Richmond Astronomical Society

May 2015 Board Meeting minutes

Aug 13th, 2015 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting May 18, 2015

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm.

Attendees (11):
• Jim Browder, President
• Matthew Roy, Vice President
• Jim Blowers, Treasurer
• Chris McCann, Secretary
• John Raymond, Observatory Director
• Ken Wilson
• Betty Wilson
• Gary Cowardin
• Dave Medici
• Michael Pitchford
• Ted Bethune

Missing (1):
• Bill Newman

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann
• February’s board meeting minutes accepted after a brief discussion.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers
• Balance Summary (as of 2/16/2015): (as of 5/18/2015):
• General Fund: 11004.73 16343.08
• Observatory Fund: 244.35 213.57
• TOTAL: 11249.08 16556.65

• Checking Account: 6142.77 11450.13
• Savings Account: 2862.03 2862.24
• Certificate of Deposit: 2244.28 2244.28
• Pay Pal Acct: 0.00 0.00
• TOTAL: 11249.08 16556.65

At this reporting, the totals include the initial deposit and 12 monthly payments made by the construction company for usage of the RAS property.
After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board.
Membership roles presently contain 55 members, including 15 observatory members.

Observatory Report –
• Trailers will remain until July unless extension is agreed upon by both sides. Afterwards, RAS is expecting the parking area to be cleared and graveled.
• Agreement signed for Columbia Gas pipeline right-of-way and indemnity with Bon Secours.
• Check for $5000 indemnity was received from Columbia Gas.
• Two (2) visitors at February’s open house, along with several club members.
• Should we re-visit the idea of publicizing open houses, instead of inviting selected groups?
• The blown light bulb inside of the telescope drive pedestal has been quickly replaced.
• Inside of the building is fine, after external construction traffic and cold winter weather.
• Trees are starting to sprout.

Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)
• No change at the Richmond Alarm Company.
• No thinning of books yet.

Education / Outreach Report :
• Astronomy Day 2015 recap – coordinator Matthew Roy presented a 5-page draft, reviewing the accomplishments, the “lessons learned”, things to think about, and goals for the next Astronomy Day. It was a very complete and informative document that included a lot of thought. Well done. Thanks to Matthew for organizing a successful Astronomy Day 2015.
• Good participation and coverage at recent skywatches:
o Cub Scout Belt Loop event for Pack 736
o Boy Scouts Bayport Scout Reservation (cancelled due to weather)
o Girl Scout Night Sky Project (conflict with Astronomy Day)
o Mary Mumford Elementary School (clouded out – waiting for re-scheduling)
o Pocahontas Middle School – Relay for Life
o Cub Scout Belt Loop Program
• Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.
o Concerns were discussed about the monthly Full Moon Event at the Sugar Pad (near Rocketts Landing). Our biggest concern was safety, due to the event being very close to the edge of the dock over the James River.
o Maymont Children’s Farm – overnight on May 29 (expecting 20-75 people)
o Bryan Park Skywatch on May 30. This and future events need MORE publicity

Old Business

New Business
• • VAAS 2015 will be sponsored by the Charlottesville Astronomical Society on Saturday, October 3, 2015. Plans will be added in the future to . Invitations have been sent out to Astronomical societies around Virginia.
• 501( c )(3) filing submitted (< $50,000 in gross receipts) • Belmead update – both sides (RAS and Belmead) have an interest in future development of an astronomical environment on the Belmead property • Inclusion Plan by Matthew Roy. Matthew has developed a 4-page draft with reasonable goals for a “Mentor Protégé Program”. Main goals include solidifying the future membership base of the RAS and improving the relationship with the community through education and skywatches. A motion was made to authorize Matthew Roy to proceed with the mentoring program. The motion was voted on and passed. • Preliminary planning for future observatory activity. We were all asked to consider what can be done with the Ragland Observatory if future observatory activities and interests diminish. Consider that the effectiveness has decreased dramatically since the observatory was originally built, but also remember there are still opportunities for the Ragland observatory to be valuable at its present location. Preliminary ideas included moving the observatory to Oilville, Camp Hanover, Amelia County, Camp Brady Saunders boys scout camp, and Belmead. • An idea was brought up for RAS members to consider speaking to classes in public schools. • National Astronomical League elections were decided by the board. RAS agreed unanimously to support Bryan Tobias as League Secretary, and Tom Lynch as League Treasurer. Both men were unopposed on the ballot. Ballot was mailed on May 19. Meeting was adjourned at 8:22 pm. Reminder - Presentation months/meetings for remainder of 2015 • September 8 Jim Blowers, Treasurer • October 13 David Medici • November 10 Ken Wilson • November 16 (Board meeting) • December 8 Gary Cowardin

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