Richmond Astronomical Society

February 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 10th, 2016 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – February 29, 2016


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm.


Attendees (11+1):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Michael Pitchford
  • Mike Lico
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Dave Medici
  • Ted Bethune
  • Madhup Rathi
  • Thomas Profitt (non-board)


Missing (2):

  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director



Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • November’s board meeting minutes accepted after a brief discussion and a correction.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of  11/16/2015):                (as of  11/16/2015):
  • General Fund: 67                            17267.69
  • Observatory Fund:           64                                116.49
  • TOTAL: 31                             17384.18


  • Checking Account:    57                             12271.40
  • Savings Account:     07                               2249.89
  • Certificate of Deposit:     67                               2862.89
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                     0.00
  • TOTAL:   31                             17384.18


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

Insurance premium was higher due to a switch in the liability and general insurance policy for the observatory property.

Membership count in February: 50 paid members, including 13 observatory members.


Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Repairs planned for 2016: repair cracking in the concrete patio; replace roof flashing; install shielding for exterior light at the hospice center.


Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported


Education / Outreach Report:

  • Support requested for an SMV event on Saturday, March 5
  • Presentation and skywatch for Girl Scouts (having an astronomical themed camp-in)
  • Madhup is going to host a future skywatch at Tuckahoe
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar, including several at Powhatan State park.
  • Planning in progress for 2016 Astronomy Day (Saturday, May 14).  Matthew Roy volunteered to plan and run the event.  (A lesser observed fall Astronomy Day has been set for October 8 by the Astronomical League).


Old Business

  • Discussion/vote on RAS-Francis Emma MOU to support outreach/storage facility and other activities (new discussion detailed below in ‘New Business’


New Business

  • Offer of assistance for social media support by RAS member (VCU physics student)
  • Laura Graham working on IDA Dark Skies certification for Belmead
  • Discuss mechanics to implement inclusion process
    • Have an assigned sponsor contact a guest visitor
    • Consider sending emails to new visitors
    • Possibly researching interest of guests and members
    • Creation of resource list, RAS brochure or tri-fold
    • Consider possibly having special interest group meeting, for example, astro-imaging hangout (Google); Ask Brian Hartley to do a demo of the Google handout
  • RAS-Francis Emma MOU to support outreach/storage facility and other activities
    • MOU comment by Phil: noticed no problems; no enforcement mechanism
    • If issues arise – either work it out or leave
    • If we leave, we need to determine where the building goes (must remain portable)
    • A trailer is needed to transport equipment to and from area sites
    • Need property and liability insurance
    • Decide who should be able to access equipment
    • Should building be anchored or tied-down for weather purposes
    • Ken suggested collecting a separate fee from members to be a Belmead user (similar to fees to be observatory users)
    • Membership ID cards will be needed
    • RAS will own the storage facilities and its contents
    • Do we want windows (frosted or clear) or vents on the building?  Recommendation to have no windows at this time and possibly add them later
    • Do we want a ‘quiet’ facility or do we advertise for RAS?
    • Goal is to eventually have solar lighting and power
    • Recommendation to buy U-Haul padlocks for doors
    • Belmead folks will be responsible to contact RAS if damaged or vandalism occurs
    • Purchase is roughly $5100 ($500 due upon order with balance due at delivery)
    • Motion: RAS approval for Jim Browder to sign MOU, with Ken’s amendment to make a maximum of $5500 in purchases.  Action: Approval by Board vote



Next Meeting Date – May 16, 2016


Meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.

Comments are closed.