Due to the recent storm and resulting lack of power and other services… there may be some delays in website postings and email response time. We hope things will return to normal soon… have you considered opening your Grange Hall as a warming center? If you are providing services to your community, please use the “Submitting Information” Tab at the top of the page and tell us about it! We’ll do our best to share information and resources.
In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.
That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week (October 8 – 14) theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan.
Here are this year’s key campaign messages.
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
Fire Prevention Week was established to observe the “Great Chicago Fire,” of 1871, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures, and burned in excess of 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.
For more information about National Fire Prevention Week, including access to great resources for kids, families, and teachers, visit the National Fire Protection Association Web site.
Webmaster’s Note: As a “retired” volunteer firefighter, I can attest to the importance of this! October is also a good month to change smoke detector batteries and check any fire extinguishers you have in your home! If you have an older, powder-based extinguisher, remove it from the holder, turn it upside down and “bang” on the side a few times with your hand to make sure the powder remains viable and does not clump. Why not make fire prevention a lecturer’s program or an FHH report?! By the way… this is also a good time to remind everyone to make sure the number of your Grange Hall (and 911 address) is clearly marked and all members know it. It will be important information to provide the dispatcher if you ever require emergency assistance!
Bangor Grange presented Lt. Tim Cotton his Community Citizen Award at our meeting Tuesday. The following is his write-up the next day that he posted on Facebook:
“Sliding my thumb up and down the smudged and scratched glass of my Samsung phone allows a glimpse into the thoughts of my Facebook friends.
Most of my “Facebook friends” are actually my friends. Sure, there are one or two I don’t know very well, but for the most part they are my friends and I would not have added them to my motley crew if I didn’t believe we could talk for twenty minutes or so over a cup of coffee.
Today, one of my friends posted a simple statement; a question actually. “Where have all the good people gone?” I think it’s a question we all have, especially in times like these.
When the news-cycle bores it’s way into our lives like a Black and Decker hammer-drill, it is fairly easy to believe that the world has gone mad. I cannot deny that I believe the exact same thing sometimes. I certainly can’t promise you that tomorrow won’t bring us something worse than our country has experienced this week.
I can tell you that the good people are still here. On Tuesday night I met about 15 of them at the Bangor Grange Hall (#372).
Kindly, the group awarded me with a Community Service honor and plaque. I should note that I have done nothing to deserve such an honor from the Grange members. I should have been there sooner-thanking them. I am such a slacker.
Ann Staples (82 years young) organized a fundraiser for a man who was soon to die. He wanted to make sure his wife had a little something after he passed. The spaghetti dinner at their humble Grange raised over $5000 dollars in one evening. The man died on the night of the fundraiser, but he knew of it’s success before he passed.
Ann was not bragging about pulling it all together, she was telling me about it because she and her fellow Grange members were looking to do a project for our police department causes.
We talked over lasagna, homemade biscuits, beef pie, scalloped potatoes and freshly pressed Maine apple cider. Yes, I had seconds, on simple paper plates and mismatched silverware. Ann also organizes their weekly farmers market and helped local disadvantaged kids plant and care for a garden so they could have fresh vegetables. She has done this for years.
Ann was asking me what I needed while stuffing me with food to prepare me to receive MY award. Are you kidding me?
Grange Master Rolf Staples Sr. told me about the Christmas breakfast Grange #372 puts on for local kids. He told me some of the kids find the thought of a homemade breakfast with sausage, eggs, bacon, and pancakes far more appealing than the gifts they receive. He noted that some of the kids know nothing more than a Pop Tart and can of soda for typical morning nourishment. Who makes the breakfast? The ladies and gents of Grange #372, not me.
94-year old Mary Hunter knits tiny caps for premature infants. She also reminded me that she was at my wedding but that she didn’t dance.
She told me that she recalls my son has the same name as her dear departed husband and that she clearly remembers me changing my son’s name on his birth certificate two days after he was born. It’s true, I did. Purely to make his name roll off my tongue more easily. It’s a long story. Mary remembers. She is a member of Grange #372.
For years Mary and her husband visited area nursing homes with homemade crafts, provided gifts for the kids on the parade route at Hampden Children’s Day and did a myriad of other things for community causes.
There were many others. Some who had been members for a long time and one who had held leadership positions at Grange #372 since the early 1960s. He had cut some firewood that day and told me he loved the fall. I think the gentleman could have made quick work of me in an arm wrestling match, but it was his 82nd birthday so I would expect nothing less.
We stood for the Star Spangled Banner, posted Old Glory, and I was escorted to the podium for the reading of a very nice proclamation.
Each step across the sole-smoothed hardwood floor echoed the footsteps of the benevolent members who danced, wedded, and died here since 1904.
I was humbled with their kindness, uplifted by their hardscrabble homestead farm-raised ghosts. I envisioned the men and wives cleaning their nails and washing behind the kid’s ears for the Saturday night supper and dance.
Where have all the good people gone? I think they are still here.
If you have trouble finding them, put down the phone, lay off the rants, turn off the television, and become one of them. If you need to find an example of such goodness, check your local Grange Hall.
Keep your hands to yourself, leave other people’s things alone, and be kind to one another.
We will be here.”
Webmaster Note: “TC” maintains a Facebook Page for the Bangor Maine Police Department with that has “gone viral” and has thousands of followers around the country. You can read TC’s original post on Facebook.
Each October, the Maine Board of Pesticides Control conducts a program to collect and properly dispose of banned and unusable pesticides from homeowners and farms. Pre-registration is required and collections are held at four sites across the state. More information about the program may be found below.
Next collection will be in October 2017, one day each in Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland. Registration by September 22 is required, no drop-ins will be accepted. Use the forms below to register.
The Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the Department of Environmental Protection provide citizens with a responsible, free solution to their obsolete pesticide problem. Once a year, these agencies collect obsolete pesticides brought to sites across Maine. The materials are then shipped to out-of-state disposal facilities. Banned pesticides and pesticides that have become caked, frozen or otherwise rendered unusable can be accepted. The program is available to homeowners as well as non-corporate farmers and greenhouse operators
How to participate
- Registration Form Instructions
- Option 1: fillable PDF file: Open the file, fill in the information, print it out, and mail it to the BPC (mailing address on the form).
- Option 2: Word file: Open the file, fill in the information, and
- either save it to your hard drive, attach it to an e-mail, and send it to pesticidesmainegov (pesticidesmainegov) or
- if your e-mail program allows it, send it directly from the open file to the BPC at the address above.
- Option 3 Request paper copy: Contact the BPC (207-287-2731, or the e-mail address above) to have a copy of the form mailed to you.
- On the registration form, identify the common name of the pesticide active ingredients shown on each product’s label. Common names are often listed on the front of the label followed by the chemical name. If the active ingredient is not listed, or is unreadable, please describe the product using the brand name, EPA registration number, or any other identifying information you can find on the label. Unidentified products without labels or markings should also be described in as much detail as possible.
- Store obsolete pesticides properly until the next annual collection drive. The BPC will contact you several weeks prior to that drive to inform you of your local collection date and location. Can’t make an upcoming drive? No problem…the BPC will keep your name on file for the next collection.
- After your inventory form is received, the BPC will mail a map and instructions 10 days before your collection date.
- Bring your obsolete pesticides to the assigned site. Once there, stay in your vehicle and present shipping papers to officials. They will direct you to place obsoletes in an appropriate receptacle.
Webmaster’s Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119. Looks like some potentially good resources for a timely Lecturer’s Program or Family Health and Hearing Report!
As summer draws to a close, back-to-school season is in full effect. Remember to safely share the roads with school buses, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and provide children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe at school.
There are also bullying and suicide prevention resources available on my website. For a slightly different perspective on the issue of bullying, read Where you fly makes a difference.
Elder Abuse is of growing concern throughout the U.S. today, especially here in Maine since we’re one of the oldest states in the country. Statistics show that tens of thousands of older adults in Maine are abused each year, so it’s important that communities understand the issue and the resources available. Betty Balderston is the Elder Abuse Prevention Advocate for Legal Services and is currently scheduling presentations between now and September to civic and community organizations throughout Maine. Her 15-20 minute presentation includes information on what Elder Abuse looks like, the Red Flags that everyone should be aware of, and the Maine resources that are available to provide assistance. Perhaps your Grange would be interested in scheduling such a presentation? Betty can be reached at (207) 620-3104 or at bbalderstonmainelseorg (bbalderstonmainelseorg) . Please consider contacting Betty to schedule a presentation for your members.
Webmaster’s Note: I had a long chat with Betty that was quite eye-opening. Elder abuse can come in many forms and from many different sources. There’s not charge for her presentation — this is a great opportunity to “get the facts” and learn about the resources available!
It’s finally here… an updated directory of Granges in Maine, based on the 2017 Roster! We’ve sorted the list of Granges so you can sort by Grange name, Town Name, or Zip Code. You’ll find it on the Program Books and Information Page or you can open the file 2017 Directory of Granges directly for downloading and printing.
Speaking of finding a Grange, one observation I would make as a result of working with this data: Many Granges do not have an actual 911 compliant street address. By my estimation, over 40% of the listings could be considered non-compliant or incomplete from this perspective. This raises several important concerns.
More than ever, people are using GPS systems to locate places. (A long term project for the website may one day include adding a locator option with mapping options.) When we invite people to our Grange, we should be making it easy to find. (I could tell an embarrassing story on myself back in my early Grange member days. I actually drove to Lincoln Maine looking for a Lincoln Pomona Meeting!)
Perhaps even more important than visits, this is a potential safety concern. There are documented instances of emergency services not arriving in a timely fashion due to the lack of an adequate EMS address. If you have an emergency at your Grange Hall, calling 911 and saying “We’re next door to where the school house used to be…” is not likely going to be very effective. Many times the 911 dispatcher is located miles away and unfamiliar with the area where the emergency is taking place. Cell phones will often report the location automatically, but it just makes sense to take this precaution.
Usually all that’s required to get a street address is a visit to the town/municipal office. Once you have it, another important step would be to display the street number prominently on the building or a post where it is visible from the street.
Webmaster’s Note: The following article is reprinted with permission from an e-newsletter published by Paul Stearns, State Representative for District 119, reprinted with permission.
Maine Paint Stewardship Program
It’s more convenient than ever to recycle paint in Maine. Since the start of the Maine paint stewardship program in October 2015, PaintCare has set up 102 convenient locations to drop off paint throughout the State. Most of these sites are at paint retailers (paint, hardware, and home improvement stores) that have volunteered to take back paint, and they are available to any household and business in Maine. These stores accept paint whenever they are open for business.
A number of PaintCare drop-off sites include household hazardous waste programs — either facilities or “round-up events.” These programs are run by a local county or city government agencies, often in partnership with the local garbage and recycling company or transfer station. In addition to accepting paint, these programs usually accept other non-paint hazardous wastes (e.g., pesticides, solvents). Most of these government programs limit participation to the households in certain cities or towns. Some of these government programs also allow businesses to make appointments during special hours. Businesses are usually charged fees for non-paint hazardous waste, and sometimes they are charged an administrative fee to schedule an appointment, but they are not charged for paint, on a per gallon basis, if the agency is a PaintCare partner. A few restrictions do apply: there are limits on how much paint can be dropped off per visit. Also, note that certain businesses — those that produce more than 220 pounds (about 20-30 gallons) of hazardous waste per month — can only drop off latex paint (they are not be able drop off oil-based paint). When you decide it’s time to recycle your paint, please call the site ahead of time to confirm their hours and to make sure they have space to accept the amount of paint you would like to recycle.
To find a paint drop-off location near you, click here.
By Amanda Brozana, National Grange Lecturer
For those who know me, you know I love to multitask. Watching TV and writing an article; making dinner and solving a Grange problem by phone; and even checking my email while driving. Yes, I admit it. I’ve often been a distracted driver, bragging about being newly behind the wheel at 16, on the cell phone doing an interview and taking notes while cruising down the small highway in my county back home. But after too many close calls and even more virtual introductions to those who have been significantly negatively impacted by the actions of drivers just like me, I know I have to say “it can wait” the next time my phone chimes while I’m driving.
This month, I am proud to provide to you the materials for a lecturer’s program – in the fashion of the Lecturer’s Programs in a Box – that can help you reach out to your members and community about the issue of distracted driving, defined as “the practice of driving a motor vehicle while engaged in another activity, typically one that involves the use of a cellular phone or other electronic device.” Included is a short presentation by AT&T, a significant partner of the National Grange for more than a decade, who has launched the “it can wait” initiative to raise awareness about distracted driving and implore people to drive safely. As part of the campaign, they have asked individuals to promise to “keep your eyes on the road, not your phone,” something 10,000,000 people have pledged so far. We hope members across the country will add to that growing number of people who realize the responsibility of driving and risks of distracted driving.
In addition to the presentation, there are two handouts you may print to provide to your members and community and additional resources in many different formats. I highly recommend the simulation. Feel free to print this list and provide to your members so they may ask their children and grandchildren to go through the distracted driving simulation and take the pledge.
MSG Webmaster’s Note: I’ve added a permanent link to National Grange Lecturer’s Resources on the Program Books and Information Page.
(AUGUSTA) The Maine Attorney General’s Office has noticed a recent increase in the number of Mainers calling to report they are the target of phone scams in which someone pretends to be calling to collect a debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service. Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills is reminding people to be aware that these are scams and no one should give people credit card information or wire money. 250 people called the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division about these scams in August.
“The IRS scam and others like it are consistently the top complaint we receive,” said Attorney General Mills. “However, we have noticed a recent spike in the number of people calling our office to alert us and to complain specifically about IRS scams. These are often randomly dialed calls, but for some reason the 207 area code seems to be their target in recent days. People should not engage the callers and hang up the phone. Do not give them personal information and do not wire them money.”
Here’s how they work: Scammers posing as IRS officials call and say you owe taxes. They threaten to arrest you, or deport you, or revoke your license, or even shut down your business if you don’t pay right away. They may know your Social Security number – or at least the last four digits of it – making you think it really is the IRS calling. They also can rig caller ID to make it look like the call is coming from Washington, DC.
You are then instructed to put the money on a prepaid debit card and tell them the number – something no government agency would ask you to do. Once you do it, they may call you back and demand more payments until you find out it was a scam, and then your money is gone.
“No governmental agency or legitimate business will call you up and demand an immediate payment by credit card or by a pre-paid debit card you find in a convenience store,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. “If you receive one of these calls, do not answer any of their questions. Hang up the phone immediately.”
If you owe – or think you owe – federal taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. The IRS doesn’t ask people to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, and doesn’t ask for credit card numbers over the phone. When the IRS contacts people about unpaid taxes, they usually do it by mail, not by phone.
One Maine resident recorded his interaction with a scammer claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service and posted it to YouTube. The call illustrates several tactics used by phone scammers. They claimed to be from an entity that the target is familiar with and who he has the potential to owe money to – we all have to deal with the IRS at some point. When challenged about his authenticity, the scammer tried to reassure the target by giving a badge number in order to sound official. And finally, the payment could only be made by “Green Dot Money Pak,” available at places like WalMart or drug store chains, and not by other means. The scammers are also not easily dissuaded; different people called repeatedly making the same claims in order to make him think they were legitimate.
Report IRS imposter scams to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) online or at 800-366-4484, and to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
If you have questions about these or other consumer matters, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Maine Attorney General’s Office at 1(800) 436-2131 or consumermediationmainegov (consumermediationmainegov) .