Apr 202017
 

We’ve made some minor updates and changes to the ODD Directory (Officers, Directors, and Deputies) and uploaded it to the website! Please download and print some copies for yourself and your members: ODD-Directory-04-17.

Also, note that we’ve added a new section to the “Program Books and Information Page” for the soon to be officially announced Agricultural Education Committee. There are already a few resources listed under this heading!

Happy Grange Month! If your Grange did something special, send us a report for featuring on the website! Photos are great–just attach them to an email to the webmaster. (Smaller file sizes are really helpful. If you are using a photo program that allows you reduce resolution and file size, please consider doing so before sending!)

Communication Consideration:

Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.

Heinrich Heine

Apr 142017
 

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

April is a busy month here at State Headquarters as well as in our Subordinate Granges. My time has been busy with the finishing of the 2016 Journal of Proceedings, which will be published on the website. April is a month to celebrate our grange heritage and what a great way to do so is to have an open house, invite all to enjoy a great meal and program.

I have had the opportunity to issue these Continuous Membership Certificates which have been or will be presented to our members.  Somerset Grange #18, Gwendolyn Knight for 65 years; Farrilyn Chase for 70 years; Bernice Chase for 55 years; Norman Chase for 55 years; Elizabeth Wilder for 25 years; Alice Jones for 70 years; and Marjorie Farrand for 50 years; Manchester Grange #172, Mark L. Johnston 50 years; Brenda L. Lake for 50 years; and Edward Lincoln III for 50 years; Mousam Lake Grange #467, Sylvia Young for 70 years and Clayton Chute for 65 years; Bingham Grange #237, Terry Spencer for 40 years; Bear Mt. Grange #62, Linda Davis for 50 years; Clara Hamlin for 60 years; Prentiss Kimball for 60 years; and Glenn Chute for 60 years; Huntoon Hill #398, Sharon Leeman for 55 and 60 years; Fairview Grange #342, Marilyn Giroux for 75 years; Ellie Zarcone for 40 years and George Merry for 75 years; Hollis Grange #132, Valerie Joy for 50 years; Maple Grove Grange #148, Carol R. Brown for 50 years and Esther L. Kilborn for 80 years; Topsham Grange #37, Julia Wallace for 50 years and Merton Ricker for 70 years; Valley Grange #144, Elizabeth Herring for 70 years; Roderick Lander for 50 years and Harriet Mitchell for 70 years and White Rock Grange #380, Gloria McBee for 55 years.

Quarterly Reports:  Please remember the quarterly reports are due March 31st; June 30th; September 30th and December 31st and are due at headquarters postmarked on or before the 10th of the month following each quarter.

KEEPING MINUTES – As Secretary, your first priority is keeping a record of the meetings of your Grange.  Accuracy should be the goal, for your minutes are your Grange’s permanent record.  Remember that “Robert’s Rules of Order” advises, “They (the minutes) should contain mainly a record of what was done at a meeting, not what was said by the members unless in the form of a motion… Minutes should never reflect the Secretary’s opinion on anything said or done.”

Resolutions and motions should be included in the minutes word for word, as well as the action taken on them.  Detailed accounts of receipts and expenses should be included.  Communications read need not be included word for word, only that they were read and their general subject.  You can refer members to the communication if they wish details.

An exception might be the description of the lecturer’s programs.  If a member says something particularly worthy, or a discussion is important, including it in the minutes should be approved by the Grange.

Next time I will touch on the Secretary’s responsibility on maintaining records.

I will be updating the Roster Information Form that will be sent with your June Quarterly Report. This form will include the name and number of your Grange; physical location of your Grange Hall; contact name and phone number; name, address, phone number, and email address of your elected Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chairman.

Please contact me immediately with any address changes or any changes to the officers listed above so that our records will be correct and updated.

Happy Spring, and enjoy the nice weather.

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 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 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 162017
 

by Walter Boomsma, Communications Director

April is Grange Month! For those Granges who use the Community Citizen of the Year Award or Pomona Grange Award for Public Service, you should order soon. Most of the other documents you might need are available on the Maine State Grange Website:

  • 2017 Grange Month Awards Order Form--Use this form to order your Grange Month (Community Citizen) Awards. Since you should allow four weeks for delivery, this would be a good time!
  • 2017 Grange Month Poster–This can be a poster or flyer… just fill in specific information about your Grange!
  • 2017 Grange Month Letter–The letter from National Master Betsy Huber announcing Grange Month 2017.
  • 2017 Grange Month Proclamation–The National Grange Resolution proclaiming April as Grange Month… should be posted and could be sent to local media outlets.
  • How to use hashtags–For those who wonder what those #’s you’re seeing all over the Internet mean. (Hint, they are not Grange numbers!)
  • I’m a DO-er Program Description–This is a complete description of the “DO-er” Program announced in conjunction with Grange Month, but running all year long.

Download and print what you need–and share with other Granges in your area! Why not share your plans at your next Pomona Meeting? (You can find all these documents in the National Grange Section of the Program Books and Information Page.

Read the February 2017 Issue of The Patrons Chain National Grange Newsletter. Print a copy to share with others!

Feb 142017
 

A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

It’s time for a “potpourri” column—a collection of communication-related thoughts and updates. Some of these have been published on the website as “Communication Bullets” and may sound familiar to website subscribers and visitors.

I believe one of the responsibilities of the Communications Department (of one) is to explore, discover, and transmit resources that will help our Granges and Grangers. In keeping with that, I’ve created a “Resources for Grangers” theme for this year.

Resources can come in many forms, but will fall into two categories. The first will be somewhat general in nature. The second will be more specific about the “business” of the Grange.

As an example of the latter, I’ve recently researched and posted some potential sources of insurance for Grange Halls in response to several questions and requests for help finding coverage. The options are certainly limited, but there are some possibilities. (The information is also included in this Bulletin.) We continue to post information about conferences, etc. as it is received. Remember that the Communications Department maintains an ODD (Officers, Directors, and Deputies) directory of contact information that is available for download and you can find copies of recent Bulletins on the site.

At least year’s state session, a resolution was passed directing Maine State Grange to develop a strategy for policy, education, and resources for small community-based farms and agriculture in general. I’ve been watching for and reposting articles that would seem to support that. Recent examples include information on invasive plants and the Browntail Moth threat.

But I’m not limiting this to agriculture. With thanks to the VA, we are now posting a Veterans’ Department Wish List of opportunities and needs. The list is updated monthly and includes facilities throughout the state.

I’d like to extend a special thank-you to our MSG Historian, Stanley Howe and his committee. The “In Search of…” feature has brought a number of inquiries regarding closed Granges and membership. Stan and his committee are always quick to respond and generous with knowledge and information. The “In Search of…” feature also recently made possible a connection between some volunteers and Rick Watson, Master of Fairview Grange. Working together Fairview Grange, the volunteers, and the community raised about $4,000 for a young family facing a serious medical issue for their soon to be born child. New bonds and friendships were also formed.

From a practical perspective, the Communications Department is not a department of one—it includes every Granger (and some non-Grangers!) who are committed to communication and the development of our organization. When you discover information that you believe would be of interest to other Grangers, share it! My job is to facilitate that process and make the channels of communication available and effective. If you have or need information, please let me know.

On a slightly personal note, I’m honored to be the “featured speaker,” at Bangor Grange’s Community Connection on March 28, 2017. The topic will be “Finding Dead Rainbows—where you stand makes a difference.” Bangor Grange Master Brenda Gammon describes Community Connections as an ongoing part of the Grange’s efforts to “provide information and resources and a way for our community’s citizens to connect with each other and those resources.” It’s an interesting idea—if your Grange is looking for a new idea and way to make a difference in your community, contact Brenda and ask her about it. Even better, come to the program!

Let’s make some news, take some photos of it, and share it!”

Feb 142017
 

Secretary CubicleBy Sharon Morton, MSG Secretary

As I sit here and look out at the snow I am pondering what spring will bring. Grange activities will start anew, as well as, new life on the farm.

Yearly Dues

As I write this column I hope that you have sent your first request for your Grange’s yearly dues.  If you need to obtain first dues notices they are available here at the office.  It is now time to send your second notices.  Both notices are available here at headquarters for .25 cents each.

April is Grange Month

The Maine State Grange has memorial flags and grave markers for sale.  This is a great way to honor our deceased members.   We have two styles of memorial flags black emblem ($7) and colored emblem ($8) and grave marker $30.  You can purchase a memorial flag with a grave marker for $35.  I have a limited number of grave markers so if you would like one please get your request in early.

You will also be receiving in a mailing shortly the Grange Month information from National Grange.  It is also available on our website:  mainestategrange.org.  You will be receiving the 2017 Proclamation, Letter from our National Master and a poster to use for inviting the public to a grange meeting.

National Grange Convention 2018 – Unique as a Snowflake

As I have been chosen the Coordinator for the State of Maine I have been given the task of obtaining funds for the convention.  I have short sleeved and long sleeved t-shirts.  I have a variety of sizes in both styles.  The prices are short-sleeved $10 and the long-sleeved $15.

Membership Recognition Form

I will be updating the Membership Recognition Form as National Grange has made a change in the shipping cost0 Effective March 1, 2017.  Golden Sheaf is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling and the 75 Year Diamond Certificates with folder is $10 plus $4.00 for shipping and handling.  I believe that if you forget to add the shipping and handling National Grange will bill you.

Until next month have a safe winter and a great beginning of spring.

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!