Vol. XLIII, No. 6 --- June 2006

CFMS Newsletter

Table of Contents
President's Message
Membership Tip
Notes from Shirley
Rules New
Slide & Video Library
Holbrooke Field Trip
Ttouble in Trcopa - Part 2
Camp Paradise 2006
It's Free
Hubba for Joe Schmoe
In House Scholarship

The President's Corner

By Colleen McGann, CFMS President

Colleen McGann - CFMS President

The CFMS annual show is here at last, hosted by Calaveras G&MS at Angels Camp. So many activities, dealers, field trips, programs, special exhibits and most of all a Special CFMS 70th Birthday celebration on Friday night and the Directors meeting on Saturday.

I look forward to meeting all the club directors who come, representing their clubs, to learn new information about the Federation activities. These Directors will bring back to their clubs the specific information reported by all the various committees and any new subjects that come up for discussion. Opportunities also abound to network with other clubs to share ideas. The information packets will be mailed to clubs that do not attend. Please attend and save CFMS the mailing costs.

Best of all is viewing the many exhibits our fellow mineralogists and rockhounds provide to share their interests with others. I salute all the brave ones who will step up and put their work into competition. There are so many areas to compete in minerals, lapidary, faceting, carving, fossils, jewelry, education, scrimshaw, petrified wood and fluorescent minerals. Competition cases are judged on their own merits, looking for excellence in the chosen category. During the earliest years of the California Federation, only minerals were competed. Lapidary came next. Now there are numerous categories to choose from.

I personally invite all California Federation club members to attend the show this year. JUMP FOR THE GOLD the famous Calaveras jumping frog contest, will occur during this 3 day show, June 9-11.

Last month, I asked for information on what activities your club provides for the general public and for your members. I have heard back from a few clubs and I hope to get reports from some Directors at the meeting. This information will be compiled and reported later this year. I need to hear from more than 6 clubs when there are over 100 clubs, please help. This information will be useful for all our clubs.

Membership Tip

By Fred Ott, CFMS Secretary

Fred Ott - CFMS Secretary

Last month, Dick Pankey wrote an excellent article about the value of welcoming new members and getting them involved in your society. Here's a specific suggestion to help orient these new members and develop your society:

As soon as possible, give each new member a New Member Packet of pertinent information about your club and the rockhounding hobby. It's often said that you have only one chance to make a good first impression, and providing new members with valuable information right from the onset is an excellent way to make that good first impression.

Here are some things you might include in your packet:

  • Welcome
  • Cover letter signed by your clubs President
  • Literature or brochure describing your society and its activities
  • Copy of your societys bylaws
  • Lapidary rules and procedures (if appropriate)
  • Club membership list (including their names)
  • List of Current Officers and Directors and Membership Chairpersons
  • Code of Ethics
  • Field Trip schedule
  • Field Trip Waiver form
  • Equipment checklist (What To Take On Your Next Field Trip)
  • Rock and Gem Magazine Information
  • Library listing of books, magazines
  • Club business cards
  • Information about AFMS/CFMS
  • A.F.M.S. Land Use Policy
  • Field Trip Guidelines
  • Copy of most-recent newsletter
  • 1 each Rockhound Logo

It takes only a little effort to make several copies of each of these documents and keep them at the ready. Then, when you need to prepare a New Member Packet, it takes only moments to gather these items into a very impressive packet.

Notes From Shirley

By Shirley Leeson, Historian

Shirley Leeson - Historian

HI ALL, This is the month we celebrate the Birthday of the CFMS. We are a strong and healthy 70 years old and proud of it! With that in mind, we have invited our living past presidents to celebrate this event with us on Friday evening at 7pm at the Fairgrounds. There will be ice cream and cake and a commemorative surprise given to those who attend. See you all there!!

You were sent proposals for two new CFMS HONORARY MEMBERS on or about March 1st. Both letters were sent out in one envelope to save postage and with a cover letter from me, as CFMS Historian. The labels were provided by the CFMS Executive Secretary/Treasurer and was the most current address at that time. These proposals will be voted on separately. I hope you addressed the proposals with your membership and will be ready to vote at the Directors meeting June 10th, 2006 at Angels Camp.

Rules New

By Dee Holland, CFMS Rules Committee

Dee Holland - CFMS Rules Committee

In the April CFMS Newsletter there was a presentation of the change/update of the Rules OR. You will be asked to decide if this proposal should be accepted by the Directors at Angels Camp. This operating regulation will replace both the Rules Committee Information in the Officers and Chairmans manual, as well as in the By-Laws and Operating Regulations Manual.

Neither the Rules OR or the Rules Committee page in the Chairmans manual are complete. Neither really spells out the duties of this committee. You have to read both versions in order to get an idea of what the job entails. If this proposal were to be put in both places, it would solve the current problem.

We have also reduced this committee by one Vice President and made one person responsible for sending out letters to all judges and others who need information, and also maintaining a CFMS judges and clerks list.

This is a carry-over from a request by 2005 CFMS President, Marion Roberts to rewrite the Rules Committee OR, and was written by Dee Holland, 2005 CFMS Rules Chair

What's New With The Slide And Video Library

by Bill Gissler, Librarian

Bill Gissler - CFMS Librarian Proposed Committee Name Change and Transition

With the introduction of programs using power point and CD-ROM format, the name of the program library committee should be changed in 2007 to the SLIDE, VIDEO AND CD-ROM PROGRAM LIBRARY. (The definition of a CD-ROM, according to the Microsoft Internet Age Dictionary, is a compact disk containing a large amount of data, including text and images, that can be viewed using a computer but cannot be altered or erased.) The slide programs with a narration on a tape or from a script read by the presenter are becoming things of the past. Library program loan requests are over 2 to 1 for videos over slides. The reasons for this is that most clubs no longer have a functioning slide projector and presenters would rather not go to the trouble of reviewing the slide program prior to presentation at the club meeting.

Video programs are also changing. The VHS is being replaced by the Digital Video Disk (DVD). Currently Video Compact Recorders are made for both VHS and DVD. However in a few years, it is anticipated, that the DVD will replace the VHS. So what is happening within our Program Library? Slides and VHS will continue to be loaned upon request until they wear out. New programs from the AFMS annual program competition, along with purchased commercial and professional programs, will most likely be in DVD and CD-ROM format. Our old slides can be saved by scanning them into a digital format. The trick is to include a sound track. To do that, the library committee needs volunteers with electronic equipment and narrator skills. Are there any volunteers out there?

Library Program Use

Between January 1, 2006 and April 30, 2006 the Library loaned to clubs 12 slide, 28 VHS, 4 DVD and 2 CD-ROM programs (total 46). When was the last time your Club presented a program from the Library?

Alphabetical Subject List of Programs

An alphabetical subject list of our library programs has been added to the CFMS website. This should assist in selecting a program for your meeting.AFMS

Program Competition

Again for 2006, CFMS did not have an entry in the AFMS Program Competition. The last CFMS entry was in 1984 by Pat Monahan of the Santa Cruz Mineral & Gem Society. Please someone come forward to accept the challenge and prepare an entry for 2007. Competition rules and entry forms for 2007 will be available at the June 10 CFMS Directors meeting.

Field Trip to Holbrook, AZ

By Bob Fitzpatrick, Field Trip South Chair

Bob Fitzpatrick - CFMS Field Trip South Chair

What a great trip we had going to Holbrook, Arizona April 14 - 16th to collect colorful petrified wood. It was a 10 hour drive from Beaumont to the Motel in Holbrook.

On Saturday at 7:00 a.m. we met at the Museum of Antiquities & Dinosaur Park, where all 50 plus of us paid our $50.00 fee, signed in and lined up to caravan to the 60,000 acre ranch. After a 45 mile drive we made it to one of the three collecting sites. There's petrified wood everywhere, large and small rounds and chunks of all colors. We packed the truck with over 1,000 pounds. When we went to pay for it, they short weighted it (in our favor) so we all got back our $50 fee.

On Sunday before leaving we went to Jim Gray's Rock Shop (I was like a kid in a candy store). If you're ever are in Holbrook area, stop by the Rock Shop and look it over. I'm sure you'll find some petrified wood or minerals you can't live without. Keep watching the CFMS web site and LA-ROCKS on the Internet for upcoming CFMS south field trips.

Trouble in Tecopa - Part 2

By Eva


Feeling panic start to rise, I looked for my dog Gecko for at least an hour, scrambling through dry desert washes and scrabbling up rocky hills for a better vantage point. I called and called, but Gecko did not come and I could not see him anywhere. In all the many many years of him owning me, he had never done anything like this to me. He had never wandered so far away or failed to heed my urgent calls. It wasn't looking good for Gecko.

After quite some time, I wasn't sure what to do. My only decent hope, as far as I could see, was that someone had seen Gecko near the road, thought he was lost, and took him with them in their vehicle. Gecko can be just too friendly sometimes and I had little doubt that he would happily jump into someone's car. I wasn't sure if this was a reasonable hope of mine or just the frantic fantasy of a desperate dog owner, but the only way to find out would be to get to somewhere where I could check my cell phone messages. Both my current cell and home phone numbers are always present on Gecko's tags. If someone found him, surely they would call the tag numbers in short order, but to get to my cell messages first meant getting me and my truck out of the cruel desert trap.

I walked back to the road and started following the main highway, really little more than a paved 2 lane path. Ten miles from town in the desert, I hoped someone would soon stop and ask if I needed help, just as they so often do at times when I have mechanical failures near my own home. But I guess out in the desert, perhaps helpers are also more leery of their own danger. People drove right past me on the road and I soon realized I'd be forced to become an illegal hitchhiker. I started sticking out my thumb and after about 15 vehicles, I was amazed that someone actually did stop. A nice young couple on their way to the sand dunes were willing to drive me back into Tecopa and drop me at the post office. I told them my truck was stuck, but didn't say anything about my dog. I was worried if the story sounded too crazy, they wouldn't have believed me!

Left at the payphone next to the post office, I went inside to talk to the postmaster. I wasn't sure what to do. Turns out, Tecopa has not only no dog pound, but no police, no sheriffs, no towing company, no nothing! The nice lady in the post office suggested I try calling the Bureau of Land Management of all things! Needless to say, my spirits were sinking fast. I went out to the phone booth and realized that it was taken by a man talking to his girlfriend. "Five minutes," he said, "I'll be off in five minutes." I was struggling at this point to maintain my composure.

Then I looked out across the street. Some young girls were selling lemonade and their mother was having a garage sale. Having nothing better to do, I wandered over there and asked the mother if she knew anyone in town that could help me and she said her husband would be the best one for the job! She called him and within minutes, he arrived. It's a very small town so it doesn't take long for anyone to get anywhere.

In somewhat of a daze, I told her husband named John about my predicament and he drove me back to my truck. On the way, I found out he only had a 2wd truck himself so when we arrived, he had to park some distance back from my truck to avoid the same fate. As I approached my truck, I prayed that I would see Gecko waiting for me right there in the shade of the vehicle, but again my hopes were dashed. Together John and I then spent about 2 hours jacking up my truck and jamming rocks under the back wheels. My job was to scour the area for large flat rocks and you better believe that was not the kind of rockhounding I had in mind when I had left for that trip! John also managed to gouge out a lot of the offending stump with a shovel. All my various rockhounding tools were proving themselves useful. Progress was slow but steady and my truck was finally out of the big hole. In the process, I learned a heck of a lot about the art of getting unstuck from heavy sand and shale. Then I put the truck in reverse, stepped on the gas, and drove backwards like a demon over several more bushes until I finally got back on solid ground. One rule of driving on soft ground is that as long as you are still moving, you ain't stuck. Just don't stop if you don't have too!

I thanked the man. He said I could pay whatever I wanted so I tried to give him a decent sum without totally depleting my own reserves. Then he suggested I follow him back to make sure my tires were OK and would not go flat and that there was no damage to my vehicle. Soon we were back at his place across from the post office and since there was apparently no cell signal anywhere in Tecopa, I still was not able to check my messages. When I tried to call for my messages off the pay phone, I realized that I didn't know my cell phone password, since it's not needed when calling from my own phone. Then John suggested I call my cell service from his home phone to see if they could help. It was hard not to start growling as I waited interminably on hold but finally the cell service agreed to reset my password and I was able to check my messages. When I finally got through to my messages, my heart sank. After all those long hours, no one had called about my dog. The situation was looking bleak. (to be continued)

Actually this story has a happy ending as you'll find out in the next newsletter. Does make you realize you have to keep a close eye on your pets at all times.

Earth Sciences•  Camp Paradise 2006
September 3-9 and 10-16

By Jack Williams, Coordinator

Jack Williams - Camp Paradise Coordinator

I believe my opening line last year was "as always at Camp Paradise we are changing a few things", we are hoping to make it the best experience for everyone. Changes are because of various things we have to deal with every year; such as different classes, different dates the camp is available to us, different buildings the camp will let us use, number of camp sites that will be available to us, different rental fees to use the camp, and so on and so forth. These are only a few of the concerns that your Earth Sciences Committee has to deal with to bring you these great camps each year.

I hope each of you understand why we make some of the changes we have to make each year. The cost this year will remain the same as it was last year. However due to some big changes we are faced with for the future, I feel I must advise you prices are bound to go Up.

Download the "corrected Registration Form" from the CFMS web site and get in on one of the best bargains you'll ever find. We, by the way, do have another fantastic line-up of classes and instructors for you again this year, even better than last year.

I hope to see many new faces along with many familiar ones as well this year. It's a great time.

Editor's Note:

A copy of the registration form is provided elsewhere in this website.

It's Free

By Carolyn Weinberger, AFMS Editor

I ran into a lovely elderly lady over the weekend who asked about subscriptions to the AFMS Newsletter. See page 3 for details about ordering extra copies via "snail mail". Her question though was "How much does it cost to get an e-mail copy of the AFMS Newsletter?" My answer of course was "IT'S FREE". Just visit the AFMS website and you can download the issue for FREE.


By Chuck McKie, CFMS Safety

Chuck McKie - CFMS Safety

I hope you are keeping safety upper-most in your minds at all times. Driving to and from your field trips (as well as around home,) is one very important time to do so. I was driving to the store today in the outside (slow) lane because I was driving my RV. Almost rush hour. Several blocks from where I had to make a left turn, I began to try to merge into the left lane. I was beginning to think (short of jamming my vehicle into somebody) I was not going to get into the other lane. Finally, some kind soul took heart and let me turn left. So, think about that sometime when you see somebody's flashing turn signal, give them a brake, and perhaps they won't get desperate and slam into your fender. And then when you flash them a "you're welcome" with a smile in answer to their thank you wave, it may become infectious and somebody may someday give you a good turn too.

Think about how much time you will save by doing your boy scout good turn. To start, a negative 1 or 2 seconds because another vehicle got in front of you. But that may be followed by a couple of hours as you wait for the police to come and you have to make out the accident report since your traveling company became inpatient both your fenders were wrinkled. Have you thought about how much time you save when you speed up or don't slow down so somebody rudely, impatiently, recklessly, stupidly cuts in front of you to make a turn. At 60 miles per hour that is 5,560 feet per minute (Are you REALLY driving that slow?) or 88 feet per second. It will possibly take 3 or 4 seconds for him (her?) to pull into your lane. But suppose it takes them 10, or 20 or even 30 seconds. When you do get to your destination, what difference is that small amount of time going to make in your life? I know I get aggravated at other drivers and I try to think about safety and how much time I might lose.

Do you know who trains other drivers? A VERY FEW get professional training in High School. The rest? Their father, brother, boyfriend is who trained them? Do you actually wish to have them behind you? You would be a lot safer if they were ahead of you. Who, me? Well I was lucky! I lived out in the country. I trained myself! Get Thee behind me.

Hubba Hubba for Joe Schmoe

By Cathy Gaber, AFMS Club Rockhound of the Year
From AFMS Newsletter, 5/06

When was the last time someone in your club was recognized for contributions to the club? It's mid-March and I have only seven AFMS Club Rockhounds of the Year for 2006. That averages out to one per federation (though 2 federations actually have no submissions). Is there only one person in your federation who deserves to be thanked? I don't think so!!!

Think for just a moment. Is one of your officers doing an outstanding job? Has your shop foreman or field trip director opened new horizons? Has one of your members given a special program or worked with kids? Is there someone who is always there, always willing to pitch in with anything that needs doing? How about your show chair, your librarian, your hospitality chair or your sunshine person? A club can not function without the efforts of people like this. Why not take five minutes to show them that you appreciate their efforts. Submissions need to include the name of the exceptional member (or couple), the name of the club, the federation, the name of the submitter and, if applicable, any office held. Anyone in the club can submit, first come, first serve. Don't forget juniors! They get their own chance to be named AFMS Junior Rockhound of the Year. Please include the age of any junior submission. Each club can submit a name for both adults and juniors every year.

Send this information to me if you are in the Eastern Federation. Send it to your federation representative in other federations. Do it now! Everyone submitted will have their information printed in their regional federation newsletter and the AFMS newsletter. They will also have their name on the list as part of the AFMS convention record. It is a special way to show everyone how important these people are.


From the Peanut Gallery...Did you hear? Johnny Depp is starring in another swashbuckling movie about robbery on the high seas. This time the gold treasure turns out to be "fake". It's called Pyrites of the Caribbean!
Submitted by Fred Ott

In House Scholarship

By Bural LaRue, 2nd Vice President

Bural LaRue - CFMS 2nd Vice President

Please pass this on to your club members:

The Mariposa Gem & Mineral Club started a club scholarship fund several years ago which became a huge success. All members the club who wish to attend an Earth Science Studies program at either Zyzxx or Camp Paradise put their name into a drawing. One name is drawn each year.

The club pays the tuition for the lucky winner. All additional expenses are the responsibility of the person drawn. In return that person is expected to make a report to club about their experiences at camp and share what they learned.

I spoke with this year's winner at Zyzxx and she was having a great time.

I challenge each club in our Federation to send a member to camp. This is a great reward for any club member to receive.