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RASS Record

1st Qtr, 2015
The RASS Record is to note, record, summarize and highlight significant plans, actions, achievements, elections,
events, awards, occasions and undertakings. The Record does not replace Board meeting minutes, but is intended
to make RASS information more widely available to the membership and improve the corporate memory. This will
be an occasional publication, perhaps quarterly. It will be the responsibility of the RASS Historian.

The first General meeting of the year was held on the second Thursday and,
perhaps for that reason, had light attendance (15) and no visitors. Those
who didn't make it missed an interesting presentation by Stevan Biggers on
the Germany Valley Karst Survey that included a video of the discovery of
caves in Germany Valley. There was also a video of Cave Sim which has
been at the last several Conventions. Margot collected dues.
The January Board meeting was held on the 15th at Kristen's and was
attended by eleven directors and one guest, Glen Todd. The first order of
business was the election of officers:
Rich Geisler was re-elected
Jason Hart was re-elected
Vice President: Jeff Benford was re-elected
Garrie Denson was re-elected
Kristen Taylor was elected. She replaces Jeanne
London who had served faithfully as Secretary for eight years.
Many of the other items discussed will be taken up at the Retreat in
The February General meeting was held on a seriously (for Richmond) cold
night, but there was a good turnout of mature members, and two guests,
Pete from Williamsburg and Brian from Mechanicsville. In all there were
just under thirty in attendance. No one reported having been caving. The
program was watching the video on the forthcoming Missouri Convention.
It appeared that a whole lot of work had gone into making the video and it
was well received. Members were encouraged to attend the Convention.
On a cold and inclement Saturday, 21 February the Board of Directors met
for their February meeting and the annual Retreat at the home of Ted and
Cheryl Kayes. All officers and directors attended and Glen Todd was the sole
guest. As you will see from the matters discussed, it was a very full day:
1. Committee Chairs report on activities

2. Set RASS goals 2015

a. Conservation
b. Education
c. Membership
d. Field Station
3. Review 2014 meeting/event attendance
4. Virginia Region support/attendance at the VAR meetings
5. Review RASS dues
6 a. Review 2014 budget results b. Create 2015 budget 7. Set 2015 calendar
The Chairman, Rich Geisler, chairs all Regular and Board meetings, but
the Retreat is chaired by the President, Jason Hart. All members are invited
to attend Board meetings and the Retreat. The reports and discussions
during the Retreat were wide ranging and most were informative. While
perhaps fewer firm goals were set at the meeting than might have been
hoped for, there will likely see a number of changes throughout the year as a
result of the meeting.
The Field Station is a special resource of RASS and received a
commensurate amount of consideration. The use of the Field Station by
other caving or conservation organizations can only be authorized by a
majority vote of the RASS Board of Directors after a written application has
been received. It is intended that the road into the Field Station will be
graded this year and the notice board at the entrance will be upgraded to
protect notices from the weather. Improving existing electrical service will
be examined and possibly undertaken this year.
Garrie Denson's Treasurer's report showed that the much admired fire
place at the pavilion was the only capital expense during 2014. RASS also
contributed a very important $50,000 matching grant to the National
Speleological Society during 2014 and enabled the NSS to raise in excess of
$100,000 during the Convention. RASS continues to be in a very sound
financial condition. No capital expenditures or large donations have been
budgeted or are planned for this year.
RASS shall undertake to increase its financial support to local
conservation activities, particularly in Virginia and West Virginia. Members

are encouraged to identify conservation projects that may be suitable for

RASS to undertake. RASS shall continue to provide stipends for members
attending the NSS Convention and various NCRC training programs. The
2014 by-law changes slightly tightened the rules to qualify for such stipends.
The road side cleanups will continue during the spring and fall.
The Board will endeavor to have a RASS Board member at all of the
Virginia Region meetings; members attending VARs are encouraged to take
time Sunday mornings to attend the business meeting.
The current RASS dues arrangements are far more complex than can
be justified and do too little to encourage membership in the National
Speleological Society. A report will be provided on the attendance at
meetings and events.
The annual Calendar, which will be available on the RASS website
before you read this, reflects the prospective dates of 2015 RASS events and
the published dates of other caving oriented events and activities. The
RASS' dates are subject to change and such changes will be posted as soon
as possible.
Members identifying possible RASS website glitches can and should
notify the webmaster, Garrie Denson, directly. There is a link at the bottom
of the web page.
The March General meeting was cancelled because of snow and freezing
rain. Notification of the cancellation was sent out by e mail, posted on the
website and members were encouraged to tell others who might not have
gotten the word. It turned out that 7 o'clock was about when the Richmond
roads were at their worst.
The March Board meeting was held on the 12th at the home of Bob
and Patty Barns. Three directors were unable to attend due to other
commitments, but there was still a quorum and Patty Barns was the proxy
for Jason.
There was extensive discussion on what the new dues schedule should
look like and how much weight should be given to encouraging membership
in the NSS. The new schedule, when approved, will not be effective until the
2016 dues. In the end the subject was referred to a committee of Margot,
Jane and Ted.
The need to make the field station available to other organizations for
scientific and caving purposes was discussed. It was agreed that there was
no desire to use the property as a source of income, but it would be

reasonable to charge some amount of rent in many circumstances. This

subject was also tabled to a later meeting.
Summaries of Board meetings are just that. For more detailed information
about what was discussed and what transpired, I would refer you to the
minutes which are produced by Kristen.]
RASS Record

2nd Qtr, 2015

At the time of the April General meeting on the 2nd of the month it
was uncertain where the May General meeting would be held. It has turned
out to be the very last to be held in the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries
building on Broad Street. There was modest attendance of about two dozen
members. After discussing who had been caving and a report on the Clark's
monument that is to be installed in conjunction with the Spring Fest in May;
a series of caving slides were shown.
The meeting lasted a scant hour. Visitors, particularly if they had come
some distance to attend, would not have been particularly impressed.
The April Board meeting (9 April) was held in Ashland at the residence
of Melissa Senkalski. Glen Todd was the proxy for Jeff Benford and long time
member, Meredith Weberg, drove down from northern Virginia to be a guest.
Garrie Denson reported completing the 2014 tax form 990. He made
it available to all Directors and encouraged them to review it and ask
questions. He assured the Board that it would be timely filed with the IRS.
The Directors also reviewed the revised RASS Conflict of Interest
policy, which is intended to be executed by each Director at the annual
There was vast discussion on changes to the dues structure and in the
end it was determined that all dues categories would be increased by $5
beginning with the 2016 dues.
It was proposed that the Programs chairman include more substance
in the meetings and aim for a duration of a hour and a half.
The May General meeting was held on the 7th at 2109 N. Hamilton
and hosted by the Secretary, Kristen Taylor. Attendance was about two
dozen members and there were no visitors. There were reports from those
who had been caving and there was discussion of the about the Spring Fest.
Glen Todd provided a Speleo Aptitude Test (SAT) which was informative and
was enjoyed by all participants. Rich came in 1st, Rick was 2nd, Jeff was
3rd and Jeanne was 4th. John Sullivan brought some vertical gear to finish

the program. Everyone seem to agree it was a good program and it ran
about an hour and a half.
The Spring RASS Fest was held at the Field Station (May 8-10) with
glorious weather. Kibby Winder, Jason, Ashley and Larry Hart had previously
prepared a very solid concrete base above Clark's Cave for the plaque
honoring the deceased owners of Clark's for their cooperation and cave
conservation efforts.
This memorial is dedicated to

William G. and Alice G. Clark

For their contributions to conservation

And cooperation in the exploration of Clark's Cave
Presented to Blanche Madison
By the Richmond Area Speleological Society
The plaque was installed on the base and then had a considerable
amount of dirt mounded up around it. The dirt was then covered with rocks.
There was a good turnout of cheerful members and it looked very good. The
date of the dedication has not been determined, but will be scheduled when
Blanche Madison and other family members will be available.
Glen Todd had stained the bunkhouse porch, stoop and bathhouse
Jane Biggers was in charge of the dinner, which was 'breakfast in the
evening' and was very well received. She was ably assisted by Catie Adams,
Crystal Biggers and Matt Barns.
Darrel Worsham, who appeared to have abandoned Richmond for
Pennsylvania was there and took two, new to RASS, cavers on two cave
Sunday morning the May Board meeting was held at the property.
Because of various conflicts, three Directors and two officers had appointed
proxys to attend in their place.
There was a report on the Clark's Cave monument.
There was discussion on the attendance record keeping. There was
some concern expressed that perhaps everyone's attendance had not been
counted and a question as to whether the term 'preceding year' actually
meant the previous year or meant the previous twelve months.
Attendees were reminded that the Young Timer's Reunion (YTR) was
fast approaching and up to 80 cavers were expected on the property for that
The landowner of the Lipps Entrance to Organ Cave would like to have
the entrance gated and through Glen Todd has offered to let RASS erect the

gate. There was considerable discussion and a decision will be made at a

future meeting.
The RASS Field Station was the site of a Spring YTR (Young Timers
Reunion). It was hosted by the Virginia Tech Grotto, but Rich Geisler did
much of the coordination. The YTR is intended to encourage and facilitate
college students interested in caving an opportunity to get together in a
collegial setting and to go caving. Hopefully, this sort of event will
encourage a younger generation to be involved in caving.
There were nearly 40 attendees from a variety of schools. Rich helped
out at Bob and reported that the cavers had a good time and left the field
station better than they found it.
On May 4th RASS' Spring Picnic (which use to be the Parking Lot
Picnic, when RASS owned a parking lot) was held the pavilion near Dogwood
Dell, Byrd Park. It was a little cool and rained much of the day, but the 30
plus members who attended were in good spirits. The coordination was
done by Rich Geisler and Larry Hart cooked the hamburgers and hot dogs.
The attendees brought a generous amount of other food (baked beans,
veggies and dip, several salads, two cakes and more) and some of it went
very quickly. Had the weather been a little warmer and sunnier, the
attendance would likely have been closer to 50.
The only business conducted was when the President, Jason Hart,
awarded the RASS Outstanding Service Award to Rich Geisler, which had
been approved at the Retreat when Rich was not present. In making the
award Jason cited a partial list of Rich's efforts on behalf of RASS: working
many bingos (when RASS owned a bingo hall), serving as a Director for
many years, chairing at least two RASS hosted VARs, serving as Chairman of
RASS for many years and being willing to see that things that needed doing,
got accomplished.
The RASS Outstanding Service Award is intended not to be awarded
more often than every five years. Rich joins a very select group of previous
awardees composed of Alex Sproul and Glen Todd.
The June Board meeting was held at Ted & Cheryl's house on the
11th, 9 directors were present. There was discussion regarding the repair of
the Clark's drive; Kibbie will be asked to determine the cost of the proper
piping. Jeff will follow-up with Glen regarding the requirements for a gate at
the Lipps entrance to Organ cave.
Rich gave an update on the YTR use of the property and he was very
upbeat about the success of the outing.
The Board agreed on a new code for the combination lock at the Field

There was discussion about the need for three or four bolts being
installed at Clover Hollow cave, Giles County. Jeff Benford will lead the effort
to get it done. Margot offered to donate 150 of rope that might be useful.
The July General meeting will be at the new VA Game and Inland Fisheries
building in Villa Park.
It was determined to waive the July Board meeting with so many members

RASS Record

3rd Qtr, 2015

The July general meeting was lightly attended on the 2nd. The Board decided that
with all the travel and events going on to omit the July Board meeting.
RASS was pretty well represented at the NSS Convention in Missouri. The
consensus was that it was a good Convention, far better than the last Convention
held in Missouri. Hopefully all of the RASS attendees will submit a trip report or
make an oral presentation at a RASS meeting before the end of the year.
Many members were back in town for the August general meeting on the 6th.
Tray Murphy, a Life Member of RASS and the NSS died on 3 September, just before
OTR. A Memorial ceremony was held on the 6th in Richmond; RASS was lightly
represented because of OTR.

The Old Timers Reunion (OTR) had a good turnout of RASS members,
though it is not an official RASS event. Total attendance was said to be over
1,500. It was said that RASS should have won the award for the best camp
site, but, 'we was robbed'.
The September general meeting was held on the 10th and had two dozen in
attendance. Rick Wagner showed slides of various events including the NSS
Missouri Convention and narrated some of his adventures. Ted and Cheri
disseminated a short article about Ely, NV on e-mail.
The September Board meeting was held at Judy Biggers house with fairly
light attendance because so many members were travelling.
RASS Record

4th Qtr, 2015

The October General meeting was held on a rainy, 1st of October. There
were about two dozen members present. Rich reminded members that the
Nominating committee is seeking members to run for Director and that
ballot positions are supposed to be submitted by the 25th of October.
Vanesa and Richie Ellison, relatively new members, gave a very nice
presentation on the weekend NCRC training on cave rescue they recently
attended. Bill Biggers gave a little background on the early days of cave
rescue in the 1960's.
The October Board meeting was held at Kristen's and Richie Ellison was a
guest. The election committee is ready to receive ballot positions. There
are six incumbents who are at the end of their term. It was not clear if all of
the incumbents will stand for re-election. The four highest vote getters will
serve three year terms and the next two candidates will serve one year
A motion that requires all requests for reimbursements be submitted to the
Board for approval was submitted by the Treasurer. It passed after
discussion. One request for reimbursement for the Convention was on hand
and it was approved. However, it cannot be paid until it is known how many
others will submit requests for Convention. The fall fest was discussed and
seemed to be well in hand, Jane is in charge of the food.
It was suggested that the Programs committee obtain from the NSS office
some of videos of xxxxxx presentations to be shown at the General meeting.
That was acknowledged as a good idea.
The RASS Fall Fest was held at the Field Station on 23 - 25 October. The
turnout seemed modest, but the weather was great. Four caving trips went
out Saturday morning and one was scheduled for Saturday evening. A
number of members worked on their vertical skills near the entrance.
Dinner was baked potatoes with a wide assortment of toppings and it
received rave reviews. The pies for dessert finished it off in good order.
Rich G. brought a large box of bingo memorabilia that was used to feed the
fire. Some of the newer members are unfamiliar with RASS' bingo
background and all of the volunteer effort that went into it.
Sunday morning there was a 9:00AM round table discussion, that is
becoming customary. Jane provided some pastry that was appreciated. A
considerable variety of subjects were discussed. It was learned that VAR
had a fall meeting, rather than the typical weekend. Grottos have

volunteered for spring and fall VARs in 2016 and the spring VAR in 2017.
No one had any interest in becoming the President of VAR. Larry Hart
reminded the group of the dedication of the Clark's memorial in the
afternoon and encouraged everyone to come.
Patch and several others expressed concern about the number of caves on
state property that were closed and remained closed for no particular
reason. Larry Hart offered suggestion about how that might be best
addressed, but it wasn't clear that anyone was prepared to take action:
though it really should be. Margot was representing RASS and others at the
fall NSS Board of Directors meeting.
The November Board meeting was held at the home of Garrie Denson on
the 12th.
It was agreed that the November Regular meeting was well attended and
generally 'fantabulous'.
There was agreement that the Treasurer should scan the files he inherited to
reduce the storage problem.
The December General meeting was held on 3 December and was well
The final ballots for the Board election were collected and counted after 8PM.
One new member, Richie Ellison, was elected to the Board and one, very
reliable and faithful. old member and long time Secretary was not reelected, Jeane London.
Members were reminded that if they paid their 2016 dues before the end of
the year, they would save $5 per family member.
The Christmas party was hosted by Glen and Maria at their house on the
5th. It was well attended and everyone had a good time.
The December Board meeting was held at the home of Jason Hart on 10
December. There were five guests present.
51 ballots were sent out; 36 were returned.
Jeff Benford, Stevan Biggers, and Jane Biggers, were each re-elected to
three (3) year terms;
Richie Ellison was elected to a three year term.
Bob Barns and Rhiann Senkalski were each re-elected to one year terms.

Future elections will normally seek to elect four directors to three year
Ted reported that the RASS Annual Report had been timely submitted to the
State Corporation Committee. Ted also reminded the Board that he was the
Registered Agent for RASS.
Rich Geisler will continue to be the point of contact for the use of the VA
Department of Game and Inland Fisheries building for RASS meetings. The
membership seems to be pleased with the facility and its location.


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