Table of Contents
The President's Corner
Attention Federation Dir & Clubs
Fall Business Plans
All American Club
Who's Getting the AFMS Newsletter?
Honorary Members
Notes From Pat
America The Beautiful Pass
Slide, Video & CD-ROM Prog Lib
Tax Advisor News
Competitive Exhibits at Angels Camp

Trouble in Tecopa Part 4
It's That Time Again!
Involving More Members & CFMS Roster
Juniors Activities: Geode Fun
Demonsstrators Dir - Call for Your Talent
Why Be An Officer?
My Week At Wildacres Judging Class
Demonstratior's Directory Form

The President's Corner

By Colleen McGann, CFMS President

Colleen McGann - CFMS President -  2006

Again, I want to thank the Calaveras Club for hosting the CFMS annual show and Directors meeting this past June. The event was well attended, both show and meeting and was a grand success. The 2007 show will be in Palmdale, begin now to choose your level of activity there; entering displays, selling rocks, or just attending.

Now, I am getting ready to travel to Nashville, Tennessee for the annual AFMS meeting and show, held Aug 15-20. This is a great opportunity for members from all the seven AFMS regions to meet and talk together about subjects we are all concerned with. To learn about what other societies around America are doing to support their clubs to have success stories. By attending shows in other regions of the country, we see different displays and find new places to collect rocks or fossils as a bonus to any trip.

CFMS will be well represented at this AFMS event by many members of our society; CFMS delegates to AFMS are President, Colleen McGann and 1st Vice President, Dick Pankey, AFMS 1st VP, Shirley Leeson, AFMS Treasurer, Pat LaRue, AFMS Scholarship President, Dee Holland, and AFMS Scholarship Secretary Ruth Bailey. There may be other CFMS attendees that I will mention in later newsletter. We will also learn at the banquet what awards CFMS has earned at the AFMS Federation level and report this.

These CFMS people have been volunteering their time and energy to both their own clubs, CFMS and AFMS for more than 30 years. This is dedication. Our clubs and our Federations are powered by volunteers. Volunteers are working together as teams donating their time and energy toward the continuation of minerals societies and club events in America. We all enjoy what we do so much we want to share with our friends and friends to be. I urge all club members to be good volunteers for their club and to expand their own activities at the California Federation level and the American Federation level when possible. Let your Federation Director or CFMS officer know if you are available to help at the Federation level. Get involved too by contacting your local BLM and Forestry agencies to keep aware of changes to collecting areas, and to keep in discussion with these agencies to keep these collecting areas open.

Until then, enjoy your summer, fill your RV and trucks by collecting as many rocks as Lucy & Desi did on their summer vacation!

Attention Federation Directors and Clubs

By Richard Pankey, 1st Vice President

Dick Pankey - 1st VP

The CFMS Board of Directors meets twice a year to conduct the business of the Federation. These meetings are very important for the successful operation of the Federation and for the health and vitality of the Federation. The successful operation of the member clubs and the health and vitality of these clubs can be directly traced to the attendance and participation of their director. CFMS is not an entity unto itself; it is the member clubs, in total, that is the Federation. And without the participation and input from the clubs, through their directors, the federation cannot function. It is important that each society have a Federation Director that can and will attend the Directors' Meeting to represent the society to the Federation and represent the Federation to the society.

How is your society doing? Does your society have a Federation Director? Does he or she attend these meetings? Can or will he or she attend these meetings?

What can your club do? This is a very important officer in your society. Don't have a person who is your Federation Director in name only. Elect/appoint a Federation Director who can and will attend the meetings to represent your thoughts and ideas to the Federation and bring back to your club what is happening at the meetings and other activities of the Federation. Also, you need to keep CFMS informed about whom your Director is and if there is a change in that office. The Federation Director should read all reports and the CFMS Newsletter and keep the club informed on the actions and activities of the Federation.

Our next Directors' meeting will be held November 11th in Visalia, CA. In October, your director will be mailed the notice of the meeting, registration form, agenda and minutes of the last Directors' Meeting. This is an important meeting. In addition to the reports from Officers and Committees there will be election of next year's CFMS Officers, approval of the budget, and other business for the good of our clubs and the Federation. He/she should read and present this material to the club so that he/she can be instructed as to their wishes. The director should bring to the meeting any new business or ideas that the society wishes to be presented.

There are over 130 clubs and societies in CFMS and each one should be represented at this meeting by their director or an alternate. Will your society be represented at the Board of Directors' Meeting in Visalia?

Fall Business Meeting Plans

Pat LaRue - CFMS Exec Secretary/Treasurer

The annual Fall business meeting and election of officers will be held November 11-13, 2006 at the Holiday Inn Plaza Park, off Hwy 198 on W. Airport Drive, Visalia, CA.

Room reservations at the Holiday Inn may be made by phone at (209) 651-5000. To receive the special rate of $72 per night, you must tell them you are with CFMS. Cutoff date for the rate is 10/28/06. Add 10% room tax. Special note to those who prefer to bring their RV. The hotel still allows you to park in the large lot to the rear of the building. However the hotel will charge a one time fee of $30 for the privilege. Pay this at the front desk of the hotel when you arrive.


Chicken Wellington
(boneless, skinless breast of chicken, fresh spinach and mushrooms tucked in a flaky puff pastry)
OR Marinated thin sliced tri-tip w/ a Hunter style sauce
House salad w/ ranch and raspberry vinaigrette
Roasted Parmesan red potatoes
Italian style vegetables
Bread pudding

For the vegetarian•  
Pasta Primavera
(fettuccini pasta w/ assorted vegetables sauteed in garlic and olive oil)
House salad as above
Bread pudding

All entrees come with rolls and butter, coffee or tea service. Price $25 (includes tax and gratuity).

Make banquet reservations by October 31. Mail your check payable to CFMS and your entree selection to:

Pat LaRue
PO Box 1657
Rialto, CA 92377-1657

Committee meetings will be held in the Executive Conference Room. This will be a new location. Notify Dick Pankey of your needs. 1•  4 pm on Friday afternoon is reserved for the Executive Committee.

All American Club

By Dot Beachler, Chair

Dot Beachler - All American Club Chair

Here are the judging results of the California Federation of Mineral Societies All American Program as reported at Angels Camp in June 2006.

Fossils For Fun - plaque
Roseville Rock Rollers - Certificate

Sutter Buttes Gem & Mineral Society - Plaque

All clubs received certificates with a special identifying marker indicating that they had participated in the 70th anniversary of the CFMS. These certificates will be a great addition to a clubs' history. Now, for all CFMS clubs, there is another opportunity for a special recognition this coming year. The American Federation will celebrate 60 years. Let's have the California Federation well represented for this honor. Start collecting your data NOW!

Who's Getting the AFMS Newsletter?

By Steve Weinberger, AFMS Central Office Admin

You have just received the newsletter and it is quite possible that you "retired" from your office six or more months ago. As of the date of this writing, the Central Office has received directories from only 4 of the 7 regional federations. Until the remainder arrive, please send me the names, addresses and titles of your club's president, editor, federation director (liaison) or secretary if your club does not have a federation director (liaison) if these people are not currently receiving the AFMS Newsletter.

Also, as officers change, please send the updates to me. In this way our lines of communication can remain open. Send all changes to:

Steve Weinberger
PO Box 302
Glyndon, MD 21071-0302

From AFMS Newsletter, June/July, 2006

Honorary Members

By Shirley Leeson, Historian

Shirley Leeson, Historian

Last year the Roseville Rock Rollers initiated proposing DR. JOHN PARRISH, California's State Geologist as the first CFMS Honorary Member in many years. After discussion, the proposal was passed and Dr. Parrish became the first CFMS Honorary Member since Vince Morgan, Past CFMS and AFMS President. (I am still researching to see if I can find the year this was accomplished.)

This year two new proposals were initiated. Robert, BOB Jones, Senior Editor of Rocks and Gems, nominated by San Diego Mineral & Gem Society and Conejo Gem & Mineral Club; and Dr. William S. Wise, Professor Emeritus, University of California Santa Barbara, nominated by the Northern California Mineralogical Association. The CFMS is proud to again recognize people of importance by making them HONORARY MEMBERS OF THE CFMS. All these gentlemen go far beyond our hobby; they are influential throughout the state, nationally and internationally. We were fortunate in having two of our honorees attend our banquet at Angels Camp. Dr. John Parrish, 2005 recipient, and Bob Jones, 2006 recipient, were honored and given a triangle plaque with the famous golden bear replica in recognition of their Honorary CFMS status.

Notes From the Executive Secretary/Treasurer

By Pat Larue, Executive Secretary/Treasurer

Pat LaRue - CFMS Exec Secretary/Treasurer

One of my responsibilities is maintaining the mailing list for CFMS. An on-going problem is the amount of return mail each month. Not only does that create an additional expense, but it means you didn't get a newsletter that month for reasons not related to postal service delays.

If you plan to move, please send me your change of address so the file can be updated. Take a close look at your mailing label. Is the spelling correct? Is the zip code correct? Is the street number or box number correct? Please let me know ASAP so the correction can be made. Thanks for your help.

America The Beautiful Pass

By Frank Monez, PLAC North, Chairman

Frank Monez, PLAC North, Chairman

I received a copy of "The Fee-Free Press" flier from Vern Cliffe, one of our CFMS members. The flier was distributed by the Western Slope No-Fee Coalition. The essence of their flier was that no admission fees should be required to enter any Federal recreation areas. In the Fall of 2005, a fee system with a title of "America the Beautiful Pass" was mentioned at several meetings and described in several articles. I tried to do a little research on the subject, including review of various AFMS newsletters, and other possible documentation. The only conclusion I could draw from the articles and written words was, and is, confusion. References were made to publication and review meetings in 2006, but I have not seen any positive statements indicating any such meetings were, or are, scheduled.

Back in January, the Hollister Office of BLM talked about the coming "America the Beautiful" pass for BLM, Forest Service land, National Parks, etc. The only conclusion I could draw from the articles and written words was, and is, confusion. References were made to publication and review meetings in 2006, but I have not seen any positive statements indicating any such meetings were, or are, scheduled.

I called the Hollister BLM Office and got the present status "of a pass". I say "a pass" because "America the Beautiful" is copyrighted and they must change the name. They are now talking possible resolution and issue of a pass in the Fall of 2007 for Clear Creek.

In the interim period, the "Golden Age Passport", and related passes, will be utilized by the Federal Government. I found the following passes are currently in use: "Annual Adventure Pass", "Daily Adventure Pass", "2 ND Vehicle Adventure Pass", "Golden Age Passport", "Golden Access", and "Golden Eagle Pass".

Slide, Video, and CD-ROM Program Library

By Bill Gissler, Program Librarian

Bill Gissler,  Program Librarian

On July 6, I visited the Ginkgo Petrified Forest and Interpretive Center in Vantage, Washington. The town of Vantage (70 residents) is located in central Washington, half-way between Seattle and Spokane on Interstate 90. I had decided to make the trip after viewing the CFMS library slide program F-27, which was made in 1986 by members of the Oregon Agate and Mineral Society. Nothing seemed to have changed much in the 20 years. Both the State Park and the near-by Interpretive Center and the Ginkgo Gem Shop, all still were there.

At the interpretive center I purchased two professionally produced VHS videos made around 2000. "Trees of Stone" is a 15 minute video describing the area as a land once covered by trees and lush vegetation and then buried under lava millions of years ago. "The Great Flood" is a 13 minute video about the cataclysmic floods, containing ten times the flow of all the world's rivers, which thundered across the Pacific Northwest forming the Columbia River basin. The two videos together make a good club meeting program. They are on loan as a package from the Library at a price of $7.50, order number V-121.

If you want any library programs during September, please contact President Colleen McGann. Colleen will be covering for us as we are off to Oberstein, Germany to check out some agates.

Tax Advisor News

By Mike Kokinos, Tax Advisor

 Mike Kokinos, Tax Advisor


Within the California Attorney General Office, there is a unit called the Registry of Charitable Trusts. It is the job of this unit to keep track of all organizations whose assets in the event of dissolution must go to another charitable non-profit organization. The unit also audits organizations to ensure that excessive compensation is not paid and that expenditures support the primary purposes of the organization.

In the past couple of months, I have had contact with three societies that have not registered with the Registry of Charitable Trusts. All societies exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) should be registered and have been issued a CT number.

The Registry has been lenient in accepting current registration for organizations that should have registered a few years ago.

If your society does not have a CT number and/or has never filed the Form RRF-1 with the Attorney General, I cannot emphasis enough the need to do so. The process and forms needed to register can be found on the Attorney General website . Recently a $25.00 fee for the initial filing of the Form RRF-1 was implemented. I recommend the completed Form and the $25.00 fee is included with the registration package.

I will be pleased to assist any society in preparing the package or answering questions.


The Internal Revenue Service sponsors a nationwide tax forum every year. This September four of the 21 seminars involved non-profit organizations. Discussions were held on the preparation of Form 990 and the new Form 1023 (application for charitable tax exemption). The most informative part, for me, was discussions with the IRS presenters after the sessions.

They reinforced the need to file Form 990 or 990EZ if the Service mails you the forms even though gross receipts are less than the $25,000 threshold. The presenter confirmed that about half the forms 990 filed are prepared incorrectly.

For those societies desiring to change from the current exemption, (many societies have 501(c)(4) exemption) to 501(c)(3) the Form 1023 application for exemption in most cases is now easier to prepare. I have recently assisted two societies in the preparation of the new form. I believe the form puts emphasis on compensation of directors, officers, members and contractors and fund raising using professional organizations. To the best of my knowledge neither of these issues affect our societies. Some of the questions try to ensure that the operations do not have inurement issues.


The Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board require public benefit corporations newly incorporated to include a paragraph in the articles of incorporation that in part states "No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons." (emphasis added) These regulatory agencies and the California Registry of Charitable Trusts expect previously incorporated public benefits to abide by this provision.

The Law of Tax Exempt Organizations by Bruce Hopkins (considered the bible for tax exempts) states "The purpose of the private inurement rule is to ensure that the tax-exempt organization involved in serving exempt interest and not private interests. It thus becomes necessary for an organization subject to the doctrine to establish that it is not organized and operated for the benefit of private persons such as the creators of the organization, trustees, directors, officers, members or their families, persons controlled by these individuals, or any other persons having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization." "Conversely, incidental benefits to private individuals will not defeat the exemption, if the organization otherwise qualifies for tax exempt status."

What type of activities do the CFMS societies engage in that might violate this provision? Any activity, if participation is limited to members. For example:

  • Dinners free to members or charges below cost to the Society.
  • Field trips for members only.
  • Lapidary shop for members only.
  • Newsletter available only to members.

Another activity would be selling or auctioning member items with proceeds less commission going to the member.

In my opinion, a violation of one of these activities may cause a "slap on the wrist." However, a combination of these activities would very likely result in revocation of tax exemption.

I offer some suggestions to help avoid problems in this area.

DINNERS: Do invite guests but never charge them more than members.

FIELD TRIPS: A members only field trip could be justified based on risks of injury and insurance coverage. However, a continuous policy of excluding guests added to other member activities could be a problem.

LAPIDARY SHOP: Do not limit the shop to members only. Do not charge a different fee for guests. This is definitely using the organization's assets for the benefit of members. It would be appropriate to require approval of the shop manager or the Board of Directors for non-members. I believe it would be acceptable policy by the regulatory agencies provided records would show some guests had use of the facilities.

I recently exchanged a series of emails with a society regarding sales of items made by people using the Lapidary Shop. Some of the members made a regular practice of selling items they made. The society's rules attempted to discourage selling. Once a member makes an item that he/she is allowed to keep, its ultimate disposition is their decision. However, I did admonish the society to not allow the member to sell these items at any function of the society including meetings, show, or other functions and not to use the name of the society in advertising items for sale. In other words, the society is not required to police the disposition, but only if they allow sales at their functions. I also believe it is not the concern of the society if the seller has a resale permit. I did, however, indicate if a person regularly sold products, whether or not made at the society shop, the person would be subject to obtaining a sales tax permit.

I also raised the issue of the shop being restricted for only member use. I believe this private member benefit is sufficient to cause revocation.

NEWSLETTER: This is the least of my concern. Societies should be sending the newsletter to libraries, museums, CFMS President and prospective members to promote the society.

SELLING MEMBER ITEMS: A specific case is cited where the sole activity of an organization was selling member art. The organization kept a commission and the remaining sales price went to the member. This organization was refused tax-exempt status. Unless this is a very minor item, it is my opinion it would cause revocation of exemption.

CHANCE OF AUDIT: A person mentioned that the chance of a regulatory agency examining a CFMS society were very slim. That is true but all you need is a disgruntled member or ex-member to mention violations of the exemption. The Internal Revenue Service has reorganized its tax-exempt section that could lead to more examinations. Right now the emphasis is on organizations supporting or opposing candidates for public office.

Competitive Exhibits at Angels Camp

By Dee Holland, CFMS Rules Committee, 2006

  Dee Holland, CFMS Rules Committee, 2006

This year for the first time in ages the competitive exhibits were up, way up! We had twenty-seven entries in CFMS/AFMS competition, and seven entries in the CFMS supplementary section.

Trophy #6 •   Minerals, ELEANOR BALES, Mariposa Gem & Mineral Club, junior
Trophy #10 •   Minerals, WILLIAM BEIRIGER, Livermore Valley Lithophiles, master
Minerals, Stephen Roberts, El Dorado County Mineral & Gem Society
Minerals, Clay Williams, El Dorado County Mineral & Gem Society
Plaque # 15, Lapidary, LYLE ROESSLER, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, advanced
Trophy # 16, Carving, MARGARET KOLACZYK, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master
Carving, Anna Christiansen, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Carving, Colleen McGann, Peninsula Gem & Geology Society, novice rosette
Carving, Rachel Slate, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Carving, Margaret Kolaczyk, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Carving, Vivian Roberts, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Trophy # 17, Lapidary, CAL CLASON, San Joaquin Valley Lapidary Society, master
Trophy # 18, Lapidary, CAL CLASON, San Joaquin Valley Lapidary Society, master
Trophy # 21, Lapidary, MARION ROBERTS, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master
Trophy # 23, Pet Wood, PRESTON BINGHAM, Searchers Gem & Mineral Society, master
Trophy # 25, Jewelry, MARGARET KOLACZYK, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master
Jewelry, Anna Christiansen, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Trophy # 26, Jewelry, TED MAGEE, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master
Plaque # 26, Jewelry, BETTY EGGER, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, advanced
Jewelry, Cherilyn George, Palmdale Gem & Mineral Club
Trophy # 27, Education, MARGARET KOLACZYK, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master
Trophy # 28, Education, WILLIAM BEIRIGER, Livermore Valley Lithophiles, master
Trophy # 29, Education, DICK FREISEN, Livermore Valley Lithophiles, master
Plaque # 28, Education, DICK PANKEY, Contra Costa Mineral & Gem Society, advanced
Education, George Slate, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Trophy # 36, Scrimshaw, MARGARET KOLACZYK, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society, master


Sharr Choate Trophy: TED MAGEE, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Linda Ricci, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Margaret Kolaczyk, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Facetron Trophy: no winner
Margaret Kolaczyk, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Northern California Faceting Trophy: JOHN CHRISTIANSEN, Faceters Guild of Northern California
Roland Jensen, Fresno Gem & Mineral Society, Margaret Kolaczyk, Margaret Kolaczyk Calaveras Gem & Minera l Society
Diamond Pacific Lapidary Trophy: LYLE ROESSLER, Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society
Barranca Educational Trophy: WILLIAM BEIRINGER, Livermore Valley Lithophiles
Willard Perkins Junior Trophy: ELEANOR BALES, Mariposa Gem & Mineral Club
Hamel; Mineral Trophy: WILLIAM BEIRINGER, Livermore Valley Lithophiles

On behalf of Norvie Enns, chair, Dick Freisen, and myself, we'd like to congratulate the winners of the trophies this year. We also included those who entered, as we feel they should be recognized for their efforts, and encouraged to enter next year, in hopes they will be the winners for next year. We have all worked hard, both the judges and exhibitors to bring to the public a wonderful array of beautiful exhibits. Please encourage your club members to enter next year and keep this effort going. I'd like to congratulate the judges who have worked with the exhibitors to help bring exhibiting back to it's previous glory. We can all learn from the experience. One small note: MARGARET KOLACZYK of the Calaveras Gem & Mineral Society took four trophies, and entered four other categories. That is no small feat. This is a challenge for everyone!

Trouble in Tecopa part IV and The End

By Eva


Through my various travels, I had by this time been informed by various locals that in order to find the Noonday camp, I would need to turn right at the Date Farm sign. When the old man had told me to ''go past the date farm," what he had meant was to turn right at the sign and thus drive past the date farm, whereas I had mistakenly assume he meant to past the sign AND thus the farm. This time, with the knowledge that I should turn at the Date Farm sign instead of going past it, I was finally able to find the camp and pitch the tent as the sun set behind the hills. The other campers had no idea what I had gone through for the past 24 hours and I was too tired to even bother explaining it to them. I pitched my tent and luckily was even in time for a dinner that one of the campers had prepared. I slept deeply that night and was careful to give Gecko many extra pats on the head out of gratitude that he was still with me. For his part, he seemed rather tired. I guess he had a tough day playing at the sand dunes!

In the morning, I was to discover that although most maps to Noonday camp that had been sent out contained the needed Date Farm turn off information, a few of them that went out to one of the clubs accidentally did not get that added in so most of the campers had ended up with more useful instructions than did I. However, I am sure they will be more careful next time or I think Gecko will have to bite someone on the leg!

It was a drizzly and cold Sunday morning as a storm passed over the area and we gathered in one of the trailers to discuss potential hounding locations for that day. The amethyst high up in the mountains was definitely out of the question what with the potential snow that day. Ironically, in the end we decided to go for trilobites of all things and that of course meant going back to where I had been stuck! I wasn't sure if I really ever wanted to see that place ever again, but then again trilobites are fun and the road is well paved and safe, so we drove back up the mild grade to the foot of the low mountains and spent our time cracking apart sheets of slate and inspecting the in-between places. I was extra careful to keep a sharp eye on Gecko this time. As we worked, a gentle drizzle of snowy ice or icy snow floated down on us and the air was crisp indeed. In fact there were quite a number of traces of fossils there, mostly bits of legs or carapace. One of us even found an exquisite set of three perfectly defined trilobites on a slice of shale. It was a near perfect find for him and we all enjoyed seeing it. Even more ironic is that he had not even had to break open the shale himself. He had simply turned over a piece already laying on the ground and found the perfect specimen just laying there upside down. Sometimes the finds almost do really jump into your bucket!

After the trilobites, we headed back into Shoshone for lunch at the Crow Bar. Service was slow as the restaurant was inundated with hungry holiday travelers, but we finally were able to head back out and look for salmon colored agate at another location along another freeway. We weren't sure of the exact location, but eventually we saw another vehicle parked along the road and several people strolling around in the telltale position with heads looking studiously downward, so we figured we'd found the right place. Everyone parked and piled out. I soon started finding bits of agate so we felt we couldn't be far off. Everyone headed off in different directly and I did my usual gambit of getting as far from the road as possible. As our vehicles shrunk in size, my findings improved and I found some nice bits of agate with bands of various reddish, orangish, and/or salmon colored streaks. It was easy and pleasant hiking and we all had a good time.

Finally back at the cars, we discussed the best way to get air into one of the tires that was looking a little bit flat (thankfully not mine this time!) As luck would have it, the air pump at the Shoshone gas station had been broken and now as we tried one of those portable cigarette lighter pumps, it too appeared to have seen better days and was not doing the job. Our airless friend finally decided to head towards Pahrump in hopes of finding a better equipped gas station there and the rest of us headed towards a location near to Tecopa that supposedly had pin fire opal. But what exactly is pin fire opal? We weren't sure be we did have the GPS coordinates!

We drove back along the highway and then turned in along a very sandy looking wide white wash area. The sand/dirt was very light colored and we parked where the GPS told us. But now what? One of our fellow travelers had visited here long ago but no one was sure exactly what we were looking for. We split up and poked around places where others had apparently been digging. I took my hammer and wacked at anything likely. Much of the clay like light brown ground seemed to have hardened with little tiny vesicles of white stuff inside. Was this the opal?

Finally, one of us hiked to the top of a hill to find millions of smallish mutant peanut like globules of light brown hardened clay like stuff at the top, many of which had been shattered open by previous visitors. Most just had bits of the tiny white vesicles, but a few had beautiful fiery colored opal. The sad part was the opal bits were very small and would be hard to do much with. Apparently it is very rare to find a decent sized one. Still, the place was easy to find and pounding the clay bits gently with a hammer was not much work, more an issue of patience if anything. Too hard a wack and the shattered pieces flew far away, unlikely to be seen again. Indeed, we found several bits of nice fire opal laying around that had probably also ended up ejected too far from the pounder's hammer to be relocated. But eventually we grew tired and headed back to camp for dinner and rest.

The next morning dawned icy cold. Water bottles in the cab of my truck had even begun to turn to ice over night! But the air was clear and the storm had passed so we decided to head up the mountains towards the amethyst. Despite good directions and GPS coordinates, the roads were rough and confusing and we had to make a number of backtracks before finally making it up there. Thin dustings of snow still gently covered some bushes and grasses as we hiked amongst the boulders looking for quartz crystals and that telltale purple color. Each of us was able to find many beautiful clusters of clear quartz and most of us also were able to find some pieces of purple quartz, not separate crystals but ones that were sort of mashed together in a sort of massive form. We had the choice of either cracking open existing boulders or simply surfing around looking for good leftovers. Both ways seemed to yield some success, but the elevation was around 7,000 feet and we were getting breathless and cold so we finally decide to head back.

On the way back to camp, some of us stopped at numerous other old abandoned mines and diggings that were visible near the road. I picked up quite a number of boulders of serpentine. I've always had a weakness for green and I hope some of the soft serpentine will make good tumbling material. Then back for dinner and rest. I also managed to work in a trip back to the Hot Springs for a shower and bath. There, I ran into the wife of John who had unstuck my truck. We talked for a long time and she was relieved that everything had worked out OK for me and my dog. If ever anyone is in the Tecopa area and needs RV storage, be sure to go to John and his wife whose RV storage business is right next to the post office. John also is developing an off road race track on his huge private property for those who love to play with off road toys. Racing at the nearby dunes is now illegal so John will have the only legal racing location in the entire area. Him and his wife are great people and deserve as much business as they can get!

The next morning dawned even colder but not quite as icy. However, Gecko's water bowl had a thick coat of ice over it in the morning and I had turned up the tent heater to a much higher setting that night. Without that heater, it would have been a long cold night. We organized early for a trip to visit an old talc mine and collect some soap stone from the bottom areas. Soap stone is so easy to chisel out but man does it seem heavy when you are dragging it back up the hill to the vehicles! Then some of us went home while the rest of us headed towards Sperry Wash to look for petrified palm wood.

We each split up. I headed towards some nearby low hills and then climbed over the top to find a large quantity of what is probably petrified rootlets of palm in the next wash. Most of it was of an ugly brown grey color but one or two pieces seem to have a lot of red in them so I took those two large pieces back to the truck. Next, I left Gecko in the truck as he was getting tired, and I headed in another direction which for quite some time seemed to yield a whole lotta nothing. Eventually, I started angling back towards my previous finds along the whitish ashy hills and started to find more pieces. In the end, I was way back along a long wash next to the hills and finding many pieces of petrified palm laying all over the place. Most were of a bland brown color but some had pretty red or orange colors and those were the ones I kept. By the time I hiked all the way back to the trucks, the others had already arrived and had just decided to honk the horn for me as I walked up. It was time to go back to camp, pack up, and head back onto the long road home.

Probably pleased with all the trouble and adventure he had caused, Dog rested contentedly on the seat next to me as I turned the truck back towards a nice warm bed in a nice warm San Diego county. And if any of you ever happen to find a 50 pound shepherd mix dog with a mischievous glint in his eye wandering leisurely along the road, just be sure to call BOTH the phone numbers on his tags, please, thank you!

The End (for the time being at least)

This four part story was submitted by Bob Fitzpatrick

It's That Time Again!

It's time for committee chairs to think about preparing a report for the Fall Business Meeting. Please have reports to me for inclusion in the packet no later than October 28. Reports received after that date cannot be processed because reports are collated and stapled by the copier to make the reports easier for you to find. If you know you cannot meet that deadline, please bring at least 100 copies of your report to the meeting for distribution to Directors and Officers in attendance. You can use e-mail or snail mail. Don't forget your hotel and banquet reservations. Thanks in advance.

Involving More Members and The CFMS Roster

By Richard Pankey, Membership Committee

Dick Pankey - 1st VP

Exchange bulletins are a great way to learn about other clubs, their people and their activities. I get to read many bulletins from our clubs and societies and I get to talk with many members from around the state and see and hear much the same story: A few members holding most of the offices and committee positions in a club. Most often held by long time members. A common complaint is that others, the newer members, do not getting involved and doing their share. I get to hear the other side of the story, too. When younger, newer members try to get involved and try something new they get scolded with "That's not the way we do it." You can't have it both ways. If we want to get more people involved, if we want our new, younger members involved, we have to be ready for new ideas and new ways of doing things. We not only have to let new people get involved, we have to encourage and help them get involved with guidance and council. Our jobs and committees don't have to be "one man shows." Officers and committee chairs should look for ways for the new people and the not so new that are standing on the sidelines, to participate. This is succession planning. Nothing makes a person feel like they are truly accepted and part of the group than when they are contributing to the organization. Be on the lookout for people who are enthusiastic, interested and show that special spark and find a place for them to grow.

Now another observation. I spent some time reading through the new Society Roster for 2006. This roster is prepared from the same information page filled out by each club and society. Some listings provide a lot of information about the respective club. Some are just the name and address of the club. It was almost like they didn't want anyone to know about them. I needed to contact a club to get the phone number of one of its members. I found the club listing in the roster but there wasn't any contact information. No telephone number. No e-mail address. This got me looking at every listing and this is what I found:

  • There are only 119 listings. I thought we had over 130 clubs, which means 11 plus clubs aren't in our roster.
  • 18 clubs did have any contact information, neither telephone numbers nor e-mail addresses. Four of these did list a web page •   one didn't work and 2 still didn't have contact information.
  • 43 clubs listed a phone number but no e-mail.
  • 5 listed e-mail but no phone number.
  • By my count the rest had phone numbers and e-mail address.
  • Most societies had good, fairly complete information. Many others had sketchy, incomplete information.

My point: our roster is to facilitate contact between the Federation and the clubs, contact between clubs, and contact of individuals with clubs and their members. Without phone numbers and e-mail addresses communication is greatly restricted and hindered. From time to time I get calls from people in other parts of our Federation looking for a local club or local show information and the best I can do for them is an address. If we want new members they have to be able to quickly and easily get a hold of us. If it is a chore, they just might not bother. You will have another chance next December when you pay your dues and turn in your club information sheets. We don't want your club to be "the best kept secret in the Federation."

Juniors Activities: Geode Fun

By Jim Brace-Thompson, Juniors Activities Chair

 Jim Brace-Thompson, Juniors Activities Chair

Phil and Steve Hauser, sons of Joel Hauser, recently gave my local Ventura club a walk down memory lane of collecting geodes with their departed father at the Hauser Beds near Wiley Well. This got me thinking of my own fun as a kid with trips to Keokuk geode beds in Illinois and Iowa. Geodes are especially popular with kids. The heft of these round rocks is strangely satisfying in its own regard, and that satisfaction turns to fascination as a dull potato-like object is split to reveal a colorful, sparkling interior. Thus, geodes provide a terrific kids' activity. If you're lucky enough to be near a geode-producing area, the activity can include a collecting trip. If this isn't feasible, geodes often can be found at reasonable prices at gem shows. In fact, some dealers use geodes as a draw to attract folks by having a saw to slice open a geode on purchase. You also commonly can find geodes at rock shops, museum gift shops, and even in the science area of some toy stores. Dealers and rock shops are your best bets, though, for getting a good supply at the best price if buying a quantity to use with kids. You then can hold a workshop to slice each child's geode with a rock saw or to crack them open with a rock hammer. (Just make sure each child has eye protection!)

As an accompanying activity, tell how geodes form in cavities dissolved in limestone or in bubbles left in solidifying lava through which mineral-rich water percolates. To illustrate, you can help kids make geodes in eggshells, following a recipe that circulated in various club newsletters in 1996. To start, get together one weekend morning with your kids' group for a large omelet brunch. Take care cracking your eggs to save all the undamaged eggshell halves you can. So that crystals will attach to the eggshells, remove the skin lining the interior of eggs with tweezers or by gently rolling it out with your fingertips, returning the cleaned eggshells to the original carton. This gives you a supply of the "gas bubble" cavities in which each child can grow a geode.

Because you'll use the process of evaporation to create the geodes, you'll need to do this activity at a member's home where the eggshells can be left undisturbed for several days before you reconvene the kids to share the results. The first step is to produce a mineral-rich groundwater solution by slowly adding table salt into hot water until you hit the point at which the salt no longer dissolves. This is known as a "super saturated solution." To brighten your geodes, kids might add a bit of food coloring before pouring the solution into the previously prepared eggshell halves. Into each filled eggshell, drop some extra grains of salt to serve as seed crystals before placing the egg cartons in a safe place to rest undisturbed for the next several days as evaporation takes place. To add variety, you might make several types of geodes at the same time, filling some with table salt solution and others with solutions made from sugar, alum, or Epsom salts.

Once evaporation is complete, reconvene the kids to see what lines the interiors of their eggshells. You might want to hand out the real geodes at this time for kids to crack open and compare after having learned the process of crystal formation first-hand. Using real geodes as the climax to a crystal-growing activity is a surefire way to memorably imprint the lesson of geode formation while•  as always•  having fun!

Demonsstrators Directory - A Call for Your Talent

By Diana Paradis

A few months ago the CFMS ran an article asking for ideas and questions on the pressing problem of dying lapidary clubs. Being the current president of such a club, I emailed Dick Pankey and Fred Ott, asking for their ideas and thoughts. I ended up meeting with Dick and, while discussing my club's problem, I asked him if there was a list of people, or clubs, that gave demonstrations or classes.

Let me stop here and explain why I asked this question. In our club there are only about 12 active members and these members fall into two main categories: (1) been there, done that, don't want to do it again and (2) want to go there, learn that, and then do it again. The newer, inexperienced rockhounds want to learn, but we haven't the people or resources in our club to teach them. We are too small to support a shop and have almost no one who wants to share their lapidary skills and knowledge. To keep the few newer, younger members that we already have, and to attract new members, I thought that sharing resources among ALL our clubs, in the form of demonstrators, would be a feasible and economical way to go. It would strengthen the fellowship between clubs, improve and expand everyone's lapidary skills, and allow small clubs to offer a wide range of techniques that would otherwise be unattainable.

This is why I asked Dick if there was a list of people or clubs that gave demonstrations. Unfortunately, I was told that there is currently nothing in the CFMS to meet this need.

Ever on the lookout for an idea to improve our lapidary clubs, Dick immediately pounced on the idea and asked if I would work on it. I have agreed in the hope that this will save, not only my club, but many of the others out there that are barely hanging on.

With all of this said I would like to introduce the DEMONSTRATOR'S DIRECTORY. This directory (yes, similar to the Podium People) will be a list of skilled people, young and old, male and female, that are willing to share their skill and knowledge with other clubs. There are 3 basic ways this demonstrating of a skill could be done:

  1. A person would travel to another club for a one time demonstration or class, demonstrating tools, supplies, and techniques. A presentation of "this is how its done, you can do it too."
  2. A person would come to your club shop, or classes, to demonstrate and teach hands on skills to a small number of people. Or a person could invite a small group to a demonstration or class at their own shop or club shop.
  3. A person would give demonstrations at a rock show or event, open to any interested rockhounds. This would be a source of demonstrators for shows or other events.

With such a listing of teachers, a small club, or even a large one, would be able to offer a wide variety of classes and learning experiences. Its membership would grow and members would one day themselves become the teachers in the Demonstrator's Directory, completing a never ending circle of knowledge.

Now that the Directory has been introduced, I am currently looking for people skilled in a lapidary field, or any related field, and interested in teaching others and sharing knowledge, to sign up for the Demonstrator's Directory. I have made up a basic list of teaching fields to start with. I am sure that there are several specialties out there that many of us have never even dreamed of, let alone included on our list of demonstrators, so I want to know of any that I missed (and of those who will teach them) and they will be added to the list.

Please sign up for this exciting new project. I would like to hear from people and clubs that want to share their knowledge (use the handy application form), from clubs that would like to use the Directory, and from anyone with any helpful thoughts on this project.

Diana Paradis
P.O. Box 1923 Vacaville, CA 95696

Demonstratior's Directory Form

Examples of skills you can list:

  • Beading
  • Bead making
  • Cabbing
  • Clocks
  • Crochet Wire Jewelry
  • Crushed Rock Pictures
  • Cutting Rocks
  • Enameling
  • Faceting
  • Gem Trees
  • Gem Setting
  • GPS and Mapping
  • Hard Rock Carving
  • Intarsia for Jewelry (channel work)
  • Intarsia for Pictures
  • Knapping
  • Lapping
  • Lost Wax Casting
  • Metal Detecting
  • Micro-mounting
  • Mineral ID
  • Mineralogy
  • Mosaics
  • PMC
  • Polishing
  • Resin Casting
  • Rock Critters
  • Rock Painting
  • Slate Carving
  • Silversmithing
  • Soft Rock Carving
  • Sphere Making
  • Stained Glass
  • Stained Glass with Rocks
  • Tumbling
  • Wire Wrapping -Flat Wire
  • Wire Wrapping-Round Wire

Why Be An Officer?

By Norm & Lucille Hewe

Why be an officer? It can only mean meetings, rallies, dinners and lots of work. You'll sometimes get the blunt end of the stick and all complaints are headed in your direction. Are these your thoughts when approached by your nominating committee? If so, why not look at the other side of the card?

You attend an executive meeting. It isn't long and you discover what it takes to keep the club moving forward. Not only that, but now you are a part of the decision making team and your fellow officers are the people you park next to at the rallies or sit next to at the dinners. Together you generate new ideas for the year or maybe a single event to be presented to your members. It's business, fun and fellowship, and better yet, another night out.

At your rallies and dinners you discover how fortunate you are, as being involved you realize how many members you really begin to know. This is one of the greatest opportunities you will have. The friendships you will make within your clubs and other clubs will always be a very valuable memory of your duty as an officer.

Work! Yes, but because of the membership you would serve, it isn't as bad as one might think. There is always someone there to pitch in. They may not always volunteer, but are always there willingly when asked.

Serving your club as an officer is a privilege and a very rewarding experience. The joys are endless and the results gratifying because you were a part of it. Why be an officer? For all the right reasons: friendships, involvement, decision making and most of all, enjoyment. It's a great experience•  as we know.

I hope that everyone has now read the article and will bear this in mind when the need for officers in their unit is required.

Without dedicated officers our club would not function. We have many members with an abundance of talent, and I hope this may motivate them to come forward and share in the rewards of participation.

From Metro-Detroit Club, via SCFMS Newsletter, Nov/Dec 1995

My Week At Wildacres Judging Class

By Dick Friesen, Rules Committee

 Dick Friesen, Rules Committee

I want to express my deepest thanks to the AFMS for sponsoring this program and to the CFMS for selecting me to be this year's California attendee. The Eastern Federation people are gracious hosts and the environment is beautiful.

Standardizing the Judging across the seven Federations is an ambitious project but one that is, in my opinion, desperately needed by the Federations. Different Judge's interpreting the rules differently has allowed members opinion of the competitive environment to decline to the point that few new members will even consider competing.

Before I attended the class I had heard several comments to the effect that "all they do is read the book" and "I can read the book, I don't need the class". After attending the class and listening to our excellent instructor, Jay Bowman, read and explain the rules to a class of Judges of widely varying skill levels, there is no doubt in my mind that "reading the book" is just what is needed by the Judging community.

There was no effort to teach mineralogy, jewelry, or any such skill. To attempt to do so would be, in my opinion, a waste of time and effort. Those skills need to be learned prior to being considered for a Judge. Learning to evaluate the rules and being knowledgeable enough to be able to explain the rules and the competitive environment, both before competition to people wanting to know what to do about getting started, and after the competition explain what went wrong and how to fix it is not going to happen by just "reading the rules". Building the confidence level of the competitors that they would have received the same score if they had a different Judge or were in a different Federation is not going to happen by "reading the book".

Perhaps an argument could be made for rewriting the rule book in some clearer form. But the level of effort to accomplish such a task is likely to be beyond the available resources of the Federation and just not realistic. The book is clear enough if we all work together to ensure that all our Judges understand the situation and what is need to make it work. The American Federation should continue to offer this educational process and the Regional Federations need to continue sending Judges for this training.


By Bill Buckner, AFMS Safety Chair

Concerns of safety issues in our shops, studios, or whatever we call our places where we work with lapidary concerns and jewelry making.

  1. Ventilation: either have enough room or have some way to get enough fresh air that there is no danger of breathing problems.
  2. Eye safety: a pair of safety glasses (either prescription or goggles) are needed when using machinery and rocks or minerals. In breaking stones, sawing stones, grinding stones, or polishing stones small pieces of rock could hit your eye and cause damage.
  3. Chemicals that we use: care should be taken to be extremely safety minded when we use these toxic chemicals. Follow directions on the containers. Most chemicals that mix with water should be mixed into water, not water added to the chemicals.
  4. Storage of chemicals: they should always be stored in a safe place with a good cover on them and out of reach of small children. I try to store mine in a wood rack with wooden dividers between the bottles or containers. They should always be labeled properly.

A few DO NOT'S:

  1. Do not store gasoline or use it in a room where have a gas water heater or any gas appliances with pilot lights.
  2. Do not haul acetylene in a closed trunk or car or truck cab without at least two windows open at least two inches. When there is an acetylene leak enough gas might build up to cause an explosion.
  3. Do not try to use tools or torches when you are drowsy from medication. In fact it is a good idea to rest a little while before you go into your shop if you feel tired or sleepy.
  4. Do not forget ventilation.

Some DO'S:

  1. Do be careful.
  2. Do have a good time.
  3. Do good work.
  4. Do be available to help someone who needs it
  5. .
  6. Do share your love of your hobby with others.
    Be careful and do good work.

From AFMS Newsletter, June 2003

Bureau of Land Management Land and Mineral Records-LR2000 system.

By John Martin, PLAC South

John Martin

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is pleased to announce that the public reports for the Land and Mineral Records-LR2000 system is now available for use from 4:00 AM to 11:00 PM Mountain Time.

The Bureau of Land Management manages more land--261 million surface acres--more than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in the 12 Western States, including Alaska. The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, also administers 700 million acres of on-shore minerals throughout the nation.

Congress created the General Land Office (GLO) in 1812 to handle the increasing land business from the rapid westward expansion. The GLO was given the responsibility for maintaining the land and mineral records. These and other land and mineral records are now maintained by the BLM, which is entrusted with keeping what today amounts to more than two billion records. Many of these records are now available through this site.

Who would benefit from using this website?

This website was designed for those who work in the oil and gas industry, title companies, utilities, state and local governments, ROCKHOUNDS, etc. that require access to BLM land and mineral records. Previously the only way a person could access this information was to visit one of the BLM Information Access Centers. This website enables users to access the same information over the Internet. We have provided a tutorial to guide you through the reporting system. If you need assistance, please visit or call the BLM Information Access Center nearest you.

What information does this system provide access to?

This system provides access to the following systems within LR2000:

Case Recordation contains information on leases, permits, contracts, grants, agreements, mineral patents, etc. issued by the BLM on federal actions affecting public lands of the United States. Authorizations are issued for the following activities: oil and gas, coal and other minerals, sand, gravel, rights-of-ways, land exchanges and acquisitions, land use withdrawals, mineral patents, land classifications, land claims, land sales, etc. Information on the use authorization includes customer data, location, date of issuance, the actions that have taken place, and other applicable information.

Legal Land Description contains cadastral survey data including meridian, township, range, section, survey type (aliquot part, lots, homestead survey, mineral survey, tracts, parcels, etc.), acreage, and geopolitical information including the geographic state, county, field office, and surface management agency (BLM, Forest Service, etc.). The surface management agency in LLD is coded as BLM, even when the land is privately owned, unless the land is located within a National Park, National Forest, etc.

Mining Claim Recordation contains information on unpatented mining claims located on federal lands including claimant name, approximate location, and other applicable information. Mineral patents are not contained in Mining Claim Recordation.

Status contains information on title transfer documents, such as land patents and warranty deeds, to and from the United States Government. Status also contains withdrawal information which is used to determine surface and subsurface segregation's on a parcel of land. To find out more about the Bureau of Land Management Land and Mineral Records-LR2000 system. Go to the website listed below.

Want to view, search, and access your land and mineral records using a map viewer? Go to the website below.

These Sites are user friendly and are interactive. They contain a wealth of information of interest to Rockhounds, Pebble Pups and BLM Land Users, (That's all of us in the CFMS).