Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), January 17, 2019
Grange Hall cleanup coming next Monday!
join us for a clean-up party on Monday, Jan. 21st! Those of you who
have been reading the Grange Notes will have seen the pictures of
various parts of the Hall that show lots of dirt build-up, thanks to the
busy people and active groups that use our Hall!
So we are planning a Clean-Up Day! Coming on the Martin Luther King “Day of Service”, Monday, Jan. 21st! This is your chance to join other Grange Hall users and friends to spiff up the Hall. Bring some cleaning supplies, if you can, but we are mostly interested in getting you–and your friends!–to bring energy and enthusiasm to make it a productive day for all of us, leaving the Hall shining and smelling good.
We plan on working from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, with time off for lunch from about Noon to 1:00 PM. Come for the morning shift, the afternoon shift, or the whole shebang! If you can’t come and clean, but want to provide some lunch, that would be great also.
About the Martin Luther King Day of Service: in honor of MLK and his life of work for a better America, people across the country make this holiday a day ON, not just a day OFF, by volunteering in their communities. We are organizing this clean-up to make the Grange Hall even more welcoming and attractive. The Grange, an all-volunteer organization, owns and maintains this Hall to serve local community organizations, families and non-profit groups. We hope you’ll pitch in with us to make it even nicer. Past clean-up parties have been companionable and fun–as well as productive!
More info? Call Tim at: 802-225-8921.
First Grange meeting of the new year features reports & new activities at the Grange Hall
first meeting of 2019, on Jan. 5th, brought us up to speed on a variety
of issues, both within the Grange and in the wider world.
We were able to begin right on time at 4:15, the slightly earlier opening time we’ve resolved to use. Our goal is to have time for the many items we cover in our monthly business meeting, allowing us to close the meeting by 5:30 to begin the program–which at this meeting was Rights and Democracy VT. See the report on Kate Logan‘s talk below. Thanks to every one who arrived on time and ready to go!
After our usual opening ceremonies, we started with an Agriculture report. Merry passed on a suggestion from the VT State Grange newsletter, the Green Mountain Granger
that Granges (and individuals) look for opportunities to purchase VT
milk, for personal use and also for Food Banks, Food Shelves, etc. A
good suggestion was made by Grange members–that people who want to
donate milk should check that the recipient organization has the
facilities to handle fresh milk. A better option may be to buy
vouchers to allow the Food Bank or Food Shelf to purchase milk when they
can distribute it.
The motivation for increasing milk purchases is the plight of dairy farmers–the market price for the milk they sell is well below the cost of production. With prices adjusted for inflation, this is as low as the price has been since 1930! Please keep this in mind as the winter goes on–the needy families who depend on food aid, and the farmers who produce food all continue to need our help. Note also that the ongoing shutdown of the federal government has held up payment of the subsidies which are supposed to help farmers withstand the effects of the trade war on agricultural exports.
Our report on Grange Home Ec was brief–the baking contest this year will be your own recipe for “Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Topping”. So there will be room for individual variations for taste, nutrition, avoidance of allergens, etc. May is often when we have the judging, so start experimenting!
Grange Vice President Phyllis Skinnerdid a Health Concerns
report went through recent research about dietary and lifestyle choices
and their impact on health. For example, on the negative side, too
much grilled meat (like 15 times per month) is associated with high
blood pressure. 93% of bottled water sampled contain micro-plastic
fragments. And–following sports tends to make you miserable, according
to the research!
On the positive side, eating more organic foods does reduce the risk of cancer, holding hands can help reduce pain (proven with brain-wave research), turmeric helps reduce depression (as well as joint pain), and full-fat dairy products have actually been shown to reduce heart attack and stroke.
Moving on to the Hall report, we had a good presentation from Patty Giavara, Chair of the Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall,
or FCCGH. She reported that the year-end fundraising campaign, via
letters to past donors, has raised over $4,900 to help with Hall
improvement projects! If you want to contribute, please to to the Support the Hall page, and click the Donate button to make a contribution via Paypal or your credit card.
Patty reported on an interim project the FCCGH is planning, before we re-submit our grant proposal for the downstairs improvements. Because of the generosity of our donors, we want to use some of the money we have raised to make a visible (and audible) impact on an ongoing problem–too much echo or “reverb” in the Grange Hall. This makes it difficult to understand spoken words in meetings or from speakers, as well as dance callers at contra & other dances.
The Friends are planning to buy materials to make 18 acoustic panels, which will be hung on the South wall, opposite the stage, as a test for reduced reverb and acoustic improvements. We’ll announce a work-party to do the assembly and installation when we have the plans finalized. This initial test will be followed by meeting with a variety of Grange-using groups, to see if these have had the positive impact we hope for, and to seek feedback (not the audible kind) on next steps. Additional panels can be made to increase the covered area, and panels can be put on other walls if that seems indicated. Please contact Patty: firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help out with planning, constructing, hanging or evaluating this acoustic panel trial. See below for a drawing showing the planned location of our trial panels!
Note that the panels are shown as dark only for this drawing! Actual color will be light.
The Grange meeting also was asked if the Grange could sponsor a dance series for small children, Dance, Sing & Jump Around, which has been organized by Grange members Liz Benjamin and Merry Shernock for the last few years. The rent for their previous location at the Plainfield Opera House has gone up. That venue also has poor parking located across Rt. 2 in the middle of Plainfield. They asked if they could move to the Grange, a more central location, with great parking as well–and a great place to dance, by actual test. The DS&JA events are held once a month from November through April, on the 2nd Sunday afternoons of those months, from 3:00 to 4:30. The Grange voted unanimously to sponsor this series, which brings together children from about 3 to 8 years old, who bring along parents, grandparents and friends. It’s an all-volunteer operation, with Liz Benjamin and Stan Carlson doing the calling, and a variety of local volunteer musicians, which have included Fran & John Mallery, Joanne Garton & students, Aaron Marcus and others. For more information, or to make a tax-deductible donation to the dance, visit the Dance Sing & Jump Around website! Spread the word about the Feb. 10th dance, from 3 to 4:30 PM, which will be the first at the Grange Hall.
After we closed our business meeting, we got to visit with Kate Logan, director of Programming & Policy Development for Rights and Democracy of VT, our speaker for the program. She gave us a brief history of this relatively new organization, which was founded in 2016. RaDVT brought together people from the Workers’ Center of VT, plus people from the environmental justice and labor movements. The goal was to set up an organization that can provide political pressure by helping to elect candidates for local and state offices who support the progressive agenda of RaDVT. They want to develop more candidates from the grassroots, by providing workshops, training and organizing help to encourage committed people to run for various offices. They also have created a “People’s Lobby” to promote the positions and values of RaDVT in the legislature–and are providing workshops to give people the skills to effectively lobby their own representatives and senators. Their goal is to have 10-20,000 members in VT, and about double that in their partner organization in NH, with 200,000 people getting news updates through RaD. As partners with national organizations Center for Popular Democracy, People’s Action and Our Revolution, they aim to build a national network of grassroots political activism, planning for success through electing committed candidates, and supporting them politically and financially.
After Kate made her presentation, she joined about 30 or 35 people who came for the potluck dinner–one of our best turnouts yet. Hope we’ll see you at the next Grange meeting and/or the potluck dinner, on Feb. 2nd! See the food line in the picture below.
Holiday box appreciation!
We got a nice note from our contact at Head Start (part of Capstone Community Action of Washington County), about the impact of the 6 holiday boxes which the Grange donated just before Xmas. They went to 6 families with kids, selected by Head Start. Here’s what they said:
I just wanted to let you and the others who helped put the food boxes together, how much the families appreciated them!
We have asked the families for feedback/ suggestions and got nothing but positive comments such as, “awesome’, “wouldn’t have changed a thing”, “loved it!”, and “kids loved getting a pie.” The flowers were a nice touch!
Thanks again for all your hard work!
How did these boxes happen? Merry Shernock used financial contributions from Kids Trade ‘n’ Play, a family that used the Grange Hall for a holiday meal, plus individual contributions to purchase frozen turkeys, roasting pans, pie crusts and fillings for chocolate pie (see the thank-you not for special appreciation for the pie), among many other celebratory items. She also sorted out all the ingredients for the boxes, and solicited deals from grocery stores–including the donated flower centerpieces. Some food was brought in by Grange members and other Hall users. Erin Barry brought in chocolate donated by Nutty Steph. Alison Forrest made the decorated boxes.
I’m sure we will repeat this project for the next holiday season–we’d love to have more donations and more help assembling the boxes. We could do boxes for more families, with more help–we’ll put you on the list if you contact us!
Below is a picture of the assembled food for a family–including a box of non-refrigerated items, and a roasting pan filled with refrigerated foodstuffs.