Minutes of SARA Board Meeting

30 June 2008, Green Bank WV

Meeting called to order at 7:00PM by President Charles Osborne.

In Attendance: Pres. Charles Osborne, V. P. Paul Shuch, Sec. Karen Mehlmauer, Treas. Tom Crowley, Directors David Fields, Jim Brown, Bruce Randall, Kerry Smith, Journal Editor John Mannone, Nominees Melinda Lord, Rich Nagel, Paul Oxley, Rob Davis, and several members

The reading of last year's Board Meeting Minutes was waived. They have been posted on the SARA website and also mentioned in last year's post-conference Journal with no negative reactions.

WEBSITE REPORT - Paul Shuch, Webmaster

There are no website problems known to the Webmaster. SARA will renew its $10 per month commitment with Verizon to continue hosting the official website. Webmaster will personally pay the $120 and be reimbursed by the Treasurer upon documentation being received.

MOTION: To continue with Verizon as the hosting entity. Paul Shuch; 2nd: David Fields. Motion carried

General discussion held regarding changing to a different host because of current bookmarking and navigation difficulties expressed by some members. Webmaster defended current system and explained his reasons for maintaining the status quo. Webmaster charged with review of the current web service with input from member Chip Sufitchi (N2YO).

Webmaster asked for help from members in getting missing group information up to date.

TREASURER'S REPORT - Tom Crowley, Treasurer

The numbers presented at the Board Meeting were tentative and based on estimates of the end of the month (June '08) closing statements.

A complete Treasurer's Report will be compiled as soon as appropriate bank statements have been received.

Treasurer also reported that the PayPal account is working well but SARA needs to submit proof of our legitimacy as a 501-c-3 Corporation to continue our account in good standing.

MOTION: To accept Treasurer's Report as presented. Dave Fields; 2nd: Paul Shuch. Motion carried


The suggestion was made that SARA pick up more of the Navigator Program from NRAO to coincide with the International Year of Astronomy. NRAO will be emphasizing the Quiet Skies Program during this time period.

It was stated that good statistics are available for IBT (Itty Bitty Telescope) usage during '06-'07 but only limited data available for '07-'08 thus far.

The Call for Papers announcement and the availability of the educational CD met with poor response from members who currently have a SARA IBT. Therefore, effort will be made to get IBTs back from members who cannot document adequate usage and redistribute the telescopes. There is a possibility that email notices were not always properly received. A Test Message will be sent.

MOTION: SARA should become the primary partner in the Navigator Program with the NRAO holding a secondary role instead of the current arrangement. Tom Crowley; 2nd: John Mannone. Motion carried

Suggestion was made that the IBT user in India be asked to write an article for the Journal. Paul Shuch will follow up.

A committee will be formed to promote the IBT as part of the International Year of Astronomy. Tentative committee membership as follows: Chair - Tom Crowley, Members - Kerry Smith, David Fields, Rob Davis (UK), Jim Brown, and John Mannone. It was also suggested that the available educational handouts be put on the SARA website and that the SARA logo be made into a rubber stamp and/or stickers so that it can be attached to all physical IBT handouts and other materials. This would increase SARA recognition.


A general discussion was held regarding the need to update the existing SARA general information brochure. Jim Brown volunteered to spearhead this project.

JOURNAL REPORT - John Mannone, Journal Editor

The Editor is continuing work on the Journal's cosmetic changes necessitated by going to electronic-only delivery.

The Editor proposed that Bill Seymour be appointed as the Assistant Editor to produce a monthly newsletter that would contain items such as announcements, membership news, etc. Tentative title: "Radio Waves". The Journal would continue to present articles and would be published four (4) times a year.

A lively discussion ensued. A strong case was made that six (6) Journals per year were necessary to attract and keep members. One idea expressed was that announcements and such could be sent out to the membership through the Google Discussion Group. The technical articles were described as the 'meat' of the Journal and should continue to remain its prime focus.

MOTION: SARA will commit to six (6) Journals for '08-'09 with a monthly newletter also to be published for this time period. Discussions will continue on the Google List Serve. John Mannone. Motion died.

More detailed discussion held enumerating the pros and cons of several variations on this theme.

MOTION: Six (6) SARA Journals will be published in '08-'09 with Bill Seymour joining the staff as Associate Editor. In this position, he will assist the Editor as requested and handle announcements and other similar items to be included as a secondary feature of the Journal. John Mannone will continue as Editor. Karen Mehlmauer; 2nd: Paul Shuch and David Fields. Abstention: John Mannone. Motion carried

At this time, the newsletter idea will be absorbed into the existing Journal. The new Associate Editor will also produce a 'teaser' to be included in the regular email sent out to announce the availability of the newest Journal issue. Special email bulletins will be sent to the membership as needed for time-critical items that cannot wait until the next Journal publication date.

Additional discussion followed about User Name & Password versus Hidden URLs to access new issues of the Journal. A consensus was reached that SARA will stick with the current Hidden URL system.

ELECTRONIC VOTING - Charles Obsorne, President

The President moderated a lengthy and detailed discussion of current voting procedures and possible changes/improvements that could be implemented.

The President directed the Secretary to take point on resolving the apparent discrepancies between voting practice and the SARA by-laws. This will include a thorough review of the Journal archives to create a current version of the by-laws. The latest revision posted on the SARA website is dated 6/22/06.

The President also directed that the email vote that had been properly submitted to the Secretary this year would be accepted. Any further discussion of electronic voting was tabled until a subcommittee can hash through possible solutions and make recommendations to the Board.

NEW BUSINESS - Charles Osborne, President

MOTION: Accept the Google List Serve as the official SARA List serve. Tom Crowley; 2nd: Jim Brown and Bruce Randall. Motion carried unanimously

MOTION: SARA members joining the SETI League for $20 will receive an automatic membership extension to the end of 2009 and a free book. To create reciprocity, SETI League members who join SARA for $20 will receive a membership extension to the General Conference in 2010 and a copy of the Journal CD. Continuation of this mutual deal will be reviewed by the SETI League at one of their appropriate meetings and also by SARA at the General Conference in '09. Tom Crowley; 2nd: David Fields. Abstention: Paul Shuch and Tom Crowley. Motion carried.

Presidential Appointment - John Mannone was asked to contact the Society of Amateur Scientists and other similar radio astronomy-related groups worldwide to rekindle or initiate a relationship.

SPECIAL NOTE: The Officers and Directors wish to thank John Mannone for fulfilling his duties as Journal Editor with skill and enthusiasm and for the many hours he devotes to this exceptional publication. They also wish to acknowledge and thank him for serving as SARA's official International Ambassador.

It was mention that SARA's Mentor Program could use some updating of its records and revitalization of its activities.

Presidential Appointment - Jim Brown will review the existing Mentor List to bring information contained therein current and will encourage new mentor participation in ways to be developed later.


The establishment of a Nominating Committee should be considered to review annual election procedures.

It is a necessity that various avenues be explored to increase membership.

MOTION: To adjourn. David Fields; 2nd: John Mannone. Motion carried unanimously at 9:50PM.

Submitted by: Karen Mehlmauer, SARA Secretary


Minutes of SARA Mini-Board Meeting
1 July 2008, Green Bank WV
Meeting held at 8:50AM. In Attendance: A quorum of Board members

MOTION: For non-members who paid to attend this year's conference, SARA will consider their dues paid and they will become members in good standing with all member benefits and responsibilities until the Annual Conference in 2009. 2nd: Kerry Smith. Motion carried

This item was announced and very well received during Tuesday's opening agenda.

Submitted by: Karen Mehlmauer, SARA Secretary


Minutes of SARA Board Luncheon Meeting
1 July 2008, Green Bank WV
In Attendance: (new) Pres. Tom Crowley, (former) Pres. Charles Osborne, V.P. Paul Shuch, Sec. Karen Mehlmauer, (new) Treas. Melinda Lord, Directors Jim Brown, (new) Rich Nagel, (new) Rob Davis, Kerry Smith, Bruce Randall, David Fields, Editor John Mannone, Associate Editor (new) Bill Seymour

Brief List of New President's Action Items and Responsible Parties: (not in priority order)

Web page improvements: Paul Shuch
Student Programs: Kerry Smith
Navigator Program: Tom Crowley
IYA and IBTs: Tom Crowley
Committee members to be named later
Develop Relationships with other RA-related organizations: John Mannone & Rob Davis
SARA Brochure: Jim Brown
Remote Observing: Chuck Forster
Possible regional meeting in Denver: Rod Howe & Jim Maravec
Merchandise Chairperson (to investigate selling SARA products on eBay): Karen Mehlmauer
Send note to RA suppliers to get info for 'Product Highlight' column in the Journal: Bill Seymour
Check NRAO staff for possible speakers at Conference '09: Paul Shuch
Check NRAO staff input for Journal: John Mannone
Mentor Program revitalization: Jim Brown & David Fields
By-Laws revisions & Operating Policies and Procedures: Karen Mehlmauer
eVoting recommendations/suggestions: Karen Mehlmauer
Nominating Committee (Nov '08 - Feb '09 time frame): TBA Board Member + 2-3 members
Possible West Coast regional meeting: Shad Nygren
Commercial version of IBT: Kerry Smith
Funding loaned from Navigator Program
Develop kits for 2 levels - beginners and advanced
Possible Detroit regional meeting: Rich Nagel
Possible Tennessee regional meeting: David Fields
Journal improvements: John Mannone
Membership Chairperson: TBA
(formerly under Treasurer's job description)
Choose dates for '09 conference: Tom Crowley
Contact possible keynote speakers: Paul Shuch
Project Management: Tom Crowley
Project Chairpersons added to Board email list: Paul Shuch

NOTE: Board Conference call tentatively scheduled for September.
Submitted by: Karen Mehlmauer, SARA Secretary


Planning Session for 2009 SARA Conference
1 July 2008, Green Bank WV
Meeting chaired by V.P. Paul Shuch.

A quorum of Board Members was in attendance.

Discussions held regarding:

Setting 2009 SARA Conference dates to compliment the Star Quest activities. Proposed dates - Conference activities to begin at noon on Sunday, June 28th and close after breakfast on Wednesday, July 1st.
Soliciting email abstracts ASAP. Drafts will be due 1. April '09. Final manuscripts will be due 1 May '09
Top priority given to people who have never presented at a previous SARA conference