Grange Notes: June 1st, 2012
June 2nd meeting: floor update, resolutions & goodies!
News from the Friends—grants, bathroom planning, and more
Potluck dinner at 6:30
Molasses Muffins recipe for the Baking Contest/dessert!
June 2nd meeting: floor update, resolutions, goodies:
Welcome to June!
The Floor committee has continued its work since the last report. At our May 19th meeting, we made several important decisions:
Flooring delivery: we are planning on delivery of the flooring to the Grange Hall on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 7th if possible, so that we can more easily muster volunteers to unload it into the Hall. We'll be looking to spread out the new floorboards on the stage and the benches to acclimate to their new home for a week before being installed. We hope to keep as much as possible off the floor itself to avoid interference with removal of the existing boards.
Old floor removal: to minimize complication, we decided to solicit bids from people interested in removing all the old floorboards, in return for being able to salvage the usable flooring from the sides. We would like to retain a portion of the “used” flooring from the center of the floor to make mementos to reward donors, make picture frames or other craft items as part of fundraising—but we'll want to have the subfloor left clean and ready for floor installation starting Oct. 15th. I have a couple of expressions of interest. All interested contractors are asked to submit a written proposal to us—contact me for more information.
Floor installation contractor: We decided to contract with Floors Only of Waitsfield to install the floor, and to put on 2 coats of Waterlox Original Finish. Their bid was a good one, and they have a good reputation locally over many years. They have been notified of our dates, and will be ready to do the work when the time comes. They will also give us a bid for an annual re-coating of the floor with Waterlox—though we'll also be looking at the possibilities of doing that work with volunteer labor.
As noted, Waterlox is our clear winner among the choices we investigated and tried. It sets up a lot faster than the Pure Tung Oil we also tested, and seems to be providing some floor protection without creating a surface “film finish” which feels “tacky” underfoot. “Dance-ability” is one of our major criteria for the finish choice, though we are also looking for a little more protection for the floor surface than we've had.
Since the Floor committee meeting, I've confirmed that the maple boards which will be milled into the tongue-and-groove flooring are being carefully kiln-dried at Lathrop Maple Supply in Bristol VT. It will be milled during the summer into flooring which is about 13/16” thick—this is about 33% thicker above the tongue-and-groove joint, which will result in more wear thickness. This is the advantage of working with local, custom suppliers!
The Friends of the Capital City Grange Hall (FCCGH as you probably recognize) has been acknowledged as a sales tax exempt organization, and will be completing the purchase of the flooring without having to pay sales tax!
As described in the last Grange Notes, at our June meeting we'll be working on Resolutions to present to the State Grange annual meeting in October. We had some interesting ideas proposed at our May meeting:
Update our resolution from last year, supporting the rights of the non-seasonal immigrant workers who are part of keeping a lot of dairy farms going. At the State meeting, there were several expressions of support for the farm workers, but also a lot of concern expressed about supporting illegal immigration. Should we re-word to emphasize our desire to have a change in immigration regulation and law so that the workers would have a legal way to come here and work? Or should we support a more “militant” position demanding more rights for the workers already here? These workers are subject to discrimination, fear of deportation by the INS and—sometimes--exploitation by employers. For more information on the group whose presentation inspired us, visit www.migrantjustice.net, the new name for the VT Migrant Farmworkers Solidarity Project.
Note that recently, VT joined the INS's “Secure Communities” program, which provides for identifying illegal immigrants who come into contact with law enforcement. Is this a way of identifying criminal elements and removing them, or is it a way of enlisting local and state police into profiling immigrants?
The VT legislature also recently passed S-238, which provides a “roadmap” for immigrants with valid IDs from their home countries to get drivers' licenses.
“Fracking” to extract oil and gas is prohibited in VT, due to VT regulations—but what about byproducts which become part of the water flowing into Lake Champlain or the Connecticut river which form our borders? Should the Grange have a policy to deal with this potential danger?
A constitutional amendment has been proposed to reverse the “Citizens United” decision from the Supreme Court which made unlimited contributions to political campaigns legal. This is supported by Senator Sanders and others. Should the Grange support this movement?
Ethanol in gas: currently limited to 10%, the EPA is now planning to increase that limit to 15%. Many have questions about the impact of this on agriculture, food crops, even the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There is also the potential for damage to older motors, which are not designed for this fuel component—including agricultural machinery on VT farms. Should the Grange take a position on this issue?
This discussion of Grange resolutions should start around 5:30, please bring your well-reasoned, fact-based opinions to help us figure out the best way to phrase some interesting Resolutions that will reinforce the importance of the Grange as a community organization working for the public good.
Goodies: will follow the potluck as we conduct our annual Grange Baking Contest. Look for the recipe for Molasses Muffins repeated at the end of these Notes and join us to taste the results of everyone's efforts.
News from the Friends—grants, bathroom planning, and more: FCCGH's professional grant-writer, Nancy Turner, working with Friends' chair Patty Giavara has submitted a grant proposal to the Windham Foundation, a VT community foundation which supports local organizations. We hope to get some help paying for our floor project, and potentially to add to the “matching funds” required by other granting agencies. A grant proposal to Ben & Jerry's is in the works as well.
We are also planning to apply for a grant from the state of VT Recreation Facilities grant program, which could be willing to fund even more renovation than the floor. We are exploring the possibility of an ADA lift to bring mobility-challenged people from the main floor to the stage and the basement, and of renovating the basement bathrooms to provide one ADA bathroom, and another “shared” bathroom. This would also provide us with the cleanable surfaces we have been missing in the current facilities. This may be too much for us to accomplish, but we need to investigate to find out the costs and opportunities we have. We'd really like to get some help, especially from people with experience in architecture/building design and construction.
We continue to look for help with our many activities: Help Wanted openings include grant-writing apprentice, web-designers, graphic designers and designers and builders will all be welcomed with open arms! This is an opportunity to help support the Grange Hall, even if you can't come to Grange meetings.
And the most important “Help Wanted” is the need for the whole Grange and dance community to pitch in on the finances! Several generous folks have made significant contributions to the Friends already—but with a projected total cost of around $19,000 for the floor, and more if we take on bathroom and lift work, we have lots more to raise. Have I reminded you in this set of Notes that these are TAX DEDUCTIBLE contributions? It's a true donation to the community that uses the Grange Hall for so many things, and will be appreciated tremendously!
Potluck dinner at 6:30: Our meeting will be followed by the usual delicious potluck dinner—we're expecting even more spring produce by the June meeting! Judging the Baking Contest will be part of dessert for us all, here's the recipe to bake on the cold rainy day predicted for June 2nd:
Molasses Muffins recipe for the Baking Contest!: Everyone uses the same recipe for Grange baking contests; here's the one for 2012, judging at the Potluck. Put 4 muffins on a plate, with a label identifying the baker's name on the bottom of the plate:
2 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
4 tbsp. soft shortening
1/3 cup molasses
3/4 cup milk
Mix all ingedients well; bake at 375º for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
Even though everyone uses the same ingredients, variations still appear, as if by magic! Come and pick your favorite.
Tim Swartz, Master (with everyone's help)
Capital City Grange #469
swartztim15gmail [dot] com