Submitted by Steven Haycock
Skowhegan, Maine – The first day of the 138th Annual Session of the Maine State Grange found 159 delegates from across the state meeting at the Skowhegan Community Center. The delegates were very decisive in their actions and all fifteen resolutions that were brought up for consideration were acted upon on Thursday.
A resolution entitled, “Fluoride in Municipal Water Systems” which urges the Dept. of Health & Human Services and the Center for Disease Control to continue to enforce current public health recommendations regarding fluoridated municipal water, was adopted by the delegates.
Another resolution entitled “Bicycle Traffic Laws” which calls for all bicycles to have some sort of high visibility, and also calls on law enforcement to enforce all bicycle infractions of the law governing the bicycles as they would any other moving vehicle, was also adopted by the delegates.
Another traffic related resolution entitled “Secondary Roads” urges the State Dept. of Transportation or the appropriate local municipality to paint center lines on all secondary roads to promote safety.
A resolutions entitled “Balanced Federal Budget” calls on the Maine State Grange and the National Grange to actively lobby for and support a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to pass a balanced federal budget for every fiscal year.
The final resolution adopted by the delegates that was referred to the legislative committee entitled “150th Anniversary Stamp” calls on the National Grange to start the process of having a commemorative forever stamp designed in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Grange. The remaining ten resolutions were either rejected or covered internal Grange policy.
Throughout the day many speakers addressed the delegates and awards were presented.
Caldwell Jackson, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture for the State of Maine spoke about the role of the Dept of Agriculture in Maine.
Chris Hadsel of the Painted Curtain Project spoke to the delegates and gave a slideshow presentation about the many stage curtains and backdrops she has seen in her travels around the state. Her organization works on restoring and cleaning these curtains.
Steve Mayberry, Development Director for the Maine Home for Little Wanders, highlighted the various programs the organization does in this state. Women’s Activities Committee Director Karen Flagg presented Mayberry with over $500.00 worth of toys and clothes for the children and young adults they serve, along with a check for $225.00.
Awards presented included: The Grange Farm Family Award to Richard Marble and family, a 4th generation farm family from Farmington and the Tree Farmer of the Year Award to Allen Higgins of Brunswick who has over eighty acres of woodland in Brunswick.
Granges winning the Community Service awards were 1st place Valley #144 in Guilford, 2nd place Maple Grove #148 in Sebago, 3rd place Saco #53 in Saco and 4th Wilson #321 in East Wilton. Granges recognized for net gains in membership were 1st place Bingham #237 in Bingham, 2nd place East Sangerville #177 in East Sangerville, 3rd place (tie) Danville Junction #65 in Danville & Bangor #372 in Bangor and 5th place Kennebec Valley #128 in Madison.
This busy day was finished off with an impressive memorial service under the direction of Chaplain of the Maine State Grange Clayton Collins. Friday’s session will include election of officers for a two year term, and conferral of the Sixth Degree which is the Degree of Flora by the officers of the Maine State Grange.