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Robert Mitchell


Mike Gacioch
Robert Mitchell
Matt Neilssen
Jeff Struve

Messier Marathon cancelled due to weather

Next regular meeting, Mar 18: Augustana Planetarium tour with PAC
Next board meeting, Apr 3
Regular meeting, Apr 15, back at St. Ambrose
Astronomy Day, May 11: Bettendorf High School by day, Sherman Park that night with St. Ambrose
Green Iowa at Menke, July 9

A call from Hannah Williams, Adventurous Babes Society (no kidding, that’s what they’re called)
They want to learn astronomy with no prior experience. Jeff is searching for a date for them: The only via date is July 6 within the time frame the Society asked for. Jeff will call her back, suggest talking with the Society over supper at the Legion before sunset (preparation and etiquette)

Robert will continue to ask about educational discount for WiFi at Menke.
Satellite internet would not work as well as land-line.
WeBoost: links to a cellular tower to make internet hotspot; low bandwidth, probably wouldn’t be enough for 50 devices at EISP

Steve Kawaler: key person with TESS and Kepler; he might be able to talk in person at EISP (he’s an Iowa resident). If he works for NASA, there’ll be no charge.
If WiFi is not an option, Jeff is asking about acquiring data files on detecting exoplanets for a presentation.

Jeff is concerned about the level of organization so far, this close to EISP. Still need door prizes; Mike G and Jeff are in talks to get some.
$15 fee for star party and speakers. $10 extra for electricity.
Most money should be collected prior to EISP. Any money collected on site should all be collected at the door.
Most important concerns for EISP: Door prizes, planning out spaces for attendees.
Matt: If we get another $100 gift certificate for software, we will buy a copy of SkyX immediately.

Meteor Shower party gets such large crowds: Good place for another raffle.

Website and Meridian
No need to create the traditional Meridian anymore, now that we have the blog version.
Meeting minutes will no longer need to be part of the Meridian.
Software can gather all the blogs into a quarterly newsletter if needed.
Meeting presentations will be in separate blogs.

Observatory Relocation
David Levy sent a letter wholeheartedly endorsing the expansion project.
Dr. Sipiero declined to send a letter.
Dr. Anderson never responded to Jeff’s request for a letter.
David Levy expressed interest in having a star party at the Field of Dreams.
Jeff has two free walnut plaques from MidAmerican Energy; we could etch donor names on them for mounting in the new building.

Mike G: What committees do we need for the relocation project?
Jeff: Have as few committees as possible since we have few members.
Mike G: Most important committee should be for business planning and marketing (for outside donations).
Jeff’s four proposed committees:
Purpose and Benefits (this is how we’re helping everyone and every organization involved).
Design and Specifications (building size, pads, control room, equipment needs, WiFi, etc.)
Business Planning (proposal, create packet to take to potential donors)
Fund Acquisition (grants? talk to donors and/or companies?)
We need to work more on the specific purposes and benefits of the expansion. We need to ask more from Wapsi River and Scott County on how the expansion will benefit them. We need to ask ourselves how it will benefit the public.
Jeff is reaching out to many different organizations for many different benefits an expanded observatory will bring.
$30,000 up front could build the roll-off building, enough to move the equipment over and store the dome.
If more money comes in later, we can build the dome and install computer systems.
Fund Acquisition committee would argue between an all-in-one vs. a phased approach.
Committees would report to Board but otherwise work independently.

Treasurer’s Report:
General fund $2,015.35
Events fund $500.00
Observatory fund: $4,380.00
Total: $6,895.35

Discussion of who exactly can officially qualify for the Messier Club donation level.
Could we create other donation levels with their own names?

We need more club support for manning events and filling board positions.
How can we motivate members and educate them of the responsibilities of participating in the club?
How can we motivate new people to become members? A new, expanded observatory would help.