Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help), January 18, 2020
A cozier, better lower level for the Grange takes shape
Foam panels, electrical wiring and spray foam
The progress continued since I sent out the
last Grange Notes on Dec. 26th. Northern Basements completed the
insulation of the basement, by putting up the rest of the black foam
insulation panels (you can see crew-leader Hunter measuring for the
stairway panels), and foaming all of the rim-joist areas. The bottom
right picture shows how they got access on the South and North ends,
where they drilled 1-1/2″ holes from the outside. On the long sides,
they had to reach over and around heating ducts….but they did what
they needed to do! We have been impressed with their thoroughness in
sealing any potential leaks of cold air. We also appreciated their
excellent communication as they moved through the project. It was clear
that they are really motivated to do a good job, asking repeatedly if
there is anything they were missing, and looking for ways to make sure
all possible air-leaks are sealed up.
Since then, electrical contractor Alana Norway (ARJ Electric) has roughed-in the electrical wiring for the new outlets in the walls, and the circuits for the new sump pump and dehumidifier.
Also, a great crew of volunteers helped Stan Carlson, our carpentry contractor, to move the sheetrock and FRPs down the fire-exit stairs (see pictures below). Many thanks to Sam Planck, Thomas Begley, Jill Murphy, Kurt Giavara & Dean Grondin for picking them up and bringing them down! We literally could not have done it without them!
Besides moving the sheetrock…. ….we will have other ways that people can help with this project. In addition to giving people a chance to help out, volunteer hours count toward our “match” with the grant from the VT Arts Council, which will fund 50% of the project cost. Here are some of the needs we can foresee:
- Painting above the Fiberglass Reinforced Panels, which will cover the bottom 60″ of the walls.
- Painting new trim–around the windows and on the stairways. Stan will buy pre-primed lumber, and we can pre-paint the edges before installation, and the faces afterward
- Brushing on varnish on the new hand-rails for the basement stairway.
- Installing new ceiling tiles in the existing grid.
- Taking the old ones to the transfer station.
- Providing a pickup truck for moving the ceiling tiles and other construction debris.
- Moving the furniture for carpet-tile installation–we’ll need to move the tables into the “alcove” space, and the chairs and other smaller items into the kitchen, so that Country Floors will be able to put tiles down in the cafeteria–and then move the tables back into the cafeteria so that they can tile the alcove.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how we can fit you in!
We look forward to showing off the renovated basement once it’s done!
Feb. 1st program: discuss end-of-life choices, and VT Act 39
The next in our bi-monthly series of programs with discussions will happen on Saturday, Feb. 1st, with Betsy Walkerman, Director of Patient Choices Vermont, an organization which educates Vermonters on medical aid in dying and patient choice. There will be substantial opportunities for questions and discussion about Act 39, the 2013 bill which set up our current system. Vermonters are currently allowed–through a legal process–to choose to use a prescription medication to hasten dying.
The organization also promotes use of Advance Directives, conversations with medical practitioners and family about end-of-life decisions, and much more. Please join the discussion, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM on Saturday, Feb. 1st, followed by a Community Potluck!
Small Grange meeting in January considers rental rates with our “new and improved” Grange Hall
freezing precipitation forecast, and cold temperatures, several people
were unable to come to our Jan. 7th meeting. So we had a small-group
sing-along, and a good discussion with the 5 of us present.
Merry, Patty, Liz, Mat and I spent time looking at our current policies and rates for renting the Grange Hall, and considering how we may change them.
A few major considerations guided our discussion:
- The basement renovations will provide a much-improved space for rental. The renovations provide insulation and humidity control, plus the new surfaces on floor, walls and ceiling adding to attractiveness and comfort. The Grange itself has invested $5,000 from our savings to help the FCCGH fund the project. We feel that we are quite justified in raising rental rates for this renovated space.
- Our general building costs have kept rising–especially plowing and sanding for the long winters. Part of this is increased use leading to needing more snow-removal and sanding; part is increased cost from SR Services. We have gotten bids for comparison, and they are still a good deal for us–but we pay over $6,000 per year! Winters recently have featured more “mixed precip” and ice, which have required more sanding of the parking lot and driveway. Cleaning costs have also gone up, with increased usage.
- Our increased usage has led to some increases in rental income, but not enough to keep up with costs.
- We want to keep costs reasonable, to meet the needs of the non-profit community groups, families and classes who make up our renters; we also provide free rentals to Berlin families and organizations (in return for property tax exemption).
- Storage space has become more of an issue: with more long-term renters who want to store equipment and supplies, we run out of room–and must consider storage as a benefit that should be paid for as part of the rental cost structure.
Our discussions ranged across all of these issues, bringing up specific cases, looking at cost increases and the reasons for them, trading our spotty information about the rental costs at other venues that are our competition, and discussing possible scenarios for fairly structuring our rents.
As we expected, we did not come up with a full-blown plan, but we did set up some research to learn how other venues (the Labor Hall in Barre, the UU Church in Montpelier and others) set up their rents. Our ad hoc group will meet again to come up with the next version of our rental rates. Stay tuned!
It’s a new year–and that means it’s time for Grange dues payment
Annual dues for members of the Capital City Grange are $30 per person–and it’s that time of year.
We have a small group of dedicated folks who are members of our Grange. Members come to Grange meetings most of the time, and they are the only voting members–the people who get to make decisions about things like setting rental rates (see above), spending Grange funds for donations, scheduling Grange special events, voting on Grange resolutions, and much more. They are also the people who help us figure out what it means to be a Grange in–now–the decade of the 2020s. We need you!
We also need to have Grange members, to keep our Grange alive! In the worst case, if we ever stop having enough members, we would have to close the CCG–and the VT State Grange would get title to our Grange Hall. The VSG doesn’t want that to happen–and neither do we! The Grange has a mission to build bonds among rural communities, for the benefit of all of us. We’re proud to be part of that, and hope that you will join us to do even more.
So the bottom line is that we need people to be paid-up and active Grange members. If you’ve been a member, now is the time to send in your $30.00 annual dues! If you want to join, we’ll make it easy! Come to a meeting, bring your check (or cash, even), and we’ll vote you into the membership, unless you’ve really offended us somehow!
Checks for dues payments, made out to “Capital City Grange” go to our Secretary: Charles Martin
639 Minister Brook Rd.
Worcester, VT 05682 Or bring them to a Grange meeting on the 1st Saturday of every month.
Dried Flower class with Carol Noyes of Lightfoot Farm!
When it’s cold outside, consider spending
some time with flowers–the kind that will last. Carol has been working
with plants and flowers for decades, at her small farm in Northfield
Falls. One of her specialties is making arrangements and wreaths out
of dried flowers, grasses, seedpods and other natural objects. You can
see more photos on her Lightfoot Farm website.
We have arranged with Carol to do a class on Saturday, Feb. 8th, at the Grange Hall. Carol will provide materials–wreath rings, wire and ribbons, plus flowers (like larkspur, celosia and others), dried grasses and more. She’ll also bring forty years of experience making these sorts of wreaths and other arrangements. We’re limiting this workshop to 10 participants, so everyone can get personal attention.
If you are interested, please sign up on the Grange Facebook page event to reserve your spot, or email email@example.com. Please plan to bring $10 to cover the material costs We also ask for a $10 to $20 donation to cover Grange expenses.