Meeting Minutes 12/08/2003

Friends of Dicken Woods General Assembly

Minutes for the Monday, December 8, 2003 meeting at Dicken Elementary School

Attending Helen Barr, Jim Boyd, Jack Eaton, Hildegard Hohnke, Stephanie Hunter, Tom Ivacko, Debbie Johnson, Deb Norbotten, Bob Palmer, Burt Perry, Marian Williams, Max Ziegler.

  • Tree Planting and Dedication a great success
  • FoDW will participate in the Parks Steward program
  • Article IX was added to our Articles of Incorporation
  • Microgrant discussion
  • Budget Committee to be created
  • "Go! Outdoors" program offers grants
  • "Shopping for the Earth" coupons available for favorite stores to help greenbelt acquisitions

Tom Ivacko chaired the meeting and opened proceedings at 7:05.

The tree planting and dedication ceremony was fantastic, with 85 friends and neighbors in attendance. Ken Monash, a teacher at Dicken, spoke on "core democratic values." He had typically used hypothetical situations to teach this instructional guideline. Saving Dicken Woods provided a concrete example for his students. Three of his students read their appeals to Bishop Mengeling. Ron Olson, formerly of the Parks Departments, also spoke. Paul Garriepy represented the Catholic Diocese of Lansing. The Parks Advisory Committee, City Council, and Planning commission all had members present. Afterwards, a cordial reception was held in Dicken School with coffee, tea, cookies, and breads.

The Natural Area Preservation Steward Division was described by Tom. The Parks Department assigns volunteers to specific parks. The activities and volunteer hours are tracked by the department to characterize local involvement. We are stewards, and Erik Stalhandske is our liaison.

Jayne Miller has replaced Ron Olson as the head of the Parks Department, but Ron will still be an asset for us. Until November 29, it had been thought that DW might have to go back before City Council for approval, but that no longer seems necessary. Jayne Miller has reassured us that the purchase in "on track."

Article IX has been added to our Articles of Incorporation with the State of Michigan. This was an IRS request. The amendment was signed by Erik Stalhandske, Burt Perry, and Jim Boyd to expedite its addition. Article IX states:

  • "Said organization is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code."

The recent Ann Arbor News articles on DW were the best to date, commented Burt Perry. Tom Ivacko added that the AAN did eventually print a retraction of their incorrect statement that the city had "outbid" the AADL.

The Trails Committee has not yet met. They plan to meet next month. Erik, Stephanie Hunter, Deb Norbotten, Mike Champion, and Tim Kennedy have all volunteered for the group. We would also like to include Mary Anne Jaeger, Ken Monash, and Dave Szcyzcgiel from the AAPS. Stephanie would like the trail work to be done while the woods are dormant. The Parks Department is expected to have the final say on trail layout.

Microgrants may be available if FoDW raises additional money beyond that pledged to the city. Stephanie would consider a microgrant to engage a nationally renowned expert at the River Raisin Raptor Center who could speak at Dicken on the potential raptors in DW. Additionally, Leslie Science Center has a tree expert who might likewise be contracted. Jim Boyd expressed concern that all money spent should clearly satisfy the spirit of our mission statement. No action will be taken until we get feedback from the PAC on the status of the purchase.

Approval of microgrants was addressed by Jack Eaton. The bylaws state that to adopt such a program, someone would need to make a motion at a meeting, then be seconded. A vote of the general membership would decide the motion.

Finances of FoDW are largely unchanged since the last meeting. Approximately $41,000 in the bank, with $46,000 pledged.

Creation of a Budget Committee to handle financial goals for 2004 was moved by Jack Eaton. Burt Perry seconded the motion. Passed unanimously. The Steering Committee will solicit and select members. Max stressed the organizational importance of a Budget Committee. It is critical to all issues. Deb feels it is needed immediately. Deb, Jack, Bitsy, Burt all volunteered for the Budget Committee. Marian cautioned that Budget Committee tasks will need to await the city's decision on the disbursement of our pledge money. Max suggested a zero or low interest loan should be available to FoDW if we need additional money for our pledge to the PAC.

FoDW website documents should be compatible with older versions of Microsoft Office. Burt finds that Word formats can be a problem, while .txt and .pdf formats are not. Jack would find a summary of the minutes useful. This could be emailed to all, with the complete minutes available on the website. Marian would like to receive the meeting agenda ahead of the meetings.

A summary of the minutes would be beneficial. Jack Eaton thinks emailing the summary to the ALL group and maintaining the complete minutes on the website would be a good way to keep people informed. Marian Williams would like to see the meeting agenda emailed in advance of all meetings.

A timeline for the upcoming months was provided by Tom.

  • Tom and Erik expect to meet with PAC in January.
  • All donors should also be contacted in January to maintain commitments.
  • The Budget Committee could meet in January
  • The next general meeting will be in February.
  • The Budget Committee will have budget proposals

The "Go! Outdoors" program was presented by Tom. A partnership among the Ann Arbor Schools, the Ecology Center and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources received a $200,000 grant from the Southeast Michigan Community Foundation to involve students, parents, and teachers in nature areas. It is based at Lakewood Elementary.

Meetings will be scheduled one at a time. This was decided in response to a question from Deb.

The County Planning meeting of 12/10/4 at WCCC was announced by Stephanie Hunter. The meeting is at 7:00 in the Morris Lawrence Building.

Shopping for the Earth is sponsored by the Sierra Club. Tom stated that anyone can get coupons to store of their choice, with extra money going to greenbelt acquisition.

The Next Meeting is scheduled for February 2, 2004.

Motion to adjourn by Burt Perry, seconded by Marian Williams. Motion approved unanimously.

The meeting ended at 8:35.

Minutes taken by Jim Boyd