Return to site

Board Meeting Minutes, July 19th 2023

SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

July19, 2023




In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Kevin Kane, Jeremy Wright, Al DiSabatino, Howie Marshall,Ara Jerahian, Carson Hanrahan and Rob Burgess and members David Gay and Paul
Howell. Russ Pinizzotto was ill, KerryKertes was traveling and Maame Andoh was traveling for a summer job assignment.

A quorum was present.

The minutes of the June 21, 2023 meeting were approved.

Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:


Program Committee: Russ and Maame

 With both members of the Program Committeeunable to attend there was no further update on speakers for our fall meetings beyond what was previously reported: Dr. Heidi DeBlock for August, Professor
from St. Michael’s College in September, MIT Professor in October. Rob offered to try to get a speaker on thePysche Mission that is scheduled to launch in October for our November or
December meeting.

·      Follow up ACTION ITEM: There was no update on efforts to add links to thewebpage with telescope buying advice. Atthe June meeting Carson, Jeremy and Kevin offered to work on this project. A report will be presented at the Augustmeeting.


Outreach Committee: Kerry & Carson


July 22 Goodfire Brewing “Sun and Suds”, 2-4pm – Solar


August13 8-10pm – jointPerseid Event with Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust; also, Maine State Star Party at Cobscook BaySt Park

August 19 8-10pm – Club/Public star party atNeptune Dr

Sept 16 7-9 NeptuneDr

October21 7-9 Neptune Dr

November18 7-9 Neptune Dr



August 16 8-10pm – joint event with SouthworthPlanetarium and Prince Mem Library




October 14 StarsOver Katahdin – Partial Solar Eclipse – Stargazing – Friends of KWW


   ACTION ITEM from last meeting: It was agreed to add a full-season list ofscheduled outreach events, rather than just showcasing the next event. Kevin and Carson offered to update ourwebpage with a Google Calendar. This would facilitate volunteer recruitment of both club events and forevents requested of us by outside organizations to determine if we could
support them.

In June Kerry reported he is following up with allorganizations that have requested SMA star parties to get more details to determine if they are something we can accommodate, but in his absence there was no update at this meeting.

 Carried-over ACTION ITEM: report at next meeting on discussions and commitments with Maine’sFirst Ship, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Harpswell Historical Society and Dark
Sky Maine (re: Common Ground Fair). Priority should be given to organizations in other communities thanBrunswick to diversify our event locations.

Carried-over ACTIONITEM: Please review 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.

·       2024 Total Eclipse – An impromptu zoom meeting washeld on July 18. Those invited includedabout a dozen club members interested in eclipse planning that were inspired by
our July meeting presentation by Greg Shanos. However, only three members (Bob, Greg Shanos and Rob) attended themeeting so no action was taken. At theBoard meeting extensive discussion ensued. It was agreed that with Maine being so close to the centerline of theApril 8, 2024 total eclipse most board members intended to travel to experience totality, at various localities such as Jackman, Rangeley, Houlton, etc. It was agreed that we would post those placeswhere members intended to go so that other members seeking to join them could
do so. All locations will be dependentupon weather forecasts. As to localevents outside of totality, a request has been made of SMA by the Southworth Planetarium to partner for eclipse viewing in the Portland area. It was agreed that we could not yet commit tosupporting this request at this time but would continue to promote the idea
among club members who may not be able to travel to totality. It was further agreed that we would work withlocal libraries and media as a “trusted advisor” prior to the eclipse to
provide useful information about it and how to observe it.

ACTION ITEM: Continue to informally plan forthe eclipse even in the absence of an eclipse “committee” so that we can play
our desired role as the eclipse date approached. Report back to the Board at each subsequentmeeting on developments.

  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.


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

Rob reported that he, Jeremy andPaul met on July 17 via zoom to discuss dark sky issues. The committee agreed that while we would besupportive of some other form of statewide legislation it was beyond our
capacity to lead that effort. Theexperience of LD 1845 has been highly instructive and the Committee will use
analyses of that effort to guide future involvement.


The committee agreed that actinglocally should be its focus in the short term. To that end information gathering needed to occur on the level ofstreetlight conversion in our footprint, and a further review of local codes
and ordinances. [In follow-up by Howieof RealTerm Energy, the company reported that every major town except Ellsworth has already converted their streetlights to LEDs, several with smart fixtures,
but most without, and most at 3000K or less. There is no ground left to plow. The remaining frontier is commercial activity of new developments, newparking lots, and conversions of existing commercial lighting to LEDs, all of
which would be regulated (or not) by local ordinances. Therefore, a review of local ordinances,although time-consuming, is needed. Itwas suggested that a meeting should be arranged with Maine Municipal
Association to get their perspective on how these developments are being
addressed by Maine towns.]

Rob reported that Bath recentlydecided to go with 2700K lighting. Whilethis was not what advocate and SMA member Russell Clark wanted (preferring the
2200K standard adopted by Harpswell) it was still a decent outcome.

Finally, the committee determinedthat 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. Paul will get some SQM readings inHarpswell, Howie will bring the idea to his Mitchell Field connections in Harpswell, Jeremy will re-initiate discussion with Freeport town officials and Rob will pursue programmatic questions with IDA.


Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

   CARRY OVER ACTION ITEM:Membership Committee toconsider and propose ideas for a new member buddy system. Al was asked to come back to the Board at thenext meeting with consideration of how this might work, recognizing the level of existing contact with new members. Alwill also present a by-laws amendment to pro-rate dues on a quarterly basis. It is surmised that it might beinhibiting new members rejoining the following year (and being asked to pay $35 twice in less than a year), leading to membership attrition.


Equipment Committee: Ara & Kevin

·      Ara updated the Board on the Questar sale withthe buyer now seeking a refund of $250 of the purchase price for defects he
alleges exist. Bob, Rob and Ara willfashion a response to the

·      Howie will install the red rope lights on thestairs leading behind the building.

·      The building maintenance folks have mowed moreof the grass behind the building making more space for star parties.

·      There were no updates on the Maine Coast WaldorfSchool observatory proposal; with school out follow up has lagged.

·      Rob reported that he, Bob and Kevin met at the shed on June 24and sorted through all cables and accessories, matching them with scopes, to
facilitate their use at future star parties. Locking wheels were also installed on the base of the 15”Dob to make iteasier to move from the shed for use at star parties. The scope was also rebalanced. Unneeded boxeswere removed from the shed, opening up a little more floor space.


Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee: Bob

There was no formal Treasurer’sreport because Rob failed to ask for it. There will be an update in August. Al reported that we have not had a new member since late May/early June,which is unusual compared to the last few years. This appears consistent with the theory thatas COVID wanes people are returning to prior pastimes and not exploring new
hobbies like astronomy.


Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

·      CARRY OVER ACTION ITEM: Directors’ pictures and bios are needed for the website. Biosand picture from four directors remain outstanding.


The meeting ended about 9:10 p.m.

Submitted by

Rob Burgess


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

·       August16

·       Sept20

·       Oct18

·       Nov15

·       Dec20