Present: Board Members Fred Woods, Mike Whalen, Rick Paul, Jim Schafer, Dick Althouse, Jerry Harmon and Rick Mercurio; guest Colleen Mackinnon.
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Fred opened the meeting at 9:15 a.m. at the home of Mike. Jim moved to accept the December minutes. Fred seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Rick P said that Mike handed him $105 in cash from the iron ranger. In addition we have two membership donations. We also received notice of a hearing in March for the Akin trust, of which FODR is a beneficiary. No FODR action is needed at this time.
Escondido Creek Watershed Alliance: Jim reported on ECWA’s progress toward its Walk the Watershed project. At its last meeting the group decided to begin the multi-day event at Daley Ranch on Saturday, May 10. The next week will highlight Reveal Escondido Creek, followed in subsequent Saturdays by Elfin Forest Recreational Preserve, then Double Peak in San Marcos and ending with San Elijo Lagoon on June 7, National Trails Day. For the opening day at Daley Ranch, the FODR Board asked Jim to suggest that we provide docents for the ranch house and/or the walk itself to Stanley Peak. We also could showcase our utility building project, and provide FODR literature.
Utility Building Project: Dick said that great progress has been made, with the porch roof the latest addition to the foreman’s quarters reconstruction. He believes the structure will be completed by April. Jerry said he would like to use a real estate flyer type box to allow visitors to have FODR literature. Jim said that Supervisor Dave Roberts expressed an interest in visiting the ranch, and referenced the county grant program that could help fund the utility building project. Jim will contact Tighe to set up a time for a visit, possibly on a student field trip day. Fred noted that we ought to create a presentation to help seek funding, and Colleen volunteered to help with this. Fred will put photos on a flash drive and pass it to other Board members to add their own photos, to initiate the presentation, which may be in the form of a Power Point. On a related note, Peter Benson is continuing to work with the Army Corps of Engineers and the wildlife agencies on behalf of FODR to secure permits for the creek bank wall project
Facebook: Fred reported that our Facebook page now has over 600 friends and 6000 contacts. David Woods has volunteered to collaborate with the City of Escondido in order to work out any potential issues with the City’s Facebook efforts.
Shuttle & Ranch House: Fred has contacted Utilities Director Chris McKinney about resuming the Sunday shuttle service now that the road has been paved. The Board would also like to provide a ranch house docent on a regular basis as an ongoing educational service. Hopefully the docent could be present on the same days as the shuttle. In addition, the Board supports the Daley Ranch Volunteer Association in its quest to purchase movable interpretive displays for the ranch house.
Educational Outreach: Recently a ranch user emailed FODR, questioning the restrictions on public access outside the trail system. It underscored the need to educate our users about the original intent of the ranch as a wildlife habitat, and its designation as a Conservation Mitigation Bank. Rick M will respond to this person, and a version of this same message will be part of our next newsletter.
Insurance: Rick P suggested that we consider a single insurance policy for ourselves as individual Board members. Other similar organizations have bought policies to protect themselves from the possibility of legal action. Rick P has already looked into specifics, and said that the cost would be $472 per year for a two-year period. Rick M moved to have Rick P conduct further research then purchase a policy of Directors and Officers Liability Insurance covering “errors and omissions.” Jim seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
School Visits: Fred said that three middle schools have signed up for seven dates so far. Mission and Del Dios have yet to commit. Most learning stations are set, but Fred still needs to secure final arrangements from the rangers and from Sue Evarts for their roles. Rick M will seek permission to use the ranch house for his history presentation. We also need to keep working on funding sources. Escondido main Rotary offers a grant program and we have been invited to make a presentation to them.
Dying Oaks and Illegal Trails: Rick P said that he noticed a dying oak near the Cougar Pass entrance. Jim has noticed other dying oaks elsewhere in the ranch. Rick P also noted illegal trails in the northwest part of the ranch. The Board agreed that the City ought to provide an arborist to determine the cause of the oak problem, because it could mean that a disease or parasite is responsible, and could spread. Clearly the City has the duty to monitor and maintain the condition of the natural environment, so both the illegal trails and the oak situation ought to be brought to their attention. Rick P agreed to contact Dan H about this.
Calendars, Wikipedia & Elections: The Board discussed the advantages of setting up a calendar for the year. We could include items such as taxes, our post office box, Grape Day, and newsletter dates. Colleen said that a Google calendar has the capability of generating reminder emails before deadlines. Mike agreed to look into setting this up. Colleen noted that Daley Ranch does not have a Wikipedia presence. She said that entries need lots of documentation to be acceptable, and that she was willing to help us get started on this, but that she would need us to help her find sources. Fred set the annual election for FODR’s officers for our February meeting.
Newsletter: The Board expressed its desire to publish four newsletters per year. Rick M stressed the need for better organization and stricter deadlines. He agreed to be the newsletter liaison, and details were discussed for the next newsletter.
Cell Phone Towers: The Board discussed the idea of placing a cell phone tower at the ranch. It was agreed that having good connection near the ranch house would be advantageous. Rick P agreed to communicate to the City that the FODR would be amenable to having a cell tower if it incorporated an environmentally sensitive design and did not adversely affect wildlife or habitat.
Rick Mercurio, Secretary