Jun 262015
 

thermometer_blank_banner_400_clr_6651By Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

Thought you’d like to know we are currently up to three Degree Days scheduled in July! Details for each of these is available on the MSG Website Events Calendar.

July 7 at Huntoon Hill Grange conducted by Lincoln Pomona. Lincoln is seeking some help: Master for the First, Second, and Fourth Degrees and a Steward for all four. If you are interested or know of anyone who would like to help, please contact Rick Grotton at 582-5915 or rictiataoldotcom.

July 12 at Bangor Grange conducted by Bangor Grange. Contact Rolf Staples at 973-3976.

July 26 at Union Harvest Grange conducted by Union Harvest. Contact Lois Zezima at 382 3315. Lois is looking for some Harvest Marchers.

As state session approaches so does the demand for Fifth Degree opportunities. (You will need Fifth Degree credentials prior to receiving Sixth Degree instruction during state session.) Conferral of the Fifth Degree is currently scheduled on August 6 at Garland Grange conducted by Piscataquis Pomona. Contact Bill Bemis at 934-5357 for more information.

Degree conferrals are an important part of our rich heritage, in part because they are traditionally shared events and an opportunity to celebrate Grange growth. If you are an obligated member who has not received your degree instruction, by all means consider attending one of these events. Subordinate Granges who have obligated members should consider organizing a “field trip” to participate in one of these events. Let’s increase the degrees!

Apr 152015
 

A Degree Day will be held on Sunday, April 19, at Danville Junction Grange #65, Old Danville Road and Grange Street in Auburn, at 4 p.m.  The degrees will be conferred by members of Androscoggin Pomona Grange #1.  A light luncheon for a small fee will be served between the second and third degrees.  Any Grange having candidates is welcome to bring them.  They should be there by 3:45.  All Grange members are welcome to attend.

Sagadahoc Pomona Grange will be instructing the Fifth Degree on Wednesday evening, April 29. We begin with a pot luck supper at 6 p.m., and the meeting and degree beginning at 7 p.m. The meeting is at Enterprise Grange in Richmond that evening. If your Grange has candidates for the degree, we would be happy to have them join us. Please be sure they have proper credentials to take the degree. Several guest officers will assist on the degree team, with Sister Laurie McBurnie acting as Master. Those on the degree team are reminded that there will be a rehearsal on Sunday, April 26.

Androscoggin Pomona Grange #1 will meet at West Minot Grange on Wednesday May 6.  There will be a 6:30pm paid supper with a 7:30pm meeting. The Officer’s will be conferring the Fifth Degree or the Degree of Pomona.  There will also be a 50/50 raffle and an attendance drawing.  Any Grange members who would like to take the degree should contact or for more information please contact Pomona Lecturer Steven Haycock at href="granger04071ataoldotcom">granger04071ataoldotcom or call 998-2586.

Apr 102015
 
A mug WBBy Walter Boomsma,
Communications Director

Abbot Village Press is going to be the publisher of the Piscataquis Community Elementary School Yearbook for 2014-2015. Frankly, it’s not so much a commercial venture. My rewards for being the publisher include an opportunity to work with the kids, in part because a requirement for this year is “more student involvement” in the process.

In an effort to achieve that, we assembled a “yearbook team” of interested fifth and sixth graders to “help with the yearbook.” These kids were willing to sacrifice their lunch recess to do just that.

But after the first couple of meetings, we realized there was a lot of wheel-spinning (or treading water-chose your idiom) happening. I’ll take credit for the all too common mistake we’d made.

And I should know better. I’d recently sent some colleagues a cartoon that showed some folks sitting around a conference table. The caption was, “We will keep having meetings until we figure out why we’re not getting anything done.” Most laugh because they recognize the truth. A recent survey showed that company CEO’s spend an average of one third of their working time in meetings. Of that, it’s estimated 50% is wasted.

Since I’ve been busy preparing for our Leadership Conference on Sunday, I find myself wondering how this might apply to Grange Leadership. I don’t have any data, just questions. How much time does the average Grange Master spend “working” at the job? Of that time, how much is spent in meetings? Of that meeting time, how much is wasted? (Note this doesn’t just apply to masters, anyone who has leadership responsibility could go through the exercise.)

Most organizations love meetings. The Grange is certainly no exception. But our founding leaders didn’t create an organization so there would be meetings to attend.

I’m hinting at the error I’d made with the Yearbook Team. Simply stated, we hadn’t established clear-cut outcomes. We were just getting together to work on the yearbook—as long as everybody looked busy it didn’t matter what they were doing. We needed some outcomes—a reason to work! Once we established “deliverables,” (for example specific pages that needed designing) the kids really got focused and started working. I’m not surprised that we are producing more than we planned. The kids now have specific goals and are coming up with ideas and plans that I certainly hadn’t thought of!

As Pomona Overseer, I have answered the Worthy Master’s question countless times. “Worthy Overseer, are the labors of the day complete?” The answer is always the same. I rise, and reply with enthusiasm, “They are, Worthy Master!” I’m now asking myself whether or not I’m telling the truth! Why did we meet? What did we plan to accomplish? Did we make any progress toward the outcomes we are trying to achieve? How do we know if we’re finished?

I suppose it wouldn’t be good form, but maybe the next time I’m asked, “Worthy Overseer, are the labors of the day complete?” I could answer, “I’m not sure! What did we hope to accomplish tonight!?” My tongue is only slightly in my cheek.

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

Mar 282015
 

jump_around_and_celebrate_300_clr_11856 (1)April is Grange Month across the nation! Founded in 1867, the Grange was the first fraternal farm organization in the country.  Today it is also recognized as America’s number one rural family organization.  There are nearly 300,000 members in 3,400 local or “Subordinate” Granges across 37 states.  Grange month includes a number of opportunities for visiting a Grange near you. Here’s a sampling of Grange events in the Piscataquis area.

On Thursday, April 2, Piscataquis Pomona Grange members visit Parkman Grange for a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by their monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. Pomona Grange is the regional association of local Granges and anyone may attend. Piscataquis Pomona Grange includes East and South Sangerville Grange, Parkman Grange, Garland Grange, Dexter Grange, and Valley Grange in Guilford. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Grange closest to you. For additional information about this meeting or Granges in the Piscataquis Area, contact Bill Bemis at 924-3537.

IMG_8783SM

Several Grangers visit with State Community Service Director Christine Corliss and husband Dan following a recent Pomona meeting. Granges in our area are proud to serve our communities.

On Friday, April 10, Garland Grange will serve up a Baked Beans and Pasta Public Supper from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The menu includes baked beans, mac and cheese, homemade bread and desserts. All you can eat for $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children age 5 – 12, under age 5 eat free. Takeout is available and proceeds benefit the Garland Grange Building Fund. For more information call 924-6954.

Also on Friday, April 10, Garland Grange hosts a Family Contra Dance from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.—a great family friendly program with live music. All dances are taught. Admission is $7 per person or $12.00 per family. Caller is John McIntire and music by Some Reel People. For more information call 924-3925 or 277-3961. Garland Grange Hall is located on Oliver Hill Road in the center of Garland.

On Saturday, April 11 East Sangerville Grange will host their annual  “Cultivating Community” program from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Conducted in partnership with the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, this free program “Healthy Soil Matters” will be of interest to commercial farmers and home gardeners. A complimentary lunch will be served by the PRYMCA Healthy Community Initiative. For more information and a reservation contact Erin Callaway at eecallawayatgmaildotcom  (eecallawayatgmaildotcom)   or 343-0171. East Sangerville Grange is located on East Sangerville Road.

On Saturday, April 11 Parkman Grange will host their third Daddy Daughter Dance at the Parkman Grange Hall. Any girl thirteen and under may bring that “special man” in life. Tickets are $5 per person, available at the door. A DJ will be spinning tunes and running dance contests. Light refreshments will be served and door prizes give. Keepsake photos will also be taken. The dance will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. For more information contact Sue Manchester at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is also taking reservations for their Fifteenth Annual Mothers Day Tea on Saturday, May 9. Tickets are $5 and reservations can be made by calling Sue  at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is located at the four corners in Parkman.

On Friday, April 17 Valley Grange Bookworms and friends will attend the Bikes for Books Assembly starting at 8:00 a.m. at Piscataquis Elementary School. The Bikes for Books Program is sponsored by the Mount Kineo Masons Lodge to support literacy and Bookworms who visit school to listen to kids read love it!

On Friday, April 17, Valley Grange hosts a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by a CWA Program starting at 7:00 p.m. The CWA committee of the Grange celebrates domestic skills such as crafts, sewing, woodworking and all are invited. For more information visit http://valleygrange.com or contact Jim Annis at 564-0820. Valley Grange is located at 172 Guilford Center Road.

 

Feb 132015
 

snowshovelAfter careful consideration, the meeting scheduled for February 14, 2015 at East Sangerville Grange has been cancelled. We’d originally hoped to “beat the storm,” but it’s now scheduled to start about the same time we were! While we hate having to cancel events based on speculation but we also don’t like taking risks with potentially dangerous weather.

Once the dust (snow) settles, we’ll try to reschedule… we were truly looking forward to meeting with Christine Corliss, MSG Community Service Director–and it looked like we were going to have a full house! Sorry for any inconvenience… please make yourself “storm ready!”

Dec 152014
 

Androscoggin Pomona Christmas CollectionSMBy Steven Haycock

At a recent meeting of Androscoggin Pomona Grange members gathered for a their annual Christmas Program.  Members were also asked to bring a wrapped toy for the Hope Haven Gospel Mission in Lewiston.  During the program a fun selection of humorous holiday readings were read by the members and traditional Christmas songs were sung.  Pianist Louise Roberts won the attendance drawing.  Members have all year been doing the “It’s in the Bag” Fundraiser and turned in their funds at this meeting.  Anyone who forgot to bring their “It’s in the Bag” project can turn them into at the next meeting which will be on January 7 at Danville Junction Grange.  There will be 6:30 pm supper and a 7:30 pm meeting, the program will be Lecturer’s Choice.

Dec 052014
 
Share your ideas with other Granges!

Share your ideas with other Granges!

by Walter Boomsma

During a recent Piscataquis Pomona Meeting Jerry Moore from South Sangerville and I had some discussion about how to improve attendance at Pomona Meetings. An idea that developed from our discussion was asking Subordinate/Community Granges to have an agenda item on their regular monthly meetings to discuss who from their Granges would be attending next month’s Pomona Meeting. The goal would be for each Grange to “send” at least two members to each Pomona Meeting as representatives. Since, for example,  Piscataquis Pomona has six member Granges, there would be some assurance of at least twelve people at each Pomona Meeting in addition to those who attend regularly! By rotating the responsibility, there would also be more diversity at Pomona Meetings.

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.

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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.

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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!