Grange Notes by Tim Swartz, Grange President (with everyone’s help) February 2, 2024
Now that you’ve joined the Grange, what do you want to know about how it runs?
It turns out that, as many have said, “it takes a village….”. For example:
- How do we get toilet paper and paper towels?
- Who hires and supervises cleaning services?
- How do our tablecloths get washed?
- Who shovels the steps and exits when it snows?
- Who maintains our First Aid kits (did you know we have them?)
- How do “Grange Officers” get elected, and what do they do?
Please come to the meeting and help us figure this out! and maybe you have noticed an important task or two that we have missed. Our meeting starts at 4:30 PM, and will go until 6:00 PM, when…
Taking care of business:
Keeping our corporation up to date
You may never have noticed that our Grange is incorporated. Like any other business entity, we need to be registered with the State of Vermont, and follow certain rules. For example, every 2 years, we have to file a “biennial report” with the Secretary of State’s office, and we’ve been doing that–it’s pretty easy.
Another formality is holding a “corporation meeting” at least once a year–and this is something that we haven’t been doing. Luckily, it won’t be too much of a burden, and I think we can take care of it in about 15 minutes at our meeting. I’ve been taking notes while the State Grange holds their own corporation meeting at the Annual State Grange Session in October. In essence, I will “convene a corporation meeting”, and ask for Grange members to ratify the acts of the corporation, and to recognize the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Grange as the officers of the Corporation. Then we’ll adjourn, and go back to more usual Grange business. We’ll have a record of these quick actions in our Minutes. That’s all it will take.
Come and take part in these momentous proceedings!
Upgrading our foyer
Another thing you may never have noticed is the foyer floor at the original entrance–the “near-stairs” one at the end of the Hall opposite the stage. Over the years, we’ve had a variety of mats there, which have done an indifferent job of covering the floor and catching the dirt from the shoes of visitors. Our 2023 rebuilding of the wall between the foyer and the Main Hall has improved the walls that enclose this area, and taken away the clutter of table storage cart, trash cans, brooms and snow shovels that used to be there. All of this has made the floor problems look even worse by comparison!
Patty Giavara has taken the lead to get quotes from 3 different flooring companies for new carpet to completely cover this floor area. At our meeting, we’ll be voting to (I hope) choose one of the options. Grange members are required to vote in advance on expenditures of over $250, as part of our tradition of responsible, transparent management of our finances. This project is well over that limit! If you haven’t paid your 2024 dues yet, bring a check with you to the meeting, and you’ll be able to vote yourself!
We’ve got their back!
A few weeks ago, we were contacted by a local childcare organization, the “Sweet Clover Nursery”, a division of the Orchard Valley School. Newly located about 1/4 mile north of the Grange Hall on Northfield St./Rt. 12 in Montpelier, this is a small operation, and as part of their licensing, they have to designate an “emergency evacuation” location. It’s very unlikely that they will ever need to evacuate their building, but it’s always good to have backup.
After consulting among Grange officers, we’ve decided that this is something we can do, so our Hall is going to be listed as the evacuation site. They are very appreciative, and we are glad to be able to help them out as they get set up in their new location.
Jan. 20: A Vermont Grange damaged by fire
I’m sorry to have to report that the largest Grange in Vermont has had major damage done by a fire. Middle Branch Grange, a very active Community Grange in East Bethel, with about 95 members, needed the help of 5 volunteer fire departments to put out a fire which seems to have started from one of the two wood-burning furnaces in the building. From what I can tell, in articles from the Valley News and the Herald of Randolph newspaper sites, the building has heavy damage at that end, and smoke and water damage throughout. Thankfully, no loss of life or injuries reported.
I’m sure that there will be fundraising efforts, to repair and rebuild their beautiful Grange Hall, which housed two levels of Grange activities, including a Junior Grange (for kids 6 to 14). I will pass on info when I get it.
The Middle Branch Grange was featured, along with Riverside Grange in West Topsham in a film called “Rooted: Cultivating Community in Vermont Granges”, released in 2018. This well-made film documents two of the more traditional community Grange organizations, and their many activities. It’s well worth watching; it was broadcast on VT PBS in 2018, and is now available here on Youtube.
I will spread more news about the recovery of Middle Branch as I get it.