Richmond Astronomical Society

August 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – August 15, 2016


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm.


Attendees (9+2):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Madhup Rathi
  • Terry Barker (non-board)
  • Corinne Callison (non-board)


Missing (4):

  • Ted Bethune
  • Michael Pitchford
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director
  • Dave Medici


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • May’s board meeting minutes are corrected and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   5/16/2016):                (as of   8/15/2016):
  • General Fund: 07                            12094.43
  • Observatory Fund:           63                                  50.58
  • TOTAL: 70                            12145.01


  • Checking Account:    03                             7028.64
  • Savings Account:      10                             2863.10
  • Certificate of Deposit:      57                             2253.27
  • Pay Pal Acct:           00                                   0.00
  • TOTAL:     70                           12145.01


After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board.  The significant difference between the 2 reported summaries was due to the purchase of the storage facility at Belmead.

Membership count in August is 65 paid members.


Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Carolina Bay core drilling update – Randy Tatum had Ms. Utility inspect the land before drilling was performed.  The drilling involved taking a core measuring 6-inches in diameter and 30-feet down.  More information and findings will be available at a later date.


Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported
  • Jim Browder has many books in his garage and in storage that need to be evaluated, to either get rid of or keep.


Education / Outreach Report:

  • Perseid observing on Thursday at Powhatan – clearest night in memory – 15 people showed up;  Powhatan events are not widely publicized – can Powhatan park advertise with RAS press releases?  Powhatan Today publicizes our activities.
  • We do not have Powhatan State Park’s permission to regularly stay later into the night.  Action item for Jim Browder and John Raymond.
  • Suggestion for RAS to create a library of media released photos for P.R. reasons.
  • Science Museum – attendance and observing is going well, good crowds at the observing sessions that are not weathered out.
  • RAS building at Belmead is functional; solar powered light; inventory includes 25” dob and 4-6 scopes on wheels for easy movement
  • People/security control at Belmead (and other sites) can be handled by a dated and signed membership card.  ID cards were needed when RAS used the facilities at Malvern Hill
  • Powhatan State Park
  • Storage at Midlothian Storage is closed – most equipment moved to Belmead
  • Small items from storage and books in Jim Browder’s garage
  • Other donated items at the homes of Jim Browder’s, John Raymond, . . .
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.



Old Business

  • Belmead status – ‘things are still in limbo’; when more is known about proposed activity, RAS and equestrians can show support and their interest in remaining at Belmead.  The DSA (deep sky application) is almost complete, but it cannot be sent yet.
  • Communication plan (thanks to Betty Wilson, Mike Lico, and Corinne Callison).  Brief discussion about media connections that RAS has with the public.  RAS has an open and a closed Facebook account, and a Twitter account.
  • Inclusion process (on the list to keep attention on it) – Matthew has a survey that he would like to give to our members
  • Mutual of Omaha offer discussed at a recent board meeting, was turned down


New Business

  • Walter H. Haas award recipient – Randy Tatum was awarded this honor at the VAAS meeting this past October, for his work and research with Astronomy
  • James River State Park Dark Sky Park application – RAS will send a letter of support with the Dark Sky application
  • Need inventory update – attempting to update the online inventory with the latest amount of equipment that has been donated to RAS.  Also, trying to locate all equipment that may be stored at homes of the RAS members.
  • E-mail system issues – RAS mail system has been identified as a spam mailer;  research must be made to determine if this is true and what our future actions/choices are.
  • Begin thinking about plans for 2017 solar eclipse – August 21, 2017 – many of our members have already set up camping and hotel reservations along the line of totality for the total solar eclipse next August.  In Richmond, we are expecting 80-89% totality (strong partial).  Anyone left locally will be asked to help with public outreach.  There was a suggestion to update the RAS site with good information links.  One example is the “Great American Eclipse”.


Next Meeting Date – November 28, 2016  (tentative), Betty’s 29th birthday


Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.

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