Oct 162017
 

The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. As of yesterday, no Grange Halls have been lost, but several Grange members have lost their homes.

California State Grange Master Ed Kominski describes one Grange, Redwood Valley Grange as having some “Amazing Patrons” and note the hall has been opened to start serving their community in conjunction with the Mendocino Sheriff’s Department and North Coast Opportunities and Animal Control. Among services being provided:

  • The Hall will be open 10-6 every day until not needed and are providing Free Child Care
  • Free Professional Crisis Counseling and referrals are available
  • Lunch at 12:30 every while there is a community need.
  • All day refreshments are available
  • Town Meeting will be at the Grange – date TBD
  • The hall is a place to come, share, play music, and game tables are available.

All this is being done by Grangers who are having their own personal struggles.

Maine Grangers can help by participating in the California State Grange Fundraiser. Kominski notes, “Support and funds are coming in great numbers. We have seen fantastic support but we need to reach more people.”

The California State Grange, utilizing the National Grange 501(c)(3) Foundation has established the “2017 CA Fires Support Fund” to receive tax-deductible charitable donations. This Grange Charitable Fund will be used to provide support to those affected Members & Community/Pomona Granges having needs created by the wildfires. Every donation of $25 or more will receive a t-shirt in appreciation for the generosity – “California Granges – Moving Together”

Donate to the CA Fires Support Fund

Oct 132017
 

The year has passed quickly. State Grange is upon us once again upon us. Hope to see you there!!! Thank you to Manchester Grange members for hosting a 150th Birthday celebration on October 8. There were about 40 present on this very windy day who enjoyed a prepared lunch followed by entertainment by local Maine humorist, Gary Crocker. I then presented three Manchester members their fifty-year certificates. Thanks to all who attended. Guests came as far away as Limington.

Thank you to all Granges who have celebrated our very special birthday. It certainly is a milestone and that to be proud of by all members. Now, we need to work toward many more years of existence.  For that to happen we need the right attitude, membership, being a doer, loyalty and to remember our lessons of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fidelity and Perseverance (for those who have taken their 5th Degree). Look at the list, what is there on the list we cannot do? Put all the ingredients together as a soup and serve.  Difficult? Not if your Grange is one that works together no matter how small.

Thank you to West Minot and Harraseeket Granges for hosting the first four degrees over the past month. Also thanks to all the volunteers who made these successful. I have performed the Obligation Ceremony three times in the last month!!! Members are joining, albeit a few at a time, so welcome these new members into our Grange family, listen to their ideas and educate them on the traditions and rituals of our Order. We all need to listen to the Installing Officers words for each office. When we sit and wait our turn to be installed, really listen and let the message sink in. These passages explain the duties of each office.

Remember our Veterans every day and as Veterans Day approaches. Plan programs in their honor to give thanks for their service to their country and to keep us free.

The Lecturer’s Conference on Sept 30 was very informative. It was sad there were no entries in the Talent Contest again this year. Thank you to our State Lecturer, Margaret  Morse on putting on a great conference.  If you are a Subordinate or Pomona Lecturer, she has a program book with dates of Lecturer sponsored events for you. They will be available at State Session. Check with the delegates of your Grange. Please support her and enter the contests.

It is strange when something just pops in your head and you need to write it down. By no means am I a poet, however, the following kept popping into mind as I was writing this column. A message, perhaps? A poetry entry? Here goes:

“When the times are slow and nowhere to go, your members are few, so what do you do?  One thought is to close but what if it grows? Is all lost, at what cost? We will smile and in a while, the sun will shine on yours and mine. We are not aware our answers are there, just waiting to share.”

Anyways, have a great Autumn and Thanksgiving!

Oct 062017
 

Bangor Grange presented Lt. Tim Cotton his Community Citizen Award at our meeting Tuesday. The following is his write-up the next day that he posted on Facebook:

“Sliding my thumb up and down the smudged and scratched glass of my Samsung phone allows a glimpse into the thoughts of my Facebook friends.

Most of my “Facebook friends” are actually my friends. Sure, there are one or two I don’t know very well, but for the most part they are my friends and I would not have added them to my motley crew if I didn’t believe we could talk for twenty minutes or so over a cup of coffee.

Today, one of my friends posted a simple statement; a question actually. “Where have all the good people gone?” I think it’s a question we all have, especially in times like these.

When the news-cycle bores it’s way into our lives like a Black and Decker hammer-drill, it is fairly easy to believe that the world has gone mad. I cannot deny that I believe the exact same thing sometimes. I certainly can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t bring us something worse than our country has experienced this week.

I can tell you that the good people are still here. On Tuesday night I met about 15 of them at the Bangor Grange Hall (#372).

Kindly, the group awarded me with a Community Service honor and plaque. I should note that I have done nothing to deserve such an honor from the Grange members. I should have been there sooner-thanking them. I am such a slacker.

Ann Staples (82 years young) organized a fundraiser for a man who was soon to die. He wanted to make sure his wife had a little something after he passed. The spaghetti dinner at their humble Grange raised over $5000 dollars in one evening. The man died on the night of the fundraiser, but he knew of it’s success before he passed.

Ann was not bragging about pulling it all together, she was telling me about it because she and her fellow Grange members were looking to do a project for our police department causes.

We talked over lasagna, homemade biscuits, beef pie, scalloped potatoes and freshly pressed Maine apple cider. Yes, I had seconds, on simple paper plates and mismatched silverware. Ann also organizes their weekly farmers market and helped local disadvantaged kids plant and care for a garden so they could have fresh vegetables. She has done this for years.

Ann was asking me what I needed while stuffing me with food to prepare me to receive MY award. Are you kidding me?

Grange Master Rolf Staples Sr. told me about the Christmas breakfast Grange #372 puts on for local kids. He told me some of the kids find the thought of a homemade breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, and pancakes far more appealing than the gifts they receive. He noted that some of the kids know nothing more than a Pop Tart and can of soda for typical morning nourishment. Who makes the breakfast? The ladies and gents of Grange #372, not me.

94-year old Mary Hunter knits tiny caps for premature infants. She also reminded me that she was at my wedding but that she didn’t dance.

She told me that she recalls my son has the same name as her dear departed husband and that she clearly remembers me changing my son’s name on his birth certificate two days after he was born. It’s true, I did. Purely to make his name roll off my tongue more easily. It’s a long story. Mary remembers. She is a member of Grange #372.

For years Mary and her husband visited area nursing homes with homemade crafts, provided gifts for the kids on the parade route at Hampden Children’s Day and did a myriad of other things for community causes.

There were many others. Some who had been members for a long time and one who had held leadership positions at Grange #372 since the early 1960s. He had cut some firewood that day and told me he loved the fall. I think the gentleman could have made quick work of me in an arm wrestling match, but it was his 82nd birthday so I would expect nothing less.

We stood for the Star Spangled Banner, posted Old Glory, and I was escorted to the podium for the reading of a very nice proclamation.

Each step across the sole-smoothed hardwood floor echoed the footsteps of the benevolent members who danced, wedded, and died here since 1904.

I was humbled with their kindness, uplifted by their hardscrabble homestead farm-raised ghosts. I envisioned the men and wives cleaning their nails and washing behind the kid’s ears for the Saturday night supper and dance.

Where have all the good people gone? I think they are still here.

If you have trouble finding them, put down the phone, lay off the rants, turn off the television, and become one of them. If you need to find an example of such goodness, check your local Grange Hall.

Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.

We will be here.”

TC


Webmaster Note: “TC” maintains a Facebook Page for the Bangor Maine Police Department with that has “gone viral” and has thousands of followers around the country. You can read TC’s original post on Facebook.

Sep 272017
 

On August 18, Mill Stream Grange held its annual “Octo-nanagenarian” program honoring members in their 80’s and 90’s. Pictured (from left) are Gloria Kelley, Midjam Wood, Louise Kilponen, Bev Smith, Ed McCarthy, Jeanette Daley, Pete Gammons, Judy Wyman and Gay Anderson who answered questions about and shared stories from their lives.

Sep 252017
 

We’re posting this link with thanks to the California State Grange for sharing… it’s a digitized recording from 1907 entitled, “Uncle Josh Joins the Grangers.” Uncle Josh sure has an interesting experience… There’s a good chance this will have you chuckling!

Sep 152017
 

Congratulations, East Sangerville Grange! A recent post on the Maine State Grange Website about the adventures of the “Fighting 177th” was picked up by the National Grange and printed in the current issue of Good Day! the magazine published by National Grange. We can debate whether or not programs like this are traditional but there’s no question they generate excitement in the Grange and the community. So let’s hear a Grange Cheer for this exciting Grange and these exciting Grangers!

East Sangerville’s Fighting 177th

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Sep 152017
 

A mug WB

Every year at this time, I go through a major cleanup of the website, starting with the Program Books and Information Page. One reason for starting there is that the Program Books and Information Page gets over twice the number of visits as any other page on the website. Our Granges want and need information. I encourage and remind state leaders (especially directors and committee chairs) to make certain the information there is current. As we move into a new Grange Year, it’s my hope that each section will have, at a minimum:

  • 2016-2017 Annual Report (due by September 28, 2017) – a summary of committee activities and accomplishments for the Grange that Grange Year.
  • 2017-2018 Information – obviously this will vary by committee but should include any contest information and resources for Subordinate and Pomona Granges, including a program book if appropriate.

I recently have had some interesting discussions with some colleagues in the field of education. A respected company involved in real estate education completed an “in-depth” study that showed (among many other things) over 60% of real estate educators say “decreasing attention spans” is a significant “challenge” for instructors. One colleague and I have concluded that data may be missing the boat.* (Stay with me because this is about communication.)

Look at that “fact.” It is really saying that there is something wrong with the students. When we dig below the obvious, here’s what my colleague and I think is actually happening. (I have the advantage of experience teaching five-year-olds as well as seniors.) Today’s adult students grew up learning very differently than previous generations. There is nothing “wrong” with them—they are just different. The real problem may be that instructors haven’t figured out how to adapt to their new learning habits and experience.

Well, ditto that when it comes to communication. I used to be a prolific letter writer. I now can count on one hand the number of letters I write every year. I am dealing with companies on the internet for whom I only have a phone number and email address; no readily apparent “snail mail” address.

But beyond that, I’m constantly learning that younger people are used to getting information differently—just like they are used to learning differently. There are a lot of people who no longer read newspapers and, as a result, there are many newspapers struggling to survive. Media moguls are increasingly turning to “sound bites” of information that can be digested in a relatively short period of time. When I coach people to prepare for interviews, I encourage them to think in “bites” that are only two or three sentences. I recently worked with some sixth graders at school who were being interviewed by a reporter. They were nervous, but I couldn’t help but notice when the reporter asked a question, they rarely rambled. The responded directly—sometimes bluntly—and succinctly. They have learned to communicate differently. (For example, a text message can only include 140 letters and spaces.) Conversely, I’ve watched reporters interview older folks for the same story. The reporter stops writing notes and I can tell he or she is thinking, “Will you please get to the point?”

As I work with the media, I find they are far more interested in the “hook” than a few years ago. While I don’t have hard data, it also seems to me that articles are generally shorter and tend to include less detail. The pattern is very parallel to what’s happening in the educational environment. People are learning differently; people are digesting information differently and people are communicating differently.

As I sometimes tell my adult learners when they react negatively to a concept, “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to learn and understand it.” I remember fondly picking up the two pound Sunday edition of the local newspaper and engaging in the ritual of a coffee and a leisurely read, sorting sections while nibbling on toast. I can’t, however, remember the last time I did that. I haven’t given up the coffee and toast, but I’m now reading the news on my iPad and completing the process in a lot less time.

As newspapers, educators and other communicators are learning “resistance is futile.” We need to adapt if we expect to be viable in the world as it exists.


*For those with additional interest, Stop Teaching Me is an article I wrote on the topic of how today’s learners differ and what it means to real estate educators.

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Sep 142017
 

Several months ago, a “little birdie” sent me a news tip and a copy of a poem written by Wes Ryder of Danville Junction Grange along with the explanation I might be able to use it on the website since it was about the Grange’s 150th Birthday. I read it and decided not to use it. (Wait for it!)

Instead I forwarded it to National Grange for further consideration. Now we need a Grange Cheer for Wes. His poem is featured as a full page of the current issue (Fall 2017) of “Good Day,” the magazine of the National Grange. This issue is hitting mailboxes all over the country as we speak.

When your copy arrives, tear open the plastic cover and turn immediately to page 20 to enjoy Wes’s ability to turn a phrase and rhyme a word. Then congratulate him by commenting on this post. As a writer and publisher, I can attest to the fact that getting poetry published in a National publication is not an easy achievement. Many try, few succeed. Congratulations, Wes–you’re part of a very elite group and our poet laureate!


To comment and congratulate Wes, click the link in the upper right corner of the post. If possible, shake his hand in person! And remember, we love contributions from local Grangers and Granges.

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Sep 132017
 

After attending a few installations so far this year, I paid particular attention to the description of the office by the Installing Officer. It appears that the descriptions very clearly define the office and all members, especially newer members and those who are new to the office should pay close attention.  These words were written to define our roots and although the duties of some officers have slightly taken on a different meaning in present time, the written word is our backbone. This means that those taking each office respect the written words and perform the duties of their office to the utmost of their abilities. Remember, Grange is like a perennial plant in most respects. Both started from a seed, grew roots,  flowered and produced fruit. When the plant grows it need the food and water to grow (meaning it’s members that keep it alive) and every once in a while we have to alter or replace the dead leaves so the plant will continue to flourish (as we do in the Grange). The plant survives another year, somewhat altered but its roots remain. Once you remove the plant from the ground, the roots are removed and unless transplanted, the roots die. Really think about this with respect to the Grange. With resolutions throughout the years altering our “plant”, our roots have remained intact. One we start changing rituals, taking away or doing away with our written code, it changes our “plant” and it becomes something altogether different after several alterations.  Feed our “plant” keep it growing, making changes as necessary for the good of our “plant”, however, leave the roots intact. Whenever the Grange begins to “wilt” or if some of its “leaves” die and need to be removed, the overall “plant” still has its roots and will again flourish. But that part is up to us. Yes, we have closed some Granges (dead leaves) and have had loss of membership (wilting) but our “plant” remains strong and healthy. Due to lack of food and water (the members) the  Grange “plant” will die and possibly our roots. Pay attention to the written words of our founders; those who planted the seed and do the best we can to ensure our Grange survives for many years to come. It is up to every one of us (not just the leadership) to feed and water our Grange and to keep it alive. We are 150 years old and proud of our organization and its membership.

There are a few who believe State Grange should hire a professional group to come and restructure our organization. We have been around for 150 years, why do we need professionals to restructure our organization?  These may be professionals in their field, however, they know nothing about our Order and would treat it as a generic fix with no meaning to the Order. It does not fix our problems or add any personal effects. Only the membership knows how to operate our organization as we have done for many years. It seems cold and uncaring  (and embarrassing) to have strangers take over and alter our “plant”. Only we know how to care for our “plant” since it requires our love and caring to keep it going.

If you have new members who need to see the first four degrees before State Grange, there are two dates of interest. The first is Sunday, September 24 at West Minot Grange and the other is on Sunday, October 7 at Harraseeket Grange on Elm Street in Freeport. Both begin at 4 pm with a break after the first two degrees are completed. Remember, in order to take your 5th Degree, you must have observed the first four degrees. The Sixth Degree will be done during State Session on Friday evening, October 20 at 7 pm at the Community Center in Skowhegan.

Has everyone sent in their new officer list? If there are any changes to your membership since you did, make sure you let our State Secretary know. Thank you for those who did submit their lists!

By now you all should have received the resolutions and the information for State Grange. Please carefully go over the resolutions at your next meetings so that your delegates will know how to vote.

I have received a few inquiries concerning the location of this year’s Lecturer’s Conference. The meeting was scheduled for Topsham Grange for September 30 since the availability of Headquarters at the time was unknown at the time. Sorry for the inconvenience, however it was better to change locations then instead of waiting.

Remember that there will be an Ag Luncheon Thursday noon at State Session this year. The price is $14 and pork will be served with a speaker, Ms. Amber Lambke, CEO and President of the Maine Grain Alliance following. Capacity is 100 people so reserve early!

The schedule is as follows: 1:00-2:00 pm, Lunch; 2:00 pm, Open to the Public; 2:15 pm, Entertainment – Maine Humorist Gary Crocker; 2:45-3:00 pm, Ceremony. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

Surroundings and changes are happening all around. Those changes affect us also. There has been a rise in the number of young farmers operating in Maine. Some Granges are identifying and working with them. These Granges are growing. Community awareness is important. What is happening in your community? Do you know? Find out how the Grange can be part of the community growth or assist with changes. Establish contacts with community leaders and communicate often. Why do we exist? This is a rhetorical question which we do not stop and think about as often as we should.

Our Northeast region is hosting National Grange in Stowe, Vermont in 2018 and all states within that region have certain duties and obligations in order to make the session successful. One fundraising item is tee shirts (long and short sleeved) that are for sale. These tee shirts are a bright blue with the logo “Unique as a Snowflake” and come in various sizes. Prices are 10.00 (short sleeve) and 15.00 (long sleeve). They will also be available for sale at State Session. Sales of these items will help contribute to our share of the financial obligation to host.

On Sunday, October 8 beginning at 1:00 pm, Manchester Grange will be hosting a spectacular 150th Grange birthday party at their Hall with ALL Grange members throughout the State invited.  If there is anyone receiving their 50-year certificate this year, this may be of special interest to you. The highlights of the afternoon include presenting 50-year certificates, Maine humorist Gary Crocker, and a 150th birthday cake. I can envision how spectacular this could be having Masters or representatives of various Granges presenting the certificates to their own members. I have seen Mr. Crocker perform. He is very entertaining. Please mark your calendar. The schedule is as follows: 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Lunch; 2:00 pm, Open to the Public; 2:15 pm, Entertainment – Maine Humorist Gary Crocker; 2:45-3 pm, Ceremony.

For more information or to RSVP, please contact Stephanie Daggett-Nichols at 207-623-3436. She has discussed the plans with me and it appears to be a well-planned event. Your presence will make it even better!!

 

Sep 132017
 

Secretary Cubicle
Summer is almost over and fall is fast approaching and I am making this column a reminder column.

Email
Email is great. I appreciate those who use email. Please email me at mainestategrangeatmyfairpointdotnet  (mainestategrangeatmyfairpointdotnet)   and cc grangenutatnetscapedotnet  (grangenutatnetscapedotnet)  .

Annual Session

Delegates are your Master and spouse and if they are unable to attend your grange will then have the opportunity to appoint two delegates. East grange is allowed two delegates so please make sure that you take advantage of this opportunity to serve your grange.

Quarterly and Yearly Dues
Subordinate Granges your quarterly dues must be paid in full for the quarter ending September 30, 2019. You may have up to the 10th day to have your quarterly reports postmarked to avoid $5.00 assessment to defray collection costs. I will be leaving for State Grange Session Wednesday, October 18, 2017, so please have them in before that date to avoid confusion at State Session. ALL DUES MUST BE PAID THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 IN ORDER FOR YOUR DELEGATES TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO VOTE.

Pomona Granges your yearly dues must be paid in full for the year ending June 30, 2017.  As I write this column I have three Pomona’s who have not filed the yearly report.  I will be forwarding to those Pomona’s the paperwork to be completed and filed with me before State Session in order for the delegates from these Pomona’s to take advantage of the voting privileges at State Session.

Until I see you at State Session be safe.