Richmond Astronomical Society

Board Meetings

February 2017 Board Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – February 20, 2017

 

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:06 pm.

 

Attendees (10):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Terry Barker
  • Joe Racette
  • Tyler Hutcheson
  • Madhup Rathi

 

Missing:

  • Ted Bethune
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Michael Pitchford

 

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • February’s board meeting minutes are reviewed and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   11/25/2016):                (as of  02/20/2017):
  • General Fund: 75                            12331.51
  • Observatory Fund:           52                                  84.66
  • TOTAL:                       27                            12416.17

 

  • Checking Account:     16                             10157.25
  • Savings Account:            00                                    0.00   (will be removed from report)
  • Certificate of Deposit:     11                              2258.92
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:   27                             12416.17

 

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

Membership renewal count in February is 60 paid members.

 

Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • Grounds look good; adjacent property has illegally dumped furniture/sofas/tires on it. John plans to call Chesterfield County about the refuge and deteriorating fence.

 

Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job and will continue to be our librarian.
  • No issues reported

 

Education / Outreach Report:

  • The Terry / Madhup outreach machine – many skywatches have been done and are planned on the RAS calendar.
  • Contact Madhup, Terry, or Jim Browder if anyone can help out at skywatches.  Jim has handouts for the skywatches.
  • Help is needed at Matoaca Middle on March 1
  • Due to weather, only 1 scheduled skywatch has been held at SMV in the past 3 months.  Good crowd and many astronomers
  • Can we send announcements to schools, to keep all in a loop?

 

 

Old Business  (tabled till next meeting)

  • By-laws link & number allowed on board members is NOT an issue – no need to change by-laws.
  • Inclusion process; need inventory update to Jim (on the list to keep attention on it) – members are encouraged to talk to new visitors at the meeting.  Consider re-starting sponsor process again.
  • E-mail system issues improved; propose using Mailchimp system to track membership data.  We can create our own database and email list.
  • Google apps (Matthew)

 

New Business

  • VAAS – Back Bay will be hosting for 2017.  There is talk that it may coincide with the Staunton River Star Party on a date TBD.   Details later.  RAS will be hosting for 2018 (details much later).
  • Belmead status – no decision by the owners at this time; Jim has a cost estimate to move the RAS building if we need to.  There is an agreement to allow RAS up to 30 days to move the storage facilities, if needed.  Hopefully, we will not need to move the building.
  • Discussion about where to move storage facilities (if necessary):
    • RAS observatory property (expected to be temporary)
    • Resawich [Indian name] in Columbia, 10 miles west of Goochland
    • Boy scout camp in Goochland, but there is lots of light
    • Interesting thought that was said: to consider the building can be 1 place for outreach and personal viewing, and have another location(s) for our own personal viewing.  Keep looking.
  • Astronomy Day planning – April 29 (Saturday).
    • Astronomy activities in the Rotunda.
    • No skywatch is planned that night.
    • Ken is planning to show a powerpoint on Eclipses in same room as the portable observatory.
    • Matthew will provide the rocket launchers.  Leslie and others will be supplying plastic bottles for rockets.
    • Can we do a press release?  Possibly Style Magazine and the newspaper?
    • Andrew Freiden is usually helpful with announcing RAS activities and astronomical occurrences.
    • Consider members working 2 in shifts in future if we have a skywatch.
  • Metro Science Fair – March 11 at Huguenot High School
    • For years, Terry Barker has been a judge and has selected astronomy or space science project winners to receive a monetary award from the RAS.  There will be a total of $200 in prize money given to selected students this year.
    • Madhup will also be there to help and to represent RAS.

 

 

  • Remaining presentation months – meetings and board meetings
    • May 15          (Board meeting)
    • June 13          Mike Lico
    • July 11           Jim Blowers
    • August 8        Chris McCann
    • August 21      (Board meeting), existing issues with solar eclipse activities ????
    • September 12  Joe Racette
    • October 10      Tyler Hutcheson
    • November 14   Ken Wilson
    • November 20   (Board meeting)
    • December 12    Gary Cowardin
  • Coordinator of picnics and Astronomy Day – Matthew Roy

 

Next Meeting Date – May 15, 2017 (tentative)

 

Meeting was adjourned at 8:27 pm.

 

 

 



November 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – November 28, 2016

 

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

 

Attendees (11+1):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Michael Pitchford
  • Terry Barker (new to board)
  • Joe Racette (new to board)
  • Tyler Hutcheson (new to board)
  • Sam Hutcheson (non-board)

 

Missing:

  • Madhup Rathi
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Ted Bethune
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director (non-board)
  • Dave Medici (non-board)

 

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • August’s board meeting minutes are reviewed and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   8/15/2016):                (as of  11/25/2016):
  • General Fund: 43                            12087.75
  • Observatory Fund:           58                                  72.52
  • TOTAL: 01                            12160.27

 

  • Checking Account:     64                              9904.16
  • Savings Account:     10                                    0.00
  • Certificate of Deposit:     27                              2256.11
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:   01                             12160.27

 

After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board.  The savings account was joined into the checking account due to unwanted fees being charged to savings.

Membership renewal count in November is 40 paid members.

 

Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Carolina Bay core drilling update – The drilling was done and involved taking a core 30 feet in length and 6-inches across.  As of the board meeting, the cores had been removed from the casing, and are being stored and researched at William & Mary.  No information yet and there is no ETA on results.
  • The concrete base around the observatory is deteriorating.  It needs to be cleaned and patched with more concrete.

 

Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported

 

Education / Outreach Report:

  • The Terry / Madhup outreach machine – many skywatches have been done
  • James River State Park – Jim Br and Mearl attended
  • Powhatan State Park – very few visitors (not widely publicized); John has a list of future proposed dates
  • Midlothian High School – will be on December 3 (Terry Barker)
  • Powhatan Library – will be December 1 (Jim Browder)
  • Belmead observing will be on December 3
  • Recommendation that we get a consistent contact at all places
  • Can we send announcements to schools, to keep all in a loop
  • Terry has a contact at Chesterfield County for scheduling skywatches at Chesterfield County Sports Complex (about 20 miles from Clover Hill High School)
  • We need to make an effort to prevent multiple skywatches on the same day, unless we have coverage for each and they will not draw from each other.
  • Science Museum – attendance and observing is going well, good crowds at the observing sessions that are not weathered out.
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.

 

 

Old Business  (tabled till next meeting)

  • Inclusion process (on the list to keep attention on it) – Matthew has a survey that he would like to give to our members
  • E-mail system issues improved
  • Google apps (Matthew)

 

New Business

  • SCC filing – filed and copy given to Jim Blowers
  • By-laws need to be adjusted to properly allow 14 board members.  Suggestion was made to re-word the by-laws to accept 11-14 members starting for the year 2017.  A formal motion was made to tentatively allow a 14th member for the year 2017 and to investigate what, if any other, changes need to be made to the by-laws.  Changes to be resolved by the February Board meeting.  The Board accepted the motion.
  • Election of 2017 RAS officers
    • President – Jim Browder
    • Vice-President – Matthew Roy
    • Secretary – Chris McCann
    • Treasurer – Jim Blowers
    • Observatory Director – John Raymond
  • Selection of presentation months – list of assigned meetings and board meetings
    • January 10     Ted Bethune
    • February  14  Madhup Rathi
    • February 20   (Board meeting)
    • March 14       Betty Wilson
    • April 11          Michael Pitchford
    • May 9            Terry Barker
    • May 15          (Board meeting)
    • June 13          Mike Lico
    • July 11           Jim Blowers, Treasurer
    • August 8        Chris McCann, Secretary
    • August 21      (Board meeting)    ?????????????
    • September 12  Joe Racette
    • October 10      Tyler Hutcheson
    • November 14   Ken Wilson
    • November 20   (Board meeting)
    • December 12    Gary Cowardin
  • Coordinator of picnics and Astronomy Day – Matthew Roy, Vice President
    • Jim will ask her if she is interested in continuing as librarian for 2017.

 

  • Belmead status / possible donation –

An RFP is active by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  130 parties have expressed interest in the property.  Businesses plan to preserve as much property as possible and expect to get a loan to fund/purchase the property.  A non-profit organization is proposing 4000 resources to donate $100 each, making a total of $400,000, to be used up front to service the loan.  Belmead’s sale may be in a matter of months.  We discussed what we had planned to spend at Belmead on an annual basis, if the facilities had remained open, and all agreements made between Belmead and RAS were honored.  We also discussed if the donation would affect our 501-c-3 status.  After consideration and much discussion, a motion was made to donate $500 to Belmead on the James with a clause that $300 will be returned back if the donations are not needed or not used.  This will occur in the event Belmead is sold and the collected funds were not used.  The Board accepted the motion.  Jim Blowers will handle the donation.

  • Inquiry from Night Sky Network – to help Astronomy clubs (not much there); better online public interface than before;  discussed features for club management and for clubs with little or no management in place; provides videos with clubs and for outreach;  provides kits for educational purposes;  Betty Wilson stated that it needed to be re-examined again.
  • Possible items to sell / mechanism?  We have several items to be used at Belmead, outreaches, loaned out to members, or just scrapped.  Evaluation of inventory to be done by Jim Browder and John Raymond.  Useful extra equipment can be offered to be bid on by RAS members.  A question was asked if we could use someone like Astromart to sell remaining items after the member sale is complete.  Further discussion will be later.
  • Terry built the existing website and is interested in re-building it and improving it, allowing it to be seen on a smart phone.   Google Analytics??
  • VAAS – SouthEast Back Bay club hosts it in 2017.  Richmond Astronomical Society (RAS) will host it in 2018.
  • Think about plans for 2017 solar eclipse – August 21, 2017 – many of our members have already set up camping and hotel reservations along the line of totality for the total solar eclipse next August.  In Richmond, we are expecting 80-89% totality (strong partial).  Anyone left locally will be asked to help with public outreach.  There was a suggestion to update the RAS site with good information links.  One example is the “Great American Eclipse”.

 

Next Meeting Date – February 20, 2017 (tentative), no issues with it being President’s Day

 

Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.

 

 

 



August 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – August 15, 2016

 

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm.

 

Attendees (9+2):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Madhup Rathi
  • Terry Barker (non-board)
  • Corinne Callison (non-board)

 

Missing (4):

  • Ted Bethune
  • Michael Pitchford
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director
  • Dave Medici

 

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • May’s board meeting minutes are corrected and accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   5/16/2016):                (as of   8/15/2016):
  • General Fund: 07                            12094.43
  • Observatory Fund:           63                                  50.58
  • TOTAL: 70                            12145.01

 

  • Checking Account:    03                             7028.64
  • Savings Account:      10                             2863.10
  • Certificate of Deposit:      57                             2253.27
  • Pay Pal Acct:           00                                   0.00
  • TOTAL:     70                           12145.01

 

After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was accepted by the board.  The significant difference between the 2 reported summaries was due to the purchase of the storage facility at Belmead.

Membership count in August is 65 paid members.

 

Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Carolina Bay core drilling update – Randy Tatum had Ms. Utility inspect the land before drilling was performed.  The drilling involved taking a core measuring 6-inches in diameter and 30-feet down.  More information and findings will be available at a later date.

 

Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported
  • Jim Browder has many books in his garage and in storage that need to be evaluated, to either get rid of or keep.

 

Education / Outreach Report:

  • Perseid observing on Thursday at Powhatan – clearest night in memory – 15 people showed up;  Powhatan events are not widely publicized – can Powhatan park advertise with RAS press releases?  Powhatan Today publicizes our activities.
  • We do not have Powhatan State Park’s permission to regularly stay later into the night.  Action item for Jim Browder and John Raymond.
  • Suggestion for RAS to create a library of media released photos for P.R. reasons.
  • Science Museum – attendance and observing is going well, good crowds at the observing sessions that are not weathered out.
  • RAS building at Belmead is functional; solar powered light; inventory includes 25” dob and 4-6 scopes on wheels for easy movement
  • People/security control at Belmead (and other sites) can be handled by a dated and signed membership card.  ID cards were needed when RAS used the facilities at Malvern Hill
  • Powhatan State Park
  • Storage at Midlothian Storage is closed – most equipment moved to Belmead
  • Small items from storage and books in Jim Browder’s garage
  • Other donated items at the homes of Jim Browder’s, John Raymond, . . .
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.

 

 

Old Business

  • Belmead status – ‘things are still in limbo’; when more is known about proposed activity, RAS and equestrians can show support and their interest in remaining at Belmead.  The DSA (deep sky application) is almost complete, but it cannot be sent yet.
  • Communication plan (thanks to Betty Wilson, Mike Lico, and Corinne Callison).  Brief discussion about media connections that RAS has with the public.  RAS has an open and a closed Facebook account, and a Twitter account.
  • Inclusion process (on the list to keep attention on it) – Matthew has a survey that he would like to give to our members
  • Mutual of Omaha offer discussed at a recent board meeting, was turned down

 

New Business

  • Walter H. Haas award recipient – Randy Tatum was awarded this honor at the VAAS meeting this past October, for his work and research with Astronomy
  • James River State Park Dark Sky Park application – RAS will send a letter of support with the Dark Sky application
  • Need inventory update – attempting to update the online inventory with the latest amount of equipment that has been donated to RAS.  Also, trying to locate all equipment that may be stored at homes of the RAS members.
  • E-mail system issues – RAS mail system has been identified as a spam mailer;  research must be made to determine if this is true and what our future actions/choices are.
  • Begin thinking about plans for 2017 solar eclipse – August 21, 2017 – many of our members have already set up camping and hotel reservations along the line of totality for the total solar eclipse next August.  In Richmond, we are expecting 80-89% totality (strong partial).  Anyone left locally will be asked to help with public outreach.  There was a suggestion to update the RAS site with good information links.  One example is the “Great American Eclipse”.

 

Next Meeting Date – November 28, 2016  (tentative), Betty’s 29th birthday

 

Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.



May 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 9th, 2017 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – May 16, 2016

 

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

 

Attendees (11+1):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Michael Pitchford
  • Mike Lico
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Dave Medici
  • Leslie Bochenski (non-board)

 

Missing (2):

  • Ted Bethune
  • Madhup Rathi

 

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • February’s board meeting minutes accepted.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of   2/29/2016):                (as of   5/16/2016):
  • General Fund: 69                            16513.07
  • Observatory Fund:         49                                  88.63
  • TOTAL: 18                            16601.70

 

  • Checking Account:    40                             11487.03
  • Savings Account:     89                               2863.10
  • Certificate of Deposit:     89                               2251.57
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                     0.00
  • TOTAL:   18                             16601.70

 

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

We need to create a proposed budget for next fiscal year (10/16 to 9/17).

Membership count in May: 58 paid members, including 14 observatory members.

 

Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Since it has rained a lot recently, the grass has grown and needs to be cut.
  • John Barnett is planning a skywatch with Boy Scouts on June 9

 

Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported
  • Music instruments are now being stores in the library (at Richmond Alarm Company).

 

Education / Outreach Report:

  • Jim Browder’s photo of the recent Mercury transit appeared in the paper
  • Astronomy Day (May 14) : Thanks to Matthew Roy and Leslie Bochenski for a great job that led to a successful Astronomy Day.  The activities were attended by 25 visitors and several RAS members.  The board discussed improvements for next year, including name tags, press releases, and advertisements through all forms of the media.
  • Possible opportunity at Tucker Park in Maidens, VA (Goochland County near junction of 64 and 522).  Interest in having Sunday night skywatches at this nature park.  Concern from board:  Is Sunday a good night for public skywatches, considering work and school the next morning?  A decision is needed by June 1.  Action: Michael Pitchford will investigate.
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar, including several at Powhatan State park.

 

 

Old Business

  • Corinne Callison, an RAS member, has offered her assistance in giving social media support (possibly what’s in the sky, events, stories of interest)
  • Inclusion process (keeping attention to it)

 

New Business

  • Filling of 990-N online tax form is due.  This form needs to be filed by every small tax-exempt group.
  • Mutual of Omaha offer – marketing letter to RAS offering discounts to insurance deals.  Asking to advertise and present at meetings.  RAS is not endorsing the agent or the product.  No vote was taken, but atmosphere at board meeting seemed against it.
  • A draft of the RAS Communication plan was presented by Betty Wilson and Mike Lico.  Many discussion points were brought up, including who gets the “power” to approve and send out press releases?  Procedure needs to be agreed upon for different kinds, including urgent releases that need to go out quickly in 2 hour or 24 hours.  What events do we publicize? What media do we use and when?  We need to establish designated contacts.
  • Belmead status (2267 acres) has been idle until recently.  It is an environmental center in Powhatan and is nearly self-sufficient.
    • Announced sale of property by the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament (SBS) in Philadelphia.  No details on financial issues or obligations.    The local staff at Belmead was not aware of the sale decision.  If the sale is not completed immediately, time will allow interested groups to raise money to hopefully buy the property and preserve it as environmental.  Jim Browder attended the press conference, having 5 speakers.  Not all future options were considered.  Usually, sales of this nature take months to review and complete.
    • SBS has stated they would agree to all agreements with RAS for the time being.
    • Historical note: The body of St. Catherine, 1 of 2 American saints, is in the Mother House in Philadelphia.  St. Catherine did her work at Belmead.
    • RAS building is under construction – delivery changed from May 20 to early June.
    • Proposed plan of action:
      • Seek another long-term location
      • If no location is identified quickly, then:
        • Place building at Belmead considering it may be temporary.  RAS will be granted 30 days notice to leave if new owners object to us being there.  Would the storage facility be a persuasion to help change the sale decision?
        • Place building at Observatory temporarily
        • Place building at another temporary location, possibly a member’s property
    • The board has given Jim permission to make the final decision for building delivery if there are last minute issues.  The board would like the storage building to go to Belmead.
    • The board is interested in the thoughts of the Equestrian group at Belmead.  They will have more interest in the land and have a long standing reputation.  What do they have planned?  Hunt club at Belmead? Gardening business?
  • Core drilling request – Michael Davias has a geological interest in drilling near the RAS observatory.  It is considered ‘encumbered property’ and is part of the original ‘Carolina bays’, left after the oceans receded and left pool-like marks in the environment.  He is looking for ‘shock quartz’ that is left in situations like this.  2/3 of the interested area is inside the fence around the observatory, leaving the remaining 1/3 in the woods outside the fence.  Davias did similar research in an area near Winsor Farms about a year ago.  Board concerns: how big is the drilling core?  How deep does he have to dig? Do we need county permission for underground research?  Will this create unwanted publicity to the observatory location?

 

 

Next Meeting Date – August 15, 2016

 

Meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.



February 2016 Board Meeting Minutes

May 10th, 2016 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting – February 29, 2016

 

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

 

Attendees (11+1):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Michael Pitchford
  • Mike Lico
  • Ken Wilson
  • Betty Wilson
  • Dave Medici
  • Ted Bethune
  • Madhup Rathi
  • Thomas Profitt (non-board)

 

Missing (2):

  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • John Raymond, Observatory Director

 

 

Secretary’s report given by Chris McCann

  • November’s board meeting minutes accepted after a brief discussion and a correction.

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of  11/16/2015):                (as of  11/16/2015):
  • General Fund: 67                            17267.69
  • Observatory Fund:           64                                116.49
  • TOTAL: 31                             17384.18

 

  • Checking Account:    57                             12271.40
  • Savings Account:     07                               2249.89
  • Certificate of Deposit:     67                               2862.89
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                     0.00
  • TOTAL:   31                             17384.18

 

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

Insurance premium was higher due to a switch in the liability and general insurance policy for the observatory property.

Membership count in February: 50 paid members, including 13 observatory members.

 

Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • No issues reported
  • Repairs planned for 2016: repair cracking in the concrete patio; replace roof flashing; install shielding for exterior light at the hospice center.

 

Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

  • Virginia is doing a great job.
  • No issues reported

 

Education / Outreach Report:

  • Support requested for an SMV event on Saturday, March 5
  • Presentation and skywatch for Girl Scouts (having an astronomical themed camp-in)
  • Madhup is going to host a future skywatch at Tuckahoe
  • Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar, including several at Powhatan State park.
  • Planning in progress 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).

 

Old Business

  • Discussion/vote on RAS-Francis Emma MOU to support outreach/storage facility and other activities (new discussion detailed below in ‘New Business’

 

New Business

  • Offer of assistance for social media support by RAS member (VCU physics student)
  • Laura Graham working on IDA Dark Skies certification for Belmead
  • Discuss mechanics to implement inclusion process
    • Have an assigned sponsor contact a guest visitor
    • Consider sending emails to new visitors
    • Possibly researching interest of guests and members
    • Creation of resource list, RAS brochure or tri-fold
    • Consider possibly having special interest group meeting, for example, astro-imaging hangout (Google); Ask Brian Hartley to do a demo of the Google handout
  • RAS-Francis Emma MOU to support outreach/storage facility and other activities
    • MOU comment by Phil: noticed no problems; no enforcement mechanism
    • If issues arise – either work it out or leave
    • If we leave, we need to determine where the building goes (must remain portable)
    • A trailer is needed to transport equipment to and from area sites
    • Need property and liability insurance
    • Decide who should be able to access equipment
    • Should building be anchored or tied-down for weather purposes
    • Ken suggested collecting a separate fee from members to be a Belmead user (similar to fees to be observatory users)
    • Membership ID cards will be needed
    • RAS will own the storage facilities and its contents
    • Do we want windows (frosted or clear) or vents on the building?  Recommendation to have no windows at this time and possibly add them later
    • Do we want a ‘quiet’ facility or do we advertise for RAS?
    • Goal is to eventually have solar lighting and power
    • Recommendation to buy U-Haul padlocks for doors
    • Belmead folks will be responsible to contact RAS if damaged or vandalism occurs
    • Purchase is roughly $5100 ($500 due upon order with balance due at delivery)
    • Motion: RAS approval for Jim Browder to sign MOU, with Ken’s amendment to make a maximum of $5500 in purchases.  Action: Approval by Board vote

 

 

Next Meeting Date – May 16, 2016

 

Meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.




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.



August 2015 Board Meeting Minutes

Nov 8th, 2015 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting August 17, 2015

President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:11 pm.

Attendees (10):
• Jim Browder, President
• Matthew Roy, Vice President
• Jim Blowers, Treasurer
• Chris McCann, Secretary
• Ken Wilson
• Betty Wilson
• Gary Cowardin
• Dave Medici
• Michael Pitchford
• Ted Bethune

Missing (2):
• John Raymond, Observatory Director
• Bill Newman

The board took a few minutes to express feelings and reminisce about the job that Prashant Reddy performed with the RAS. Prashant passed away on August 10. He had been a long-time active RAS member, spending several years on the board.

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

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers
• Balance Summary (as of 5/18/2015): (as of 8/17/2015):
• General Fund: 16343.08 16504.16
• Observatory Fund: 213.57 76.88
• TOTAL: 16556.65 16581.04

• Checking Account: 11450.13 11471.52
• Savings Account: 2862.24 2247.07
• Certificate of Deposit: 2244.28 2862.45
• Pay Pal Acct: 0.00 0.00
• TOTAL: 16556.65 16581.04

Announcement: Wells Fargo interest rate and fees changed when our finances passed a certain level. RAS needs to check around to other banks. Action item for Jim Blowers.

After a brief discussion, the treasurer’s report was reviewed and accepted by the board.
Membership roles presently contain 61 members, including 14 observatory members.

Observatory Report –
• Site cleared – Contract is over. All construction equipment and trailers have been removed. Site has been cleared and straw/grass has been setup. “Looks really good.”
• Gate damaged and post has been knocked down – as of this evening, a chain is hanging across the opening.
• Recent clean-up activities – John Raymond is getting a combination lock; cleaning was done inside
• Miscellaneous purchases – for cleaning purposes
• John hosted an open house. He said it was “very nice”, with views of the moon.
• Randy Tatum has taken an outstanding photo of the sun.
• Matthew Roy asked if we have time for a training class. Would John Barnette or John Raymond be interested in teaching?
• Wayne Boggs has requested RAS to allow him to put up a pole along the back fence of the observatory property. The pole will hoist a transmitter for the use and benefit of the Richmond Alarm Company. Wayne will contact Miss Utility. The board voted unanimously and approved the request.

Library Report given by Jim Browder (for Virginia)
• Virginia is doing a great job.
• All is fine with the library.
• No change at the Richmond Alarm Company.

Education / Outreach Report:
• Good participation and coverage at recent skywatches:
o Powhatan State Park – 50 attendees at recent event
o RAS Observatory – John hosted an open house. He said it was “very nice”, with views of the moon.
o SRSP dark sky park – Attendees must pre-register before attending. Jim Browder will help with talks on Saturday’s session.
o Joseph Bryan Park – over 100 attendees, and at least 8 scopes
• Numerous upcoming star parties are on the calendar.
o Montrose Heights School requested a skywatch
o Can we consider going back to Malvern Hill?
o L. C. Bird (David Medici) has requested a skywatch on evening of Oct 21.
• How can we have MORE publicity for some of these events?

Old Business
• VAAS 2015 is scheduled at the headquarters of National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Va. Check for info at website: http://cvilleastro.com/vaas-2015/
o Night activities include a tour and observing at the Historic McCormick Observatory
o There is NO UVa football game at home that weekend.
• SRSP dark sky park
• Inclusion plan – discussions with Belmead have stalled temporarily due to timing, will be resumed. Both sides (RAS and Belmead) have an interest in future development of an astronomical environment on the Belmead property

New Business
• Appoint board nominating committee chairman – David Medici and Bill Newman were unanimously selected. Schedule of board selection activity:
o September: Committee selects nominees
o October: Slated nominees will be announced at RAS meeting
o November: Election of board at monthly meeting
o November 16: Election of officers at Board meeting
• Planning for picnic for the 1st or 2nd weekend in November (7th or 14th). DavidM has been asked to be the grill chef.
o Action item: Jim Browder will make arrangements with Belmead.
o Action item: Matthew and David will coordinate, when time comes.
o Picnic will be in honor of Prashant, who usually organized the past picnics.
• Can we have a skywatch at Belmead to view the Geminids, peaking December 14-15?
• Membership manual needs to be re-constructed. Terry is believed to have electronic forms.
o Action item for Chris McCann to consider what needs to be updated and assemble data.
• Question about a past request to travel to Atlanta to pick up a telescope. Issue is that the Schmidt Cassegrain telescope may have to be un-assembled to transport back to Richmond.

Next Meeting Date – November 16, 2015

Meeting was adjourned at 8:18 pm.



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 http://cvilleastro.com/vaas-2015 . 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



February 2015 Board Meeting minutes

May 16th, 2015 | By | Category: Board Meetings

RAS Board Meeting February 23, 2015

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

Attendees (9):
• Jim Browder, President
• Dave Medici, Vice President
• Jim Blowers, Treasurer
• Chris McCann, Secretary
• John Raymond, Observatory Director
• Ken Wilson
• Betty Wilson
• Gary Cowardin
• Michael Pitchford

Missing (3):
• Ted Bethune
• Bill Newman
• Matthew Roy

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

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers
• Balance Summary (as of 11/17/2014): (as of 2/16/2015):
• General Fund: 9192.03 11004.73
• Observatory Fund: 202.21 244.35
• TOTAL: 9394.24 11249.08

• Checking Account: 4291.52 6142.77
• Savings Account: 2861.81 2862.03
• Certificate of Deposit: 2240.91 2244.28
• Pay Pal Acct: 0.00 0.00
• TOTAL: 9394.24 11249.08

At this reporting, the totals include the initial deposit and 9 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.

Observatory Report –
• An open house is scheduled for Saturday, February 28 at sunset.
• Randy performed some work to fix a thermal issue on the observatory roof
• 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.
• Book donation from Jim Petty’s collection was accepted, included club memorabilia and moon landing information.

Education / Outreach Report :
• Good participation at recent skywatches
• Betty Wilson is contact person for coordinating skywatch requests
• Numerous upcoming star parties
• Ken and Betty have plans underway to help a cub scout group work on their astronomy belt loop
• Casual skywatch planned at Pocahontas Middle School for May 2
• Skywatch is planned to occur in New Kent, but RAS will not be running it.
• Skywatches are being planned for Bryan Park, aim to be during 1st quarter moons.
• Moon celebration planned for Landing during next full moon.
• Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) issponsoring the James River Star Party during the 3rd week of March. John Raymond will be attending and speaking too.
• The 2015 Metro Richmond STEM Fair will be held at Clover Hill High School on March 14. Who is available to accompany Terry Barker in awarding prizes for Astronomy projects.

Old Business
• No available time to discuss future goals with Belmead staff. Presently, both sides are interested in future plans with each other. We need to consider that equestrians also use Belmead on a regular basis.
• Thank you card was sent to RAS from Myron Wasuita for his gift from doing a guest presentation at a recent RAS meeting.
• RAS is planning on affixing a small plaque to a scope that was donated by Jim Petty.

New Business
• Astronomy Day 2015 – Saturday, April 25
o Day: SMV Rotunda
o Night: (weather permitting) open house at the observatory
o Board has nominated Matthew Roy to be coordinator of Astronomy Day; Action: JimBr will notify him
• Scope Donations – RAS was offered a C14 dobsonian telescope from a teacher at Johns Hopkins. Plans are to store this at Belmead after the building has been created. Since the telescope will be stored at Belmead, it will be reserved for member usage, and not for loaning to the public.
• Easement update – Bon Secours needs a gas laid across the driveway opening of the observatory. The lateness of the request make it appears there was bad planning on Bon Secours part. The proposal from RAS was presented to the construction crew, and includes a request for RAS to receive a monetary amount as an indemnity. Phil attended our meeting and stated that RAS has asked for this indemnity since RAS has no authority to negotiate with Bon Secours to protect us if the heirs question our motives. Action item: Phil will draw up a resolution for Jim Browder to represent us in this sensitive situation.
• We had a very interesting discussion of the relationship that RAS has with the building and the land. RAS owns the telescope, but only has a “temporary interest” in the land property. RAS does not own the land – the heirs own the land. To get rid of the land, the land will revert back to the heirs. Technically, RAS can walk away from the property and lose all rights to using it. RAS can retain the use of it as long as RAS uses it for astronomical purposes. If taxes are not paid, Chesterfield County can come after us for tax payment, as long as we are using the land. RAS owns the building and can remove and relocate the building, if they desire.
• Leslie Bochenski’s kidney transplant was successful. She should be home from the hospital in a few days. Justin is expected to stand in for Leslie while she is recovering from surgery.

• Meeting was adjourned at 8:03 pm.

Reminder
• Presentation months/meetings for remainder of 2015
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



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 http://richastro.org/index.php/category/ras_equipment/
• 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.