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Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Draft Meeting Minutes – October 10, 2021
Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 10 or so were present. Superintendent Alex Polimeni opened the zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing. Of note was the fact that he chaired the meeting from a BNB near Hinton, WV.
During the lead-up to the meeting, there was sharing:
- Steve Green spoke about several of his ongoing projects, especially about the train elevator he plans to connect his logging camp to his sawmill for loads-in/empties-out operation. The vertical separation is roughly 10 inches (in N scale). He recounted his efforts to use aluminum extrusions and 3-D printer parts for the elevator and briefly discussed the safety features/circuits needed to prevent trains from falling into the “big hole.”
- The Superintendent discussed some of the problems he has encountered using 3-D printed parts and scenery for his gaming; he prefers to purchase the parts from a commercial printer, rather than trying to print them himself. He also recounted his adventures setting up a temporary workbench.
- The Superintendent discussed paintbrush size: he sometimes prefers regular size brushes to tiny brushes because the former hold more paint and are comparable for detail work if they have a good point. He gets his tiny brushes at big box craft stores.
The Superintendent called the business meeting to order shortly after 2:30 pm.
21.10-1 Paymaster’s Report: Paymaster Ray Price was not present to make his report. (He had contacted the Superintendent and left a voicemail, which was not received prior to the meeting because the Superintendent was not at home.)
[Subsequently, the Paymaster contacted the Clerk and made the following report: The Division has $3623.43 in its bank account. The decrease of $12 from the last report was for Wheel Report expenses.]
21.10-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by email). Clerk Harvey Heyser pointed out that the minutes should be revised to correct several errors in referring to the Superintendent and that there should be an added explanation of the decrease in the bank balance: roughly $36 spent on mailing for the May election.
Steve Green made the following motion (second by Ron Polimeni):
Motion: That the draft Minutes for the May 2021 meeting be approved as revised. The motion passed unanimously.
21.4-3 Memorial for Superintendent Jerry Skeim: An email asking for the family’s wishes has been sent.
21.9-5 Fall 2021 Meetings: The Superintendent reiterated that meetings through the end of 2021 will be remote by zoom. He will, however, begin asking for hosts for the 2022 meetings.
There is still a need for clinics for the rest of 2021 while meetings are remote.
New Business: (Some of the following were related points made after adjournment.)
21-10.3 The Superintendent stated his intention not to consider any major matters because of the low attendance at this October meeting.
21-10.4 Hobby Hangout: A remote get-together by zoom has been scheduled for Friday, October 22, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.
Suggestions were made on possible things to share, including just sitting at the workbench working on a current project:
- Angle a laptop down at the work surface,
- Use an Ipad with a forward-facing camera,
- Use a camcorder if you have one, and
- Record a video (or slide show) to share by screen-share.
There was also a suggestion of holding a roundtable discussion on a prearranged topic for a future hangout.
21-10.5 Operating Sessions: Don Florwick announced his current intention to hold off scheduling any for his railroad until December at the earliest. When his sessions start back up, they will be limited in attendance (maybe a crew of 5 or so instead of the regular 12 to 15). He acknowledged this is a contentious issue. Operation call-boards for the MER 2021 Convention have been canceled. There were reports of some layout owners holding sessions, but that is not widespread.
21-10.6 Mainline Fall Layout Tour (discussed after adjournment): Rich Randall was open and had 37 visitors over 2 days. Both Steve King and Mike Shockey were open.
21-10.7 MER Fall 2021 Convention: The Convention will be held with distancing and masking required per local and hotel requirements.
21-10.8 The Timonium Train Show was held recently with fewer attendees than in the past. It was more like a swap meet than a full-blown train show. Rich Randall reported that the East Penn Trolley Meet in Allentown had decent attendance.
Adjournment: The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely by zoom on Sunday, November 14, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. Members will be reminded by e-mail.
Although there was no clinic scheduled for this meeting, meeting attendees talked informally about several topics including reminiscing about past members and friends of the Division Dick McEvoy, Paul Burger, Dennis Masters, Bill Miller, Marv Kershner, and Art Selby (who recently passed away).
New warehouses in the I-81 Corridor without rail service: There was a lively discussion about this topic including noting all the resulting truck traffic, the inability of customers to unload containers from well-cars, and the railroads’ desire to get out of “loose car railroading.” The end result has been centralized intermodal yards with the necessary facilities (such as heavy lifting cranes) as found in nearby Pennsylvania and short-haul trucks “going the last mile.” Although most present have fond memories of past periods of rail history, there was general agreement that efficient rail transport would be an essential part of meeting the Country’s freight (and hopefully passenger) needs in the future.