MER Archivist Needed

Mid-Eastern Region

The position of MER archivist will become available effective April 1, 2019.

Responsibilities and benefits include:

  • Repository for legal records, meeting minutes, financial statements, newsletters, etc.
  • Annually scan documents and deliver cd to the MER Business Manager
  • No travel required
  • Region level Achievement Program credits toward Service to the Hobby – Volunteer certificate

For more details see the MER handbook.

Contact MER Director Jack Dziadul <jdziadul@mer-nmra.com> with any questions.

MER Seeks Directors

Mid-Eastern Region

THE MER NEEDS YOU!

Yes, you! If you are a member in good standing and want to support your region with good ideas and real involvement, we need you to volunteer to serve as one of the three Directors for the region. The MER Board of Directors meets 3 times per year, with one at the convention. The deadline for nomination is May 30, 2019 and term of office is two years, with a limit of two terms.

This year there are three Director slots up for election. Any MER member in good standing can nominate him/herself by contacting and supplying to any member of the nominating committee the required photo and a 200 word (max) statement outlining his/her interest and qualifications for the position by May 30. Additionally, candidates may supply a 500 word statement suitable for placement on the MER Web site. Nominees who meet criteria and the submission deadline with all of their required materials shall be placed on the ballot.

You can make a difference by giving something back to the hobby you thoroughly enjoy. This is your chance. Successful completion of three years in office fulfills most of the requirement for the Achievement Program “Association Official” certificate. Please respond in one e-mail to all three committee members to insure reception of your nomination!

NOMINATING COMMITTEE:

Deadlines and Schedules for 2019

Nominations and Balloting

Our by-laws require the publication of deadlines and schedules for nominations and balloting for every year to be published in the first issue of The Local of that same year. The dates schedule for nominations, ballot and election results are in Executive Handbook, Section 5, Policies, Article VI. The dates for 2019 are:

  • May 30, 2019 — Deadline for receipt of self-nominations sent to the Nominations Committee. Date for Nominations Committee to notify Board of Directors of slate of nominees validated by the Business Manager.
  • July 7, 2019 — You must be a member in good standing (paid up NMRA dues) based on the membership report supplied to the MER Business Manager from NMRA
  • National as of 07/07 (the 7th of July) of every election year to be eligible to vote. If an individual is not a member or if membership has expired as indicated by that record supplied to the MER, and the MER officials have not been informed by NMRA National of a valid renewal of membership by 07/07 (the 7th of July), such individual will not receive a ballot nor be permitted to vote in that year’s election.
  • August 1, 2019 — Deadline for mailing paper ballots to members and for commencing electronic voting; could be mailed earlier depending on other deadline requirements.
  • September 3, 2019 — Deadline for electronic voting, also last day as shown by postmark for mailing paper ballots.
  • September 7, 2019 — Deadline for receipt by Balloting Committee of paper ballots sent by mail.
  • September 14, 2019 — Deadline for Ballot Committee to transmit results to President, the Director overseeing this committee, and the Business Manager.
  • September 21, 2019 — Deadline for The President to communicate the election results to candidates. The Business Manager also notifies the MER Web Master and the NMRA of the election results.
  • October 10, 2019 — Deadline for publishing election results on MER-NMRA website

[Content duplicated from MER, January/February, The Local -Ed.]

2018 MER Convention Report

by Bob Morningstar

The NMRA Mid Eastern Region held their convention at the Rockville Hilton This past October. The following is a recap of my observations as an attendee.  More information on the convention can still be found at http://potomac-nmra.org/MER2018/Main/index.html.

My overall impression was that the convention was well planned and executed. A convention official indicated approximately 200 were in attendance.

I stayed at the convention hotel Thursday and Friday because clinics were scheduled up until 10:00 PM each evening. This was a very nice, typical Hilton property, and the convention chairmen are to be commended for negotiating very favorable pricing. Room rates were almost ½ of what was available on expedia.com for the same location. There was ample free parking on site. The convention center was also accessible via the Twinbrook metro.

The only negative aspect of convention was that layouts on the tour were too far away or conflicted with evening clinics that I wanted to attend.   Some of these layouts were 1-2 hours away (one way travel). I found it hard to believe there were no closer layouts to view.

Many of the clinics were informative and well presented, yet some, while acceptable, were not convention caliber.

SMD member Jay Beckham gave a fine clinic on C/MRI. I learned a lot and now wish I had looked closer at it before I went with a Loconet solution on my layout’s signaling system.

I did spend an extra $5 and attended a 2 ½ hour 3D printing clinic. We were required to bring our laptops for hands on labs.   Using the  SketchUP program we designed and printed a B&O mile post. This clinic was well worth the time and I learned a lot of techniques on how to better use SketchUP.   I intend on taking the 3D design from the convention and printing it on my 3D printer at home.

The contest room had many models, including two that I submitted. I earned 3rd place in “On Line Structures.” I pried my scratch built WM yard light tower off the layout and placed on a piece of pink foam board with some ground cover to give it a finished look. This was my first NMRA competition and I learned quite a bit from the judges score sheets. The comments were helpful to understand their scores. I had no qualms with their ratings.

Bob Morningstar’s Western Maryland (WM) yard light tower is a scratch built rendition of the wooden WM light towers that were located near the yardmasters office at the east end of the Hagerstown (MD) yard.
It is constructed of Northeastern and Mt Albert scale lumber and Grandt Lines nut-bolt-washer castings. The searchlights at the top are non-functional and are made of Plastruct tubing with Canopy Glue lenses. The electrical cabinet at the base is a resin casting made from a latex mold. The master for the mold was constructed out of a block of wood and detailed with hinges and door handle. The timbers were individually stained with a diluted mixture of india ink and iso-propyl alcohol.
Build time was approximately 17 hours.
The scratch build model took third place in the Mid-Eastern Region, NMRA, 2018 convention model contest. (Tom Fedor)

My take away is that they look for contest quality models.  Mine were detailed for a level that I find acceptable for use on the layout but did not meet the grade to take 1st place. If a entry doesn’t have the same level of detail as a Tangent Scale Model, you will not be competitive. My light tower lost marks because I didn’t have the nut-bolt-washer details installed on one side of the tower.  This was a build decision I made, not wanting to super detail a side of the structure a viewer would never see when on the layout. My other entry was a Athearn “blue box” gondola that I had repainted and decaled for the Penn Central.   I got high marks for the paint and decals, but got dinged hard for lack of underbody detail and leaving molded-on ladders in place.

The Prince William Model Railroad Club had their module layout up and running with some really long trains.   They also had the John Allen Timesaver switching layout setup. At first my son, Nicholas and I were able to complete the switching puzzle in 42 moves (the host said the best you can do is 29 moves).  It took us 3 attempts to get it down to 32 moves but was an enjoyable hour spent with Nicholas.

Overall, it was a positive experience which both my son and I enjoyed together. We met many interesting people and the convention was worth the time and investment.