We’re Back…to our regular schedule for Grange meetings on the first Saturday of the month. Join us at 4:30 for our monthly consideration of all Grange business–legislative, agricultural and health concerns…and taxes! More on that below.
At 5:45, we’ll take off our sashes, put away the Grange paraphernalia and rearrange the chairs, so we can listen to our “Program”:
What: Recycling 101
Who: Cassandra Hemenway, Zero Waste Outreach Coordinator of the CVWSMD
How much: Free!–and open to everyoneThis presentation will explain the new mandatory recycling being required for all Vermont waste generators–which includes all of us as individuals as well as the Grange Hall. It will also be an opportunity ask questions about what to do about composting, recycling specifics, and more. Do you know what the “Statewide Six” are? Cassandra will take on all your questions.Followed at 6:30 by the equally free (as well as being famous and fabulous) Grange Potluck Dinner. Make something tasty with the bounty of the harvest season, and get to know the rest of the Grange members and friends who show up to share good food and good conversation.
Property Taxes and our chances for reductions
As predicted, we spent a fair amount of time at our September meeting talking about taxes–specifically the $7,159 we are paying this year to the Town of Berlin. This is about 1/3 of our annual budget! And as we discovered when volunteers did a survey of the Granges in the state of Vermont, we seem to be the only Grange Hall which is taxed at the full local tax rate in the whole state. All of the others, we found, get at least a 50% tax break.
At our meeting, we talked about the best way to demonstrate our value to the town, and to convince the Town that we too deserve a break on our taxes. We’ve been talking with the Town Selectboard, and have proposed expanding our role as a de facto Community Hall for the town, by donating a couple of rentals per month to Town uses. We’ve found out that we would need to be on the Town Meeting’s Australian ballot to get a reduction–this is because this action would mean a (small) increase in the taxes on other property taxpayers. Our tax payments represent about 3/10 of 1% of the total taxes paid by the taxpayers of Berlin.
In order to get on the ballot, we will need to get about 120 signatures on petitions, by January of 2016. In order to get our taxes reduced, we would need to get a majority of votes on the Australian ballot voting on the first Tuesday of March.
So the question is–how to get the word out that we are worth this small subsidy? How to convince people to vote to give us this break–which will make a huge difference in our ability to survive and thrive as a community service organization with a wonderful Hall?
We didn’t come to a final decision; we voted to give our Executive Committee the authority to craft a resolution to put on the agenda of the Berlin Town Meeting in March, and to decide how to best promote it. Merry Shernock has been working with Selectboard member Jeremy Hansen to come up with ways to be more involved in Berlin, and she has been leading the struggle to figure out the best strategies for tax relief. Our meeting talked about the potential for this struggle to take more than one year, as we spread the word and get more recognized as part of the community.
A great help for the Grange would be more contacts in the Town of Berlin. Do you live there? Do you know other Grange users who do? Contact Merry using the phone number and email you’ll find a the top of these Notes.
I’m sure we will be talking more about this question–join us for these important discussions at the meeting, or on the Grange Facebook page–don’t forget to “Like” the Grange there to get all the news as it happens!
Our “multi-stall, all genders” bathroom design made sense to everyone with whom I spoke. Some were aware of the plans we’ve publicized for over a year, while others only realized what we were building when they saw the finished product. Having the ADA bathrooms upstairs and down, now, provides choices for anyone who is uncomfortable with the multi-stall plan.
One glitch: we have found we need to modify the stall design before we declare it complete. Once the toilets were installed last week, it became clear that the in-swinging doors don’t leave enough room for easy entry. So we have come up with alternative door plans–stay tuned to see how they work out!
Also, this coming week we will get the real lighting fixtures installed in the stalls, plus individual exhaust vents. Lights for the stalls and the ADA bathroom are controlled by motion detector switches just inside the doors; the common area lights will all stay on.
We couldn’t have gotten to this point without the help of volunteers–besides the “permanent volunteers” who keep the Grange and the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall going, see below for the people who answered my calls for painters and cleaners!
Volunteer painters get us to the finish line!
Over the past couple of weeks, some dedicated folks have given up their sunny outdoor afternoons in spring to paint the bathroom walls, the trim and the doors. Pictures above show various members of the crew at work, including Dana and Marisa painting trim (first coat), Cynthia rolling paint, Marisa second-coating the trim, and John cleaning, while Marisa and Ann apply clear finish to the doors. Many thanks to all the volunteers!
Time for Spring Cleaning–June 6th
So–join us on Saturday, June 6th, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM to clean the dance hall, the stage, the windows (much easier than the old windows!), the lights, and more. Bring some cleaning tools if you can: window washing squeegees, rags, buckets, rubber gloves, vacuums, window and general cleaning liquids, etc. We’ll have some supplies too.
We’d love to have someone bring food for cleaners! Let me know if you can bring some snacks to keep us all going.
After the clean-up, Merry and I will have shower and nap space available in our home in Northfield Falls if people want to stay in the area before the Grange meeting at 4:30.
Grange meeting and baking contest follows the clean-up
We’ll have our usual Grange business meeting starting at 4:30 PM on June 6th, following the clean-up. We have intriguing possibilities in developing relationships with the Town of Berlin, new liability insurance investigations, and we will celebrate the completion of the bathrooms!
We’ll also have the annual Grange baking contest judging at this meeting. As usual, the recipe is the same for everyone–and the interest is in the variations that are found when different bakers work from the same starting point. This year, the recipe is for Pineapple Cookies.
We ask that every entrant bring 5 cookies on a plate, with your name on a label on the bottom. You can bring more to share after the judging, of course!
So: here’s the recipe:
3-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple
Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together. Beat the sugar and shortening in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until blended. Fold in the pineapple. Stir in the blended dry ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls, 2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until light brown. Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, and remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield = 3-4 dozen.
And don’t forget the Grange potluck at 6:30. Bring something tasty to share–we hope to be well-supplied with cookies!
Support the Capital City Grange While Enjoying Fresh, Local Food and Natural Products at Wholesales Prices.
With the help of Wholeshare, we’ve started a bulk food buying group out of the Grange as a service to the community and as way to support the efforts of the Grange. 5% of every order supports the Grange! Click here to join –http://www.wholeshare.com/join/5182?v=CapitalCityGrange.
The mission of Wholeshare is to help communities increase their economic and geographic access to local and sustainable foods without putting downward pressure on farmers. By buying together the groups then have access to the wholesale prices. Products include fresh produce, meat, cheese, grains, etc from VT based Black River Produce, as well as Honest Green for dry goods and other natural household, etc type products. Prices are cheaper because you are purchasing directly from the distributor. After the first order we can looking to adding additional local producers to the online catalog.
5% of ever order goes to support the efforts of the Grange – Click here –http://www.wholeshare.com/join/5182?v=CapitalCityGrange
How to help
A) Join our Group
1) Sign up for the group at: http://www.wholeshare.com/join/5182?v=CapitalCityGrange
2) Order what you want – produce, meats, grains, other natural soaps and cleaning products, etc. Prices are cheaper because you are purchasing directly from the distributor.
3) Pay online
4) Pick up your order at the dance or make other arrangements.
Grange receives 5% of the total order for being the drop-off point
*** No delivery fee. subscription fee, membership fee or requirement to order. Order when you want and as often as your want.
***Low total minimum – Each group order – everybody combined – not just you – has to reach $125 for products distributed by Vermont-based Black River Produce – they even have Rhapsody BBQ Tempeh! and $230 for cleaning and other natural products from Honest Green.
B) Help Coordinate and/or Publicize the Effort
We will need someone who lives near the Grange to be present when the order arrives and to assist with the distribution.
Please share this url on Facebook and send it out to your local Front Porch Forum – http://www.wholeshare.com/join/5182?v=CapitalCityGrange
C) Start your own group and support the Grange
You can also start your own group among your own friends and members of your community and you and the Grange will both receive a credit after you place your first order. Start your own group with this link: http://www.wholeshare.com/?utm_referrer=capitalcitygrange
Join us for a good time, for a good cause–bathrooms!
Needed: volunteers to help prepare food for the dinner, starting in the early afternoon, and to serve it for the multitudes, and to clean up afterwards. Our stalwart chefs: Alison Forrest and Gail England will direct the operations. Call or email me to volunteer (swartztim15
Mark your calendars for the 2nd dance in our finish-off-the-fundraising series, on Friday May 1st with Will Mentor calling, and Perpetual E-Motion playing their exciting brand of dance music!
Another special dance coming this weekend – Saturday March 21:
For Experienced Dancers: This means you know how to do a roll away, California twirl, pass through to a wave and the basic moves without being taught. You complete flourishes safely and on time without disturbing the flow of the dance.
There will be a potluck dinner afterward, before the regular CDU dance for all comers at 8:00, with Will and Nor’Easter on stage again.
Don’t forget that Will is coming back to call on May 1st, for another benefit dance! Many thanks for his support!
Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall receive $25,265 grant from the VT Arts Council!
The picture above, taken by Peter Arthur Weyrauch for the Arts Council, shows Alex Aldrich of the Council on the left, just after handing over a symbolic (but impressively large) faux check to Patty Giavara and Carol Noyes (Chair and Treasurer of the FCCGH respectively), while I keep watch on the right.
And finally, we thank all the Grange community members who donate and volunteer to keep us going, and to fund and complete special projects like this, which benefit us all!
If anyone can come by and do some shoveling, to reduce the height of the piles, it will make a big difference. We have a lot of people using the Grange–a play being put on by River Rock School tonight (February 20), and dances in the afternoon and evening on Saturday (February 21).
There are a couple of shovels on the 2 entry porches, or bring your own; and of course please be careful of the traffic.