NAR Board votes to violate Safety Code!

OK, this discussion has been pretty hot on the NAR sections list, but there's not been a peep here in RMR where the real fun goes on!
At NARCON 2 months ago, the NAR board of trustees aparantly voted to allow select NAR members to fly uncertified motors at NAR events in violation of the safety code. I had to go to the Yahoo group and read the minutes of the meeting posted last week to even believe what folks were saying:
"US Team Practice with Uncertified Motors - US Spacemodeling Team Manager John Langford asked the Board to allow use of foreign and specialty motors upon approval of the NAR President at Team Practice sessions. US Teams previously competed at a severe disadvantage to foreign competitors due to lack of opportunities to practice with FAI competition motors. The Board reviewed the testing protocols used by the FAI prior to World Championship events. Such testing is certainly rigorous enough to insure both performance and safety. The Board approved the request by unanimous vote.
Motion by Jay Apt: Seconded by Joyce Guzik The NAR board of trustee.s authorizes selected members of the US Internat team to allow use of foreign and specialty motors upon approval of the NAR President at Team Practice sessions. Motion approved."
Rather than rehash everything here, folks really should go to the NARsection group and read the thread over there. As one friend on the NAR S&T committee put it "this pegs my BS meter".
EVERY time in the past that an NAR member has brought a motor certification issue to the board, they have ALWAYS declined to get involved, and have indicated that this is S&Ts turf to deal with. Except for this time.
If the board had asked S&T to review the FAI testing, and to grant reciprocal status to motors that had the required legal paperwork and had been actually tested buy the FAI as they have to motors tested by TRA or CAR, I'd have no problem with this ruling. The motors would then be listed on the combined certified motor list for all to use.
But this decision by 8 people is just plain wrong. If these motors are to be allowed at NAR launches, we might as well open them up to the use of Jerry Irvine motors as well. This violates DOT, NFPA regs, which are law in 49 states. It violates our NAR insurance. And it violates the most sacred of NAR policies, the NAR safety code, which has always been absolute. G Harry must be spinning in his grave.
The only conclusion I can draw is that the 8 board members that voted for this bogus policy are a bunch of hypocrites. This decision MUST be overturned, and NAR members flying uncertified motors at NAR events should be disciplined as they have been in the past.
It looks like I started using this sig line that I stole from someone elses email just a bit too soon, but it accurately sums things up.
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.mars (Bob Kaplow) writes:

And for the ultimate in irony, the very next paragraph in the minutes says...
"Cooperation on EX Launches - Al Gloer asked the Board to develop a strategy or policy relative to NAR sections that jointly affiliate with organizations supporting experimental or research motor activity. The Board reiterated the policy that only certified motors are permitted for use on NAR ranges."
... except when blessed by the Pope on odd Tuesdays when the moon is full. How stupid do they think we are?
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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Bob Kaplow wrote:

Except you're ignoring one simple fact -- these "8 people" are both de facto and de jure the only ones who CAN make such a decision. They have reviewed the request, reviewed the motors, reviewed who will be using them and under what conditions, and essentially granted a 'special certification' if all of the above conditions are satisfied.
Now, if this was a unilateral decision made by Bunny, as Chief Executive, he would have been out of line. But the fact that THOSE WHO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THIS DECISION DID SO is NOT out of line.
You might disagree with the decision, you might want them to have done it 'your way', but they did it LEGALLY. I'll be willing to agree with you if you can EXPLICITLY point where this decision violates DOT and NFPA regs, but as much of these regs harken back to NAR certification, I don't think you'll be able to do so -- if you can, I'll apologize, and personally write a letter to the Board, myself, asking that the decision be reversed because of it's "illegality".
But you seem to be under the belief that if YOU don't agree with it, that it's wrong. The 8 members who have been elected to uphold this responsibility have reviewed and voted on it, and under our system, that's the way it works!

Again, as I read your post, I see that these motors have been granted 'special certification status', under the conditions outlined in the motion. Should DOT, NFPA, BATFE, or state fire offices wish to prosecute for this decision, then the Trustees will be individually and collectively responsible -- but that's exactly why I trust THEIR interpretation, not yours. It's THEIR butt on the line. IMHO, any member of these groups would review the information, and determine that NAR voted AS THE BYLAWS ALLOW, and that essentially 'makes' these motors certified under these conditions.
David Erbas-White

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On Fri, 19 May 2006 23:10:35 -0700, David Erbas-White

Did the motors have DOT numbers? They must have been shipped from somewhere. If they didn't have numbers, probably the Wabbit & Friends didn't even remotley consider the certifyability of the motors. Hmm I still have one Jerry motor left. If I fill in that big void with epoxy & rejoin NAR....
Phil
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The Czech Delta motors most certainly do NOT. Nor is there a business license or business insurance on file anywhere. The exact things the NAR demanded that Jerry Irvine produce to get his motors certified. Looks like Jerry was right all along, there IS a double standard, and the paperwork requirements only apply to Jerry.
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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david: I'll take a stab at proving this is a bad policy that allows illegal behavior:
from the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code:
Motors. I will use only certified, commercially-made model rocket motors...
the NARBOT doesn't have the authority to pass apolicy that allows the NAR president to have the authority to selectively waive portions of the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code.
from NFPA 1122: 4.19 Model Rocket Motor Requirements. 4.19.1 Only commercially manufactured, certified model rocket motors or motor reloading kits or components as specified in NFPA 1125, Code for the Manufacture of Model Rocket and High Power Rocket Motors, shall be used.
The NARbot doesn't have the authority or power to pass a policy that allows the NAr opresident to have the authority to override NFPA 1122 regulations.
In any event, the czech delta motors haven't been tested to NFPA 1125 standards and NFPA 1125 says:
Chapter 8 Testing and Certification
8.1 Certification of Model Rocket Motors, Motor-Reloading
Kits, and Components.
8.1.1 A prerequisite for certification of a model rocket motor or motor-reloading kit shall be its prior classification by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), or competent authority, as a Division 1.3 or 1.4 explosive, or a written acknowledgment from DOT, or one of its approved testing agencies, that the model rocket motor or motor-reloading kit is a flammable solid.
notice "A prerequiste" above? These czech delats haven't undergone that required prerequiste.
the NARBOT doesn't have the poer or authority to allow the NAR presidnet the authority to override NFAP 1125 or US DOT requirements for model rocket motors.
From NFPA 1122:
Chapter 5 Prohibited Activities
5.1 Prohibited Activities. The following activities shall be prohibited by this code:
(5) Sale or transfer to the general public, not otherwise exempted in 1.1.4, of any model rocket motor, motor reloading kit, or
component that has not been certified in accordance with NFPA 1125, Code for the Manufacture of Model Rocket and High Power Rocket Motors
(6) Making, operating, launching, flying, testing, activating, discharging, or other experimentation with model rocket motors, motor reloading kits, or motor components that have not been certified in accordance with NFPA 1125, Code for the Manufacture of Model Rocket and High Power Rocket Motors
David: I think I have conclusively shown that this NARBOT policy decision is in direct conflict with the existing NAR Model Rocket Code, and applicable NFPA 1122/1125 fire code regulations.
The NAR does not have the power nor the authority to waive specific sections of either the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code or the NFPA 112/1125 or to exempt specific NAR members from the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code or NFPA 1122/1125.
terry dean

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And I'll take stab at replying to your responses... (<G>)
shockwaveriderz wrote:

They're not 'waiving portions' of the NAR Safety Code. As I've said, I would view the motion that was passed as providing a 'special' certification for those motors, under prescribed conditions. Further, you're mistaken -- the NARBOT are the ONLY individuals who have the authority to do ANYTHING in regard to the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code -- who else DOES? If they choose to say that "the NAR Model Rocketry Safety Code applies in all circumstances unless supervised by the NAR President", as PART of the Safety Code, then guess what? IT'S VALID!
It may not be 'smart', it may not be 'right', but it IS LEGAL! It would then be up to other authorities to state that they no longer REFER TO or ACCEPT the NAR Model Rocket Safety Code as valid. The NAR BOT must ALWAYS walk a thin line whenever changing the code, in that they must not make changes that would cause the AHJ to no longer ACCEPT the code. In this case, they decided (unanimously, by the way) that this was an acceptable change to the motor certification rules.

Okay, let's look at those regulations...

How do you know? If they were certified by FAI, is this not a competent authority? Note that it does not say anything about it being a US authority, or even one that has specific regulations, it simply says "competent authority". If the FAI is an internationally recognized source, there's not an attorney in the world that would want to argue that they are NOT a competent authority. Note that there are other ways around this, for example if DOT has in any way, shape, or form recognized FAI as an 'approved' testing agency, this would ALSO provide the mechanism.

So, we continue...

As outlined above, you have NOT demonstrated that these motors weren't tested by a 'competent authority', and the NAR certification is whatever the NAR decides that it is. Bear in mind that the whole POINT of having a Board of Trustees who vote on these things is that there is some semblance of responsibility for the decision making process, and that is what the AHJs are looking for. Unless proven otherwise, they would and should assume that the NAR has looked over the information and made a correct decision. Your simply saying that it's wrong doesn't make it so, but their saying that it's right (conversely) DOES make it so. Again, THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE THIS DISTINCTION!

Terry: I think I have conclusively shown that this NARBOT policy decision MAY not be (and probably isn't) in direct conflict with the existing NAR Model Rocket Code (especially since the existing NAR Model Rocket code would now, technically, include this motion).

And, as I've outlined above, they haven't.
BTW, thank you for keeping the tone and tenor of this conversation on a factual basis. I think what is obvious here is that we have disagreements that are based on opinions and interpretations -- but because NAR is the AHJ for some of this stuff, that really pretty much answers the question, doesn't it?
David Erbas-White

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david:
I'm glad that at least we can keep this discussion above the wailing of the inhouse anumals. I think you are desparately seraching for loopholes, so you too, can be a believer in this policy. I don't think the NAR S&T nor the NFPA regulations recognize "a special certfication". .
A "competent Authority" is usually a governmental agency.....one of the difficulties that the bristish found in legally importing these czech delats motors into their country was that they couldn't find a competnet authority in the czech republic nor could they basically find Mr. Taborsky. Mr. Taborsky's motors have not also undergone CE marling which would be a UK certfication requirement before they could eb sold their.
THe NARbot can yes, obviously change and later the model rocket safety code. But changing or altering to the code is completely different from what they are attempting to do here: and that is allow the NAR president to ignore a section of his own organizations Safety Code, along with giving him the authority to allow "certain" select NAR members, to also ignore these same sections.
Please read in a nother post where Trip Barber basically says exactly the same thing I do, and he voted for this policy and his prior comments and views on certfication,etc and his vote on this policy is inconsistent at best.
David, I will call the US DOT monday, and I will ask them if they consider the FAI a "competent authority". Let me in on a little background that I already know, as I have had discussions in the past with the 4 recognized tetsting labs that the US DOT uses to do this testing.
THis same question was asked of all 4 and there responses very virtually identical. It is true that an external to the USA "competent authority" can perform the necessary "explosives" testing process of model rocket motors, just as they do. Remember the prerequiste to certfication is explosives testing, so they can be classified as 1.3,1.4 or 4.1. which is their UN designation number. The FAI could conceivably perform this explosives tetsting at a lab in europe. These labs told me that the US DOT would then determine if these tests carried out by the foreign comptent authority were as rigorous as the tests that were performed here. If they made the determination the foreign testing was not as inclusive or as rigorius as they require from the USAbased tetsting labs, the motors would have to be re-tested here in one of the 4 us testing labs at additional time and expense. It is for this reason that the US tetsting labs recommend that any foreign manufacturer of model rocket motors, be sent here for full tetsting, as there is no gurantee the US DOT will accept overseas paperwork.
As far as I know no explosives testing has been done by any foreign or usa based competent authority. If they had been tested and been assigned a UN designation number, they would have been issued an US DOT EX number. I have scanned repeatedly the US DOT EX numbers database which is online, and there is no mention of these motors ever having a US DOT EX number assigned to them; so my only conculsion is that they have not undergone this "prerequiste" explosives testing yet.
The NAR cannot accept certfication from other motor testing authorities unless they have all the above.....So the fact that the FAI may have at some time tested a batch of czech delta motors is moot at this point. And as I pointed out in my other response to malcolm reynolds(tony is that you lurking?) , comapring the NAR certfication process to the FAi certfication process is like compaing apples and oranges. The FAI certfication is nothing more than a process to ensure that the motors be used AT THAT PARTICULAR FAI COMPETITION EVENT, are safe to use and don't go over impulse. They aren't being certfied for use for a 3 or 5 year period. there is no concept of de-certfication in FAI. These same batch of motors if they were to be used at another FAI event a month later, would still have to undergo the FAI certication process again....and again....and again..... I highly recommend that you goto the www.fai.org website and get the testing procedures and then compare them to the NAR/NFPA required ones. They are different in scope.
I look forward to further discussion.
terry dean

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shockwaveriderz wrote:

Terry,
I'll keep this one short (<G>). First, I'm not desperately searching for loopholes, I come at this from an entirely DIFFERENT perspective. I've been on several Boards of Directors, including as Chairman of the Board, and nothing frosts me more than all of the Monday-morning quarterbacks who 'decide' what an organization should be doing after all of those who actually have the responsibility (and liability!) have hashed it out. So no, I don't necessarily agree with WHY/HOW this decision was made, but I look at it from the perspective of how the BOT members would/should see it. In other words, I look at it from the perspective that, for the integrity of the organization, that we look and see if this is allowable under the bylaws of the organization. I have to presume that the Trustees are looking out for the long-term good of the organization, but as a non-BOT member, my role is to ensure that they have followed the bylaws correctly. At least, that's my perspective (and I admit it has changed radically from my pre-BOD days). It's really easy to yell/scream/shout when you haven't, yourself, spent years in the shoes of the BOT (and perhaps you have, I'm making this as a general statement, not directed at you specifically), but once you've put in all the hard work and basically thankless effort on behalf of an organization, it makes it much more difficult to put up with all the 'armchair Trustees'.
As I stated previously, I'm the one who viewed it as a 'special certification'. The NAR hasn't stated that, I've used it as my own method of 'understanding'. But, NAR S&T DOES answer to the BOT, and if NFPA refers to "NAR Certified", then "NAR Certified" means whatever the NAR says it does. I was using the term 'special certification' to simply identify it from the 'previous' classification method, but as far as NFPA is concerned, it is simply 'NAR certified'.
David Erbas-White
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shockwaveriderz wrote:

What is your objective in doing that? Be careful what you ask for.
Calling the DoT and raising a ruckus about model rocket motors is about as beneficial as me calling the FAA and reporting folks who seem to think they don't need to bother to get waivers.
Making that phone call is much more likely to cause a lot of harm than it is to come to a good end.
If you were a shipper and found yourself in possession of mismarked motors, or motors in a shipment that didn't have proper documentation, it would be a different situation. However, that is far from the case, and you are going to do nothing but cause problems.
If your goal is to make it difficult to ship motors, you're heading down the right path. If your goal is to get the NAR BoT to rethink a decision, you're heading down a very, very wrong path.
I, personally, have a problem with this decision, because it tells me that the NAR BoT sees the Internats fliers as more important than the average member, for whom they're not willing to make similar decisions. But I'm not about to claim that we need to call the authorites in and cause the problems that will arise from that.
-Kevin
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the objective is clear. But I hear your concerns so I will not do this. I know the FAI aren't a competent authority.
terry dean

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That is EXACTLY what they have done.

There is NOTHING in the board meeting minutes on this topic that even uses the word "certified". It specifically says "Uncertified". This is in direct violation of the NAR Bylaws and the NAR Safety Code.
If these motors are in any way certified, then they should be on the certified motor list. As of now, they are not. In fact, there isn't even a complete list of what motors this applies to.

The board does have the power to change the NAR Safety Code via the NFPA process. They just did that with the HPR code. They have NOT changed the Model Rocket Safety Code in any way.
The board does NOT have the power to change the NAR Bylaws without the vote of the membership. The Bylaws require all members to follow the NAR Safety Code at all times in their non professional rocket activities.
The board does NOT have the power to create a special membership class that is exempt from portions of the NAR Safety Code and NAR Bylaws. At least not without a member vote.

Please post a document listing what what motors have been certified by the FAI. Something along the lines of the lists that NAR, TRA, and CAR publish of motors they have certified. Where is the paperwork that shows what motors have been FAI certified? When do those certifications expire? What batches of motors passed certification, and what batches failed?
Please post the SPECS that the FAI certifies motors to. NAR, TRA, and CAR all meet NFPA requirements. FAI only tests for performance within the designated range, and whether or not the motor catos. Is the performance consistent? Are the delays accurate? Are the propellant formulations legal in the USA? Are they subject to regulation by the BATFE?

NFPA 1125 requires DOT paperwork as a prerequisite. FAI motors have no such paperwork. It is this paperwork that has stood as a barrier to prevent Jerry Irvine from certifying his motors. So we now have a double standard: some uncertified motors without DOT paperwork can be flown by some members, but other uncertified motors that lack DOT paperwork can not. This is not right.

The board does not have the authority to waive the NAR Safety Code for selected members. In fact, it is the boards job to ENFORCE the NAR Safety Code at all times for all members. They have failed in that job.
The board has ALWAYS defered motor certification issues to NAR Standards and Testing. I have yet to see any statement from S&T regarding the certification of these motors.

You have not. It is in conflict with the NAR Safety Code, with the NAR Bylaws, and with the paragraph that follows it in the board meeting minutes.
There MAY be a way to reach the goal of this motion. But it needs to be done in a different manner. One consistent with the NAR Safety Code and the NAR Bylaws. What we have now violates both. Until it is fixed, it needs to be revoked IMMEDIATELY. Or at least the NAR president should not grant any approval to violate the NAR Safety Code until these issues are resolved.
W.W.G.H.S.D?
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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shockwaveriderz wrote:

Terry, can you quote, or point me to, the specific NAR bylaw that says the BOT does not have the authority to grant a waiver of the safety code? Seems to me, if they have the authority to write the safety code, they automatically have the authority to grant a waiver. Just like the FAA grants waivers of the regs prohibiting high power rockets.

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hi ray, long time no see...
an excellent question and the answer is NO there is no specific NAR bylaw that says the NARBOT does not have thie authority to grant a waiver of the NAR model rocket safety code. There also is no language that they authority to grant such a waiver.
I will submit, that indeed the NARBOT may have this authority: but this authority is limited to NAR members only. And such an authorization would eseentially amount to an oveeride/waiver/exemption of specific NFPA codes that are in effect in all 50 states. The NARBOT does not have the authority to do that. That is is jurisdiction of the fire chief or fire marshal. I might add that the NAR also helps write the NFPA codes as a committe member. DO you dra from that, the same conculsion then that they can also waive/override NAR members from local and state fire codes? I don't think so...
terry dean
shockwaveriderz wrote:

Terry, can you quote, or point me to, the specific NAR bylaw that says the BOT does not have the authority to grant a waiver of the safety code? Seems to me, if they have the authority to write the safety code, they automatically have the authority to grant a waiver. Just like the FAA grants waivers of the regs prohibiting high power rockets.

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From the NAR Bylaws, Article 3 section 8: (extra caps mine)
Section 8: A person or organization having expressed his (its) desire for membership shall become a member of the appropriate class upon satisfaction of the Membership Committee as to his (its) sincerity of purpose and good reputation, upon affixing his (its) name to a statement pledging to serve and abide by the Safety Code(s) of the Association in ALL NON-PROFESSIONAL ROCKET ACTIVITIES, and upon payment of dues required by these By-Laws.
The board did NOT vote to change the NAR Safety Code. The board did NOT vote to direct NAR S&T to certify these motors, or to recognize reciprocal certification of these motors. The voted to allow "selected members" to fly uncertified motors at NAR events. This is a violation of the NAR Safety Code and NAR Bylaws.
And while they did not include it in the official minutes of the meeting, the insurance implications were discussed, and members will be left uninsured by this rule.

They have the authority to formally change the safety code through the NFPA process as they just did with the HPR Safety Code. They do not have the authority to waive the code for "selected members". I think you're confusing the way the NAR is run with the way TRA used to be run in the old days :-)
I understand that the NAR board spent about 30-40 minutes on this issue at their recent meeting. Even with that much time spent discussing this rule, there were details that either were not recognized, or were not understood by all involved. Which is why the board needs to go back, reconsider this rule, and either delete it, or revise it in a manner that is consistent with the NAR Safety Code and NAR Bylaws. They certainly should not allow selected members to fly uncertified motors until everything has been reexamined and resolved.
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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That being the case, it seems pretty simple to me and answers the main point in question.
I understand Bob's objection and his feelings but I'd have to say David is right. Agree with them or not, the recognized authorities apparently followed procedure, considered the circumstances and made their decision.
Our elected politicians should be so efficient.
Randy www.vernarockets.com
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I see nothing in the motion that even uses the word "certification". If these motors are certified through a reciprocal agreement, then they should be listed on the combined list.

The NAR board has the authority to change the safety code through the NFPA process as they recently did with the HPR code. The do *NOT* have the authority to ignore an inconvenient portion of the safety code, or allow members to violate the safety code.

I don't see that phrase anywhere in the minutes. It doesn't say that the team asked to have the motors NAR certified. They asked to be allowed to use uncertified motors. That is a direct violation of the NAR safety code, as stated in the very next item in the minutes.
Does any one know if there is actually an "official" list of what uncertified motors may be used in this manner in violation of the safety code? Or is it open season so that the team can use whatever motors they happen to show up with at these events.
I have a 'friend' in California who would like to supply a bunch of uncertified specialty motors to the team for this purpose. But for reasons of personal safety, he is unwilling to travel to Texas, and needs an address that he can ship some "model aircraft parts" to.
--
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L >>> To reply, there's no internet on Mars (yet)! <<<
Kaplow Klips & Baffle: http://nira-rocketry.org/Document/MayJun00.pdf
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On 22 May 2006 12:39:53 -0500, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.mars (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

Have him send them C/O Ken Allen 8-)
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Who is Steve Weaver?
On 19 May 2006 23:37:05 -0500, kaplow snipped-for-privacy@encompasserve.org.mars (Bob Kaplow) wrote:

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On Sat, 20 May 2006 09:38:48 -0400, Phil Stein

Rumor has it, he's Jerry in drag
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