Christopher D. Johnston
6241 Grand River Road
Bancroft, MI 48414
(989)634-9350 (H) (989)666-6648 (C)

404 S. Oak Street
Durand, MI 48429


Spring is in the air
At least at the time of me writing this article. I have just returned home from the Masters Conference in Baltimore Maryland. It was wonderfully in the high 40’s to low 50’s when I arrived, and well into the low 30’s when I left. Since I had arrived a bit early, I took the opportunity to jump on the metro and head into DC. I walked around our nation's capital for a few hours enjoying the sights of the town. I did notice that the middle of February is really the right time to go to the Nation's Capital since there are very few tourists there. The downfall of that is that there are very few food trucks, so no cheap meals.

I returned to the hotel and enjoyed the fellowship of fellow National Officers and State Masters for the remainder of the evening. In the morning we were treated to a tour of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. My tour was guided by a retired Captain, who had also served as the director of admissions at the academy. If you ever have the chance take the time and go on the tour and remember as our guide told us this academy does not belong to the Navy it belongs to the American citizens who pay for it. The rest of the weekend was filled with exciting speakers and discussions about the various tasks before us over the rest of this year.

Grange Month
April is Grange month, this is the time of year we blow our own whistle. Some Granges hand out membership awards, VIP awards, Law enforcement, Fire, Teacher of the year awards, some have an open house. If you have an open house at your Grange hall, please let us know about it. Whatever your Grange decides to do in Grange month, if you have a social media that you prefer to use, please create an event two weeks ahead of time and post reminders 2-3 days before your event.

The theme for Grange Month is “Cultivating Connections”.

National Grange
The National Grange Lecturers department has a new quarterly publication entitled “A quarters worth”.

If you are interested in receiving this publication please contact Jackie Bishop, your Michigan State Grange Lecturer, who happens to have been featured on the front page of the first edition.

The National Grange headquarters conference room on the first floor is being completely renovated, from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. The objective of this renovation is to modernize the audio and video equipment as well as the decor of the room and make it more appealing for tenants of the building to utilize, as well as generate some income from outside businesses.

The membership director Joe Stefinoni has released a new resource manual. The manual includes seven sections titled: Business Information, Grange meeting Information, Grange Law, Officer resources, Grange program information,State Grange Information, Miscellaneous.

State Grange
As we are ever gaining speed towards the 150th celebration of the Michigan State Grange, I am looking for dedicated members to join the celebration committee. This committee will be looking at the ways to celebrate during our 150th convention. Also to help with the cost of this celebration we are still selling the newest Michigan State Grange pin for $5 if you are interested in a pin or two please contact the state Secretary.


Y2K to 2020
Happy New Year!  It's hard to believe that just twenty years ago around this time of year, people were clearing the store shelves and packing food away awaiting the coming apocalypse when 1999 came to a close and the computers were gonna crash at 12 midnight December 31. Yet here we are, 20 years later the apocalypse has not yet happened, the world did not come to an end, the computers didn’t all crash, and many people still have the same can goods stashed away. While we don’t have that particular worry these days, there are still so many other kinds of threats that we should be prepared for. From natural disasters to mankind nastiness, the start of the new year would be a good time to make sure you have the necessary provisions in any event.

National Grange Session 2019
Our trip to National started out on the wrong foot. We hadn’t even made it out of the county yet when we had a flat tire on the Grange trailer, thanks to a buddy of mine, we were able to get the tire fixed and back on our way. We drove mostly through the night and arrived at the session on Saturday morning around 11:30 am. The session went off without too many hitches.

We should all be proud of our State Grange Overseer Sharon Popler who did an excellent job presenting the flag of the Great State of Michigan, during the opening of the National Session. She also along with Dale Moore represented Michigan in the Sixth degree.

I would also like to thank Peggy Johnston, Luanna Swainston, Arnette Welsh, Dale Moore, and Sharon Popler for their assistance with the hosting duties. There were many compliments on the hospitality room when it was Michigan’s day to take care of.

During each day of session the National Master Betsy Huber recognized members as heroes of the Grange, on Friday Connie and I were recognized, Connie for her work on putting together the delegate folders in a short amount of time and I was recognized for transporting and storing the Seventh Degree supplies and equipment.

All the hard work on the trailer was a success. We heard many compliments on the re-designed trailer. It was said that those traveling by car the same route we were on, could see the trailer from quite a distance. One Granger posted a video on her Facebook page as they passed us on the way to session. We heard the youth were also impressed when they saw the trailer in the parking lot on their way to their tour. Several states even inquired about the process and cost as they may now look into doing their own state trailer the same as ours.

At the banquet they announced the community service awards. We were pleasantly surprised when Michigan’s entry for Teacher of the Year was announced. Vicki Bocek of Durand High School was selected as the National Grange Teacher of the Year. Burns Grange was the nominating Grange and had the honor to present the plaque to Vicki at their Christmas dinner a few weeks ago.

MSD Christmas Party
While I wasn’t able to attend, I heard the Christmas Party for the Michigan School for the Deaf Adopt-a-Child program went very well. This is such a great program and there were many smiles that day from the excited students. If you or your Grange is interested in adopting a child, be sure to get with Luanna Swainston our Deaf Awareness Director.

Until next time……