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Town hall, March 14, 2009

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On March 14, 2009, a Town Hall meeting was held after hours at the Dallas Open SCRABBLE® tournament. In attendance were NASPA Steering Committee members Chris Cree, John Chew, Mary Rhoades, Steve Pellinen and Sherrie Saint John.

Chris opened the meeting with a brief recap of the situation so far, including the December meeting with Hasbro, the cancellation of funding for serious SCRABBLE play as of the end of 2009, and the implications for clubs and tournaments. He then opened the floor to questions:

What relationship will NASPA have with cross-tables.com? — John Aitken
Seth Lipkin is a member of the Steering Committee and is taking an active role in organizing NASPA. — John Chew
What relation will Hasbro and NASPA have with clubs, with particular reference to trademark usage? — Jim Hughes
Sanctioned clubs will be permitted to use the SCRABBLE trademark, be given guidance on its correct use, and Hasbro will provide templates and assistance for press releases that use the trademark. — John Chew
What happened to the club questionnaires? — Carol Kaplan
146 responses have been received so far, and the key suggestions will be summarized next week on NASPAWiki. — Mary Rhoades
When will NSA clubs become NASPA clubs? — Carol Kaplan
July 1, 2009, if they pay a fee. — John Chew
When can players join NASPA? — Dave Wiegand
Now. — Chris Cree
Will NASPA consider outreach and promotion using Facebook and game set inserts? — Rod MacNeil
Yes. This is one big reason why we will begin charging a $0.50/game/player participation fee on July 1st, to build a war chest for a publicity campaign in 2010. — John Chew
Will NASPA prepare an information sheet for directors to give to players? — Tom Tremont
We would welcome your helping us prepare one, but otherwise encourage you to redistribute a monthly news bulletin that we will soon begin producing. — John Chew
Must club members who do not attend tournaments pay the NASPA membership fee? — Joel Sherman
They do not currently have to if they do not want to play in tournaments; the Membership Committee is considering alternate forms of membership for these and other players. — John Chew
Will the rules and lexicon change? — Denise Mahnken
The NSA Rules Committee and Dictionary Committee will be transferred to NASPA, and continue their work as usual. There will be regular updates to the Rules, and the Long List will be updated in the next few years. — John Chew
Who will publish the word list? — Judy Cole
We do not yet know who will publish the next word list, but will take into consideration the examples of WESPA and the USCF when beginning negotiations. — John Chew
Will NASPA be taking over Word Gear too? — Joel Sherman
Not in the foreseeable future. The NSA and Word Gear are separate businesses that happen to share staff and facilities. — John Chew
Will there be executive stipends, will the members decide them, and will they be published? — Shelley Ubeika
Yes, because there are and will be people working long hours and spending money for the association; no, the membership at large will not vote on compensation; yes, NASPA will report its budget in accordance with statutory requirements. — Chris Cree, John Chew and Steve Pellinen
Do Local Club Tournament players still have to be paid members? — Laura Scheimberg
Yes, that may be reviewed in future, but for the moment at least has not changed. — John Chew
How many rated games were there in 2008? — Mike Baron
Approximately 70,000. — Steve Pellinen
Should people buy NASPA memberships now? — Marty Gabriel
Yes. — Chris Cree
Who is on the new Advisory Board? — Mike Baker
Present are Chris Cree, John Chew, Mary Rhoades and Rod MacNeil. — Chris Cree
Will the exemption from paying a membership fee for the first rated tournament continue? — Joel Sherman
It is under serious review. — John Chew
Will ratings be instantaneously available to directors who submit ratings data? — Keith Smith
Probably by April. — John Chew
Will NASPA accept a large cash donation to support a seniors tournament? — William Clark
NASPA will consider the issue seriously. — John Chew