Each February, the SJAA hosts its annual membership meeting, where about half of the members of the nine seat board of directors are elected by the members, recognition awards are presented, and everyone brings something to share for the annual potluck.
Lee Hoglan was one of the three deserving recipients of recognition. Before Lee stepped down from the board late last year, he had served for over ten years; he was the longest serving board member in recent memory and stood as vice president for many years. He also managed the Telescope Loaner Program for many years, and was the face of SJAA on the website, in the ‘Ask Lee’ role. For many years, he was also a reliable opener and closer for the In Town Star Parties at San José’s Houge Park. Though he wasn’t there that night to receive the award, he was certainly there in spirit, as everyone, recent members and long timers alike, became just a little bit more aware of his significant contributions.
Ed Wong also received recognition for his work with the club. A board member for several years, Ed also spearheaded several new initiatives that continue today. The idea of Fix It sessions came from Ed, who ran the program for several years before handing it off to others. He also was instrumental in working with the Santa Clara County Parks Department for a permit which allowed nighttime use of Mendoza Ranch, one of the darker sky sites in the south bay. He also established and maintains the relationship with Pinnacles National Park, organizing amateur astronomers from the south bay to participate in public star parties at the National Park, with the idea of being able to use the park on other nights for ‘private’ viewing. He was a docent with the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority and also continues to run the SJAA Binocular Observing program.
Dave Ittner was the final recipient of recognition by the club at the February meeting. Dave has an unending reservoir of energy, which he applied for almost too many roles and leadership positions in the club to even name. Most recently, he was president for the past two years before bing termed out. He was a lead docent with the OSA, managing the Starry Nights program at Rancho Cañada del Oro, south of San José. He ran the loaner program and continues to manage the stream of incoming donations of astronomy gear. Most significantly, the QuickSTARt program was his brainchild. QuickSTARt probably does more to help facilitate new people into the hobby of amateur astronomy than any other, and goes a long way to fulfill the club’s mission of brining astronomy to the public. Dave continues to singlehandedly run this program.
Congratulations, and perhaps more appropriately, Thank You, to Lee, Ed and Dave for the well-deserved recognition they received and for their commitment of energy and time to the local amateur astronomy community.
(For more on the happenings of the 2017 membership meeting, including pictures, please see the cover story in the March 2017 edition of the Ephemeris.)