27 July 2019 Annual members meeting

The 2019 annual members meeting of the Carroll Cave Conservancy took place on 27 July 2019 at the Mid-County Fire Protection District station in Camdenton, Missouri. The meeting was called to order at 13:05 by President Rick Hines.

The current officers and members of the board of directors were introduced. They are:

President – Rick Hines
Vice President – Jack Peters (not present)
Secretary – Bill Gee
Treasurer and membership – Jeff Page

Board members (none were present)
Bob Lerch
Terry Sherman
Jim Cooley
Jim Helwig
Dan Lamping

Regular members present at the meeting: Bill Pfantz, Shannon Robinson, Houmin Zhong, Pic Walenta, Jay Kennedy.

Rick noted that tomorrow (28 July 2019) is the 17th anniversary of the breakthrough at our back-door shaft entrance.

The minutes of the last annual meeting are posted on the CCC web site. Their presence and a URL to the page has been sent to members. In lieu of reading the minutes again, Rick proposed that they be accepted as posted.

Activity from the previous meeting:
Land acquisition is completed around the silo. Tom Loraine (attorney for Chris Danuser) valued the land at $200kk. Camden County assessed the land based on that value. Rick has negotiated an exemption with the county, with result that CCC will not have to pay any property tax.

A training session was held at the silo entrance in the morning before the meeting. There were 7 attendees. Rescue and trip leader training procedures need to be updated so that our documentation and procedures match each other. We need a chair for the rescue committee.

A meeting needed with Rob Odenwald of MCFPD who is their training director. We have talked to him by email but he has so far not attended any training or open house events.

Jeff Page looked into insurance for the organization. He got some information from a company that specializes in non-profit organizations. We need a policy for operations – grounds and anything that happens – and another for the board of directors liability. Each policy is about $600 per year, or around $100 per month for both. Given our small size and unique situation, the cost of insurance is not worth it. Our liability release indemnifies both officers and trip leaders. As per Rick, we will have to be careful to follow our written policies to help ensure our waivers stand up in a court case.

Bill Pfantz mentioned that State Farm is very flexible and might be willing to do something for us. Jeff wouldd not commit to pursue the matter with any other companies at this time. Pic mentioned event insurance like she had for the KCAG concert last year. Jeff responded that event insurance could be a viable option if we were to hold an event. MCKC, which is very similar to CCC, does not have any insurance. No further action was taken, and none is planned. For now we will maintain the status quo.

Treasurer’s report – Our bank balance at the beginning of July 2019 is $8572.42. This is about $2500 increase from this time last year. The gain is due to fallout from the land acquisition and several very generous donations. The steady income of membership dues just about offsets our expenses. The main expense is for electricity at the silo. That bill is around $25 to $30 per month which is almost the lowest it can be. Most of the bill is taxes, surcharges and other fees. Almost none of it is for electricity use.

There are more details in Jeff’s full report which is available on the CCC web site at the link below. This file also contains full versions of the Membership and Access reports.

Membership report
At the meeting last year we decided to change the membership year so that it starts during the month that a member actually pays their dues. With this change the count of members more accurately reflects reality.

The current count is 55 members. About 30% are supporting members. The remainder are about half regular visitors and half one-time visitors.

Access Report – The following trips are reported since the last meeting.
October 2018, Biology 5 people
January 2019, Hydrology 4 people
March 2019, Photo trip 5 people
May 2019, Photo 9; Survey 4 people
July 2019, Hydrology 7 people, Survey 6 people

Survey project report
Bob Lerch did not attend. Dan Lamping sent report on last three survey trips. Much work remains, and progress is being made on cartography.

Safety and Rescue
Terry DeFraites has resigned. A new chair is needed for the Safety and Rescue committee.

Bill Gee and Shannon Robinson both made GoPro videos of trip leader training today. These will be shared with Dan Lamping with the goal of producing some on-line trip leader training material. This material may include a qualification test. It will include information on how to use the shaft entrance.

Biology
Bill Gee gave a short report on the status of the biology project. There has been no activity except for the annual bat census trip in October. Bat counts are way down, especially for Easter Tri-Color. Other critters counts are fairly stable. More details are in Gee’s report which is posted on the CCC web site.

Stream Level
Bill Gee gave a short report on the data collected for 2018 from the data loggers. There was a major flood in late February 2018. A new data logger below Thunder Falls provided data to prove a hypothesis that Lower Thunder River floods before Upper Thunder River, and that it does so by backing up. Details are in Gee’s report which is posted on the CCC web site.

Web page and Yahoo Groups
Bill Gee gave a short report on the status of the CCC web site. After the annual meeting last year, Gee took over most administration tasks from Marty Griffin. A lot of time was spent in August last year updating and upgrading the web site, cleaning out old files, rearranging photos and learning how the WordPress software works. Since then the site has required minimal maintenance. A few minutes each week is enough to take care of it.

Bill Gee also took over administration of the Yahoo Groups discussion forum. There are about 125 members. This task also takes very little time.

Conservation
D.J. Hall, who was not present, relayed his interest in remaining chair of conservation and restoration.

Landowner Relations
Greg Fry sold the land containing the school house and admitted forgetting that we had a lease in effect until 2020. The new land acquisition makes this a moot point. The new owner Ben Royal has appeared to be caver-friendly. We need to wean ourselves off that property.

There was some discussion about what to do with the school house and the sky crapper. We hope to move the sky crapper to our new camping area near the silo. Greg Fry has offered to help. He has a fork lift attachment for his tractor. If the sky crapper does not fall apart when it gets lifted, then he can move it on his tractor. If it does fall apart, then it will become firewood.

The school house has a roof with an EPDM membrane covering it. A corner of the membrane has become detached. Rick Hines brought some addition membrane and sealing tape to use for repairs. This was left at the silo for use on the next work day.

Rick is working with Jerry Pemberton regarding natural entrance. So far Pemberton says “Not now” but has not completely cut us off. He now owns more than just the entrance passage.

Rick Hines reported on the 18 May 2019 landowners meeting. The only attendee was Rusty Clark.

Rick Hines reported on the landowner cave trips schedule for 28 September 2019. There has been some interest.

We lucked out with our new neighbors. Rusty Clark owns area to east of silo. Tim Brown owns area to west. They are very nice men to work with.

MSS
Krista Bartel is moving out of state. We need another representative, who should be one of our surveyors. Maybe one person can represent several groups?

Fence and Access Road
When we closed on the property acquisition we were required to fence our new property. After discussion with Rusty Clark we think a fence may not be necessary. Rusty would like to continue haying that land. We are OK with that since that means we don’t have to mow it. We may put a smaller fence up around a camping area just to keep cattle out.

Our new access road is going to be on east side of fence instead of west. This is not on the easement we acquired, but was offered by Rusty Clark as a goodwill gesture and will make for a better road. We retain rights to the easement on the west side if that arrangement should be revoked in the future. Estimates have been obtained. They are in the range of $3000 to $6000. The difference is in the type of rock and amount to be used. This cost is for a culvert, a gate, grading the road and laying gravel.

Work Days
Rick Hines reports on several work days during the first half of 2019. One day was devoted to cutting firewood. Work was done on the electrical feed to Bill Pfantz’ trailer, and a wind break was erected. A standoff was installed on the safety cable at the top of the ladder. This moves it out from the ladder a few inches and makes the new cable grabs much easier to use.

Eddie Simmons, who was CCC member number 3, died unexpectedly in April 2019. The Carroll Cave Conservancy donated $100 to his family.

Rick Hines and DJ Hall came up with a color brochure to use as a handout to landowners and other interested parties. The cost is about 80 cents each in small quantities.

Per bylaws – Annual meeting is the last Saturday of July.

After concerns were raised, we will weld some more anchors on the wall of the basement. This is planned for a future work day.

Should we build a shelter? It might cost a few thousand dollars for a concrete base. We can use the lumber currently in the school house. Terry Defraites is interested in this project.

Rick Hines and Pic Walenta attended a celebration day at Ozark Underground Laboratory in April 2019. Lessons from Tom Aley – We need to answer some important questions. How many species are in Carroll Cave? How many endemic species are in Carroll Cave? We need more scientists in the cave.

There are many ongoing projects. Some of them already have champions to carry them through. For others we are looking for someone to take on the task. The meeting agenda document contains several slides with details. This document is posted on the CCC web site.

A draft policy regarding campground use has been created and circulated among the officers and board of directors. There was some discussion about this policy document. The group consensus was to have a bit more access than in the current draft of the policy. Jim Cooley will revise and circulate around the board. It will eventually be voted on and presented to members.

Pic Walenta has proposed adding an art mural on the silo and windbreak. One idea is to have a line plot of the cave map. Seth Colston is willing to take on the project. Pic asked Bryan McCallister about interest, no reply yet. There will be a lot of non-artistic work to prepare the surface. Will cattle rub against it? Kayla Sapkota sent photo showing cavers as the artwork, with cave formations above. Pic is chasing other possibilities. Another possibility is John Walsh who did the CCC MVOR t-shirt. Pic will continue to champion this project.

A proposal was made a few months ago to get some plaques to honor some important people – Greg Fry, Chris Danuser, Ron Jaeger. Richard Thompson might be willing to do this with a CNC plasma cutter. Pic has some quotes – Around $600 for three plaques. Thompson would be significantly cheaper. The plaques would go in the cave next to the one thanking Mike Roos for his work with the cave radio.

There was some discussion about merging with a larger cave organization such as MCKC. It seems like an interesting idea. MCKC and CCC are essentially duplicate organizations, and it seems that combining them would provide some economies of scale. The board will discuss the idea further, and if it agrees then MCKC will be contacted about adding it to the agenda of a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 15:10.

After the meeting, the entire group went back out to the silo for a few hours of surface work. We got a proper strain relief installed on the power cable over to Bill Pfantz’ trailer. We installed a new light fixture in the basement area. A cable was partly installed from the pipe in the top of the silo down to the silo floor. This cable is intended for demonstrating and practicing with the cable safety devices. The concrete drill did not work like it should, so the bottom of the cable is not yet anchored. That will be a future work day. Lastly, we cleaned a bunch of trash out of the silo. That ended about 18:00.

Attendees at the 2019 annual meeting of Carroll Cave Conservancy.
Attendees at the 2019 annual meeting of Carroll Cave Conservancy.