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Wilmington Historical Society
Minutes of Meeting
7:30 PM, Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Wilmington Fire House


Karen Peters
Doug Wolfe
Merri Peck
Guy Stephenson
Bob Cressey
Nancy Cressey
Daryl Austin

Karen Peters called the meeting to order at 7:30 immediately following the meeting of the Audit Committee which held its annual meeting this evening to examine all our financial records and documents. The audit committee will present its report at the next general meeting. There will be no open discussion at this meeting as it is our annual planning meeting. Karen called for the Secretary’s report. Guy Stephenson made a motion to accept the November minutes as read and it was seconded by Doug Wolfe. The motion carried unanimously.

Karen mentioned that she needs a report from everyone on volunteer hours expended during 2007 as soon as possible.

Bob Cressey gave the treasurer’s report. He reported that our bank balance is $2,298.82. Our expenses of $190 for the month were all for WHS memberships in other organizations, including the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH), the Upstate History Alliance (UHA) and the Whiteface Mountain Regional Visitors Bureau. Our income totaled $175, including $130 in rebates from our laptop purchase, $40 from the sale of VRS tickets and one $5 membership. Discussion then turned to the proposed budget for 2008. The proposed budget shows a deficit of $2,618.72 in actual expenses for 2007. While this is correct it is perhaps misleading because it does not take into account our bank balance as of the beginning of 2007. We received the following suggestion from member Jack Wolfe to clarify this situation, “…with respect to your income/expense statement I have a suggestion. A similar organization that I am a board member of names your “Surplus/Deficit” line as “Profit/Loss” and then it has a separate table below that line for the cash position. It shows the cash at the beginning of the year, the budgeted and actual profit or loss year to date and then the budgeted and actual cash positions. This keeps the budget comparison clean, which adding “fund balance” as an income entry would not help, and it also clearly demonstrates the status of the bank account.” We agreed that this is a good suggestion and we will add a table at the bottom of the budget to show bank balance as of the beginning of the year, total income, total expenses and bank balance at the end of the year. However we will retain the terms “Surplus/deficit” as opposed to “Profit/loss” because as a nonprofit organization we do not want to ever create the impression that we are making a profit. Karen then questioned whether we should have separate entries under the publication line for books we purchase for our collections as opposed to the Wilmington books that we purchase for resale. We decided to keep all publications on a single line for simplicity. Guy offered a motion to approve the treasurer’s report and proposed budget and it was seconded by Merri Peck. All voted in favor.

Bob reported that he had looked into the possibility of buying some accounting software from “Tech Soup” which offers accounting software to nonprofit organizations at low cost. The software would be an improvement over Excel which we are currently using because we would have the capability of generating whatever reports we need without a lot of manual effort. Bob found two programs which looked good, the best being a version of Quick Books for nonprofits that sells for $48. Unfortunately, that program is currently out of stock. Doug made a motion to purchase the software, not to exceed $100. Guy seconded the motion and it carried unanimously. Bob will check periodically and purchase the software when it becomes available.

Bob mentioned that he and Nancy had received an author’s copy of the newly published Wilmington Cemetery Records 1804-2003, Volume 6 of the Wilmington books. They will donate their copy of the book to the WHS.

Karen then reported on communications. A notice of tonight’s meeting appeared in the Valley News and the Lake Placid News. We have been getting an increasing number of requests for historical research/genealogical information. Karen was able to help David Roe with his request for historical information about a ski tow on his Quaker Mountain property, and she was also able to provide some information in response to a request about the Mihill family. She was unable to find any information in response to two other requests on Brownlee and DeSibert. Merri stressed the importance of keeping records of these requests to prevent duplication of efforts and to facilitate future searches. Karen also reported that she helped Harold Hinds by copying records at the Essex County Courthouse for the Probate Volume of the Wilmington book series.

We have received an appeal for a $35 donation in addition to our membership dues from the Museum Association of New York (MANY), and Saranac Lake has asked us for $35 to put the WHS on the map in their booklet about the area. We decided in both cases not to donate at this time. We have renewed our memberships in MANY, AASLH, UHA and the Whiteface Visitors Bureau.

We had two acquisitions from the Thrift Shop. They donated a small scythe and a volunteer medal from the 1980 Olympics. Dan Gould donated some photographs of Haselton family members.

Merri reported for the Library, Museum and Historic Sites Committee that she has not had time to devote to entering items in Past Perfect recently. She will try to make some progress and perhaps reach a point where she can turn over the data entry work to a volunteer. She mentioned that google.books.com is a very good website for searching books and particularly family history.

Doug reported for the Publications and Programs Committee that he is doing a presentation on the history of skiing for the Lake Placid Historical Society. Bridget Hinman of the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) has sent us their schedule of events for the 50th Anniversary of Whiteface celebration. The Whiteface Visitor’s Bureau has requested us to do a window display commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Whiteface. We cannot display old posters or historical artifacts in a window due to damaging effects of sunlight, but Merri agreed to loan some old wooden skis for display and Doug will loan some old snowshoes that can be put on display. Guy suggested that we might be able to make copies of old posters/documents for display purposes.

Next we discussed Open Discussion topics for our meetings in 2008. It was agreed that some of the more popular topics of past meetings could be repeated and expanded upon. The following is a list of topics we decided upon for 2008:

Wilmington and World War II
Extreme Weather & Natural Disasters in Wilmington
The Town Dam and Lake Everest
Boarding Houses, tourist cottages, motels and hotels of Wilmington
Historic Homes in Wilmington
Growing up in Wilmington
More Hunting Stories
Lumbering and Sawmills
Aviation History in Wilmington

We proposed two additional topics, The Civil War and Wilmington and Wilmington Fire Department & Rescue Squad History, which we will save for 2009. It was suggested that we should seek out and invite people with knowledge of the topics prior to the discussions. We will send letters of invitation out this year to encourage these individuals to attend the discussions.

We also discussed programs for this year. Merri proposed a program for Archives Week, “Are your roots in Wilmington?” Some other program topics suggested were “Fish Stories and Famous Guides on the Ausable,” a historic cemetery tour, either virtual or an actual walking tour, and some type of program in conjunction with the 18th Annual Student Research Contest. Karen and Doug will meet to discuss programs further.

Nancy Cressey reported for the Membership and Nominations committee that the brochure for our 2009 membership drive has been designed and is ready for printing as soon as we hear from ORDA as to whether they will again offer free admission to the Whiteface Toll road as a membership incentive.

We tabled all the special committee reports. Karen mentioned that the Enhancement Council is sponsoring a presentation on solar energy at the fire house on January 31st. More information will be coming out on this. Karen also passed out copies of a grant application sent out by the Essex County Planning Commission for a new Community Center for Wilmington. This is of vital interest because if approved the new center will include space for the historical society.

Guy brought up a concern relating to our VRS fundraiser. He had heard that Dave Heim, owner of the Virtual Reality rides, may be leaving the area. Karen said that we have already sold some tickets for this year and she will check with Dave Heim to determine the status of our fundraiser program.

Karen asked everyone to review the Collections Management Policy and email her whether we deem it to be adequate or if it needs updating. This is required for our application for a New York state permanent charter which we will be pursuing this year.

The meeting then turned over to our planning session which is summarized on a separate document.

At the close of the planning session Guy moved to adjourn the meeting, Bob seconded the motion and all voted in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Nancy Cressey


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