Nov 152017

A mug WB

In my very little spare time, I’ve been reading an excellent book about writing. One sentence I encountered recently kept me awake for a while. “Your readers don’t know anything.” That’s very good advice to those of us who are trying to communicate. And it is excellent advice to those of us who are involved in organizations that have their own language and vocabulary.

I think this goes beyond the five w’s that should be included in every press release to include making sure we explain things that may seem commonplace to us, but not to our readers who “don’t know anything.” What does it mean, for example, when we describe the Grange as a ‘fraternal’ organization?” Our readers might not know. (Fraternal comes from the word “fraternus” meaning brother. One dictionary defines it as “of or being a society associated in brotherly union, as for mutual aid or benefit.”)

We shouldn’t be condescending, certainly. But in our communication, it does make sense to consider the real possibility our reader or listener doesn’t know much.

I’m pleased to announce that much of the Grange year-end activity required of your Communications Department is nearing completion. We have updated the officer list on the Bulletin sidebar and website, revised the ODD Directory (listing all current officers, directors, and deputies), and posted all program books that have been made available. There’s still some “under the hood” stuff to do, but most people won’t notice it—and don’t need to anyway!

Let me remind folks that for the most part, I don’t generate what’s communicated, I am very dependent on others. I cannot share what I don’t know or don’t have. I wish every Granger in Maine would consider him/herself a reporter. A goal for this year is to increase the number of posts (stories) about Granges that are succeeding either with membership increases or events that are successful. No story is too small for our website. You don’t have to be an award-winning writer—we can use a photo and tell the story in a caption of a few sentences—that’s called a “cutline” in the media business.

While no story is too small for the website another reality is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to capture the attention of traditional media. Even my local reporters are telling me they are covering fewer and fewer events in person. I received some criticism during State Convention for “not having the television people there.” Please understand, media presence at events is getting more and more difficult to achieve. I attempted to explain to my critic that simply holding a convention isn’t newsworthy. I’m not sure I succeeded, so let me remind everyone that it is much easier and effective to make news than it is to write press releases.

The media business is changing in many ways and it’s truly a mixed bag. While the Internet makes sharing information and news relatively easy, traditional media is struggling to find its role in a digital world. I can attest that some reporters subscribe to the Maine State Grange website as a source of news tips and leads. If you want to attract the media, telling your story on it might be a great way to start!


Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!

Nov 152017

Short messages from your Communications Department

Just a quick reminder of a couple meetings and some recently added resources:

  • There will be a MSG Officers meeting at headquarters on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at 1:00 pm.


  • Deputy School is planned for Saturday, December 2, 2017, at headquarters from 9:30 am until noon. Master Sherry says, “Officers and Directors are welcome to participate if they wish to. We will be covering duties & expectations, some ritualistic floorwork, revised paperwork,  goals, and problem-solving.” Meatball subs and cake will be served for lunch.


  • An Executive Committee meeting will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2018, at headquarters at 1:00 pm.



  • ODD (Officers, Directors, Deputies) Directory has been updated to reflect elections and appointments with contact information and is available for download: ODD-Directory-11-17. Thanks to Master Sherry for her help with this!


Nov 142017

“The Grange Way” is the newly announced theme by National Master Betsy Huber in Spokane at the very successful National convention.  As our Grange year begins once again, I can only stress the importance of following our obligation, lessons, and precepts in all our Grange work.  Our Grange, communities, state, and nation need our ideals and support, as a group, in order to continue to grow.  Setting our personal issues aside is the only way to accomplish this goal.  We can each have an opinion, but each should be willing to listen and hear other opinions as well.

The ideas that each of you starts in your own Granges as a Grassroots organization have been presented on the floor to the National Grange as a resolution. Each is assigned to a committee, the committee discusses it, makes a recommendation then it is brought in front of the whole delegate body for more discussion and action. It is the same valuable process that we use in our own Granges. Many of the 142 resolutions will be sent on to the Legislature for action.

I would like to congratulate Bangor Grange for receiving second place for Community Service and the Gowen family for Grange Legacy Family Recognition.

I will keep this article short as I know I am pushing the deadline.  I had more to say but the information is being sent home by mail.  So until next time.  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Nov 112017

Secretary Cubicle
It has been a busy here at State Grange Headquarters as we are transitioning to new officers.  I would like to welcome, Sherry Harriman, Master; Adrian (Mike) Griffin, Overseer;  Steven Haycock, Steward; Richard (Rick) Grotton, Assistant Steward; Gladys Chapman, Chaplain; Victoria (Vicki) Huff, Treasurer; Henry Morton, Gatekeeper; Christine Hebert, Ceres;  and Steven Verrill and James Owens, Executive Committee Members of the Maine State Grange.


Roster time is right around the corner and I have some Roster Information that I need to receive to make the information complete. I am listing the following Pomona Granges and Subordinate Granges that I have not received. You may email the following information to me at mainestategrangeatmyfairpointdotnet  (mainestategrangeatmyfairpointdotnet)  .  This year I am asking for our Subordinate Grange’s physical address; contact person and number; meeting day and time;  whether or not you have early refreshments or a supper (potluck or paid); the name, address, telephone number and email address of the following:  Master, Lecturer, Secretary and CWA Chairperson.

Here are the names of the Pomona and Subordinate Granges:

  • Androscoggin Pomona 1
  • Turner 23
  • West Minot 42
  • Deering 535
  • Cumberland & Oxford Union Pomona 21
  • Paugus 540
  • Porter 569
  • Excelsior Pomona 5
  • North Jay 10
  • Wilson 321
  • Greenwood 363
  • Schoodic 420
  • Hancock Pomona 13
  • Castine 250
  • Rumford115
  • Ashland 247
  • Cambridge 582
  • East Sangerville 177
  • Garland 76
  • St. Albans 114
  • Wayside 590
  • Merriconeag 425
  • West Bath Seaside 592
  • Kennebec Valley 128
  • Mt. Philip 545
  • Waldo Pomona 12
  • Branch Mills 336
  • Seven Star 73
  • Alexander 304
  • Arlington 528
  • York Pomona 14.

I am looking forward to receiving this information as information from last year’s Roster could be incorrect.

Membership lists are being updated and being forwarded to Secretaries for updating.  I thank you all for your cooperation in getting this dauntless task completed.

I, with the State Master, will be planning Secretary Workshops in the coming year.  We plan to have these workshops around the State so all secretaries have the opportunity to attend.  More to come once plans are final.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.


Oct 232017

It has been a pleasure being your leader for the last couple of years. I have learned much and have matured.  Since there are some other opportunities for me, it was best to step down now as I would not have had the time to fully devote to being the State Master. This would not have been fair to the Order or it’s membership should I have stayed another term. I want to thank you all for your support and help during my term and ask that you give that same support and help to our new Master. Sister Sherry is a great and experienced leader and there is no doubt she will do a great job.


Read the complete text of Rick’s Address at the 144th Maine State Grange Convention in the miscellaneous section of the Program Books and Information Page or download it directly: 2017 State Master’s Address.


Oct 202017

Ballot clerks sort and count the votes.

After several re elections (to achieve the required majority) and miles of walking, delegates to the 144th Maine State Grange Convention elected the following late of officers:

  • Master—Sherry Harriman
  • Secretary—Sharon Morton
  • Overseer—Mike Griffin
  • Lecturer—Margaret Morse
  • Steward—Steven Hancock
  • Lady Assistant—Roberta Meserve
  • Chaplain—Gladys Chapman
  • Treasurer—Victoria Huff
  • Assistant Steward—Rick Grotton
  • Executive Committee Steve Verrill
  • Executive committee—Jim Owens
  • Gatekeeper–Henry Morton
  • Flora—Deborah Ivers
  • Ceres–Christine Hebert
  • Pomona–Laurie McBurnie

Please note that our ODD Directory will be updated as soon as practicable. Newly elected officers can assist by emailing me you preferred contact information (email address and phone number).

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster


Oct 202017

Yes, it’s official! Christine Corliss announced the winners of the community service and family health     and hearing contests. “We’ve had an awesome year, with great participation,” Corliss said. “But best of all a lot of communities have benefited from the programs our Granges represent.” Community Service awards were presented to:

  • First Place, Bangor Grange
  • Second Place, Danville Junction Grange
  • Third Place, Maple Grove Grange
  • Fourth Place, Valley Grange

Corliss also noted that the Committee presented a special community service Granger of the year award to Glenys Ryder of Danville Junction. “Glenys has not missed a single community service or family health and hearing contest for a lot of years. She certainly deserves recognition and appreciation.”

Oct 152017

A mug WB

Here are a few excerpts from my Annual Report—you can read the entire report online or, if you are attending State Convention, in your information packet. As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know!

During the past year, I published twelve monthly Bulletins without missing a deadline. I am grateful to those directors and officers who regularly submit articles and support improving our internal communication.

The website is now in its seventh full year of operation in its current form. The objectives of the redesign in November 2010 were simple. Some of the more important included:

  • To encourage prompt posting and maintenance of information and resources,
  • To control that posting process with some level of moderation and quality control,
  • To allows users to find basic information and resources (such as applications, manuals, etc.) readily, and
  • To allow users to subscribe to the site and receive email versions of posts.

We continue to achieve those objectives. Site visits are slightly less for the most recent year but are trending up again for the last six months. There have been just over 26,000 site visits from September 1, 2016, through August 13, 2017—an average of over 2,150 per month and over 70 per day…

Looking ahead, there are several areas I recommend for focus next year. One is the “Exciting Granges and Grangers” category. The feedback I receive from you suggests that learning about other Granges and their successes is both motivating and helpful. This past year, some Granges decided to send representatives to other Granges who are reporting success to see first-hand “how they are doing it.” A priority for next year will be to encourage more success stories and contributions. As if to further support this, we’ve had several cases where the media has picked up those success stories from our website. I’ve also been contacted by media representatives in search of successes to report.

A second priority is expanding the “Resources for Grangers” feature of the website. While we don’t want to “clutter” the site, the goal of this feature is to provide Granges and Grangers with resources that may have value personally, provide programming and event ideas, or just be of general value. There are several challenges associated with this, but it does seem to be worthy of pursuit!

Obviously, these are both areas where your help is needed. Don’t underestimate the value of the things your Grange does. What may seem commonplace to you may be an exciting, brand new idea needed by another Grange. I admit that I get really excited when I receive an email from someone whose name I don’t recognize because I can’t wait to see what you’ve done. Photos are also great—and a photo or two with what we call a “cutline” can tell a story. (A cutline is media talk for the caption explaining the photo—usually a sentence or two.)

I believe the primary role of any state position or function is to support Subordinate and Pomona Granges. But communication is not a “one-person job.” Individuals, Community/Subordinate and Pomona Granges can best support our communications efforts by providing positive news and information.

I will also continue to encourage more open communication throughout our Order. We must generate interest and excitement among our communities, prospective members, and ourselves.

With that background, our greatest accomplishment in 2016-17 is also our greatest need for the coming year. We must continue to increase participation and information, working to build the Maine State Grange website as a “go to” place for members and friends who wish to learn more about our Order.

If there is anything I can do to help you and your Grange, please let me know.

Thank you for your continued confidence and support.

*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.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

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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 042017

The State Lecturer’s conference was held September 30. The new program guide was reviewed. There are a few changes to the ongoing contests as well as a new candlelight ceremony contest. Please review these changes when you receive your program guide. Program helps for October, November, and December were also handed out. Those who did not attend may pick up their Granges booklets at State Session.

Certificates were given to all Subordinate and Pomona lecturers who sent in a report. Certificates, ribbons and writing journals were awarded to all the winners of the various creative writing contests. Certificates and bookmarks were given to all who participated in the book-reading club. Ribbons were awarded to those members who read the most books and/or the total number of pages.

Members then participated in an activity based on a program workshop presented at the 2016 Northeast lecturer’s conference. A subject was given and groups came up with the following ideas that you could use to plan a program. The areas used were Recreation (R) (games, jokes, activity, exercise), Inspiration (I) (uplifting poems, quotations, stories, speakers), Music (M) (can be sung, instrumental, recorded), and Education (E) (factual or informative material, speakers, visual).

Subject: Fire Safety
R: Halloween flaming cauldron, Game unrolling fire hose (use lawn chair webbing), fire extinguisher practice, Campfire safety rules, putting on fireman outfit and equipment
I: fire survivor, movie-“Hot Shots”, Fireman’s Creed, invite a fireman, poem
M: Ladybug song, One Little Candle, Come On Baby Light My Fire, Ring of Fire, Pass it On
E: speaker, Word quiz fire, fire safety paper, Word Search
Refreshments: S’mores

Subject: Apples
R: Relay-first person peels, second person cores, third person eats, Apples to Apples game
I: Apple poem, apples seed to tree and then to fruit
M: I’ll be With You in Apple Blossom Time, In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
E: Johnny Appleseed story, identify a variety of apples, a skit with a kid giving the teacher an apple with a worm in it
Refreshments: Apple Crisp and ice cream

Subject: Poetry
R: Act out a poem, illustrate poetry
I: short inspirational poems read by different members, inspirational music
M: If you ask Me I Could Write a Book, Give member a rhythm such as a limerick
E: Teach constructive poetry

Sadly, there were no contestants entered in the Talent Contest but there’s always next year.