Observatory improvements stellar

by William Murmann, CAA President

Observatory Director Jay Reynolds recently reported the good news about our Letha House Park observatory.

Jay told me that he and Bruce Lane went out last week and made the final adjustments on our 16-inch Meade.  This scope and the recently donated 8-inch Celestron are now fully operational and user-friendly.

When I became club president nearly four years ago, one of my goals was to get our observatory up and running so it would be an asset to our club.

For years, our observatory sat largely unused.  It was full of mice, dead bugs, and spider webs.  Parts of it were literally rotting away.  During the past two years, this has all changed.

I contacted the Medina Park District’s executive director and asked for help getting our building repaired.  He graciously agreed to help, although he didn’t have to because the building belongs to the club and we are responsible for its maintenance.

The park staff replaced the building’s rotting south wall, fixed the leaky roof, and replaced the rotting door frame and door.

We paid for materials; the park district staff donated the labor free of charge.  And, recently, the park maintenance staff restored the fold-down sections of the south wall at my request.  All the labor and materials for this job were donated to us free of charge.

And last month, we installed a new door lock on the advice of the park district’s locksmith, who warned me that the old lock was about worn out and could simply stop working.

The park district, under its current executive director Tom James, has been very supportive of our club. We owe them our thanks, and thanks to the park district’s maintenance supervisor Rick Perry for the excellent work he and his staff have done in repairing our observatory.

Jay Reynolds, who I appointed last year as our observatory director,  has played a key role in restoring our observatory.  He has spent hours and hours cleaning and organizing the building, getting rid of junk, installing the 8-inch Celestron that was donated to our club, and repairing and mounting our 16-inch Meade in a new spot on the old Byers mount that had sat basically unused for years.

Jay, with help from Suzie Dills and others, has made all the difference in giving us a “new” observatory.  Many thanks to all.