Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), September 18, 2020
September meeting: Lots to discuss!
One of the main events will be the Grange ceremony to honor both Les Skinner and Marj Power, “Draping the Charter”, designed to mark the passing of Grange members. The Grange has many ways to mark significant moments in the lives of members–and to make them memorable. This will provide us a formal opportunity for reminiscing about Les & Marj and their (substantial) contributions to our Grange. Many of us have strong memories of both of them, and we look forward to sharing some of those, as well as having the ritual observances. Grange Musician Mat Nunnelly will provide some music, including singing some songs in honor of our late members–unfortunately, group singing is another activity that is prohibited to avoid chances of spreading infection.
We will also be able to celebrate together another successful fundraiser to support the Grange in these perilous times–the CDU translated their usual early fall fundraiser to be an online concert featuring Pete’s Posse, instead of the usual series of exuberant dances, and supporters responded, easily passing the $4,000 goal. We had publicized the expected loss in rental income, and the need for help from Grange community members, and we’re touched–and inspired–by the response from people who love the Grange and the Grange Hall. Many thanks to the CDU, to Pete’s Posse, and to the many donors!
As usual, there is no shortage of ways we can use the money raised. Besides paying the bills and avoiding draining our savings during this low-income period, we are also looking into options to increase ventilation of both the basement and the upstairs Hall, as part of mitigating risk of COVID-19 transmission. I hope to have some preliminary “budget” information about options we could pursue, from at least one of the HVAC contractors who toured the Hall with me in the past few weeks. We will also discuss the possibility of finding some grant money to help us improve the health and safety of Grange rentals, and what policies to implement to make sure event at our Hall are as low-risk as possible.
Related to that discussion, we’ll look forward to the VT State Grange “Annual State Session”, normally held at the Capitol Plaza hotel on the 3rd Saturday in October. This year, the State Grange asked us a few months ago if we could host an abbreviated event at our Grange Hall, and plans are underway for that meeting, on Oct. 17th. I have met with the State Grange Executive Committee (via Zoom), and discussed ways to limit attendance, and risks. The expectation is that the maximum number of people will be around 50, all to be “socially distanced” and wearing masks; there will be no shared snacks or meals–all will be asked to bring “bag lunches”–and there will be big reduction in the ritual and marching which is traditional at these meetings. All attendees will be asked screening questions, will get temperature checks (non-contact thermometers are being acquired) and will give contact information on entry. If the weather is at all cooperative, we will open windows in the Hall, and turn up the heat if necessary to increase ventilation while maintaining comfort. The VSG has been very cooperative in these discussions, and all agreed that health and safety will be the highest priority. It is only because Vermonters have done such a good job following public health recommendations that this sort of meeting is possible at all.
We’ll also take a look at the “Resolutions” which will be voted on at the State Session–these are posted on our website at: VT State Grange Resolutions; I’ll bring a few copies to the meeting as well. We will also discuss who will be our Delegate(s)–which leads me to:
Grange Elections: in even numbered years, we need to elect officers for our Community Grange (it’s required for all Granges, including State officers). We are very open to anyone who would like to run for one of the officers’ chairs; the offices include Gatekeeper, Steward, Assistant Steward, Lady Assistant Steward, Lecturer, Chaplain, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, President, Musician, Pomona, Ceres, Flora plus 3 Executive Committee members–please contact me for more information on the specific duties! If no one else sticks up their hands, the odds are good that the incumbents will serve another 2 years…
We wish we could segue to a Community Potluck after this meeting, but of course that is not possible under the current health and safety guidelines, so keep practicing your recipes at home, because we’ll all be hungry for them when we can finally get back together!
I’m also very pleased to pass on that David has just been announced as the recipient of the 2021 “Lifetime Contribution Award” by the Country Dance & Song Society! This is a well-deserved honor. Here’s the text of the CDSS announcement:
Auction action: Keeping Marj’s skirts dancing!
In addition to the dance-related items, the Old Socialist Labor Hall, which Marj also loved and helped to rehabilitate is offering T-shirts, sweatshirts, history books and other items. Proceeds of this auction will be split between the two community organizations.
The auction will run until Sept. 30th; items you’ve won will be available for pickup at the Grange Hall on Saturday, Oct. 3rd, from 3-6:00 PM. Or we can mail them to you for an additional $12.00.
We encourage you to bid early and often, in memory of Marj, and to support these 2 community organizations that she loved so much. We certainly look forward to seeing Marj’s skirts, shirts, etc. on the Grange Hall dance floor….someday lots of us will be back there!
Many thanks to Elizabeth Templeton, from the dance community and the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, and to Ruth Ruttenberg, President of the Labor Hall for their work organizing the auction and uploading all the photos and information!