Richmond Astronomical Society

November 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

Feb 12th, 2016 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting November 16, 2015

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:04 pm.

Attendees (10):
• Jim Browder, President
• Matthew Roy, Vice President
• Jim Blowers, Treasurer
• Chris McCann, Secretary
• Gary Cowardin
• Michael Pitchford
• John Raymond, Observatory Director
• Mike Lico
• Ken Wilson
• Betty Wilson

Missing (4):
• Dave Medici
• Ted Bethune
• Madhup Rathi
• Bill Newman

Jim began the meeting by expressing his thanks to all of those who worked on the 2015 Board of Directors, and gave thanks, in advance, to those who committed to work on the new 2016 board.

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 8/17/2015): (as of 11/16/2015):
• General Fund: 16504.16 16223.67
• Observatory Fund: 76.88 84.64
• TOTAL: 16581.04 16308.31

• Checking Account: 11471.52 11198.57
• Savings Account: 2247.07 2247.07
• Certificate of Deposit: 2862.45 2862.67
• Pay Pal Acct: 0.00 0.00
• TOTAL: 16581.04 16308.31

After a brief discussion and a ledger update, the treasurer’s report was reviewed and accepted by the board.
The process of collecting annual dues just began. So far, 24 members and 6 observatory staff have renewed their dues. (Membership count in August was 61 and 14).
RAS is now a new client of Liberty Mutual.

Observatory Report –
• Several events planned for the observatory, including a solar event on November 14.
• An open house is being planned for November 21 at 5:30pm.
• There is interest in training during the winter of 2016.
• Damaged gate has been repaired and re-hung by Jim and Randy.
• Repairs are in the planning for 2016: concrete patio is cracking; roof flashing needs replacing; exterior light needs shielding.

Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)
• Virginia is doing a great job.
• All is wonderful with the library.
• It was suggested that RAS send a thank you note to Wayne Boggs to express our appreciation for his continual support of RAS and our library.

Education / Outreach Report:
• Fall picnic: very well attended; thanks to Matthew Roy and David Medici for their hard work and planning; Belmead was a great host; Great weather and sky view; 30-40 attendees at the skywatch portion; a few attendees were helped with their new telescopes; donation was made to Belmead
• VAAS: very nice and informative conference with a good selection of speakers. Enjoyable and interesting tour during the meetings. Weather ended up being cloudy and rainy. RAS had the largest group of attendees. RAS will host VAAS in 2018.
• Good participation and coverage at recent skywatches.
• Several events planned for the observatory, including a solar event on November 14, and an open house is being planned for November 21 at 5:30pm.
• Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.
• Clover Hill Astronomy club on Nov 20 (7pm) at the Journey Christian Church
• Leslie Bochenski is sponsoring a skywatch at Thomas Jefferson High on December 10.
• Powhatan State park will have several next year.
• Belmead – plans to have talk about the Christmas Star and skywatch afterwards on December 12
• Need to start planning for 2016 Astronomy Day (Saturday, May 14). Matthew Roy volunteered to plan and run the event. (A lesser observed fall Astronomy Day has been set for October 8 by the Astronomical League).
• After a discussion about advertising for RAS and Astronomy Day activities, Mike Lico expressed interest in writing up public relations articles for local papers and magazines. Probable targets for PR included science reporters at Times-Dispatch, and teachers at area schools and colleges. Mike Lico, Ken and Betty Wilson will begin meeting soon as a PR committee.
• John Raymond has been approached to have a skywatch at the Channel 23 studios on Sesame Street during their week of fund raising next spring. Another good project for the new communication committee. The board supported the skywatch idea.
• The family of Prashant Reddy donated his astronomical equipment to RAS. The donated items included a 10-foot long dob, a 10-inch schmidt–cassegrain scope, refractors, binoculars, and accessories. First thoughts were to use his large dob at Belmead, while most of the remaining equipment could be used for educational purposes.
• There was a discussion/reminder that we need to do something with equipment that has been collected over the recent years. Our choices for each piece are to save, salvage, give away, liquidate, or auction the equipment.

Old Business

New Business
• 501(c)3 filing made to the IRS (declaring less than $50,000 gross revenue)
• Election of 2016 officers
• Since there were no other nominations from the floor, the 2015 officers were nominated as a group and unanimously selected to the same positions for 2016. Each board member, except for the President, was paired up with a month where they will be responsible for the presentation.
Thanks to Bill Newman and David Medici for heading up the Board Selection Committee.
• Election of 2016 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 12 Ted Bethune
o February 9 Betty Wilson
o February 15 (Board meeting)
o March 8 Madhup Rathi
o April 12 David Medici
o May 10 John Raymond, Observatory Director
o May 16 (Board meeting)
o June 14 Michael Pitchford
o July 12 Chris McCann, Secretary
o August 9 Mike Lico
o August 15 (Board meeting)
o September 13 Jim Blowers, Treasurer
o October 11 Matthew Roy, Vice President
o November 8 Ken Wilson
o November 21 (Board meeting)
o December 13 Gary Cowardin
• A letter of appreciation will be sent to Virginia for her job as the librarian. Jim will ask her if she is interested in continuing as librarian for 2016.
• Discuss proposal of our outreach facility at Belmead. A handout of expectations, photographs, and pricing of the facility and needed accessories was presented. Insurance, electrical costs, and liability limitations must be reviewed. RAS must submit an eligible member list to control attendees on the Belmead property. Visitation and communication must be planned, and this process will need to be considered in detail.
• Board voted on 4 actions:
o Approval of reimbursement to Jim Browder for temporary storage fees for equipment donated by the family of Prashant Reddy. Board voted and unanimously approved reimbursement.
o The board reviewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) rather than a more structured agreement. This will be an easier document for both sides to work with. The board will review and propose a finalized version at the February 2016 board meeting. Phil will take a look at it before it is formally presented to Francis Emma. Action deferred.
o As of right now, Francis Emma requested our proposed RAS storage building to be kept on the far end of the parking lot adjacent to the mansion. The building will be attached to the ground. Jim has obtained quotes for construction and delivery of a 12’ x 20’ building to Belmead from Buggy Top in Cumberland County. The building can be constructed and delivered in 2 weeks after the building is ordered. The board discussed and approved a proposed budget for this activity.
o The board also approved $120 to be spent on a weather-resistant picnic table for the grounds of the Ragland Observatory.

Next Meeting Date – February 15, 2016

Meeting was adjourned at 8:53 pm.

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