Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), May 16, 2019
A close contest… .
..was decided with a point tally. Our Celebrity Judges, for our
Grange Baking Contest: Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting devised a point system involving flavor, appearance, texture. For the 5 entrants, there were a total of 240 points that could be awarded. It took careful notes and a calculator to figure out that there was a dead heat for 2nd & 3rd place: Erin Barry and Delna Boyce tied for that honor…and the first place winner is: Phyllis Skinner.
Above, you can see our Celebrity Judges: Alec Ellsworth (with associate judge Axel), Lynn Spencer, and Jacqeline Rieke. They are comparing notes and points, prior to breaking out the calculator. All the cakes were tasty, they said–and we got to sample the remainders at the Community Potluck dinner after the judging.
Contestants were awarded chef’s hats (like the one modeled with great forbearance by Erin’s son Colin in the bottom photo), made by dedicated sewing masters Charles Martin and Richard DeCosta, who used to sell them at the Coffee Corner Restaurant in Montpelier. All 3 hats featured special fabrics, as did the handmade potholders also, made by Charles and Richard. They find fascinating food-related patterns, which have long been a big hit as graduation presents for New England Culinary Institute students!
We thank all the contestants for their participation–watch for an announcement of the recipe for the 2020 contest!
Updating our meeting format: more time for programs and discussion
Devoted readers like you, who have been following the reports of our meetings, will know that for a while we have been talking about how to improve the format of our monthly meetings to encourage involvement of more people. Recently, we have focused on the cramped time we end up with for the “programs” we offer. These can range from a presentation by an outside organization or person (like the info session on Central VT Internet), to a participatory event (like sing-alongs), to special Grange events like the baking contest reported on above. Our current schedule of Grange business meeting from 4:15 to 5:30 leaves only 1/2 hour for the program, before we have to start the Community Potluck dinners which follow at 6:00.
Following our April meeting, Merry Shernock (Treasurer & Rental Agent, who has also set up most of the programs for the past few years) put together a proposal, which we discussed an adopted unanimously. Here’s the plan:
odd-numbered months, starting in September, we’ll have a full Grange
meeting, using our current version of the Grange Ritual. As we have
been doing, we’ll discuss developments in Agriculture, Legislative,
Health and other areas that are of interest, the plans of the Friends of
the CCG Hall, and other suggestions “for the Good of the Order”. Of
course we will continue to incorporate the group singing which is a real
attraction for many of us!
- The next odd-numbered month is July, when we’ll have a barbecue meeting/potluck dinner–outside we hope! (As I write this on May 14th, the snow which fell last night has just melted…)
- In even-numbered months,
we’ll have an “Executive meeting” from 4:30 to 5:00. Without the
sashes and formal set-up we use for full meetings, we’ll discuss the
business of running the Grange–reviewing Treasurer’s reports, Hall
maintenance and improvements needs, etc. We will still incorporate some
group singing, which helps us feel connected!
- From 5:00 to 6:00, we’ll have much more time for programs of various sorts, with more participation. Questions and discussion by members and the public are usually the most interesting and involving part of these programs.
- We will not plan to have a meeting in August, but the Executive Committee can meet if needed to make decisions, as always.
- We are seeking a “Program Coordinator”, who will be in charge of setting up those programs. Merry and Liz Benjamin have started to discuss a “job description” for this volunteer position. Keep reading these Notes for more information!
In other news from our meeting…
We had our usual lively discussions of current events–for example the ongoing debate in the Legislature about school districts who have not agreed to the merger plans drawn up as part of Act 46. This is an issue with repercussions that affect local school districts in a variety of ways, and illustrates the complexity of making broad-scale policy changes. These discussions, where people bring their individual stories and reactions to public issues, and we listen and discuss respectfully, trying to balance small-scale and larger-scale results are valuable forums for me (and I think all of us at the meeting) to learn about controversial policies in a way that is different than listening to or watching news reports.
We also had our monthly report about Health Concerns, presented by Phyllis Skinner, RN, who has other accomplishments besides her baking prowess! She reported on research that studied the impact of use of dietary supplements–like fish oil capsules and multi-vitamins–that many of us take. So far, studies comparing death rate show no effects from these supplements.
In more serious health news, a medication-resistant fungus called Candida auris shown up in some patients in U.S. hospitals. It has been a world-wide concern for some time, but now is considered a threat to patients with compromised immune systems, those who have had broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal medications, and those with venous catheters and other tubes going into their bodies. More information is available from the CDC website.
Phyllis does make sure to include some good news–this month literally a sweetener: if your brown sugar has hardened during storage (as hers had), you can revive it by putting it in the microwave, with a damp paper towel over it, in a covered container–and briefly heating it–try 15 seconds at a time. Take it from the baking contest winner!
Our meeting also included discussion of ways to get the news out to our regular tenants–if you are part of one of the partner organizations who rent space from us, I’d love to know how I’m doing–email me with comments positive or negative! And spread the word to others in the group that they can easily sign up on the Grange website.
Updated schedule for the next acoustic panel work party
We had hoped to be able to put together the next set of acoustic panels this Saturday, but due to an out-of-town funeral, and the following weekend being Memorial day, we now have scheduled it for Sunday, June 2nd, from 2:00-5:00 PM.
After the Friends of the Capital City Grange (FCCGH) put up the first batch of acoustic panels on the wall opposite the stage, some improvement was audible–but not enough.
So–encouraged by the excellent turnout of helpers at our panel-assembly-and-panel-hanging work party, the Friends are planning another round.
This time, we’ll be building panels that will about double the wall area covered. We will build panels to cover parts of the East and West walls, after consulting with an engineer with acoustic experience who is part of the dance community.
We’ve ordered the acoustic batts, and the fire-resistant, acoustically transparent fabric to wrap the panels and frames. The materials will be paid for out of the generous donations which Grange supporters gave to the FCCGH in the 2018 end-of-year appeal, like the first batch of panels. Materials will be prepped by Kurt Giavara and Tim Swartz, and we’ll have another assembly party once we have materials ordered–we hope on Saturday, May 18th. We’ll contact those who came last time, but if you want to be involved, please send an email to: Tim Swartz to let us know. We’ll keep track of how many people can efficiently help.
Keep your eyes–and ears–open for the next developments!