Richmond Astronomical Society

May 2010 Board Meeting Minutes

Jun 8th, 2010 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting May 17, 2010

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

Attendees (8):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • David Medici, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • John Barnett, Observatory Director
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Betty Wilson
  • Ken Wilson


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

February’s board meeting minutes were distributed, discussed, and the following needed to be corrected:

  • Barnett was spelled incorrectly with an ‘e’ on the end.
  • Gary Cowardin was incorrectly labeled as the Vice President.  The Vice President is presently David Medici.
  • The word ‘planetarium’ in the ‘New Business’ section should be changed to ‘observatory’.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

Balance Summary (as of 5/17/2010):

  • General Fund:                $6213.90
  • Observatory Fund:           $156.56
  • TOTAL:                         $6370.46
  • Checking Account:        $1323.84
  • Savings Account:           $2858.29
  • Certificate of Deposit:    $2188.33
  • Pay Pal Acct:                          0.00
  • TOTAL:                          $6370.46

The report reflected the funds towards the new fence build on the observatory property.

Treasurer’s report was approved by the board. 
Observatory Report given by John Barnett

  • The fence along the property line between the shopping center and the RAS observatory has been repaired, actually replaced, by the Hercules Fencing company for the agreed upon price of $1000, which was allocated by the RAS board.  John Barnett stated that the fence looks good, but needs to be extended a little lower at a tree root.
  • There was also a brief discussion about possibly selling the 13” Dobsonian telescope that the RAS owns.  It is presently stored at the home of John Barnett, and needs to be moved soon. 
  • A minor leak was repaired in the observatory.  No damage had occurred.
  • Another Open House has been scheduled, weather permitting. 


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • John Raymond, RAS Outreach coordinator, continues to schedule and hold several public skywatches at various places.
  • There are several requests for skywatches in the near future. 
  • Astronomy Day went really well, but was clouded over, therefore, no solar observing was done.
  • The VAAS meeting for 2011 will be held by the Back Bay Amateur Astronomers in Virginia Beach.  RAS was scheduled to host the meeting in 2011, but decided to give the Back Bay society the opportunity to host it.  RAS will host it in 2012.  The Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society will be the host for the October 9, 2010 meeting.  More information later.
  • Area skywatches should be processed through John Raymond, who is doing a great job.


Library Report

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


Old Business:

  • David Medici and Jim Browder have been doing research into getting our RAS library moved from a climate-controlled storage facility to the VCU library.  The response from the VCU library was ‘No’.  The library does hold volumes for some groups, but refused RAS, because of no astronomy program at VCU.  More discussion will be found in the ‘New Business’ section.


New Business:

  • RAS needs to fill a Form-990-N with the IRS within every 3 years.  We agreed upon a goal for RAS to submit the form every year, soon after the new slate of officers has been elected.
  • Disposition of library volumes: 
  • Discussion was continued to determine what can be done with the contents of the RAS library.  The following were ideas (with pros and/or cons):
    • VCU – will not hold our library. 
    • University of Virginia – too far away for RAS members to use.
    • University of Richmond, Richmond Public Library, Randolph-Macon College, a few selected private companies – will be contacted to see what they have to offer
    • Long-term storage in present climate-controlled storage facility – high-cost over time, limited accessibility.
    • Storage in individual home/office – no one asked yet, but it would require that person to be the librarian (or library support)
    • Storage in observatory – limited space available.
    • Discussion into possibly purchasing a storage shed to be built on the RAS observatory property.  Research has begun through several companies into the significant cost estimates for purchasing the building, cost of possible wiring, permits . . ., etc.  This building can be used to house the library contents or the tools and hardware from the observatory.  In the later case, the library contents may be kept in the observatory.
    • Further discussion suggested that the value of the library contents needs to be determined, especially for any possible insurance coverage.  An idea was brought up to donate any extra copies or (non-collector) out-of-date books to either members, charities, groups, or libraries.


Next Board meeting will be Monday, August 16th, 2010 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.

  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:24pm.

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