Thursday, 08 December 2016 19:07

December 2016 President's Message

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Well, here we are at the end of another year. It seems like just yesterday we were beginning 2016 and now we are at it's end. We have been an active club over the past year and not only do I hope we can continue at the same activity level next year, I hope we can expand it. Most of our activity in promoting our club is done thru some kind of outreach event, be it one member giving a program or conducting an observing session for a scout troop or a school classroom or a much larger event like "Astronomy Day" — and we did two of those in 2016.

One thing we do need to work on in 2017 is getting coverage for all events. There were a few events in 2016 that we could not cover due to a shortage of volunteers. To quote Bobby Hebert, we need "All Hands on Deck". That will be a goal in 2017.

In case not everyone has heard yet, nominations for office for 2017 were closed at the November meeting. As we had just one nominee per office without additional nominations, our nominees will all assume the office they were nominated for in 2017. The only change we have is a new 1st Vice President, and he is Bill Davis, our fun loving lunar expert. Bill takes over that position from John Martinez who held it in 2015 and 2016. Other than this change, the 2016 officers continue on into 2017. And they are: Barry Simon — President, Kent Birkle — 2nd Vice President, John Scholl — Treasurer and Bill Johnson — Secretary.

Now if there is a "Lump of Coal" in our Christmas Stocking it is the still unresolved status of our SPMOS Observing Site. As all have heard, the landowner informed the club (via a message left on John Scholl's answer machine that she was not going to renew our lease and would be sending our lease payment check back. We have not had that check returned (or cashed or deposited) and we have not had any further conversation with the property owner despite numerous attempts. We have discussed our options, really not many. We are at the point where the property owner has been sent a letter (with delivery receipt) asking for her intentions regarding a continuing short term lease. The way I see it, there are 3 possibilities that we will face:

  1. A flat out no, get out and we will have to vacate SPMOS.
  2. A short term lease agreement giving us more time, but likely not anything like the 10 year leases we have enjoyed.
  3. No answer at all, which would not be surprising. This would allow us to use the site for at least a little while longer. We would then assume due to silence that a month to month lease would be ok and we send the landowner one with payment, but it would likely come back and we would have to vacate.

Quite frankly, the situation does not look good. If the SPMOS situation ends with us not having SPMOS we will begin discussing what other options we have. Hopefully I will have more information about all of this to share with the membership at our holiday season/year ending party at Porter and Luke's Restaurant. That will be on Friday, December 16th at 7:30 pm Note — you have to register for this event. (See the website forums for details).

Hope to see a lot of you on December 16th! Let's have a great meeting turn out!

Barry Simon, President
Pontchartrain Astronomy Society

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