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Apollo Elks reopens after reaching agreement with national organization

| Monday, Dec. 9, 2013, 12:36 a.m.

Leaders of an Armstrong County Elks lodge are hoping members who left in the wake of the lodge's charter being revoked will come back now that the decision has been reversed.

Apollo Elks Lodge 386 in Kiski Township closed in early August when the Grand Lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks in Chicago revoked its charter, citing primarily the lodge's poor finances.

The lodge appealed that action within the Elks organization.

An agreement was reached, resulting in the revocation of the charter being rescinded and the lodge's appeal being withdrawn.

Arthur Frost, a past national president and spokesman for the national organization, said the group is happy a resolution was reached and is hopeful that the lodge will become “a viable and active part of the community again.”

“We hate losing lodges,” Frost said. “We'll go to the effort of everything we can to maintain and keep a lodge. We hate to see it go as far as it went.”

Apollo Elks Exalted Ruler Charles Fox IV said the shutdown cost the lodge close to $11,000 in lost golf outings.

The lodge had about 500 members. Many of the lodge's members transferred when the charter was revoked, but Fox could not say exactly how many did that. Fox is hoping members will return.

“We're open, and we plan on staying open,” he said. “We need to continue on our plan that we had implemented to make the lodge viable again.”

The lodge, however, remains on probation and under the authority of a steering committee.

Under the terms of the order dated Oct. 31, the lodge's officers agreed to operate under the direction of a steering committee “as long as Grand Lodge deems it necessary.”

The steering committee provides direction and guidance, and is not intended to replace the local leadership, Frost said.

The steering committee is being replaced with three new members, which Fox said was important to the lodge's officers. They will have to meet with the steering committee when asked, and “provide any information or documents requested by the steering committee.”

There is no pre-determined length to how long the lodge will be on probation, Frost said. To be removed from probation, Frost said the lodge will have to comply with some Elks executive orders, the details of which he did not have.

Generally, Frost said the lodge needs to come into compliance with the Elks' statutes and bylaws.

“What is important is that the lodge become functioning again and following our rules,” he said. “As members of the Elks, they are part of the body that established those rules. They are rules we put on ourselves.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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