Meeting Postponed – NEW Date: Sunday, 16 Jan. 2:00 PM

Alex Polimeni, superintendent 

Hey everyone,

I hope the holidays treated you well, and you’re navigating this latest variant of COVID-19 in good health! I’m writing to let you know that I’d marked the 16th, not the 9th, as the second Sunday in January (and the fact that 14, not 16, is 2×7 is not lost on me…)

To allow folks more of a head’s up than last month, and given the precedent of meeting on the 3rd Sunday in May every year anyway, our January meeting will be POSTPONED until Sunday, January 16, at 2 PM via Zoom. I’ll be sending another reminder Thursday evening with the meeting info and agenda. Until then, please take a moment to catch up on last month’s minutes, dutifully compiled by our ineffable clerk Harvey Heyser.

If you can, please clear your afternoon this coming Sunday.  2022 is already shaping to be a big year for SMD, and it would be great to workshop what’s to come with as many of you as possible!

Best regards,

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

SMD Draft Meeting Minutes 12 December

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 12, 2021

Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform. 18 or so were present.  Superintendent Alex Polimeni opened the zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing. 

During the lead-up to the meeting, the following was shared:

  • Pete and Jane Clarke have scheduled another operating session on their HOn3 EBT.
  • The Four County MRR Society has an HO modular layout with 6 scale miles of track on display at the Westminster Mall.

The Superintendent called the business meeting to order at about 2:30 pm.

21.12-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that as of November 30, 2021, the SMD bank balance was $3,508.43, reflecting the memorial donation to Breast Cancer Awareness of Cumberland County. The Superintendent will forward invoices for the Zoom renewal to the Paymaster.

21.12-2 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 John Madden):

Motion: That the draft Minutes for the November 2021 meeting be approved as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business: 

21-11.4 Holiday Cards: Andrew Roberts reported that the paperless card option was not preferred; so, actual cards will be sent.

21-11.6 Spring 2022 SMD Meetings: The Superintendent expressed cautious optimism about in-person meetings in the spring, but the January 2022 meeting will still be held remotely by zoom. He will confer with the officers and Advisory Committee.

21-11.8 Jerry Skeim’s Layout and Models: Bob Johnson, John Madden, and Ron Polimeni were thanked for dismantling Jerry’s layout. The layout featured some very nice carpentry and used exterior grade birch plywood “lumber” extensively. A considerable amount of lumber was saved. Elizabeth Boisvert was grateful since she needs the space to live in so she can be close to her mother. 

New Business:

21-12.-3 Achievement Program Progress: Coordinator Jane Clarke announced that, at the recent MER Convention, John Pursell had 3 models judged for the structures and cars certificates.

Adjournment:

The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn. The next meeting will be held remotely by zoom on Sunday, January 9, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. Members will be reminded by e-mail.

SMD Draft Meeting Minutes 14 November

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Draft Meeting Minutes – November 14, 2021

Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform.  15 or so were present.  Superintendent Alex Polimeni opened the zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing.  

During the lead-up to the meeting, there were compliments made about the excellent job that Wheel Report Editor Tom Fedor has done in giving the SMD a very professional-looking publication. 

The Superintendent called the business meeting to order at about 2:30 pm.

21.11-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that as of September 30, 2021, the SMD bank balance was $3,658.43.  That includes the $12 expenditure for the fall Wheel Report and a deposit of $35 from the MER.  The memorial contribution for Jerry Skeim has not been made yet but will be made shortly.

21.11-2 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 Bob Morningstar):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the May 2021 meeting be approved as submittedThe motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:  (No items of old business were discussed.)

New Business:

21-11.3 Zoom Subscription:  The Superintendent reported that the Zoom subscription was renewed automatically in August 2021.  He will submit the expense at the December meeting for reimbursement.

The Superintendent also indicated that one reason he renewed was our need for storage capacity for the recorded Hobby Hangouts.

21-11.4 Holiday Cards:  The expenditure last year was $175.  It was noted that last year’s cards resulted in several renewed contacts (and unfortunately one death notice).  The discussion indicated that keeping in contact with these cards was good for the SMD.  Andrew Roberts offered to investigate the card service his business uses, which may be less expensive; it also permits flexibility of graphics.  Members expressed a desire to rotate the prototype depicted (in other words, not all PRR).  Tom Fedor has many layout photos that might be used.

Andrew Roberts made the following motion (second by Ron Polimeni):

Motion:  That the expenditure of up to $150 is pre-approved for 2021 holiday cardsThe motion passed unanimously.

21-11.5 Superintendents’ Meeting:  The meeting, customarily held during the MER Convention, was held remotely this year by zoom.  Superintendent Polimeni did not attend.

21-11.6 Spring 2022 SMD Meetings:  The Superintendent reminded members that he will confer with 

the Officers and Advisory Committee as to whether it is safe to hold in-person meetings yet.  He also noted the need to find willing hosts.

Bob Morningstar reported that the Greencastle High-Line Station is a possible venue that would allow for greater social distancing than a crowded layout.  Attendees could bring something they have been working on.

21-11.7 Other Gatherings:  Don Florwick and Steve King went in-person to the MER Convention.  (No one was sure how Achievement Program judging was done at the Convention.)  Pete and Jane Clarke have held an in-person operating session.  An O scale meet was held on 11-13-21 with 12-20 participants and no masks or distancing.

On the other hand, one Four County member, who attended the recent Timonium Show, did contract covid.

21-11.8 Jerry Skeim’s Layout and Models:  Elizabeth Boisvert (Jerry’s daughter) indicated her family’s desire to clear the space soon and to dispose of the collection to other modelers who will put the items to use.  Since Jerry had not gotten much beyond the benchwork stage, his collection includes tools, some DCC equipment (not set up), a small amount of track, scenery supplies, a few structures, and On30 rolling stock models still in boxes.  The layout is in Thurmont, MD.  Several options were reviewed:

  • The SMD is taking an acting role.  Past experience reported from the MARS group suggests a plan of action:  a) create an inventory, b) organize a take-down “party,” c) salvage what can be salvaged, and d) sell the collection at a train show or on eBay.  It was pointed out that online sites must report the proceeds of sales to the IRS as ordinary, taxable income.
  • Try to sell as much as possible locally.
  • Bring in a model train collection buyer to make a blanket offer.
  • Holding a one-day sale at the house once the situation is assessed.
  • SMD is organizing a group of volunteers to aid the family in assessing the situation.  Bob Johnson suggested himself, Bill Reynolds, and Bob Charles (for pricing assistance).  Andrew Roberts also volunteered to help.

The Division expressed its desire to help.  The sense of the discussion was that the last of the above alternatives would be the course of action for now.  Elizabeth indicated that Jerry had an inventory, which she will search for.  She also will take photos of the collection and benchwork. 

21-11.9 Future MER Convention in the SMD Area:  When asked, the Superintendent indicated he has not been approached to host a convention.

21-11.10 Gifts to the NMRA Library:  Andy Arnold asked how to make donations and was directed to Mary Miller, who donated some of Bill Miller’s books.

21-11.12 Hobby Hangout:  A remote get-together by zoom is scheduled for Friday, November 26, 2021, at 7:00 p.m.  Members had been notified of the date and time by the notice for this meeting.

Adjournment:  The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting will be held remotely by zoom on Sunday, December 12, 2021, at 2:00 p.m.  Members will be reminded by email.

SMD Draft Minutes 10 OCT 2021

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 revisedThe motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

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.

From the Super, 10 OCT Meeting Reminder

Alex Polimeni, superintendent

Everyone, Winter is coming! As the leaves begin to fall and we start slinging pumpkin guts for Halloween, I would like to invite you all to our October membership meeting via Zoom this Sunday, October 10th. “Doors” open at 2pm, with the business meeting to commence promptly by 2:30pm. As always, you can find our September minutes HERE. In other news, we’re still looking for a clinic for this weekend’s meeting. If you have something you’d like to talk about, let us know!

And, on that note, I would like to announce the return of the long-awaited and much-anticipated SMD Hobby Hangout on Friday, October 22nd at 7pm via Zoom. More info to come, so stay tuned!

See you all soon,

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent


Zoom meeting instructions were included on page two of the SMD members’ only version of the Wheel Report link that was sent to all on 1 September. If the connection details are needed, contact the Division leadership at southmountaindiv@gmail.com.

A copy of the minutes from the last membership can be found at this previous SMD blog post: <http://portal.smdnmra.org/2021/10/07/smd-draft-minutes-12-sep-2021/>