Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Draft Meeting Minutes – April 11, 2021
Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 21 or so were present. Because of the untimely passing of Superintendent Jerry Skeim, Assistant Superintendent Alex Polimeni conducted the meeting. The Assistant Superintendent convened the meeting prior to the published start time for logging in. During the lead-up to the meeting, long-time member Steve Green recounted some of his adventures in trying to start up a 3-D printing business in 2014 and how changes in the printing media and the curing process ended his hopes of becoming a “tech millionaire.” The Assistant Superintendent called the business meeting to order shortly after the 2 pm start time.
21.4-1 Paymaster’s Report: Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $3668.40 in its bank account. That amount reflects the Assistant Superintendent’s cashing of reimbursement for the holiday card (item #20.12-3). The Paymaster reported that the Division’s sole source of income presently is the $70 to $75 received yearly from the National and the MER.
21.4-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by e-mail). Ron Polimeni made the following motion (second by Ray Price):
Motion: That the draft Minutes for the March 2021 meeting be approved as submitted. The motion passed unanimously.
20.10-3 Remote meetings: The sense of the discussion was that remote (Zoom) meetings will continue through May (including the end-of-the-year election).
20.10-7 Virtual Raffle: The Assistant Superintendent suggested postponing any action on the raffle until the fall of this year (2021) when new officers have taken office. There was general agreement with that suggestion.
21.4-3 Superintendent Jerry Skeim’s Passing: This extremely unhappy event was quite upsetting to all attendees, who expressed their grief at length during the meeting by recounting their experiences with Jerry. All that is known at this time is that he may have contracted Covid while visiting his wife in the hospital, and after seeming to be on the mend, he took a turn for the worse. The Assistant Superintendent has not been in touch with Jerry’s daughter Elizabeth, but some information has been provided by Bill Reynolds. Because of Jerry’s wife’s illness, the family is taking things slowly at this time, understandably. The Division will act as further information becomes available.
Jerry joined the NMRA in 1971. He was 74.
Webmaster/Editor Tom Fedor has volunteered to pick up SMD materials from the family. The SMD will publish a remembrance of Jerry in the MER Local. Division members expressed their willingness to aid the family with the liquidation of his model collection. Members should send cards to Jerry’s home address, which Webmaster Fedor will post on the SMD website.
In remembrance of Jerry and the many things he did for the Division, Alex Polimeni made the following motion (second by Garry Snook):
Motion: That the South Mountain Division make a $150.00 donation in Jerry’s memory to the charity designated by the Skeim family. The motion passed unanimously.
21.4-4 Running the Division: According to the By-Laws, the elected officers and the Advisory Committee meeting during a Planning Meeting on March 28, 2021 (minutes distributed by e-mail), requested that the Assistant Superintendent step in to run the division because the Superintendent is “unable to serve.” (Jerry had requested that Alex substitute for him at the March meeting.)
The members thanked Alex Polimeni for stepping back into the Superintendent’s responsibilities for the remainder of this meeting year (until the summer).
21.4-5 Nominations for the May Election: The Nominating Committee reported that they have put out a call for volunteers willing to run for SMD offices, have engaged with members directly encouraging them to run, and will have a slate of candidates for the election. In addition, any three (3) members can approach someone they would like to nominate and then, with that person’s permission, can pass the name to the Nominating Committee for inclusion on the ballot.
Ballot information will be published by e-mail. Proxy votes should be forwarded to the Nominating Committee, who will forward them to the Clerk for voting during the election.
21.4-6 Memorial to SMD Members Who Have Passed Away: Memories of those members were shared, and a suggestion was made that the Division pay dues for one or more new NMRA members as a memorial. It was decided to table this discussion for the fall (2021) when the new officers take over.
21.4-7 Achievement Program News: John Pursell has achieved his Master Builder Scenery award by remote judging. He is now working on electrical and structures.
21.4-8 May Clinic: Frank Benenatti will demonstrate making tree armatures using stranded copper wire. He requested that members have 3 ft. of stranded wire cut into (4) 9 in. pieces, so they can make their own armatures as they watch him do it.
21.4-9 Selling Collections: John Pursell reported that the Cumberland Model RR Club buys collections for resale.
Adjournment: The Assistant Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely on May 16, 2021 (the third Sunday because of Mother’s Day) at 2 p.m. The election for officers will be held at that time. Members will be notified by e-mail.
Clinic: Following the meeting, Bob Geldmacher presented a clinic on 3-D printing. The PowerPoint for the clinic was distributed by e-mail attached to the 4-9-21 meeting announcement. The pdf shows examples of 3-D printed objects Bob has made (some quite unexpected), a summary history of the technology, and a list of sources of further information. Members are encouraged to review the pdf, which does a much better job of conveying the clinic than any short summary by this “technological caveman.”
Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Draft Meeting Minutes – March 14, 2021
Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 15 or so were present. In the Superintendent’s absence (for medical reasons), Alex Polimeni, Assistant Superintendent, convened the meeting prior to the published start time for logging in. During the lead-up to the meeting, Frank Benenatti described his recent tree armature building efforts using 4 pieces of stranded wire. He offered to give a clinic on the subject. Then, the Assistant Superintendent called the business meeting to order shortly after the 2 pm start time.
21.3-1 Paymaster’s Report: Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $3631.90 in its bank account. That amount reflects invoices for the holiday card (item #20.12-3) and the Spring Wheel Report, as well as a $35.50 deposit from the MER.
21.3-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by e-mail). Bob Johnson made the following motion (second by Andy Arnold):
Motion: That the draft Minutes for the February 2021 meeting be approved as submitted. The motion passed unanimously.
20.10-7 Virtual Raffle: The Assistant Superintendent reported that Superintendent Skeim has been working on the raffle but has not yet communicated details. There was discussion of whether or not to open ticket sales to MER members or to restrict them to past Mini-Con attendees.
20.12-4 An Informal SMD Get-Together (aka Hobby Hang-out and Second Monthly Meeting) by Zoom was held 2-27-21. A brief summary of what participants shared has been made available on the website. There was general agreement that the virtual event was successful and that the SMD try to hold another get-together in March.
21.2-10 The next Timonium Great Scale Train Show has been scheduled for April 10th and 11th. To help maintain social distance, the show will be held in four separate sessions with limited attendance. Attendees will have to pre-register for the limited number of tickets.
21.3-3 NMRA Attractions for Younger Modelers: Alex Polimeni reported on his outreach to younger modelers through other modeling interests, forums, etc. They seem to feel that the NMRA does not offer them anything they cannot get from the internet – that the NMRA is a pre-internet organization. The report initiated an in-depth discussion with SMD members responding strongly that the NMRA gives them many benefits including the following:
– Standards and compatibility – We would not have the hobby without these.
– Camaraderie – Alex Polimeni reminded us that younger people do much less face-to-face socializing and are much more likely to be lone wolves in the hobby.
– Archives and information so important for better models
The discussion suggested the need to go where young modelers are, to ask questions, and to act accordingly.
Several efforts to reach out to younger people were noted:
– The modular group north of Baltimore came from a community college class. (Modules, which because of their limited size, address the lack of space issue facing younger adults living in smaller homes.),
– The success of the mini-layout movement in Europe and Asia – These small layouts also address the lack of space issue and are aided by the daily contact so many foreign hobbyists have with rail transit. (The US, however, does have 6000 hp locos and 2 mile long trains.), and
– The efforts of Games Workshop to support gaming clubs in schools.
It was pointed out that the hobby has had some success reaching out to empty-nesters and retirees and that this was something the SMD has been trying to do, especially with the Mini-Con. There was a suggestion that National relax its restrictive policies related to insurance to make it easier for the divisions to use regular meetings to attract new members. The high cost of membership was brought up. There was a suggestion that the SMD open the Informal Get-Togethers to non-members.
No decisions were made. It was noted that input from Region Director Morningstar would be helpful in giving a better understanding of the bigger picture.
21.3-4 The East Broad Top RR has received new flues for #16 and is holding railfan activities.
Adjournment: The superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely on April 11, 2021 (second Sunday at 2 p.m.). Members will be notified by e-mail.
Clinic: Alex Polimeni presented a clinic titled ‘Painting Figures with the Citadel Colour System.” He had previously distributed a handout attached to the 3-12-21 Meeting Reminder (e-mail). The paint system is water-based acrylic and intended primarily for figure painting. Richard Benjamin reported that HobbyTown of Frederick carries the Citadel system. Alex especially recommended the shades, which are paint mixtures using clear mediums rather than just water or alcohol thinned colors. Consequently, the shades settle into cracks and details much better than the washes model railroaders normally use.
Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser
Draft Meeting Minutes – February 14, 2021
Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 22 or so were present. The Superintendent convened the meeting prior to the published start time for logging in. After some socializing, Superintendent Jerry Skeim called the business meeting to order shortly after the 2 pm start time.
21.2-1 Paymaster’s Report: Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $3781.32 in its bank account (the same as last month). That amount does not include invoices for the holiday card (item #20.12-3). Alex Polimeni forwarded those invoices to the Paymaster during the meeting. John Madden made the following motion (second by Alex Polimeni):
Motion: That the Paymaster’s report for the February 2021 meeting be accepted. The motion passed unanimously.
21.2-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by email). Ron Polimeni made the following motion (second by Alex Polimeni):
Motion: That the draft Minutes for the January 2021 meeting be approved as submitted. The motion passed unanimously.
20.10-7 Virtual Raffle: The SMD has possession of the gift card donated by Mainline Hobbies and the lifetime pass to the Great Scale Train Show. The process of conducting a virtual raffle was discussed at length with the following issues brought up:
- What state and local laws and regulations will apply? The MER is chartered in MD. Where is the SMD chartered? Different counties have different regulations for raffles. For instance, Frederick County requires a permit; Washington County does not.
- How will the SMD accept payment? Where to send payment and to whom? A raffle manager living in the county where the raffle will be held was suggested.
- To whom will we advertise the raffle? Division members? NMRA members? Attendees to past Mini-Cons? The hobby public?
- Tickets – actual or virtual? It was decided not to limit the total number of tickets available or the number an individual buyer could purchase.
- Information required from purchasers? Name, e-mail, phone number, etc.?
- How many raffles can the SMD hold in a year?
20.12-4 Holding a Second Virtual Meeting of the month for matters other than business – an informal SMD get-together by Zoom: Saturday evening was the preference expressed by respondents to the Superintendent’s survey. He suggested 2-27-21 for the first get-together. Bob Johnson made the following motion (second by Harvey Heyser):
Motion: That an informal SMD get-together be scheduled for Saturday, February 27, 2021, at 7 p.m. The motion passed unanimously.
Members were invited to “bring” things to share (show & tell). No business will be discussed. Zoom Master Alex Polimeni will make himself available beforehand to answer questions about screen sharing. (Basically, anything that can be put on the screen can be shared – electronic files, “slides from PowerPoint, videos, etc.)
20.12-6 MER Hunt Valley Convention – fall 2021: At the present time, the convention is still planned to proceed face-to-face; however Region Director Bob Morningstar reported the Region lost a significant amount of deposit money on last year’s canceled convention. The Region must make an additional deposit in April, at which time a decision will have to be made. The SMD website has a link to the convention page with information about the hotel.
21.2-3 Tom Fedor has reported that the deadline for the Spring 2021 Wheel Report is imminent. He is willing to accept submissions until February 21st.
21.2-4 MER President Kurt Thompson has passed along a warning about scams made in his and the NMRA’s names. Members should be aware.
21.2-5 Covid vaccines: Members shared their experience and status. One member got his shot by volunteering at a vaccination clinic. At the end of the clinic, he and his wife were there when they had left-over doses to give. [Model railroaders are a creative bunch.]
21.2-6 SMD Elections: Nominations were solicited for the election to be held in May.
21.2-7 NMRA Elections: Bob Morningstar encouraged SMD members to participate in the upcoming National elections as the nominees have differing views of the direction for our organization’s future.
21.2-8 3-D Printing Clinic: Bob Geldmacher requested questions about 3-D printing for him to address in his upcoming clinic.
21.2-9 An operations clinic given by Bill Wilson will be held at the May meeting.
21.2-10 The next Timonium Great Scale Train Show has been canceled. No one was certain about the rest of this year’s scheduled shows.
Adjournment: The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely on March 14, 2021 (second Sunday at 2 p.m.). Members will be notified by email.
Clinic: Bob Morningstar presented the second part of his clinic on JMRI. He discussed the use of Decoder Pro for setting the CVs in DCC decoders and “walked” members through the applicable screens and toolbars. Bob also repeated his offer to help anyone [maybe not Thumbs] having difficulty with JMRI.
Upcoming Meeting Date: 14 February 2021
The next SMD meeting will take place on Sunday, 14 Feb. 2021 via ZOOM. Log on time opens at 1:30 with the business meeting scheduled to start at 2 PM. ZOOM logon information for the February meeting is the same as last month’s information.
If any member has any concerns that they feel need to be addressed to the membership, or discussion topics that they feel should be included in the February meeting agenda, please forward them to me through our Gmail address – firstname.lastname@example.org – as early as possible before the upcoming meeting. You will also find an impeccably prepared copy of our January meeting minutes here: http://portal.smdnmra.org/2021/01/31/smd-draft-minutes-10-jan-2021/.
In other news:
The results from our membership survey asked what day of the week and time of the day you would like to hold an additional virtual meeting over “zoom” to “Get-Together” and just chat about modeling and interact with your fellow members. Here are the results:
- We had 28 folks respond which is about 33% of our membership.
- Preferred day of the Week: Saturday (Thursday and then Wednesday following close behind.)
- Preferred time of the day: 7:00 PM with 15 votes (No other time slot received more than 3 votes.)
With these results in hand what I am proposing is that we will hold the first Saturday “Get-Together” on Saturday, February 27th at 7:00, I will bring that up for a vote under old business at the upcoming membership meeting on the 14th of February.
Finally, we are always looking for anyone interested in providing a clinic or a layout tour following future Zoom meetings. If interested please let us know through the SMD Gmail account as soon as possible: email@example.com. We now have lined up clinics/presentations for the next two months with help from a few of our members. For February, Bob Morningstar will give a presentation on “DecoderPro”, and for March, Bob Geldmacher will give a presentation on “3-d printing”. Hopefully, we can get a couple more to round out our meeting year.
I hope that everyone is well and that those that are eligible for the vaccine can get their shots promptly.
Hope to see you all on Sunday the 14th of February 2021 at 2:00 PM.
Jerry Skeim, Superintendent