Richmond Astronomical Society

November 2014 Board Meeting minutes

Feb 15th, 2015 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting November 17, 2014

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.

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

Missing (1):
• Ted Bethune

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

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers
• Balance Summary (as of 8/18/2014): (as of 11/17/2014):
• General Fund: 8611.63 9192.03
• Observatory Fund: 187.45 202.21
• TOTAL: 8799.08 9394.24

• Checking Account: 3696.57 4291.52
• Savings Account: 2861.60 2861.81
• Certificate of Deposit: 2240.91 2240.91
• Pay Pal Acct: 0.00 0.00
• TOTAL: 8799.08 9394.24

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

Observatory Report
• Clean up duties planned for 1st weekend in December (Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th).
• Discussions about the lighting ordinance were made with builders
• Someone asked if there was a law about lighting around planetariums and observatories

Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)
• All is well at the Richmond Alarm Company.
• Storage capacities are reaching its limits.
• Before purchasing new cabinets, think about how to thin out some of the volume of books. Book sale at future meeting? Book donation to a group? We need to “pump down the volume”.
• A group is needed to evaluate which books can go, especially old books and textbooks

Education / Outreach Report :
• Good participation at recent skywatches
• Betty Wilson is contact person for coordinating skywatch requests
• Skywatch at Clover Hill for the Clover Hill Astronomy Club – Friday, November 21 at 5:30 pm. The President of the club is Fernando Pasquale, an RAS member. The skywatch is presently planned for Clover Hill, but could be moved to Swift Creek Elementary. Future email if plans are changed.
• Numerous upcoming star parties
• John Raymond hosted an Imaging workshop at the Staunton River Star Party. There were several good speakers, and the workshop was considered a big success, causing great conversation at Staunton River. (Possible rebroadcast on website ???)
• VAAS – probably not this year. Planning was not successful and not done early enough. There are 6 Astronomical Societies that host VAAS on a rotating basis. RAS hosted it in 2006 and 2012. Heads-up for 2018.
• Belmead skywatch being planned for Saturday, December 13.

Old Business
• Equipment inventory deployed
o 2 Handouts:
 to display the future link (“RAS equipment for loan”) on the RAS home page,
 to display the beginning portion of the inventory list
• List of eligible equipment to be loaned can be found at
• John Raymond is the contact person to handle the loaned out equipment.
• Question – Does RAS need a password protected site to prevent anyone from accessing our inventory?
• Question – Do we advertise the location of the equipment? No
• Reviewed process of loaning out RAS equipment:
o Member must understand and accept the procedure listed in Ken’s draft on how to use the equipment.
o Training must be given, if necessary
o Deposit will be required on expensive equipment.
o Each loan situation will be handled on a one-by-one basis, if there is a concern about the person checking out equipment.
• ACTION item – Adding the link to the guidelines and to the written agreement
• Continued discussion of draft proposal for Belmead storage/observing facility
o Final draft is not ready yet.
o There are some issues to resolve, including gate access to Belmead. An idea to consider – RAS adding another lock to the chain, with selected key holders. Should it be tied to observatory members?
o Insurance costs on the equipment and on Belmead need to be re-visited.

New Business
• Jim Petty, a longtime RAS member, passed away recently. Jim Browder attended the memorial service for RAS. Jim Petty had created a scrapbook on several past Astronomy Days, starting from “forever ago”. Jim also donated an 8” telescope to RAS about a year ago. A motion was made to create and attach a brass plaque to that telescope, stating something similar to “Jim Petty memorial telescope”. The motion was passed to create the plaque and to notify the family.
• SCC corporation report filed – Phil Roberts took care of this annual task
• Welcome 2015 board members – 11 of 12 board members for 2015 were present.
Thanks to David Medici for heading up the Board Selection Committee.
• Election of 2015 RAS officers
o President – Jim Browder
o Vice-President – Matthew Roy
o Secretary – Chris McCann
o Treasurer – Jim Blowers
o Observatory Director – John Raymond
• Selection of presentation months – list of assigned meetings and board meetings
o January 13 Ted Bethune
o February 10 Matthew Roy, Vice President
o February 16 (Board meeting)
o March 10 Betty Wilson
o April 14 John Raymond, Observatory Director
o May 12 Michael Pitchford
o May 18 (Board meeting)
o June 9 Jim Browder, President
o July 14 Bill Newman
o August 11 Chris McCann, Secretary
o August 17 (Board meeting)
o September 8 Jim Blowers, Treasurer
o October 13 David Medici
o November 10 Ken Wilson
o November 16 (Board meeting)
o December 8 Gary Cowardin

• There are some ‘outside’ speakers that may be interested in speaker during your month. Please invite them early so they have time to plan. Speakers from outside of the area may be eligible to receive housing for 1 night.
• A motion was made to send Myron a token gift. The board passed the motion to send him $25 and a $10 gift card to the RAS café.

Next Meeting Date – February 16 (When asked about this day being President’s Day, no one commented against having the meeting on this evening).

• Meeting was adjourned at 8:14 pm.

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