Richmond Astronomical Society

August 2011 Board Meeting Minutes

Nov 11th, 2011 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting August 15, 2011


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.


Attendees (8):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • David Medici, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Dave Walton


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • May’s board meeting minutes were discussed, ‘Old Business’ was updated, and minutes were approved.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

  • Balance Summary          (as of 5/16/2011)                (as of 8/15/2011):
  • General Fund:                        6481.10                               6314.61
  • Observatory Fund:                 180.91                                 128.35
  • TOTAL:                                      6662.01                               6442.96
  • Checking Account:               1590.08                                1366.35
  • Savings Account:                  2859.72                               2860.22
  • Certificate of Deposit:          2212.21                               2216.39
  • Pay Pal Acct:                                  0.00                                     0.00
  • TOTAL:                                      6662.01                                6442.96

The Astronomical League fees of $330 for 64 RAS active members are included.

It was mentioned that our bank’s name has changed from Wachovia to Wells Fargo.

Treasurer’s report was approved by the board. 

Observatory Report given by Jim Browder

  • Maintenance update
  • Reported that Randy Tatum had chipped away concrete from the apron, re-filled it, and painted it.
  • Two exterior walls have been painted, leaving 2 more walls to paint.
  • Grass needed to be cut, but it could wait until the end of the month.
  • A tree had fallen on the power line, but was removed by Dominion Power.


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • Many outreach skywatches and events have occurred and continue to be scheduled at various places.  There are several requests for skywatches in the near future. 
  • SkyDay night was very successful.  The quarterly event was well attended by over 300 attendees.  RAS was well represented.
  • “Good time was had by all”
  • Skywatch guidelines completed and thought to be posted.  It was mentioned that the link had issues with WordPress.


Library Report (made by Jim Browder)

  • Virginiareported there was no change in status. Process runs “remarkably smoothly”.  Air conditioned room protected the collection during these hot summer days.


Other Reports:

  • Telescope donation by Ray Matsuura (Celestron 4.5” reflector).  Need to send a letter receipt for donations such as this.  The board needs to review a receipt template.
  • Rezoning near observatory for medical facility.  We believe there may be a probable tree buffer.  Our concern was about possible light sources on such objects as a building identification sign and a flagpole.  Prashant had agreed to go make contact and fine out information.    Brief discussion about the possibility of an amendment in the state constitution that we could use to our advantage.
  • Scout Camp observatory plans – Tim proposed creating an observatory on the scout camp grounds that can be used by the RAS.  Well received by the board.  It will need further discussion and research into cost, timeline, accessibility, and probably more issues.  An advisory panel was started that included Jim Browder and Ken Wilson.  More members will be added.
  • Goochland lighting ordinance – plans by the board of supervisors are in disarray.  RAS will hold its support letter for Laura Graham until she requests it.


Old Business:

  • Name Tags – discussion continued with details of needs and different types.  We need to consider tags for present members and going forwards.  We need to consider cost, and ease to make quickly and inexpensively.  It all comes down to a happy medium among ‘time to create’ vs ‘cost’ vs ‘ease of reading tag’.  We would like to keep the logo.
  • Existing prices: Staples FedEx can create tags quickly (was $4, now $5 a badge).
  • Magnetic type seemed to be popular to not damage clothing or puncture skin.
  • Garyspoke of a machine that we could use to make name tag labels.
  • Equipment inventory – Dave Walton (Inventory controller) stated that we need a form to use for check out purposes.  We need to look at what the members now have in their possession.  Dave will need to eventually get it finalized and posted on the web site under the member’s security page.  Jim Browder will send an email to members inquiring what RAS equipment they have.  Dave Walton will ask at a future RAS meeting.
  • Draft asset policy – Ken Wilson distributed a procedures draft for RAS’s inventory control.  He requests for the board to review and respond with comments before the next board meeting.  There is a target to get a final version of it approved at the next board meeting.



New Business:

  • Selection of nominating committee – Dave Medici volunteered as chairman.
  • Fall picnic is scheduled for the 3rd Saturday of September (Sept 17) at the scout camp.  A $60 check is needed to pay rental fees to Tim.  It was decided that if members brought visitors, they may either bring additional food or donate money to the food cause.
  • The RAS version of VAAS 2012 is scheduled for September 15, 2012.  the shelter and dining hall at the Maidens scout camp have been reserved).  Planning committee will be created after elections are done and new board has begun.
  • Proposed purchases – Prashant proposed a purchase of a double stack filter for the solar telescope.  Discussion delayed until later after other estimates have been found.  It was re-iterated that John Raymond needs to be consulted for advice before equipment is purchased.
  • Announcement to be aware of suspicious Facebook emails.  Several board members have received SPAM emails addressed to Dave Walton.



Next Board meeting will be Monday, November 14, 2011 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.  Normally, the board meeting would have been on November 21, but with that being on Thanksgiving week, there may be attendance issues.


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:34pm.

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