Many things happened this last month in our Lodge. On October 25th, Past Master Mike Flockhart was presented the Mason Of The Year award at the Scottish Rite Feast of Tishri dinner. The award was presented by Worshipful James G. Widdoes, Personal Representative of the Grand Inspector General, Scottish Rite Masons in Northren California. Pictured L – R: Jim Widdoes, Mike Flockhart.

On November 6th, Eel River Empire Lodge assisted in opening the time caplule in the Corner Stone of the Fortuna Methodist Church’s 125th anniversary of the laying of the corner stone by Eel River Lodge, Rohnerville Ca. on June 12, 1889. In the capsule was the original dispensation to lay the corner stone. It was presided over by: Grand Master McMeil, Dep. Grand Master Melendy, Senior Grand Warden Eastman, Junior Grand Warden Edwards, Treasurer M. A. Webber and Secretary Joseph Hull. Think of the effort that the Grand Officers put forth to travel to Fortuna to officiate at this ceremony. The document is in amazingly good condition considering it’s age. There is some fading of the ink in the hand written document but the letterhead is in good condition and very legible.

The event was preformed under dispensation to wear Masonic Regalia and was officiated by Acting Master Jim Widdoes PM and Chaplain Jay Grunert PM. The theme of Jim’s presentation was rememberance and renewal and Jay delivered one of his special prayers. The event was attended by eighty church members and brethren. Pictured L – R: Jay Grunert, Jim Widdoes.

At the suggestion of our Junior Warden, Lee Hopkins, our community project for the year was to honor the service men and women of the Lodge’s sphere of influence. Lee was appointed as chairman of the project and our goal was to have made and placed on the city light standards, banners with pictures of the active service members. With the help of others of our brethren and members of the City, this project was brought to fruition on November 7th. As of this date, ten banners have been installed. It is intended that when a member retires from active service, the member’s banner will be removed and presented to the member and will be replaced by another active service member. We thank the City and their employees for their help in the project.

Pictured L – R: Neale Webb (In Bucket), Cory Smith. Lodge members, Phil Grunert, Jim Widdoes, Jay Grunert and Charley Bennett.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Richard H. Sweet, Secretary

November 2011 Trestleboard


The first of October was Apple Harvest Time in Fortuna and your Lodge was at the Strongs Creek Plaza again this year to provide the “Children’s ID Program”. We processed a total of 150 young people this year. I wish to thank Bro. Duane Plant and my wife Eleanor for their assistance with the project. Again this year, the Joker Clowns provided entertainment for the little ones with their balloon art and colorful costumes.

Please Note: Contrary to what was said in the last Trestleboard, Eel River Empire Installation of Officers will be held on Demember 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM in the Fortuna Masonic Lodge at 922 Main St. Fortuna. It will be an open installation and everyone is invited to attend.

Bro. Mike Flockhart will be receiving his Mason of the Year award on October 25, 2011 at the Fortuna Masonic Lodge, 922 Main St. Fortuna. Dinner will be served at 7:15 PM with the program to follow. This award is provided by the Scottish Rite Body of Santa Rosa and as Mike was unable to attend the presentation in Santa Rosa, it will be presented by the Scottish Rite Valley of Northern California. This event will be in conjunction with their Feast of Thishri.

Richard H. Sweet, Secretary



Labor Day has come and gone and I hope everyone enjoyed the break from their labors while they wore themselves out making sure they did.

Seems like this is kind of a “Ho Hum” time of year for the Lodge as folks are taking vacations, hunting, fishing or just plain relaxing. However, there are some who are working diligently learining their work for next year.

By the way, mark this date on your calendar; December 3, 2011 will be Eel River Empire 147 Installation of Officers. The time hasn’t been confirmed yet. It will be a closed installation.

Our attendance has dropped off these last few months. I encourage all of the brethren to come out and attend our dinners and meetings. Please bring your wives or significant other with you so they can enjoy a night out away from the kitchen and socialize with the other wives while we are attending the meeting. We are open to suggestions from everyone as to what the wives would like for entertainment while are in the meeting. There is a lot of talent in our area and many are willing to present programs. We would like to generate a family atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Here is another date to remember; October 1, 2011. We will be putting on the “Kids ID Program” again this year in the Strongs Creek Shopping Center in Fortuna. The time will be 10 AM to 2 PM. If you know anyone with small children, please encourage them to take advantage of this program. Please assure them that we do not retain any of the information or pictures that are taken. It is for their personal use only.

Other dates:

Fun night at the Lodge, September 21, 2011. Come and swim with the card sharks. Stated Meeting, October 8, 2011. Dinner at 7:00 PM and the meeting starts at 8:00 PM.


Richard H. Sweet, Secretary



Well, here it is August again. Seems like this year is flying by and that fall is nearly upon us.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable time at the Annual Masonic Picnic on the 7th at Rohner Park. Thanks to all who were involved in preparing, hauling wood and stoking the barbecue pit in preparation for the roasts. We owe a big thank you to all who delivered barbecue and beans to the folks who were unable to attend for various health reasons. Also thank you to the other Lodges who helped prepare and serve the food.

The youth groups did a great job of serving the ice cream and toppings. Of course, it was all low calorie.

Who was that unmasked man seated in the barber chair????

As you know, Duane Plant had made a deal with the four Lodges that if they could come up with $1000 as a donation to the Rainbow Girls, he would be shorn clean. Beard and ponytail gone!!! Well it happened. he is now a new man. Some folks who have known him for twenty years didn’t recognize him.

The big Masonic Shootout at the Humboldt Trap Club in McKinleyville come off without a hitch I am told. Seems like Eel River Empire came in second after Six Rivers employed a ringer to snatch the title away from them. I wasn’t there so this just hearsay on my part.

Everyone have a happy and safe Labor Day.


Richard H. Sweet, Secretary



At our July stated meeting we had the pleasure of bestowing upon Bro. Philip Grunert PM, the Hiram Award. This was in recognition of his service not only to his Lodge but also to his community. Phil is a thirty six year member of Eel River Empire Lodge 147. Phil has been Treasurer of the Lodge since 2005 and has served on various committees and aids in degree work for the Lodge. He has also devoted many hours in an advisory capacity to the California Department of Fish and Game. He also participates in and is involved in many local fish and game activities.

Pictured above L – R: Phil Grunert, Diane Grunert and Jim Widdoes who acted as Master of Ceremonies.

There were eight other Hiram Award recipients present to honor Phil.

Pictured above L – R: Duane Plant, Dan McClelland, Phil Grunert, Jim Widdoes, Jay Grunert, Bernie Kemp, Rich Sweet and Assistant Grand Lecturer David Perry.

We had the pleasurer of having Bro. David Perry AGL, his wife and daughter visit us this evening. It was great that he could take time from his busy schedule to do so.

Be sure to mark your calendars for the Masonic Picnic to be held on August 7, 2011 in Rohner Park, Fortuna. Serving will start at 12:00 noon. Bring your own uninsels, dishes, drinks and deserts.

Perhaps it is time to get more involved in your Lodge. Perhaps there are membes out there who do not wish to devote the time to go through the chairs but would be interested in helping with degrees or in the case of the Tiler, to be there for stated meetings and some degree nights. The chairs of Tiler, Marshall, Chaplain and Stewards could be filled by members who do not wish to advance through the line but could be depended upon to be there when needed. Please give some thought to this and if you are interested, we would love to hear from you.

Bro. Phil Grunert announced that in addition to the $1500 donated by the Lodge, donations following the cancer awareness program presented last month, the total has been raised to nearly $3000 to be donated to the “By Your Side” program.

Here’s hoping to see you at the picnic.


Rich Sweet, Secretary



Those members and friends who missed our last stated meeting held on June 11, 2011 surely missed out and the thirty four who attended acquired much knowledge. In keeping with the Most Worshipful Grand Master’s project, “By Your Side”, a wonderful two hour program was presented on cancer, it’s detection, it’s treatment and it’s survivors. The speakers were Bro. Phil Gruneret, Bro. Lee Hopkins, Rohnerville-Redwood OES member De De Cathy and Oncology Nurse Sandy Gibs. All are cancer survivors except Sandy. Each of the survivors described how their cancer had been discovered and what treatments were prescribed. One of the most important things that was passed on by the survivors was to pay attention to your body. No one knows it better than yourself. If you notice something that isn’t quite normal, don’t just wish it to go away, have your doctor check it out. It might save your life.

Sandy was then asked to speak and she described her schooling. She said that an oncology nurse must first be a registered nurse. This training is then followed by specialized schooling and on the job training. The nurse must then pass the oncology nurse examination. Sandy that it was the most difficult examination she had ever taken. Just to take the examination costs between $250 and $700. After passing the test and working in the field, they must take a refresher course every four years to keep their license current. Now we know why there is a shortage of oncology nurses. They are worth their weight in gold!

Please Read. At our next stated meeting, July 9, 2011 we will be presenting Bro. Phil Grunert PM with his Hiram Award. Officers please take note; We will open Lodge at 6:15 PM and then go to refreshment for dinner and the presentation. Please be there on time for opening. The ladies of Rohnerville-Redwood OES will be preparing and serving the dinner. As we are expecting a large turnout for dinner, it will be by reservation only. Please get your reservations in early, the cutoff date will be July 5, 2011. Please make reservations with Rich Sweet, 707-764-3626 or Email (Preferred) and I will see that your name gets into the pot. Cost will be $10.00 per person.

Everyone have a happy and safe Fourth of July and God Bless America.

Rich Sweet, Secretary