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Around The Grange
Transition, growth highlight 126th CT State Grange Session
  OCTOBER 27, 2010 --

The 2010 Session of the Connecticut State Grange featured many highlights, including a transition in Presidents, awards and recognitions, donations, and a renewed dedication and commitment to Grange growth.

With delegates, members, honored guests and visitors in attendance, outgoing Connecticut State Grange President Robert Sendewicz opened the 126th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange, held from October 21 through October 23, at the Sheraton Hotel in East Hartford.  Martin Bilquist, President of the Montana State Grange and member of the National Grange Board of Directors served as the National Grange Representative for the Session. 

Speaking to Grange members from across the state in his final address as State President, Sendewicz touched on a wide range of subjects including the Grange growth program and community service.

"A little over two years ago I introduced a Grange growth program in our state. Since then it has picked up good leaders, has had training from the National Grange Growth summits and has had some experience in presentations,"  Sendewicz said. "Now, under the leadership of Jody Cameron, it has developed its structure, organized its program, identified its goals and will begin training more members to fulfill those goals." 

Election of Officers was held on day two of the session, where delegates from 60 communities across Connecticut elected Jody Cameron from Moosup as the new Connecticut State Grange President.  Cameron replaces Sendewicz, who had served as the President of the Connecticut State Grange for the past four years.

When asked what he sees as the key areas the Connecticut State Grange will be tackling in the coming year, Cameron responded Grange growth.  "There is great opportunity to grow, by introducing the other communities to the Grange,"  he said.  

Cameron discussed his commitment to marking a new chapter in the Grange through growth and leadership that will strengthen the organization and add new members in the process.  "The State Grange is to be of support to all Community and Pomona Granges, and by being there for each Grange it will reinforce its commitment to stronger Granges in EVERY community."

Over half of the officers changed - either by moving up the ranks or with the addition of new faces.  Cameron introduced his new directors, committees and deputy force after the installation of officers on day three of the Session.  

Delegates and Session Committees addressed over 45 resolutions during the sessions, on such topics as revising the present bottle bill, hate crimes against the homeless, net neutrality, outdoor wood burning furnaces and dairy prices.  Details and results of these resolutions are available on the Connecticut State Grange website, and will also be available in the Connecticut State Grange Journal of Proceedings, to be published this winter.

Ellsworth Beecher was recognized for his numerous years of work and dedication to Camp Maud Isbell Berger, the summer camp of the Connecticut State Grange, by having the Director's Cabin named in his honor.  He was presented a plaque by Linda Coad, Director of the Camp Berger Trustees, Dorian Lockett, the Camp's Director, and Ruel Miller from the Connecticut State Grange Executive Board and Camp Berger liaison.

Awards and recognitions played a large role throughout the session, during both the Awards luncheon and the Youth/Junior luncheon, as well as the Celebration Banquet.  Scholarships were awarded to Ashley Hermonot from Ekonk Community Grange in Sterling, Shelley St. Jean from Senexet Grange in Woodstock, Gretchen Hendricks from Vernon Grange and Victor Salazar from Eureka Grange in New Hartford.  Salazar was also recognized as the winner of the National Grange Youth John Trimble Award.

Grange of the Year was awarded to Lyme Grange for the 50-plus members category, while in the under-50 members category, the honor went to Meriden Grange.  Pomona (county) Grange of the Year was awarded to East Central Pomona No. 13. Cannon Grange (Wilton) and Greenfield Hill Grange (Fairfield) tied for the award for most new members, with both taking in 13. Community Service awards went to Prospect Grange and Ekonk Community Grange.

The Celebration Banquet was also filled with fun and recognition, as the Lecturer's program spotlighted old-fashioned country music, and numerous additional award winners were announced.  North Stonington Grange was the winner of the Complete Program contest, and Joanne Cipriano from Beacon Valley Grange in Naugatuck was the winner of the Grange essay contest.  

The Agriculture Committee presented four awards - the Outstanding Farmer Award to Michael Kiltey of Maple Spring Farm in Morris, the Outstanding Professional Award to the three brothers from Stone Ledge Farm, the Outstanding Production Award to Paul Trueby from Belltane Farm in Colchester, and the Outstanding Young Farmer award to Susie Thruwalt for her work with Maple production. They also announced that Jeff Barnes was the winner of the Grow A Sunflower contest. The Session concluded with the Past Deputies Raffle.

The 127th Annual Session of the Connecticut State Grange will be held October 20 - 22, 2011, with the Celebration Banquet on October 22.  The location of the next Session will be Sheraton Hotel in East Hartford.

About the Connecticut State Grange:  The Connecticut State Grange has been an integral part of rural and non-rural communities across the state for over 125 years, with currently more than 60 local Grange chapters in Connecticut. Local Granges are committed to bettering their communities through service projects and family orientated activities.

For more information on the Connecticut State Grange please visit www.CTStateGrange.org.


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