Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), February 17, 2020
Lookin’ good and feeling better–finishing steps are happening on our project
Can you help us this Thursday?
Country Floors started prep work for the carpet tiles which will cover the floor today, Monday the 17th. They expect that by Thursday morning they will have the carpet tiles for the back end of the lower level completed, so that we can move the stored items out of the alcove where they are stored–the shelves for Kids Trade & Play, the cafeteria tables, the folding chairs and other items–onto the carpet tiles.
WE NEED HELP to move these items–my 68 year old back can’t do it all! Please contact me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone: 802-225-8921 if you can help, starting at 8:00 AM.
Now, read on for more info on the project, and other Grange news.
Since the last report…
…at the end of January, the improvements have continued to accumulate. Contractor Stan Carlson has been hard at work. I’ve been doing quite a bit as well, and we’ve had help from several volunteers. Paint on the sheetrock, and trim for the windows With help from Erin Barry, Grange member and organizer of Kids Trade & Play, we got the sheetrock above the fiberglass reinforced panels painted a bright and attractive yellow, which has gotten compliments from everyone who’s commented on it. We appreciate the color choice made by Patty Giavara and Cynthia Haviland, who worked off a suggestion by Alison Forrest, who organized the re-painting of the upstairs Hall a few years ago. We like to get decisions on design, colors and other details to involve a variety of input from interested Grange community members, and it pays off.
With the wall-painting done, Stan was able to put the new trim on the windows, as well as on the stairwell edges. He installed 1×6 trim screwed to the foam panel “studs”, to make for solid mounting of the new handrails. As you’ll see below, he’s installed some sturdy and attractive railings. Before they were installed, they were varnished by Liz Benjamin, Grange member and organizer of Dance, Sing & Jump Around, and also by me. The stairway trim was painted by Elizabeth Templeton, one of the board members of the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, before the railings went up. After the photo below, Stan also installed a new railing on the opposite side of the stairway, they look great!
In the middle of all this, we were able to set up Kids Trade & Play on Feb. 8th, and at the end of that event we tucked all of the shelves, the movable tables, the Quarry project props and most other items into the “alcove” next to the kitchen. Many thanks to the KT&P volunteers, who helped us do that! The stowing of all that stuff made room for us to receive the new ceiling tiles on Feb. 10th. Longtime volunteer Kurt Giavara and I spent the next several days installing them in the cafeteria ceiling, and in the kitchen–see the pictures below. Cleaning up for carpet tiles–and for the dancers! On Friday, Feb. 14th, with the help of Grange member Charles Mayhood and his pickup truck, and CDU member Thomas Weiss, I took 2 loads of old ceiling tiles, old painted trim and other construction debris to the Central VT Landfill, leaving the floor relatively clear to the back wall.
Stan is nearing the end of his work on this project, and has moved most of his tools out to make room for the carpet tile installation, which started on Monday, Feb. 17th. In the pictures below, you can see Thomas Weiss cleaning up the floor before the dance on the 15th. We appreciate the help from many dancers at the end of that dance to pack away the temporary tables and chairs we put out!
Still lots of ways to help!
Besides the moving of stored stuff mentioned at the top, we are still in need of help with finishing up. We are very appreciative of all the volunteers! And we will still need others to pitch in to get this project done! Remember, as well as feeling part of the project, your volunteer hours count toward our “match” with the grant from the VT Arts Council, which will fund 50% of the project cost. Here is the reduced list of volunteer tasks that are still coming up:
- Painting new trim–around the windows the extension jambs need to be carefully “cut-in”, plus the faces of all the trim need painting. Also the railing support in the stairwell needs to be painted.
- Cleaning up after this work–we will be scheduling a work-day to make sure that the newly refurbished space is clean and as dust-free as we can make it.
Can you pitch in on some of this work? What skills do you have that will help? Please contact me (Tim) via email: email@example.com and let me know how we can fit you in!
We look forward to showing off the renovated basement once it’s done, we are inviting the Senators from Washington County, and Representatives from our district (Washington-1) to join us and representatives from the VT Arts Council for a ceremonial presentation of an oversize, symbolic “check” to the Friends. We won’t get the actual funds until our final report is submitted–but we want to show our legislative officials how the money the State gives to arts facilities can help a small non-profit community organization like ours. Grants like these have also helped us renovate our bathrooms, replace our dance floor, build our “new” ADA entrance and the upstairs ADA bathroom, too! We’ll spread the word when the date is fixed, so you, who contributed money or time to make this happen can be there as well.
What’s your beef?
Or more specifically, what can you do with it? This year, the Grange cooking contest (the one formerly known as the baking contest) has been morphed by the State Grange Home Ec programmers to be….“What can you make with a pound of ground beef?”. As usual, our Grange is also willing to consider “What can you make with a pound of plant-based meat?” as an equally valid question.
On Saturday, March 7th, we’ll find out what our community does in answer to those questions. There are no other constraints, which opens up a wide world of possibilities, from burgers to chilies to meatballs…we wait with interest!
This year, our “celebrity judges” include:
- Justin Turcotte, head chef for the Montpelier Senior Center FEAST meals program
- George Gross, owner of Dog River Farm, just down the road from the Grange
- Corinne Stridsberg, assistant town clerk in Berlin, and one who brings good dishes to many of our potluck dinners
We will come up with some prizes for the top 3 contestants, as determined by the judges–but the real prize is bragging rights! The first place winner will also be asked to repeat their winning dish for the State Grange contest, bringing the chance for real glory!
We’ll also have our monthly Community Potluck dinner following the judging, so there may be opportunities for us mere mortals to taste the prize-winners, and the other delicious entries and make our own choice of favorite recipe(s). Put it on your calendar!
Is this the beef:
Or is this the beef:
February program features honest discussions about inevitable choices at the end of life
The most recent in our alternate-month programs was a heartfelt discussion of the workings of the “medical assistance in dying” which is available to Vermonters, under Act 39, “Patient Choices at End of Life”. We were joined by Betsy Walkerman, chair of “Patient Choices Vermont”, the organization that developed the bill–and lobbied for its passage for 11 years until it was signed into law in 2013. Also joining us from Patient Choices was Toni Kaeding, who takes calls from patients and doctors.
The bill provides a legal process by which Vermonters can request medical aid in dying, if they have been diagnosed as having a terminal illness with a prognosis of 6 months or less. From when the law was passed through June 2019, 52 Vermonters have used this process to end their lives.
Beyond these facts and statistics, our discussion with Betsy and Toni was much more about questions of how the law’s impact is felt in individual lives. People in our group of 12 or 15 wanted to know how to open up a dialogue with doctors, when to start the dialogue (answer: as soon as possible), the impact of dementia on the ability to use the Act 39 process (you must be judged as competent to request the medication, and must be able to administer it yourself), can Patient Choices help with talking to doctors (they have brochures and will respond to doctors who want to know more), and much more. We heard stories from Betsy and various attendees about their family’s experiences with dying–both positive and painful–and the ways that parents and loved ones have responded. One participant told us about “Death Cafes” which have been held, as a way for people to get practice talking about what has been a taboo subject. Perhaps our talk was another approach to the same thing.
You can read more about this law at the Patient Choices VT Website; there is also access there to the brochures they distributed at the program, and several more items to download–to help in discussions with your family, or with your doctor. They strongly encourage the use of Advance Directives, regardless of one’s attitudes toward the choice of medical assistance in dying. I’ll vouch for the Advance Directive process as one that requires you to make conscious choices about what you want to have happen regarding treatment options, and places them in the context of what you want your quality of life to be in your last days.
Our next program meeting will be the April Grange meeting, on the first Saturday as usual, it will be April 4th. Stay tuned for an announcement of the topic and speaker(s).
In the midst of winter…flowers!
On Feb. 8th, following a snowstorm and cold weather, 8 intrepid folks enjoyed the dried flower wreath workshop which Carol Noyes put on at the Grange Hall, while Kids Trade & Play took place downstairs. Below, the participants show off their creations–fun was had by all!
Carol provided materials–wreath rings, wire and ribbons, plus flowers (like larkspur, celosia and others), dried grasses and more. Carol has been involved with the Grange for years, part of the contra dance community, as the first Treasurer of the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall, and as a main designer for the flower beds around our ADA entrance. She also donated a lot of the plants for those beds, and helped us plant them!
Based on the positive response, we expect we’ll do another one of these workshops with Carpol, keep your eye on the Grange Notes, and the Grange Facebook page for announcements!
And if you have an idea for a workshop, class or other event that would interest the wide variety of folks that know the Grange is a happenin’ place, please contact us and we’ll work with you to set it up!