August 2017 Board Meeting Minutes

RAS Board Meeting – August 28, 2017


President Jim Browder called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.


Attendees (10):

  • Jim Browder, President
  • Matthew Roy, Vice President
  • Jim Blowers, Treasurer
  • Chris McCann, Secretary
  • Gary Cowardin
  • Ken Wilson
  • Terry Barker
  • Joe Racette
  • Betty Wilson
  • Mike Lico
  • Michael Pitchford



  • Ted Bethune
  • Tyler Hutcheson
  • Madhup Rathi


Secretary’s report – will be available at a later time

  • Mis-communication about May’s notes

Treasurer’s report given by Jim Blowers

  • Balance Summary          (as of      2/20/2017):                (as of  08/28/2017):
  • General Fund: 51                            12027.66
  • Observatory Fund:           66                                  18.94
  • TOTAL:            17                            12046.60


  • Checking Account:    25                             9783.17
  • Certificate of Deposit:     92                              2263.43
  • Pay Pal Acct:          00                                    0.00
  • TOTAL:   17                             12046.60


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


Observatory Report (given by Jim Browder for John)

  • JimBr received an email from the shopping center that a portion of the fence in the back of the lot had been burned.  They also inquired about the condition of the fence in the front.  All agreed we should allow the shopping center remove it if they want.  It’s their property.
  • Grass cut by service – JohnR paid $40 .  He asked for reimbursement through the crediting of his 2018 club and observatory dues.


Library Report (given by Jim Browder for Virginia)

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


Education / Outreach Report:

  • Many skywatches have been done and are planned on the RAS calendar:
    • SMV
    • Eclipse
    • James River State Park
    • Leakes Mill Park
    • Terry, Madhup, Betty and Ken Wilson were quite busy
  • Contact Madhup, Terry, or Jim Browder if anyone can help out at skywatches.
  • An increased number of events are beginning to use contract-like ‘event forms’ filled out before skywatches.  This is in efforts to solidify contact information and expectations between RAS and the ‘client’.
  • Betty will try to reschedule the Montpelier skywatch.



Old Business

  • 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.


New Business

  • Brief discussion and comments about the recent total solar eclipse.  Saw some beautiful pictures from a few board members.
  • Fall picnic planning – considering a target date of 11/11 (last quarter moon) with 11/18 as the rain date (new moon).  Late November is packed with star parties.  Probable choice is Leakes Mill Park on 11/11 at 3pm.  Skywatch to follow.  Matthew is the point of contact.
  • 2018 Board nomination chair – Madhup was nominated.
  • Think about parks for future picnics and skywatches.  The parks need to allow access after dark, even if closed to public.  Bathrooms are another preferred option.  Add tents to the list for daytime activities.
  • Belmead: no update/resolution.  The Mansion is empty and boarded up.  Equestrian stable activities and farming are still in operation.  RAS storage facility is in good shape.  Remember it is solar powered to help with weather/climate changes.
  • Keep considering choices for a long-term back-up site if we lose access to Belmead.
  • VAAS – Back Bay will be hosting for 2017.  Part of the Staunton River Star Party is scheduled for the same time.  Details later.  NASA-Langley has open house on same day, too.
  • RAS will be hosting for 2018 (details much later).  Early thoughts – have it with Staunton River Star Party, or at Randolph-Macon again.  Who controls the event – VAAS or RAS?  What other events are happening that may affect it?  Keep thinking about ideas for next board meeting.
  • Consider moving Board Meeting to another location.  Chris will look into O’Tooles as a possibility.



Next Meeting Date – Monday, November 27, 2017


Meeting was adjourned at 8:04 pm.