March 21, 2017 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the conference call meeting to order at 12:03 p.m. EDT.  Also on the call were Overseer Leroy Watson, Executive Committee member Sheri Watson, Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope, Flora Stephanie Wilkins, Secretary Richard Weiss, National Grange President Betsy Huber, National Grange Program Director Loretta Washington, National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller, National Grange Youth and Young Adult Director Charlene Espenshade and Youth Ambassador Mandy Bostwick (KS),  Potomac Grange Steward Amanda Brozana joined the call later.

New Business

Because some voting participants had to leave the call early, new business requiring votes was addressed first.

Potomac Grange #1 has been asked by the USDA Ag in the Classroom program to be its representative in the District of Columbia.  Representation entails the following:

  • Annual membership fee of $300.00.
  • Participation in an annual Eastern Region conference. The 2017 conference will be held in Mystic Connecticut April 18 to 20.  There is a $35.00 registration fee.  USDA will reimburse travel and lodging expenses for one representative from Potomac Grange.
  • Participation in monthly regional conference calls.
  • Creation and implementation of agriculture related educational projects with DC schools. Joan Smith cited our gardening project and the Blender Bike as examples. Amanda Brozana noted that grants up to $15,000 may be available from USDA for projects.

It was moved by Jessie Cope and Seconded by Richard Weiss that Potomac Grange #1 become the District of Columbia point of contact for the Ag in the Classroom project.  Leroy Watson moved to amend the motion by adding that an estimated annual budget be created within the next forty-five days.  Said budget to include project costs. Jessie Cope seconded and the motion passed as amended.

It was moved, seconded and passed that Potomac Grange #1 participate in the Ag in the Classroom Eastern Region conference.

It was further moved, seconded and passed that the $300.00 annual dues, the $35.00 conference fee and any unreimbursed out of pocket expenses be paid from the Kile Fund due to the educational nature of the conference.

Old Business – Bee Hive Project

At the last meeting, it was approved to fund bee hive equipment purchases from the Kile Fund.  Allison Archebault is coordinating with the Bee Hive Club on implementation of the project.  Joan Smith informed us that the Bee Hive Club instructor will also place her hive on the roof. The Potomac hive should be on the roof by the end of March and 10,000 bees will be brought in sometime in April.

It was moved, seconded and passed that Potomac Grange supply refreshments for the April 4 graduation of the Bee Hive class.

Other News

  • The 2017 Fly In hotel registration closes on March 22. Currently, attendance is around 20 participants.
  • Betsy Huber reported that the two Grange Youth Ambassadors met with their congressmen as well as others on the Hill. They also attended a Hill breakfast featuring an informative speaker.  Charlene Espenshade thanked Potomac Grange for the scholarships that helped fund the program.
  • Amanda Brozana and intern Kim Stefanick will make a presentation on publishing at a conference at the University of Mississippi. Kim, who has two weeks left on her internship, spoke of how much she learned about media and legislation during her internship.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m. EDT.

Respectfully Submitted,

Richard Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1

February 21, 2017 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the conference call meeting to order at 12:05 p.m. EST.  Also on the line initially were Steward Amanda Brozana, Secretary Richard Weiss and Allison Archebault. National Grange President Betsy Huber joined the call later.

The January 24, 2017 minutes were approved as read by Secretary Weiss.

Bee Hive Business

  • The Bee Hive Club has asked Joan if it could meet a couple times a year in the Grange Building’s Goss conference room. She will check availability with Stephanie Tiller.  The question was raised regarding Potomac Grange providing refreshments for the meetings.  There appeared to be consensus to do so.
  • The Bee Hive Corporation, a for-profit company that conducts bee care educational classes, also asked Joan about using the Goss conference room to conduct classes. It would require one week a night for three hour sessions.  Courses run eight weeks.  Given that this is a for-profit organization, the National Grange would charge a fee.  Due to the three-hour sessions, there would be additional expense to maintain the guard on duty beyond 7: 00 p.m.  Joan will convey the request to Stephanie Tiller.  Bee Care Corporation would like to start in March.
  • Potomac Grange also needs up to eight dates in March for its educational sessions.
  • It was decided that Potomac Grange #1 will purchase its bee care equipment needs out of the Kile Fund given the educational nature of the program.  (Allison Archebault left the call at this point.)

Fly-In/Youth Ag Day

Potomac Grange #1 has given the National Grange a $3,000 grant to cover two

Fly-in scholarships of up to $800.00 each and the purchase of Congressional guide books. To date, only one scholarship has been taken and the application deadline has been extended to March 1.  National has asked Potomac if not requested for the Fly-in by March 1, could the $800.00 be made available for the March 21 – 23 Youth Ag Day.  After discussion, it was moved, seconded and passed to make the $800.00 available to the Youth Ag Day and applied at the discretion of the Youth Leader.  Because there was not a quorum at the time of the vote, the proposal will be emailed to all Potomac Grange members for input.

Presidents’ Conference

President Smith reported on the Presidents’ Conference held in Norwich Connecticut February 17 to 19.  The 48 attendees included presidents from a variety of states as well as Connecticut past delegates.  Speakers were outstanding: informative and educational.

Other Business

  • Joan will supply Washington State with a copy of the 2016 Annual Convention budget to help them with planning for this year’s convention.
  • Joan will file for extensions on Potomac Grange’s 2013 to 2016 9090s.

 

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 12:47 p.m. EST.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard B Weiss

Secretary, Potomac Grange #1

January 24, 2017 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting to order at 6:10 p.m. in the Goss Conference Room of the National Grange Building in Washington, DC.  The meeting was held in conjunction with the Potomac Grange #1 annual holiday party.

Also present were National Grange president Betsy Huber, National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller, Steward Amanda Brozana, Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope, Flora Stephanie Wilkins, Program Director Loretta Washington, Secretary Richard Weiss, and Intern Kim Stefanick.

Treasure’s Report

  • We have no record of filing 9090s for 2013, 2014, 2015 and, as yet, 2016. Weiss will do a search of past minutes of any filing evidence.
  • The 2015 Kile Fund trust report has been completed, signed by Joan Smith and Leroy Watson and submitted to the bank in December 2016.
  • National convention costs are still being reconciled.
  • The Kile Fund will compensate Joan Smith up to $400.00 to cover costs of today’s event which had educational content. (See “Speakers)
  • There was some question as to whether or not third quarter dues have been paid from the operating account. Weiss will check to see if the third quarter report was submitted.

Old Business

  • There is overall satisfaction with how things went with the National Convention.
  • President Huber was pleased with the President’s reception especially that it remained in the original Hospitality room and the soups and sandwiches were a big success.
  • The Hospitality room was a big success with soups, chili and hot dogs, homemade desserts and the beverage station was always perfect..
  • The Arlington Cemetery Tomb of the Unknown wreath laying was very emotional as we have four Grange Veterans who participated. James Foster, WVA; Chip Narval, DE; Peg Johnson, PG#1; Scott Baldwin, IA.
  • The Host, Delegate, Youth and Junior tours were a success in spite of a bus breakdown.
  • Jessie Cope is going to put together a book of “lessons learned” from hosting a national convention perspective. It will be available to future Host Regions.

New Business

  • Bee care course – In order for the Grange to have a bee hive on its roof, four members must train and qualify in bee care. Accordingly, a course in bee care is offered at the University of District of Columbia. The course covers care procedures for the four seasons of the year.  Course starting January 31, the course runs thru 28 March one night a week from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Cost is $90.00.  The Kile Fund will cover the cost based on its educational nature.  Those attending are:  Joan C. Smith, Allison Archebault; Amanda Brozana, Kim Stefanick.
  • The 2017 Masters Conference will be held in Norwich Connecticut. The Connecticut State Grange will provide meals and airport transportation, leaving only to and from travel expenses, hotel costs, some meals, parking and a $20.00 registration fee to be covered by participants. It was moved, seconded and passed to allocate up to $600.00 from the Kile Fund to cover President Smith’s expenses to attend the Masters Conference.
  • The 2017 Congressional Fly-In will be held April 24th to April 27th. In accordance with an earlier vote, Potomac Grange issued a $3,000.00 check to National Grange to cover two Fly-In scholarships up to $800.00 each and purchase of Congressional guide books.

Speakers

Dave Streid and Kathy Streid of The Transcendental Meditation Program gave a very informative and educational presentations on the benefits of transcendental meditation. Those benefits range from reduced stress and anxiety to better focus and brain function.  The process is easy to learn and, once learned, is simply practiced twice a day for about twenty minutes each session.  The speakers explained the steps to enroll in their classes.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 7:35 p.m.  Next meeting will be a noon-time conference call on February 21st.  Stephanie will send out a notice with call numbers.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard B Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1

October 18, 2016 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting to order via telephone at 12:10 p.m. EDT. Also on the call were Executive Committee member Cheri Watson, Overseer Leroy Watson, Secretary Richard Weiss, Steward Amanda Brozana, Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope, Flora Stephanie Wilkins, National Grange President Betsy Huber, Grange Executive Assistant Stephanie Tiller, Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller and Grange Program Director Loretta Washington.

The September 20, 2016 minutes were approved as written.

Kile Fund

2015 Report – Per a request from the US Trust, Jeri Smith, Joan has reviewed our Kile Fund financial records and Bank Statements to complete the requested forms. The 2015 report/forms have been compiled and the Term and Conditions for 2016 have been completed and provided to LeRoy Watson, Kile Fund Trustee, for signature and forwarding to US Trust. Per Jeri Smith, our 2016 quarterly allotments will continue to be provided on schedule.

IRS Reports – 990s

Joan reported that in reviewing our financials, it appears that we have not filed our IRS Taxes since 2012 or 2013. Joan will compile data and provide to our CPA for completion and filing.

Election of Treasurer

Sister Amanda Brozana was elected as our Treasurer effective 1 December 2016.
 

Junior Grange

Rachel Watson has turned 14 years old. Her school volley ball team is undefeated and going to state finals.

150th National Grange Convention
  • Junior Grange tee shirts with the sash design will not be produced due to lack of time.
  • Present in the office for the Monday evening tour will be Grace Boatright, Samantha Johnson, Jessie Cope, Stephanie Wilkins and Dick Weiss.
  • While Stephanie Wilkins will be in the office Tuesday and Wednesday of convention week, it was recommended that Dick Weiss be there also in case buses show up for a tour of the building.
  • Discussion of 7th Degree logistics focused on transportation from the hotel to the theater in Alexandria. Jessie pointed out that there will be six buses available. The set-up crew will be transported by van.
  • Potomac Grange will manage the President’s Reception on Sunday night. Joan proposed that wraps, chips, salsa and a sheet cake with the Grange logo be purchased from a nearby Costco as we will not have access to equipment or time to prepare snacks ourselves. Betsy concurred with the recommendation.
  • There will be display space for the Shoes for Souls.
  • 725 pairs of socks will be on display as part of the national community service project.

Other Business

The Potomac Grange 2015 9090 tax document has not been done and it appears that 2013, 2014 also may not have been completed. Potomac Grange has suffered frequent turnover of treasurers and has not had a treasured for several months. There is a need for a long term treasurer. National Grange Treasurer Stewart Hughes has indicated he does not want the position with Potomac Grange.

Amanda Brozana volunteered to undertake the job beginning December 1, 2016.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Richard Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1

September 20, 2016 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting to order via telephone at 12:05 p.m. EDT. Also online were Executive Committee member Cheri Watson, Overseer Leroy Watson, Secretary Richard Weiss, Steward Amanda Brozana, Flora Stephanie Wilkins, National Grange President Betsy Huber, Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller and Grange Program Director Loretta Washington.

Kile Fund

President Smith informed us that she is working on tracking 2015 Kile Fund contributions.  Burton Eller confirmed that National Grange received a $3,000.00 contribution from the Kile Fund for the 2015 Fly In.  It could be that the check was issued in 2014.  Joan will check the 2014 disbursements.

Minutes

The June 21, 2016 Potomac Grange meeting minutes were approved as read.

Youth and Fellows Programs

Amanda Brozana reported that she is working on a youth t-shirt design featuring a sash printed on the front with words “Future Leader.”  The plan would be for Potomac Grange to pay for the production and give the first 25 free to the youth drill team. The remainder would be sold as fundraisers.  There were some questions about suppliers and quality levels. As most of the meeting participants had not seen the design, it was decided to table a decision at this time.  Amanda will email the design to us.

Regarding the Fellows polos, Amanda has found other sources of funding and does not need help from the Kile Fund. Also, the Fellows pay their own travel expenses, so there is no request for travel funding from the Kile Fund.

150th Convention

President Smith informed us that Potomac Grange delegate Grace Boatright has been named chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Dick Weiss will help out with the Monday night tour and has volunteered to cover the office during the week.  He pointed out that he has been asked to go to the hotel on Wednesday.  Plans to cover Thursday need to be worked out.

President Smith notified us that New Jersey will again present a resolution granting voting power on resolutions but not on candidates to Potomac Grange. She also said that there has been discussion of an idea to appoint a “delegate at large” to represent Potomac Grange and states that have not yet qualified for full voting privileges. Following discussion raised questions as to how the delegate would be chosen and how differing opinions among the states would be resolved.  Consensus was that Potomac’s case is unique and we would be best off going it on our own and that NJ should continue to submit their Potomac Grange Voting Rights Resolution.

Joan noted that the National Grange President’s reception will be held in the hospitality suite. About 120 attendees are expected and the space can accommodate that many.  As the hotel’s cooking equipment cannot be used, the plan is to serve pre-prepared items such as wraps.  Jessie Cope and Joan have checked out Costco and plan to stock up from there.  Full sheet cake will also be served for dessert with our Host Region Logo.  It was decided to serve the dessert before attendees leave for the evening budget presentation. Potomac will also offer snacks at the building tour on Monday.

Joan noted the need for crock pots in the hospitality suite as some states plan to serve soup, chili.

She also reminded that Monday’s changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery will be at 4:00 p.m. and the laying of the wreath at 4:15.

Other Business

Betsy Huber notified us of the completion of the Grange PBS video.  She has been using it at state sessions. It will start running on 300 PBS stations in a couple weeks.

Joan alerted us that Potomac’s 2015 tax return has yet to be filed.  This stems from the fact that Potomac has been without a Treasurer for almost two years and right now National Grange Treasurer Stuart Hughes cannot fill that role.  Joan asked if someone can help out.

Dick Weiss noted that second quarter dues have yet to be paid and promised immediate attention.

Granger in Need

Stephanie Tiler’s mother has been hospitalized with heart problems.  Stephanie and her mother are in our thoughts and we offer out support during this trying time.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 1:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Weiss
Secretary, Potomac Grange #1

June 21, 2016 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting to order via telephone at 12:05 p.m. Also online were Executive Committee member Cheri Watson, Overseer Leroy Watson, Secretary Richard Weiss, Steward Amanda Brozana, Chaplin Grace Boatright, Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope, and Flora Stephanie Wilkins.

There were no minutes from the April 20 party meeting.

150th Annual Meeting

President Smith reiterated that Grace Boatright is the Potomac Grange #1 delegate to the convention and that Cheri Watson is the Alternate Delegate.  Cheri pointed out that she may be unavailable one afternoon due to work commitments.

Potomac Grange will be in charge of the hospitality suite on Sunday.  National Grange has requested that the President’s Reception be held in the suite from about 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. As the room’s grills and stoves cannot be used, there was discussion on what to offer for food and whether to do it ourselves, have it brought in, or catered by the hotel.  It is estimated that approximately 120 people will be served.

President Smith asked if the meal can be funded out of the Kile Fund.  Leroy Watson determined that as Stephanie Wilkins will be demonstrating the new membership database, the function can be considered educational and therefore qualifies for funding from the Kile Fund.

President Smith has asked that someone volunteer to take over responsibility for the Sunday hospitality suite.

It appears that some individual states, including Illinois and New Jersey, plan to make bus stops to view the Grange Building apart from the official tour day and there is a concern about having someone at the building to accommodate them.

Patriotic Program

The Vietnam CD is scheduled for release in July.  Austin Miller will soon be shooting footage of the Vietnam Memorial wall.

Dues

At the request by those online, Stephanie notified individuals who are overdue on 2016 dues.  She pointed out that all dues now go from January through March.

Secretary Weiss informed the group that Potomac’s second quarter dues payment is not due until the end of July and that he and Stephanie Wilkins will work out the amount due to National.

Fly-In

Potomac will reimburse in 2017 for two Fly-in scholarship recipients up to a combined total of $1,500.00.  Any funds not utilized will be returned to PG#1.

Junior Grange

Rachel Watson recently received her third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  As there is no official Junior Grange in New Hampshire, Rachel will participate on the individual basis until she turns 14 years old.

Grangers in need

Potomac Grangers are asked to keep Jessie Cope’s mother in their thoughts as she goes through physical rehabilitation.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 12:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Richard Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1

October 21, 2014 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting at 9:30 a.m.  Present for the meeting was Master, Joan Smith, Lecturer, Samantha Johnson; Lady Assistant Steward, Jessie Cope; Steward, Amanda Brozana; Treasurer, Andy Sampson; Assistant Steward, Austin Miller; Flora, Stephanie Wilkins; and Chaplain Grace Boatright. We were also joined by new member David Conrath.

Treasurer’s Report

Andy Sampson and Samantha Johnson were both approved to be on the BB&T Account, but we still have been unable to get approval for the banking online. Andy and Master Smith will be going to BB&T after the meeting to clear up this matter.

Andy also discussed his conversation with Overseer Watson about moving the Kile Fund into an interest baring account. It was decided that although we could do it, it would complicate our filings with the IRS and wasn’t worth it.

Eric confirmed that Potomac Grange #1 and the Kile Fund were both approved for their extensions in filing IRS paperwork. The extension is to November 15, 2014 and Eric expects to have all matters settled.

Andy brought up the possibility of updating our accounting software from Excel to Quickbooks. If the National Grange acquires Quickbooks at the end of the year, then we can add Potomac Grange as a company and would discuss paying a portion of $36 a month for the software.

Old Business

A motion was made and approved to change minutes from September 2014 meeting. The correction was in the beginning we have “old” and should be “new” business.

A discussion was brought forward by Jessie Cope and Master Joan Smith about Grace as our 2nd Delegate. Per National Master, Ed Luttrell’s conversation with Jessie and Dick Weiss to write a letter about requesting Dick’s early leaving at Convention and Grace as the delegate for the rest of session. It was suggested by Austin that Dick just come as the 2016 Coordinator and shadow the 2014 & 2015 Coordinators to help him prepare for Hosting in 2016. This would allow Grace Boatright to be our Honorary Delegate and end the conflicting problems with having 2 Delegates. This was approved.

New Business

Dave Conrath was introduced as a new member and talked about his background and what brought him to Potomac Grange.

We voted to pay 3rd Quarter Dues and the 2014 National Grange Assessment on Friday, October 24th, when Master Smith and Secretary Weiss will be at the National Grange Office.

The National Arboretum was discussed. Originally, Potomac Grange #1 donated $3,500 to help build a kiosk. As per Lecturer Johnson’s discussions with the Arboretum this project has been indefinitely shelved and they have offered us an alternative: a Bicycle-Powered Blender. The cost is roughly the same, only a difference of $3.32. We would still get recognition on a license plate. Lecturer Johnson was asked to speak with here contact and ask where the bike will be placed and if they are selling rights to other companies.

The Holiday Event was confirmed for January 13, 2015 at 6pm in the National Grange Building. The speaker will be from One Country Connect and if all 5 new members are there we will do an obligation ceremony as well.

Steward Brozana has uploaded the t-shirt design for the “I’ll be Delighted” Campaign. She will activate the link night and leave it open for the 2 minimum days required and then buy a total of 50 shirts to cover the Youth Drill Team, Youth Ambassadors, and Potomac Grange members. We will reopen the link, November 1st, for the month to raise money for the Youth in Wib Justi’s memory. We will have 2 sample t-shirts available for members to view at National Grange Session and the GrangeConnect will help members purchase their shirts. Master Smith will be paying for the initial 50 and will be reimbursed by the Kile Fund.

Discussion was brought forward about the Delegate Gift of chocolate. David told us about the human trafficking issues surrounding the harvesting of cocoa. Since, Hershey and Nestle are the worst offenders and there are very few Fair Trade Cocoa Companies, it was decided to use non-chocolate. We had 3 different versions of the message for the wrapper: “Vote for those who don’t have a voice”; “Vote for us we can’t”; and “Taxation without Representation, Washington, DC and Potomac Grange #1”. After much discussion the third message was approved along with the Grange logo mixed in as part of the stars on the DC flag. Jessie will buy the candy and labels. Amanda will come up with the design for the label.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

Next Meeting

We will have no meeting in November or December 2014.

Next meeting scheduled for January 13, 2015.

Respectfully submitted,

Samantha Johnson, Lecturer
Potomac Grange #1

To Ensure the Best Outcomes for Rural Americans, Better Provisions Needed in Federal Broadband Plan

By Joan C. Smith, President, Potomac Grange #1

Today’s global economy demands that every participant have access to reliable, high-speed Internet in order to attain a level playing field to actively participate in the virtual business marketplace. Although rural America constitutes 15% of our total population, it is these men and women and families who keep food on our tables, fuel in our cars and provide energy for our homes and businesses. We owe it to them to implement the infrastructure to provide broadband internet services.   Americans living in rural areas still lack access to this vital resource.

Historically, rural areas have been the last to gain access to new conveniences. Broadband Internet, however, is not merely a convenience—it is essential to the business of agriculture, farming and ranching and nearly every other aspect of life in rural America. Rural communities are profoundly and adversely affected by poor access to high-speed Internet. Right now we have the chance to change that once and for all with appropriate reforms during Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF) plan; it’s up to the Federal Communications Commission to make the right choices.

There’s a lot at stake with the CAF initiative, so we must get it right; the consequences, good or bad, could stretch over decades. The National Grange has always advocated for updating rural infrastructure, as it did for the railroads and rural postal delivery, and now the emphases is with rural broadband Internet. Modern farming and ranching is like any other business; it relies heavily on technology and information. Dairy production and crop yields can be monitored and data shared in real time between different farms and the marketplace. Commodities prices can also be followed to help determine what crops to plant and when to harvest.

CAF was first developed in 2011, with the goal of connecting as many as 7 million un-served rural Americans by 2017 and all of the country’s 19 million un-served individuals living in rural areas by 2020; yet it still is not finalized and hasn’t even begun to be put into practice. CAF calls for $1.8 billion in funding, but how best to use this funding to effectively build out broadband infrastructure to rural areas is the real issue at hand. Regrettably, it seems significant changes need to be made to the existing plan during Phase II to deliver the most essential outcomes.

The plan is centered on more than doubling required download speed from 4 Mbps to 10 Mbps. That would be fantastic, but it won’t make a big difference if other related aspects of the CAF plan are not improved as well.

Consider the way in which broadband coverage is measured. Right now, “Census blocks” are used, and as long as part of the block has access, it is counted as being covered. Yet within each “block” there are households left without the service, perpetuating the digital divide for those individuals and families while keeping up the appearance of closing the gap in access. Higher standards and independent verification of different providers’ broadband coverage claims can ameliorate this problem.

Moreover, unlicensed, fixed Wireless Internet Services, or WISPs, are being treated as suitable alternatives to real facilities-based fiber infrastructure, not true. The FCC’s regulatory assumption is that a WISP provides reliable connectivity to an entire area, but that just isn’t accurate. Capacity can be very limited in these networks, and there are issues like line-of-sight (LOS) and spectrum interference. WISPs really aren’t acceptable as primary infrastructure, but can be useful in a supporting function.

Providers still need better incentives to build out the infrastructure to reach rural areas, the most isolated, and hard-to-reach areas. Connect America Fund (CAF) resources can be used to share some of the financial burden for those efforts. Providers should be held to elevated but reasonable standards and need enough flexibility to handle the unexpected hindrances that are bound to occur with a project like this.

Finally, let’s extend the planned funding period to a full ten (10) years to ensure this work is steadily and properly carried out.

Perhaps most important, our families and communities can be strengthened through better access and higher download speeds. Jobs can be created and local economies improved. Services that eliminate some travel over large distances in many rural areas, such as telemedicine and distance learning, can save energy, develop a better rural workforce and improve quality of life. The majority of our nation’s farmers and ranchers are small business owners, internet utilization informs them of new agricultural technologies to enhance their production thereby providing higher yields to meet our growing demand for food, fiber and fuel.

Rural Americans need and deserve equal access to top-notch broadband Internet service. As a fifth-generation Granger myself, I urge the FCC to enact the “right rules and regulations” to get the most out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II represents.

Joan C. Smith is President of Potomac Grange #1, Washington, DC. The National Grange, founded in 1867, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. With a strong history in grassroots activism, family values and community service, the Grange is part of more than 2,100 hometowns across the United States.

September 16, 2014 Meeting Minutes

President Joan Smith called the meeting to order via telephone at 9:10 a.m. Also present via telephone were Steward Amanda Brozana and Assistant Steward Austin Miller. Present in the 10th floor Saunders Library of the National Grange Building in Washington, DC were Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope, Flora Stephanie Wilkins, Chaplain Grace Boatright, Secretary Richard Weiss, National Grange Controller Andrew Sampson and National Grange Legislative Director Burton Eller.

The minutes from the July 17, 2014 meeting were read and approved as corrected to reflect that T-shirts for the Youth Drill Team will be given by June and Mary Justi, not to them.

Treasurer’s Report

While the current operating account balance is not available at this time, Andrew Sampson did report the following:

  • $85.00 in new member dues has been deposited to the Operating Account.
  • $87.00 for 2nd quarter dues has been paid to the National Grange.
  • $10.25 is owed to the National Grange store and will be paid the week of September 22.

As of 8/31/2014 the Kile Fund balance at PNC Bank was $40,388.91.

There seems to be some confusion regarding the Kile Fund 2013 990 as we have two letters from the IRS, the first stating that a filing extension has been granted and a later one denying it. Andrew will meet with our new CPA on September 24 to straighten things out.

Old Business

The National Arboretum has notified Samantha Johnson that an alternative naming opportunity exists for the $3,500.00 Potomac Grange contributed in 2012 for a “Solar Demonstration Kiosk” that the Arboretum later decided not to build. Potomac Grange has asked for suitable alternatives or the money back. This issue will be taken up at the next meeting when Samantha is back.

There still is no formal estimate for the Grange Building kitchen renovation. It was decided to defer this issue to February, as the status of the Grange Building is uncertain at this time.

New Business

Before moving to old business, there was discussion regarding Potomac Grange representation at the National Convention. There was consensus that Dick Weiss be the Potomac representative with Grace Boatright as a possible co-representative. Weiss expressed some concern about being cast into the role of 2016 convention coordinator. After some discussion, it was decided that Dick, Joan and Jessie will work together on the coordination task. Accordingly the following will take place:

  • Jessie will figure out a time and place at the convention to hold the 2016 convention committee meeting.
  • Weiss will notify the State Masters of the sponsoring states of the meeting and ask that they have representatives present.
  • The three of us will meet to determine what tasks need to be performed and what each state might do.

We will check with Leroy to determine if the Potomac Grange Operating Account or the Kile Fund pays representatives expenses.

It was decided that Potomac Grange’s convention holiday gift would be a candy bar with a Potomac Grange message labeled on it, perhaps something about the 2016 convention. Amanda Brozana will be asked to work up a design.

Other New Business

There was consensus to hold the Potomac Grange holiday event on Tuesday, January 13, 2013 and have it catered in the Grange Building. President Smith will arrange an educational presentation by One Country Connected, an organization supporting the extension of broad band communication throughout rural America.

Jessie Cope informed us that the Maryland State Grange invited Potomac Grange members to join them on a tour of Gettysburg on Saturday, September 19.

The National Grange sent a letter to all Granges asking members to contribute $10.00 each to National to defray legal costs arising from trade mark issues and the California situation.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

The next meeting will be October 21, 2014.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard B. Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1

July 17, 2014 Meeting Minutes

Secretary Richard Weiss called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. in the 10th floor Saunders Library of the National Grange building in Washington, DC. Also present were Flora Stephanie Wilkins, Lecturer Samantha Johnson, Steward Amanda Brozana, Assistant Steward Austin Miller, National Grange Controller Andrew Sampson and new member Allison Archambault. President Joan Smith joined the meeting at 9:15 a.m.

The minutes of the June 17, 2014 meeting were approved as read.

Treasurers Report

Lecturer Johnson presented the following financials.

Kile Fund – As of June 30, 2014 the Kile Fund balance at PNC Bank was $41,664.93. A transfer of $2,229.71 was made during June and several checks written in June have yet to clear.

Potomac Grange still owes National Grange $477.02 for costs relate to the World War ll Patriot Program. Kile Fund check number 1750 was cut at the end of the meeting.

There was no report on the Operating Account as the electronic data was not accessible at the time due to password problems.

Old Business

Lecturer Johnson received a response from the National Arboretum regarding construction status of a Solar Demonstration Kiosk towards which Potomac Grange contributed $3,500.00 in 2012. Apparently because any extra energy would not be returned to the grid due to the fact that the garden does not have electrical access, the US National Arboretum Partnership changed its mind on assisting in the installation of the solar panels.

Charla Wanta of the Arboretum asked if Potomac Grange would consider contributing the $3,500.00 towards youth programs. Lecturer Johnson will ask for more details on the youth programs and a decision will be made at the next meeting in September.

Andrew Sampson reported that he has received approval for extension of Potomac Grange’s 2013 form 990.

Lady Assistant Steward Jessie Cope has the estimate for upgrading the National Grange kitchen. She was absent due to illness in her family and the matter will be taken up at the next meeting.

Amanda Brozana presented two designs for the Youth Program T-shirts in honor of Wib Justi. Consensus was for a voice bubble containing Wib’s famous “I’d be delighted.” quote. It was decided that Potomac Grange will purchase an initial 20 T-shirts so that the supplier can go into full production. Thus shirts will be available for sale at the November convention. The 20 shirts will be given to the youth drill team by June and Mary Justi. The purchase will be made from the Kile Fund.

New Business

Allison Archambault suggested Potomac Grange consider planting a garden on the National Grange building roof or painting the roof white to save energy. We will look into that with building engineer Sandor Szima.

There was no further business and the meeting adjourned at 10:05 a.m.

The next meeting will be September 16, 2014.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Richard B. Weiss, Secretary
Potomac Grange #1