Meeting Minutes

January 20, 2012

7pm – Vinton Fire Station



Pat Sims (Chair)

Mary Sue Socky (Vice Chair)

Trish Geiger (Treasurer)

Marian McConnell (Secty)

Cyndi Hutchison

Sharon Mohney*

Tom Tracy*

Alan Staton

Todd Martin

Randy Michael

Carl Cornett

David Socky

Dan McConnell (Safety & T)

Joseph Caldwell

Stephanie Petri

Al Stewart

Doug Feller




a.   Rescue in Norman Cave (WV) – Numerous BRG members participated in or were on stand-by for the rescue of 3 spelunkers on January 9, 2012.  See Brian Williams’ article in the current issue of the Carbide Dump.  Thanks to Mary Sue for all the coordination and phone work; and for all who were part of this successful rescue.  There was quite a bit of media coverage; see also Wil Orndorff’s blog to the Roanoke Times about the terms ”spelunker” vs. “caver” and the resources (time, energy, money) donated to doing a cave rescue.

b.   On November 20, 2011, 13 went to Maxwelton Cave (WV) – David Socky, Doug Feller, Stephanie Petri, Aaron Moses, Pat Sims, Alan Staton, Rick Shortt, Elliot George, Nick Socky, Carl Cornett, Brian Williams, Lisa Simons Hall (friend of Brian’s), and Susan Burr.  They split into two groups; one for photography and one for exploration. 

c.    On November 26, 2011, 4 went to Porter’s Cave (VA) – Susan Burr, Trish Geiger, Stephanie Petri, and Cyndi Hutchison.  The goal was for Susan to learn the cave; they had a great time.  Did not go through the Keyhole or past the Big Slit.

d.   On January 1, 2012, 13 went to Paxton’s Cave (WV) – Doug Feller, Pat Sims, Susan Burr, Alan Staton, Glen Hugus (and his kids – Levi, Ty, and Hope), Anna Webb (Hope’s friend), Andy Funkhouser (and his kids – Rachael and Heather), and Louie White.  The trip was for Alan and his friends who traditionally cave every New Year’s Day while everyone else is suffering from a hangover.  Susan took pictures with her new Christmas camera.

e.   On December 27, 2011, 7 went to Tawney’s Cave (VA) – David, Mary Sue, and Nick Socky, Elliot George, Cole Semones, Pat Sims, and Marian McConnell.  They had a great time playing around and checking out the “Art Room.”

f.     The day after Thanksgiving, November, 2011, David Socky was on his way to go caving but his car broke down in Kingsport, TN so Mary Sue rescued him.

g.    On December 19, 2011, before the BRG Christmas Party, Carl Cornett, Ivy Lidstone (Carl’s friend), Cole Semones, David Socky, and Pat Sims, practiced vertical work in the Daylight Cave of Catawba Murder Hole (VA).

h.   On January 14, 2012, 10 went to Greenbrier Poor Farm Cave (WV) – Susan Burr, Pat Sims, Trish Geiger, Doug Feller, David and Mary Sue Socky, Jessica, Alan Staton, Vanessa, and Stephanie Petri.  Doug and Mary Sue fell in; it was wet and muddy.  The group brought along Santa hats and took some photos for the next BRG Christmas card.  Owner of the cave, Pete Stevens, and his friend Eric, were supposed to come along but didn’t.  Pat’s favorite Santa hat accidentally ended up in a Kroger plastic bag in the recycling bin but Mary Sue rescued it.

i.     (Date?)  Joseph Caldwell went in Yates Cave in the Greenbrier (WV) area and surveyed about 142’.  It was the first time he’s been caving in 6 years.

j.    On January 8, 2012, Dan and Marian McConnell hired a pilot, Pat Richards, to fly them over the Catawba Murder  Hole (VA) to take aerial photos for the book Marian is writing about the cave.  Great views of the cave as well as McAfee’s Knob.

k.    On January 19, 2012, Marian McConnell interviewed David Poag – thanks to a contact through Doug Feller.  David was one of 3 boys who had an adventure in the Catawba Murder Hole (VA) in 1950.  This will also be in Marian’s book.  David mentioned going into (back around 1950) a Moomaw’s Cave off of Cove Road in Roanoke (VA); we aren’t sure exactly where this cave is; it is thought to be on private property and “overgrown.”

l.     On January 16, 2012, Mary Sue Socky restocked the cave conservation brochures in the kiosk of Island Ford Cave (VA).

m.  On January 15, 2012, David Socky took some film students to Crossroads Cave (WV) and saw lots of healthy bats.

n.   The February BRG trip on February 18th to McClung’s; and on Sunday February 19th tentatively to ridge walk and check out some caves on the  property of Blue Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Rock (VA).


2.    PROGRAM:

Second half of David Socky’s pre-Convention video, “13 Bak’tun.”

Note:  It was suggested that Mary Sue contact Wil Orndorff about doing a program for us about WNS.  Some statistics say that 5.5 million bats have died due to WNS. 



a.   Dan and Marian McConnell were presented a certificate of appreciation from VAR the Virginia Region Landowner Award (December 1, 2011).

b.   Al Stewart was presented with a birthday card and present; a t-shirt that read, “I’m So Old I Fart Dust.”



Petty Cash             100.00

General               4,907.71

Conservation                   266.59

Equipment             216.36

Cave Bucks            153.30

TOTAL                $5,643.96


a.   Newsletter – Thanks for articles, photos, etc.  Great cover shot!

b.   Membership – We have 41 members and 1 subscriber.  Time to pay dues!

c.    ROCKS – Will do ridge walking and exploration in February near Eagle Rock.

d.   Safety & Techniques – Let Dan McConnell know what skills you want training in.





a.   Grotto Equipment – Helmet lights are now $15 but seem to work well.  Pat couldn’t get chin straps but may be able to get them on line unless someone has a suggested source.

b.   BRG Christmas cards – 73 were sent out.

c.    Roanoke City Parks & Recreation will be having a “Go-Fest” the weekend of October 19th although that is the same weekend as Bridge Day.  We have been invited to have a caving/cave conservation display if we wish and have people willing to man it on that Saturday and/or Sunday.



a.   Annual donations from cave bucks funds; after some discussion the following was agreed upon (Susan motioned, Cyndi seconded, and the motion passed). This is $225 less than we donated last year; but there was no Haunted Cave so we didn’t have as much income.


VSS (Virginia Speleological Survey) - $75

Virginia Cave Board - $75

Bat Conservation International - $100

VAR - $100

West Virginia Cave Conservancy - $200

Vinton Fire Department - $100 (for use of facilities for our meetings)

Southern Cave Conservancy - $100 (reduced from $200)

NSS – Save the Caves - $75

NSS – Cave Vandalism Deterrence - $50

NSS – WNS Fund - $100

Mid-Atlantic Karst Conservancy - $75 (reduced from $100)

West Virginia Assoc. for Cave Studies - $75

National Cave Rescue Commission - $0 (reduced from $50)

Butler Cave Conservation Society - $0 (reduced from $25)

American Cave Conservation Association - $25 (reduced from $50)

b.   Norman Cave Rescue synopsis – see notebook of information that Mary Sue put together.  21 people from VPI and 12 people from BRG participated or were on stand-by.

c.    Wikipedia posting cave locations?  The NSS is fighting this and apparently it hasn’t happened (yet).



·         So far the Virginia Cave Board is “safe” from the Virginia government.

·         The NSS has a new home in Huntsville, AL.

·         Jim Werker, NSS Conservation, and his wife, were in a very serious car wreck in New Mexico.

·         Spring VAR will be at Greenbrier Poor Farm April 27-29, 2012; hosted by Tri-State Grotto.

·         SERA Cave Carnival will be at Estill Fork, AL May 2-6, 2012.

·         NSS Convention will be in Lewisburg, WV June 25-29, 2012.  Book your motel rooms soon!  There will also be some pre- and post-convention camps.

·         Grand Caverns Heritage Day will be held June 16, 2012.


Adjournment at 8:50p.

Minutes by Marian McConnell