Before you read any farther, please do me a favor.  Check today’s date, then go to your phone and call (440) 774-2887, or to your computer and email [email protected], and let me know what day you received the packet with your copy of The Cut Flower Quarterly, the Raleigh Conference brochure, and the 2007 election ballot.
    
Some of you are aware of the trouble we had with the mailing of the Spring issue, particularly to members in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana.  Magazines were delivered up to seven weeks late, some never appeared at all.  Mysteriously, neither my local post office nor my regional substation could provide a satisfactory reason.  Perhaps one Southern postal worker is hoarding them all in his basement, gathering enough information to become a cut flower grower himself one day.
    
Whatever the reason, I apologize for the snafu.  We are using a different permit this time, and I need to know how much faster it gets our mail into your hands. If this one is more efficient, though it is a little more expensive, we will probably use it in the future.
    
We were able to stuff a couple extras into this packet.  The Raleigh Conference brochure, which had already been available online for weeks, is fresh off the press and into your hands.  If you’re planning to register for the Growers’ School, you’d better be making another call, because the Growers’ School is already half full.  Registration is limited and we know it will fill quickly.  The rest of the Conference is excellent: the Raleigh Committee had so many terrific speakers they couldn’t fit them all into two days, so we added a third.
    
This year you’ll have several opportunities to participate in the Conference yourself.  Remember to carry your camera everywhere this season, so you can enter your own photos in the ‘Ideas from the Farm’ session on Thursday.  Donate flowers for the hotel designs, and spend some time creating your own arrangement for the Floral Design Competition.  This is quickly becoming everyone’s favorite part of the Conference.  Don’t tell yourself you don’t have any design talent.  Come down to the design room, pick out a container and give it a shot.  You’ll have a lot of company, and all kinds of advice.
    
The ballot for the 2007 Election is also included in this packet.  We are fortunate to have an excellent crop of candidates for this year’s election of Regional Directors for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, as well as President and Vice-president.  Our goal has always been to have at least two candidates per office, but in an organization as small as ours, that’s not always possible.  Please take a minute to return your ballot.  Each year I’m pleased with the quality of people I’m able to work with, and I look forward to working with the new Board beginning in 2008.
    
I’m also eager to see all of you in Raleigh in October.