Dec 302015

By Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

new-years-eve-580735_1280This is the time of year that provides a great opportunity to not only look ahead, but also to reflect back. Thanks to the folks at WordPress (the software the site uses) we have a few interesting statistics regarding the Maine State Grange website for 2015. The comparison they offered was:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

As regular followers know, our busiest day was October 18, 2015, when we had over 200 views–also a record for daily visits since the site has been running. You most likely won’t be surprised to learn that the most popular post/page we have on the site is “Program Books and Information” where you can find resources and information about Grange programs and procedures.

A number I consider important is the fact there were 268 new posts to the site during the year! Clearly there’s a correlation between the number of posts and the number of visits. People visit the site when there’s news and information posted.

By the way, the number of times the blog was viewed is no doubt grossly understated! We have a number of subscribers to the site who have posts emailed to them. So they see the posts without visiting and therefore aren’t counted in the 24,000 visits! If you haven’t subscribed yet, visit the site and fill in the box at the top center of the homepage. This is a two-step process. You’ll receive an email that you’ll need to respond to before you’re subscribed.

As we look forward to a Happy New Year, let’s also look forward to continued success with our site that includes more posts, more resources, and more visitors!


Dec 212015

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

Thanksgiving has passed us by and Christmas is on its way. Boy, how the time flies! Had our first snow and now everybody’s back yard looks the same. That was a carry over from a saying my dad used years ago.

Thanks to our Worthy State Secretary, Sharon Morton, I have in hand this year’s revised resolutions. I finally got the chance to work them into the Policy Manual. As near as I could tell, there were only two resolutions that could be added to the Manual. One deals with Crops as found on page 5 of the Policy Manual and the other deals with Regulations found on page 13 of the Policy Manual.

I’ve added to the Crops section on page 5:

Community Based Local Food Production

1. The Maine State Grange supports legislation recognizing municipalities’ authority to regulate by ordinance the direct producer-to-customer exchange all food grown, harvested, prepared, processed or produced in the municipality.

To the Regulations on page 13, I’ve added:

1. The Maine State Grange states its opposition to the efforts to legalize marijuana in Maine for recreational purposes.

These two additions were approved at our annual meeting in October as resolutions 8 and 10 respectively. If you have any questions or want me to email you a copy of the Policy Manual, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can be reached by email at hylndr42atgmaildotcom  (hylndr42atgmaildotcom)  .

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Dec 202015
It appeared that Santa had arrived at Danville Junction Grange recently!  Two festive  tables were piled high with unwrapped games, toys, books and knit goods brought by the members for the Salvation Army Christmas Project! Pictured are Glenys Ryder, Community Service Chair and Lt. Holly Johnson and her children Livvyann and Gabriella.

It appeared that Santa had arrived at Danville Junction Grange recently! Two festive tables were piled high with unwrapped games, toys, books and knit goods brought by the members for the Salvation Army Christmas Project!
Pictured are Glenys Ryder, Community Service Chair and Lt. Holly Johnson and her children Livvyann and Gabriella.

Dec 172015
Communication Bullets are short but big news!

Communication Bullets are short but big news!

With thanks to Laurie McBurnie, past Junior Grange Director, several Junior Grange documents have been updated to include correct contact information for new director Christine Hebert.

Documents updated include Junior-Program-2015-16_as-of-12-10-15Junior Grange Application, and the Memorial Brick Brochure for ordering bricks for the MSG Headquarters Memorial Garden.

We suggest you replace any existing material you may have… and remember, there are lots of resources available to you on the Program Books and Information Page. We’ve also just added a link there to the National Grange Youth Program Book… if you decide to print it, be prepared. It’s 65 pages long!

Dec 172015

National Email HeaderJoseph Stefenoni, National Grange Membership/Leadership Director, announced a membership recruitment contest for the first half of 2016. This contest will recognize our members who bring new members into their Community Granges. The contest runs from January 1st to June 30th. Members who recruit 1-4 new members will be recognized as a “+1 Builder”. Members that recruit 5-9 new members will be recognized as a “Grange Builder” and members that recruit 10 or more new member will be recognized as a “Super Recruiter”. Contest materials will be sent to each Community Grange by their State Grange.

Stefenoni said that recruiting new members is what sustains our organization. “The Grange has something to share with everyone and can help affect positive change in communities across our country. We’re looking to recognize those members that go into their communities and help grow our Order.”

Dec 162015

by Steven Haycock

My name is Steven Haycock and I’ve been asked to be the newly created Fundraising Chairman for the Maine State Grange.  This position was created by action of the delegate body at State Grange session this past October.

A bit of background on myself, I belong to Danville Junction Grange, and belonged to Sabbathday Lake before we merged with Danville.  I am also Master of Androscoggin Pomona, and an affiliate member at Wales Grange and Oxford Pomona.  I have previously served the State Grange as Youth Ambassador in 1999, and have served on the Youth, Membership, Lecturer, and Legislative Committees.  I was also Publicity Director for a number of years.

The goal of this committee is simple, to raise additional funds for the Maine State Grange.  The delegates learned at this year’s past State Grange session, that at our current spending levels, we as an organization will be broke in around seven years.  That is scary, and a reality we literally can’t afford to ignore.  I know I can’t draw blood from a stone, meaning we can’t ask our members to give every extra dollar they have for this endeavor.

My goal is to have many of our fundraisers be focused on non-members as well as members.  I have a long list of ideas and a committee I know I can work with.  We can, will, and must be successful!  Some of the ideas that people were most excited about at the recently held Deputy School were; the creation of a new cookbook, public suppers and craft fairs and yard sales at State Grange HQ, a variety show and many others. There will be many more details and ideas forthcoming in the following months.  I look forward to your support and working with all of you over the coming months.  Until next month, Happy New Year!

Dec 162015

Nelsonby Robert and Agnes Nelson,
Co-directors Ag Committee

We are back! We didn’t intend to be back this year but couldn’t resist Rick’s invitation. We look forward to working with the members of the agriculture committee again this year.

The Agriculture Committee will be selling scholarship raffle tickets, baked goods and silent auction, sponsors and Grange donations to raise money to help with Agriculture Scholarships for 2016. Applications for the scholarships will be sent to Granges and be online in the spring. The committee will be looking for support as we go through the year.

The Agriculture Trade Show will be January 12-14, 2016. We would welcome invitations to visit Granges as part of the Agriculture Committee.

We hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! We wish all a prosperous New Year!

Dec 152015

by Christine Corliss,
Community Service/FHH Director

It is with great pleasure that I can announce that two of our first place winners for Community Service Award of the Year have been further honored.

Mr. James Miclon, Maine Law Enforcement Officer of the Year was presented with the National Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 2015 during a ceremony held on December 11, 2015 at Franklin Grange #124 in Bryant Pond.  Worthy Master Rick Grotton accepted the award during the Annual National Session held this year in Lincoln, NE and “brought it home” to be presented to James.  Franklin Grange was filled with State Grange Officers, the local public, and members of area Granges wanting to recognize his achievement.

On December 13, 2015, I had the great pleasure of receiving an email from Mr. Dick Patten, Community Service Director of the NH State Grange informing me that George and Joan Mason of Howland, ME are the winners of the Northeast Regional Grange Award for Firefighter/EMT of the Year for 2015. The Masons were nominated by Ammadamast Grange #379 and were winners of Maine State Grange Firefighter/EMT’s of the Year. The regional aware will be presented during the Annual Leadership Conference in January.  George and Joan Mason have asked me to accept the award on their behalf in Rhode Island. A special ceremony will be scheduled in February at Ammadamast Grange #379 to honor the Masons with the Regional Award.

I would sincerely like to thank all of the Granges who sent in entries this past year and would love to see many more Granges participate in this project during this year.  It is a pure joy and privilege to present these awards and honor those that work every day tirelessly to protect and serve their communities both personally and professionally.  Congratulations to the winners; they surely deserve it!

Dec 152015

GrottonHappy New Year to all! Has anyone made resolutions yet? It is a new year and with this comes change. We all think of something we want to change personally such as losing weight or to stop smoking. But what about your Grange? What have you thought of to change?  This is a perfect time to plan the year’s events, create attainable goals, and plan a membership drive.  Our enthusiasm rises; we are ready. Or are we? We must first have a plan to make changes for the good of the order, just as our predecessors did for us.  Let’s get excited about the changes.  Make Grange resolutions and stand by them. Persevere.

Congratulations to Junior Granger William Barone who placed third at National Grange in the Creative Writing contest! We are all proud of you!

Deputy school was held December 12 with a great attendance of directors, deputies and State Officers. Thank you all for making it a fun day as well as a “business” day. There were some great discussions. I did learn some new things.  The State Officer meeting was held December 13 with a great attendance. We had some great discussions on a variety of subjects. We are going to employ some exciting new ideas and make some changes this year for the good of the order. Which brings me to explain a couple of new ideas.

First, to introduce the” Idea of the Year” contest. EVERY Granger is encouraged to submit ideas about how we as a family can move Grange forward for our successors to enjoy. We want to hear from you. You are a Granger–you have a say. Some of the best ideas may be hidden in silence, what good does that do for our order? Let’s have some fun with this contest. The rules are simple. Send me your good of the order ideas by mail, email or in person by April 30. Up to five ideas per person. Only sincere ideas will be accepted, thanks. The ideas will be examined by a team of State Officers who will select the top three.  Recognition will be given for the top three which will be incorporated for all to consider.  The remaining ideas will be printed for all to use.  I will mention a couple at a time in my column.

Second, a new theme is to be introduced.  GOTO (Good of the Order). Let’s make some plans using this theme. I challenge your Grange to make a list with as many projects for the good of the order they can do with this theme. For example, GO TO another Grange meeting, or GO TOgether to State Grange, etc. Be creative and have fun!  If your Grange (include all members) can make a list of 20 GOTOs and do them during the year, then submit the list to me by September 1, 2016. The Granges fulfilling this list will be mentioned at State Grange. Again, let’s have some fun.

These are my resolutions for the New Year. I can’t wait for yours!  Be safe, happy, and healthy.