By ANNA RITCHEY
AUBURN – The 150th Annual New York State Grange session was held at Auburn Holiday Inn from October 21-25, 2022. Grangers representing Otsego County as delegates were: Barton Snedaker, Calvin Wilcox, Maryann Campbell and Barb Hill from Butternut Valley Grange, Gilbertsville; Tom and Pat Hornbeck from Colonel Harper Grange, Harpersfield; MaryAnn Whelan and Gail Lewis from Pierstown Grange, Cooperstown; and Irene Fassett from Springfield Grange, who has been state pianist for 40 years.
Others attending were Susan Drake from Pierstown; Roberta and Roger Halbert, David and Sandy Stoy, and Norman, Anna, Helen, and Bruce Ritchey from Butternut Valley Grange; and Tony and Doris Thayer from Colonel Harper Grange.
Delegates worked on resolutions of Agriculture and Environment, Health, Education, State Issues and Taxation/Fiscal Responsibility. Resolutions approved by the delegate body will be sent to assemblymen and senators in New York State.
Guest speakers included Jeff Winton, the founder of Rural Minds™, a 501c3 charitable organization with a mission to serve as the informed voice for mental health in rural America, and to provide mental health information and resources. Richard A. Ball, New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets, addressed the session on Monday morning.
Grangers from across the state brought food items for the Cato-Meridian Central School Backpack Program. The presentation of “C” one dollar bills collected during the past year amounted to $2,500.00, which was presented to Maureen’s Hope. This organization provides activities for the families of cancer patients. One of their newest projects is to take mothers for a spa treatment to have respite from the care of patients. Butternut Valley Grange members collected $85.00 toward this program.
The Butternut Valley Grange tied for second place in the Community Service reports for 2021-2022. Thirty-six reports showed 19,757 hours of community service. Butternut Valley was one of seven groups which scored 90 percent or above on their reports, receiving $75.00 from New York State Grange. Anna Ritchey was re-elected as president of the Lecturer’s Association and Pat Hornbeck of Colonel Harper will serve as vice president.
On Saturday afternoon, Sesquicentennial Co-chairs Sue Drake and Roberta Halbert presented a kick-off to begin the year-long celebration of the 150th birthday of New York State Grange. Included in the program were the Butternut Valley Grange Singers—Roberta and Roger Halbert, Laura Palada, Cathy and Sarah Galley, Calvin Wilcox, Molly DelGiacco, Norm Eastwood, Beth Keene, David Stoy, Donna Dvoracek, Barton Snedaker, Anna Ritchey, and pianist Colleen Bushnell. They sang “In the Evening by the Moolight,” “Standing In The Need of Prayer,” “I Love the Grange Today,” and “This Old Grange.” Everyone in attendance was presented with a package of popcorn to symbolize the Grange “popping” into the future.
Regional Sesquicentennial celebrations will be held in the summer of 2023 with the theme “A Treasured Tradition with the Future in Focus.” The 150th birthday celebration will conclude with the 151st State Grange Session in October 2023.