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Latest board meeting 12/15

Discussion in 'AAW Information' started by Jack Savona, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. Jack Savona

    Jack Savona

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    Tonight I attended my first BOD meeting via phone. A few comments about the setup:

    difficult to know who is talking;

    challenging to keep a phone line open for 90+ minutes;

    challenging to keep a phone to your ear for 90+minutes.

    A few comments about the meeting:

    Why was there a prolonged discussion about giving our mailing list to an insurance agent? Binh was really pushing for it. That discussion should have been halted at the start instead of having that uncomfortable silence before the motion to respect member privacy. Privacy is the issue pure and simple. Binh just didn't seem to get it. (Seems to me that privacy was at the forefront of discussion not too long ago.)

    How does one insurance agent (a John Hall ?) get to present a spam proposal to all the members? Shouldn't the BOD have proposals and bids?

    Are we getting a new logo without input from members? From what I heard, Binh's design proposal(s) will be talked about at the BOD meeting in St. Paul. ( I can't help thinking it will be less phallic.) My impression is it will be presented (and voted upon?) in a closed meeting. Please let me know if I misinterpreted and if there were any mention of the membership involvement in this proposed logo change.

    I also picked up a hint that the voting for the new BOD members was really close, but the BOD wants to never have this election, or any future election, list individual totals. Do the candidates get to know the exact numbers? If I were a losing candidate, I'd certainly like to know if a recount were possible.

    Finally, in this age of technology, isn't there a way to have this meeting broadcast on the web? Possibly with video? Or video recorded and available on the website?

    And by the way, am I allowed to post negative comments on this site?
     
  2. KurtB

    KurtB

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    While John Van Domelen has the final say on this matter, I would like to respond from my perspective.

    Negative comments have never been disallowed here. The Forums are supposed to be a place where all of the AAW members, and visitors can engage in open discussions about topics of interest to them. Unfortunately, too many individuals see it as a pulpit for their own positions, and others want to drag every last crumb out of the chew for analysis.

    My suggestion to everyone is that if you have a negative comment, also add a constructive solution for everyone else to consider, so that the ensuing discussion is positive and moves towards a solution, rather than simply ranting.

    I seriously doubt that the reason the BOD opened the meetings to non BOD individuals was so they could be second guessed and armchair quarterbacked - there is plenty of that already. Many of the BOD members actually try to gather feedback from the membership about what they want and the direction they would like to see the AAW take. We all need to take the steps that provide that input, without just tearing everything apart because we have a forum to do so.

    The rules of the Forum are about civil discourse. In my mind that means presenting negatives in a manner that includes suggestions of correction, and without taking offense if someone else suggests otherwise.
     
  3. John Van Domelen

    John Van Domelen Retired Forum Admin AAW Board Member

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    Well said Kurt, well said.
     
  4. Betty Scarpino

    Betty Scarpino

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    Hello Jack,
    I also "attended" the meeting. I have a couple of responses to what you've said/asked/commented on. But first, thank you for enduring the 90 minutes! It is a challenge to listen and/or talk on the phone for 90 minutes, which is why our volunteer Board members deserve to be recognized for their efforts on behalf of the AAW. This was your first meeting, some of these Board members have had dozens of similar meetings, not to mention hundreds of emails to prepare for the meeting ... reports and discussions ahead of time.

    John Hill is a previous Board member, an advisor to the Board, and chair of several committees (look at the AAW organization area of the website and you'll see John's name there). He continues to be an active volunteer for the AAW, which is why his proposal received the serious attention it did.

    You are assuming that the vote count for new Board members was close, but where was it close? (Or was it even close?) You could easily assume several scenarios ... that one candidate received hardly any votes and that the vote count was close only between two candidates. Or pick another scenario. The point was that the Board does not believe that publishing individual vote counts is the right thing to do.

    Video broadcast on the web? I'm wondering if you realize that board members were calling in from their homes (and in one case from an airport)? Do you really want to see all those bunny slippers??

    Your comment about the logo ... I respectfully decline to visit that issue again :D .... no comment.


    Betty Scarpino, editor, AW
     
  5. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    insurance.....i would like to reduce my cost, i would compare any offer to what i have now....seems when you reach a certain age the cost exploed, no matter the years of paying preminms without a claim
     
  6. Stuart Johnson

    Stuart Johnson

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    I phoned in and didn't find it hard using a speaker phone. I didn't know or really care too much who was making what statement. The comments themselves were the important part in my mind. As a non participant I knew I wouldn't have all the information the board members had in front of them and it did sound like there had been many emails laying out items discussed in more detail. Plus much was postponed until the meeting in St. Paul which will be a three day meeting so I doubt if a conference call will be scheduled.

    I also feel that candidate totals should be released. With only roughly 2400 votes cast knowing it only took x number to win there just might be more members willing to run. I just don't see any value in not showing the totals. I'm sure there are other organizations that don't want totals know but every other election I'm aware of will show the results. If some young kid running for class president can handle poor results then adults running for a BoD position in a non-profit organization should also be able to handle being defeated.

    I don't know how many called into the meeting but I didn't hear a lot of disconnects. I found the meeting informative and applaud the board for making the conference call available.
     
  7. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    "Constructive" criticism, eh? All for that so long as posters don't get personally offended when their ideas and preferences don't hold up to examination.

    As mentioned in the Meeting, there will be a posting on the AAW site of the proposed new Bylaws. It will be interesting to see how the discussion of those provisions proceeds here.
     
  8. Matt Lewis

    Matt Lewis

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    Listening In

    Hello all,

    With regards to listening in and your comfort - try using Skype. I use it with a set of head phones and have no issues. Very comfortable also and I can surf the net or watch a turning video while they are covering the boring parts:)!

    Regarding the meeting - I enjoyed listening to the meeting and think it was held in a professional manner. I don't always agree with the discussions or opinons, but know that I can contact them directly and let them know if I need to.

    Thanks to the BOD for setting up the call in. I would also encourage all members to vote. I find it disappointing that only 2400 of close to 14,000 voted. I hope all those that are expressing an opinon one way or another voted!

    By the way, don't forget to renew by 31 DEC 10.

    Best regards,


    Matt
     
  9. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    I did not listen in, it is nice to know that I can if I choose.

    When members suggest the AAW board do xyz, members should realize that board members are each engaged in time consuming projects for AAW. Taking on addional work is unlikely to happen unless the impact is obvious to several board members and one or more take ownership of the idea.

    However, a suggestion that arrives with supporting documentation will at a minimum get read by board members and most likely get a vote to proceed on not.


    For instance a Web broadcast proposal accompanied with research showing:
    it costs less than the phone conference
    is available to more members than the phone conference
    more members would use it than the phone conference
    every board member already owns a video equipped lap top
    ....... likely gets approval

    It takes a lot of hours to craft a meaningful proposal. If you do it will at least get acted upon. to suggest video conferencing without supporting cost benefit analysis is unlikely to go anywhere since most folks will assumes it is an increased cost that reaches fewer members. While this opinion may be totally wrong it is the one that blocks further discussion.

    You are the AAW. If you have an idea. Develop it.
    Spend 20 - 40 hours putting the proposal together. Folks will at least realize you have invested your time not just asked the board to use their time on your behalf.

    When members bring a proposal with supporting cost and implementation details to the board it is in a form that can be voted upon it is likely to be voted upon.

    suggesting the board do XYS is likely to end up on the to do pile and get buried under other to do's

    Happy listening,
    Al
     
  10. Curtis Thompson

    Curtis Thompson

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    Voting

    Posted by Matt lewis :


    If each member gets 3 votes, then the number of participating voters was between eight and nine hundred voters. that's only about 6% of the membership.

    Is there any data available as to the total vote count for the last 8 or 10 years? A better comparison can be made as to the average yearly voter turnout.

    I suspect that the introductory information on the candidates is not sufficient for many members to feel that are making an informed decision. How can that be improved upon without involving campaigning. Maybe campaigning can be regulated by the AAW?

    Curtis Thompson
    AAW member #15049
     
  11. davidwalser

    davidwalser

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    I agree that vote totals should be made public, I just think that should be done on a going forward basis. Unless all the candidates in the last election agree, I would object to releasing the vote totals for the last election. In my view, that would be changing the rules after the game has been played. We don't know whether any of the candidates would have chosen not to run had they known the vote totals would have been made public and I don't think it's fair alter the conditions under which they agreed to be a candidate without their agreement.
     
  12. Stuart Johnson

    Stuart Johnson

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    Curtis, that brings up the question about the 2400. Was it 2400 ballots received with 7200 votes or 800 ballots with 2400 votes. Either way it shows the membership as a whole doesn't care one way or the other how the AAW is run. I don't buy the argument that a large number didn't vote because they couldn't get the ballot out of the journal.

    Posting totals and allowing candidates to actively campaign would help turn out the vote.
     
  13. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Are we sure that the term "votes" being discussed is not actually referring to "ballots" received? 2,400 ballots would be a very different situation from 800 or so ballots listing 3 choices. When I go to the polls in a general election I simply "vote" even though I may check off half a dozen choices. I "count" my filling out the ballot as a single vote.

    If the AAW goes to electronic voting, we may get a lot more members voting as it will be much easier for them, provided, of course, that they have internet access by computer or "phone".
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  14. davidwalser

    davidwalser

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    Curtis,

    I think you're onto something. It may be that the current arrangement does not provide members with enough information about the candidates and that members fail to vote for that reason. (The same reason, by the way, I fail to vote in most of our local judicial elections. In most cases, I just don't know anything about the judges standing for re-election.) I hope that we might be able to address this question by coming up with a uniform questionnaire that each candidate can complete (or not complete). The completed questionnaires could then be posted in the members section of the AAW website. Most members won't bother to read the questionnaires, but at least the information could be made available without campaigning. An volunteers to serve on the committee to come up with the questionnaire?

    On a related note, it might interest many to know that many organizations such as ours do not elect the members of their board. In fact, the MN attorney that worked with the bylaws committee recommended the AAW get rid of membership voting. (You'll be happy to know that the committee did not follow that recommendation!) I currently serve on the board of our state society of CPAs. I was not elected to the position in any real sense. (There was a voice vote at the annual meeting, but no other names were presented for a vote and nominations were not accepted from the floor.) I'm not recommending that approach for the AAW. I'm simply saying high voter participation is not required for an organization to be healthy and well run.
     
  15. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    REALLY?
    Are you daring people to frame things in the worst possible way?
    Couldn't you have kept that jab/barb/remark/comment to yourself?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  16. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Actually, it was a valid comment. In fact, I was and am encouraging everyone to participate in an adult and constructive fashion. Your immediate choice to mistake my clear meaning confirms the need for exactly what I wrote.


    To assist me in carrying through with my "No Mas" commitment set out below, I'll be placing you on my forum settings "ignore" list so I'm not tempted to respond to you further.
     
  17. Jake Debski

    Jake Debski

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    Middle ground?

    Would posting the percentages of votes broken down for the top three of six candidates, and allowing the remaining percentage just be posted without a candidate by candidate breakdown satisfy the transparency request. Neither side of this current discussion would be one hundred percent happy. But in the middle ground both sides are allowed some of what they desire. This my way or the highway, attitude, on both sides of this stuff gets nothing but more angst.
     
  18. Jamie Donaldson

    Jamie Donaldson

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    David Walser- I'm curious about.....

    ..this statement of a MN attorney suggesting that we(AAW) not have membership elections for BOD positions? What alternative election/selection process did he/she recommend? I can't imagine a "benevolent dictatorship" ever being acceptable to the graybeard age demographics of AAW membership, so how would we determine future governance in a democratic manner that would be accountable to and representative of the membership?
     
  19. Curtis Thompson

    Curtis Thompson

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    Votes or Ballots

    Posted by Mark Mandell:
    Mark,
    I contacted the AAW office about the total election vote results for the past election. Linda sent me the letter from the CPA firm and in the letter is says that 2418 votes were cast.

    I've attached the letter for your review.

    Hope this helps

    Curtis
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Jamie, there are many NFP corps that do not have voting members. In fact, there are different sets of rules under Minnesota statutes for both voting and non-voting "membership" situations.

    Non-voting charities have boards, usually much larger than the AAW "9", with vacancies being filled by the existing board of trustees. Board members can, however, remain so for life unless removed for some reason.

    Counsel made the comment not so much as a suggestion, but more as a comment that bylaws in non-voting organizations were far easier to draft and apply.

    Given the AAW's baseline purpose of inclusion and sharing, I think the voting membership has been a very real and positive difference and a factor in the organization's growth.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  21. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    While the document is not available, the title is, so it seems as though there were 2000+ ballots cast. That being the case, it would be obvious that not everybody used all of their three choices. I wonder if many of the voters really understood that they could pick three of the six. 2000 ballot does, however, constitute roughly 15 percent of the membership. Obviously a low percentage of voting. E-voting would make things easier and faster for members to vote, so I'm hoping that we'll see the numbers increase when that project finally gets done.

    PS: Now that the pdf has be approved and viewed, it appears that you may be misreading it. The 2011 figure relates to the year so it seems that 2,400+ ballots may have been received. Still only about 18 percent of the members and a low level of participation, to be sure.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  22. Matt Lewis

    Matt Lewis

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    Great points

    Great points about the actual numbers! I never really thought about the number of votes we each get when I heard the number last night. I was just trying to make the point that the majority of members are not voting and that is disappointing. It seems to me that we will never have a true representation of the membership's interest if we continue to vote in such low numbers. The organization will only reflect the interests of those that contribute their time and effort. Maybe that is the point. I think Al H.'s theme is on target in that regard.

    Anyway, I appreciate those that do contribute whether paid or voluntarily!

    Regards,

    Matt
     
  23. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo

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    Totally irrelevant since it is not going to happen.
     
  24. Curtis Thompson

    Curtis Thompson

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    Mark,

    You're right about the attachment not working. It says it's pending approval. If you or anyone would like to see the letter, you can e-mail me at ethicscomplaint3@yahoo.com and I'll gladly send you the CPA's letter.

    It does say in the letter that 2418 votes were cast and the three candidates that received the most votes were ...... We know the rest as the winners of the election etc

    Maybe the moderators can approve the attachment.

    Curtis
     
  25. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    Thanks, Curtis, but past election results are not high on my must-see list; and it's a loooong list. :D

    Besides, when and if the new bylaws are approved and e-voting goes into effect as an option, the "landscaping" may change, hopefully for the better. I'll be more interested in how the election goes next year. I know, of course, that there is some portion of the AAW Membership who only care if their Journal arrives on time; those folks just have no interest in voting or how the AAW is run. But I'm hoping that a significant number (over 15 percent) will become more engaged when they see that their involvement can matter.

    Time will tell, eh?
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  26. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    Matt, I think the results are a true representation of the membership's interest. The message just happens to be a resounding lack of interest in the makeup of the board and how that affects their experience with the AAW.

    I find it disappointing but not surprising. I believe no matter what method of voting is made available to the membership we will still see a very low rate of participation. If finding a pen and a stamp are too much trouble, following links, entering a member number and password, filling in radio buttons and clicking "Submit" won't garner much more participation.

    Just my two-cynical-cents...
     
  27. Jake Debski

    Jake Debski

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    Owen, in line with your comment, at least in my experience, Election Day in our chapter is usually poorly attended. My thought was, some simply did not care and some others were afraid of being asked to run for an unfilled office. :rolleyes:
     
  28. Matt Lewis

    Matt Lewis

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    Agreed

    Owen,

    I think you and I are saying the same thing, but differently. I agree. Bottomline - thanks to all who are engaged!

    BR,

    Matt
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  29. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    I guess someone else can explain (or not) how the above was helpful or necessary commentary. How it moved the conversation forward, or even invited contrasting points of view or questions about the comments others MIGHT make in coming discourse.
    I saw it as a preemptive "warning"(?) to anyone who dared to question, pretty much anything - apparently, including me and comments like the above.

    Lost another friend by asking a question.
     
  30. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo

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    Interesting number

    Anyone recognize what 10% of this number represents?
     
  31. Garmar

    Garmar

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    George, I love you man. Have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. I have greatly enjoyed your comments, wit and points of view.
     
  32. Stuart Johnson

    Stuart Johnson

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    Google: 241.8 Reinstatement of removal orders.

    Dealing with :An alien who illegally reenters the United States

    I don't know what that has to do with the subject but I was able to escape from Google after only five minutes. That is possibly a new record for me.

    Even after reading the letter I am still confused about 2418 being the number of ballots (members voting) or votes selected on the ballots.
     
  33. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo

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    10% is about the number of people that signed the ethics complaint
     
  34. Stuart Johnson

    Stuart Johnson

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    The illegal alien bit has as much significance as comparing the number to signers of the ethics complaint. The only meaning the number has is that it shows the total apathy amongst the members.

    Regardless of which side of the ethic issue one chooses there has to be some sort of common ground when it comes to energizing the membership. What are the benefits to belonging to AAW for most members and why should they care about the BoD, bylaws, ethics or any other aspect of AAW other than the journal? At the BoD meeting they discussed increasing membership but I didn't hear anything about how to attract new members. Reading the list of benefits of joining like ingredients in packaging (greatest amount first) the main reason is the journal, then the drawing and then two more about the journal.

    I won a free one year membership at the Segmented Woodturner symposium and other than that if it wasn't for the online journal I wouldn't renew. While the journal is good and I enjoy it (art and all) I don't think it is worth the membership cost without the online back issues.
     
  35. Ron Sardo

    Ron Sardo

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    It seems that our views differ.
     
  36. Jack Savona

    Jack Savona

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    Anybody concerned?

    Anyone concerned about the BOD discussion regarding the logo change? Has anyone heard about a change? Anyone asked to submit proposed designs? Or is it an executive decision?

    In addition, I just read this in the October minutes:

    John Hill submitted a written request that the AAW supply name and street addresses to Liberty Mutual Insurance Company for the purpose of communicating with the membership regarding offers of discounts on homeowners, renters and automobile insurance. The Board believes that doing so would violate the AAW’s privacy policy. The consensus from the board is not to supply the requested information to Liberty Mutual.

    I like the last two sentences.

    So why was there a prolonged discussion at the 12/15 meeting about this again, especially if the October consensus was that it violated our privacy?
     
  37. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    OK, I know its me asking, but how is that number relevant? Unless I don't understand the meaning of the word "ethics," if only ONE person lodges a VALID complaint about a clear violation of our ByLaws, shouldn't that trigger action?

    I'm trying not to belabor the point, but what percentage of the membership should it take (if my definition isn't correct) to resolve a legitimate ethics violation?
     
  38. Owen Lowe

    Owen Lowe

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    George,
    Ethics is in the eye of the beholder. Ethics are based upon morality and principles -- they vary depending on culture and context. Just because one believes they have a valid complaint does not necessarily make it so in the eyes of the judge. Additionally, it makes no difference if the complaint is made by one or a million; if the arbiter does not see the validity it is dismissed.

    If you don't like the outcome, you work to change the rules, become a participant in the decision-making process or let it go and decide to live with the results as best you can.
     
  39. George Guadiane

    George Guadiane

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    Funny, I didn't have any particular circumstance in mind. I was just asking if more than one person raising an ethical issue was necessary in order to have it looked into.

    I would have thought that ethics fall into a fairly narrow set of parameters.
    Anything less falls into the "situational" category and situational ethics are really not about ethics at all, they are about justifying what the powers that be want... Let's use the morals and ethics and laws of St. Paul Mn in the context of honesty, openness and fairness.

    "Don't Walk On The Grass" would be a properly written, unambiguous ByLaw. It should/would be fairly easy to determine if that boundary were crossed. If the ByLaws are not written with that kind of clarity, then, in my opinion, they still need revision.
    If they ARE written with that kind of clarity than I find it difficult to understand where the wiggle room is.

    And my question in all of that is:
    Should there be wiggle room when we are talking about the ethical operation of a more than Million Dollar Not For Profit Corporation?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  40. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    George,

    Repeating something over and over, or stating conjecture as fact does not make it true. This subject has been belabored extensively on this forum and elsewhere. Bottom line is - there are two sides to every story, including this one.

    Now, the principals have buried the hatchet and asked us all to make peace, turn some wood and get back to the good-will inherent in our hobby and craft. In the spirit of Christmas, please - be at peace.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010

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