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Board Meeting Minutes October 25th, 2023

SMADirectors’ Meeting Minutes

October25, 2023




In attendance: Directors BobDodge, Al DiSabatino, Carson Hanrahan, Jeremy Wright, Russ Pinizzotto, Maame Andoh andRob Burgess and new member Dwight Burkard. Dwight was welcomed by the group. A quorumwas present.


The minutes of the September 20, 2023 meeting were approved.

Follow-Up on ActionItems and Committee Reports:


Program Committee: Russand Maame

·      Prior to the meeting Russ reported that speakerswere lined up for the next three months:

o   Nov2 – Speaker from JPL on the ESA Euclid Mission re dark matter. Russ will get details and forward them toallow for advance publicity.

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

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

o   Feb1 – Grad student – details TBD

o   Mar7 – Harvard “Computers” - ??


Outreach Committee: Carson

The club starparty on 10/14 was sparsely attended with only five guests (although three said
they were likely to join the club). Itwas overcast and no observing was possible. Craig Snapp provided the talk and Jon Wallace shared hismeteorites. Carson reported on theMitchell Field Star Party on 10/18. While mostly plagued by clouds a few holes opened that allowed guests tosee some deep sky objects and several constellations. Howie and Rob provided welcoming remarks onpreserving Mitchell Field and light pollution.


There was generaldiscussion about poor attendance at club star parties this year and the reasons
therefore. Carson suggested a new surveyof members to better understand their behaviors – was poor attendance due to
travel times to Brunswick, weather, lack of interest. More input is sought from directors onrefining any new survey. Affiliationswith other organizations such as land trusts have proved to be very helpful in
having decent attendance. Dwight Burkardconfirmed that based on his experience in western Maine. There was discussion about incorporating moreoff-site star parties around the footprint, with affiliations with outside
groups such as local land trusts, Parks and Rec departments, etc.


The OutreachCommittee will contact all organizations requesting star parties this year that
we could not accommodate to thank them and invite them to work with us in 2024 to conduct joint star parties. Rob willcontact Teens to Trails about the star party prize won by the Greeley HS Outing
Club to see if we can squeeze in their star party this Nov/Dec. Rob will endeavor to pick a date and timealong with Teens to Trails and then publicize it seeking volunteers.


Rob and Carsonwill find a date for a Portland HS astronomy talk and then publicize those opportunities. We will give ourplanispheres at these events to meet our grant funding commitment.

SMA will havean exhibitor’s table at the Maine Space 2030 conference at the Portland Holiday
Inn on Nov 5-7. ARA and Paul haveoffered large astrophotos as images to draw attention to our table. Rob will review the agenda and create aschedule of the best times to have our table manned and then solicit


Rob reportedthat attendees at club events has exceeded 1000 persons despite cancellations
and poor weather this year.

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

The club was approached by theNatural Resources Council of Maine to attend a hearing on the Pickett Mountain
Mine rezoning application in northern Penobscot County. The mine would be very close to the KWW DarkSky Sanctuary and the AMC Dark Sky Park leading to Mt. Katahdin. Because there was no lighting information inthe pending application the Dark Sky Committee proposed to the Board that a
Neutral position be adopted but that the club express its concern about
protecting the dark sky area and suggesting dark sky lighting standards that
should be applied to the operation, if allowed. The Board unanimously approved the recommendation and a three-pagecommentary will be submitted to LUPC as part of the record in the


Membership Committee: Al and Kevin

·      Membership per the NSN roster is now at 95. Al reported new members continue to join, which isencouraging. There was discussion abouthow this was happening given it is no longer the COVID response. Rob attributed it to club activity and ourwebsite, demonstrating a dynamic club and cited Mr. Morrill of Raymond, NH, who
donated all his equipment to the club based on checking various clubs’
websites. Dwight Burkard’s motivationfor recently joining was the same. Thechallenge will be to maintain membership at renewal time.

·      The Board reviewed and approved the proposedbylaws change that allows for proration of dues for new members based on when
they joined the club. This provides alittle fairness to people joining later in the year and the flexibility may
help with membership attrition. Rob willcirculate the proposed bylaws to the membership immediately so that the Board
can formally consider and approve the amendment at the 11/15 meeting.

·      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. Thiswas not discussed by remains an ACTION ITEM.



Equipment Committee: Ara & Kevin

·      The club has received three donations of basictelescopes from various sources. Theclub has no use for any of them.

 ACTION ITEM. 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.

·      Jeremy reported that he has photographed andcatalogued virtually all the equipment donated by Charlie Morrill and is
determining if it is fully functional. The belief is that the equipment is in good condition, but two decadesold and has been superseded by newer equipment. Jeremy offered a guestimate of perhaps $1500 for the wholecollection. His photographs will help ussell the equipment. We have no need forit since we have two C-8’s already.

·      The use of the EAA scope was discussed. Russ cautioned that any decision to sell theequipment should be carefully reviewed given it was acquired by donated
funds. The better course may be to findcreative ways to use the equipment at star parties and get club members trained
in its use.


ACTIONITEM: The Equipment Committee should present its recommendations tothe Board in the next month or two.

·      ACTION ITEM: Photograph items available forthe club’s equipment lending program.

·      ACTION ITEM: Install the dew rings on the C-8 and C-11, perhaps before the 11/18star party.

·      Waldorf School observatory project was notdiscussed in Ara’s absence.

·      The club will receive 8 new Orion zoom eyepiecesfrom Cornerstones of Science’s inventory. These retail for $110 each. Theclub will set a price and then offer them for sale.

Treasurer’s Report/Finance Committee: Bob

Bob reported that as of 10/25/23the club had $17,102.47 in its account. Rent is paid through year end and no other major expenditures areexpected. Dues from recent newmemberships has not been received from Strikingly yet.


Executive Committee: Rob, Ara, Bob, Russ

CARRYOVER ACTION ITEM:Pictures from two directors are awaited.



Other: Jeremystarted an Astrobin page for SMA where members can post photos they have taken. He will explore with Ara and Kevin linking this siteto our webpage.


The meeting ended about 8:50 p.m.


Submitted by

Rob Burgess


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

·       Nov15

·       Dec20