Richmond Astronomical Society

February 2010 Board Meeting Minutes

Apr 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting February 15, 2010

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


  • Jim Browder, President
  • Gary Cowardin, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • John Barnett, Observatory Director
  • Bill Jeffries
  • Jeff Pike
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Tim Streagle
  • David Medici
  • Betty Wilson
  • Ken Wilson


Secretary’s report

  • November’s board meeting minutes were distributed, discussed, and accepted with no changes.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

Balance Summary:

  • General Fund:                $7630.97
  • Observatory Fund:           $210.76
  • TOTAL:                         $7841.73
  • Checking Account:        $2819.35
  • Savings Account:           $2857.94
  • Certificate of Deposit:    $2164.44
  • Pay Pal Acct:                          0.00
  • TOTAL:                          $7841.73

Treasurer’s report approved by board. 
Observatory Report:

  • John Barnett has reported that the fence is still deteriorating and falling down.  Discussion about the fence will be found in the New Business section.
  • Another Open House has been scheduled, weather permitting.  John reported that the last chance to see Mars during it’s approach to Earth is coming soon.
  • Thanks to those who took care of the facilities and grounds around the observatory.


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • John Raymond, RAS Outreach coordinator, has scheduled and held several public skywatches at various places.  John will continue to provide this service during 2010.
  • There are several requests for skywatches in the near future. 
  • A skywatch request has come in from St. Emma Military Academy in Powhatan.
  • Discussions are under way to have a skywatch in Bryan Park. 
  • There was a successful skywatch at Rockwood Nature Center on Courthouse Road (David Medici, Tim Streagle, John Barnette, and Dave Walton were among the RAS members that participated).


Library Report

  • Discussion about library issues will be discussed during New Business.


New Business:

  • There was a brief discussion about whom to send the meeting presentation topics to.  They are to be sent to the Vice-President and also copy the board members to keep them informed.
  • Jim Browder discussed the meeting that he and Dave Credicott had with Rich Conti, SMV Director and CEO, and Elizabeth Voelkel, Director of Guest Operations.  A large portion of the meeting involves looking at slides.  Jim and Dave discussed the global relationship between RAS and SMV, including the long-time history and activities that the 2 groups have shared.  It was found that RAS is not in the future strategic plans of the SMV.  It appears that Rick Conti wishes to ad pizzazz and excitement, rather than inspiration and education, to the museum.  His attention is intended towards the family rather than the schools and their SOLs.
  • The latter portion of the meeting brought some “Challenges and Issues” for RAS.  The impression at the meeting was that the over 600 volumes of books and manuscripts in our possession had to be moved out of the RAS library at SMV by the end of February.
  • Options and their pros/cons were discussed pertaining to the books:
  1. Get atmosphere controlled rental storage
  2. Long term storage inside the observatory,
  3. Short term storage inside the observatory, with plans to create a new separate building on RAS property, to house the books.
  4. Reduce the amount of books by donating to different charities and libraries.
  5. Long-term storage in the 4th floor library at VCU.  Only RAS people will be allowed to check out the books.
  • The following motions were considered and passed by the board:

Members of the board were going to assemble at the RAS library on Feb 20 to box the books.  Betty Wilson strongly encouraged that we lined each box with a plastic garbage bag before loading the books into it.  There are several old, important, and fragile books in our library.

The moving of the books will be done within the following week, but is not planned to be on the day of boxing.  The primary destination will be the VCU library, if David Medici can arrange it with VCU by that time.  If not possible, the books will be put into a near-by climate-controlled public storage facility.  If not possible, the books will be moved into the observatory.

The board discussed the condition of the fence around the RAS observatory, and has realized that no one else will be found responsible to fix it.  The board has agreed to a maximum of $1000 to be used to replace the fence, in efforts to improve the security of the planetarium.  Research will be made and several possible construction choices will be considered.

Next Board meeting will be Monday, May 17th, 2010 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.

  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:38pm.

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