The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by BEAT President Neil Gilbert.
Neil welcomed BEAT members who braved the rain and the uncertain path of Hurricane Irma to come to the meeting. He introduced the Board members who were present (Jan Harris, Anne Neely, Dale Todd, Greg Weiss, and Dwight Willis) and explained the reasons that Kristen Colleran, Sandy Ford, and Ted Janes could not be present. Each of the attending members also introduced herself or himself and offered a few personal background notes.
Neil reviewed the many activities in which BEAT has been involved during the summer months and thanked all of those who had participated. He also directed everyone’s attention to the table in the back of the room that displayed a variety of BEAT items for sale.
Neil gave an update on Board membership and invited a motion to appoint Kristen, Anne, Dale, and Greg to the Board. The motion was made and seconded and passed without dissent.
Jan Harris, BEAT Treasurer, described the sources and amounts of BEAT revenue and expenditures since the previous membership meeting. She reported BEAT’s current balance to be $538.30.
Dale reported on a series of Gen-X Roundtables that he and Sandy have attended in Wilmington. BEAT was invited to participate in a Gen-X Roundtable organization that was formed in Wilmington in early August. Sandy and Dale volunteered to be the BEAT representatives with the understanding that at least one of us would be able to attend each meeting of the group. Both attended the initial organizational meeting on Aug 1st. Other groups participating in the Roundtable include River Watch, Clean Cape Fear, Stop Gen-X in Our Water, New Hanover County Association of Educators, WoW, New Hanover Black Leaders, NAACP and a number of other service and business organizations in Wilmington. There is also a rep from a new group forming in Pender County. After several meetings the group has established the following:
Mission – To facilitate communication between all groups responding to the water contamination issues in the area.
Vision – To have an organized, united coalition that works smoothly and effectively for as long as needed.
Goals – 1) Maintain Communication between groups; 2) Offer our collective knowledge to one another; and 3) Support and encourage one another so that momentum in dealing with the water contamination issues can be maintained.
The bottom line is that the group is focused on making sure all participating groups know what each other is doing in order to improve the effectiveness of responses to the water contamination issues across the area. So far, since nearly all of the membership is from Wilmington, the focus has been on activities there. These activities include getting pure water to schools, inner city citizens and any citizens who lack the money and/or transportation resources to get to purchase/get access to pure water. There is also a focus on coordinating actions, events and meetings among the groups participating in the Roundtable. At this stage, the group provides BEAT with an excellent opportunity to work with and learn from other groups working to address water contamination issues in the Wilmington area.
Jan Harris discussed the importance of the committees that BEAT will be organizing. Because BEAT is already sponsoring events and anticipates more in the coming months, it is very important to have additional members volunteer to serve on the Events Committee. Several members of the audience shared ideas about how the Events Committee might be organized and how it might function. Among these ideas were asking volunteers for a specific number of volunteer appearances and having the Events Chair/Committee serve as an umbrella organization overseeing events sub-committees functioning in each of three or four sections within the county. Jan and Anne will discuss these ideas and develop a suitable structure.
BEAT ISSUES PANELS
Dwight discussed the value of having BEAT form groups or panels centered around each of several specific Brunswick County environmental issues. This would enable smaller working groups to be formed, would prevent everyone from feeling obligated to be an expert on every issue, and could lead to individuals emerging who would be willing to speak to community groups, schools, and governing bodies about a specific issue. Members expressed enthusiasm for this idea. One audience member, Cindy Vanaman, encouraged BEAT to include the issue of open-air burning and briefly discussed its importance. Dwight and the Board will continue to develop the issues panels.
Greg reported on the work that Ted Janes has led to formulate BEAT’s mission statement, vision statement, core values, and by-laws. A draft of the mission statement, vision statement, and core values (all of which still need member approval) are included in the website. Finalization of the draft of the by-laws is awaiting attorney approval. When that occurs, members will also have access to them and will be given an opportunity to comment and to make suggestions. At that point, the Board will make revisions, if necessary, and submit the final product for membership approval.
Although the BEAT website is a living document that will constantly be updated, Greg showed the variety of pages and sub-pages that have already been designed and the types of information that it includes. He encouraged members to share their ideas for information and ways that could enhance the site (using the suggestion box found in the footer).
Neil again thanked attending members for coming out on such a gloomy day. He discussed the time frame for the next meeting (which depends in part on the timing of the attorney review of the by-laws). He indicated that the next membership meeting would likely be scheduled in an evening in order to give those who work during the day an opportunity to attend. The next meeting might feature Peg Howell (who worked on an oil rig) and Joan Furlong (from Stop Ocean Drilling in the Atlantic) as guest speakers.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.
Acting Recording Secretary
BRUNSWICK ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION TEAM (BEAT)
MINUTES OF THE MEMBERSHIP MEETING
(Held at Brunswick Electric Corporation Building,
795 Ocean Highway West, Supply, NC)
September 6, 2017