President Joan C. Smith called the meeting to order at 12:03 P.M. Participating in the meeting were Overseer Leroy Watson, Executive Committee member Cheri Watson, Legislative Director Burton Eller, Steward Amanda Brozana-Rios, Membership Director Stephanie Wilkins, Treasurer Jessie Cope, National Grange Program Director Loretta Washington, Secretary Richard Weiss and Peggy Johnson.
The September 11, 2019 minutes were approved as read.
First, President Smith reported that she responded to a National Grange 2018 Audit letter requesting status of Potomac Grange’s $25,000 loan to National toward a new cooling system. She confirmed that the loan had been paid on a monthly basis, with 2 months remaining as of Dec 31, 2018. The loan has been paid in full as of March 2019.
Treasurer Jessie Cope reported the following:
Operating Fund at BB&T Bank is $2,838.93
Kile Fund balance at PNC Bank is $52,421.00
3rd Quarter Dues to be processed in October.
Two (2) new members joined PG#1, they are the NG Foundation Financial Managers
Rachel Watson is in a flora culture class at school. She recently took 2nd place at the Deerfield New Hampshire fair for her floral arrangement. She is Captain of her school’s volley-ball team. She will turn 17 years old on the 4th of October. All PG#1 members wish her a very Happy Birthday.
Joan C. Smith reported that the July Grange Revival held in Ozark, Arkansas had approximately 70 participants. The Potomac contingent were the only ones living in tents. RVs or Cabins housed the other Grangers.
Potomac sponsored the 15 game Olympics, awarding a total of 225 medals. Potomac Grange provided 4-Agriculture in the Classroom workshops. One of the Workshops was “Farming in a Glove” contest seeing who could grow the largest plants during the 5-day Revival, a workshop on “How long does it take to Make a Pizza” which included a pizza lunch for all campers; a and unique cotton boll seed ginning and wool spinning contests and the last Workshop on “What makes Corn Pop”.
Several towns people from three nearby communities expressed interest in the Grange and Amanda described how they could learn more through E Membership and then move up to creating a local Granges in Arkansas.
Jessie Cope will make a record of Potomac Grange expenditures from the Grange Revival.
There is consensus to hold the Revival again 20-25 July 2021. Four states are under consideration. They are Oklahoma, Nevada, Nebraska, and South Dakota with Sturgis, South Dakota being the likely choice.
2019 National Grange Convention – Joan will have National Grange Foundation Quilt raffle tickets available for convention.
Potomac Grange will not sponsor the FFAR Foster our Future Program in February 2020.
Resolutions: Two resolutions for presentation by Potomac Grange to National Convention delegates were discussed and voted upon.
- Federal Lifeline Program Extension – Appeal to the Federal Communications Commission to delay discontinuance of the Lifeline voice-only program and reconsider its 2016 reform order. Presented by Burton Eller: Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure they have the opportunities and security that phone service brings. Forty-two percent of Lifeline participants depend on voice-only service, which the FCC plans to phase out in 2020 and replace with more expensive services. Burton seeks National Grange back-up of his efforts on this issue.
Discussion followed and it was moved and seconded to present this resolution to the delegates at the 2019 National Convention. The motion passed.
- Multi-Employer 401k Program – Using its sustaining membership category, National Grange explore the formation of a multi-employer 401K program addressing retirement needs of small farms and rural businesses. Participants would also have access to existing National Grange benefit programs and National Grange would create an education program to encourage full Grange membership. Presented by Leroy Watson. The Department of Labor issued new regulations allowing multiple small businesses to form non-profit associations that share administrative costs of 401K retirement programs, something that was difficult under past regulations. The Grange name has been associated with financial institutions such as mutual insurance companies and mutual banks serving rural America. Therefore, formation of a 401K management program for small rural employers is consistent with other National Grange services and benefit programs. For an annual fee, National Grange would manage administrative requirements and coordinate with the investment organization.
Extensive discussion followed. It was moved and passed to present this resolution to the delegates at the National Grange 2019 convention.
Membership Request for FFA Convention: No action.
G.R.O.W. Club Request: There was consensus to supply the G.R.O.W. Club with items for its silent auction at the 2019 National Convention. Joan and others to bring items to Convention.
Grange Grassroots Activism Scholarship: Under this scholarship program, Potomac Grange has been asked to grant two $800.00 scholarships for any Youth, Young Adult or Junior to attend the “Washington D.C. Experience,” a program including visits to the Hill, tours of the USDA headquarters and other DC highlights. These scholarships would replace Fly-In scholarships. This caused considerable discussion. Ultimately, Amanda Brozana-Rios moved for a one-time total amount of $2,000.00 to fund scholarships covering travel and miscellaneous expenses for this one-time March 2020 Youth and Junior event. . The motion passed by a 4 to 2 vote with 3 abstentions.
2020 February Fly-in in New Hampshire: Amanda then moved to supply $1,600.00 for Fly-In scholarships. Cheri Watson moved to amend the amount to $2,000, $1600 for travel and $400 for other expenses. The motion passed as amended.
There was no further business. The meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m. No November meeting due to the NG Convention in Bloomsburg, Minnesota.
The next meeting will be December 4 at noon. This will be held in the Gross Conference Room of the National Grange Building and it will be a HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARTY TO CELEBRATE THE ACTUAL DAY THAT THE NATIONAL GRANGE WAS ORGANIZED.
Richard Weiss, Secretary