Nov 152016
 

Webmaster’s Note: In support of Resolution #11 requiring Maine State Grange to enact a strategy including policy, education, and resource support of agriculture, the following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Grangers are invited to submit articles and information for consideration.

advocating-for-agThe State’s Drought Task Force (DTF) met recently for the fourth time in as many months to reassess conditions related to the ongoing drought in Maine.  Although recent rain has improved surface water levels across much of the State, ground water levels remain low.

Ground water levels are expected to take longer to recover, with seven sites still showing the lowest levels on record.

Recent drought monitoring data show extreme drought status eliminated and severe drought status shrinking across Maine.  Most of the State is now considered abnormally dry or in moderate drought status.  Regionally, extreme drought is reported mostly in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“We continue to encourage those experiencing dry wells to call 2-1-1 or go to 211maine.org to report their issues,” said Tom Redstone, Maine Emergency Management Agency Natural Hazards Planner.  “This helps us capture the data to determine how widespread the problem is, as well as the areas that continue to be affected.”

The drought continues to cause a variety of problems across the State, including a ten percent reduction in hydropower production and a back-log of those needing new wells due to a lack of available well drillers.

Citizens are urged to avoid filling wells with foreign water due to the dangers of introducing bacteria and pathogens into the well or causing corrosion or lead problems.  In addition, imported water could leach out in a matter of days, depending on the construction of the well.  Instead, alternatives were suggested, including lowering the pump, deepening the well, or installing a large storage tank for use during the drought.  Citizens continue to report dry wells, and those who have seen recovery should continue to use water wisely, as the recovery may be temporary.  Some every day conservation tips include:

  • shorter showers;
  • not running water while brushing teeth or shaving;
  • fixing leaky sinks and toilets;
  • running full loads of laundry and dishes;
  • not peeling vegetables under running water; and
  • using a bucket when washing cars rather than running a hose.

More information on water conservation is available at Maineprepares.com.  Resources are posted at Maineprepares.com and will be updated as more become available.  More resources may become available as conditions worsen, so reporting is very important.

The Task Force will continue to monitor the situation and plans to meet again in December.  Reports are available online here or can be obtained from MEMA by calling (207) 624-4400.

May 012016
 

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

LD 783, a Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Establish a Right to Food is dead in the Legislature. It was voted “Ought Not to Pass” in both the House and the Senate.

This resolution proposed a constitutional amendment that would have provided that every individual has a natural and unalienable right to food without restrictions. Furthermore, it would have given all individuals the right to barter, trade and purchase food from the sources of their own choosing for their own bodily health and well-being. Every individual would be fully responsible for the exercise of these rights.

Ellis Additon, Director of the Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry argued that they believe that all citizens of Maine already have access to any and all the food they want and the need for this proposal as a constitutional amendment is unnecessary.

In my opinion, that statement alone is cause enough for the Legislature to deny this bill. Now, we’ll just have to sit back and wait for the state to propose restrictions on the rights of food producers.

Mar 082016
 

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

State Grange legislative concerns have quieted down considerably in the Maine State Legislature. I’ve been following bills concerning Grange by way of the Maine County Commissioner’s office in Augusta of which I’m a member. Nothing really to report.

Even the National Grange news for legislative directors has nothing that would seriously concern the Maine State Grange membership.

One thing that weighs heavily on my mind is the passing of Nancy Clark. I shall miss her deeply as will we all on the Legislative Committee. She was a good friend and great adviser. I looked forward to her council when we met to discuss resolutions to be presented at the State Grange annual meeting. She was especially adept at pointing out any grammatical errors found in the potential resolutions causing us all on the committee to grin, and perhaps laugh, at the revelations.

We were on different sides of the political aisle, but that certainly didn’t stop us from coming together at the Legislative Committee table. I was a state representative for eight years, but she certainly outshined me with her serving the people of Maine by enduring terms in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. Nevertheless, we worked well together on the Legislative Committee and I often expressed my appreciation to her. God bless you, Nancy. You well deserve your place in Heaven.

Dec 212015
 

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

Thanksgiving has passed us by and Christmas is on its way. Boy, how the time flies! Had our first snow and now everybody’s back yard looks the same. That was a carry over from a saying my dad used years ago.

Thanks to our Worthy State Secretary, Sharon Morton, I have in hand this year’s revised resolutions. I finally got the chance to work them into the Policy Manual. As near as I could tell, there were only two resolutions that could be added to the Manual. One deals with Crops as found on page 5 of the Policy Manual and the other deals with Regulations found on page 13 of the Policy Manual.

I’ve added to the Crops section on page 5:

Community Based Local Food Production

1. The Maine State Grange supports legislation recognizing municipalities’ authority to regulate by ordinance the direct producer-to-customer exchange all food grown, harvested, prepared, processed or produced in the municipality.

To the Regulations on page 13, I’ve added:

Marijuana
1. The Maine State Grange states its opposition to the efforts to legalize marijuana in Maine for recreational purposes.

These two additions were approved at our annual meeting in October as resolutions 8 and 10 respectively. If you have any questions or want me to email you a copy of the Policy Manual, please don’t hesitate to ask. I can be reached by email at hylndr42atgmaildotcom  (hylndr42atgmaildotcom)  .

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Nov 202015
 

by Wesley Ryder

October always means to me
Maine State Grange Convention.
There’s a hectic schedule of events,
But a few highlights I will mention.

Driving while viewing Maine’s foliage,
Greeting friends from far and near.
First night a tasty banquet;
Grangers like to eat, that’s clear.

Calling the session to order;
Marching begins with much adieu;
Floor work executed with precision,
And the perfection of ritual, too.

This scene is a lasting memory
Permanently painted within your mind.
Though repeated at each session
The symbolism you will clearly find.

Order of business and recognitions,
Resolutions with limited debate;
Work which may well influence,
Now placed in the hands of fate.

Degree work is the most impressive.
The beauty dazzles one’s sight.
The true lessons that are revealed,
Complete the majestic night.

 Our purposes for being there
Are varied and hold emotion
Engraved upon your mind and heart,
Results in deep devotions.

We labor seriously and long;
But we enjoy this needed effort;
With leaders dedicated with duty
And always prepared to the last resort.

We maintain traditions of many years,
Building friendships that last forever.
We are loyal, generous, and care
We look for personal gain — never.

May the Grange continue at all levels
For hundreds of years plus one.
We take new members anytime
For Food. Fellowship and Fun

Nov 092015
 

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

What a convention we had! Everything went along so smoothly. I couldn’t believe how easily the resolutions from the Legislative Committee were accepted by the convention.

Out of the ten resolutions we had to work on, Seven were for the Legislative Committee. First of all, I’d like to thank the committee members for their work on the resolutions and the Legislative Policy. It took most of the afternoon of the fourth of October. And a special thanks to our Worthy State Master, Vicky Huff for her assistance in resolving each and every resolution.

Two of the resolutions have been sent on to National Grange. They were Increasing Medicare Part D Coverage and Vitamins and Herbal Supplements. We’ll see how they fare.

There were many corrections and additions to the resolutions as they were presented to the convention. Before I list the resolves of the resolutions, I’m waiting for our Worthy State Secretary to send me the amended versions. I was unable to keep up with the rapid amendments so I’m depending on her to steer me straight. Thank you Worthy State Secretary Sharon Morton.

I’d also like to thank the conventioneers for their support in passing the Legislative Policy of the Maine State Grange 2015. To me, it was a big slap on the committee’s back for job well done. Already there are resolutions to be added to the Policy.

It looks like I’ll be around for another year to bother you all with future resolutions. Our Worthy State Master elect, Richard Grotton, has asked me to stay on as Legislative Director. I certainly appreciate his confidence in my abilities.

Last, but not least, I will surely miss the relationship I had with our Worthy State Master Vicky Huff. With her guidance, I was able to best perform my duties as Legislative Director. I wish only the best for her in her future pursuits. God bless and keep her well.

Oct 152015
 

Annisby Jim Annis, Legislative Director

Just a few more days and convention time will be here. Hopefully, the rain will leave us alone and we can share fine autumn weather.

The State Grange Legislative Committee met on the fourth of October in order to determine the process of the resolutions you all will be dealing with at the convention. Of the ten resolutions submitted to State, seven were assigned to the Legislative Committee.

Along with dealing with the resolutions, we also had to finalize the Maine State Grange Policy 2015. We started work at 2 p.m. and finally finished our work at about 5 p.m. Moved right along, we did. Currently, the finished policy is in the hands of the Legislative Committee for review and any corrections necessary. Then it will go out to the various Granges for review. At the convention the committee will ask for corrections or additions. We feel confident that there won’t be any. Ahem!!

 

At this time, I’d like to thank committee members Mary Annis, Nancy Clark, Steven Haycock, David Parkman and our worthy State Master Vicki Huff for their work and diligence in making October fourth a productive day.

Sep 142015
 
By Vicki HuffVicki - Sash (2)

 

We are gearing up for State Grange Convention and things are falling into place. I am excited to have two guest speakers who we have not had in the past. David Nealley from Maine Seniors Magazine will be speaking on Senior Power. I think he will surprise us with all the things seniors are doing in our state and some of the things we can do. Author Sarah Moore is scheduled to join us and talk about her book, The Greatest Generation. David will speak on Thursday and Sarah on Friday so plan to attend both days.

We have some interesting resolutions for discussion. They cover a variety of subjects ranging from vitamins and supplements to State Vehicle Inspections, Medicare Part D Coverage and a State Grange Museum. The resolutions have been sent to the Secretaries of the Granges so you can review them and make your opinions known.

Let me remind you that any Fourth Degree member can attend State Grange Conference. While there are a couple of instances where things are done in higher degree levels, we’d like to see many members at the conference. The convention opens in the Sixth Degree, but almost immediately lowers to fourth. Also, Conferral of the Sixth Degree on Friday evening requires those present either hold the Sixth Degree or are candidates for receiving it. A complete convention schedule is available from your secretary or the website.

This is also an election year. Delegates will be electing fourteen of the seventeen state offices for two-year terms.

Finally, I was extremely pleased with the very positive article recently published in the Bangor Metro Magazine. Grangers in Maine are making a positive impact on their communities. Please continue to send in your “Exciting Grange or Granger” information so your success can be shared with others. Let’s continue to show the world how Maine Grangers shine, shine, shine.

Together Each Accomplishes More and we shine, shine, shine!

Aug 122015
 
By Vicki HuffVicki - Sash (2)

If you have not already, you will soon be receiving credentials and information regarding sending delegates to State Grange Conference in October. This is a very important part of our Grange work. There are plans in the works to have some guest speakers, including David Neal, the publisher of Maine Seniors Magazine. He will be speaking on “Senior Power” and how important this generation is.

There are lots of reasons to attend Conference this year. This is also an election year for State Officers. As usual, we will be discussing resolutions–those submitted will be sent to Granges in September. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the resolutions, see if there is something important to you and share that with your delegates. Delegates always take this task seriously and offer thoughtful discussion. Ask your delegates for a report on what took place after Conference.

Back home, planning meetings are important and keep us future focused. When you make these plans, stick to them as much as possible. Share them with your fellow Grangers, especially those who may not be able to attend meetings but will contribute in other ways. There is a place in our organization for every member.

I have had the pleasure to attend a couple of mini-golf outings. If you or Grange decides to participate in one, please send in your scorecards to State Headquarters. This can be a fun activity for your Grange. You can invite a prospective Granger or two to join in the fun. Sometimes we need to get them participating in events before trying to convince them to join.

I know of at least two degree days coming up. One on September 20 at Danville Junction starting at 4:00 PM. The other at Harraseeket on October 3 starting at 4:00 PM. This is a great opportunity for folks to observe and participate. This is also the time of year when the Fifth Degree is being offered by many Pomonas. Check with your local Pomona and also check the website calendar. The Fifth Degree will NOT be offered at State session this year.

I hope many of you are participating in or attending the agricultural fairs. Wear your Grange t-shirt or hat if you have one! It is a great way to promote our organization. Whenever you represent the Grange, be sure to “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”!

Together Each Accomplishes More and we shine, shine, shine!

Jul 132015
 
By Vicki HuffVicki - Sash (2)

Fair season is in full swing and we are preparing for State Grange session.  This is also the time of year for planning the next Grange year. Does your Grange put together a schedule of meetings and programs in advance? How about sharing that information with other Granges by posting your schedule to the State Grange website? There is an events section on the website and people do go to the website looking for information.

We really should plan meetings and put together a schedule for our members and guests. Not only will this help others plan their attendance, it will also keep us focused on the future and where our Granges will be going and what we will be doing. Plan ahead, you will generate interest.

We are approaching the “Harvest Time” of year—it’s a great time to think about sowing and reaping and that should include your Grange. This needs to be about more than plants. Remember those new members? Have you been “cultivating” and nurturing them so they will “yield” even more members? We recognize the need to cultivate our plants. We also need to assist our members and prospective members with growth and development opportunities, looking ever hopeful to the future.

If you are planning degrees (whether it is a degree day or just one at a time) please share this information on the website. There are many Granges that need assistance with welcoming new members to the Grange. We are hearing many degree day success stories with as many as four or five Granges participating, but that won’t happen if no one knows about it! There are many Pomona Granges who confer the Fifth Degree just before State Grange. Please assist in getting this info to Walter so we can share with others.

Enjoy the remainder of summer. I hope to see many at an installation, degree day or State Grange convention. Let’s continue to “shine, shine, shine.”

Together Each Accomplishes More and we shine, shine, shine!