Friends of Daley Ranch Board Meeting Minutes

March 28, 2013

Present: Fred Woods, Rick Paul, Jerry Harmon, Dick Althouse, Jim Schafer and Rick Mercurio
Minutes and Treasurer’s Report: Fred opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Rick M. Jim moved to approve the minutes from the February meeting. Dick seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Rick P previously emailed his treasurer’s report. He also noted that the State of California now requires FODR to file a tax return, which he will do. The Board thanked Rick P for his outstanding work on this and all the treasurer’s jobs that he does. Jerry moved to reimburse Rick M for expenses related to the current newsletter as well as expenses for his seventh grade visits history lesson learning station. Jim seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
School visits: Fred has been doing a great job of coordinating the school visits. At this point there have been six full-day visits, with six more to go. Fred must pick up the volunteer lunches each morning, and supervise the logistics of up to 200 students dividing into groups and getting each of the six learning stations underway. So far the feedback from students, rangers, docents and teachers has all been very positive. Board members are welcome to come up and view the experience for themselves. We are so grateful to the Escondido Charitable Foundation for funding these trips, and Rick M agreed to write a press release expressing our appreciation.
Utility Building Restoration: Dick has been busy on this project, working with City officials to gain final approval for his detailed plans for the foreman’s quarters. He was at City Hall today and will be back again tomorrow. Dick said that the plans have been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission as well as by the Appearance Committee. The only recommendation the latter group offered was to remove the electrical box from the visible side of the building. Dick wants the project to focus on basic restoration of the structure, with no current provision for plumbing or electricity. The public would not be permitted inside, but would be able to view it through a window or doorway. A new roof and floor will be needed. Dick hopes to begin structural work in April or early May. Jerry said that Peter Benson and Jim Lau have volunteered to help. The Board also discussed the ongoing issue of shoring up the creek bank in order to proceed with restoration of the other buildings. The big problem is the need for wildlife agency permits, requiring City staff time, which has so far been denied. In addition the gas line easement in the road complicates the possibility of relocating the buildings in that direction.
New FODR Website: David Woods has been working hard to build our new custom website. He hopes to launch it next week. The Board discussed the terminology to be used for donating on the site. It was agreed to use “Support FODR” as the button, but to keep the current categories and terms on the membership form. We also want users to be given the choice of “donating” or becoming a “member.” Rick P explained that the City currently posts a volunteering calendar, for which our own site should provide a link.
Stanley Peak Signs: Jim explained that technical problems in the signs’ composition have necessitated that they be re-made. Mike Whalen has skillfully negotiated with EZ Signs to replace the signs at no cost to FODR. The Board is extremely grateful to Jim and Mike for all the work they have done, and will do, to order the materials, construct the supports for the signs, install them, and now to replace them.
Networking and Outreach: Jerry reported that the Escondido Creek Watershed Alliance has been in place for a couple years. They are working on various ways to enhance and improve the watershed, including plans for north-south trails that would link Escondido Creek with the San Dieguito River Park. Jerry hopes that FODR could become an official member of this group, since virtually all of Daley Ranch is within the Escondido Creek watershed. Rick M agreed to write a formal letter requesting our membership, and Jim agreed to become our representative if we are accepted. Jerry noted the benefits of such regional cooperation, networking, and synergy. Our plant guides could serve as one way our group could help them. As further examples of working together, he cited FODR’s participation in Reveal Escondido Creek, and our support of the Deer Park Monastery, which recently celebrated its newly-won open space easement protecting the west side of their valley. Jerry also expressed a desire to establish more personal connections with other organizations via informal get-togethers for board members. Potential groups would include the Humane Society and Hellhole Canyon.
Memorial benches: Jerry said that the City has now approved the placement of memorial benches for both Sally Thomas and Irene O’Neill. Jerry has also met with Tony Smock about this. Jim will help Jerry with the actual installation of both benches, which could be soon. We also hope to invite family and friends of both ladies to a commemoration ceremony, which could be two separate events.
Legacy Gift: Rick P received notice in the mail about a potential legacy gift to FODR. One of our long time supporters, Perla Akin, recently passed away, and she named FODR as one of several organizations included in her will. At this time we have no idea exactly what this means, but we are certainly grateful. Rick M will write a letter of thanks to her family. This led to a discussion about FODR becoming more proactive in seeking legacy gifts such as this.
Membership Campaign and Weekend Booth: Rick M has agreed to coordinate a membership campaign, consisting of written letters sent to those in the database who have not contributed in over a year. Once the PayPal option is in place on our new website, Rick will commence with the letters. It was agreed that a major theme for fundraising ought to center on the school visits, since the current grant is for this year only. The building restoration program will also serve as a focus. Rick M is also hoping to initiate a weekend presence for FODR at the main ranch entrance. This would serve as a way to offer information to users, to increase membership, and to sell tee-shirts and hats. Don Piller has volunteered to help out on Sundays, and we are hoping for more volunteers after the newsletter article appears.
Newsletter Schedule: Jim graciously volunteered to assemble the current newsletter for mailing. Rick M discussed the need for a more regular system for contributing content and for sticking to our deadlines. A few Board members mentioned the need for a type of internal calendar that we could share to help keep us more disciplined and informed. Rick M noted that our original goal was to have newsletters quarterly: midmonth in February, May, August, and November. Since this current newsletter will arrive at the beginning of April, we are already well behind schedule. Wendy Barker, who we thank for assembling the newsletter, says that she would like our deadline for content to be a full month in advance. In order to get back on our timeline, that would mean that articles for the next newsletter should be submitted by April 15.
Next Meeting: Our next meeting will be Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at the train depot in Grape Day Park. Jim will invite Sally Costello of the Humane Society.
Respectfully submitted,
Rick Mercurio, Secretary