Richmond Astronomical Society

May 2011 Board Meeting Minutes

Aug 14th, 2011 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting May 16, 2011

 President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:02pm.

 Attendees (10):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • David Medici, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Dave Walton
  • Jeff Pike


 Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • February’s board meeting minutes were discussed and approved.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

  • Balance Summary          (as of 2/21/2011)                      (as of 5/16/2011):
  • General Fund:                        6089.27                               6481.10
  • Observatory Fund:                   213.62                                 180.91
  • TOTAL:                                 6302.89                               6662.01
  • Checking Account:                1241.43                               1590.08
  • Savings Account:                  2859.37                                2859.72
  • Certificate of Deposit:           2202.09                                2212.21
  • Pay Pal Acct:                               0.00                                      0.00
  • TOTAL:                                6302.89                                 6662.01

The Astronomical League fees are due for RAS.  Jim mentioned we have 64 active members, which approximates dues to be $330.  Chris McCann just received the AL bill a couple days ago and will deliver it to Jim Blowers’ home within a few days.

Motion was made to allocate fees to renew RAS’s website address.  Moved and accepted.

Treasurer’s report was approved by the board. 

Observatory Report given by Jim Browder

  • The following maintenance has been performed on the observatory: concrete has been patched, front gate was re-painted
  • Maintenance needed to be done: building and metal poles need to be painted; 1 light needs to be replaced
  • Grass cutting duties have been set
  • John Barnett is planning an open house.  Comment heard: “… good to see him active again.”


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • Several public skywatches continue to be scheduled at various places.  There are several requests for skywatches in the near future. 
  • Appreciation to David Hagen (Educator at SMV) for his work with RAS needs
  • Where is the large RAS banner?
  • RavenCon 2011 (April 8-10) report:
    • Attended by Jim Browder, Prashant Reddy, John Raymond, Dave Walton, Terry Barker
    • There were panel discussions and information tables; unfortunately, night time Skywatch was weathered out
    • 5pm on Friday: Jim and Prashant handled the RAS and amateur astronomy discussion.  Very few attended
    • Terry spoke on satellite observation and Dave talked about available software.
    • John had a telescope aimed at a photo of Saturn down the hall. (“attention getter”)
    • “worth-while experience”, “always good to try something different”
  • Astronomy Day (May 7) 2011:
    • Thanks to Prashant for coordinating RAS activities for Astronomy Day.
    • Many RAS members, not many visitors, although there was a steady flow of attendance, reasonable contact with public,
    • More diversity in crowd – all ages, but appeared to have more children than  previous years
    • Need for back-up coverage on all activities, especially solar observing
    • Rocket launcher was defective
    • Skywatch had been “prommed out” quite a while back.
    • Recommendations for next year:  Ken recommended more children activities for next time; check available equipment long before that day; what will be available for us from SMV; RAS t-shirts for next year’s workers


Library Report (made by Jim Browder)

  • Virginiareported there was no change in status. Process runs “remarkably smoothly”.


Other Reports:

  • A $50 contribution was donated to the American Cancer Society, in the memory of Jerry Zaun.


Old Business:

  • Skywatch guidelines (drafted by Ken and Betty Wilson) finalized.  Needs to be linked on website.
  • 501 (c)(3) filing completed – electronic filing, receipt sent to Phil Roberts



New Business:

  • Jeff Pike is looking at a dark sky site inCumberland, about 20 miles west of the Powhatan observing site.  It is near the junction of routes 628 and 629.  Staff at their office has given their OK for us to look at it.
  • Gary Cowardin suggested a more comfortable site onPatterson AvenueinGoochlandCountynearColumbia.
  • Betty Wilson recommended a 17th century home in Manquin (King William??) for future picnics and skywatches.
  • Proposed purchases:
    • Prashant proposed a purchase of $599 for a double stack filter for the solar telescope.
    • Jeff and Gary support the purchase of another telescope. 
    • For example, purchase a new scope to use daytime at schools.
    • Recommendations for scope/filters purchases included white-light filters, Hydrogen-alpha filters, and Calcium filter (different frequency than double stacks)
    • John Raymond needs to be consulted for equipment advice before purchases.
    • Ken proposes that we first determine what amount is available in the treasury to budget for any purchases.  Jim Blowers will research.
  • Ken will draft a policy of procedures for RAS’s inventory control.
  • Dave Walton volunteered to be the inventory controller.
  • Eventually, membership will be informed of what inventory is available.
  • New member needs:  name tags, handbook (Feb, 2006 is latest edition), password for web page information
  • Motion was made to match design of new name tags with existing name tags.  Motion approved!



Next Board meeting will be Monday, August 15, 2011 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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