Richmond Astronomical Society

November 2009 Board Meeting Minutes

Nov 26th, 2009 | By | Category: Board Meetings


  • Jim Browder, President
  • Gary Cowardin, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • John Barnett, Observatory Director
  • Preston Kirby
  • Bill Jeffries
  • Jeff Pike
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Tim Streagle
  • David Medici
  • Betty Wilson
  • Ken Wilson


Secretary’s report

  • August’s Board meeting was distributed and accepted with no changes.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers.

Balance Summary:

  • General Fund:                $7168.47
  • Observatory Fund:           $220.74
  • TOTAL:                         $7389.21
  • Checking Account:        $2367.19
  • Savings Account:           $2857.58
  • Certificate of Deposit:    $2164.44
  • Pay Pal Acct:                          0.00
  • TOTAL:                          $7389.21

Treasurer’s report approved by board.  Charts were presented as part of the report.  It was recommended and agreed that the charts should be presented to the membership at the next RAS meeting.

There was a question regarding the reasons behind the need for insurance, and if the insurance is for injuries occurring at all RAS events.


Observatory Report:

  • John Barnett has reported that the fence is still deteriorating and falling down.  Our legal representative has been attempting to speak with Thalhimers Corporation, the owners of the adjoining shopping center.
  • Dave Credicott’s son will be spending time patching up the fence as a scouting activity.  Our legal representative states it is OK for now. 
  • The observatory staff has 3 new members and recently had a computer donated to the observatory.
  • Another Open House is scheduled for Nov 22, weather permitting.  John reported that weather has allowed only 3 RAS open houses this year.
  • John and Joe Hetmanski have spent some time speaking with 2 electrical engineers about the use of Solar energy to help complement electrical power to the observatory.  If ever used, RAS will not cancel its account with Dominion Power.  RAS power line runs 0.5 miles through the woods.  The necessary battery arrangement would provide a trickle charge, and would probably not be noticed in the electrical bill.
  • This was investigated to provide a means to keep the telescope dry and prevent humidity build-up in the case of a long-term electrical power outage.
  • The insurance adjuster inspected the observatory and was impressed with the new flooring around the base of the telescope.


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • John Raymond is the RAS Outreach coordinator and has scheduled and held several public skywatches at various places including schools, nursing homes, and neighborhoods.  John will continue to provide this service during 2010.
  • The regional Science Fair will be held in Powhatan this year.  RAS has an on-going practice of giving monetary prizes to impressive projects that support study into Astronomical research.  David Medici will be the lead RAS representative to judge the projects involving Astronomy and similar studies.  John Barnett and Chris McCann will also attend as RAS judges.


Library Report

  • There are several issues regarding the allowed hours for the library to be open, and access to RAS books and manuscripts.


New Business:

Election of 2010 RAS officers from the new slate of board members were held.  Also assignments of monthly presentation responsibilities were decided.  Both will be listed below:

  • Jim Browder       President                           December
  • David Medici      Vice President                  June
  • Jim Blowers        Treasurer                          April
  • Chris McCann     Secretary                          August
  • John Barnett        Observatory Director       January
  • Gary Cowardin                                             November
  • Bill Jeffries                                                   October
  • Jeff Pike                                                       September
  • Prashant Reddy                                            July
  • Tim Streagle                                                 May
  • Betty Wilson                                                 March
  • Ken Wilson                                                   February


  • Virginia Eckert was appointed to continue as librarian for 2010.
  • John Raymond was appointed to continue as our Outreach Coordinator for 2010.


  • There was a brief discussion about the database of past presentations.  It can be accessed through an existing link on the RAS webpage.
  • A goal has been set to provide Jim Browder (and the remainder of the Board) with our tentative presentation topic during the first couple of months in 2010.


  • There are several issues regarding the allowed hours for the library to be open, and access to RAS books and manuscripts.  We have over 600 volumes of books and manuscripts in our possession.  After board discussion, we will attempt to have 2 RAS representatives meet with SMV officials to discuss our questions and concerns.



  • 60th anniversary RAS dinner: Date Friday December 4th.  Place: Holiday Inn on Staples Mill Road, near Staples Mill and West Broad Street.
  • The cost is $30 a person.  Provide payments to Jim Browder or Jim Blowers by Nov 30.  John Barnett and others are assembling some historical material for display, while Gary Cowardin is providing audio/visual equipment.  Bill Jeffries has scheduled our speaker for the evening to be Jim Condon from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville.  The topic of his talk will be “Weighing a Black Hole”.
  • Thanks was given to all that have helped, including Preston Kirby for researching the possible dinner locations.
  • The anniversary dinner will take place of the regular December meeting and will be RAS’s 723rd consecutive monthly meeting.


  • We briefly discussed the group purchase of the RASC Observer’s Handbooks.  After looking at the 2008 and 2009 versions, we decided we needed to approach the membership before deciding.  Motion was table.


  • Tim Streagle presented a legal insurance agreement for the RAS Board to consider.  If accepted, RAS would be legally covered for any liability concerns at events held at the Boy Scout Camp in Goochland.  The main concern would be for the allowance of minors at events.  It will be passed on to our legal representative for their approval.


Next Board meeting will be Monday, February 15th, 2010 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:47pm.

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