Minutes of the High Plains AMS/NWA Chapter Meeting

October 27, 2011

Call to order.  Members of the High Plains Chapter AMS/NWA met at the Town and Country Kitchen in Norton, KS.  The meeting was called to order at 12:00 pm.  The following is a summary of a long, but important business meeting among the 14 members in attendance.  The meeting was adjourned at around 1:05 pm.

Treasurer’s report.  The treasurer reported a checkbook balance of $4535.24 with the Jim Johnson Scholarship balance at $2415...leaving an ending balance of $6950.24.  $500 was paid out for the Jim Johnson Scholarship, but a private donation in the same amount brought the Jim Johnson scholarship back up.  The President & Treasurer will sign a check to reimburse Tim Burke travel to the National NWA Conference to accept the chapter award (more about this in New Business).  Membership donations helped a lot in Tim’s travel expense.  Wichita did not request any money for conference losses incurred. (They lost about $750, due to unanticipated taxes, etc. from the host hotel).

Old Business.  Minutes were handed out to those that did not read them in advance.  No corrections/additions/etcwere noted concerning the previous meeting minutes and were accepted as posted.

Update on tax exempt status
Form 1023 first draft is done… and Mike Umscheid will be meeting with Jim Johnson (who has much experience in this area) to go over the form and additions/corrections/etc. before submission to the IRS along with the submission fee.  Shooting for December to get it submitted to the IRS.

Wichita Conference 2011
Wichita Chapter had around $750 loss due to unforeseen taxes from the host hotel.  Overall, the conference went well with many good speakers and a decent turnout.  A question was raised whether to keep Wichita in the loop for the Conference rotation.  Will need to keep in contact with Wichita chapter.  Chris Foltz (President) noted that he would contact their chapter president at some point to see if they want to stay in the rotation.  There were ZERO student presentations, which was a disappointment.

Several great sidebar topics related to the High Plains Conference, in general, took place:
* A discussion was started about how we can potentially tackle the problem of lack of student presentations. (i.e. focus more on the local colleges and cast a wider net including allowing other physical science students… increase financial incentive/scholarship?)
* A suggestion was brought up, as a goodwill gesture to help the Wichita chapter, to help offset the $750 loss incurred by the Wichita Chapter (up to half of the total amount lost... $350-400).  A motion was made to offer $400, as a goodwill gesture, to the Wichita Chapter to help offset the conference deficit.  Motion was accepted.
* The discussion then turned more to what do we want the “High Plains Conference” to become… noted by the lack of High Plains topics in not only the Wichita Conference but a growing trend over the past couple of years.  Do we want to get away from our grassroots High Plains emphasis?  There was some excellent discussion from chapter members about this and the viability of the conference given increasing budget obstacles in our current fiscal environment.  Given such potential budget issues, financial aid from Central Region NWS may stop in future conferences.
* The decreasing number of talks from the 4 offices that make up the chapter are a concern, and some discussion was brought up on how to increase the numbers of meteorological talks from operational mets out of the 4 offices (GLD, DDC, GID, LBF).  The non-threatening, easy-going, relaxed “vibe” of the conference seems to be going away which may be deterring a lot of the first-time speakers or those more comfortable in the less intimidating speaking environment.

Hastings Conference 2012 planning
Dates selected for the next conference are August 8-10, 2012, which is Wednesday-Friday… to be held at the Wilson Center (Hastings College).  First organizational meeting was already held, with two committees started for planning, etc.  Want to go back to the focus of original High Plains Conferences… try to get as many high plains speakers as possible.

New Business. 

NWA Chapter of the Year!
Our chapter was selected for the National Weather Association “Chapter of the Year” Award for 2011 – 3rd time in 8 years (2003, 2008, 2011)!  Tim Burke, chapter Secretary, accepted the award in person on the chapter’s behalf… thanks to several financial contributions from chapter members.  Many thanks go out to those who donated money to help send Tim down to Birmingham!  Tim’s expenses were $765 (hotel and air travel expense), and the chapter will only have to pay out $165 thanks to the numerous benefactors of our chapter.  The plaque was presented to the members by Mike Umscheid (on Tim’s behalf since he couldn’t make the meeting)… and the plaque will reside at the Goodland WFO (current President, Chris Foltz).

Firm dates for future meetings
It was suggested a few meetings back to create hard dates for the following year’s meetings in hopes to spur additional interest from offices and also to make it easier to lock down a meeting speaker.  The President suggested the 2nd Wednesdays of January, March, and October, with the 4th face-to-face meeting being at the conference in August.  So, for 2012, this would mean January 11th, March 14th, October 10th (and also the August meeting at the conference).  Please add these dates to your planning schedules.  June 13th and December 12th for conference calls (these dates would be face-to-face backups if there are weather issues).  It was suggested to add these dates to both the chapter webpage and also on the chapter Facebook page as a reminder to members.  Later in the meeting, it was suggested that we incorporate a speaker via Go2Meeting for the two teleconferences.

Announcement for 2012 officers
Online voting is going to be the method of voting (using a survey like website such as Survey Monkey).  The current Vice President (Al Pietrycha, GLD) will not be running in 2012.  If anyone is interested (or you know of anyone interested in running) in any of the positions, please submit your nomination to the chapter either through e-mail or at the next meeting in December.  The President will send an announcement before Thanksgiving seeking office nominations.  The next conference call meeting in December will hopefully have 2012 officers selected so that they can assume their role beginning the first face-to-face meeting in January.

A sidebar discussion was started concerning whether the chapter checking account should be at a bank that is better suited for interstate banking to make it easier for new treasurers (like one of the more popular national branches.. i.e. Bank of the West).  This may be a good idea, but best after we get the tax exempt stuff all done with. We will give it a try to do long-distance banking at the current bank in Nebraska should a High Plains member from one of the Kansas offices is elected Treasurer.

Jim Johnson Scholarship 2012
Start thinking ahead about participating for the Jim Johnson Scholarship committee.  The chapter needs one member on the committee representing each WFO (GLD, DDC, GID, LBF).  If previous year’s committee members wish not to stay on the committee for 2012, please try to seek a replacement (this is not a voted on position) by the next meeting in December.

Chris Foltz, President
Mike Umscheid for Tim Burke, Secretary