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.

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.

Email the Maine State Grange Webmaster

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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 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.

Sep 092017

On September 7th, a joint officer installation for Deering, Oak Hill, Highland Lake and White Rock Granges drew a great crowd of 49 Grangers. This is a very good turnout for Cumberland Pomona. Held at White Rock Grange in Gorham, a wonderful pot luck supper preceded the installation. Vicki Huff’s team performed the ceremony. Four new members of White Rock took their obligation! State Master Rick Grotton was in attendance, assisting the installation team. 

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