FY 2019-2020 Officers Named

SMD officer elections were held at the 19 May business meeting for the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year. The previous administration was unanimously reelected. The current officers are:

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)
Harvey Heyser III, clerk (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)
Raymond Price, Paymaster (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

May Business Meeting Announcement

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2019), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hey everyone,

Now that spring has sprung, I hope you’ve all been having a good one. I’m writing to invite you to our last membership meeting of the ’18-’19 year at Bill Wilson’s home this coming Sunday, May 19th. Doors open at 2PM to view the layout, with the business meeting and a clinic to promptly follow. Bill models an HO scale point-to-point B&O freelance set in the 1950’s, and Bob Geldmacher will be giving a clinic on scenery. For  Bill’s address, contact me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com.

In other news, the Division had another outstanding Mini-Con this past month, with the largest public turnout we’ve seen to date and an all-around great job representing the Division. Thank you.

Looking ahead, our most significant item of new business this meeting will be in regard to our annual officer’s election. While our current board of officers have all agreed to serve another term, and there have been no other nominations that we have been made aware of, the election process has broken down in a number of ways, and I would like to ask the Division’s input to help satisfactorily resolve the situation as we wrap up the year. I’ll have more info on this with my second meeting reminder this Friday.

Hope to see you all soon,

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent, SMD

Draft Meeting Minutes – March 9, 2019

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – March 9, 2019

There was no SMD meeting in February because of difficulties finding a host.

Division members met at Hobby Town USA in Frederick, MD, hosted by Richard Benjamin, proprietor.  25 or so were present.  After looking at the shop’s offerings and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

19.3-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $4032.75 in its bank account including a deposit from the MER.  In response to a question, the Paymaster indicated that the SMD receives $1 per year per member (in two payments).  For the most part, that revenue seems to cover Division expenses.  Other possible revenue sources include the Mini-Con and hosting Regional conventions.

19.3-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes (based on notes taken by Dave Sweeney in the Clerk’s absence and previously distributed by e-mail).  Dave Sweeney made the following motion (seconded by Andy Dodge):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the January 2019 meeting be approved as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously.

Those present agreed that the sense of the motion made at the January meeting was that a summary of draft minutes for approval will be sufficient (rather than reading).

Old Business:

18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:  Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Location: Blue Ridge Fire Company, Blue Ridge, PA.  Chair Pete Clarke (ebtmx5@aol.com) summarized arrangements to date and indicated arrangements were in good shape generally:

a. Registration and set up: Volunteers lined up.

b. Informal clinics:  Lined up.  Chair Clarke reviewed presenters and topics.

c. Hands-on clinics (make & take):  Lined up.  There will be a lot of preparation required.

d. Formal clinics (afternoon):  1) Philadelphia MER Convention Committee – brief convention announcement,  2) Jeff Grove – laser technology in modeling, 3) Ira Silverman, author of The Canadian, Last of the Great Streamliners, and 4) Alex Polimeni – model railroad operations as game design.  Superintendant Polimeni will bring the projector and screen.

e. Dealer and vendor tables:  1) Larry Nyce – railroadiana, 2) Grant Berry, 3) Jeff Grove – Carolina Craftsman Kits, 4) Mark Scheirer – Foggy Mountain Models – O scale craftsman kits, 5) Dave Sweeney, 6) Bob VanZant, and Michael Groves – Darwin fiber optic system of lights..  Vendors have agreed to make a $10 donation.  Chair Clarke requested notification of any specific vendor needs.

f. Modular layouts:  George Saar – dead rail layout and (Mr. Saar was unable to attend.)  Andy Van Slyke – F scale (large scale) live steamer on rollers.  Chair Clarke will coordinate proper safety measures.

g. Raffle – $150 gift certificate to Mainline Hobbies – $10 ticket price.

h. Door prizes – $50 gift certificate to Hobby Town USA, Frederick, an HOn3 MDC kit loco from Andy Dodge and a Classic Miniatures craftsman kit from Bob Johnson.

i. SMD brochure to hand out – not discussed.

j. Participation by other clubs and groups:  Hagerstown and Frederick Railroad Historic Society, the Four County Society of Model Engineers, and the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum at Antietam Station will be there.

k. Publicity – not discussed specifically.

l. Video record:  HO Scale Customs, who taped last year’s Mini-Con, will be present taping this year’s and requested some comments from informal clinic presenters (with permission only).

m. Manufacturer’s displays:  See item e. above.

n. White elephant table:  Those present discussed their desire for one and reviewed the effect on Mainline Hobbies..  Frank Benenati volunteered to set up a tally sheet, get change, and make other arrangements for the table.  The Division will accept donations rather than charge a set fee for items sold.

o. Food:  The Boy Scout group confirmed their participation after Chair Clarke managed to contact them.

p. Equipment needed form SMD members:  Chair Clarke requested extension cords and surge protectors, and coolers. (Coolers were not required because the Boy Scouts were confirmed for food.)

New Business:

19.3-3 Richard Benjamin, proprietor, welcomed everyone to Hobby Town USA of Frederick, MD.  Those present thanked him for making space available for the meeting.

19.3-4 E-mails to Members:  Superintendent Polimeni reported some difficulties reaching some addresses from the Division’s G-mail accounts.  To minimize chances of being confused with junk mail, it was suggested breaking up the membership list (reducing the number of addresses) and making multiple mailings.

19.3-5 Future hosts:  The officers met to discuss this issue.  A host for the May meeting has been found.

19.3-6 Nominations for the Election (May meeting):  Submit names to Scott Schill, Nominations Chair.

19.3-7 Andy Dodge thanked the SMD for the opportunity to participate in SMD activities and indicated he has transferred his membership to the Potomac Division, where he will be serving as Assistant Superintendent.

19.3-8 Winchester Club Layout:  Andy Arnold reported that CSX has accepted an offer from the battered women’s shelter to purchase the building the Club currently occupies.  The Club is fundraising to build a new building and layout (estimated funding needed – $60,000).  In the mean time they have to tear their existing layout down.  Documenting that task offers someone interested in AP author credits an opportunity to write about the process of tearing a layout down.

19.3-9 Talking about Our Hobby with Lay People:  There is a wide interest in learning about model railroading.  How do we communicate with the general public?  This was suggested as a round table topic for next year’s Mini-Con.

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the May SMD meeting and annual election will be communicated to the members.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, Dr. Michael Groves from Darwin Enterprises spoke on ‘A Revolutionary Way to Light Your Hobby” using low cost fiber optics rather than the complicated wiring required for numerous LEDs.

Draft Meeting Minutes – January 13, 2019

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – January 13, 2019

Division members met at Pete and Jane Clarke’s home.  10 or so were present because of impending weather.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

19.1-1 Paymaster’s Report:  As the Paymaster was not present (because of weather), the Superintendent presented the report (received by e-mail) with a balance of $4032.75.

19.1-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  As the Clerk was not present (because of weather), the Superintendent read the draft December minutes, which had been distributed by e-mail to the members.  Pete Clarke made the following motion (seconded by ?):

Motion:  That the draft minutes not be read at future meetings if they have been distributed by e-mail.  The motion passed unanimously.

Tom Fedor made the following motion (seconded by Pete Clarke):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the December 2018 meeting be approved as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously.

Former Clerk David Sweeney volunteered to take minutes in the present Clerk’s absence.

Old Business:

18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:  Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Location: Blue Ridge Fire Company, Blue Ridge, PA.  Chair Pete Clarke (ebtmx5@aol.com) summarized arrangements to date:

b. Informal clinics:  Approximately nine spaces are still available.  (One suggestion:  working on a model has gotten very positive response in the past.)

k. Publicity:  Use of e-mail addresses received at past Mini-Cons for publicizing the up-coming Mini-Con was discussed.  The proposed use of the list is for a short (3 sentence) notice of the upcoming Mini-Con and for a late summer notice of up-coming SMD activities to promote interest in NMRA (and SMD) membership.  The Superintendent has not yet assembled the list.

18.10-5 Web Site:  Tom Fedor reported he is not able to modify the current web site and, consequently, has been tasked with developing a new web site.  He requested direction for what the SMD wanted the new site to be.  What should be kept and what discarded?

He advocated for choosing the Word Press Blog, which is easy for him to edit and up-date.  It will keep the site more active.  He suggested keeping the old web site as an archive/link to the new site for old Wheel Reports, by-laws, and achievement program information.  The Superintendent concurred.

Consensus:  Tom Fedor should proceed with revising the web site on his own and should keep the Superintendent informed.  The membership does not need to be directly involved.

18.12-4 MER Convention Registrar:  A volunteer is still needed immediately.  Other MER volunteer positions are also open (per Bob Charles, Susquehanna Division Superintendent).

18.12-6 Contacting Mini-Con attendees:  See discussion in 18.10-4-k above.

New Business:

19.1-3 Hosts Pete and Jane Clarke welcomed everyone to their HOn3 East Broad Top Railroad.

19.1-4 Jack Fritz reported that the widow of the proprietor of Grand Dad’s Hobbies has old magazines, kits, and other model railroading materials she wishes to dispose of.  The members suggested forwarding information about auctioneers, including the one Andy Arnold has had good experiences with.

19.1-5 Meeting hosts:  The superintendent reported difficulty getting commitments to host future meetings.  He has been trying to arrange meetings at layouts the SMD has not been to recently (the last year or two).  He asked for ideas and suggestions, especially for the March and May meetings.  Members present encouraged Jack Fritz (also present) to volunteer.

19.1-6 Future Meeting agendas:  To make meetings more interesting, Andy Dodge has suggested the following to Jane Clarke:

– Show and tell sessions for both models and techniques,

– Themed meetings (for instance, everybody bring a caboose), and

– Discussion of the Achievement Program.

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the next SMD meeting will be communicated to the members.

Minutes taken by Former Clerk David Sweeney and compiled by Clerk Harvey Heyser

March SMD Meeting

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2019), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hey there,

I’m writing to invite you all to our March meeting at Hobbytown USA in Frederick, MD next Sunday, March 10th. You’re welcome to arrive before 2PM, with the business meeting to begin no later than 2:30pm. The address is…

454 Prospect Blvd, Frederick, MD 21701

The store has an example layout featuring N, HO, and O-scales. Furthermore, Richard Benjamin has also advised that the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Historical Society’s artifacts are on display at the Frederick library, which is open from 1-5. For more information, you can visit the library’s website here.

After the meeting adjourns, we’ll be joined by special guest speaker Michael Groves of Dwarvin Enterprise, who will be giving a presentation on “Lighting without Wiring.” You can find out more about it on his website, dwarvin.com.

In other news, if you haven’t already seen it, the Spring issue of the Wheel Report is available now! I’d like to give a shout out to our editor Tom Fedor and all the contributors that have made this winter’s Wheel Reports possible. Check it out here.

It’s the time of year for officer elections, and Scott Schill has generously volunteered to be Nominations Chair once again. If you would like to put yours or another Division members’ name in the hat for the positions of Superintendent, Clerk or Paymaster, please reach out to Scott at scottschill@comcast.net . The election itself will take place during our May meeting, and I’ve attached the relevant bylaws Article for ease of reference, as well.

Article XIII  Terms of Office, Nominations, and Elections

1. The Superintendent and Clerk-Paymaster will serve one-year terms.

2. No one may fill more than one elected position simultaneously except for brief transition periods.

3. In preparation for each year’s annual meeting and election, the Nominating Committee will solicit candidates, explaining the requirements of the position. In addition, any three members may nominate someone via a written notice to the Nominating Committee, with the permission of the nominee. Such nominations must be submitted to the Nominating Committee at least thirty days ahead of the election.

4. The names of the candidates for office will be communicated to the membership at least fifteen days before the election.

5. If contested, the election will be conducted by the Nominating Committee Chair at the annual meeting via secret ballot. Ballots will be counted and results announced before the close of the meeting. Positions will be filled by a simple plurality of votes.

6. Members elected will take office on July 1.

7. In case of a vacancy in an elected position (article VIII), a special election can be held at any Division meeting. Special elections must be held in accordance with the rules defined above.

Stay safe, stay warm, and I hope to see you all there!

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent

February SMD meeting canceled

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hello everyone,

I am sorry to inform you all that there will be no Division meeting for the month of February. I did not send an earlier notification as I was hoping to work something out, but c’est la vie! I’d like to thank those who have offered to open their homes to SMD but were not able to this month, and to repeat the offer that, if you’re interested but on the fence about hosting a meeting, let me know and we’ll do everything we can to help you get ready.

In other news, I want to give a shout out to Pete & Jane Clarke for their tireless efforts in organizing the SMD’s ever-popular Mini-Con in Blue Ridge Summit once again. If there’s anyone you’d like to see get into the hobby- friends, relatives, there’s always somebody!- now’s the time to nudge them to put April 13th on the calendar. Furthermore, the last edition of the Wheel Report is coming up fast, and Tom Fedor can always use quality content! Snap some picture with your phone and show us what you’ve been working on this winter.

Looking ahead, there are exciting developments in the works for South Mountain in the near future, so be sure to watch this space. In the meanwhile, take care out there, and I hope yo see you all next month!

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

December Business Meeting

Alex Polimeni, superintendent NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

I would like to invite everyone to our December meeting at Frank Benenati’s home this coming Sunday, December 9th. Doors open at 2PM for a tour of the layout, with the meeting to follow. If you missed our last meeting, you’ll find our clerk’s impeccably edited minutes attached below.

Afterward, Frank will be demonstrating how to use a Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines and adjust sound levels and other CVs. Frank says, “I’ve had good results with the exception of first generation WOW sound steam.  If anyone wants to bring an HO engine they want to “reprogrammed” we will use it as a demonstrator.  If you have the manufacturer’s decoder information bring it along as that will be of assistance.” Folks are more than welcome to stay and socialize, as well.

Frank models a Western Maryland themed railroad, which he started while living in Germany and is modular in design. His layout uses Digitrax DCC and features Campbell, Bar Mill, Foss and more in addition to scratch built structures. A Timetable, fast clock, and waybill routing to simulate operations, with first generation diesels providing motive power.

Frank’s home is the last house on the left at the end of his street.

Please email southmountaindiv@gmail.com if you need Frank’s street address.

The railroad is in the basement, so if any members would prefer to avoid the indoor flight of stairs, you may walk around the side of the carport, continue around the back of the house, and down the gentle slope to the basement door. There will be a couple of steps inside the door, however. All others are encouraged to use the basement stairs adjacent to the kitchen/carport door.

Furthermore, Frank cautions, “Just about every road into and out of Damascus has a speed camera cleverly located to generate revenue for Montgomery County.  Remember to keep an eye out for “safety corridor” and other warning signs.  Occasionally there are “doubles” placed to catch those who speed up after passing the first camera.”

In other news, I’d like to apologize for not getting this out sooner! I’ve been trying to send only two emails a month- an update and a reminder- a couple of weeks apart, but as it stands, please expect another reminder email this Saturday. This is also the first email from the Division’s new address, so I’m hoping this won’t get “lost in the mail”, so to speak.

I hope to see you all soon,

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent