Opinion

Valley cornerstone needs help

The Sallal Grange has been a part of the Valley now for many years. The grange has been very active both in the local civic arena, and the region's political arena. Many of the residents of the North Bend area vote at the Grange Hall. There are a couple of Scout organizations that use the hall, one of which is chartered by the Sallal Grange. There is a church that meets in the hall. The local Christmas Club uses the hall, free of charge, every year. Many weddings and parties have been held at the hall. There was once a theatre group that used the hall.

The organizations that use the hall do not have any members representing them at meetings and are not members themselves, with the exception of the Scouts. Both of the Scouts' representatives were grange members who helped to sponsor the chartering of the Boy Scout troop that uses the hall. Sallal Grange has gained no new members from this, or any other organization currently using the hall. All of these groups and any other groups who may be looking for a home should take a second look at this letter.

Grange is a family-oriented organization. Children are always welcome at our meetings. When my wife, Kitty, and I joined the grange, we were just price shopping for inexpensive auto insurance. We currently use another company, but we became involved because of the family-friendly atmosphere and the sense of importance of the work that this organization does.

The grange has something to offer everybody. It is a great way to get involved in your community and feel like you are a part of something very worthwhile. At a local level, the Sallal Grange is taking part in the Dictionary Project, which provides a dictionary for every third-grader. For the past two years we have provided dictionaries to every third-grader in the Upper Snoqualmie Valley. Fall City Elementary third-graders receive their dictionaries from the Issaquah Valley Grange.

There are several Junior Grange camps every summer. Sallal Grange sponsors several children to these camps regardless of whether their parents are members. We often provide the hall free of charge for charitable events, such as the Christmas Club, and for meetings regarding important local issues, such as Cedar County and the initiative for Fire District No. 38.

The grange is a very powerful lobbying organization. Our local grange is part of a county grange, and the county granges form the Washington State Grange. The state granges are then part of the National Grange. Washington State Grange was involved in the writing of our State Constitution, and more recently in supporting Initiative No. 872, which passed by a large majority. Sallal Grange members actively collected signatures for Initiative No. 872. It is not over. There will be lawsuits, and again the Washington State Grange and your local grange will accept the challenge and fight for your right to choose.

The Sallal Grange cannot continue to exist without your help. We currently have 55 members, of which eight are active. I recently attempted to contact and invite all members to a meeting, but none other than the usual eight came. Many are older and no longer physically able to come. Others say they are too busy. Unfortunately, there are not usually enough people to have a quorum at our meetings anymore. Without a quorum, there can't be business conducted. Without at least one business meeting a month, the grange is not following the protocol needed to keep its charter. Without a current chartered grange, the Grange Hall will not be available for the Valley's residents to use. It will become the property of the state grange, and could be auctioned off without any local input.

Our meetings are the first and third Thursdays of each month, with the exception of the summer months, which drop to one meeting monthly. It isn't a huge commitment, but does take up a couple evenings a month. Our next meeting is this Thursday, Nov. 18. We meet at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held to an hour, with refreshments following.

Please consider attending this important meeting. Without new members from our community or involvement from current members of our community, the Sallal Grange will not be able to survive. I hope that you will agree with me that this is a very important organization in our Valley, and that you will join me in trying to keep this organization alive. Now is the time to get involved; time is running out.

Monte Lynch, Master

Sallal Grange No. 955

North Bend

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