Nov 222020

by Walter Boomsma  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  ,
MSG Communications Director

More and more Granges are using Zoom as a way of getting together and actually conducting meetings. That’s great news!

But with the good news comes a necessary concern about the security of virtual meetings. There have been documented incidents called “Zoom Bombing.” It’s similar to photobombing but much worse.

Zoom Bombing happens when a complete stranger joins a meeting and shares pornographic images or uses threatening or hate language. Schools have experienced it and the FBI has issued warnings after several schools saw their online classes hijacked.

The more good news is there are some steps you can take to prevent this. One obvious one is to share the link to the meeting only with invited participants or people you know. I recently saw a meeting posted on Facebook that not only included the link, it even included the password needed to join the meeting!! Zoom has implemented a number of security features and controls but they aren’t much good if the host invites the world to attend the meeting!

Please, if you are hosting a Zoom Meeting–especially one where children are involved–recognize that as a host, you have a responsibility for the security of that meeting and protecting participants. Do not post the meeting ID, link, and password on social media. And, as a host, become familiar with the tools available to help secure your meeting. For example, you can use the “waiting room” feature whereby attendees aren’t admitted to the meeting until recognized by a host. Even more impressive are the “in meeting controls” such as “share screen” and mute buttons that allow the host to manage the meeting responsibly.

These controls are not highly complex. The even more good news is that Zoom Tutorials are very easy to access and understand. There is a ten-minute “Zoom Meeting Controls Overview” that should be required watching for anyone hosting a meeting.

Please do not fear the technology of virtual meetings. Most activities in life include an element of danger and risk, but we still do them. Zoom meetings should be no different. Use common sense and access the many resources available to keep yourself and your meeting participants safe. If I can help you, please let me know.

Sep 142020

by David Gowen, President

On behalf of the members of Highland Lake Grange (as well as the Scouts who helped us), I would like to thank everyone who attended our first ever drive through turkey supper. We had no idea what to expect.

It was amazing. We served 154 meals by 5:00 when we ran out of food. In our typical dining room supper, we usually serve between 95 and 110. We set a record! We are sorry to have turned away a number of folks.

Our next drive through supper is scheduled for October 17, 2020. Hope to see you again. Follow the Highland Lake Grange Facebook Page for more information!

Highland Lake Grange is located at the corner of Route?302 and Hardy Road in Westbrook.

Sep 022020

Highland Lake Grange will be serving a roasted turkey supper on Saturday, September 12, 2020, from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.–rain or shine!

The meal includes roasted turkey, green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, bread, butter, cranberry sauce, and cake. Cranberry sauce and gravy provided in separate containers. Plastic utensil packets are included.

All at a low price of $10 per meal. Please arrive with exact price of meal(s). Cash only.

  • Drive up
  • Stay in your car
  • Prder meal(s) from one of our volunteers and pay them
  • Receive your meal(s)
  • Enjoy at home!

Highland Lake Grange is located at the corner of Route?302 and Hardy Road in Westbrook. FMI call?233-7119

Aug 222020

by Walter Boomsma  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  , Communications Director

Short but important items posted for your information and use.

Quick note–especially for website subscribers! We are updating our subscription service… hopefully the changes will happen seamlessly and with a minimum of disruption. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  !

Thanks for your patience and understanding!

Subscribe to Maine State Grange Website!
Apr 172020

National Grange recently released a special report on “healthcare if rural America before, during, and post the COVID-19 Crisis.” The 22-page report includes some thought-provoking analysis of the current healthcare system, concerns about accessing telehealth, and an entire section exploring how the Grange, America’s rural fraternity, is responding in this time of need.

Maine folks will especially enjoy an article on page 18 describing how East Sangerville Grange #177 organized a parade for one of it’s youngest “almost members,” three-year-old Owen Cookson. (The story was covered by WABI-TV5 and posted here earlier.) We’re proud that one of our Granges received National recognition.

To our Granges in Maine who are finding ways to demonstrate Grange Principles and Practice during these challenging times, here’s a reminder to let us know what you’re doing! Let’s show some Grange Pride!

Email the Communications Director  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  
Mar 272020

Guilford—Over forty fourth-graders from Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford were challenged to create an advertisement for Valley Grange as part of the annual “Newspapers in Education” program sponsored by the Piscataquis Observer. This is the twelfth year the Grange has sponsored the program. Students have an opportunity to become “Honorary Assistant Publicity Directors” according to Walter Boomsma, Program and Publicity Director for Valley Grange. Under the direction of Art Teacher Mark Arthers students labored to produce ads that would promote the Grange and its programs.

Boomsma pointed out “everyone who participated is a winner” and the Grange is providing “thank you magnets you can use to hold your school papers on the fridge.” Boomsma also noted that the Grange was particularly pleased so many ads included a reading theme and dictionaries, reflecting the students’ appreciation for the Grange’s Bookworm and Words for Thirds Program. “Our goal with the kids is to create a love of reading and learning. These ads suggest we’re achieving it.”

Winners included Teegan Pomerleau (3rd place), Lillyon Boutilier  (2nd place), and Ava Edes (1st place). Ava’s ad included a book being devoured by a book worm and two people reading together, noting that “volunteers are needed” to “come help kids learn.”

Ava’s first place ad will appear in the Newspapers in Education supplement of the Piscataquis Observer. In addition, winning ads are used on the Grange’s promotional material throughout the year and featured on the Valley Grange Website.

Valley Grange Master Jim Annis noted that Valley Grange is happy to sponsor several programs at PCES and other schools in the area. “We just love involved with the school,” he noted. “These kids are our future and they give us hope.”

Mar 062020

By Larry Bailey, Master

We will continue with our various programs and I am trying to encourage the thought process in our members to come up with new ideas. We are using the attached “Community Connection Ideas” to get our mental wheels turning. We hope to have our Irish musicians back. We are also looking into a gardening program, a butterfly propagation info program, and other types of educational programs. We will do Words for Thirds again–what a fun and rewarding program!  I am thinking about putting together a short program on how to read a profit and loss statement and balance sheet.  I was a bean-counter and developed an easily understood presentation for our employees. We would love to feature a dance (ballroom or 60’s or something like that) at the Grange.  I also am planning to submit a news article asking the community what programs they would like to see at the Grange. This would provide good ideas and get the community connected and involved in Ocean View Grange.

Live long, laugh often and love much.

Feb 232020

By Walter Boomsma  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)  , MSG Communications Director

We’ve got some exciting new features on our website… February may be the shortest month of the year, but it was a busy month of accomplishments that I think you’ll both enjoy and find very helpful.

Most recently (today!), I added the long-requested “Directory of Granges.” Without getting all technical, it’s a very user-friendly table of all Granges in Maine, including location and a contact person. It can be sorted in various ways and even searched… so now folks who are interested in joining a Grange or renting a Grange Hall can find one!

If you missed the recent announcement, I’ve also added a Directory of Officers. This is also sortable and searchable and includes every state officer, deputy, and director. I’ll still try to keep the printable version available but if you need to contact a state leader you can now find the information quickly by visiting the site.

Both of these directories can be found under the “About” tab at the top of the website. I’ve also made a few minor changes to some of the about pages to keep things updated and “looking good.”

Please remember: Any directory information posted on the site is to be used for Grange business only.

You may notice the “Events” tab is now missing. After careful consideration and an informal survey, I have eliminated that feature, largely because it was not being used much by local and Pomona Granges. I wanted to make room and time for more useful features! The Conferences and Dates Page is still active and there are no plans to discontinue it. You’ll recall this page lists state and regional Grange events and programs.

One of the next areas I’ll be looking at is the Program Books and Information Page. I’ve been testing and experimenting with some different ideas and layouts that might make it easier to find things. Any thoughts and suggestions will certainly be welcomed!

As a reminder, we are totally dependant on others–including you–to keep all website information accurate and current. Use the submitting tab or simply send an email  (webmasteratmainestategrangedotorg)   if you have a correction or addition. Thanks!

At the top right corner of this post, you’ll find the word “response” or “responses.” Click that and tell us what you think of these new features… and any other comments or questions regarding the site! We’re here for you!

Feb 012020

Granges, start planning! The theme for Grange Month 2020 is “Cultivating Connections.” Additional support material should be available from National Grange in a couple of weeks… but let’s start thinking about how we can promote our Granges’ ability to cultivate connections… the possibilities are many!

  • We cultivate connections in our communities by keeping neighbors connected.\
  • We are a family organization and, as such, encourage families to stay connected through their membership and participation, and by healthy family practices.
  • We encourage connection and collaboration between organizations at all levels. We are connected with organizations like The Dictionary Project, Home for Little Wanders, House in the Woods…
  • We even cultivate connections among our members by the fraternal nature of our organization. Our Declaration of Purpose often includes the word “we.”

We propose meeting together, talking together, working together, and in general, acting together for our mutual protection and advancement.

Declaration of Purpose

How are we going to celebrate all this during Grange Month 2020?

Jan 262020

Password Management

By Amanda Brozana Rios, National Grange Communications Director

Social media accounts, especially Facebook pages, are being embraced by many Granges around the country. But is your administrator using best practices? Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore a few different tips, tricks and suggestions for Granges to review and implement to make their foray into the world of communication more effective so you can see a return on your time investment.

This week’s discussion focuses on administration of electronic communication accounts and all other online accounts.

First, it’s important to ensure the safety of these accounts, but also to have an access protocol in the event that the administrator is no longer able or authorized to speak or act for the Grange.

At times, we’ve heard that the member who has taken charge of a Grange website, email, social media account or other account has passed away, left the Grange, been removed from an office or directorship with the authority to administer the account or otherwise no longer been able to play the role he or she once did. It’s very difficult to retrieve accounts without security question answers, access to associated email accounts, phones or other methods companies use to verify the ownership of the account. Unlike banks, who will work with customers to put in place new administrators as necessary once you produce the appropriate paperwork, many accounts will be left open but be abandoned. Should this happen, it will cause confusion when someone goes to look for your Grange online and finds a defunct website or social media account under a more easily accessed name or one that previous printed material pointed them to.

For this reason, we suggest a few “best practices” for administering any account for a Grange.

First, make sure that you are using accounts specifically created for Grange use and not mixed with personal use.

Use the free email account established for your Grange by National Grange or set up a new one through a free service like Gmail. If you’d like to use the accounts established for your Grange but don’t know how or do not have access, contact National Grange IT Director Stephanie Wilkins at infoatnationalgrangedotorg to retrieve your login and password. Once you have the Grange-specific email, use it to set up other accounts on platforms such as Instagram or for services such as PayPal.

For things like Facebook that require pages to be administered by individuals with accounts, ensure that at least two people are “admins” and potentially add others as editors to who can post content.

It’s important for Granges to keep the information needed for new administrators to access the account on file somewhere as well. Each Grange may find a different method that works for them – place security question information and passwords in a sealed envelope and keep on file with your local Secretary, your Pomona Secretary or State Office; email the information to the Grange email account for all other accounts and have the Grange email password sealed and on file with your executive committee; put the information in a safe deposit box you already have rented; keep the information written in your Master’s subordinate manual or find some other solution where the information is not readily available for everyone to ensure security of your account but is accessible if necessary.

Do not announce to your entire Grange your passwords or announce that you are using things like the annual word as your password as anyone can then access your information. Store your passwords and access information as securely as you would your own personal logins.

Look for more tips over the coming weeks on making your social media accounts work for you.

Reprinted from the January 24, 2020 issue of Patrons Chain–the official newsletter of the National Grange.