms in Maine. We resolved then that: “The Maine State Grange shall work proactively with elected local, state, and federal officials to further the shared interests of small-scale, ecological farms and their communities; and… shall work in concert with Subordinate/Community Granges to educate the general public about ecological farming principles and the relation of soil health to community wealth;…”

Just last year, the Maine State Grange followed up on our resolves and supported a bill that was signed into law first in June of 2017, and later amended and signed into law again by Governor LePage in October of 2017. This bill has now become Chaptered Law 314 known as the Maine Food Sovereignty Act. It recognizes municipal authority to adopt local food ordinances regarding “direct producer-to-consumer” sales and requires the State to recognize those ordinances. In other words, the law requires the state to honor community-based food production systems just as we outlined in our 2015 resolution!

The law moved the power out of the bureaucracies and back into our town governments, that is to say, back to us at our own town meetings! This has the potential to be a monumental shift that can lay the groundwork for stronger local economies in our towns based on farming and food production once again.

But we have to get involved in town government. We have to work to adopt the Local Food and Community Self-Governance Ordinance (LFCSG), passed in 21 towns and one city across Maine, on which the Maine Food Sovereignty Act is based.  An ordinance template can be found here:http://localfoodrules.org/ordinance-template/

Now, it’s time to act on our resolve from 2016 and work with our local Granges to educate the general public about ecological farming principles and how we can “work proactively with elected local, state and federal officials to further the interests of small-scale ecological farms in Maine.”

Hide and Go Peep Farm’s Sonia Acevedo in Madison, Maine is showing us how to do just that. She’s working with her local Grange to bring townspeople together over food and music to talk about food sovereignty and food freedom.  The Grange becomes again the center of spreading information and education on the efforts the Maine State Grange has been supporting since 2015.  Halcyon Grange in Blue Hill gained new members when they supported food sovereignty efforts in 2011. Since then, farmer Heather Retberg and farm patron Bonnie Preston, both Halcyon Grangers, have been traveling around the state meeting people in Grange halls, church fellowship halls, school gyms and town halls to share their experience with local government and adopting the LFCSG Ordinance and helping other towns do just that.  They can come to your Grange, too.

Since the state of Maine recognized local control of food in 2017, the time is ripe to use local Granges across the state for informational potlucks like this upcoming one at Kennebec Valley Grange!

You can contact Heather by email  (quillsendfarmatgmaildotcom)   or contact Bonnie by email  (bonnieprestonatearthlinkdotnet)   to invite them to your Grange hall.

Town meeting time is high time for potluckin’ and politickin’. Music helps keep it all merry. Let’s get back to our roots and go forward into a farming future!


“The soil is the source from whence we derive all that constitutes wealth; without it, we would have no agriculture, no manufacturers, no commerce. Of all the material gifts of the Creator, the various productions of the vegetable world are of the first importance. The art of agriculture is the parent and precursor of all arts, and its products, the foundation of all wealth.”

–Preamble of the Constitution of the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry

Dec 172017
 

Annis

Well, it’s all over but the celebrating! The legislative bill, LD 725 “An Act To Recognize Local Control Regarding Food Systems,” has been passed by the Maine Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

What this means is that a local farmer or gardener may sell self-grown food products to local residents without the approval of the state or federal governments. However, meat or poultry must pass the approval of the federal government or its designee.

An ordinance adopted by a municipality pursuant to this section must apply only to food or food products that are grown, produced or processed by individuals within that municipality who sell directly to consumers. Any food or food products grown, produced or processed in the municipality needs no federal oversight.

There’s only one catch. This law requires an ordinance adopted by a municipality which will apply only to food or food products grown or processed in the municipality by individuals who sell directly to local consumers.

Any food or food products grown, produced or processed in the municipality intended for wholesale or retail distribution outside of the municipality must be grown, produced or processed in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, rules and regulations.

So, fellow Grangers, go forth and grow your food products without fear of the federal government coming along to slap you in irons only because you’re selling your pride and joy to your neighbors.

 

Nov 012017
 

Annis

What a convention, huh? Plenty of camaraderie was had by all. Lots of work accomplished. And we have some new state officers. Although the voting process for elective offices was dragged out, things did go smoothly.

Regarding the two resolutions that the Legislative Committee was responsible for, I want to thank the brothers and sisters who helped the committee move them along successfully.

The first resolution, United States Constitution which, as resolved, stated that Congress shall make no law that applies to Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States. This resolution will be sent on to National Grange for their approval as voted by the membership.

The sixth resolution was resolved that further Legislatures be seated alphabetically. I failed to mention one important thing. This resolution won’t be submitted to the Maine State Legislature to become a bill until 2019.

Please let me explain. The members of the Maine Legislature are elected for a two-year term. During the first year, bills are submitted and presented to the various committees for action. Some bills are approved, some aren’t and some are carried over into the second year to be worked on. During the second year, the carried over bills are worked on along with any emergency bills. No new bills are to be submitted.

2018 will be the second year of the current term. Therefore, the Grange State Legislature resolution cannot be offered as a bill until 2019 during the first session of a new term. In December of 2018, I will ask a local legislator to submit this resolution as a bill to be acted upon by the Maine Legislature.

 

Oct 312017
 

Tell the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rural America needs high speed broadband.

Background
Many of us in rural and small town America do not have access to high speed broadband internet. Our friends in New York, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Chicago just cannot believe there are high school students who must go to the library to do their homework, college students who can’t take online courses, entrepreneurs who can’t relocate to rural areas, rural hospitals close but diagnostic centers are unable to open in their place, and in many areas the latest farming technology is just not available. All these examples are due to the lack of broadband.

At a recent Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on expanding broadband infrastructure recently in New Hampshire, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel suggested a crowd-sourced approach to mapping broadband. She asked everyone who did not have broadband to email her directly. Commissioner Rosenworcel promised to share every one of her emails with the FCC Chairman and put pressure on the FCC to do something about it.

Action
Email Commissioner Rosenworcel at broadbandfailatfccdotcom  (broadbandfailatfccdotcom)  .

If you don’t have high speed connectivity, tell her how that void affects your life, your family and the lives of those around you.
If you know of others without broadband, give the Commissioner a run-down about them too.

Be sure to include your name, town, state, zip code and mention you are a member of the Grange.

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.


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