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Meeting Minutes
Torch Club of the Fox Valley
12 September 2013
Atlas Coffee Mill & Café

Notes taken by: Jude Kuenn, secretary
Attendees: Jim Baumbach, , Al Button, Janet Wullner-Faiss Cloak, Dave Debbink, Dwight Easty, Barbara Kelly, Bill Kelly, Jude Kuenn , Amy Oberg, Mary Poulson, Richard Schoenbohm, Jan Smith, Bob Swain, Peter Thiel

Guest: Judy Tonnell


  1. Meeting called to order at 6:33pm
  2. Welcome new guest
  3. Minutes from 5/09/13 meeting accepted; motioned and approved.
  4. Treasurer’s report from Barb: 8/13/13 balance $1,029.21, recent expense: $15.71; report accepted, motioned and approved. All agreed financial resources should not go below $1,000.00. Torch dues due in October, $70 per person renewal.
  5. July Green Lake Saturday outing paid for by Club was successful and a good way to support a non-profit charitable event.
  6. Al Button and Donna Weis both attended IATC annual meeting in Columbia, SC, and have been reimbursed $330 each for representing our Chapter. IATC reimbursed our club $250.  Kudos to Al for being given the Silver Torch Award. Al shared comments of meeting:  ~75 attendees, at a Marriott under remodeling/construction, one exceptional presentation on Electronics and Security. Al emailed current IATC president with feedback and offered ways to improve the event.  Comparison was made between this year’s affair and the very successful 2009 IATC meeting held in Appleton. Important variables include a Chapter’s talent in organizing interesting speakers and hosting a well-planned and executed experience.  Al was thanked for his feedback, and encouraged to continue email discussion with IATC president. 2014 annual meeting will be held in St Catherine’s, Ontario.
  7. New member application of Paul Freiberg, sponsored by Jan, was put up for vote, accepted and approved. While unable to attend the meeting, we warmly welcome Paul to the Club. 
  8. Several announcements were shared -
    Jan – opening of Bergstrom-Mahler’s next exhibit: “Glass Artists of the New North” opens 9/15/13 (through 2/16/14).
    David – announced the birth of Marcia and his newest grandchild, Eliza Katherine.
    Barb – UW-Fox Valley E.A.T.S. event Saturday 10/19/13. Evening includes food from great chefs and a silent auction. See Barb for tickets.
    Al – Nobel conference early October inSt. Peter, MN. Topic will be the Universe and Atomic Physics.
    Amy – reminded the table she and Al would be happy to be designated drivers should anyone prefer to carpool to monthly Torch meetings.
    Bill – reminded everyone to RSVP in a timely manner for this year’s monthly get-togethers.
    Mary – Noon Hour Philosophers meeting monthly, every second Wednesday in Neenah.
    Jan – “Diamonds & Denim” an event to benefit Bergstrom-Mahler Museum is Saturday 10/12/13 at glass artist Michael Meilahn’s studio.
  9. Business segment of meeting adjourned at 7:10pm for dinner.
  10. Evening’s Round Table 2-minute presentation was: “If you had $100 billion dollars to spend, what single scientific, technological or humanitarian project would you spend it on, and why?”
    Bob – Doctors without Borders, Save the Children, a small percentage as family inheritance. The topic was uninspiring.
    Amy – family planning and contraception made available to all women in all nations. Having fertility choices affects climate, environment and world population. If unchecked, in 2050, there will be 10 billion people on Earth.
    Mary - identify 10 most problematic world issues and assemble topics’ experts to address and resolve.
    Dwight – every 15 seconds a child dies because of lack of sanitation. Money would be spent to provide worldwide clean water and sanitation.
    Jim – this amount of cash could start a war, launch a private rocket, create a nuclear winter to end global warming, and/or buy a senator or two.
    Bill – expand on space exploration and create a space elevator to lift stuff into orbit. Question raised: is it our responsibility to pursue the next frontier? Possible answer: What makes us best is our drive to be the best through exploration and innovation.
    Al – mentioned his daughter’s comment as a philosophy major, in order for our species to survive, we will need to leave the planet. Water is a serious world issue. It needs to be made potable, and used more effectively agriculturally and with less waste. Milwaukee is working on better ways to use/clean water.
    Peter – all countries need potable water. Money would be spent through research to desalinate and de-brack water. There are technologies not even thought of yet to address clean water.
    Rich – would terra farm a planet, spend more money on the Peace Corps Program, invest in fire. One-third of seven billion people on Earth use animal dung or trees as a heat source for cooking food, leading to respiratory diseases. Improvements made would provide user-friendly heating sources from solar to better capture heat.
    Jude – would invest in Better Place electronic car technology, currently in use in Israel, Denmark, the Netherlands, parts of China. Batteries swapped at car wash- like stations would reduce US dependency on other countries oil. Second investment would be energy-efficient home models as examples of passive home living: clean and healthy zero energy with pay-back vs. debt in ownership.
    David – alternative education, providing funds for primary research by topic  (vs. funds going to larger institutions because of their name and/or affiliation).
    Barb – what is $100 billion? US budget is $3 trillion, NASA = $10 billion, UW System = $3 billion, four people to Mars first trip = $65 billion, sum could finance 25,000 libraries the size of Appleton’s. ($2 trillion spent  in Iraq.) Shouldn’t these be funded by taxpayers? A wealthy person supporting a cause would send the wrong message.
    Jane – living on a fixed budget, the ability to access and spend $100 billion seems like a hoax or scam that would be shredded. Where is the “spirituality” to these investments?
  11. Evening adjourned at 9pm.
    Next meeting Thursday 10/10/13.     
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