DRAFT -- Western Region Business Minutes -- DRAFT
Note: This draft is presented to the membership for review, and will be posted on the web site as a draft. Comments and corrections will be appended but not integrated, and will be discussed at the next business meeting, presumably in September 2003. A revised set of minutes will be posted after the minutes have been accepted. Send comments and corrections to the Western Region discussion list firstname.lastname@example.org, or to the Secretary Treasurer, Peri Frantz email@example.com.
Western Region of the NSS
Western Region Chair, Lynn Fielding called the meeting to order at 3:06. Vice Chair, Larry O'Brien and Secretary-Treasurer Peri Frantz were also present.
A grotto roll call was conducted, a quorum was established and the number of votes allocated to each grotto was determined, based on Congress of Grottos representation as provided by the NSS. 9 out of 10 grottos were present, with a total of 24 votes. Regional officers were present with a total of 3 votes, bringing the vote total to 27, with 14 votes being required for a simple majority.
Minutes: SFBC moved to accept the minutes of the 9/15/2001 business meeting, held at the Berkeley Tuolumne Camp, as printed in the California Caver Number 221, pages 9-13. The motion passed unanimously.
Treasurer's Report: Peri summarized the Financial Statements for FY 2002 (September 2001-August 2002) from the following chart. The detailed statements will be printed in the California Caver.
Peri presented an Interim Report covering activity from 9/01/02 to 10/15/02. The heavy drain on the General Account was primarily due to expenses incurred in publishing California Cavers #223 ($773.06) & 224 ($702.12).
Peri reported that the Western Region lost $2777.27 in FY 2000/2001, and $2072.71 in FY 2001/2002, due primarily to the cost of publishing the California Caver. She then presented a series of reports concerning the publication history the California Caver, and the associated costs. A copy of these reports was given to a representative from each Grotto. These reports are also included as an attachment to these minutes. The highlights of this presentation are:
Jim Lakner stated that we are currently sending out slightly over 200 issues of the California Caver to paid subscribers, and an additional 37 free issues, as required by the NSS and for exchange publications. The financial statements and the California Caver reports were accepted as stated.
NSS Awards Committee Report: Gale Beach gave her annual presentation concerning the importance of nominating people for awards, and provided guidelines for writing good nominations. As usual the deadline for nominations is November 15. This is an especially good year to nominate Californians, since the awards will be announced at the NSS Convention in Porterville, California.
Western Cave Conservancy: Marianne Russo reported on the establishment of the Western Cave Conservancy, for the purpose of protecting cave properties in the west. Her report is attached. The conservancy will be holding a public meeting in January, and will hold a coming out party at the convention.
Lava Beds Research Center: Peri reported that the Lava Beds Research Center Capital Campaign reached its goal of $200,000. Plans for the center have been approved by the National Park Service, and are being submitted to the county for a building permit. The campaign expects to break ground before winter sets in.
Western Regional Grant Fund: Barbara Maeso Ruble reported, in abstensia, that no grants requests were received in the past year.
Western Region of the NCRC: Mark Bowers, Regional Coordinator for the Western Region of the NCRC reported on his activities over the past year. In summary, the NCRC exists to promote cave rescue training in accordance with a national standard, and to provide insurance for training. Mark's detailed report is attached.
Western Region Training Committee: Marianne Russo presented a report on the history of the Western Region Training Committee. Her report is attached.
Mailing Labels for Cave Conservancies
Southern California moved that "the editor of the California Caver may send out material for the Western Cave Conservancy and bill the Conservancy for cost of mailing." Mother Lode seconded.
Discussion on this motion centered around making it possible for the Conservancy to use the Region's address lists and mailing permit. There were also concerns about the propriety of using the address list in this manner.
Mother Lode moved to amend the motion to read "the editor of the California Caver may send out material for any cave conservancy and bill the conservancy for cost of mailing." SFBC Seconded. The question was called on the amendment, and the amendment was withdrawn.
SFBC moved to amend the motion to read "the editor of the California Caver may send out material for the Western Cave Conservancy and the Cave Conservancy of Hawaii and bill the conservancies for cost of mailing."
After further discussion, Mother Lode withdrew their second on the original motion when it was pointed out that the Western Cave Conservancy is only in the formative stage, and does not yet have official status. Southern California then withdrew the motion altogether.
SFBC moved that "the Western Region be able to provide mailing labels to any organization that it feels will further the goals of the Western Region." The motion died for lack of a second.
Western Region Training Committee
Both the Southern California Grotto and SFBC had submitted motions concerning the proposed dissolution of the WRTC and the distribution of its assets. Southern California moved to" limit on debate to 5 minutes per voting entity on each of the proposed motions." Stanislaus seconded.
The motion passed.
The Southern California Grotto moved that "all of the Western Region Training Committee equipment be immediately donated to the Western Region of the National Cave Rescue Commission with the stipulation that it remain in the Western Region of the NCRC. Any equipment not accepted by the WR_NCRC Coordinator will be auctioned off at the next NSS Western Region meeting." Mother Lode seconded.
The motion passed.
A second Southern California motion concerning the distribution of WRTC assets was withdrawn.
The Southern California Grotto moved that "all current WRTC funds and any funds gained by the sale of WRTC equipment be used to sponsor low-cost National Cave Rescue Commission cave rescue training sessions within the Western Region of the NSS during the next 36 months."
The motion passed.
A second Southern California motion concerning the distribution of WRTC funds was withdrawn.
The Southern California Grotto moved that "the Western Region Training Committee is immediately dissolved."
The motion passed unanimously.
Because the above three motions had effectively resolved the issues surrounding the WRTC, three alternative motions proposed by the SFBC were not considered.
The Southern California Grotto nominated Lynn Fielding for Chair of the Western Region. No other nominations were made, and Lynn was elected by acclimation.
The Stanislaus Speleological Society nominated Larry O'Brien for Vice-Chair of the Western Region. No other nominations were made, and Larry was elected by acclimation
No nominations were received for Secretary-Treasurer. Peri reiterated her intention to step down after 10 years, but agreed to continue to serve until a replacement can be found.
The Stanislaus Speleological Society moved that "within the next 30 days the 2 elected officers will solicit by snail mail nominations for secretary-treasurer from each voting entity, and give them a month to respond. The 2 officers will then conduct a mail ballot to be completed by Feb. 1, 2003. The status of the election and all nominations will be posted in a timely fashion on the mailing list, and a best effort will be made to post the same on the web. Peri will continue to serve as secretary-treasurer in the interim." SFBC Seconded.
The motion passed unanimously.
A wide-ranging discussion on the budget crisis followed. Suggestions included capping the publication budget, going to electronic distribution, reducing the publication to 1 or 2 issues per year, and the need to maintain hard copy publication.
SFBC moved that "the Western Region will make the California Caver available in electronic format to all members of the Western Region, regardless subscription status." Mother Lode seconded.
Southern California moved to substitute that "the California Caver be made available electronically to all NSS members in the Western Region." Shasta Area Grotto seconded. Vote on the Motion to substitute.
The motion is substituted. Vote on the motion as substituted
The motion, as substituted, passes.
The discussion on this issue recognized that it could not be implemented immediately. The Western Region officers would therefore be responsible for planning and implementation, and should experiment with electronic delivery to be evaluated at next year's annual business meeting.
Peri Frantz moved that "Western Region dues are hereby raised to $10/year." Shasta Area Grotto seconded.
The motion passed.
Peri Frantz moved a big round of thanks to the Desert Dogs Troglodytes for putting on an excellent Regional. The motion passed by acclamation, with loud cheers
The meeting was adjourned, at 5:20 PM.
WESTERN CAVE CONSERVANCY IS A REALITY!
Over this last summer, as a result of some hard work by Martin Haye and Dan Snyder, the Western Cave Conservancy has become a reality. During the months between the fall of 2001 and this last June, Martin and Dan laid the groundwork for the formation of the Conservancy. They contacted potential board members and researched the steps necessary for the formation of a non-profit corporation with the necessary tax exemption (501(C)(3) status) so that donations can be deducted by donors. They also prepared an initial draft of By-laws and Articles of Incorporation and began researching the numerous other issues, which will need to be addressed before caves can be purchased.
In June an incorporation-planning meeting was held at Rolf Aalbu's home with Martin, Dan, Rolf and myself in attendance. We covered a number of issues on that day. One of the major decisions made was regarding the name. While our efforts to acquire and protect caves will primarily focus on California properties, we did not want to be limited to only this state. If, at some time in the future, caves in other western states such as Oregon, Washington, or Nevada and Arizona emerge as desirable acquisitions, we wanted this to be a natural extension to our primary area. Thus we chose an inclusive name, the Western Cave Conservancy, which could accommodate future growth. We also named the board of directors, which includes five individuals at this time: Rolf Aalbu, Joel Despain, Martin Haye, Jerald Johnson and Marianne Russo. The attendees carefully reviewed the draft Articles of Incorporation and By-laws, making necessary corrections and revisions and addressed a number of other essential businesses items.
On Sept. 7th, 2002, we had our second planning meeting. All of the above board members were present as well as our secretary, Dan Snyder. We met at the Ash Mt. facility in Sequoia National Park. Joel Despain, who is the Park Cave Specialist, hosted this meeting. Officers were elected at this meeting. Russo is President, Aalbu is Vice-President, Haye is Treasurer and Snyder is Secretary. Martin and Dan announced that our Articles of Incorporation had been accepted by the Secretary of State and we were now a California non-profit corporation. We continued our planning process, setting tasks and goals to accomplish over the next few months. Martin will be opening a bank account and completing the process of application for 501(C)(3) status while we authorized Dan to begin to collect necessary literature on running a conservancy and obtaining liability insurance. Of special importance was our discussion of fund raising for our initial administrative and publicity needs along with the development of ideas for informing the caving community about us. Initially we will be communicating to the national and regional communities through announcements in the NSS News and the California Caver and through a brief presentation at the upcoming Regional Meeting near 29 Palms.
Next January, the Board of Directors will hold our first annual public meeting. Planning for our Coming Out Event at the 2003 National Convention at Porterville and for our first acquisition(s) will be the most significant items on our agenda. Hopefully sometime next year we will be in the process of our first cave or conservation easement purchase. Through the wonderful generosity of Martin, who last year donated $70,000.00 to the NSS for the purpose of cave conservation purchases on the Pacific Coast, we should be able to access this fund for our initial project(s). Of course, long term fund raising for future purchases and ongoing maintenance costs will then take center stage.
If you have any questions about the Western Cave Conservancy,
ideas about possible acquisitions or fund raising, or would like to become
involved please don't hesitate to contact either another board member, or
myself. In a few months we will be developing various committees to work on
specific jobs to support the conservancy such as fund raising, researching
properties and publicity. We will need all kinds of help and people of various
abilities and interests to accomplish these tasks and make the conservancy the
success it deserves to be.
The purpose of the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC) is to promote training to national standards and provide a venue for doing this training under a national liability insurance policy as well as help with pre-planning for future cave rescues and coordination of area cave rescue resources. The NCRC is subdivided into 12 regions of which California, Nevada, and Hawaii are part of the Western Region. The main functions of the regions and regional coordinators are summarized in the job descriptions for the regional coordinators:
A. National Cave Rescue Commission Regional Coordinators shall be responsible for the following activities within their designated geographic area.
A.1.) Conduct or facilitate cave rescue training, tailored to regional needs, for cavers, EMS personnel, and other interested individuals and organizations. Identify, train, and utilize regional instructors as necessary to ensure training is of high quality and sufficient frequency. Emphasize development of expertise in cave rescue techniques that address regional topography and logistical difficulties.
A.2.) Develop and maintain lists of individuals trained in cave rescue. Include sufficient detail to facilitate their use by rescue organizations in the event of a cave rescue incident. Make lists available to agencies and/or organizations with jurisdiction for cave rescue.
A.3.) Promote NCRC activities using a variety of techniques as appropriate and feasible. These may include maintenance of regional Web sites, attendance at NSS Grotto meetings and caving events, presentations before community groups, publications, advertisements, etc.
A.4.) Maintain an active professional liaison with agencies and organizations responsible for cave rescue and facilitate their access to NCRC training, resource lists, and information.
A.5.) Maintain, where feasible, an equipment cache and inventory for use in training in support of rescue activities.
A.6.) Secure sufficient funding, through course fees, donations, grants, etc., to offset costs of training and resource tracking. Follow NSS procedures for account management and reporting.
Let me expand on a few of the above responsibilities of the regional coordinator (and thus also the region). First, the training. It is my responsibility to assure that training is available to people all over the region. Although Oregon is not part of the Western region NCRC, has been supported in the past, and will continue to be supported by the Western region personnel and equipment (if necessary). John Punches, the National coordinator lives in Southern Oregon and has provided several trainings in Southern Oregon, Northern California, and Washington. He has his own equipment, but not a lot of personnel. Thus we have, and I have personally, helped with some of his trainings. Hawaii and Nevada are not represented in the Western region NSS, but as part of the Western Region NCRC are thus supported by this region's trainings. I personally think it is appropriate for us to assist or conduct training in these states because 1. It is the right thing to do, and 2. California cavers frequently visit these regions and might be the recipient of rescue operations. So how do you get to participate in a training, request to have one in your area, have your local organization host one, or request that the NCRC put on a class in your area? Just drop me a note. Anyone may take a class as long as it is not already full. Anyone may request to host a class or to have one in your area. There are a few insurance and safety policies that must be abided by in order for a class to proceed, such as an NCRC certified lead instructor, a NCRC course coordinator, insurance and equipment fees, and a proper location. A course that is near in time and location to another course already planned will probably be asked to pick another date. Courses in the past have been hosted by the WRTC, SFBC, Great Basin National Park, Sequoia NP, San Bernardino search and rescue, Lava Beds, as well as others.
The second point that I want to expand upon is equipment: Equipment donated to the WR-NCRC will be used for rescue training in the WR-NCRC (again that is CA, NV, HI) as well as other neighboring states when needed as long as it does not interfere with training already planned in the region. Any proceeds donated to the WR-NCRC would be used to reduce the fees charged for future regional courses.
And one last statement about the WR-NCRC: We can always use help. We are looking for people that wish to help out as treasurer, secretary, and a multitude of other positions. There will be a meeting in January 11, 2003 at 1:00 pm at my house that everyone is invited to attend. If you would like to help out, please come on by. See me or send me an email for directions.
ADDRESS TO WESTERN REGION BUSINESS MEETING 2002 WESTERN REGIONAL
(Introduction:) As a long-standing member of the WRTC, I have been asked by our Chair, Ray Beach, to address this meeting. As you may be aware, the committee decided earlier this year to request the dissolution of the committee by the Western Region. In addition, the committee has prepared recommendations for the disposition of the WRTC gear cache and accumulated funds. Motions will be brought before you later this afternoon regarding these issues. In preparation for that we wanted to provide you with an overview of the history of the WRTC, what our goals were and how we met them, and the rationale for our recommendations and request for dissolution.
(Brief History:) In the early 1990's a group of concerned California Cavers met at Sequoia National Park at a meeting hosted by Joel Despain. At that time the NCRC Western Regional Coordinator was focused entirely on working with agency rescue units, such as local Sheriff's departments. It was not believed that training organized cavers would be beneficial since it was very doubtful that any legally responsible agency would actually accept their help in an emergency response. The cavers at this meeting agreed that there were other legitimate perspectives as well. Essentially we felt that rescue trained cavers would not only be better, safer, cavers but would also be able to perform self rescues or at least to stabilize an injured caver while waiting for official rescue personnel.
It was time for a change. Additional meetings were scheduled to figure out a way to bring cave rescue training to cavers. A small core of this initial group found the time and energy to continue this work over a number of years and became known as the WRTC. The group received formal recognition by the Western Region as an official committee at the 1996 Regional Meeting. This status allowed the funds generated by activities of the committee to be maintained through the Western Region bank accounts. The accounting for these funds however was always kept completely separate from other Region business.
We were fortunate that the new Regional Coordinator, Bill Maher, was very willing to work with us. As a result of the efforts of the WRTC, along with Bill's valuable assistance, there have been two weeklong seminars, one in 1996 at Sequoia, and another in 1999 at Lava Beds. In 2001 we hosted a weekend OCR at New Melones and earlier this year we assisted the WR-NCRC and the Park Service with an OCR at Great Basin National Park. This assistance was in the form of gear and personnel. We also are lucky to have had a concurrent effort to bring NCRC training to the southern desert region by the San Bernardino County Search and Rescue Team which has a cave rescue unit and is sponsoring regular modular versions of the NCRC seminar. On several occasions member of the WRTC have directly supported the efforts of this organization by acting as support staff and resource specialists. After Bill Maher's term was over we were fortunate that Mark Bowers was selected as the next Regional Coordinator. He has been working closely with the caving community and is actively promoting cave rescue training.
(Goals:) While the principal goal of the WRTC was to establish readily accessible cave rescue training to cavers of the Western Region other goals developed out of acquired education, shared information and experience. We realized early on that in order to provide regular training it would be necessary to establish an equipment cache and be able to maintain it. NCRC training is the gold standard for formal cave rescue and in order to make this readily available we needed to have both a Regional Coordinator willing to work with us and to encourage Western Region cavers to become NCRC instructors. Becoming an instructor is a huge commitment of time and requires a great deal of dedication from anyone willing to do it. In addition to it's fine training standards and excellent instructors, the NCRC also provides liability insurance. This not only protects the instructors and the hosting organization, but it is often a requirement of any classroom or field exercise venue. Although we didn't give this concern much thought in the earlier years we realized after the 1996 and 1999 seminars that insurance had to be a serious consideration. The NCRC organization can, if properly supported by the local caving community, provide the best resource for cave rescue training. Through our support of the growing WR-NCRC program we realized that this organization was capable of meeting our goals and therefore the need for a separate organization like the WRTC was becoming unnecessary.
(Recommendations:) In addition to our request for dissolution the committee has recommendations for the disposal of our training equipment and the remainder of our monetary assets. As stated in the memo of June 12, 2002, prepared by Bill Frantz, Secretary of the WRTC, the WRTC recommends that both the equipment and the monetary assets be donated to the WR-NCRC. The equipment was accumulated as a result of donations or purchased with funds designated for cave rescue training. The monetary assets that remain originated either as monies earned from rescue seminars sponsored by the WRTC, as donations or as proceeds from fundraisers to support cave rescue training in the Western Region.
The NCRC is a highly organized division of the NSS dedicated to cave rescue training. The dedicated purpose of the WR-NCRC is to provide cave rescue training in the Western Region. The WRTC has worked closely with the WR-NCRC and it's current Regional Coordinator, Mark Bowers, as well as the previous Coordinator, Bill Maher. By working with this organization and their Western Region representative, cave rescue classes will benefit from their excellent curriculum, highly trained instructors and their liability insurance coverage. We have full confidence that Mark and the WR-NCRC can do the best job of fulfilling our long-term goals for cave rescue education in the Western Region. Our equipment and monetary assets are essential for the WR-NCRC to continue the momentum we have worked so hard to create.
(Conclusion:) The fact that the committee has come to the conclusion that it has successfully met our initial goals does not mean that the job is done. While cave rescue training is now available on a fairly regular basis at various locales around the state and cave rescue issues and information have achieved wide spread exposure through the caving community, this will need constant support to continue on into the future. On going outreach and education will be needed to encourage cavers and rescue personnel to desire this training and to encourage motivated individuals to become instructors. Fund raising to replace equipment caches and to facilitate the administration of these programs must be ongoing, as will be the planning and organization of future weeklong seminars as well as weekend OCR's. The members of the WRTC believe that the best way to do this is through direct support of the NCRC Western Regional Coordinator. I don't think any of us have lost our interest in and commitment to cave rescue and many of us will continue to work with the NCRC and its Regional Coordinator. It would be great to see some new faces and get some fresh enthusiasm and ideas. I encourage anyone who is interested to join Mark in January at his house for the NCRC West meeting or communicate directly with him.
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