Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Winter Storm Postpones Friends Meeting

Due to the winter storm that has struck the Heartland, the Friends of the Cross has moved their regular monthly meeting scheduled for tonight ahead one week to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 3, at the Alto Pass Community Center at 29 S. Elm St., in Alto Pass.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Help Restore the Cross & Grounds, Donate Online

You can now contribute online to the Bald Knob Cross of Peace using a credit card via PayPal.

All you have to do is click the "Donate" button in this message, or the one on the top right corner of the website.

We also take checks. Mail donations to P.O. Box 35, Bald Knob Rd., Alto Pass IL 62905.

Bald Knob Cross of Peace is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation that's recognized as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization by the IRS. Donations are tax deductible.

Unless otherwise specified donations are deposit in our general fund which covers additional items that just the restoration of the cross, such as safety issues that need to be immediately addressed as well as security concerns.

If you have other items of value you wish to contribute such as stocks, real estate, personal property or other items, please e-mail info@baldknobcross.com to establish a dialogue with us, or you can mail us information at the above address.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Facebook Group Created for Bald Knob

Bald Knob President Steve McKeown created a Facebook group a few days ago. More than 100 people joined in the first 36 hours. It now has 147 members.

If you're on Facebook and would like to join, click here.

Transition Board Creates Committees

The Transition Board of Directors authorized the creation of five committees Friday along with some immediate tasks.

Cross and Grounds Committee – to deal with issues surrounding restoration of the cross and grounds. In particular it is authorized to take the following actions:
  • Find a structural engineer to review the status of the cross and report back by the February Annual Meeting as to his general recommendation to which option the board should take.

  • Also, committee is authorized to secure donated services of surveyors or a surveying class to draft a site plan showing both Foundation and Forest Service property atop Bald Knob Mountain, the buildings, roads, utilities, easements and elevations.

  • In terms of the public safety around the cross the committee will be authorized to erect signage and a barricade around the grassy area below the cross to prevent and discourage close proximity to the structure until such time the panels can either be secured or removed.

Events Committee – to conduct the Easter Sunrise Service and liaison with the Blessing of the Bikes as well as other events including some type of prayer event.

Finance Committee – to establish a budget if one has not been approved for FY09, secure insurance, find an auditor as well as develop a fund raising plan.
  • If no budget is in place, then the committee should present one at the annual membership meeting in February.

  • As to insurance three quotes should be gathered for each policy area – general liability, directors and offices, and bonds for the secretary and treasurer. Committee is to make a recommendation by e-mail to the board as quickly as possible. Once a majority of the board members vote in favor or the committee’s recommended carriers, then the committee as well as the Secretary and Treasurer are authorized to secure such policies immediately.

  • As to an auditor the committee is advertise for bids and bring those bids for approval at the annual membership meeting in February.

  • As to a fund raising plan, the committee shall make recommendations to the board as needed.

Organizational Structure and Bylaws Committee – to report back to the Board and/or membership on the following items:
  • Make a recommendation to be sent out no later than Jan. 27 on basic non-controversial minor changes to the bylaws to be voted by the existing membership at the February 2009 Annual Meeting. These include dealing with the incorrect address for the principal place of business, changing president and vice president to chairperson and vice chairperson, authorize the creation of assistant secretary and assistant treasurer positions, allowing another board member check-signing authority so it’s the treasurer and one other rather than just the secretary as the second signature, and including electronic forms of bill payment rather than just checks.

  • Make a recommendation in two months on an organizational structure for the foundation and its operations, including the role of the caretaker or facilities director position for adoption by the Board of Directors.

  • Make a recommendation by late summer or early fall to re-do Article 5 of the bylaws regarding the Board of Directors and the suggestions included in the settlement agreement. These amendments to the bylaws may be adopted by the transition board as per the settlement agreement.

  • Make a recommendation by the end of the year on the rules for membership for possible submission to the full membership as early as the February 2010 annual meeting.

We're Not a Foundation But We're Still a Charity

I just noticed today that I've been using the wrong corporate name. It's just Bald Knob Cross of Peace, according to the annual filings with the Secretary of State's Office.

Previously it had been Bald Knob Mountain Recreation Association and before that Cross of Peace Foundation. Since I've been going through the original bylaws and paperwork that's where I kept adding the "foundation" to the current name.

The Cross of Peace Foundation was organized in 1976 and became the successor organization of the Save the Cross Committee which organized in the early 1970s and the original Bald Knob Christian Foundation which Wayman Presley and others organized in the 1950s to purchase the land atop Bald Knob.

Nevertheless, we're still a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that we've been since the beginning. Donations to Bald Knob Cross of Peace are tax deductible charitable contributions. Donations can be mailed to the group at Bald Knob Cross of Peace, PO Box 35, Alto Pass IL 62905.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 Annual Meeting Set for Feb. 10

The 2009 Annual Meeting of the membership of Bald Knob Cross of Peace Foundation will take place the second Tuesday of February as required by the organization's bylaws.

The meeting will be open to the general public and start at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Welcome Center on top of Bald Knob.

It won't be a typical annual meeting though. As per the Settlement Agreement there will be no election of board members and officers, nor review of new membership applications that night. All that won't happen until the 2011 Annual Meeting when the new Transition Board's term ends.

Pending membership applications that have been turned into the organization over the last few years were turned over to the new Secretary last Friday. At some point I'll be contacting those people just to confirm to them that their applications are in hand. There were two different files containing applications given to me and in my initial review I noticed some duplications.

The whole issue of membership is something that the Transition Board will likely address and bring up in 2011, if not before. While I can't speak for each board member's intention, I believe we will definitely be looking at ways to expand the membership base.

We haven't set the agenda yet for the annual meeting, though when it is finalized it will be posted here at www.baldknobcross.com. However, based on action taken Friday, the following items are expected to be discussed:
  • Minor Bylaws Revisions — The Organizational Structure and Bylaws Committee will be making recommendations for amending the bylaws to make them more workable. There are a number of minor areas that need to be adjusted for modern business practices. That committee will make its report prior to Jan. 27, in order for us to mail out notices to the existing membership two weeks in advance of the meeting as required by the bylaws. Again, that report will be posted here and details should be ready to be made available at the Friends of the Cross monthly meeting on the evening of Jan. 27. This is most likely the only action on which the membership will vote.

  • Cross Structural Report — The new Cross and Grounds Committee has been tasked to bring in a structural engineer to look at the cross and report back some initial findings at the Feb. 10 meeting. I'm hoping that we will have enough information that night to to least choose which general option we'll go as we move toward restoration of the cross.

  • Other Committee Reports — The Finance Committee should have bids to submit for an auditor and will likely have something on fund-raising options. The Events Committee may also have additional information or suggestions for a Prayer Event, Easter Sunrise Service and the Blessing of the Bikes.

Transition Board Elects Officers

At Friday afternoon's meeting the Transition Board of Directors met for the first time and elected officers which shall serve until the February 2011 Annual Meeting, as per the Settlement Agreement.

Steve McKeown of Herrin will serve as president with Ralph Brandon of Carterville, vice-president. Jon Musgrave of Marion will serve as the secretary and Bradley Rogers of Vergennes will be the treasurer.

I'll update more later on the other action taken.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Transition Board to Organize Friday

The seven members appointed in the settlement agreement to the Transition Board of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace Foundation will meet for the first time this Friday, Jan. 16, at 3:30 p.m. in the Welcome Center on top of Bald Knob Mountain at Alto Pass, Illinois.

There’s no official agenda, however I can give you the basic outline that’s expected for the short meeting.

  • Elect officers and officially organize ourselves. (Until we do, we’re not the transition board.)

  • Identify immediate needs and delegate members to investigate and report back at the next meeting.

  • Outline and adopt some broad goals and general policies.

  • Likely take steps to limit access to the grassy area below the cross due to the deteriorating condition of the structure.

  • Any other issue that one of the seven board members may bring up.

Please keep in mind that the seven of us do not know each other and for the most part have never met. Our common denominator is that we’re brothers in Christ and have a desire to see the Cross forward. We just received copies of the bylaws last week and Friday will be the earliest we could all get together. We will not have a lot of answers at this meeting. Our goal is to just get the processes started.

Three of the new transition members did attend the board of directors meeting for the Friends of the Cross organization last week to introduce ourselves and learn about their organization.

Upcoming meetings will be the January 27 meeting of the Friends of the Cross organization in Alto Pass at the community center. Some of the new transition board members will likely be present and the Friends have invited a representative from the new board to make a presentation.

At Friday’s meeting the new president will also set the time and place for the foundation’s annual meeting which is set for the second Tuesday of February.

Under the settlement agreement the current 18-member board of directors agreed to resign and turn over all the corporate papers and items to the new seven-member transition board upon their organization. We expect some of the outgoing board or officers, and/or their attorneys to be present to assist us in the transition.

Further information as it becomes available will be posted at www.BaldKnobCross.com. Thank you for your support.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Transitional Update

Members of the new transitional board received copies of the Bald Knob Cross of Peace Foundation's bylaws earlier today.

I've been reading over my copy as well as the settlement agreement while I go over the notes and ideas that have been circulating among the new members and the attorneys involved in the settlement.

I'm hoping we'll be calling our first board meeting sometime the following week which will allow us to meet each other in person for the first time. The main focus of that meeting will be to elect officers which is the necessary first step before the corporate records, financial documents, etc., can be turned over to us.

Checking out the by-laws it looks like the annual meeting of the membership is set for the second Tuesday of February. The actual place and time is determined by the president, which we won't know until we elect one at the upcoming special board meeting. Still mark your calendars for Feb. 10, 2009.

Meanwhile I've been reading old newspaper articles found on Ancestry.com, mostly out of the Edwardsville Intelligencer that regularly ran UPI stories on the development of the cross and Easter services in the 1950s and 1960s.

What I didn't realize was the length of time between the initial groundbreaking and construction of the iron support structure of the cross and the covering of it with the panels that are currently coming off.

For most of the Kennedy Administration, the cross was uncovered.

Be patient as we organize ourselves, and please keep us in your prayers.