Richmond Astronomical Society

May 2012 Board Meeting Minutes

Aug 16th, 2012 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting May 21, 2012


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


Attendees (10):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • David Medici, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Ken Wilson
  • Bettie Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Bill Newman
  • Tim Streagle
  • Gary Cowardin (appeared at end of meeting)


Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • February’s board meeting minutes were discussed, corrections made, and minutes were accepted with changes.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

  • Balance Summary         (as of 2/20/2012):                (as of 5/21/2012):
  • General Fund:                        7211.78                               6997.91
  • Observatory Fund:                   140.02                                   98.90
  • TOTAL:                                 7351.80                               7096.81
  • Checking Account:                2271.32                               2014.03
  • Savings Account:                   2860.75                               2860.84
  • Certificate of Deposit:            2219.73                               2221.94
  • Pay Pal Acct:                                0.00                                     0.00
  • TOTAL:                                 6351.80                                7096.81

Jim Blowers mentioned that RAS has 57 current members -16 of them have paid observatory dues.

Brief discussion about IDA dues paid twice, 1 winner at Science Fair, fee for name badges being created for 1/2 the members, and funds needed for repairs to observatory.

Treasurer’s report was accepted by the board. 


Observatory Report given by Jim Browder

  • Randy and neighboring church has discussed a joint clean-up venture.
  • Many thanks to Tim and Karen Streagle, and all others for the significant clearing of brush and debris.  Tree stumps still remain and need to be removed.  


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • Astronomy Day at SMV – Saturday, April 28 – Last minute changes forced a change of location, but there was still a large turnout even though RAS ended up behind the museum.  Displays included meteorite skymap, dark sky information,Sydney’s telescope and Science Fair project, Starlab, City Dark movie, Russ the roving astronaut, and 16 water bottle rocket launches.  Great work Prashant!! 
  • Further Astronomy Day discussion included comments on the status of RAS/SMV relations.  Are we being treated right?  Are we low on the totem pole?  Rich Conti came by the RAS activities area and talked about 10 minutes.  Were the Astronomy Day activities a draw for the SMV attendance?
  • Astronomy Day – Belmead evening event (indoor sky orientation was a lot of fun, RAS information, dark sky info, night skywatch was clouded out).  Several good questions from the small crowd that attended.  The public was invited back on June 30th.  Attendees included Jim Browder, Laura Graham, and Demetrius Venable (HowardUniversity astronomer who lives in Powhatan).
  • MetroRichmondScience Fair:  several spotty presentations.  Terry Barker represented RAS and awarded 1-$50 prize to Sydney Mabry for her project researching how the size of a sunspot affects the longevity of the sunspot.
  • Many outreach skywatches and events have occurred and continue to be scheduled at various places.
  • Skywatch affected by SMV activities – Concern over the RAS skywatch being moved to an area behind the SMV.  It was hard-to-find, parking was OK, kinda dark area, but had nearby parking lights, and had a possible security issue, due to being isolated from public view.
  • Needs: public sign at SMV when skywatch is cancelled.  Discussion about when and under what conditions to cancel skywatch.  Most agreed that we had to ‘play it by ear’.  SMV wants their PR department to handle any TV/radio announcements.



Library Report (made by Jim Browder)

  • Virginiareported there was no change in status.  There is no issue at the Virginia Alarm Company.
  • The lock on one of the cabinets was fixed for free.
  • Discussion by board to present a gift from RAS to RAC


Other Reports:

  • 501(c)(3) for 990n filed
  • Name tag status – Name tags will be created for those who perform outreach first, followed by the rest of the club.
  • RAS asset inventory/use policy – Jim Browder has made an inquiry into loaned out equipment and unreturned library books.  Action by ??
  • VAAS 2012 planning – Bettie Wilson will be the committee and activity lead.  Board members were asked to volunteer for duties to perform.  The location this year will be at the Heart of Virginia scout camp, where the shelter and dining hall have been reserved.  Saturday, September 15, 2012.


Old Business:



New Business:

  • Astronomical League election ballot – discussed, unopposed choices agreed upon, and mailed in the next day
  • Review plan for Transit of Venus event (Tuesday, June 5th, 6pm – 8pm at the SMV).  SMV invited RAS to set up telescopes for public viewing.  If available, please come and help.  Plans for video system and club PST to be used.
  • Tim instructed for astronomical equipment at scout camp to be returned to RAS by August 1st, before he leaves forPocatello,Idaho.  Discussion and approval agreed upon to temporarily store the equipment at Richmond Alarm Company.
  • Bill Newman discussed his speed-of-light research proposal with some of us before and after the meeting.  To help, it would involve 4-6 specially-timed observations over 6 months.
  • Ken proposed a resolution for Tim Streagle to show appreciation for his time and dedication to RAS.



Next Board meeting will be Monday, August 20, 2012 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.   


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.

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