Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, August 19, 2017
It’s that time: the Friends put up a Challenge
Well, now it is time to contribute to help fund the next round. The FCCGH is working on plans for improving the acoustics of the Hall and better ways to provide great sound for the dances and other events–and to replace the Old Entrance doors, re-side the North wall, and more. Generous Grange supporters have put up $1,500–and challenge you to chip in to match the pot! The money will provide a substantial part of the matching funds we need to raise for the grants the FCCGH plans to get. All money donated to the can at the front desk at the CDU dances (and other events), or handed to any Grange member, or donated via Paypal at: http://capitalcitygrange.org/
There will be extra FUN in the fundraiser on Sept. 2nd, when the CDU dance will feature a dessert potluck, and much encouragement from Mary Wesley and the Irregulars, who will be calling and playing for the dance, respectively.
And don’t forget–Rob Nichols has raised another big crop of healthy and beautiful house-plants, offered for a $5.00 donation (or somewhat more for the big ones). You can’t beat that deal!
Can you name all of these sinks?
Foam, sweet foam?…well, maybe not sweet.
Finishing up the floor
Another project completed!
Meetings R Us
The meeting included presentation of the process by the 3 Planning Board members, and input from over 30 people who attended. There were people from various parts of the town, and a mixture of farmers, residents who commute to other places in Central VT, and people interested in the Berlin Town Forest, among others. And in the Grange tradition, we started with a tasty potluck dinner!
There was much discussion of how to provide a “Town Center” for this dispersed VT town. Many expressed that the Grange Hall is a welcoming place to meet, especially for residents of the western part of the Town. There was also a lot of interest in a more identifiable focus which would help make Berlin more recognizable as a town. Many there lamented the lack of a Berlin identity–being seen more as “that place between Montpelier and Barre”.
This Berlin Town meeting was hosted for free by the Grange, as are any meetings or events held by Berlin residents or Berlin-based organizations. This is the specific benefit we offered to the residents and the Town of Berlin, when we asked for and received an exemption from property taxes in 2016–which we really appreciate! We look forward to hosting more public and private events–get in touch with Merry at: firstname.lastname@example.org for your free use of our Community Hall, if you are part of the Berlin community.The VT State Grange’s Leadership Training workshop on August 12th was also “rented” at no cost. The bottom two pictures are from that workshop, which I also attended. The event was attended by about 50 Grange members from the northern part of the state; another workshop will be held in Bomoseen today, 8/19. VT State Grange leaders presented about a range of topics:
- gaining members (most important? Ask people to join!–so consider yourself asked! We’d love to have you!)
- handling finances and maintaining controls on money spent, by transparent voting and record-keeping, plus routine auditing to ensure that all is going well
- writing resolutions to be voted on by Community Granges, the State Grange, and (if it involves national policy) the National Grange. It all starts with the basic community organization of the Grange. The CCG has submitted a resolution this year asking for support for a legal way for year-round agricultural workers to immigrate, inspired by Senator Leahy’s bill in the Senate! It will be studied and voted on at the annual State Grange meeting in October.
- Keeping up with State and Federal corporate tax filings and regulations for tax-exempt organizations. The State leaders emphasized that home-town fraternal organizations like the Community Granges still have to meticulously follow the laws. We are non-profit corporations under the umbrella of the State and National organizations, but still have to file in a timely and complete way to maintain our tax exemptions. Good intentions are not enough!
- Ritual and how to better maintain the traditional ceremonies of the Grange meeting. VT State Master Brenda Rousselle, who is the Lady Assistant Steward of the National Grange showed some of what she has learned at their meetings.
As noted above, our Grange donates the use of the Hall for State Grange activities, as part of our relationship with the Grange movement–and also in thanks for the vital construction and mortgage loans the VT State Grange has given us for our big projects. We couldn’t do this without working together!