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Board Meeting Minutes August 23rd, 2023

SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

August23, 2023




In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Kevin Kane, Al DiSabatino, Howie Marshall, Carson Hanrahan,Maame Andoh, Russ Pinizzotto and Rob Burgess and members David Gay, George
Bokinsky and Paul Howell. Ara Jerahian,Kerry Kertes and Jeremy Wright were on vacation or had conflicts. A quorum was present.


The minutes of the July 19, 2023 meeting were approved.


Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:


Program Committee: Russand Maame

·      The Committee reported a line of up of meetingspeakers through January:

o   Sept7 – Dr. Hans Moritz Guenther, MIT, re Chandra X-ray observatory and discoveries

o   Oct5 – Dr. Alain Brizard, St. Michael’s College

o   Nov2 – Speaker from JPL on the ESA Euclid Mission re dark matter

o   Dec7 -Dr, James O’Brian re Modifications to Newtonian Dynamics

o   Jan4 – Dr. George Bokinsky continuing with Part 3 of his Astrobiology lectures.

The Committee was thanked for its diligence in getting fivemonths of speakers lined up.


·      Follow up ACTION ITEM: Through theefforts of Carson Hanrahan and Kevin Kane there now exists a number of links on
our webpage on buying a telescope, and other helpful observing tools on
planetarium software, Sky Maps and weather forecasts for observing. This information can be found under the“Resources” tab on the website.


Outreach Committee: Kerry & Carson

There wasextended discussion on re-energizing our club star party events. The poor weather of Summer 2023 has causedmore cancellations than held events. Thathas affected volunteer participation. Acomplete list of our events will be updated on the website. Rob will send out an exhortatory email to GGand all members encouraging their participation in the final three club events
of the season and directing them to the volunteer sign up page on our website. Carson and Kerry will shepherd those events alongensuring we have speakers, scope operators and laser pointer operators. Ideally, a leader for each event will befound so that Kerry and Carson do not need to be so involved.


There wasdiscussion of no club star parties in June, July and August due to late
sunsets. However, the club should remainopen working with other groups such as the BTLT for the Perseids and the
Cumberland Library during those months and should continue to offer solar
observing. The recent Cumberland eventdone in conjunction with the library on8/20/23 had about a dozen SMA volunteers with scopes and 150-200 people in


There was alsodiscussion about participating in pop-up events, driven by a good forecast and
an organizer announcing that he or she would be at a certain place at a date
and time and allow for a spontaneous turn out. To make this work it only takes one person with a desire to announcetheir plans and to publicize it through GG.


Club Events forthe rest of the season below. Volunteersare needed for all events.

·      Sept 9 BDACommunity Fair on the Mall in Brunswick – 10-2; solar observing and manning a table showcasing the club to thehuge turnout that is expected.

·      Sept 16 7-9 Neptune Dr

·      October 21 7-9 Neptune Dr

·      November 18 7-9 Neptune Dr


Rob and Dwightwill be participating in Stars Over Katahdin on October 14 in Staceyville. All are welcome to that event.


There arepending requests for star parties by and with the following organizations this
fall. If sufficient volunteers are foundwe can support these requests. The clubhas not committed to any of these organizations until we get a feel for club

·      Maine’s First Ship in Bath – Oct or Nov

·      Maine Coast Heritage Trust at Woodward’s Pointin Brunswick – Oct or Nov

·      Brunswick Topsham Land Trust – Oct or Nov atCrystal Spring Farm

·      Common Ground Country Fair in Unity – supportinga booth and solar observing with Dark Sky Maine


ACTION ITEM:Kevin has posted a more complete list of club-sponsored events on the
website. This needs to be supplementedwith pending requests from outside organizations to see if we can roust
volunteers for those evets.



·       Carried-over ACTIONITEM: Pleasereview Rob’s comments and send him any thoughts on the original program and
proposed revisions to the PowerPoint slide program about the club prepared by
the Scarborough HS student. Thiswas not discussed.



·       Carried- overACTION ITEM: Continue to informally plan for the eclipse even in theabsence of an eclipse “committee” so that we can play our desired role as the
eclipse date approached. Report back tothe Board at each subsequent meeting on developments. This was not discussed.


·      Follow-Up ACTION ITEM: Rob has not yet followed up with Shay Bellasof Navitour on her program on providing outdoor experiences with persons with
disabilities to see if it can fit into our programs. This was not discussed.


Dark Sky Committee:  Rob, Howie, JeremyWright and Paul Howell

As noted last month the committeedetermined that as part of its local focus it would explore opportunities to
obtain Urban Dark Sky Place designations from IDA for Mitchell Field in
Harpswell, Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick and Winslow Park in Freeport. Jeremy has made a number of inquiries to thetown about this with no success thus far. Rob contacted IDA about the Urban Dark Sky Place to get clarification oncertain parameters and has received replies. Howie has contacted the Harpswell Town Manager and Mitchell FieldCommittee and he and Rob are to appear before both bodies on 8/30 and 8/31
speaking about the concept of dark sky preservation and IDA designation

The Committee still needs help inresearching local ordinances.


Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

·      Al reported membership at 86

·      Al presented a bylaw amendment to permitproration of dues depending upon when a person joined the club. This was one of several ideas floated to helpstem attrition in membership. The changewould be as follows: Those joining prior to April 1 would pay 100% of annual
dues; those joining after April 1 but before Sept 30 would pay 50% of annual
dues. Those joining on October 1 orthereafter would pay full dues but would be paid for through the end of the
following calendar year. The Board agreed to move forward. Rob will get notice out to the membership atleast 14 days prior to the next Directors meeting where the amendment can be
voted on.

·      Buddy system for new members – All will solicitvolunteers for a buddy system for new members. A list of volunteers would be developed and members would be advised ona rotating basis when a new member joined so they could follow up. Follow up would be a simple “how are you” andto ask if there was anything they had questions about. This would be in addition to Al’s routinewelcome letter and Rob’s welcome.



Equipment Committee: Ara & Kevin

·      Bob and Ara responded to the Questar buyer thatthe club thought his request for a $200 refund of the purchase price was
unwarranted. They have received no othercommunication from the buyer. The clubnetted about $2,750 from this sale.

·      Howie has installed the red rope lights on thestairs leading behind the building.

·      Rob reported that the Star Sense Auto-Alignsystem on the C-9.25 is working properly.

·      The club has received three donations of basictelescopes from various sources. Theclub has no use for any of them. It wasagreed we would advertise them for sale within the club at a very reasonable
price and if unsold would try to find a deserving student or school to donate
them to. We do not want more of thisequipment in the shed.


Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee: Bob

Bob reported that as of 7/31/23the club had $17,749.91 in its account, boosted by the proceeds of the Questar


Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

·      CARRY OVER ACTION ITEM: Bios and pictures from three directors areawaited, along with a picture of a fourth director. What a shy group!



The meeting ended about 9 p.m.


Submitted by

Rob Burgess


Next Directors’ Meetings (allon Wednesdays at 7p.m. via Zoom):

·       Sept20

·       Oct18

·       Nov15

·       Dec20