Meeting Minutes — Detroit – April 5, 2014

APRIL 5, 2014

Members Present: Robert Tischbein, Larry Krieg, Hugh Gurney, John Langdon, Kathleen Newell, Kay Chase, Jim Wallington, Robert Patterson, Jim Hinkins, Steve T. Sobel, Dave VanderBee, Chuck Merckel, Jeanie Merckel, Clark Charnetski, John Cwiek, Dan Platz, Tim Hoeffner, Ren Farley, Clayton Farmer

Also Present: Sarah Hall, Randy Floyd, Caesar Dunwoody, Anthony Woods, Jamari Gladney, Clarence Hill, Duane Johnson, Charles Anish, Shirley Davis, Anissa Nelson, Howard Phillips, Duolatvnnessa Choudhury, Clifford Hollings, Peter Hollinshead, Frank Dunbar, Howard Smith

Call to Order: Chairman Tischbein called the meeting to order at 11:14 a.m.

Minutes of the Executive Committee and the Monthly Membership meetings in Holland on March 8, 2014 were reviewed. Langdon moved acceptance of the Executive Committee minutes. The motion was seconded by Newell and approved by the members of the Executive Committee present.

Sobel then moved acceptance of the Monthly Membership meeting minutes. Krieg seconded the motion and it was approved by the members present.

Treasurer’s Report: Langdon reviewed the Treasurer’s report as submitted by Treasurer Dave Randall. As of March 31, 2014, there was $31,495.14 in the JPMorgan Chase account of which $17,141.26 consisted of the Pratt Fund, leaving $14,353.88 available for operations. Krieg moved acceptance of the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was seconded by Wallington and approved by the members present.

Langdon pointed out that it was time to get a dues reminder notice out.

Noting that Dave Randall would be stepping down as Treasurer as of April 15, 2014, after nine years of dedicated service, Kreig moved that a Certificate of Appreciation be prepared to honor Randall’s service. The motion was seconded by Langdon and approved by the members present.

Treasurer Search Committee: Kay Chase, head of the Treasurer Search Committee, recommended that Jeanie Merckel be appointed to the position of Treasurer, effective April 15, 2014. Randall has reviewed her qualifications and feels she would be an excellent fit for the job. Langdon seconded the recommendation and it was approved by the members of the Executive Committee present. Tischbein then officially appointed Merckel as Treasurer and she was welcomed to the Board.

Introductions: All present were asked to introduce themselves.

Public/Governmental Affairs: Langdon reported that Michigan By Rail has been quite successful in gathering letters of support from community leaders and government officials along the proposed Holland to Detroit Coast to Coast passenger rail line. The group is well on its way to raising the $20,000 in funding that would demonstrate strong interest in the proposal and could trigger a full feasibility study by MDOT during Fiscal Year 2015. This effort must be accomplished this spring if both houses of the state legislature are to include the study in the 2015 FY budget. Funding for existing Amtrak service does not appear to be a point of contention at this time.

Responding to Langdon’s question, Hoeffner stated that MDOT may take over maintenance of rail passenger equipment rather than paying Amtrak to do this maintenance. Hoeffner has brought the issue of unsatisfactory on time performance to Amtrak’s attention.

National Train Day: Langdon reviewed the schedule for the National Train Day event in Toledo on May 3 and went over assignments for National Train Day at various Michigan venues on May 10. Amtrak will send materials to the various stations. MARP volunteers will be responsible for unpacking these materials and distributing them on May 10.

Membership: Newell reported that, since the last meeting, she has received 46 renewals and 3 new members, one of whom is from Indiana. One member, Armand Balk, has passed. Newell asked for advice on how we should honor members who pass.

As to the Membership Committee, John Langdon, Rosemary Horvath and Clayton Farmer have expressed interest.

Tischbein moved the appointment of John Langdon to the Membership Committee. The motion was seconded by Gurney and approved by the members present.

Meetings: Wallington reported that the next membership meeting will be on Saturday, June 14 at the former Grand Trunk Railroad Station in Lansing. The structure has been restored by the Lansing Board of Water and Light.

On July 19, we will meet in Traverse City at a location to be determined. We will be examining a proposed commuter train route in the area. Dan Platz suggested we try to meet at the former train station. Wilson suggested a local college.

The November meeting will most likely be in Port Huron.

Regional Reports:
Detroit Metro: The East-West Ann Arbor Station Study is underway, Charnetski reported. The study team will look at as many as eight sites that meet Amtrak’s basic requirements, eventually narrowing options down to a preferred alternative. A Citizens Working Group and a Leadership are both involved in the study. The site for the downtown Ann Arbor Wally station has been finalized. It will be on the east side of the tracks at Liberty Street.

The North Campus-Downtown Ann Arbor Connector study is continuing. A proposed millage for expanded AAATA bus service will be voted upon in early May.

Krieg noted that AAATA will be heading up a full scale feasibility study for the Wally commuter rail proposal, reviewing in depth the R. L. Banks study done back in 2007.

East/Central: Gurney went over the written report submitted by East/Central Regional Chair Horvath.
– The Port Huron Train Show is April 27 from noon to 5:00 p.m. at the McMorran Pavilion in downtown Port Huron.
– The Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society plans to publish a photo book featuring 15 aerial views of the line from a 1949 Detroit Edison collection. Included will be another set photographed in 1961, showing diesel. According to Sandy Duffy, “the book will give modelers a bird’s eye view of the main line and side tracks during the steam to diesel transition era, all the way to Marine City.” The Society will provide the text. For now, they are looking for a publisher capable of producing a spiral-bound book. Identified will be industries, downriver businesses, three depots and the interchange junctions and yard tracks for both the Pere Marquette/C&O and the Grand Trunk. They want to publish this fall. For further information, contact Sandy (George Y. Duffy, Jr.) at

Langdon reported that Amtrak has tentatively agreed to a relocation of the station in Port Huron.


Old Business:
Nominations: The Nominations Committee, consisting of Clark Charnetski and Steve Sobel, are looking for candidates to fill all slots on the Executive Committee with the exception of the Treasurer, which is an appointed position. While some current members of the Executive Committee have expressed interest in continuing, all positions are open. The election will take place in August with the new Executive Committee taking change at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting in September. If interested, contact Clark at 734-761-3814 or Steve at 248-476-1742.

Rails to Tables: Patterson asked that his Rails to Tables proposal, introduced at the February meeting, be considered. Krieg moved that we establish a committee to review the proposal in depth and report back. Gurney seconded the motion and it was approved. Chairman Tischbein then appointed Patterson as Chair with Krieg as a member.

New Business:
Treasurer Transition: It was announced that Randall will be in Michigan later in April and will turn over all the books and review procedures with Merckel at that time.

Adjournment: Gurney moved adjournment. The motion was seconded by Hinkins and approved by the members present. The meeting adjourned at 12:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted: Approved:


Hugh D. Gurney Robert Tischbein
Secretary Chair