Our progress....

James Randi --- Wizard (randi-hotline@ssr.com)
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 23:46:51 -0400

A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE J.R.E.F.

As promised, here's a report on the progress of the The James Randi
Educational Foundation....

We're thoroughly moved in at our home office in Fort Lauderdale.
We've solved the leaky roof, the uneven parking lot, the confused
electrical wiring, and the weird telephone system. The staff of three
-- with another new member starting as of October 1st -- figures it
can live with this setup, in fact there is general euphoria.

We have lawyers fighting for our tax-exemptions (state and federal)
which, contrary to what one might expect, are always initially
refused, though they should be automatically granted since we
abundantly meet the requirements. We were told that religious
organizations get these rights immediately, and the temptation to
establish an instant religion was strong. But we opted to go through
the required song-and-dance. We really had no choice.

Our library is being catalogued with a very sophisticated computer
database that cross-indexes the material and it will also display a
2"X3" full-color picture of each book cover on each catalog page
accessed by the computer. We've catalogued 1240 books so far, plus 42
files of skeptical newsletters, journals, and folders. That project
should be essentially completed within two months.

The video library, some 300 hours of material going back to the
earliest days of videotaping, is yet to be catalogued at all; that's
an equally formidible task. We will be copying PAL and SECAM tapes
into NTSC format, then making digitalized copies which should last
essentially forever. Donated videotapes continue to come in from all
over the world, as do books -- and we repeat our appeal for this
material. Any books dealing with esoteric, paranormal, occult,
pseudoscientific or magical subjects -- pro- or con- -- will be
welcome. Ken Montgomery, our video guru, is setting up a
video-switching board for the dubbing and copying facility here, and
we're getting together the ingredients for the TV studio facility.
Any video equipment is also welcome.

The architects plans for our auditorium-plus-experimental-area have
been submitted, and we're pleased to find that the cost is less than
we'd anticipated, due to the way the building was designed. This will
increase our working area to 6,820 square feet -- from 5,320. We will
still have the 21 parking spaces (a double one reserved for UFOs -- I
kid you not!) and access to 20 more spaces after 5p.m. at night. The
air conditioning for the building will not need to be expanded, which
is a great saving in itself. The auditorium will have a full raised
stage, TV lighting and audio provisions, and seating for about 200
persons. Until that's in place (proposed for January/97) we won't be
inviting classes in for critical thinking classes.

The fully-equipped Foundation guest apartment has already been
occupied by visitors, and met with approval. It has a wide
plate-glass picture window looking in on the auditorium area. A full
TV-cable-and-digital facility is available to visitors.

The Foundation WWW page has replaced my personal page. Changes are
being made to the page as we speak. We've been slow getting the
Encyclopedia up on the page, but that will be done when we get a
breather....

To those of you who have sent in 2000 Club pledges and haven't yet
heard from us: sincere apologies. It's just been too hectic to get to
that stack of mail, but it will all be entered in and responded to by
the end of this week.

We're now prepared to offer books for sale through the Foundation.
The list will appear on the WWW page soon, with instructions, prices,
etc. All of my lecture fees are now being paid directly into the
Foundation account. We have brought in a fund-raiser person who shows
great potential indeed. And that suggests the next paragraph.

We've had numerous telephone, fax, e-mail, and postal inquiries about
how interested persons can become involved with the James Randi
Educational Foundation. Accordingly, we've framed up a membership
plan which only has to pass the lawyers before we announce it. Soon
you'll be able to add your support to the work by subscribing to the
JREF under one of several classes of participation. Our newsletter
will be available by that means, beginning in December, if all plans
continue as scheduled.

We're planning an informal "opening" session the end of October, by
which time the auditorium construction will be under way. Media and
interested persons will be invited to have a look at what's happening
here. The official, formal, opening will be after the auditorium is
in operation.

Meanwhile, if any of your are in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area,
please call and invite yourselves to have the five-minute tour. We're
very proud of what's come into existence here, and we'd be delighted
to show you the new baby. It's not walking yet, but Carl Lewis, stand
back!

James Randi
The James Randi Educational Foundation
201 S.E. Davie Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316-1815
U.S.A.

phone: +1 954 467 1112
fax: +1 954 467 1660
web: http://www.randi.org

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