Grand Secretary "Stuff"
Information for Lodge Secretaries – November 2016
With 16 of 24 District meetings completed, I continue to be impressed and enlightened by the Brethren of this Grand Jurisdiction. I have met many Lodge Secretaries and I'm humbled by your efforts and devotion to your Lodges and Brethren. I look forward to meeting more of you as we move towards the last District meeting on Dec. 10th. Please be sure to introduce yourselves if we are at a District meeting together.
I'm letting this pass by this month as there is important information further along from the Webmaster about practicing safe internet!! Go figure….
More Constitutional Corner next month!
It is Annual Meeting season for many lodges and with that comes annual election of officers and with that election comes the need for you to submit a Certificate of Election for your lodge. As most of you know, that can be done in MORI by you but, if you are unfamiliar with that there are several options. You can send us the document and we will do it. You can also call us and just tell us the information and we will make it happen. The goal here is to have MORI accurately reflect who your lodge officers are for the coming year. Many publications going forward use information from the MORI database and as the old saying goes: bad info in, bad info out. We want to get it right and thank you for helping us.
Save the Dates
District meetings are semi-public unless otherwise noted.
Nov 11th-10th District Meeting-Lincoln Lodge, Wiscasset 6:30
Nov 15th-22nd District Meeting-Parian Lodge, Corinna 6:30
Nov 17th- 8th District Meeting-Marsh River Lodge, Brooks 6:30
Nov 19th-6th District Meeting-Bangor Masonic Center, Bangor 4:00
Dec 2nd-23rd District Meeting-Tranquil Lodge, Auburn 6:30
Dec 3rd-14th District Meeting-Freeport Lodge, Freeport 6:30
Dec 9th-16th District Meeting-Oxford Lodge, Norway 6:30
Dec 10th-7th District Meeting-Union Lodge, Union 12:00 (Tyled) This meeting will be preceded by the dedication of the new Community Warming Center at Mt Olivet Lodge in Washington beginning at 11:00 AM
Finally, I want to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with all the warmth and gratitude that the holiday brings to mind. Share your good fortune and bounty with others. It does wonders for one's heart and soul.
Have a great November!
YOUR Library and Museum
My information about donations to the Museum (and/or Library) in the last Grand Secretary's Newsletter has produced some additional questions which I'd like to address particularly as we reach year-end with every non-profit encouraging you and your Brethren to make tax-deductible donations.
Because the Grand Lodge Museum and Library are fully-qualified charities under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code, any donation of cash or articles could help reduce a donor's tax load at year end. For larger donations, an appraisal is needed and unfortunately we can't do those. It's unethical since we'd benefit from the donation and unacceptable by the IRS because we have an interest in the transaction. Further though, we're not licensed appraisers. Once you've gotten the appraisal, though, we'll be here.
Of course, if taking a tax deduction isn't important - and for many of us, our donation might not rise to the level where it would help reduce taxes beyond the standard deduction - no appraisal is necessary.
Our space is limited but there are many things that would be wonderful if scanned or photographed because we could place them online for everyone in the world to enjoy. Anyone in your lodge have a collection of some kind? If it's postcards, Moxie bottles, tractors or whatever, we can photograph (in 3D too!) and help keep those memories alive online for future generations to enjoy.
Finally, Brothers, I wish you the happiness and warmth of the Thanksgiving holiday. Several lodges around our jurisdiction now do wonderful community-outreach holiday meals for those less fortunate. If yours does, THANK YOU! If you don't (yet!), call a lodge that does and offer your support. What a wonderful way to build and share Brotherhood.
From the Webmaster: IMPORTANT!!!
Brethren, this is NOT a political message in any way but the many stories about email 'hacking' cry out for more understandable explanations. I apologize for the length.
FIRST: anyone who is online should clearly understand that, regardless of the insistency of the appeal, no Nigerian prince, widowed heiress to a fortune, army soldier stationed in some combat zone, or Grand Master of Masons is going to be writing to you asking for or offering to give you a specific amount of money. DELETE THESE MESSAGES!!! No, don't think about it. Don't ponder over them. DELETE!!! Don't click on anything 'just to check it out': JUST DELETE!
(Can I be much more plain?) Move on and forget about it.
Now if you want to ponder just a bit more, let's take a recent example: why would Tom Pulkkinen, our Grand Master, contact YOU – YOU!!! – for $2,000 to assist someone whose house has been destroyed last night? Why didn't he mention who so you might have mustered more help from your lodge? And don't you think the Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation might have enough money to cover this particular need? Moreover, if the GM REALLY needed $2,000 for something like that and there just wasn't enough money in the checkbook why would he go to YOU instead of your lodge – or the Deputy Grand Master – or, well, anybody else EXCEPT you?
SECOND: don't EVER click on links that ask you to change your password. In the case of the email account of John Podesta (again, regardless of whether you think that was a blessing or curse), the apparent cause was an email ostensibly from Google/Gmail which said his account had been hacked by the Ukranians. DANGER!!! If your account was hacked by someone (like in the recent LinkedIn debacle), no one from the REAL company is going to release specifics about who did the hacking. They don't want to get sued. It's that simple. Some evil force is involved and they're here to help you? DELETE!!!
On a morning tv show as I was getting dressed and only partially paying attention, they flashed a picture of the message Mr. Podesta had supposedly received. One blink was all I needed to know it was a phony but regardless, the rule applies: NEVER, NEVER, EVER click on a link in an email to change a password.
As I've looked more carefully into the Podesta story, one report said that their IT Security folks said it was likely a legitimate request but told him to go to the site itself and not use the email link. First, those advisors should be fired immediately as grossly incompetent. Heck, a simple medical practice administrator (and aged person!) such as myself knows how to read email headers better than people who're getting paid to do this stuff all day long? C'mon…. But further, it would appear that Mr. Podesta or someone on his staff disregarded the advice to go to the site directly and did exactly what they were told not to do: they clicked on the link. Brethren, PLEASE: NEVER click on a link to change your password for ANYTHING! No matter how urgent it appears. Take the three extra seconds and go to the site directly. It's really easy and will save you winding up in the middle of a political scandal – or having to change your bank accounts!
Just go to the website, whether it's Dropbox, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft, or whatever. Changing passwords is a good thing from time to time (don't use the same one for everything!) but please do NOT click on a link in an email.
THIRD: Don't open attachments that you aren't expecting. If your local roofing company sends an invoice and you've just had repair work done, you're likely ok. If someone from a company you've never heard of sends you a zip file or whatever, DELETE! (Have you sensed a theme to this message?) Don't get curious or impulsive. You'll be very sorry if you do. JUST DELETE!!!
FINALLY: SO many of you send group emails and toss all of the addresses in the TO line. STOP IT!!! Put your own address in the TO line and put the rest in the BCC (Blind Copy To) line. That way all of the rest of us won't be subjected to spam emails because somebody has a virus and you've now exposed our addresses, causing us to get even more crap. If you want to make sure that the sender also sent this to someone else, write him/her back and ask. (I'll often say: "This message is being sent to all lodge members." or something similar.) Just don't put everyone in the 'to' line. It helps the scammers and virus infectors more than you can possibly imagine.
If anything in here needs clarification, call (or even email <wink>). I'd be glad to explain further.