Letter from the President - November 2021

It’s November, which means several things for us here at the Houston Astronomical Society.  First, we shift to Standard time on Sunday, November 7, and as we “fall back,” it will get darker much earlier than it does during Daylight Savings time.  This allows us to start observing earlier than we can in the summer.  After November 7, we will shift the light windows at our dark site to 10:00 PM and 12:00 AM due to the earlier period of darkness.

But November is also when our club holds its elections for officers and other leaders.  As an all-volunteer club, we depend on the time and talents of our members to make the Houston Astronomical Society not only chug along, but to thrive.  And it’s my great pleasure to introduce the list of nominees for leadership positions in 2022:

Position                                  Nominee        

President                                 Joe Khalaf       

Vice President                         Stephen Jones

Secretary                                 Rob Morehead           

Treasurer                                Bonnie Neuren           

Audit                                       Bill Flanagan   

Education & Outreach             Jim King          

Field Trip & Observing             Rene Gedaly   

Membership                           Doug McCormick/Martiel Luther      

Novice                                     Debbie Moran

Observatory                            Chris Ober      

Program                                  Don Selle        

Publicity                                  Bram Weisman          

Telescope                                Allen Wilkerson         

Director-at-Large                    Allen Wilkerson         

Director-at-Large                    Mark Ferraz   

Director-at-Large                    Doug McCormick       

Director-at-Large                    Don Selle        

Director-at-Large                    Kay McCallum

Director-at-Large                    Walt Cooney  

As you can see, many of our leaders have agreed to return, should they be elected, but we do have others stepping in to help lead the club next year.  This combination of continuity and new contributors should serve us well in 2022.  During our November meeting, we will present this slate of candidates and take other nominations from the floor.  We’ll then vote to elect our leaders for next year.

I’d like to thank all the members of the Nominating Committee for their work in presenting the slate of nominees for the upcoming elections – Stephen Jones, Doug McCormick, Kailash Mirpuri, Rene Gedaly, and Chris Ober.


A Note on In-Person Meetings

As I write this article, it seems as though the worst of the Delta variant is behind us, and hospitalization rates, as well as COVID-19-related fatalities in the Houston-area are on a downward trend from the highs we saw in late-August/early-September.  This is certainly good news, and one that has us evaluating our return to in-person meetings. 

Right now, I’m looking to see if it might be possible for us to have our December General meeting at the Mendenhall Center.  We’re still looking at logistics for that meeting, though, and once a decision is made, we’ll let the membership know.  Going forward, though, I think a blended in-person and online meeting format is preferred, so we’ll see if that’s something we can deliver while providing a high-quality program using this format.  It’s also not lost on us that there’s likely going to be another dangerous variant to emerge at some point, and we will adjust for the health and safety of our members accordingly.

Stay tuned for more information on the December meeting when a decision is finalized.  Until then, clear skies!

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