Richmond Astronomical Society

August 2013 Board Meeting Minutes

Nov 11th, 2013 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting August 19, 2013


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


Attendees (8):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • John Raymond, Vice-President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Bill Newman
  • Gary Cowardin


Missing : David Medici, Betty Wilson, Dave Walton


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • May’s board meeting minutes were discussed and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary         (as of  5/20/2013):                (as of  8/19/2013):
  • General Fund:                        7094.57                               6951.37
  • Observatory Fund:                   187.26                                 149.29
  • TOTAL:                                 7281.83                               7100.66
  • Checking Account:                2188.76                               2005.25
  • Savings Account:                   2861.11                               2861.20
  • Certificate of Deposit:            2231.96                              2234.21
  • Pay Pal Acct:                                0.00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:                                 7281.83                               7100.66

At this time, there are approximately 61 paid members for 2013.

There are 21 members on the observatory staff.

It was announced that RAS has the lowest per capita membership of all Virginia societies.

After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board. 


Observatory Report given by John Raymond

  • No issues
  • Property Maintenance Update:  Grass had been cut.  Grass cutting assignments were re-announced for September (Ronald Snead & Preston Kirby), October (Tom Burnham & Wayne Boggs), and November (John Raymond & Randy Tatum).
  • More room in the observatory due to the sale of a telescope.


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • Numerous outreach events and Skywatches
  • VAAS 2013 – Northern Virginia;
  • Saturn Wave – nice small group at SMV for photo opportunity from Saturn.  Photo versions from SMV and Saturn’s points of view were posted on the RAS website.
  • CampPhoenix invitation for Sept 28-29; in OldChurch in HanoverCounty;  camp is an annual event for cancer survivors.
  • Belmead – Saturday, Sept 7 at 7:30; PowhatanCounty;  Early moon for new observers; Later, there will be no moon for experienced observing.  Objects of interest: milky way, a new nova, Venus, Saturn, . . . .


Library Report (made by Jim Browder)

  • There are no problems at the Richmond Alarm Company.


Other Reports:

  • Sale of RAS Dob telescope –  John Raymond had success selling the telescope
  • Powhatan dark sky ordinance – A letter was constructed by Jim Browder and sent to the Powhatan County Planning Commission on May 6, to show RAS’s support of a proposal to improve Powhatan’s lighting ordinance.  Laura Graham has expressed satisfaction with results from the commission.


Old Business:

  • Equipment inventory – on going


New Business (some of these were mentioned for future discussion):

  • Website access and update capabilities – RAS officers need to become future owners of the RAS website.  We must find out the process to transfer the website ownership from its present owner to the RAS officers.  After training, website changes can be made quicker.
  • Fall Picnic and skywatch – aimed at being at Belmead (need to get their permission).  Proposed to be on Saturday, October 12 with a rain/cloud date of Saturday, October 26.
  • Board Nominating Committee Chairman – Dave Medici will be asked to be the chairman.  Chris has volunteered to help whomever the chairman ends up being.
  • Autumn Astronomy Day on October 13.  Tabled until next year due to lack of planning time and other activities around that time.
  • There was an idea about public ‘Telescope Training’ in January.  Discussion to be held at November board meeting.
  • Spoken appreciation and a gift were presented to Ken & Betty Wilson for their hard work of organizing VAAS 2012 (hosted by RAS).
  • Bill Newman asked for our approval to get a financial quote from a family member, to clear off the land around the observatory, and fill in the resultant holes. 
  • Leslie will talk about the RAS observatory (and other observatories in central Virginia) at the September LiveSky.  For security reasons, the exact location of the observatory will not be revealed.
  • There are plans to have an RAS open house soon.  A suggestion was made to have a public skywatch at the RAS observatory next year, possibly as early as February.  Jupiter and Orion will be in view during mid-February.
  • A suggestion was made to have observatory training during 2014.  A sign-up sheet needs to be available during the monthly meetings.
  • Suggestions from John Goss for improving websites:  loaner telescopes to members, active blog page, survey membership to steer future activities.  We need an ‘faq’ section on the website, and active links to valid helpful sites.
  • Status of ‘past’ skywatch locations:  We need to re-visit the idea of using Five Forks, Powhatan, Pocahontas park, and the Chesterfield Air Park.  Malvern Hill is not being used by RAS (no formal contact).


Next Board meeting will be Monday, November 18, 2013 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.   


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:41 pm.

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