FEBT directors devoted most of their attention to financial matters during their November meeting. FEBT vice president R. Lee Rainey noted that gloomy economic developments would certainly impact our activities, but how much the US recession will affect our operations is impossible to predict. Among the questions facing FEBT for the coming year are uncertainties about donations we will receive before our current restoration fund-raising campaign concludes; the inevitable delay until we develop and launch a new restoration fund-raising initiative; and the membership revenue FEBT will actually realize from our new membership dues rates. In allocating resources to our 2009 restoration budget, FEBT directors agreed to proceed cautiously, authorizing funds separately for the first and second halves of next year. They also agreed to review in detail our restoration and operating budgets in April and June and make any adjustments which changes in our financial resources may require.
The restoration budget approved for the coming year incorporates bringing forward current commitments to contractors working at Coles Station and Robertsdale; carrying forward previously authorized but unexpended allocations for work on museum displays and our reproduction passenger-car trucks; and allocating $20,796 for materials and equipment needed for work at Robertsdale and Rockhill Furnace. All authorizations described here are subject to modification as 2009 advances.
At the request of Lee Rainey, who coordinates our restoration work at the EBT, directors allocated $11,545 for materials and $550 for equipment for work at Rockhill Furnace in the first half of 2009. The budget allocation for the second half of next year includes $681 for materials and $1,270 for equipment. Thus the total 2009 authorization for restoration work at Rockhill Furnace is $14,046.
As recommended by FEBT president Hank Inman, who coordinates our restoration work at Robertsdale, directors authorized $5,000 for materials for the old post office for the first half of 2009. Current commitments to contractors totaling $25,233 will be paid as work progresses, but contracted work on the alarm system (at a cost of $9,062) will not start until the second half of 2009, after all other interior work on the post office is completed.
Directors agreed to carry forward the portion unpaid at year-end of our $11,050 commitment to historical architect John R. Bowie for his work on our documentation of the Coles Station water tank. An additional $250 was allocated for the first half of 2009 for other minor project expenses. (The funds previously committed to this project include $5,000 in grants received from the Amherst Railway Society and the Society for Industrial Archeology.)
Unexpended funds previously authorized for our reproduction wood-beam passenger car trucks, $17,302 as of mid-December, will be brought forward to pay for contracted work at the Strasburg Rail Road during the first half of 2009. Additional funds, if available, may be allocated next year when we have a better estimate for the final costs of assembling the reproduction trucks.
At the request of project coordinator William L. Adams, FEBT directors allocated $750 for the first half of 2009 and $750 for the second half of next year for materials needed to construct four additional museum display boards. Finally, $931 in unexpended funds previously allocated for our digital archive project (including a $600 grant from the Amherst Railway Society) was carried forward to the second half of 2009.
Until more information becomes available about revenue from 2009 membership renewals, FEBT directors agreed to continue to use expenditures in recent years as the budget template for 2009 spending on publications, museum operations, our outreach program, and general administration. Budget authorizations for these activities will be modified as necessary in April and June.
Director Stephen W. Jacobs proposed that FEBT establish a formal endowment fund, citing the need to generate future revenues to support our museum and to address unforeseen contingencies as the ownership structure of the EBT changes. Among the points raised in the subsequent discussion was that nonprofit organizations typically solicit contributions to endowments funds from major individual donors and corporations, a different focus from past FEBT fund-raising. Directors agreed to explore this proposal further at their next meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for April 4, 2009.
At the end of April FEBT members were mailed the spring and summer 2007 issues of The Timber Transfer (volume 23 no. 4 and volume 24 no. 1). Editor Kevin C. Strong tells us that the next two issues, to be mailed together, will go to our printer in December. To avoid confusion during the rush of holiday mail, we plan to mail these issues to all current FEBT members in January. FEBT members who experience problems with missing or damaged issues of The Timber Transfer should contact:
FEBT Membership Office
c/o Peter A. Clarke
10428 Carlyn Ridge Road
Damascus, MD 20872
For more information contact
Lee Rainey at
(814) 867–7878 (home),
(814) 404–3968 (cell), or
subject to change at short notice due to
weather or availability of volunteers
For more information contact Hank Inman at (804) 353–0817 or Vagel Keller at (412) 441–7881 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As announced in the August FEBT Newsletter, new dues rates for all FEBT membership levels take effect at the beginning of 2009. To remind everyone, we again summarize the new rates.
Regular FEBT membership will cost $35 per twelve months. The annual payment for student and senior FEBT members becomes $30. Family memberships, which allow spouses and dependent children to participate in FEBT events at member rates, now cost $45 per year. FEBT regular, student/senior, and family members with non-US mailing addresses must also pay a $5 surcharge to partially cover foreign postage.
The annual payments for FEBT sustaining and associate memberships increases to $100 and $150 respectively. These members, who receive the benefits of family membership, provide additional financial support for FEBT operations; portions of their membership payments may qualify for treatment as tax-deducible contributions to FEBT ($55 for sustaining members and $105 for associate members).
Finally, the one-time payment for FEBT life memberships rises to $1,000 in January. FEBT life members enjoy all privileges of family membership during their lifetimes.
To ease the transition to the new membership dues rates, until December 31, 2008, all current FEBT members may extend their present memberships (at their current or other level) for another year at the old membership rates. These old rates are $30 for regular members, $25 for student/senior members, $35 for family members, $60 for sustaining members, $100 for associate members, and $500 for life membership. (The $5 surcharge for regular, student/senior, and family members with foreign mailing addresses also applies.) To take advantage of this opportunity, the FEBT membership office must receive your payment by December 31, 2008, since the new membership rates take effect on January 1, 2009.
All payments and questions related to membership should be communicated to
FEBT Membership Office
c/o Peter A. Clarke
10428 Carlyn Ridge Road
Damascus, MD 20872
Approximately 50 members of Friends of the East Broad Top attended the 2008 business meeting, held in the Orbisonia Lions Hall on October 10. FEBT president Hank Inman introduced directors, officers, and staff volunteers, who provided brief reviews of our 2008 operations. A preliminary version of our 2007 accounting review report was also distributed and discussed. Copies of the final report will be distributed to all FEBT members with the next mailing of The Timber Transfer.
We were saddened to learn earlier this year of the deaths of two longtime FEBT members.
John T. Derr was one of FEBT’s earliest members. A fan of the East Broad Top Railroad whose visits began during the railroad’s common-carrier operations, John was also a pioneer narrow-gauge modeler who used his modeling to promote interest in the EBT. For several years he served as editor of the FEBT Newsletter, and he graciously allowed the FEBT Company Store to sell his drawings of EBT rolling stock.
During the 1990s Jerry A. Fisher immersed himself in public and private discussions of the EBT’s future; he generously shared his insights, advice, and knowledge about the railroad with FEBT officers. Jerry’s enthusiasm for the EBT extended to holding his wedding at the railroad. After his retirement from the US Department of Transportation and relocation to Florida, Jerry continued to maintain an active interest in FEBT’s activities and restoration efforts.
I know other FEBT members join me in communicating our
condolences to the Derr and Fisher families.
–Hank Inman, FEBT president
The nominating committee for the 2009 election asks FEBT members to submit the names of potential candidates for nomination and election as directors of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. In the upcoming election, to be held in February and March, FEBT members will elect four of the nine members of the board of directors. The seats up for election are now occupied by William L. Adams, Robert R. Farquharson, Henry F. Inman, and Dennis R. Straub. The five remaining board positions not up for election during the current election cycle will be the subject of our 2010 election; William R. Blomgren, Thomas A. Diehl, Jr., R. Lee Rainey, Stephen W. Jacobs, and Richard D. Shell now hold these seats.
FEBT directors are responsible for the management and governance of Friends of the East Broad Top. The president, vice president, and secretary are elected annually by the Board from among its members. Among other duties, directors maintain oversight over the work of all FEBT officers and staff volunteers; develop and enforce policy guidelines for all operations and activities; direct the preparation and submission of reports required by applicable federal and state laws and regulations; set fund-raising goals and support fund-raising efforts; and determine budget priorities and spending limits.
Any individual FEBT member in good standing is eligible for nomination. The chairman and members of the nominating committee select the final slate of nominees presented to FEBT members for election as directors. (Individual members include regular, family, sustaining, associate, life, and student/senior FEBT members.) However, a member in good standing may also qualify for automatic inclusion in the final slate of nominees if he or she submits a nominating petition signed by 100 FEBT members in good standing.
The chairman of the nominating committee for the 2009 election cycle is Robert R. Farquharson, who in November informed FEBT directors that he would not seek reelection to the board. Other members of the committee are William E. Grant, Jr., and Richard M. Ullery. One of FEBT’s earliest members, Bob has served as one of our directors since 2000. Since joining the board he has also served as vice president and secretary. Bob regularly volunteers to assist us at FEBT events and restoration sessions. Professionally Bob is an emergency-medicine physician. Bill Grant has served as a member of our Robertsdale restoration work group and advisor for our documentation of the EBT’s Saltillo station and Coles Station water tank; he is a registered architect with the Murphy Architectural Group in West Chester, Pennsylvania. An active member of our Rockhill Furnace restoration work group, Dick Ullery also has managed the FEBT Company Store the past several years. Dick is a retired corporate executive from a machine designer and manufacturer serving the steel industry.
The names of potential nominees and nominating petitions should be submitted to:
Robert R. Farquharson, Chairman
FEBT Nominating Committee
6707 Wakehurst Road
Charlotte NC 28226
Telephone: (704) 608–5996
The deadline for submitting names of potential candidates for nomination or nominating petitions to the nominating committee is January 26, 2009.
Nomination and election of directors are governed by the corporate bylaws of Friends of the East Broad Top, Inc. FEBT members may obtain copies of the FEBT articles of incorporation and bylaws by sending a 59¢ stamped, self-addressed envelope to Bob Farquharson at the address stated above.
In 2009 the FEBT Museum will be open on the first and third weekends of each month, May through October. Regular museum operating hours are 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and 1 to 5 pm on Sundays; the museum will be open special hours during 2009 FEBT and EBT events. FEBT assistant vice president Vagel C. Keller, who coordinates our museum operations, reminds FEBT members that volunteers interested in helping us at Robertsdale are always needed. If you think you would like to join us there, contact Vagel directly by e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (412) 441–7881.
In June the FEBT Museum became a participant in the US Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. This survey compiles records for energy use from a sample of commercial buildings. FEBT president Hank Inman and FEBT treasurer William T. Wheeler were able to provide the information requested in this survey, which focused on our museum operations in the former EBT Robertsdale depot.
In recent remarks to FEBT restoration volunteers, members of Railways to Yesterday, and East Broad Top Railroad employees and their families, EBT president and owner Joseph Kovalchick assured his audience that he was committed to finding a solution to the railroad’s future. He emphasized that there were no plans to shut down the EBT and liquidate its equipment and other assets. He noted that one possibility he is now exploring is the sale of the EBT to a not-for-profit corporation organized to preserve and operate the railroad.
In his mid-November comments, Mr. Kovalchick could not yet
confirm that the EBT would operate in 2009 as it has in recent
years, although he indicated he was "cautiously hopeful" that
the EBT would run next year. Among the factors he cited were
the availability and continued good health of FEBT general
manager Stanley G. Hall and other EBT employees.
–Hank Inman, FEBT president
Several FEBT members are assisting our outreach campaign by distributing information about the East Broad Top Railroad and FEBT at recent or upcoming train shows. In May John P. Sousa represented FEBT at the National Model Railroad Association, Rocky Mountain Region (Division Six), Model Train Show and Modular Layout Expo in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On December 13 Christopher and Patricia Coleman set up their usual FEBT display table at the Buckeye Railroad and Model Train Show and Sale in Columbus, Ohio.
FEBT member James A. Vliet again plans to organize displays and distribute FEBT and EBT information at the following train shows in early 2009: the 19th Annual Winter Train Show and Exhibition in Freeport, New York, on January 11; the Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 24-25; and the Spring Thaw Train Meet in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on February 21-22. FEBT members interested in helping Jim at one of more of these shows can contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone at (516) 771–1038 (home).
Next summer the National Model Railroad Association’s 2009 National Train Show will be held in Hartford, Connecticut, on July 10-12. FEBT members in that area interested in the possibility of setting up a FEBT display table at this train show (held in conjunction with the NMRA’s national convention) should contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis Straub, whose telephone number and e-mail address are given below, so that we can reserve space at this event.
FEBT has not yet reserved space at the 2009 National Narrow Gauge Convention, which will be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on September 16-19. FEBT members who plan to attend this convention and are interested in helping us with a display table should contact Dennis Straub as soon as possible, so we can make the necessary arrangements.
We are always happy to provide literature and information about the EBT and FEBT to FEBT members for distribution at train shows, conventions, and other events. Interested FEBT members should contact FEBT outreach coordinator Dennis R. Straub by telephone at (717) 249–4239 (home) or by e-mail at email@example.com providing as much advance notice as possible.