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THE HISTORY OF MESA REGAL COMPUTER CLUB (MRCC)

1992-1995

Mesa Regal Computer Club was founded in the fall of 1992 as a Computer Interest Group by Jim Wilt and Ray Farmer. Jim took his computer from home and used it during the first year’s meetings in the Card Room. It was a tight-knit group of six participants: Jim Wilt, Ray Farmer, Robert Reimherr, Wayne Richardson, Charles Leith and Gordon Smith. Members of the group would crowd around the monitor to learn what was going on. Jim explained about computer basics and what could be done using them, During the second year, Ray had taken a computer class at Rio Salada and purchased a computer that was used for their meetings. Then both Ray and Jim were able to teach classes. Every week one or the other would load their computer in the car and bring it over to the card room. Ray taught word processing and Jim taught more about the operating system. For the meetings they used Sunday’s newspaper flyers to discuss what to buy and to compare the different RAM etc. A notice was posted on the bulletin board and the interested individuals, along with Jim and Ray, agreed to jointly teach and share their knowledge at weekly meetings.

 

First Notice

Jim Wilt’s background was in programming “main frame” computers at a bank where he subsequently advanced to VP. Later he set up a working database with a website connection for the Air Force Gunners Association. Ray Farmer was a retired Army Officer who made up his mind to “master” computers. He took many college courses and had rented a computer when the club started. Subsequently he set up the computer systems for a church and was hired as the business manager before his sudden death.  

Ray Farmer packed his computer to the card room for club use each week but one week it failed and there was a rather large bill to have it repaired. At that time Al Ennis had a large Arizona room and suggested the club use his computer. An extension cord was obtained for the monitor which was put up on a shelf so it could be seen by the class. Chairs were borrowed from George Hervey across the street and 20 to 25 people could attend the meetings. The internet had not really started but there was AOL, Prodigy, Juno and a few other systems on line which were BBS’s and offered internet services using a 300 baud modem at about $3.00 per minute.  

During these first few years a board of directors was formed. This board was instrumental in setting up the original Rules and Regulations for the operation of the club and equipment. The board consisted of Jim Wilt, Ray Farmer, Robert Reimherr, Wayne Richardson, Charles Leith, Gordon Smith and Bob Crawford. Funds were obtained from the old MRRA to buy the first computer. Jim Wilt and Ray Farmer bought this computer from a firm on Main St. This computer was housed and locked in a plywood case that was situated in the card room. It was opened for classes and practice. 

It must be remembered that all this occurred in the days before the internet really got started. Jim Wilt taught the basics of DOS and even branched into the use of the D-Base language. Robert Reimherr and particularly Ray Farmer taught Windows 3.1. In November 1995 Ray’s class lasted for 6 weeks at $1.00 per class. The club computer was available for practice. The use of McAfee was covered and the class learned how to send internet messages. The last class that spring was March 28, 1995. The first Hobo Stew dinner was held in February 1995 to raise money for computers and was a big success. 

During this time communications was demonstrated between two computers. One was located at the residence of Al and Terry Ennis and under the direction of Don Peterson communication was established with Don Peterson’s old IBM Convertible Laptop in his trailer. Both computers had a modem and Microsoft communications software that came with DOS was used to effect communication. Whatever was typed on one computer was mirrored on the monitor of the other computer. This was in the days before E mail had any real presence. Don Peterson and Don Reid were our technical advisors and helped one of our first woman members, Merle Morris, to get her new computer going. Most communications between computers was via “BBS”, or bulletin board systems. Almost all BBS’s were ultimately absorbed into the internet and most of them became ISP’s (internet service providers)

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1995-1996

During the 1995/96 season two club computers were connected via modem and dial up line to the internet. You can imagine the lineup to use this new technology. The second Hobo Stew dinner was held to raise club funds and was another good fund raiser. It must be remembered that the first Hobo Stew dinners were prepared and cooked from scratch entirely by club members and their spouses – talk about work!! The meat was cut, the vegetables were peeled and cut and everything cooked in the park roasters, about 16 of them to feed about 450. Dinner usually could be served in the space of 10 or 15 minutes. Profits, typically over $1000, went for the purchase of new equipment. In January, February and March Ray Farmer taught word processing with Microsoft Word 6.0. His last class on March 19th covered tables and charts. Doug Simmonds and Bob Crawford both did chapel bulletins on the computers in the beginning.

 

 1996/97

Chairman: Jerry Jones. A popular meeting attraction was the question and answer periods which helped to solve problems members were having with their computers. Feb 97 saw the 3rd Hobo Stew Dinner hosted by Don Reid..

 

1997/98

President: Jerry Jones. The club now had 12 computers on DSL and about 8 Canon BJC 3010 and several HP color printers. Classes were developing for club members: Beginners Class by Don Reid and others, also Buying a Computer. Don Reid hosted meetings and the Question and Answer section was extremely popular.

In Feb 98 the 4th Hobo Stew Dinner was held, again hosted by Don Reid.

 
1998/99

Don Reid - Chairman.

Feb 99 saw the 5th Hobo Stew Dinner.

 

1999/2000

Don Reid – Chairman. Bob and Muriel Jones were treasurers until they resigned to live outside Mesa Regal. Other members of the board included Lyle Paulson, Don Peterson, Al Stoner and Al Withington. The 6th Hobo Stew Dinner again hosted by Don Reid. The club took in over $13,000 during the winter season.

 

2000/2001

Chairman - Larry Finger (appointed Mar 6/01)

Nov 2000 - Installed 12 computers and printers purchased by Cal Am. We now had 22 machines on DSL. Of the two computers left, one was used as a server and the other was a spare. Our website was installed by Larry Finger. The 7th Hobo Stew Dinner was held and Hosted by Larry.

Executive - Past Pres. – Don Reid, Secretary - Merle Morris, Greeter - Stella Stimson, Supplies - John Bell, Yvonne Sinnott/AlWithington – Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, Mel Petty - Monitors, Vikki Dillon - Nametags, Barb Kramer - Classes, Don Reid conducted meetings until Larry Finger’s appointment.

 

2001/2002

Executive and President - same. More classes were being conducted and the 8th Hobo Stew Dinner was held.

 

2002/2003

President - John Bell., PP- Larry Finger (also Technical Advisor), Elly McDaniel - Assistant secretary, Neil Longson - Public Relations, Secretary - Merle Morris, Classes - Barb Kramer, Badges - Vikki Dillon, Treasurer - Carol Heutinck, Greeter - Stella Stimson, Supplies - Scotty Brown, Monitors - , Summer Co-ordinator - Joe Joynt..

The first “Pot Luck” dinner was held in lieu of the Hobo Stew dinner.

A laser B&W Printer was purchased and installed.

 
2003/2004

Executive : President - John Bell, PP - Larry Finger, Chief Technical Officer - Larry Finger, Secretary - Merle Morris, Assist. Secretary - Elly McDaniel, Classes - Barb Kramer, Badges - Vikki Dillon, Treasurer - Carol Heutinck, Greeter - Stella Stimson, Public Relations - Neil Longson, Supplies - Scotty Brown, Monitors - Barb Caple.

The second “Pot Luck” dinner was held Feb 2004.

A laser color printer was purchased and installed. All but two Canon BJC-3010 printers were retired (inkjets worn out). The HP895 color printer was also being used. All printers were available to all 22 computers through the server.

Teachers included Norm Bonnema, John Bell, Linden Caple, Denise Finger, Larry Finger, Sherm Fox, Carol Heutinck, Barbara Kramer, Doug Simmonds, Al Stoner and Alice Winter.

 

2004/2005

Executive - President - Neil Longson, PP - John Bell, Chief Technical Officer - Larry Finger, Secretary - Merle Morris, Assist. Sec - Elly McDaniel, Classes - Barb Kramer, Membership - Doug Simmonds, Treasurer - Carol Heutinck, Greeter - Stella Stimson, Program Co-ordinator and Communications Director - Yvonne Sinnott, Supplies – Scotty Brown , Monitors - Barbara Caple, Membership Badges – Marlene Gish.

During the summer of 2004 the computer lab was modified and enlarged and Cal-Am installed 39 new HP computers and a projector. The black and white laser printer and the color printer were available to all computers. The existing server adequately connected all computers to a new DSL line and a Wi-Fi (wireless system) was put in operation to serve the area surrounding the main and west complex. The retired computers and printers were donated by the MRCC to Red Mountain High School and to the STRUT program.

Teachers for this year were: John Bell – Beginning Computer, Norman Bonnema – Basic Computer, Linden Caple – Business, Denise Finger – Flip Album, Larry Finger – “Everything”, Sherm Fox – MS Works, Carol Heutinck - ?, Barbara Kramer – Print Shop, Doug Simmonds Yahoo E Mail, Al Stoner – Genealogy (for the last 6 or so years), Alice Winter – MS Word.

 

2005/2006

Executive: President – Neil Longson, PP – John Bell, Treasurer – Carol Heutinck, Secretary – Joy Erickson, Technical Advisor - Larry Finger, Programs Co-ordinator, Communications Director - Yvonne Sinnott, Barb Kramer - Classes, Yves Savignac - Monitors, Stella Stimson - Social, Marlene Gish - Membership Badges, Doug Simmonds - Membership Lists, Hugh Lowe - Membership Admin, Jennith Keir - Supplies, Elly McDaniel - Assis. Secretary, John Laut - Room Setup, Linda Cerf - Membership Listing.

During the summer of 2005 the projector was mounted on the ceiling in the lab and set up to be operated by remote control.

 

2006/2007

Executive: President – Neil Longson, PP – John Bell, Treasurer – Alice Winter , Meeting Secretary – Ely McDaniel, Technical Advisor - Don Peterson , Programs Co-ordinator & Communications Director - Yvonne Sinnott, Classes - Stella Stimson & Jennith Keir, Monitors - Jack Maxcy, Social - John Bell, Membership Badges - Marlene Gish, Membership Lists - Hugh Lowe, Supplies - Jennith Keir, Board Secretary - Doug Simmonds, Room Setup - John Bell, Board Members at large - Sandy & Shirley Levinson.

Changes to the club network resulted in frustration to residents using the facility. Ten formal presentations by outside groups provided information to members at meetings. Special Interest Groups were formed for members to learn more about Linux, digital cameras, GPS, I-Pod and Quicken software. A Pot Luck Dinner was held with good food and entertainment.

 

2007/2008

Executive: President – Neil Longson, Vice President – Sandy Levinson, PP – John Bell, Treasurer – Alice Winter, Programs Co-ordinator & Communications Director – John Bell, Classes - Stella Stimson, Monitors - Jack Maxcy, Social - John Bell, Membership Badges - Marlene Gish, Membership Lists – Shirley Levinson, Supplies - Jennith Keir, Technical Advisor - Don Peterson, Board Secretary – Elly McDaniel, Room Setup - John Bell, Board Members at large – Carol Heutinck, Tom Arnold, Yvonne Sinnott

Eleven formal presentations by outside groups provided information to members at meetings. Special interest groups, (SIG’s) for digital cameras and another for GPS systems held meetings weekly. Club membership dropped to 278 this season. Slow internet continues to be an irritant. The annual PotLuck Dinner was again a success with more than 100 attending.

 

2008/2009

Executive: President – Neil Longson, Vice President – Sandy Levinson, PP – John Bell, Treasurer – Alice Winter & Carol Heutinck, Board Secretary – Elly McDaniel, Programs Co-ordinator & Communications Director – John Bell & Yvonne Sinnott, Classes - Stella Stimson, Monitors - Jack Maxcy & Stella Stimson, Technical Advisor - Don Peterson, Social - John Bell, Membership Badges - Marlene Gish, Membership Lists – Shirley Levinson, Supplies - Jennith Keir & Tom Arnold, Room Setup - John Bell, Consultant – Yvonne Sinnott

Nine formal presentations by outside groups provided information to members at meetings. The December meeting of the East Valley Association of Computer Clubs was hosted at Mesa Regal. An Exposition was held to provide Mesa Regal residents with information about the club and our activities. A reconfiguration of all Lab computers was done by CalAm with resultant improvements in availability and speed. The internet server was also reconfigured and the internet speed was boosted by a factor of about 25.

 

2009/2010

Executive: President – Neil Longson, Vice President – Sandy Levinson, PP – John Bell, Treasurer – Alice Winter & Carol Heutinck, Board Secretary – Elly McDaniel, Programs Co-ordinator - Yvonne Sinnott, Communications Director – Robert Crawford, Classes - Stella Stimson, Monitors – Barb Kramer, Technical Advisor - Jack Maxcy, Social - John Bell, Membership Badges - Marlene Gish, Membership Lists – Shirley Levinson, Supplies - Jennith Keir & Tom Arnold.

During December Neil Longson had to return home due to illness and John Bell assumed the President’s role. Membership was up slightly this year. Peak meeting attendance was 125. The club had formal presentations during 12 weekly meetings. The club Exposition was held again this year with 11 displays - some of a technical nature, some of club programs and others of computer maintenance. The Phoenix Linux User Groups conducted a Linux Installfest in our lab for members and residents.

 

2010/2011

Executive: President – Tom Arnold, Past President - John Bell, Treasurer - Alice Winter and Carol Huetinck, Programs Co-ordinator - Sandy Levinson, Membership Lists - Shirley Levinson, Communications C0-ordinator - Yvonne Sinnott, Classes - Stella Stimson, Monitor Co-ordinator - Barb Kramer, Technical Advisors - Jack Maxcy and Don Peterson, Secretary - Ellie McDaneil, Membership Badges - Marlene Gish, Supplies - Dennis Preis, Members at Large - Gary Barton, Kathy Bracken, Jan Croasdell, Don Dean

Membership was up slightly this year at 224. Attendance at 19 meetings varied from 40 people up to 175 people at the club Exposition. There were a large variety of presenters helping members increase their knowledge of computers. 447 people attended our classes. A Linux installfest was conducted to help people install Linux on their computers.

 

2011/2012

Executive: President – Tom Arnold, Treasurer - Alice Winter, Program Membership Lists - Shirley Levinson, Class Scheduling and Monitor Co-ordinator - Barb Kramer, Technical Advisors - Jack Maxcy and Don Peterson, Secretary - Dennis Preis, Membership Badges - Lois Schaffner and Jan Croasdell. Members at Large - Gary Barton, Kathy Bracken, Christy Burke, Jan Croasdell, Don Dean, Dave Hoffschneider, Florence Oakland, Yvonne Sinnott

Membership was up slightly this year at 237. Attendance at 19 meetings varied from 41 people up to 300 people at the club Exposition. There were a large variety of presenters helping members increase their knowledge of computers. 500 people attended our 50 classes.

We are always looking for people to join the board to help with the administration of the club.

 

2012/2013

Executive: President – Tom Arnold, Treasurer - Alice Winter,  Membership & Assist. Treasurer – Al Stoner, Class Scheduling and Monitor Co-ordinator - Barb Kramer, Technical Advisors - Jack Maxcy and Don Peterson, Secretary - Dennis Preis, Membership Badges - Lois Schaffner and Jan Croasdell. Members at Large - Christy Burke, Don Dean, Florence Oakland, Cliff Wells, Wendy Wier
Membership was the same as last years at 237. Attendance at 19 meetings varied from 45 people up to 300 people at the club Exposition.   There were a large variety of presenters helping members increase their knowledge of computers.  500 people attended our 50 classes.  New this year was the use of an outside consultant to teach iPad classes.  All these classes were booked to the maximum participants.

 

2013/2014

Executive: President – Tom Arnold, Vice President - Don Dean, Treasurer and Expo Coordinator - Alice Winter, Membership & Assist. Treasurer – Al Stoner, Class Scheduling - Barb Kramer, Technical Advisors - Jack Maxcy and Don Peterson, Secretary - Dennis Preis, Membership Badges - Lois Schaffner and Jan Croasdell, Artisan Show Coordinator - Florence Oakland. Members at Large - Christy Burke, Robert Quamme
Membership was up from last year last year at 302. Attendance at 18 meetings varied from 45 people up to 300 people at the Club Exposition.   There were a large variety of presenters helping members increase their knowledge of computers.  712 people attended our many classes.  Again this year was the use of an outside consultant to teach iPad classes.  A total of 90 people attended these classes.  We also had classes for Garmin GPS taught by an outside consultant.  37 people took advantage of these excellent classes.
At our nomination meeting our treasurer Alice Winter asked to be relieved of her duties as treasurer and Malcolm Benson-Dyke volunteered to take over as treasurer in 2014-2015.
Prior to the beginning of the 2014-15 season our internet provider ceased providing hosting services for our web site http://www.mesaregalcc.org/. Our new hosting provider is StraightUp IT Solutions Inc. who is providing this service gratis. They are located in Canada, the owner being a neighbour of our president.

2014/2015

Executive: Tom Arnold, Malcom Benson-Dyke, Christy Burke, Don Dean, Jan Croasdell, Gil Gann, Judi Gann, Barb Kramer, Jack Maxcy, Florence Oakland, Don Peterson, Dennis Preis, Robert Quamme, Lois Schaffner, Al Stoner, Alice Winter.
There were 15 meetings this season. Topics included Windows Computer problems, internet and fraud issues, anti-virus procedures, Genealogy, Facebook as well as an iPad presentation. Attendance varied from 51 people up to 300 people at our club Expo in January. The average attendance was 75. Club members numbered 281 this year, down from last year’s 302. Regular class participation was about 550. All teachers are volunteers. The club also assists the Activities Office during the year, as we monitor the supplies required in the computer lab and advise Cal-Am staff when paper and ink needs to be ordered. We also replace paper and ink cartridges in the printers when required as well as free paper jams when required. Some software installation and the majority of lab equipment maintenance have been performed by Don Peterson assisted by Jack Maxcy.

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