Richmond Astronomical Society

November 2013 Board Meeting minutes

Feb 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting November 18, 2013


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


Attendees (11):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • David Walton
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Prashant Reddy
  • Bill Newman
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Dave Medici
  • Randy Tatum


Missing (1):

  • John Raymond, Vice-President



Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • August’s board meeting minutes were discussed and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary         (as of  8/19/2013):                (as of  11/18/2013):
  • General Fund:                        6951.37                               6606.56
  • Observatory Fund:                   149.29                                 191.43
  • TOTAL:                                 7100.66                               6797.99
  • Checking Account:                2005.25                               1672.53
  • Savings Account:                   2861.20                               2861.25
  • Certificate of Deposit:            2234.21                              2234.21
  • Pay Pal Acct:                                0.00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:                                 7100.66                               6767.99


Question was asked about the $291.91 amount spent towards picnic.  It was announced that $200.00 of the amount is a voluntary donation to Belmead, while the remaining $91.91 was paid towards meats and products used at the picnic (at Belmead).

After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board. 


Observatory Report given by Jim Browder (from John Raymond)

  • No issues of note
  • Grass maintenance and upkeep were completed until the Spring.
  • Dumpster status: out of way of the gate
  • Big branch hanging over the fence


Education Report (Jim Browder) :

  • Numerous outreach events and Skywatches
  • VAAS 2013 – Northern Virginia (NoVa) did a nice job, meetings in tent, the day was a combination of VAAS and 1 of their annual skywatch events, good speakers, large collections of over 70 telescopes at the VAAS skywatch.
  • CampPhoenix for cancer survivors – clouded out
  • CampPhoenix for girl scouts – clouds moved in during presentation, but scouts saw major north sky constellations, and a few ‘shooting stars’.  Afterwards, a few of us briefly saw ISS pass over.
  • Fall Picnic – at Belmead, wonderful facility managed by a non-profit organization, good sky but clouded out during evening
  • Scotchtown – clouded out
  • L C Bird – successful while skies were cleared (clouded out later), observation area behind school is OK to use, Administration wants RAS back
  • SMV skywatches
  • Woodlake – good and interested crowds



Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)

  • There are no problems at the Richmond Alarm Company.


Other Reports:

  • Ken Wilson was interviewed by Charles Fishburne about Comet ISON
  • SCC report in process by Phil Roberts – SCC dues of $25 have been paid
  • SMV planetarium having new Digistar system and ceiling installed; unavailable January and February; effects on SMV skywatch
  • SMV planetarium director
  • IRS 501c3 filing due in Spring by May 15, 2014


Old Business:

  • Equipment inventory – on going


New Business (some of these were mentioned for future discussion):

  • Upcoming meetings with SMV – suggestions or ideas
  • Astronomy Day – “Bringing Astronomy to the People” – May 10, 2014 –
    • RAS will request SMV to push and strongly advertise Astronomy Day
    • RAS are not SMV volunteers – allow RAS to decide our own activities
    • RAS will request SMV to promote and support skywatches more
    • Request for RAS weblink to be added onto SMV website.
    • Investigate the possibility of RAS becoming active in (Wednesday) Lunch Break Science talks, possibly presenting monthly meeting topics
    • Offer literature to public
    • Provide attractive and comfortable family environment to bring people back to Astronomy Day
    • Refreshments
  • SMV skywatches for January and February will be held, but there will be no LiveSky presentations prior to our skywatch.  Be prepared to have telescopes available a little earlier then usual, for the public arriving at the normal SkyLive times.
  • Bill Newman presented a financial quote from a family member to perform ground maintenance and improvement at the observatory.  The proposal is to pull up and haul away stumps, rough grade, add required fill, fine grade, and seed the area.  As of 10/15/2013, the proposed quote is $3900.00.  Contact information: Kirby Williams, 804-598-4072 (H), 804-347-3299 (C) 
  • Prashant asked for the RAS to approve a purchase of an eyepiece for the PST solar scope.  A quote for an 11-mm focal length eyepiece is $99 (+ shipping & handling).  Brands that were considered included Coronado and Explorer Scientific.
  • A proposal was made to have a skywatch at the “Center of the Universe”.  Reactions were positive and supporting.
  • The Universe Society, a fundraising, social and networking group for young professionals who promote and support the SMV, wish to join up with RAS and have a skywatch.  Another opportunity of this partnership is in providing mentorship for a student Astronomy project.  This is a good opportunity to involve school age groups.
  • Thanks to David Medici for serving as Board Nominating Committee Chairman.
  • Officer Elections – Results and months for meeting presentation:
    • January                        John Raymond, Observatory Director
    • February          Ken Wilson
    • March              Betty Wilson
    • April                Prashant Reddy
    • May                 Jim Browder, President
    • June                 Gary Cowardin
    • July                  Bill Newman
    • August             Chris McCann, Secretary
    • September        Jim Blowers, Treasurer
    • October                        Dave Medici, Vice President
    • November        Dave Walton
    • December        Party   


The board members were asked if there were any conflicts for having the meeting on President’s Day.  No conflicts were brought to our attention.


Next Board meeting will be Monday, February 17, 2014 at Extra Billy’s at 7pm.  If you want to come early for dinner, come by at 6pm.   


  • Meeting was adjourned at 8:38 pm.

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