Grange News by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s helo) September 16, 2021
Grange meeting time this Saturday at 4:30–join us electronically to hear the latest news and help us plan for the fall
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 918 4681 7691Some more of the topics:
- Faster internet coming to the Grange Hall! The DSL service we’ve gotten has never been great; the 80% price increase which was sprung on us this summer by First Light was the last straw. Consolidated Communications (formerly Fairpoint) now has fiber going past the Hall, and offered a good deal. It is more expensive than DSL used to be, but very competitive with the increase price. The “gigabyte upload and download” capacity will be a huge improvement!
- We have filed a request for property tax abatement with the Town of Berlin, making the case that our cash-flow, severely impacted by pandemic restrictions, can’t handle the annual tax bill of almost $5,500 for which we’re being billed. We’ll talk about next steps to reinstate the full exemption we were voted in 2016, which ran until this year.
- State Grange annual session will be back at the Capitol Plaza On October 15-17th. We will be selecting delegates, and beginning discussion of the Resolutions that will be voted on there–including the one proposed by Grange Lecturer Carl Etnier, and sent in by our Grange! Hear more when you tune in Saturday.
- We’ll also be talking about changing COVID protocols for the Hall, and discuss the impact this has on our renters going forward. We’ll talk about our existing ventilation and its benefits and drawbacks, as well as looking forward to possible improvements.
- We hope to have a presentation from Just Food Hub. This outfit is a non-profit whose mission is to sell fair-traded food products from Equal Exchange and local producers, and to share profits with other non-profit organizations. They have asked to present their ideas for selling to Grange Hall users, and possibly to use the Hall as a distribution point. You can find out more about the organization and their products at the Just Food Hub website.
The concert started about 7:00, with Aaron Marcus and Joanne Garton of The Turning Stile playing–and dancing! Joanne is an accomplished Scottish dancer; Aaron is a flatfoot/clog dancer; each performed on the bottom step of the porch, to the delight of the crowd, while the other played! Their keyboard/fiddle duets were the main attraction, earning lots of applause. The pictures below show them in the gathering dusk.
Our second act was Atlantic Crossing, another great Vermont band. Viveka Fox, Peter Macfarlane and Rick Klein played Vermont, French Canadian and British Isles tunes and songs–including several of their own compositions. Their connection to the sea and sailing is evident–Rick is a licensed maritime skipper, and Peter builds wooden guide-boats and canoes–and it infuses their songs as well.
The evening was capped off by a “big-band” sound as Joanne & Aaron joined Atlantic Crossing, and they jammed together beautifully. What you can’t see in the darkness behind the porch is a number of couples and individuals who danced in the parking lot–socially distant but with great enjoyment!
We were pleased that generosity at the admissions tent let us pay the bands well–we are happy to provide some income for the very talented folks who bring such joy to us all.
We also welcomed Just Food Hub, the distributor of Equal Exchange food products, who gave out very popular free samples of chocolate, and also sold EE products to audience members. They were able to donate a portion of their proceeds to the fundraising effort! Speaking of which….
Thanks to everyone who helped make this event happen, came to enjoy it (or tuned in on-line) and contributed both in admissions, and to the fund-raising campaign, which matched the $2,000 challenge, making a total of over $4,000 to support the Friends and the CDU!
Putting together a display pushed me to create a new Capital City Grange brochure, plus a Hall Rental brochure, which you’ll soon see at our Hall, along with the tri-fold display board with pictures of our many community-serving activities.
The booth was staffed by CCG members for several shifts during the run. Many thanks to Erin Barry, Jody Pettersen, Alison Forrest, Merry Shernock (and me) for helping to welcome fair-goers to learn about the Grange. Besides looking at the displays, there was a raffle for a quilt (for a donation), a free raffle for the last copies of the VT Grange cookbook, and the free opportunity to select pre-cut fabric panels to be sewed into “comfort pillows” by Grange members; these are used for comfort by cancer patients, nursing mothers, and more!
Kids Trade & Play steps into the sunshine!
In this photo, you can see some of the hard-working volunteers sorting donations (we got lots!) under the left hand shade canopy. In the center “welcome” tent, I sat saying Hi to folks and collecting donations. The green canopy in the background featured Merry providing info on Central VT resources services for families. And behind the tents are the Grange’s folding tables, which held the many bins of clothes and shoes for kids, all sorted by size/age range. Many full bags were taken away by parents and kids!
Many thanks to Erin, who supervised the volunteers who packed up the boxes, drove the truck to deliver them, organized the tables, and was kept busy all afternoon answering questions and keeping everything running. Then she worked with other volunteers to pack it all up after the 4 PM closing time, and brought it all back to the Grange Hall!
Erin donated all the money taken in on the 11th to 350Vermont.org, which is working to keep useful items out of the landfill, as well as organizing Vermonters who care about climate change to resist fossil fuel lobbying, and work for climate justice and resilience.