Apr 132017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

I want to thank all of you that helped in any way to make the visit from our National Master, Betsy Huber, an enjoyable one. It was a pleasure to have her come to Maine to visit. She arrived on April 5 to attend our Legislative Luncheon and that evening we went to Androscoggin Pomona where we had some good laughs and enjoyed a program on Laughter: How it Affects your Health.

Thursday, she visited the State Capitol and was able to see the House and Senate in action with a trip to the Maine State Museum following. We had a wet trip to Piscataquis Pomona that evening where a town hall was held for the program. There were some great questions asked and some great discussions. Participants from area Pomonas and Granges attended.

Friday was a laid back day, however, during the evening, beginning at 5 pm we had a potluck dinner with Betsy addressing us on what is happening at National and by answering pertinent questions by the attendees. Independent media coverage was present for the evening, taping the session and interviewing Betsy. Saturday was the Junior Contests and the obligation ceremony performed on two new Junior members. Thank you, Christine. her Committee, and Sherry for their work.

In the afternoon, three teams participated in the Assistant’s Contest.  Christopher Heath, New Hampshire State Master attended as a judge. Sister Betsy and I served as judges. Thank you, Brother Chris! The winners were Jim Meserve and Laurie McBurnie. Henry and Sharon Morton and Adrian Griffin and Marilyn Stinson were the other participants. That evening we enjoyed a fun visit to Lincoln Pomona witha program on Maine Trivia. She enjoyed visiting with Maine Grangers and I thank all who came out during the week to meet her.  She left early Sunday morning to head back to Pennsylvania.

One thing I do want to share concerns ritual. Since we are no longer considered a “secret society,” it is customary to allow non-members (prospective members) to sit in our Grange meetings and the strictness used in the past concerning ritual has been lessened. The opening and closing ceremonies are to be used, however, in the newer manuals, the alternative ceremonies that are included can be used. It is an option for any Grange to take up the password. This is a big change for us as New England is the only region that strictly adheres to the ritual. If there are any questions, please let me know.

I think we should be organizing some more town hall discussions in various areas. If your area would like one, please let me know and also your Pomona. These discussions will help all to understand in what direction the Grange is heading, will provide you with answers and information vital to all areas of Grange.

There have been some people interested in leadership positions and I will refer them to the appropriate committees. It is exciting to learn how Grange is understood in different areas of our state. Many dwell more on the agricultural side where others are more into the community service side, however, it appears that all areas are being covered no matter which aspect is favored in any area. The trend seems to be that there are younger farmers appearing and a need to learn how to be self-sufficient on growing food whether you live in an urban or rural area. Thus, many Granges are developing programs based on this trend and are encouraged to do so. Ask those where milk and bread come from. Some will answer ‘from a store.” The Grange has ample opportunities to spread this information to communities and also to create resolutions to favor the small farms. An Agricultural Education Committee is being formed for this purpose and to create programs for agricultural education. I will keep all updated on its progress. In the meantime, keep providing resolutions on agricultural needs. I urge all Grangers to put their thoughts on paper, vote on the resolutions at your Subordinate Granges and filter them through your Pomona. GOTO your deputies, your directors and committee members for help if needed. There are many resources on the Internet how to write resolutions and there have been some resolution writing days at some Granges. Keep up on agricultural issues and trends in your newspapers and from television. Anyone can have their thoughts converted to a resolution. Let’s have some good, agricultural resolutions submitted for discussion at State Session in October.

Grange month activities are in full swing throughout the State. There are many community service nights, birthday celebrations and degree days being held. Check the website calendar for various activities in your areas.

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers? Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

Webmaster’s note: There are resolution writing resources available on the Program Books and Information Page.

Mar 272017
 

By Rick Watson, Master of Fairview Grange

Hello, friends of the Fairview Grange. Thanks for keeping an eye on what is going on at your local Grange, #342, in Smithfield Maine.

This week we celebrated 119 years of continuous operation with a great dinner on Thursday evening. We were especially pleased to have Grange members from other Granges join us. They came from at least Abbot, Bingham, Norridgewock, Madison, and we also had visitors from the State Grange level. Former Master of the Maine State Grange, Vicki Huff, Communications Director Walter Boomsma with his lovely wife Janice, and three from The Maine Grange Agricultural Committee (I think Mr. And Mrs. Rance Pooler and Mrs. Barker represented that committee). Also attending to help us celebrate were Terry and Harriet Spencer, local to us in Smithfield, but also involved in various capacities with the State and Pomona. Special thanks to Walter Boomsma for sharing some stories about what he sees and hears successful Granges doing. We thank all of them for helping us celebrate 119 years.

Noteworthy speakers in addition to Walter were Secretary Sharon Wood and Lecturer Kerry Cubas. Sharon read a Grange history her mother had written in 1971 about the early days of the Grange. Kerry has started a “living history, or spoken history” of our local Grange working with Shelby Watson, and gave us a taste of the project by telling us what her first two interviewees had to say. Fittingly for this event, the recollections of Marilyn and David were told. Kerry hopes to interview all our members so we may keep our history alive. Working in a similar vein to document and to preserve our history, Karie Watson has started reframing the pictures in the Grange and is working to get the people, our people from the community through the years, identified and noted.

Making the night extra special was being able to recognize Marilyn Giroux for her 75 years of membership in the Grange. Marilyn is one of our favorite “Grange Gal’s” and we were pleased to celebrate this milestone with her. She was surrounded by several generations of family and friends Thursday and many from the community took a minute to share a story about their interactions with her through the years. David Hartford, another long time member presented her with certificates of appreciation and recognition from the National and State Granges. He also read her a poem he had written, and shared a couple stories from their youth. A nice tribute. Special thanks to David.

We had plenty of great food, great company, and it truly felt like an evening spent with family. The Hall looked great and I would be negligent to not recognize Karie Watson for her efforts putting on the meal and also to her and to Sharon for making the Hall look so fresh, Springlike and inviting for our celebration.

Thanks to all who cooked, cleaned, lugged and tugged, decorated, hauled trash, washed dishes, spoke, made the trip to join us or in any other way helped make it a fitting tribute to 119 years in Smithfield.

Mar 152017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

Grange month is upon us so let’s open those halls, invite the community and honor some recipients. Any Grange should be able to host some kind of community event during this month. Ideas include bring a community member with you to a meeting, have a program or speaker on agricultural education for the community, open houses, community citizen awards, or any other community oriented event. This is our 150th birthday so throw a party!

I attended the Master’s Conference last month and have come back with some ideas we can try. Let’s work on them together for the GOTO.

One idea was on the topic of mentoring. There are many of us that have a passion for Grange, visit others regularly and enjoy filling in where needed. We need some of these people to become mentors to help Granges. The duties of the mentor would be to give ideas, provide support, answer questions, help keep them organized and educate members about Grange traditions and rituals. The Mentor does not interfere in the business of that Grange or take charge of the meetings. They will offer suggestions when asked. The Mentor should meet with the Master at the first visit in order to become familiar with the operations of that Grange.This will not interfere with the duties of the Deputies. The Deputy has precedence over the Mentor when present at a meeting. There were a few of us that did mentoring a couple of years ago to help Grangers who took in a slew of new members, ones that were struggling or needed someone help to guide them in the right direction. I would like to plan a Mentoring workshop in the future for those interested.

Another thought is to form an Agricultural Education Committee separate from the Agriculture Committee designed to educate our communities, our young people and support our farmers. The Committee would include a member(s) from the Agricultural Committee Ag in the Classroom and maybe representatives from the FFA and 4H and other agricultural organizations. The purpose would be for the organizations to work together for a common cause; to promote and design educational agricultural programs.

Massachusetts has a program through the UMass System that has a hands on living classroom and a summer scholars program where students are given stipends for their work.

There is increasing interest in our communities to grow their own food but many need direction. This is where the Grange steps in. Holding agricultural programs on canning, sowing, how to maintain your gardens for successful harvests, soil, seeds and various other topics. People of all ages benefit from these programs. Invite the public and maybe have hands on projects or even start a community garden. Ask someone where their milk or bread comes from; more than one will answer “from a store.” Let’s take the lead as Grangers!! We are Doers.

By now many may think I’m daydreaming or other but why not try?

Mar 022017
 

by Walter Boomsma, 
Communications Director

What an exciting Granger and Grange! Barbara Bailey of Victor Grange in Fairfield called me recently to share her enthusiasm for a program her Grange and Community does and asked if I “could put something on the website.”

She admitted she was a bit skeptical when she first learned about the program, but you only have to talk with her for a few minutes to discover that she’s now more than sold, she’s a passionate advocate of the program. And she thinks it’s a perfect program for Granges to consider because everybody wins!

The program is briefly described on the Window Dressers website: “WindowDressers is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization dedicated to helping Maine residents reduce heating costs, fossil fuel consumption, and CO-2 emissions by lowering the amount of heat loss through windows.

“We have developed a community-based volunteer model that taps into individual and collective interest in saving on fuel costs, helping fellow citizens and sparing the environment from unnecessary CO2 pollution. We call this the Community Build program.  We’ve augmented that effort with specialized equipment and computerization to insure the efforts of our volunteers are boosted to the highest degree possible.

“Our target is leaky windows in Maine’s housing stock, the oldest in the nation.  Inserts offer an inexpensive alternative to window replacement.  Our customers save, on average, ten to twenty percent on their fuel consumption which translates in most cases to payback within the first heating season. We donate twenty-five percent of our inserts to low-income families whose only cost is a $10 service charge for insert installation…”

Barbara was particularly impressed by the training and support WindowDressers provides. (The program for next fall is already gearing up with Training Sessions.) “WindowDressers needs space to make the inserts,” she said, “and Grange Halls often have it! This is a perfect program for Granges because it’s engaging and hands on. We ended up with a lot of folks in our Grange Hall for the first time in their lives.”

Maine State Grange Community Service Director Chris Corliss plans to talk with Barbara soon and learn more, but Barbara said she’d be happy if folks call her (207 453-9476)—she loves talking about the program and the benefits of it. She’s a pretty busy Granger, so leave a message if she’s not there–she’ll call you back. You can also visit the WindowDressers website.

In addition to her passion for WindowDressers, Barbara is the lecturer for Victor Grange and a big fan and promoter of the Maine State Grange website. She is constantly encouraging people to subscribe because she says, “they’ll love the little bits of information that are always interesting, entertaining, and helpful”–one reason she wanted us to post information about WindowDressers. Thanks, Barbara, for your energy and support of your community, your Grange, and our website!


The contact at WindowDressers is:

Laura Seaton
Director of Community Builds and Business Development
WindowDressers.org
207-230-9902 (direct line)

directoratwindowdressersdotorg  (directoratwindowdressersdotorg)  

Mar 012017
 

It’s finally here… an updated directory of Granges in Maine, based on the 2017 Roster! We’ve sorted the list of Granges so you can sort by Grange name, Town Name, or Zip Code. You’ll find it on the Program Books and Information Page or you can open the file 2017 Directory of Granges directly for downloading and printing.

Speaking of finding a Grange, one observation I would make as a result of working with this data: Many Granges do not have an actual 911 compliant street address. By my estimation, over 40% of the listings could be considered non-compliant or incomplete from this perspective. This raises several important concerns.

More than ever, people are using GPS systems to locate places. (A long term project for the website may one day include adding a locator option with mapping options.) When we invite people to our Grange, we should be making it easy to find. (I could tell an embarrassing story on myself back in my early Grange member days. I actually drove to Lincoln Maine looking for a Lincoln Pomona Meeting!)

Perhaps even more important than visits, this is a potential safety concern. There are documented instances of emergency services not arriving in a timely fashion due to the lack of an adequate EMS address. If you have an emergency at your Grange Hall, calling 911 and saying “We’re next door to where the school house used to be…” is not likely going to be very effective. Many times the 911 dispatcher is located miles away and unfamiliar with the area where the emergency is taking place. Cell phones will often report the location automatically, but it just makes sense to take this precaution.

Usually all that’s required to get a street address is a visit to the town/municipal office.  Once you have it, another important step would be to display the street number prominently on the building or a post where it is visible from the street.

Feb 132017
 

by Rick Grotton, State Master

How are things coming for Grange Month in April?  The 150th birthday parties? There is a lot to do and many Granges are preparing for their Grange Month ceremonies.  After your event, It would be great if each Grange posts their celebration  (complete with pictures) on the website. As we look around and see a divided country it is up to us to take charge. Plan some fun activities or lectures for the public to enjoy. Let’s help our country as we did 150 years ago. It can be done. Work with other Granges, your Pomonas, loyal nonmembers and supporters to plan these activities. It is very important for our growth  and our future,  Honor the public, give certificates to members, just have fun. Let your hall we warm and welcoming, comfortable and positive, inviting and enjoyable.

We all are aware that our country is undergoing changes. People are uncomfortable and protests are happening. But is it the fear of the unknown, things happening beyond our comfort level and control or the fear of the outcome of these changes that are consuming the people? Fear, it is so easy to think of the negative, but what happens when we shed this fear and to dwell on the concept that changes can be good. Use the positive energy to help the change become welcome. As our country undergoes these changes, so does the Grange. The fear of changes holds us back we do not grow, we struggle and are divided. If we can all accept these changes and work with them, we grow and prosper. The Grange has been through these periods of change before, however, today technology has moved so fast we have a hard time keeping  up.  Let us think positive; how can be learn to survive in this changing world? Look for solutions instead of being fearful and holding back growth. We can accomplish so much together.  As your leader, I will certainly say that I have been worried about some changes, but as your leader, it is up to me to focus on growth and prosperity, to do what is best for the GOTO, and to help our members through these changes  with a smile with confidence in my directors, deputies, and members. We are family, we are the Grange!

I am sure most have heard the National Grange talk about doers. Are you a doer? What happens when the doers are gone? As our members get older, the ones we depend upon to get things done are becoming fewer and fewer. What happens from there?  We need doers, we need an active membership, we need new leaders. Who are the doers in your Grange?

The date for the Legislative luncheon at headquarters has been changed to April 5.

It is good to know that more and more people  (members and nonmembers) are contacting the website with various questions and seeking answers. The answers are being promptly transmitted. Thank s to all!

I will be headed to Master’s Conference this Friday and am looking forward working with fellow Masters and our National Master. I will distribute information gathered with the appropriate Director.

Smile, do and grow!

Feb 082017
 

Communication Bullets are short but important news!

We’ve been asked to announce:

Because of the expected nor’easter, Enterprise Grange #48, 15 Alexander Reed Road, Richmond, ME is postponing our February meeting which is scheduled for 2/9/17. According to our by-laws, if we have to cancel, then we meet the following Thursday, same time. We will meet Feb. 16, 2017, with supper at 6:00 p.m. and meeting at 7:00 p.m. We’ve had a change of officers and will have an Installation of our new officers. Guests are welcome!! FMI – Marilyn Stinson 737-2611 or beedlehill@roadrunner or check us out on Facebook!


Note that we’ve added a new In Search of… regarding Pittston Grange #214… see if you can help


Thanks to Rolf Staples for noticing we had the wrong name for one Grange Hall for sale! It’s fixed!


We’ve also uploaded the VA Wish List for February 2017 to the Community Service Section of the Program Books and Information Page.


Congratulations to Fairview Grange #342–for partnering with local volunteers resulted in raising just about $4,000 on behalf of a deserving young family. That’s what “doers” are all about!

Feb 062017
 

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

Check out the Miscellaneous Section on the Program Books and Information Page! You’ll find two new documents:

Grange Hall Insurance was researched and created to assist those Granges having trouble finding insurance for their hall. This will be an on-going project, so if your hall is successfully insured with a company or agency, please let me know  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  . I will contact them and see if they would like to be listed.

Grange Halls for Sale addresses a fairly frequent question we get by listing vacant Grange Halls that are currently available for purchase.

I will do my best to keep both of these documents current, but I will need everyone’s help. If you find an inaccuracy or know that something should be added to either page, please let me know  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  . Thanks for your help!

Remember to check the Program Books and Information Page occasionally–we’re constantly adding and updating resources as they become available. Some additional items you may find helpful:

A copy of the current month’s Bulletin is uploaded–usually by the 16th of each month. You’ll also currently find information and documents supplied by National Grange regarding Grange Month 2017. Make the Maine State Grange website your “goto” place for resources and information!

Feb 012017
 

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

I’m pleased to announce that your communications department of one is working on more resources for Granges and Grangers. We’ve recently added a Roster Order Form for copies of the 2017 Roster. Please note there are a limited number of copies available and they are only available to Grangers for Grange business.

I’ve heard some folks say they are having trouble finding insurance for their Grange Halls. I have been researching this and finding agencies and companies who may be able to help and will be posting a list soon! You can help with this. Contact the agency currently insuring your Grange Hall and ask if they would like a listing on the Maine State Grange Website. If so, have them (or you can do it for them) send me basic information  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  : company/agency name, person to contact, phone number, email address and website address if they have one. Several folks have already been very helpful with this… thank you!

One of the more frequent inquiries we receive through the website comes from folks interested in purchasing Grange Halls. We are very close to being able to post a list! Special thanks to State Master Rick for helping assemble this information.

Lastly, I am working towards updating the Grange Directory posted to the site (currently 2014) based on the most recent Roster Information.  This is a “limited” directory–it only includes Grange Name, Address, Pomona, and meeting schedule. If your information is either missing from or incorrect in the Roster, this is your “one-time” opportunity to get it corrected in this directory which, unlike the Roster, is made available to the public. (This directory is often used by people seeking a Grange in their area either to attend or rent a Grange Hall.)

Do you have suggestions for additional resources? Let me know!  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   Speaking of that, please note that the “midmaine” email address listed for me in the roster is not a working email address. Also, I am having a long-standing issue getting email delivered to those who have TWC (Time Warner Cable) email addresses. In Maine, this includes addresses ending “roadrunner.com” and “maine.rr.com.” TWC has not been at all cooperative in resolving this, but I haven’t given up. If you do not get a reply to an email you send from those addresses, it’s not for lack of trying on my part.

Jan 142017
 

Many Grangers in Maine have met Chris Hadsel from Curtains Without Borders–she has visited a number of Grange Halls here in Maine and been extremely helpful with information and assistance relative to the curtains found in many Grange Halls. She and her colleges have just released a video entitled, Conserving Historic State Curtains.  (Click the title to view.) It’s quite informative and covers a wide variety of topics… a great resource for those who wish to be good stewards of these works of art!

You’ll also find additional information on the Curtains Without Borders website.