SMD Draft Minutes 11 April 2021

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 submittedThe motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

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.

New Business: 

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 familyThe 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.”

Officer Candidate Announcement

The following members of your South Mountain Division are running for election for the 2021/22 term.

Division members should watch for a direct email that will contain instructions on how and when to vote.

Candidates for Superintendent

Jay Beckham

Jay Beckham
Like most of us, I started out in this wonderful hobby with a Lionel O Gauge train set, then an American Flyer train set. Then HO came out and I got serious about model railroading in the 1960s. My first MER convention was in Silver Spring, MD in the late 60s. I moved from the DC area to WV in 1977 and shortly after I joined the then-new SMD. I helped with the first Hagerstown MER Convention by designing a computer registration program on my IBM System 13. Later in the 80s, I served as Superintendent of the Division for two terms and in 1990 earned the Achievement award for Association Volunteer.
I modeled in HO until about 1997 when I changed to O scale. Currently modeling the PRR in Baltimore and the PRR on the Northern Central as well as a small bit of Baltimore Transit Company trolley line. We have four people now helping with the layout and I mainly work in designing and building structures using casting, laser cutting, and 3D printing. Also, most of the trackwork and the existing electronics are my work. However, we are currently reworking the CTC machine and building PRR signals to replace the existing 3 color signals.
I married Julie in 1963 and we have two daughters and son-in-laws, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. I am a graduate of the University of Maryland and majored in accounting and information systems.
Regarding the future of the South Mountain Division and the NMRA in general, I believe that attracting young people to the hobby is paramount. Our Mini-Con is a good example of a venue that does just that. But in addition, we need to get out into public spaces when that option again becomes possible and safe. Years ago, the division created a portable O scale module which we displayed and operated on several occasions. But then the interest lapsed and I donated the module to the Roundhouse Museum in Hagerstown. So we must make an effort in this direction or this division and model railroading may not survive us.

Alex Polimeni

Alex Polimeni
I have been a member of the South Mountain Division for almost ten years and have previously served as SMD’s Superintendent for three of those. As an experienced TT&TO dispatcher, model scenery builder, and painter of all things miniature, I have chosen 2021 to begin pursuing the title of Master Model Railroader. If elected to return to the Superintendency for another term, I hope to implement a robust agenda as SMD emerges from the recent pandemic era. With a focus on member-to-member communication and collaboration, and exploring safe re-opening for train shows, layout tours, and the 2022 Mini-Con, I want to give SMD a strong start in the coming decade.

Candidate for Paymaster

Raymond Price

Ray Price
I have been a member of SMD for 30+ years. I model in HO, and am interested in the late 19th to the early 20th century time period. The Western Maryland RR is my railroad of choice, before it came out of its bankruptcy.
I have served as the Division Paymaster for some time, but am still interested in serving in that capacity if you choose to support me in the upcoming election. Thanks for your support.

Candidate for Clerk

Harvey Heyser III

Harvey Heyser, III
As a scale modeler for 50 years or so, I have modeled in HO, O, and now large scale, specifically G scale (1:22.5), using gauge one (1-3/4”) track which represents meter gauge (I use it to represent 3 ft. gauge.). The three layouts I have started all got to the ‘plywood dragon’ stage and went no further.
I find early 20th century (before WWII) prototype railroads quite fascinating. My favorite is the Cumberland and Pennsylvania. Now that I am retired, I plan to model the C&P as a freelance, 1920s, coal hauling, narrow-gauge short line. Layout design and operations also fascinate me. Contacts made through the SMD have given me many opportunities to participate in both those activities.
I have been an NMRA member since the 1970s and an SMD member since returning to the Shepherdstown, WV area in the mid-1980s. I very much appreciate the SMD for the opportunities for fellowship and the chance to learn new things about our hobby.

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

Our Division website is, and our email is


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.