Richmond Astronomical Society

February 2017 Board Meeting Minutes

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

RAS Board Meeting – February 20, 2017


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:06 pm.


Attendees (10):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Terry Barker
  • Joe Racette
  • Tyler Hutcheson
  • Madhup Rathi



  • Ted Bethune
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Michael Pitchford


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • February’s board meeting minutes are reviewed and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   11/25/2016):                (as of  02/20/2017):
  • General Fund: 75                            12331.51
  • Observatory Fund:           52                                  84.66
  • TOTAL:                       27                            12416.17


  • Checking Account:     16                             10157.25
  • Savings Account:            00                                    0.00   (will be removed from report)
  • Certificate of Deposit:     11                              2258.92
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:   27                             12416.17


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

Membership renewal count in February is 60 paid members.


Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • Grounds look good; adjacent property has illegally dumped furniture/sofas/tires on it. John plans to call Chesterfield County about the refuge and deteriorating fence.


Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job and will continue to be our librarian.
  • No issues reported


Education / Outreach Report:

  • The Terry / Madhup outreach machine – many skywatches have been done and are planned on the RAS calendar.
  • Contact Madhup, Terry, or Jim Browder if anyone can help out at skywatches.  Jim has handouts for the skywatches.
  • Help is needed at Matoaca Middle on March 1
  • Due to weather, only 1 scheduled skywatch has been held at SMV in the past 3 months.  Good crowd and many astronomers
  • Can we send announcements to schools, to keep all in a loop?



Old Business  (tabled till next meeting)

  • By-laws link & number allowed on board members is NOT an issue – no need to change by-laws.
  • Inclusion process; need inventory update to Jim (on the list to keep attention on it) – members are encouraged to talk to new visitors at the meeting.  Consider re-starting sponsor process again.
  • E-mail system issues improved; propose using Mailchimp system to track membership data.  We can create our own database and email list.
  • Google apps (Matthew)


New Business

  • VAAS – Back Bay will be hosting for 2017.  There is talk that it may coincide with the Staunton River Star Party on a date TBD.   Details later.  RAS will be hosting for 2018 (details much later).
  • Belmead status – no decision by the owners at this time; Jim has a cost estimate to move the RAS building if we need to.  There is an agreement to allow RAS up to 30 days to move the storage facilities, if needed.  Hopefully, we will not need to move the building.
  • Discussion about where to move storage facilities (if necessary):
    • RAS observatory property (expected to be temporary)
    • Resawich [Indian name] in Columbia, 10 miles west of Goochland
    • Boy scout camp in Goochland, but there is lots of light
    • Interesting thought that was said: to consider the building can be 1 place for outreach and personal viewing, and have another location(s) for our own personal viewing.  Keep looking.
  • Astronomy Day planning – April 29 (Saturday).
    • Astronomy activities in the Rotunda.
    • No skywatch is planned that night.
    • Ken is planning to show a powerpoint on Eclipses in same room as the portable observatory.
    • Matthew will provide the rocket launchers.  Leslie and others will be supplying plastic bottles for rockets.
    • Can we do a press release?  Possibly Style Magazine and the newspaper?
    • Andrew Freiden is usually helpful with announcing RAS activities and astronomical occurrences.
    • Consider members working 2 in shifts in future if we have a skywatch.
  • Metro Science Fair – March 11 at Huguenot High School
    • For years, Terry Barker has been a judge and has selected astronomy or space science project winners to receive a monetary award from the RAS.  There will be a total of $200 in prize money given to selected students this year.
    • Madhup will also be there to help and to represent RAS.



  • Remaining presentation months – meetings and board meetings
    • May 15          (Board meeting)
    • June 13          Mike Lico
    • July 11           Jim Blowers
    • August 8        Chris McCann
    • August 21      (Board meeting), existing issues with solar eclipse activities ????
    • September 12  Joe Racette
    • October 10      Tyler Hutcheson
    • November 14   Ken Wilson
    • November 20   (Board meeting)
    • December 12    Gary Cowardin
  • Coordinator of picnics and Astronomy Day – Matthew Roy


Next Meeting Date – May 15, 2017 (tentative)


Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 pm.




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