SMD Superintendent Jerry Skeim

Jerome “Jerry” Skeim, South Mountain Division Superintendent. (Tom Fedor)

It is with much sadness that the South Mountain Division must announce the death of Jerome “Jerry” Skeim on 8 April 2021. A member of the NMRA since 1971, Jerry was Assistant Superintendent of the South Mountain Division (SMD) for two years before being elected to the Superintendent’s post in the fall of 2020.

Information obtained on Jerry’s Facebook page noted he was from Bemidji, MN, where Jerry attended high school and studied mass communications at the State University of the same name. In his introduction as a candidate for Superintendent, Jerry noted that he retired in 2017, has been married for over 40 years to the love of his life (Deb), and included that they have 5 adult children. Jerry went on to share that he managed a branch office of a financial institution for 15 years, served in the military for over 20 years, and before retirement he worked for the Army National Guard Bureau in Arlington, VA.

Quoting from Jerry’s Superintendent’s bio he wrote, “I have a love for all scales in the hobby but my main interests are On30, On3, and 2-rail O scale. A new narrow-gauge layout is currently in the construction stage. This is a point to point, 33-mile common carrier and logging railroad once headquartered in North-Central Minnesota.” His On30 layout was inspired by the Minneapolis, Red Lake, & Manitoba, (MRL&M).

Jerry was optimistic about the future for the SMD, writing to a “truly outstanding group of model railroaders,” that, “Besides the obvious love that we all share for railroading, for me, the NMRA is all about the people.” Jerry’s main goal for his term as Superintendent was service to the membership and inclusiveness. During the pandemic, Jerry achieved his goal to stimulate participation and interaction with the implementation of a second, more informal, monthly virtual video gathering to talk trains and share personal projects. 

SMD Assistant Superintendent Alex Polimeni shared, “He was a good friend and will be dearly missed.”

Details regarding funeral arrangements have not been shared by Jerry’s immediate family as of this publication.

Compiled by Tom Fedor, NMRA 139877

SMD Draft Minutes 14 MAR 2021

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 submittedThe motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

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.

New Business:  

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.

Annual Election

Your South Mountain Division (SMD) is preparing for the annual election of officers and requests your participation. The Nominating Committee consisting of Ron Polimeni and Tom Fedor is seeking candidates for the position of Superintendent, Clerk, and Paymaster during the 2021-2022 calendar year. Please notify us of your interest to lead our Division before 15 April 2021. If you are not contacted directly by the committee, note that any three members may nominate someone via written notice to the Nominating Committee, with the permission of the nominee. 

Duties of Officers

    1. The Superintendent will preside over Division and Officers Meetings and will perform the usual duties of the head of a nonprofit organization. He or she will be an ex officio member of all committees except the Nominating and Audit Committees.
    2. The Clerk-Paymaster will serve as the Division secretary (Clerk) and the treasurer (Paymaster). Clerk duties will include: taking minutes at all meetings, maintaining a roster of active members, maintaining the Division’s records, sending notices of meetings. Paymaster duties will include: receiving and disbursing funds, and preparing financial reports. As stated in article VI, these offices may be combined and held by one elected person, or split and held by two separately elected people.

For more details regarding the governance of the SMD please find our bylaws online at http://portal.smdnmra.org/bylaws/.

Our Division website is smdnmra.org, and our email is southmountaindiv@gmail.com.

Regards, 

Ron Polimeni & Tom Fedor

SMD Draft Minutes 14 FEB 2021

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 submittedThe motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

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:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. To whom will we advertise the raffle?  Division members?  NMRA members?  Attendees to past Mini-Cons? The hobby public?
    4. Tickets – actual or virtual?  It was decided not to limit the total number of tickets available or the number an individual buyer could purchase. 
    5. Information required from purchasers?  Name, e-mail, phone number, etc.?
    6. 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.

New Business:  

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.

From the Super; February Meeting Reminder

Jerome “Jerry” Skeim Superintendent

Everyone,

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 –  southmoutaindiv@gmail.com – 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:  

    1. We had 28 folks respond which is about 33% of our membership.
    2. Preferred day of the Week: Saturday (Thursday and then Wednesday following close behind.)
    3. 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: southmoutaindiv@gmail.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