The big highpointer news this quarter came from Rhode Island and it was really good news.
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The big highpointer news this quarter came from Rhode Island and it was really good news.
For the past few years we have been running small deficits. We always thought that they were just the result of one-time costs and would be made up the next year.
It’s been a relatively quiet quarter for the Club.
It’s certainly been an interesting quarter, so let’s get to it.
A lot has happened since the last quarter which has dramatically changed the highpointing culture as we know it.
Roger Rowlett’s Chairman Message in Fourth Quarter newsletter.
While there seems to have been a lot of national news in the past quarter, it’s been perhaps the most quiet quarter highpoint wise during my four-years as Chairman.
Among the highlights of the quarter include:
I always have a theory that nobody reads any of the formal officer columns in the newsletter.
Most of us would rather hike than worry about board meetings.
But there are some big decisions that affect our hobby that we have to deal with collectively – including negotiating for access to privately owned highpoints and working out some sort of real world memorial to our leader and hobby. There are day to day decisions and budgets on a club with accounts in three states (Membership in Tennessee, the Merc in Oklahoma and the Newsletter in Colorado). We have to manage the quarterly news magazine and web site. And there’s always folks bringing initiatives.
So, I was delighted to see that we had a record number of nine contestants running for five Board of Directors positions this year. The election turned out to also be the closest in the Club’s history and the results were not finalized until the end of May. I want to thank Ken Akerman for his handling of the counting.
The returning incumbents are John Mitchler, Mary Maurer and myself. We want to welcome new board members Kevin Baker and Chuck Bickes. Kevin has a financial background and that will be very helpful as we replace the only treasurer the club ever had – George Vandersluis. George is stepping down from the position to provide an orderly transition for the new treasurer (before going out George spent umpteen hours putting together our application for 501-c-7 tax exempt status – which was approved this quarter).
Chuck Bickes of course has volunteered over the past few years to give up his holidays to host the Open Access dates on Jerimoth Hill. Chuck (along with Stony Burke) turned this difficult situation into a cause for celebration and mini conventions.
I want to thank the others who were very close in the running including – Rick Hartman (our eloquent Nevada advocate) , Robert Hyman (a board member who just this quarter did a great job of getting the ball rolling for formal recognition of the highpoint of Washington, DC), Jim Sutton (who gave us that memorable Jack Longacre song at the Illinois Convention) and Tonya Sykes (who has done a great job helping us choose between 501-c-3 or 501-c-7 for filing). This for me personally was the hardest ballot I ever had to deal with. I wish everybody could have been elected.
I also want to thank Gene Elliott who stepped down because of time conflicts. Gene and Lillian of course have done a spectacular job managing Maryland.
The board has elected officers:
Dave Covill stepped forward to avert a miniconsitutional crisis to add the job of Treasurer to his crowded Highpointing plate which already includes the newsletter co-editor position and Rhode Island advocate (the crisis was over a requirement that all officers have at least one year board requirement – Kevin Baker has indicated he would be interested in the job but he did not qualify this year because this is his first year).
Mary Maurer, a woman of many hats (many of which are described elsewhere in the newsletter), is back as Secretary.
The legendary Don Holmes has returned as President.
And I guess you’re stuck reading (or not reading) my Chairman Column for another year.
The stars are aligning for a spectacular convention this summer in Washington. If you are interested seeing why “hiking seemed easier before we got organized” you can attend our Board Meeting at 1 p.m., on Friday, July 23, at the Convention Headquarters at the Puyallup Fairgrounds.
[Published in Apex to Zenith #54 – Third Quarter 2001]
By: Roger Rowlett
It’s been an eventful quarter.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
It seemed that everything turned out to be eventful at the Convention.
The Convention started with near record heat which was broken by one of the infamous Appalachian summer downpours that caused flooding and cut off access to Backbone on one day. This in turn was followed by a record cold spell that brought record temps in the low 40s.
There’s kudos all around. Our hosts Gene and Lillian Elliott along with Joe and Mary Howard put on a great convention. Even though Jean Trousdale and Bill and Lee Strickland aren’t supposed to be hosting until next year in Oklahoma yet they manned the Gazebo for the entire week and were up serving breakfast to the gang. There’s a lot more but they are being thanked elsewhere in this publication.
This blowing hot and cold didn’t put a tamper on the tone for our annual Board of Directors Meeting. For the first time in history all 15 Board members attended the Convention. Talk about pressure, I really think these folks were wanting to keep close tabs on the new Chairman (that’s a joke, I think).
Or maybe it was because we really had a hot topic — Missouri has opened discussions about partnering with us on the Highpointers Museum.
Or maybe it is simply that we have a great Board of Directors.
In order to raise money for this the Club may form a separate “Foundation” in which contributions would be tax deductible for individuals as and corporations to give us grants “for highpointing good works.” That sounds like a great idea but the devil is in the details and Board spent nearly 2 1/2 hours on those details.
You’ll find a survey in this newsletter asking for your opinions about the Foundation direction and whether you’re willing to contribute. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT YOU FILL IT OUT. You can submit it anonymously. We will be making several decisions based on your response.
I want to especially thank Ken Hunt from Oklahoma who provided us pro bono law advice and drew up the initial documents for the Foundation so we could debate it. And there’s thanks to Dick Padrick from Washington who has been providing “behind the scenes” advise on the Foundation. And adding to the mix are Tonya Saykes from South Carolina and Alan Ritter from Missouri and Nancy Starnes of Illinois who if they hadn’t come forward to volunteer for the Foundation we probably we would have abandoned it for lack of interest. We have had so many that volunteers that I’m grateful that Nancy and Tonya have agreed to become Volunteer Coordinators to sort it all out.
Finally, thanks to Diane Winger who tried to make sense of the discussion to work up the first draft of the Survey.
Discussion about finances played an important role in the meeting. Treasurer George Vandersluis reports that since we raised the club dues to $15 we haven’t had to borrow from one fund to the next to pay our bills as we had in the past.
Even our General Membership meeting was eventful. I was sure glad that Don Holmes agreed to stay as Club emcee to tell lame jokes, not have supper while he announced the winners of all the lottery prizes. There’s something warm and fuzzy about Don doing this.
We had the highest ranking politico ever at a Convention as Maryland DNR Secretary Sarah J. Taylor-Rogers was on hand to graciously announce she summited Delaware and to announce that the State of Maryland has a verbal right of first refusal to buy the Backbone summit. Unfortunately, Ms. Taylor-Rogers resigned less than 2 weeks after the Convention in a dispute with the Maryland Governor over other matters. We are assured that the commitment to buying the Maryland summit is still firm. None-the-less the Highpointers Club was mentioned in the Baltimore Sun article announcing her departure as it cited her popularity and active involvement.
We had good and bad news with Paul Zumwalt. The good news is that we gave him the Club’s first Highpointers Cum Laude award. There’s an article about that later on. Paul announced his plans to step down from the Board when his term expires next year. He was also not accompanied by his wife Lila Zumwalt who is bed ridden in Illinois following a stroke. Paul incidentally was written up in a wonderful article in the Chicago Tribune.
Dave Covill and John Mitchler drew sighs from the crowd as they hugged after getting the Vin Hoeman Award. I don’t even know where to begin on the kudos for them. John and Dave basically run the Club on day to day basis in addition to their responsibilities with the newsletter. I have exchanged so many emails with them when I first started the role as Chairman that I’m amazed that they had time for their day job. We’ll talk more about them in the next issue.
Dave and Beckie Covill also received the Club’s first Frank Ashley Award for their efforts in hosting the Hawaii Convention as well as Dave’s efforts in Hawaii. Pete Anderson was also awarded the Ashley for his work in Rhode Island and in Indiana. Don Holmes proved he has computer and artistic talents I never realized — he designed the Frank Ashley Award as well the Highpointer Cum Laude award.
This year’s Convention generated the biggest buzz ever. The Baltimore Sun covered it. Maryland Public TV was on hand.
More than 100 messages have been posted on our Highpointers Forum on the Internet about the convention. There were lots of kudos for everybody.
But one of the hottest topics (literally) has been the move of the 2002 Convention at Black Mesa from July to Sept. 18-22. There will always be people who don’t like the Convention date whenever it is. Many folks don’t like Conventions in the South in the Summer (our traditional date is the third weekend in July). However, we had a surprise in that the only available spot for the convention close to Black Mesa was booked for the entire summer so the Jean Trousdale had to move the Convention date to Sept. 18-22.
This will probably pose a hardship for families with children. We have been delighted that so many families have been able to attend the Conventions, but unfortunately our hands are tied. There’s no conspiracies or attempts to be “anti-family.” Besides Oklahoma in September will be cooler and those who choose to go on to Wheeler Peak in New Mexico will find it’s the best time to visit.
Even our 2003 Convention did not come off without controversy. John Mitchler — just hours after becoming this year’s only 48 completer — made an impassioned plea for Charles Mound and handed out Galena brochures. His dad a former Illinois state senator was also on hand for moral support.
However, before even being told about it, Jean Wuebbels owner of the highpoint sent a message to us and to the Galena Chamber of Commerce saying that they were closing Charles Mound to “tourists” although not to legitimate highpointers who make arrangements with them to visit and to walk from the road to the summit.
Within a few hours both John and I had further discussions with the Wuebbels. They are very gracious people and have done everything they can to make Charles Mound a fun destination. They are excited about the Convention.
Our Club has changed in its handling of private property issues. We have a better sensitivity to it and are quick to resolve problems before they fester and become bigger issues.
Speaking of nipping a problem in the bud, then there’s the situation in Delaware.
William S. Schenck from the Delaware Geological Survey has confirmed what Paul Zumwalt said in his survey — that the actual highpoint is in a trailer park just west of the marker at Ebright and Ramblewood. As this has become widely known the trailer park has posted a “private property” sign. The Club Board has voted to accept the sign as an official visit to the highpoint.
We couldn’t avoid controversy on state-owned highpoints. At the beginning of the summer the Ameren Co., which provides electricity to St. Louis, announced plans to build America’s largest pumped storage power plant just west of Taum Sauk on Church Mountain. The plant with its 100 foot high dam on Taum Sauk Creek would have flooded Taum Sauk State Park and obliterated the trail between the Missouri summit and Johnson Shut Ins. Jakk Longacre did a spectacular job fighting this. After the Missouri Governor announced his opposition, Ameren backed down and says it will not pursue the project.
O.K. so much for controversy. Let’s hear some kudos for the Club itself. Did you know we have members in all 50 states? I’m not sure exactly when that demographic occurred but I’m told it’s never been formally announced. So now it is!
Also, for folks flying in on U.S. Air it was nice to see that we were featured in a cover issue on their inflight “Attache” magazine. The Chicago Tribune had nice things to say about Paul Zumwalt and there was a very nice AP article about the Sterlers in Iowa.
There’s a whole bunch more I’d like to tell you, but I better go.
Kudos to you all and thanks for your patience!
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