"Those idiots down at Grand Lodge must think that we're all Rockerfellers or something," complained WB John Wayne Stacey. He took a sip of his frappaccino and stared off into the distance for a moment. "I'm a five time Past Master of my lodge," he said. "I swear to God Almighty that this ain't right! Somebody needs to look into how those Grand Lodge guys are frittering away our money."
WB Stacey was among several hundred Nebraska Freemasons who swarmed district NDSS offices to apply for state aid, in hope of staving off home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and repossessions in the wake of the dues increases across the state.
The Past Bastard caught up with RWB Israel Johannson outside the Prairie Ridge Mall. We sat on the tailgate of his 2016 F350 "Dually" and sipped some Zipline micro-brew ale.
"You know, I've been paying $48 a year since I was raised," he said. "I'm coming up on my 25 year pin this August, and springing an increase like this on us, without no warning, is just unfair."
Ostensibly to pay for maintenance, repairs, and some office supplies, the Grand Lodge passed a $10 per capita increase, which could either be absorbed by the lodges, or passed on as a dues increase. Many lodges, facing their own need for building upkeep, took the opportunity to add yet another $5 for that purpose, and passed the entire $15 cost onto the lodge membership. The shock of such a large and unprecedented dues increase has caused many members to consider leaving the fraternity altogether.
Indeed, so many Nebraska Freemasons claimed that such exorbitant increases would leave them destitute, the Grand Lodge contacted the Department of Social Services to expedite financial aid to the Craft. We talked to one brother who was leaving his local office, paperwork still in hand.
--Conte Calvino Gliostro