Aug 252014

Several years ago members of Piscataquis Pomona formed a special task force challenged to increase the Grange’s exposure during the annual Piscataquis Valley Fair. One important aspect of the groups’ work was a revised set of guidelines and judging criteria. Mary Annis recalls, “We wanted to maintain the traditional presence, but also encourage greater participation by encouraging displays that allow more creativity. We also felt we could create more interest from the public and better communicate the Grange message. As a bonus, we hoped to encourage more Granges to participate.”

So, while you’ll often find the traditional components of a Grange Fair Display, you’ll also see some things that are very different. One example this year was Garland Grange’s informational display emphasizing the nature of the Grange and describing how many of Garland’s members are farmers and gardeners. The brainchild of Andrea Rollins, the display used attractive signage to familiarize fair-goers with the community nature of the Grange. Admitting the display was created at the eleventh hour Andrea noted that “It’s important we keep doing this. People need to know the Grange is alive and well and can–and does–have a positive impact on our communities and citizens.”

Mary Annis, Janice Boomsma, and Linda Erwin came up with a “Then and Now” approach to Valley Grange’s display. “We often say we are, as a Grange, ‘steeped in tradition, but relevant today,'” Janice said. “And since we love old stuff we thought it would be fun to compare how things used to be done with how they are done today.”  The display did turn out to be a traffic stopper as some of the older folks remembered… and some of the younger folks said, “What is that?!” Telephones seemed to be of particular interest with children and grandchildren expressing disbelief that their parents and grandparents actually talked “into those things.”

The Grange portion of the exhibit hall was rounded out with a simple Pomona display that included information about every Grange in the Pomona. Pomona Overseer Walter Boomsma designed the display to serve multiple purposes. “We can use it whenever there’s an opportunity to promote Granges in the area. The stand is also designed to have interchangeable panels and could be used at public suppers and other events where there may be people interested in finding a Grange in our area.” Walter also notes that every display this year had some kind of “handout.” Garland used a list of public suppers and farmers’ market info, Valley had a “rack card” with a tear off coupon, the Pomona Booth featured a directory of Granges in the area with meeting times and contact information. “We want people to remember and find our Granges.”

“Competing for ribbons is really secondary for our Pomona,” he added. “We view the fair as fun–the competition is friendly–but the focus is on offering information and a positive experience to fair-goers.” This year the blue ribbon went to Valley Grange, red to the Pomona, and white to Garland.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Aug 182014
Erin Callaway, Master of East Sangerville Grange serves Mike Griffin a super salad.

Erin Callaway, Master of East Sangerville Grange serves Mike Griffin a super salad.

“It was the best spaghetti I’ve had in my whole life,” according to Ashley who came all the way from Milo with her brother Wyatt to enjoy the Italian Buffet served by Penquis Volunteers. So what if she’s only five!? That’s a long time when you’re about to start Kindergarten. (She and her brother left with books compliments of Valley Grange in exchange for a promise to read them.) Similar comments were made by older members of the crowd who lined up not only to eat well, but to support Smart Starts for Students–a program that assists families with backpacks and school supplies.  By the time the dinner was over, not only had everyone achieved their quota of carbohydrates, nearly $500 had been raised for Smart Starts.

Grangers came from “around the Pomona” to participate in the installation ceremony. Officers and members present represented East Sangerville, Garland, South Sangerville, and Valley Granges as well as the Pomona itself. Piscataquis Pomona has been conducting “joint” installations for a number of years both because it’s “economical and efficient” according to Pomona Master Bill Bemis, and because “we really enjoy the fellowship.”

State Master Vicki Huff agreed and admitted she and her installation team endured the long trip because they knew there’s great food and fun at their destination, having conducted installation for the Pomona last year. Team Member Nancy Clark was hoping for the chicken pie from last year but was not disappointed with the Italian Buffet. Everyone had their fill of food, and while it’s probably not possible to have your fill of fun, we suspect many came close.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Jul 212014

Members and friends of Piscataquis Pomona recently joined together for their annual picnic fun and fund-raiser at the home of Janice and Walter Boomsma. Folks came from around the county to pitch some horseshoes, feed the mosquitoes, eat from a smorgasbord of gastronomical goodies, join in a spirited bidding competition for items ranging from talking flyswatters to little blue Smurfs, and–for those who could handle the late hour, toast some marshmallows!

Birthday Babies Bill Bemis, Dot Hutchins, Walter Boomsma, and Betty VanDyke. Photo by Grace Lommel

Birthday Babies Bill Bemis, Dot Hutchins, Walter Boomsma, and Betty VanDyke. Photo by Grace Lommel

Again this year Harley served as honorary Gatekeeper and Greeter and for his reward received numerous bites of hotdogs and hamburgers as the meal progressed. He admitted he was a mite confused by the ladder game Bob Carroll set up… but did accept the fact he wasn’t allowed to play with those strange balls connected by a short length or rope…

Most saved room for desserts which included a special birthday cake with maple frosting and pine trees designed and baked by Andrea Rollins. Given there were four birthdays to celebrate there was some confusion during the singing!

This year’s auction was a “big one” that included a wide variety of items. While it was all in the spirit of fun, folks learned “there are no friends at auctions” and Dave Pearson attempted to demonstrate his auction prowess by upping a bid by eleven cents. Hotly contested items included some note cards, fresh produce from Rollins Orchards, and handcrafts by Betty VanDyke and Roger Ricker. Auctioneers Walter and Bill noted that some items looked very familiar. “Didn’t we sell this last year?” Unfortunately we can’t really tell you about the pumpkin spice potpourri that Betty “had to have” but if it works as promised on the package, things will get really interesting at Riverbend!

Auctioneers were Bill and Walter, with Mary Annis serving as teller. An “unaudited” report at the end of the evening suggested this might have been a record auction, raising  well over $100. Mary noted “We’re a really low-budget operation and will probably donate most of this to a worthy cause.”

The weather was perfect, there was plenty to eat and lots of smiles and laughs. The only thing missing this year was an item in the auction that could be worn as a hat. Although a small log carrier did function as a bonnet briefly… and we had way too much fun selling Roger’s handcrafted paper towel holder. If you haven’t attended one of these fun and fund-raisers, you’re missing out and now you have to wait a whole year for the next one!


Jun 042014
Submitted by Glenys Ryder, Membership Chair
Danville Junction Grange #65
Flo Webber joined the Grange eighty years ago!

Flo Webber joined the Grange eighty years ago!

Last week I called on Flo Webber at Schooner Estates in Auburn to present her with an eighty-year membership certificate.  Flo was very happy to receive her award, and we talked about her many years of membership in the Grange.

Although Flo stated that she didn’t like to brag about her accomplishments, it was evident that she was very proud of them and had thoroughly enjoyed her Grange experience. “The Grange was my life for many years,” she explained.

At fourteen years old, Flo joined Danville Junction Grange #65.  There she served as a lady officer, Lecturer, and Lady Assistant Steward for many years.  She held the office of Pomona at the Pomona level.  She and her husband Erwin were deputies of the Maine State Grange for six years.

Flo was a member of an installing team for thirty years.  She worked constantly for the Grange, putting on dances, suppers, dramas, and working on Grange fairs.

Her advice:  “Join the Grange.  Do your best!”

May 112014
By Walter Boomsma
Communications Director

2014 DirectoryI can say with some authority that a frequent search and question I receive starts with “Where is…?” and ends with the name of a Grange. This directory is an attempt to allow folks to answer that question on their own—no muss, no fuss, no waiting.

The information contained in the directory comes from the 2013-2014 roster file, but only includes very basic information: Subordinate Grange name, street location, and the Pomona Grange. (For those unfamiliar with grange hierarchy, subordinate Granges are local/community Granges. These local Granges are organized into a regional group referred to as a “Pomona.”) One reason for only including basic information is to avoid the need for constant updating. If you need to contact a specific Grange refer to the Roster or any officer of the Maine State Grange.

Those who frequently need additional information such as meeting times or current officer names are encouraged to consider ordering a Roster from Maine State Grange Headquarters.

In addition to downloading directly from this post, you’ll find a link to the directory on the “Program Books” page–see the tab at the top of the website.

If you find errors in this directory please contact webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  .

Suggestions and compliments are also welcome! Special thanks to Laurie McBurnie for providing the file necessary to create this resource for you.

Subordinate Grange Officers are reminded that it may be wise to consider updating the location of your Grange Hall. Thanks to  the E-911 system every building must have a street address. Thanks to GPS technology this makes buildings easier to locate. If we want new members they have to know where we are!

Download your copy of the 2014 Directory of Granges!

Jan 222014

Submitted by Marilyn Stinson

Jefferson the Moose is Maine State Grange Mascot and he showed up at the Sagadahoc Pomona annual ‘Lunch out’ on Martin Luther King Day. And he brought Master Vicki with him.

The fellowship, frivolity, and good food made for a wonderful day for the 25 members and guests who were able to attend. We had reminders about the change of date for the CWA Baking Contest and about a safety matter. Subordinate and Community Granges will have to have their baking contests before the Pomona level for baking which will be at our June meeting in Bowdoinham and the winners at that meeting will take his and her filled cookies to State CWA in August. Correct recipes and rules will be given to members at the February Pomona meeting at Topsham on February 26th.

Safety tip – Whenever you have a 9 volt battery with the connectors on one end, be sure to cover the ends with electrical tape or duct tape before putting them in the re-cycle bin or trash to prevent any sparks starting a fire.

Sagadahoc Subordinate Granges are asked to be thinking about a theme for Fair Exhibits, please. We think it would be neat if those who exhibit at Topsham Fair all have the same theme. Master Mert is working on convincing every subordinate in Sagadahoc County to participate in that Fair. Remember also that Pittston is the first fair in July, and they accept entries from all neighboring towns.

Dec 142013
by Walter Boomsma

Baby, it’s cold outside!

WWW - Webmaster Walter Writes!

WWW – Webmaster Walter Writes!

So why am I sitting her on the computer instead of next to the wood stove? Have you seen those “fake” fireplaces that are like a flat screen television? Maybe I should have one of those in my office! (Truth be told I do have one of those little electric heaters that looks like a wood stove. It’s not very convincing but it does take the chill off.) My thermometer this morning showed minus nine not counting the windchill. Harley Dog confirmed this with a very quick pre-dawn trip outside–he wanted back in almost before I’d closed the door after letting him out.

Of course it’s always nice when you can visit places without putting on the winter boots and clothes. One place we can visit without stepping outside is this site and I’m pleased to report that visits to the Maine State Grange Website over the past three months are up 15%. I really don’t think it’s because of the weather, though. We’re providing more information than ever before and people are discovering it!

At least two challenges accompany this increase. One is keeping information accurate and current. I recently discovered an “app” (short for application) that regularly checks the site for broken links. Broken links occur in many different ways… if I’ve linked to another site and that site moves or deletes the information, the link doesn’t work. That can create frustration for folks visiting our site. While I can’t always repair them, I can try to minimize them and eliminate any that can’t be fixed.

A second challenge is making that information easy to find.One action that helps make things easy to find is to eliminate information that’s outdated and no longer useful so there’s less to look through. I recently purged a lot of old program books and contest information so you won’t be stumbling on to things that truly aren’t of any value. To that end, I’m asking for some help. If you find something on the site that is incorrect or out of date, send an email to webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   and let me know. This is not just about links–it includes contact information. I’d especially ask State Officers and Directors to make sure I have your contact information–email address and phone number listed on the officers page. If you have a program book or contest information, send that along so it can be posted as well.

Don’t forget to let me know if your subordinate or pomona Grange establishes a website or Facebook page so we can post the link. We currently only have 17 Granges listed with either a website or Facebook page–some have both. If you need help claiming the free site available from National Grange, let me know. Also note, that when time permits I do check these sites. If a site or page is outdated and not being maintained, I will remove the link. Frankly, no site is better than a site (or page) that is not being monitored or maintained.

One last request this month: Enjoy the Holidays! If you’ve visited the site recently you should have noticed we’ve applied a somewhat festive look and added a Christmas Countdown Calendar which may increase your stress or build your excitement.  I just checked and there are ten days plus eighteen hours remaining… and a storm coming tomorrow which will probably guarantee a white Christmas. Best wishes to you for a merry and meaningful Christmas!

Oct 132013

York Pomona had guests from Massachusetts at our Pomona meeting last night because the MSG website works. They found out about our Pomona meeting from the listing of fifth degrees on the site. Our guests are from the same Grange in Massachusetts as our National Rep. Linda Chase, National Ceres, will be our rep and her husband Cal is Past Master of the MA State Grange. It’s always fun to have Grangers from other areas visit! If they hadn’t seen the listing, they would not have known about our meeting!

Sep 222013

submitted by Steven Haycock

The meeting was started by Rick Grotton, Ex. Committee Member of the Maine State Grange (M.S.G.) He introduced Vicki Huff, Master of the Maine State Grange.  Vicki spoke about the importance of communications.  Especially the need for us as members to sell what the Grange is.

A discussion followed about how to increase attendance at Area Meetings:

  • It was suggested to have them in the evenings perhaps in a “5 Point” meeting style.
  • Offer to set up car pools for members to attend easier.

Steven Haycock, Publicity Director – M.S.G., than spoke about writing resolutions and the resolution process.  He also spoke on the need to look into rewriting the legislative policy of the Maine State Grange into a more coherent document.  A lively discussion followed.

Sherry Harriman, Lecturer – M.S.G., spoke about the upcoming Art & Photography Contest and the Lecturer’s Program & Contest for the coming year.  Children and Grandchildren of Grange members can enter the Art & Photo Contests.

Laurie McBurine, Junior Director – M.S.G., spoke about the Junior Program.  Junior Grange members have to be from ages 5 – 13.  She noted that any Subordinate or Pomona can sponsor a Junior Grange, and requires 13 kids to start one.  The only active Junior Grange in Maine is the Maine State Junior Grange.  Grange memorial flags have been ordered & should be available at State Grange in October.

Sharon Morton (Manley), Secretary – M.S.G., gave some helpful hints, tips, & rules for Secretaries.  All money taken in by the Grange must be given to the Secretary, who counts and records the money, and then at the next regular meeting turns over the money to the Treasurer who will give the Secretary a receipt.  ALL ACCOUNTS NEED TO BE AUDITED EVER YEAR BY THE EXECUTIVE OR FINANCE COMMITTEE.  All bills must be turned into the Secretary who will read them at the appropriate time.  Quarterly Reports are extremely necessary, and must be filled out on both sides and need to be sealed with the Grange seal.  The quarterly reports for the quarter ending Dec 31, 2013 MUST HAVE THE MASTERS NAME & ADDRESS OR THE PASSWORD WILL NOT BE MAILED TO THE MASTER.

Rick Grotton, Membership Director – M.S.G., spoke about the new mentoring program and how successful it has worked at the new West Bath – Seaside Grange.  He stressed the importance of communications, and suggested newsletters to keep all of your members informed about Grange happenings.  Active members are happy members.

Aug 042013

Webmaster’s Note: We have a new feature on the MSG site! Master’s Minute will be short messages from our WSM Vicki regarding news, procedures, questions… this first one answers some questions about the fifth degree:

Master Vicki

Master Vicki

As State Conference approaches (October 16-19) we are getting questions regarding the fifth and sixth degrees. Given the proximity of National Conference, this year we can add the seventh! First, it is probably obvious you must receive these degrees in order. The question that arises most often is in regards to the correct procedure for visiting a Pomona other than one’s own to receive the fifth degree. There are really two possibilities.

First, the candidate completes an application and submits it to his or her “home” Pomona. The home Pomona votes on it and the candidate takes the application (signed by the home Pomona) to another Pomona and views the degree. The signed application becomes the candidate’s credentials, demonstrating that he or she has completed the first four degrees and has been accepted by the home Pomona pending viewing the fifth degree. This is actually the preferred procedure.

Second, the candidate visits another Pomona to view the degree without having applied to his or her home Pomona. In this case, the candidate actually must apply to the Pomona where he or she is viewing the degree. Then, after viewing the degree, the candidate effectively transfers to his or her Pomona by taking a demit and reactivating.

Because we have candidates who wish to take the sixth (state) degree who haven’t taken the fifth, it would be very helpful if Pomonas who are offering the fifth degree between now and state conference would post their degree dates on the website and let me know so we can accommodate these folks. The sixth degree will be offered at state conference on Friday, October 18. The seventh degree will be offered on Saturday, November 16 in Manchester, NH. Please don’t wait until the last minute to make your arrangements! Additional information about State Conference will be posted to this site soon. Information regarding National Conference is available on the National site.