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April 2000
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Contents:

Safety - Zapped In Silence
President's Message - Great Things Can Happen Working Together
Sue Holland
A Chat with Izzie
Juniors And Displays
What Should I Put on My Clubs Website?
The Red Star

The Amlab Mineral Lab Concept
All Roads Lead To Moab
Press Releases - How To Work with the Media

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MINERALOGICAL SOCIETIES         Volume 53, Number 5
SERVING SEVEN REGIONAL FEDERATIONS                                              April, 2000

Zapped In Silence
by Mel Albright, AFMS Safety Chair

Are you a mineral collector? - Even casually? Are you sure what every specimen is? If not, you should find out. You might have a radioactive specimen. There are 216 uranium containing material alone. And a bunch more radioactive materials. Do you have a pretty canary yellow mineral from New Mexico? That might be carnotite - uranium ore. There are a lot of other types of radioactive minerals formed from other elements.

What is radiation? The answer is - it depends.
First there is alpha radiation. These are large slow-moving positive particles. They can easily be blocked by paper or skin. So, there's no danger? Wrong! If you breathe or swallow an alpha emitter, it can cause serious injury to you. Second, there is beta radiation, These are electrons (very small) and can penetrate you further than alpha particles. They can be stopped by thin layers of metal, glass, or water. Again, they are dangerous if swallowed. Gamma and X-rays are true radiation and can penetrate almost everything. To stop them can take several feet of lead or concrete. They cause ionization in the body (as do the two above) and that ionization can cause severe injury or death. Damage can be collective with time. Neutrons are uncharged neutral particles. They can penetrate many things (including you) very easily. As they go through you, they cause the body to form the radiation types discussed above. It takes a bunch of water, wax or concrete to stop them.

How do I know if I have radioactive material?
Radioactivity is commonly measured by an instrument called a Geiger Counter. Any material you have can be checked by these inexpensive instruments. If you only have a question, ask at a nearby college or university or museum about a source and exposure limits. First, understand that radiation is NOT a freak occurrence. Radiation from natural sources is always with us. Some comes from the sky and the sun. Where you live can raise or lower your exposure. The poles get less than the equator. Denver gets more than New Orleans. Airplane riders get more than car riders do. There is always radiation in the earth's crust. So plants and animals gather it and you end up with exposure when you eat or drink. Potassium-40 is a major source from within your body. (Do Not Worry - it's been that way as long as there has been life) So the first thing to do with a Geiger counter is to reset it to zero to account for the natural radiation.

You may also get some radiation from man-made sources, but normally that is very minor compared to the natural radiation. Then check each mineral sample you suspect one at a time - or, you can scan your rock room and locate the beta and gamma sources. Radiation is measured in units called millisieverts (mSv). The "safe" exposure varies with the type of radiation and the distance you are from the source.

How do I treat radioactive minerals?
After reading about radioactivity, the obvious first step is to keep any source it out of your body. Don't breath dust from it (wear a microfilter dust mask). Handle it with throw-away gloves and wash yourself and anything else it touches and discard the wash water. Don't eat or drink while the specimens are out of their container.

Keep alpha sources in a plastic box, which is sealed. Keep beta sources in a sealed metal box or suspended in water in a sealed container. Keep gamma sources in enclosed sealed containers. Keep ALL of them away from areas you or your family frequent. Keep them locked up so children cannot get to them. 

Since damage to the body depends upon exposure, keep your gamma source minerals only in a small size. Don't store you gamma sources together. Ten small samples together are just as dangerous as a single source with ten times the radiation of the single sample. The Geiger meter can be used to assure you are at a safe level. Some collectors build lead-lined storage containers to contain their minerals safely.

Final advice!
If you are not absolutely sure what you're doing, do not collect radioactive mineral samples.

Reference: 
website of the International Atomic Energy Agency , Vienna - <http://www.iaea.org/>.

Great Things Can Happen Working Together
Dan Lingelbach, President

January 30, 2000 should be a day to remember for rockhounds, as that is when the "Rockhound Educational and Recreational Area" of the Wiley Well District of the BLM was dedicated. At that time the "Memorandum of Understanding" between the California Federation and the BLM was signed by representatives of the AFMS, CFMS and the BLM. This allows continuing collecting in this area with certain restrictions and responsibilities.

This culminated the results of several years of efforts by Jim Strain and his CFMS Public Lands Access Committee. This is not the first accomplishment of the CFMS in keeping open our access to our public lands. Earlier, largely through the efforts of Isabella Burns, AFMS President-Elect ( and I assume Bill Burns too) sections of the Cady Mountains were kept open for collecting. I'm assuming that Isabella will have a review of the happenings at the Wiley Well dedication in her report this month. Also, this should include some of the conditions that have been agreed to by the CFMS and the BLM. Hopefully, Jim Strain will have a report sometime on more of the details in getting this accomplished. Also, it is planned to have this information posted on the Federation Web sites. If any of the clubs have had any success similar to that reported above, please send a report to your Federation Editor and/or to Carolyn Weinberger, the AFMS Newsletter Editor. I think that is going to be the means of keeping access to some of our existing collection areas.

Speaking of reports, all AFMS Committee Chairs need to prepare articles of what is happening in their committee and send them to Carolyn, our Editor. This is the means that our members have of find out what is happening. For various reasons, the full listing of the members in each AFMS Committee is a little late in getting published. Some committees are proceeding without a full complement which deprives that Federation of being involved with running the American Federation. The Committee Chairs that do get reports to our Editor are to be commended for their faithfulness and good example.

Another item of AFMS operation is that the interest earned on the Endowment Fund is used in part to make available to each Regional Federation, $200 worth of AFMS supplies without charge. These are available from Dan McLennan, AFMS Central Office. These include copies of the Uniform Rules, the Approved Lapidary, Mineral and Fossil Lists, the Bulletin Editors Guidelines, Exhibitor Guidelines and Judges Guidelines. Also, available are AFMS pins and Gold Foil Seals for certificates. Another part of the interest earned is allocated to the copying of the Slide and Video Programs sent to each Federation. These programs are usually the winning AFMS Program Competition entries and are available to check out from your Regional Federation Program Library Chair. I know that Marge Collins, Chair of the Program Competition Committee would be pleased to receive an entry from any one or club. This is one way to pass on useful information to other clubs and their members and the public. Education is usually part of the purpose of most clubs, so participating in the Program Contest is one way of accomplishing this. 

Happy rock hunting.

Sue Holland

Darlene Sue Holland 67 of Tendoy, Idaho died February l9, 2000 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She was a member of the Bannock Shoshone Tribe and received her education on the Fort Hall Reservation and in Blackfoot, Idaho.

On August 2 , l953 she married Dee R. Holland in Rigby, Idaho. They moved from Pocatello in l989 to their ranch in Tendoy. Sue became a ranch wife, taking care of cattle, dogs and cultivating a garden of flowers. Sue enjoyed crafts, painting and needlework. She volunteered in Salmon taking care of "Her Ladies" who needed a visit, or shopping done or work done around the house. She also served as the Northwest Federation newsletter editor and for seven years their junior chairperson. She traveled with Dee extensively when he was President of the Northwest Federation and American Federation President.

Sue became ill in December with what seemed to be a cold, then with flue symptoms. She was moved to Idaho Falls where she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Sue was a quiet, dignified lady whose sweet smile lit up a room. The Northwest Rockhounds will miss her gentle ways.

Funeral services where held on February 22 at the Good Shepherd Episcopal Mission on the Fort Hall Reservation. She was buried in the Church Cemetery on the Reservation.

Bonnie Glismann

A Chat with lzzie
by Isabella Bums, President Elect

Internet expands access to information about our hobby, our organization and our lives. It has affected virtually all aspects of our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. Television commercials include a World Wide Web addresses; business cards include e-mail address; and people are buying on the net - everything from stocks to rocks.

Last summer at the CFMS Show, Our Web Master had a computer set to show our new web page. His three year old grandson crawled up on a chair by it and used his little fingers to change the pictures on the screen. It is hard for me to work mine, but the children seem to learn to use the computer easier than they learn to tie their shoes. The Internet has dramatically changed our work habits. President Dan recently commented on how much easier some tasks are over the Internet. When I feel overwhelmed and frustrated, I have to find a game to play to calm down. It is a great aid for spreading news fast by sending the same e message to many people.

The web sites are a great educational tool. Because of the ease and speed of the Internet, modern research about minerals, fossils, rocks, geology, etc. is expanding people's knowledge. At Tucson Bill & I spent sometime at the ALAA Booth, which was located between the BLM and Forestry Service booths. On Friday there were over 4000 students at the show. The Forestry Service was giving quartz crystals from Arkansas to them, but when they would grow short of supplies, the ranger would give the students a small card. The eyes of the students would light up and they would say "Oh! Thank you!" Some even put the crystals back and ask if they could have the card. I was curious. The cards consisted of the following information:

USDA FOREST SERVICE
    www.fs.fed.us
    www.fs.fed.us/ink/forests

    Forest Service GEOLOGY
    www.fs.fed.us/geology
    www..fs.fed.us/oonf/minerals

Have you ever tried to seek information from these sources? I bet some students in Tucson have by now. I must give BLM equal time.

    www.ca.bim.gov
    click CURRENT NEWS for current news"
    click INFORMATION for maps, passes, etc.
    click RECREATION then go to rockhounding/gold panning

There is more information from museums, colleges, etc. on the net. . I am prejudiced; try www.cfmsinc.org. Maybe we should promote our societies by giving flyers, cards, and book marks with our web sites and information sites. There is so much there, I pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. I will send this to Carolyn by e-mail and follow up with a snail mail copy. We will all be using all of this new information soon.

Juniors And Displays
by Bob and Kathy Miller, Co-Chairs

"adapted from a series by Diane Dare for SIES Club News 11/97-3/97, Donna Curtis, Editor" (part I of a 2 part series)

Wouldn't it be neat if every Junior member had a display at your show? Well, every one of you can have an exhibit!

Some of you may already have a display, or will make one for something else. Do you have a 4-H project, a school science or history poster or project, or work you did to earn a Scout merit badge? Is it about geology, conservation, Indian lore, or anything related to earth science? This can be your Show Exhibit!

Every one of you, even the youngest member, has some rocks or fossils or pretty stones. This article will tell you how to fix these for your Show Exhibit.

Parents/Grandparents/Interested Adults/Junior Leaders:
Every Junior could have at least an 11" X 14" display! (11" x 14" is 1/4 of a standard piece of poster board.) To create simple displays. Will you help by encouraging your junior(s) to exhibit?

"A rock specimen without a label is a paperweight", says Dean Stone, MWF Ist Vice President.

Labeling is important in a display. Labels tell people what your specimens or items are and where they came from. The labels help less knowledgeable people understand what your display contains.

Labels should be easy to read. Print clearly or type. Use heavy paper like card stock so the labels don't curl up or wrinkle. Or use adhesive 'address' labels and stick them on to your display.

If you display only one kind of mineral, you may need only one label, such as "FLUORITE -from Illinois." It is nice if you can tell more, like the mine, or the county. If you have several different rocks, you need separate labels, like "BARITE - Missouri," "FERN FOSSIL - Illinois," etc. Fossil labels can have scientific names or common names or both. You can also give the age or time period: "TRILOBITE - Phacops - Devonian Age - from Ohio." The scientific name should be underlined.

Labels should be accurate. If you have a purple rock, can you tell whether it is fluorite or amethyst? Learn about your specimens so you can identify them correctly. Be sure to check your spelling!

Have your been thinking about what you might exhibit at your show. If you need help with identification, a book from the club library may have the answers, or ask club members for assistance. 

Next month, part 2.

What Should I Put on My Clubs Website?
by Marty Hart, AFMS Webmaster

One large part of the task of creating a website is determining what should or should not be on the site. A site could be a single simple page with the most important information, such your club's name, address, contact information, and meeting information. From this point you can build your site to serve a larger role as a source of information for visitors and your members. Below is an outline listing of some of the items you might want to include on your site. Make sure that visitors to your site know they are invited to visit your club (I assume they are?). Sometimes the obvious items get left off. I'm sure some of them will also be left off this list : ).

The name of your organization 
The purpose of your organization 
Founding date (brag if it's been a while) 
Non-profit status if applicable 
Where your organization is located - 
Including city and state
    Your mailing address 
    Your meeting location 
How to contact your organization
    Again, your mailing address
    At least one e-mail address/mailing address/ phone number
        Webmaster's email address
        Club contact for public relations
        Your newsletter editor
        Show dealer chairman
    Be prepared for the question of "Where can I find rocks in the area?"
Meeting location
    State, city, and street address.
    Name of the building where the meeting is located
    Room in the building for the meeting
    Driving directions to the meeting 
    How about a map showing the meeting location
Meeting date & time schedule
    Be sure and list any months that do not follow the normal schedule
    Meeting topics
Club Logo
Affiliations
    Regional Federation
    AFMS
    Future Rockhounds of America
Membership information
    Membership requirements
    Membership application
Are visitors welcome?
Show information
Organization sponsorships
    Scholarships supported
    Donations or support to other organizations
    Educational programs
    Community support programs
Common information for your other pages
    Link to your home page, since visitors might not start on your home page.
    The name of your organization
    The URL of each page, so any printouts will show the URL
    Copyright information
    Last date web page was updated
    Hit counter for pages that you want to monitor traffic

Other Items that could be included on the website:

Newsletters
Links
    Other organizations in your area
    Regional Federation
    AFMS
    Other links of interest in your area
        Universities with Earth Science programs 
        Museums
        Special areas of interest to rockhounds 
History of the organization
    When was it organized
    Other interesting facts
Awards
    Newsletter awards
    Awards of members
    Website awards
Pictures
    Pictures of some of the members and the activities can make your
        organization look more welcoming to people wanting to visit your
        organization for the first time.
    Limit pictures so that page loading times are responsive. Use of
        thumb nails that link to larger pictures can help with loading times.
Activities
    Workshop information
        Location
        Schedule
        Rules
    Field trips
        Past field trips
        Planned field trips
        Field trip requirements 
    Special activities for youth
    Other important events
Officer and committee listing
Membership benefits
    Newsletter
    Field trips
    Workshop
    Library
Educational and other resource information about rockhounding
Disclaimers about information on the site
What's New page so visitor can quickly find new and updated items on your site.

Visit the page at http://www.amfed.org/web/webmasters.htm for links and more information related to this article. Links are included to help you find a host provider, as well as free Internet Access, email, and other services.

Each Club - Each Year - One Rockhound
by Bonnie Glismann, Chairman

The AFMS recognition program, Each Club - Each Year - One Rockhound, is a continuous program in which each club is allowed to recognize one member each year for their outstanding work as rockhounds. Nominations can be submitted at any time during the year. There is no deadline! 

The AFMS Committee makes no distinction as to who is recognized and who is not. All names submitted for recognition will be published in the AFMS Newsletter. The only restriction is that each club may submit only one nomination per year. For this program, married couples are considered as "one". If a club submits a second nomination within a year, that nomination will be held and published the next year.

Reasons for the nomination should be kept short and simple. Please tell us the name of the individual(s), the club name, city and state where located and the name of the individual sending in the nomination.

All nominations should be sent to your Regional Federation representative. 

We look forward to hearing from all our AFMS affiliated clubs.

The Red Star
from Dan McLennan, AFMS Central Office

Last month I asked subscription holders to look at the mailing label and send in their renewal fee if a red star appeared on the label. I'm asking you to do this again.

If your mailing label has a red star on it, please send in your subscription renewal immediately so you won't be dropped from the mailing list. Complete subscription information is posted on page 7 of this issue.

The Amlab Mineral Lab Concept

A Professional Lab Service for Amateurs - Dream or Reality
By: Alan Plante, Presidential Gem & Mineral Society (EFMLS)

The Present Reality
You find a mineral that you can't identify. Let's say it's a seam of sub-vitreous to waxy looking material with the intense blue color of chalcanthite - ranging from a thin veneer to clusters of grape-like micro balls. It's pop your eyes, take your breath away, drop dead gorgeous. But what is it??? You can guess, but there are several dozen possibilities and it could be any one of them - including chalcanthite. So what are you going to do?

Well, you poke through your field guides, you borrow your club's copies of Dana and the Handbook of Mineralogy, and slowly and tediously you work away at eliminating a bunch of the "maybes." And you bring it in to the club and pass it around among the old hands for their opinions. (They all think its different things and are sure it isn't what the others think it is...) So then you start to get radical: You chip off a few small pieces, one gets an acid bath, another (the largest chip) gets tested for specific gravity, and yet another gets popped in the closed tube and has the heat put to it - and so on. All this leads to the inexorable conclusion that you pretty blue mineral is a copper species - probably a carbonate or a sulfate - and you've whittled the list down to eight or ten "probables." But you still don't know which one for sure...

It's obvious that you now need the help of the "pros." But one college lab isn't well enough equipped, the university lab is under staffed and
overloaded with a rapidly dwindling budget. That museum has the gear and the people, but your sample doesn't fit into their current research program - while the other museum, like the university, simply doesn't have the money or the staff to handle the load it's under. And U.S.G.S. tells you to try them again in a few months... (Talk about a group that's under-funded and overworked!) It's not that they don't want to help you - it's just that they simply can't.

You're stuck...

The Dream
But what if there were a lab out there - or maybe even a network of labs - that did nothing but service the amateur mineral collecting community? What if the labs were set up so that if you're the proverbial "pro from Dover" you have to go elsewhere to get your analytical work done? Only samples from amateurs handled here, sorry.

Wouldn't it be grand? A lab or labs of our own! You send your sample in and in a few weeks you get back an ID, along with an analytical report replete with chemical data and a SEM graph, etc. Voila! You have your answer! Or maybe - just maybe - the answer you get is that you've discovered something new, never seen or described before; and your name is going to be attached to the announcement as the discoverer, and you even get to name it!

What an idea! What a dream! Or is it just a dream? Could it - might it - happen?

The Rationale
I think there is a case to be made for just such a lab, or network of labs (maybe four or six scattered across the country). I think it is arguable that the contributions of amateur collectors has always been and continues to be significant, even extremely important, to the science. How many species of minerals were discovered by amateurs - or at least brought to the attention of pros by them? I don't know, but I expect that it is a significant percentage, perhaps even a majority. And the rank-and-file collectors - all of us out there in the trenches (literally!) are still the ones the pros rely on to bring them new materials for examination - or at least to point them towards the stuff.

The problem is that the labs at colleges and museums are working at peak capacity given their financial, equipment, and people resources - they're maxed out, and then some! And there are damn few independent labs available to us - and those usually charge a pretty penny. (Just a SEM-EDS analysis runs around $50.00 per sample. And SEM, great as it is, still isn't always definitive. XRD is often needed to nail down a species ID.)

So it would certainly help to open up - or at least ease - the bottleneck we face when we have a "mystery mineral" we want to get IDed. And a network of labs dedicated to serving the amateur community would add tremendously to the body of mineral knowledge - speeding up the discovery of new species and adding reams of data on known ones. They would also serve as screening houses that funnel interesting things to the academic research community - along with those reams of data on known species.

As I say, I think there is a case to be made. The questions are where and how?

Costs, Grant Writing & Funding Sources
I have to admit that I'm groping in the dark here, folks. I don't really have a clue about how to make the dream a reality.

How much does a fully equipped lab cost? Probably millions, maybe tens of millions. And I would expect that yearly operating costs, salaries, expendables, overhead, etc., would run in the hundreds of thousands to low millions. It wouldn't be cheap...

It would take an ace grantsperson to track down likely funding sources and write the grants that would be needed. But I am sure that there are foundations out there - R.K. Mellon in Pittsburgh comes to mind - which have the funds and the focus of interest which can be tapped. Perhaps it might take a consortium of foundations, put together just to fund the project. Whatever the approach, I do know that there are millions of dollars of money for science that go up for grabs every year. It's a matter of finding someone who knows how to grab them.

Keeping the Amlab Network Dedicated
Okay, let's make the big leap: We've got the money and the labs are being built, equipped, and staffed. Now how are we going to run them? How are we going to make sure they stay dedicated to serving the amateur collecting community?

I'm not putting the professional community down here. It's just that they already have labs at their disposal. As I said earlier, the bottleneck doesn't exist because the pros don't want to help us amateurs out - it's because they can't. They are simply too under funded, understaffed, and overworked. Many of the college, museum, and government labs will, in fact, do what they can. It's just that it can take them so long to get to stuff amateurs send in to them. If you send a sample in today it might be anywhere from six months on up before you hear back about it. I know one fellow who sent a sample in to a government lab and didn't hear back for five years! (By then he'd had the mineral analyzed somewhere else - and it was a new species.) So, the idea of an amateur dedicated service that pros can't use is simply because its needed. The pros will still have their labs - we'll just have our own, augmenting the overall system.

First off, the odds are you'll never achieve 100% dedication. I think that's an unhappy given going in. There will always be unscrupulous people who will find loopholes and use them: The driven pro who can't get all the lab time he wants or needs at his facility and asks an amateur friend to send some samples in to Amlab under his name. And that amateur, being either beholden to the pro or unscrupulous himself, does it. Weasels are facts of life... So, if Amlab is going to be amateur dedicated, there needs to be some sort of check in place to keep it that way as much as possible. And I think that, with the proper precautions, the network could be made more dedicated than not - maybe achieving 80 or 90% dedication, which is pretty damn good!

First the Amlabs would need a database of info on the other labs out there - colleges, museums, independents, etc. - including who works in them, the pros and their interns or grad students. And that database would have to be continually updated, stay current on staffing and students. This database would be used to check incoming re quests out. Each person submitting a sample, or batch of them, would fill out a form. (Yeah - Here we go with the bureaucratic red tape. We all hate it, but it's such a necessary evil. Dammit!) The form requires the submitter's name, occupation, home and work address, home and work phone numbers, e-mail and fax, etc. This info gets compared against the database. If the submitter isn't on the "pro list" the package goes to the next step. If the guy's name is on the pro list, the package gets sent back. (No! It doesn't get sent back! It gets chucked out the back door into the dumpster. Other weasels are likely to think twice if they know they risk losing their samples...)

And all of the info gets converted to "1s" and "0s" in the computer. So if it is found that someone has sent something in for a pro, they get blackballed from using the labs - any and all of them. (This will make the amateurs think twice about doing pros an unethical favor...)

I think it would also be important to make sure that the administrators at each lab are not pros, but rather drawn from outside the pro community - people with no ties who have the business and administrative expertise to run things. They would be charged first and foremost with keeping the labs dedicated to serving the amateur community.

Finally, it would also be a firing offense for someone in the lab to knowingly bring in and/or work on materials from pros. Period! (With our non-pro administrators sitting in judgement and wielding the axe...)

I know the above outline isn't foolproof and needs a lot of fleshing out before it could be called an operational procedure. The point is that there are safeguards that can be used to keep the lab network focused on its purpose: Serving amateur collectors.

Getting the Word Out
Probably the easiest part of the project would be getting the word out to folks that the labs are up and running - ready to handle their samples and send them back IDs. You simply send out announcements to each of the mineral club federations and mineral magazines. I'm sure that would result in a flood of publicity - no paid ads needed.

And perhaps part of the funding package would be membership dues, with drives each year to get clubs and individuals to join up and support the labs. Then there would be yearly updates to the membership - maybe a newsletter or at least a quarterly report. (I expect any contributing foundation will require the reports anyway.)

Bottom line here is that you can pretty much count on word spreading fast - as fast as PCs can transfer bytes in the internet. Getting the word out won't be the problem...

What Will It Cost A Collector?
Ideally, it would be great if the labs' services could be free. But the reality is that they most likely can't be. Even the most generous foundations expect those benefiting from their largess to contribute something. They may be willing to set the network up and subsidize its operation - but they'll expect the collectors to pony up as well. I don't really know what will shake down in this respect. But I would hope that
any fees would be minimal - maybe something like $20.00 or $25.00 for the first sample and $5.00 or $10.00 for each additional sample in a batch. Maybe that's dreaming, too. We'll have to see. But even if you double those figures, you're talking damn reasonable rates for full lab work. If an individual can't afford it, then maybe their club could - and could set up a fund for ID work.

The point is the services aren't likely to be free. Learn to live with it.

Dealing With The Landslide
You've just gotta know that if such a network ever becomes established the local postman and UPS delivery guy are going to have hernias lugging in the landslide of rocks and minerals that will come crashing down on the labs each day. Everybody and their brother-in-law will be sending in everything from beach pebbles to boulders.

Well... Maybe not quite that bad. But you can certainly expect that the labs will do a pretty brisk business.

A good portion of the stuff coming in the front door is likely to be stuff that doesn't really need analytical work to ID it. So - once packages make it past receiving screening - they'll have to be sorted. Some stuff - probably quite a lot of it - will quickly get IDed and shipped out the side door with a quick note or brief report on it. Other materials will head for the chem lab for that sort of work - specific gravity, acid tests, closed and open tube tests, blowpipe, etc. Only the stuff that looks particularly thorny would head directly to the high-tech department for SEM and XRD, etc. (Probably mostly micros!) This sort of routing and tracking would be the most efficient and cost effective way to handle samples. You don't need a chem lab or SEM to ID a quartz crystal; and you don't need to use the high-tech (expensive) route on stuff that can be nailed down in a basic chem lab.

At the far end, samples would have reports and SEM graphs, etc., packed with them and they'd be mailed out. The submitter would get their specimen back (hopefully...) with whatever data was produced by the analytical process. Shouldn't take more than four to six weeks from the time a package is shipped to the lab before the submitter knows what it was they shipped out. Or at least I should think that sort of turnaround time would be possible.

Making It Happen
Okay, you like the idea and want to see it happen. What can you do to help?

Know a good grantsperson? Maybe you are a grantsperson? Know of a foundation - or two, or several - that might go for something like this? Experienced with drafting business proposals and willing to help turn this idea into one? Have some other form of contact that would be useful and willing to give us a hand, one way or another? Or just have some ideas you think would help to produce an acceptable proposal? Any or all of the above - let's hear from you.

The way this is going to happen is if the right people get their act together dig in. I think the idea is worth committing some time and effort to. Do you?

Conclusion
I recall the story of three guys that didn't have two nickels to rub together, just a good idea. So they went to the big shots at IBM and made their pitch - including promises they didn't know if they could keep. Today they're Microsoft and Billy Gates is the richest man in the world. We aren't looking to cash in on a new technology, but we've got a good idea who's time may have come. The only way to find out is take a chance. No guts, no glory. It's true.

Drop me a line if you're willing to put it on the line with me and whoever else jumps on this dream. The address is: sheral@ncia.net

Memorabilia?
from Shirley Leeson, AFMS Historian

I am searching for memorabilia from the AFMS shows. Please ask your older members who might have attended some of these shows if they might still have programs, award banquet pictures, editor's pictures, etc. I'll need the names on the pictures and the show/convention site and year. For those of you who sent me pictures of your awards when I asked for memorabilia for our 50th anniversary, they were saved and they are now in the scrap books. I am light on the material from the early conventions. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1950 is one that comes to mind. And St. Paul, Minnesota, 1956. Dallas Texas, 1958, Portland, Oregon, 1959 and Miami, Florida, 1961. A picture of the convention center, pictures of people who attended, programs of the banquet . ANYTHING.... please Will YOU ask your historian if there is any material that could be duplicated? Taking this to a copy center with a laser printer will duplicate the material very well. Consider this an early "housecleaning."

Shirley Leeson, AFMS Historian
6155 Haas St.
La Mesa, CA 91942-4312

All Roads Lead To Moab
Paris, New York, Tokyo, London, Moab
from the Points and Pebbles Club

Plans are well underway for a gala week in Moab this October as the American Federation and Rocky Mountain Federation hold their annual conventions in this lovely Utah town. 

The convention, sponsored by the Points and Pebbles Club will feature field trips before the show activities begin, an excellent assortment of dealers at the show, wonderful competitive and non-competitive displays and a chance to tour some of the most picturesque areas of our country. Reservations at the Moab Valley Inn, the host hotel are being snapped up fast and I urge you to make your reservations today if you have not already done so. The phone numbers for the hotel are:
    (435) 259-4119 or (800) 831-6622
Be certain to indicate that you are with the gem and mineral show when you reserve so as to insure obtaining the group rate for your room.

Packets with complete information will be mailed out at the end of March or early April. In it you will find the complete listing of all the activities, both day and evening, planned for the show. Moab is a popular area to visit with many National Monuments within a few hours drive. 

Motels in the area:

Moab Valley Inn - Headquarters Motel
    127 rooms - $68 plus tax per night 
    Free continental breakfast if 100 rooms are booked
    Phone: (435) 259-4119 or (800) 831-6622

Big Horn Lodge
    58 rooms - $59.95 plus tax per night
    (435) 259-6171

Red Stone Inn
    50 rooms - $59.95 plus tax per night
    (435) 259-3500

Bowen Motel
    40 rooms - $65 - $75 plus tax per night
    (435) 259-7132

Best Western Inn
    77 rooms - $99 - $111 plus tax per night
    (435) 259-6151

Sleep Inn
    61 rooms - $69 - $87 plus tax per night
    (435) 259-4655

The Virginian Motel
    37 rooms, 20 with kitchens - $62.90 + tax
    (435) 259-5468

Archway Inn
    97 rooms - $69.95 plus tax
    Free continental breakfast
    (435) 259-2599

Campgrounds

Spanish Trail RV Park & Campground
    4 miles south of Moab
    $24.04 for 2 people. Extra person $3 each
    1-800-787-2751

KOA Campground
    rates range from $19.50 - $26.00 + tax
    cabins available
    (435) 259-6682

OK RV Park 
    $15 per site per day plus tax
    (435) 259-1400

Moab Rim Campark
    $14 - $20 per day plus tax
    over 2 people $3 extra per person
    (888) 599-6622

Slickrock
    $17.41 - $22.89 per day 
    some cabins - $29.43

Packcreek Campground & RV Park
    $10 - $16.50 plus tax
    (435) 259-2982

Portal RV Park
    $15 - $24.00 plus tax
    Cabins $38.95 (need sleeping bag)+ tax
    Extra adults $3 each
    (435) 259-6108

Moab Valley RV & Campground
    $19 - $20 plus tax
    Cabins - $35
    (435) 259-4469

Check with the specific campground to determine what services they offer with their sites. Many offer full hookups and pull through sites. Lesser prices usually indicate the cost of a tent site or a dry RV site.


Do remember to make reservations early. There is another convention in town the same weekend as the show and reservations may be at difficult to obtain if you wait too long.

We look forward to seeing you in Red Rock Country this October.

Press Releases -
How To Work With the Media
from a talk by Bob Pellegrino, City Editor, Greenwich Time
from EFMLS News, January, 1999

At the 1999 Eastern Federation Editor's Breakfast in Stamford Connecticut, Bob Pellegrino, City Editor for the Greenwich Time newspaper ad- dressed the assembled group and discussed ways of maximizing newspapers in obtaining publicity for club activities. Summarized below are the key points of Mr. Pellegrino's discussion.

General Guidelines:
1. Call the City Desk of your local newspaper about two months before your scheduled activity and ask to whom a press release should be sent. The City Desk will direct you to the individual who handles your type of project.
2. Contact that person and determine what type of "lead time" is needed for receipt of the press release". Determine whether or not a good photograph can be used with your release.
3. Follow this up with a second phone call a week or so prior to the date given to you for delivering the press release as a "reminder" to the editor. Obtain the correct spelling of the individual's name and correct address for mailing your information.
4. Address your press release to the individual you have talked with.
5. Follow up with a phone call to determine if the release has been received.
6. Ask if a reporter can cover your event.

Tips on good press releases:
1. Include all pertinent information: 
where, when, time, cost (if any), why event is significant, special features, etc.
2. Avoid "jargon".
3. Define technical terms
4. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms.
5. Make your release brief, simple and clear. The less work the editor has to do to "make it fit" in the newspaper the better your chances of having it placed.

Tips on photographs:
1. If a paper will run a photo with your press release be certain that it is a very sharp picture.
2. Avoid sending in pictures of lots of people. With reproduction photos degrade in quality and people end up looking like "dots".
3. A photo of one major mineral or gemstone works well as dose a photo of one or two individuals.
4. Avoid lots of background clutter.

To obtain "feature" articles:
1. Call and ask if the newspaper would be interested in doing a story.
2. Be sure that what you ask them to cover is really of interest to the community. Have your facts in hand before you contact the paper.
3. Usually reporters want to write their own story. You might prepare notes listing important facts about your group or project, names of important individuals etc. to give the reporter as a guide.

 

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Last Revised on October 17, 2011
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