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President's Message
President's Message: COVID Still With Us This Holiday Season

By George Russell, CT State Grange President

  DECEMBER 1, 2020 --

As December approaches and the holiday season begins, the COVID-19 pandemic numbers have been increasing in our state and around the country. I ask all of our Grangers to stay safe and healthy by continuing to follow all of the guidelines. As I am writing this report, the Governor has kept the number of 25 people for social gatherings inside and has lowered it to 50 people outside.   These numbers might change by the time the holiday season approaches. The Granges who are meeting in person might want to change and go back to meeting virtually.

The 154th National Convention was an historic event for all of us. It was held virtually on November 17th and 18th. The first day of the session began at noon EST in the Seventh Degree by National President Betsy Huber. After being lowered to the Fourth Degree, the National Master gave her Internal and External President’s addresses. In Sister Huber’s address she mentioned the pandemic and how it affects education, unemployment, food shortages and how the livestock was backed up on the farms. Milk was dumped and vegetables were plowed under because manufacturing plants were either closed or couldn’t keep up with demand.   Sister Huber’s

External Address was livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.

The election of two members of the Executive Committee for a two-year term were Leroy Watson from New Hampshire and Susan Noah of Oregon. The rest of the afternoon we heard from Committee Chairpersons regarding their policy statements and resolutions the committees passed. After a two- hour break at 6 P.M., we opened again to hear more policy statements and resolutions the committees were advancing for adoption.   We finished   the evening with the Grange Advocacy Report by Leroy Watson and Grange Foundation Report by Joan Smith. We completed the evening with a Memorial Service presented by National Chaplain Barbara Borderieux. I had the honor of reading the tribute to our Past Voting Delegate Margaret Sendewicz.  Sister Sendewicz was a Delegate to the National Grange from 2006 to 2010.

The second day of the 154th National Grange Convention opened in the Fourth Degree at 12 Noon EST. That afternoon we heard from National Grange Vice President Philip Prelli (of Connecticut). Brother Prelli went over the improvements that have been made to our National Grange building in Washington, D.C. Improvements include the new state-of-the-art conference room among other projects. He also gave an outline of what building improvements are needed in the next 5 to 10 years. They are also looking at other options for the use of the building. The rest of the afternoon and evening we worked on resolutions.  The one resolution referred to National Grange by the Connecticut State Grange was regarding the sale of real property. We suggested that a Grange would receive $10,000 on the sale of real Grange property. The previous by-law clause states that a Grange would receive $1,000. After a long discussion, an amendment was made to increase it to $3,000. This amendment was passed and the resolution, as amended, was passed with the necessary 2/3 majority vote. Because it is a by-laws change, this resolution will need to be brought up again in 2021 and voted on for a second time. After submitting this resolution repeatedly for three years, we finally got an increase in the amount that would be returned to the Grange.

To finish up the evening we heard reports from Joseph Stefenoni, Membership Director, and Pete Pompper, Community Service Director.

The preceding was a quick rundown of what went on during the two days of the Session. If you are interested in seeing more in-depth details, most of this Convention is available for viewing on YouTube.

Next year the 155th National Grange Annual Convention will be held November 9-13, 2021 in Wichita, Kansas. Let’s all hope that this pandemic is far behind us by then and we can go back to meeting in person.

Sharon and I would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.



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