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Tennessee Tree Toppers

TTT BOD Minutes


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Tennessee Tree Toppers

Minutes of the Meeting of Directors

November 13 2010


President Steve Lee called the meeting to order at 9 AM CST by convocation and offered a prayer.


Roll was called.

Directors present at meeting time were Buddy Cutts, Barry Klein, Michael Bradford, Kenny Sandifer, James Anderson and Steve Lee. [note: Dan Shell arrived shortly after roll was called.]


Directors absent at meeting time were Eric Donaldson, Ollie Gregory, Jeff Nibler, Miller Stroud, Kathy Lee, Ricker Goldsborough, Dan Shell, and Jeff Wilson.


Members present at this time were Dean Funk, Clell Logan and Keith Skyles.




Whitwell LZ: 

Still no progress on this oldest of club initiatives. James Anderson recommends we take every opportunity to speak with people in the valley, and Clell Logan offered to initiate fresh inquiries with his friends and acquaintances around Whitwell.


Hay harvest in the Henson LZ field:

Kenny Sandifer reported he had spread the word, placed a notice at the Co-op and so far has had no feedback or response.


Steve reported on the clubhouse work. We have an almost new refrigerator. Steve and Michael picked up a brand new wall oven unit and cook top, which the Wallaby Tree Topper contingent installed for us. [Dan Shell and son Jackson arrived at this point.] Oswaldo Lopez-Armas wired the appliances temporarily and says he'll be back to finish it out soon. Michael Bradford is going to try and coordinate with Ozzie and help with the final touches.


Scooter tow:

James Anderson reported Wayne Walker's scooter tow rig is now stored at Mike Nash's and that he will be putting fuel conditioner in the tank to winterize the unit. Mike Nash has agreed to work on talking to some landowners where he thinks we may be able to set up and tow on top. It is pointed out that Wayne Walker still owns this unit, and it is on loan to the club. A round of thanks to Wayne.


The matter of board ballot mailing was tabled at this point in the absence of Jeff Nibler and Ollie Gregory, who are producing the mailing.


Designated trailer parking spaces:

Jeff Nibler is working on a plan or recommendations for trailer parking policy on top. Dan commented that there are a limited number of spaces available but use of the space in front of the pavilion is not necessary. When the other available spaces on top are taken, we should consider ways to accommodate more RV parking, by marking and improving appropriate space in the LZ field. James notes Jeff had an idea on a set of policies for camping and residency of members. Clubhouse use was briefly discussed in conjunction with this and Steve points out we want members to come and stay and share the clubhouse as their home, which it is. It was pointed out that even that policy was tested to the breaking point in the past. Tabled awaiting a report from Jeff Nibler.


[At this point, Keith Atkins called in while driving to work, to join the meeting by teleconference.] Member (and Newsletter Editor) Keith Atkins joined the meeting, and was present for the discussions that followed.


Gift baskets for landowners:

Kathy, Steve and Dan will see that the baskets are delivered. Ollie and Jackie Gregory are putting those together again this year. There was discussion of using the opportunity to talk again with Mr. Castle about the future of his bailout LZ.


SW site:

Steve reported Jim Steele's communication about the bluff property being listed for sale on the internet. A number of members are searching for bluff property in the area and Jim was wondering if discussions could be started to determine the current status and value of the property. There were a lot of differing opinions and a couple of rumors which seemed contradictory, including that all the land had already sold. Kenny and Dan suggested going to the county records and working backward from there to the property listers to try and determine the actual status.


Pending membership issue:

Steve Lee was holding a completed application form and check from a lady who is a  non pilot, wanting to join to support the club and perhaps make a couple trips during the year to enjoy the sites. Dan Shell pointed out that we are a flying club not a camping club, and it was agreed to return the application with multiple personal invitations to come and join as guest at any time.


Land Trust donation:

Steve asked about paying the donation requested from the Land Trust organization. It was decided to consult Ricker about whether we have any past commitments not honored for that organization and to pay it soon.




T Shirts:

Steve had talked to the t-shirt guy in the valley and brought up the dwindling supply of t-shirts, and that people often ask to buy t-shirts. Kenny and Michael suggested we wait for a report and projection on finances before discussing expenditures.


Cloudbase Foundation and the Dunlap School Board:

Steve relayed the wealth of good will and good publicity generated by Keith Atkins, Jeff Nibler and Ricker for the donation and presentation of the Elmo Projectors and equipment to special need students in our Valley. The local papers, local news and widespread recognition in the hang gliding community. Several of us attended the school board meeting in Dunlap where the program was highlighted and the teachers recognized the Cloudbase Foundation, Jeff, Ricker and the TTT.


Steve reported on the latest and recent USHPA magazines where TTT and TTT members were highlighted and recognized.




Treasurer: Chairman Ricker Goldsborough was absent and absent a financial report, Steve read last month's report, and offered that TTT has never ended a year in better financial condition. As of October's report (through 3rd quarter), the club had over $8,580 in checking with all bills paid and $57,157 in the Whitwell LZ fund.


[Jonathan Cocker joins the meeting]


Steve reminded us Ricker had previously indicated to the board at the end of September he would not be able to serve as TTT Treasurer for 2011.  Michael and Kenny requested a more current financial report and Michael agreed to work with Ricker to obtain a November report, and work on a reporting format and specification to help the 2011 Treasurer and inform the process of end of year accounting and budgeting for 2011.


Bylaws: Chairman Dan Shell had no pending changes, and previous discussions regarding tandem student dues were tabled until the next meeting. Recent discussions regarding board size, quorums and suggestions for making a quorum easier to achieve were raised. The issue of telepresence for the purpose of meeting attendance was raised. The bylaws do not seem to rule out adopting teleconferencing, and the advantages, disadvantages, and possible unintended consequences were offered. A quorum not being present, no motions were entertained.


Newsletter: Keith Atkins spoke up from Michael's iPhone speaker to report that he will print everything that's fit to print (if he receives it in time) to produce an issue in December, if he doesn't receive it, he'll make stuff up. Much applause was tendered for Keith's previous issues and he asked that we put the call out and encourage all our members to keep sending in their excellent articles and photography.


Membership Committee: Jeff Nibler was absent and Buddy reported the member database indicated 141 current members. Dan Shell commended Jeff for the diligence and cooperation of Jeff as membership chairman. Buddy echoed, adding that Jeff is the most level headed and helpful Committee chair.


Website Committee: Buddy reported that the website was in good shape.


Special Committee on Whitwell paraglider launch: Chair Dean Funk presented a communique he received from the project representative detailing issues to work on and suggestions for safe coexistence. They are considering a site to the south of our launch.  Keith Skyles talks about the Castle's LZ and wonders if the Paraglider group might be able to work with us on that. Some other issues regarding Castle's and paragliding, and the LZ's land value led to a consensus that we would carefully study and respond to the many points outlined by the letter. Dean will move that process forward with a product for review at the December meeting. James Anderson suggests communicating with Rob McKenzie at Andy Jackson Airpark to learn what they have found over the years about coexisting with paraglider operations.


[Dustin Blewitt and Matt Spitalny (applying as members) joined the meeting, and were welcomed by all.]


Safety Committee: Chair Kathy Lee was absent and Steve brought her report, opening discussions regarding a couple of accidents this season. Although both pilots largely recovered there was a general sharing discussion of the details and speculations, and what action, if any, is open to apply the lessons learned in both incidents.


Other safety committee items included: a carabiner is missing from the safety box for the ramp tie downs, and will be replaced. We still need to replace the descent ladder for the area below launch, the windsock in the LZ (trees are hanging it up.)


A general discussion of the waiver/release and member "clearing" process reinforced the need for diligence in assuring that absolutely no one should set up for launch until they are either confirmed, or enrolled by a director. There have been suggestions, well received the meeting, that creating a video orientation covering process, and procedures for launching our sites. Dean offered to help work on this and Dan offered several suggestions.


IT Committee: Michael reported on the continuing health of our wireless internet connection, responded to questions regarding the cost to complete our clubhouse system with a "kiosk" style computer accessible to members in the clubhouse. The issue of nontrivial expenditures being on the table, this project to be listed with others awaiting a financial analysis and winter budget. We discussed the teleconferencing technology, and the benefit to the club of being able to increase attendance by the membership at our monthly meetings. Buddy and Michael will be working on the optimal hardware configuration to also enhance the clubhouse to better enable member services, meeting management, and the use of the clubhouse as classroom.


Competition Committee: Ollie Gregory was absent and received a round of thunderous applause for Team Challenge 2010 and other work by the committee this season.


Social Committee: Barry Klein reported on our Christmas party plans at Blue Orchid Bistro in Dunlap. He is putting a notice and request for rsvp in the ballot mailing to the membership and needs to report a number by December 3rd. The party will be December 11 for dinner. We're reserving the entire upper floor. If the members don't rsvp, they are welcome to come, but may have to order from the regular menu. The folks at Blue Bistro are really leaning over backward to give us a good deal.


Awards Committee: Chair Eric Donaldson not being present, the task of preparing awards to be presented at the Christmas party was remanded to the executive committee.


Following a call for additional business or questions for the board and officers, the meeting adjourned at 12:37 CST


Next directors meeting December 11, 2010 at 9am CST at the Henson clubhouse.


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