Forums General Discussion 2019 Competition

53 replies, 23 voices Last updated by James Clark 4 years, 6 months ago
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    • #5793

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      I understand the novice stones were lost or stolen but what is the holdup on getting other levels returned. Did they go missing too?

    • #5794

      scottwkelley
      Participant
      @scottwkelley

      say what?

    • #5795

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      That’s what Ernie Hawes ( who handles the stones) told us. They think the Los Angeles police are looking for them. LOL. I dont understand why they aren’t telling everyone the truth. Email me at tomandsue55@att.net and I’ll share the email string where I asked. He told me on Oct. 11 he’d be sending my intermediate entry but that my wife’s novice stone was lost or stolen. I still haven’t gotten mine. Not a good look for the USFG.

    • #5796

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      I’m on the Board of Directors and the Competition Committee, and I haven’t heard anything about this. Please send me whatever you have. it@usfacetersguild.org .

    • #5797

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      Ernie told me and one other over a month ago the novice stones were lost or stolen in Los Angeles yet he never told the committee? Were they shipped properly? Poor communication? Poor leadership? And he told me on Oct 11 he would be sending my entry back without wife’s novice stone and that hasn’t happened either. All I want is the truth exposed.

    • #5798

      Lowjiber
      Participant
      @Lowjiber

      My understanding is that Tom will provide the facts in the next newsletter.

    • #5799

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      Dont the entrants and the competition committee deserve the facts now? You knew about this mess?

    • #5800

      Rick_Brooker
      Participant
      @Rick_Brooker

      I have a tracking number and my pre-master stone is in the mail and supposed to be delivered today (11/9/2019).

    • #5801

      brellan217
      Participant
      @brellan217

      I am personally most upset by how this was handled. Transparency is paramount in a situation such as this. There has been a complete lack of transparency in this matter, and it appears that even key personnel to the committee were kept in the dark.

      At the very least an email to all novice level entrants should have been sent explaining what happened and what measures were in place to remediate. Yet silence was the approved method of communication. What fruit did refusing to disseminate information yield?

      I have no doubt that these stones are lost forever. I do question whether or not insurance was purchased on the package. If insurance was no purchased, I would like to know why. If insurance was purchased, I would hope that 100% of that insurance would be used to reimburse all novice entrants, at the very least.

      I regret to announce that I have allowed my USFG membership to lapse. I have no intention of renewing. Not because of the fact that this accident occurred, but rather due to the utter failure of the USFG officers to handle this matter in a manner I feel is appropriate. This appalling reaction to this matter is a blemish on the USFG’s reputation that will forever tarnish my own perception of the holistic group.

    • #5802

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      Yes, they have destroyed the trust and reputation of the USFG. My wife and I paid for several years and won’t have any further dealings with the USFG and not because of her lost stone but the handling of this. We were hoping to attend Tucson Faceters gathering but since that hasn’t even been announced we cancelled hotel reservations. My intentions were to achieve master status and help with judging as that also helps me learn but that’s history now. Disappointed in leadership of this once fine group.

    • #5803

      Jlee2017
      Participant
      @Jlee2017

      I received my stone today.

    • #5804

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      Jlee2017 did you enter in the Novice category or one of the others?

    • #5805

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      Thomasreeves, you said you were notified on Oct 11 that your Intermediate entry was being returned but that your wife’s Novice entry was lost/stolen. Is it possible that it was only hers that has gone missing and that the other entries in that category are accounted for?

    • #5806

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      I’d like to add a few thoughts here if you folks would allow. It’s not even 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning as I write this, I’m only just barely awake and am trying to grapple with hearing about this matter for the first time.

      I could not complete a stone for this year and as such, don’t have an entry but I take this competition very seriously as do you all. The USFG is a fantastic organization that has many volunteers and puts out a wonderfully produced newsletter every quarter. That is no easy feat to come up with all those stories, designs, how-to’s and so on. The annual competition is entered by people from throughout the world and is world-class in its professionalism and critiques.

      They encourage new faceters by not even charging entry fees for the Novice and Pre Master classes and they go to great lengths to ensure fairness in judging, which requires one handler to anonymize all the stones and forward each group to outside judges. There are a lot of moving parts and I would ask that we give the organization a little time to come forward if in fact anything happened.

      I understand that you are all justifiably anxious and answers are deserved but if these stones did go missing maybe there are leads they are trying to follow up on to track them down before an announcement is made? I don’t know what is really going on here but please give them some latitude. There is probably a lot happening behind the scenes to figure out exactly what happened.

    • #5807

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      We were told all novice entries were lost/stolen. Brellan above is another novice entrant who initially let us know. The USFG has known over a month and yet not notified the entrants or even the competition committee. They might think the police are on it but we know they have bigger issues so if that was what they were waiting for they should have at least informed the committee.

    • #5808

      johnmmealey
      Participant
      @johnmmealey

      The loss of stones themselves though unfortunate is not I’d be concerned about. Rather had the stones been graded/evaluated prior to or after their disappearance and was the record for each submission also lost? Will these poor folks have to recur and resubmit their entries?

    • #5809

      Jlee2017
      Participant
      @Jlee2017

      Michaelnoetzol, Sorry, mine was in a different category.

    • #5813

      Howard R. Bromley, MD
      Participant
      @howardbromley

      I, too, am on the Board of Directors and Competition Committee and this is the first that I’ve heard of this issue. It will be looked into ASAP.

      Howard Bromley

    • #5814

      Faceting 101 (Arya Akhavan)
      Keymaster
      @aryaakhavan

      I’m on the board of directors as well as the competition committee, and this is the first I’ve heard of this as well. Let me send some emails.

    • #5815

      Tom Mitchell
      Keymaster
      @tommitchell

      Regretfully, the Novice class stones have been lost in the mail. We have contacted the Postal Inspection Service (federal police) and the Los Angeles Police department about this. They are both actively working to look for the package that contained the stones. I have also contacted a private detective friend and asked for his help.

      Part of the reason for this loss has to do with procedures which have never existed until now. The SSC used to be run by the good old boys who handled things the best way they knew how, but without a written procedure. That procedure has now been created and once approved by our officers and board it will hopefully resolve all of the issues that have shown themselves in the past few weeks.

      Regarding the reason that we have not released the results of the SSC for all other divisions, this information has always been released in the December newsletter. We will be returning the stones, the certificates and the awards for the other divisions in the next few days. The primary reason that they have not been returned till now is that the Pre-Master, Master and Grand Master stones have just finished being judged and it takes time to make out certificates and recreate and produce the awards for the top 3 places. I was hoping that the Novice stones would show up in the mean time so we could release everything at one time.

      I still have hope that the Novice stones will be found so that they can be judged and eventually be returned.

      Tom Mitchell, President
      United States Faceters Guild

    • #5816

      Dan Lynch
      Participant
      @danlynch

      Thanks Tom for the update. To all I can ensure you this has been taken very seriously. We hate that it happened and Tom has been doing everything possible to rectify the situation. As he stated, the hope was that the stones would show up prior to the others being ready to ship out (which they have recently). It is very unfortunate. For all who entered the Novice category you will receive more detailed information very soon – but know again all that can be done is being done. Thanks to those above who have supported the USFG which as mentioned is run entirely be volunteers who put in considerable hours (days, weeks) into this organization and have for years.

    • #5820

      Rick_Brooker
      Participant
      @Rick_Brooker

      There are some heated comments going on here. It sounds like the stones were stolen or lost by the Post Office. That makes it their fault not the USFG. Although the entrants put a lot of time & effort in their stones, they have very little commercial value. Having them insured wouldn’t do anything if the stones went missing before they were judged. The only thing I see so far is that they should have announced the stones were missing when they were sure they weren’t going to show up. I say the USFG should get the facts and give a full report as soon as possible. Until then I wouldn’t want to lay blame on anyone. I view the SSC as one of the great values for a beginning faceter to join the USFG. I’d hate to see this ruin a good thing for all faceters.

    • #5821

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      I am only wanting the truth exposed and the more I find out about the committee not being informed it doesn’t sound good. We have been asking for the facts for a month. Further I was told my stone would be returned on Oct 11 and I waited almost a month and was wondering if it was lost also. At least they are trying to establish a policy for such events and hopefully for proper shipping such as signature required. My wife isn’t upset at the loss of her stone or the 30-40 hours (3 stones) but the handling and lack of news. Mine gets returned Monday and now she’s mad at me. LOL. I was hoping to get to masters certification and help judge and pay back the greats ( Al Whitney, John Alden, Vern Johnson and Fred Van Sant) who got me started years ago now that I’m retired. We’ll see.

    • #5822

      filinovpavel
      Participant
      @filinovpavel

      Good day to all! And are there any results, or will they be in the December issue?

    • #5823

      Dan Lynch
      Participant
      @danlynch

      The full results will be published in the December NL along with full transparency of the Novice situation. Hopefully the post office will find the stones. Stones in categories Pre-Master – Grand Master were shipped and some have received shared their information.

    • #5826

      bthomason
      Participant
      @bthomason

      I have been following this discussion for two days now, I have read some harsh words directed at the volunteers who run the competition.
      I joined USFG exclusively for the stone competition, My stone was lost BOO-HOO !
      We should not focus on blame, but see if we can come to some resolution.
      Do we want to. or do we have time to submit new stones? My greatest loss is being denied the opportunity to win this years competition.

    • #5827

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      A little understanding guys. Crap happens. If I had a stone entered in the novice class, I can only enter the I would be upset as well. I am sure the USFG will be fair to all that entered that class. If the stones have not been judge I am sure adequate time will be allowed to cut another stone to be judged. My experience is that a better stone can be cut the 2nd time around. The last time I competed in the USFG I cut at least 3 or more stones before I was satisfied with what I entered.

    • #5828

      Tom Mitchell
      Keymaster
      @tommitchell

      To clarify regarding the involvement of the competition committee, these are the people who choose and test cut the stones before they are published as the official contest designs. Once the contest is announced, the contest committee’s involvement ends. The stones then become the responsibility of the judging committee which includes the stone handler, the judges and myself. Procedures for the judging committee have never been formalized till this incident. I personally took part in the judging activities for the Pre-Master, Master, and Grand Master stones so that I could begin documenting the process.

      The judging of these stones was done by our head judge Ewing Evans and with his encouragement we also used this session as a judge training and certification session. Mr. Evans is a five time individual winner of the Australian International Faceting Challenge. He has indicated the need to train judges for some time and thankfully we were able to make it happen. Our judges have been doing this work since the USFG started. They have been establishing procedures and improving upon them ever since. But nothing has ever been written down till now.

      We used to have three judges, each in different parts of the country, who shared the judging duties. But one of our judges announced his retirement only weeks before the judging was to begin. So I contacted Mr. Evans and several other Master and Grand Master level cutters to see if they could join the session. Two people agreed to meet on short notice. Regretfully one of then could only participate for a few hours of this five day session. Had the remaining two of us not been there to help in the process, Mr. Evans indicated that he would only be able to complete two stones per day. The judging procedure is very time consuming and requires extensive paperwork.

      Because of this training session I assigned the majority of the stones to Mr. Evans. Having been through the judging process I had a idea how long it took to do the work. So when I got back from the training session I took a few days to create the certificates and design the awards, before calling the second judge to see how he was doing and if he needed help only to find out that he had not het received the stones. I then contacted the stone handler and learned the Novice stones were first sent to the wrong address because the post office worker misread the address. The person at that address was kind enough to return the stones. The stone handler then then informed me that he had typed out the address and given it to the postmaster who again sent the stones out. This time the postmaster neglected to put tracking on them. I then waited a few more days and called the second judge to find out that he had moved and was no longer at his original address. So there it is. The stones are in limbo and two policing agencies are looking for them. I still have a few other tricks up my sleeve that I will be trying to get the stones back. So stay tuned.

      Tom Mitchell, President
      United States Faceters Guild

    • #5831

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      To Tom Mitchell:

      Thank you for your overview of the challenges of this year’s competition and of the missing Novice Class stone entries. There are seemingly a few leads left to follow but I am pragmatic in that if the stones have been missing for this period of time that that speaks volumes about ‘re-finding’ them.

      It has been suggested that entrants be allowed to recut and resubmit new stones and I would like to ask that those involved in such a decision from the Guild to please give that option consideration. With the new designs for 2020 being released soon, I understand the overlap would be a little confusing but I think it is an important gesture to those who have been denied the judging of work they all put so much effort into. It won’t be a perfect solution but might be the best one available.

      Perhaps giving that specific, small group a three month window to recut stones would give them adequate time without rushing and still leave them time to go on and work on entries for the 2020 competition. And if such a decision were to be announced and made effective starting December 1st, that would give them a February 1st deadline to have the submissions postmarked.

      I remember the enthusiasm of submitting my first stone for competition and can only imagine the disappointment of the entrants. It is pretty obvious the Guild itself did not lose the stones in question but they have an opportunity to help make this right.

    • #5832

      michaelnoetzel
      Participant
      @michaelnoetzel

      ^ postmarked deadline should have been listed as March 1st, not February.

    • #5833

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      I agree with Michael. Let all that want to compete in the novice class start cutting a new stone. I feel as though many have forgot what is the purpose of competing. This kind of cutting is supposed to be a pleasurable and just a hobby. I cannot see this being the fault of the USFG. Maybe they have been slow in reporting what happened with the hope the stones would show up. If that had happened there would have been no reason to start the drama. Sit down with your machine and enjoy cutting a new stone and enjoy yourself. The experience gained will only help you in your journey of cutting gemstones for competition.

    • #5834

      gemgirl999
      Participant
      @Gemgirl999@

      I totally understand that mail does get lost. I am very disappointed that no one was notified of the situation, however. I am also wondering if it was the Grand Master Stones that had been lost, would things have been handled differently? I hope this situation can be resolved and that hopefully we can cut our stones again, if they are not found. Has this ever happened before in the any of the past competitions? According to the explanation of what really happened it sounds like there was a few people that need reprimanded for lack of organization. Why did no one have the proper address of where they were being shipped to? And why was a tracking number not given. Why are the packages not sent registered and have a signature required for pick up. Who knows really, but I feel policies and procedures need to be put in place other than what you currently have. I have very much enjoyed the USFG and understand that a lot of folks want to be able to point the finger and say “it’s your fault”. I hope we will hear something soon on a decision as to what the next step is going to be.

    • #5835

      thomasreeves
      Participant
      @thomasreeves

      Well said Gem Girl. That’s why I wanted the truth out so maybe they would fix things. Totally agree on the shipping being handled wrong.

    • #5836

      gemgirl999
      Participant
      @Gemgirl999@

      Thank you Thomas.

    • #5854

      rickchapin
      Participant
      @rickchapin

      I know i would be devastated if my stone was lost. Its a sad day for all of us at USGF. Mail does get lost and more often then we might think, I recently sent a large volume of important documents via Registered mail and they were lost, We seem to take the Postal Service for granted until something like this happens. I support the USFG in every way possible and as a volunteer in several other organizations i know it takes a HUGE amount of time energy and commitment for these volunteers. I am sure the volunteers involved in this are also devastated by this turn of events. My heart goes out to the cutters in the novice competition and the volunteers involved. We can only hope the stones will be recovered.

    • #5864

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      UPDATE:
      Neither the US Postal Inspection Service nor the Los Angeles Police Department has reported any progress in locating the lost Novice stones. The USFG officers and directors have met to consider how to mitigate this unfortunate situation.

      Decision of the USFG Officers and Board of Directors:

      1. For those 30 Novice entrants who submitted stones, the Novice Competition will be extended until March 30, 2020, to allow time for those entrants to cut and submit another stone. This applies only to those entrants who previously submitted stones before the original deadline. They will receive a letter from the USFG President.
      2. The original return postage will be refunded and for those who choose to submit a new stone the cost of postage to and from the stone handler will be covered.
      3. Each of the original Novice entrants will have their membership extended for 2 years at no charge.

    • #5865

      Rick_Brooker
      Participant
      @Rick_Brooker

      I’m glad to see that the USFG is trying to mitigate the problem of the missing novice stones. I don’t think the Post Office will ever find the stones. Good luck to all the participants who re-submit a novice stone.

    • #5866

      TDaniel
      Participant
      @TDaniel

      Wow. Novice here. I honestly don’t know what to say except that heartbreaking losses happen in this business. I guess I’ll do what I did last time when I chipped the gridle while cutting the crown on my second attempt. . . clean off another dop and try not to beat myself up about it. I can only imagine how much worse I would feel if I banged someone else’s stone against the side of the machine. I literally just shuddered at the thought. Try not to worry about it on my behalf, USFG!

      For the record, I’m not sure if there was a ‘good’ way for the USFG to handle a situation like this. I’m sure they hoped to get the stones back before they had to tell everyone they were lost. Yes, I would have rather known immediately, but in the grand scheme of things, I suppose it makes little difference. By the way, there’s no information on the entry form or the rules that sets any expection for when we would get our stones returned anyway (I was worried about leaving my mailbox unchecked in mid-October 🙂

      Now if ANYONE can tell me where I can get my woefully inadequate out-of-alightment Graves Mark IV serviced, I can start thinking about which piece of rough to use for a 4th attempt. Otherwise, my first competition stone will have to wait for a few more years so I can save up for that barely used left-handed UT I’ve been dreaming about 🙂

    • #5867

      TDaniel
      Participant
      @TDaniel

      Oh, and I never recieved a notification. I just found out tonight by reading this forum. Yall might want to send an email or something to let folks know to check this thread.

      Oh, and would it be possible to get a participation certificate or something? I was thinking it would be neat to keep it next to my included amethyst test cut, my chipped second attempt, and my failed attempts from 2018 and put them all together on a sort of ‘Sisyphus’ display. Gotta stay humble, ya know?
      Thanks!
      -Tom

    • #5870

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      As I mentioned, all Novice entrants will receive a letter from the USFG president. Notice that a new mailing address is given in the letter.
      There is no “participation” certificate, unless you make your own 🙂
      You will get a certificate and publication in the newsletter if your novice stone scores 85 or higher. Entrants who score lower will not be named.
      Remember that one of the prime benefits of entering the competition is direct feedback from a master cutter to help improve your skills.

    • #5871

      steveerichards
      Participant
      @steveerichards

      TDaniel has said it best of all the messages I’ve seen on here. Have to say I haven’t ever entered any competitions. Should be some one here to help with your Graves Mark IV alightment.

    • #5872

      gemgirl999
      Participant
      @Gemgirl999@

      Thank you for the information Alan. I will await my letter and I am go grateful for how generous the USFG is being. I am thrilled to be able to recut my stone and the two year subscription is much appreciated!!!

    • #5873

      TDaniel
      Participant
      @TDaniel

      Hi all,
      FYI, I received a notification today in the mail. Thanks for the note, Tom Mitchell. I’m guessing we’re about to see some more traffic on this thread so I want to encourage folks to recognize this tragedy for what it is. . . an extremely unfortunate turn of events. Let’s keep our heads up and our hearts open to move forward with dignity, honor, and respect. Yall are the only faceting family I have, after all.

    • #5874

      TDaniel
      Participant
      @TDaniel

      Hahaha! No participation certificate, eh? I guess a thirty-way tie for first place is out of the question then? 😉

    • #5877

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      Got a laugh out of the miss spelling. I am not the only one that miss spells a lot. Congratulations on that score. Competition must have been close to not place at least 3rd.

    • #5879

      Rick_Brooker
      Participant
      @Rick_Brooker

      I think it should be marked off 5 points @ 100% for word alignment.

    • #5880

      dougpam
      Participant
      @dougpam

      I hope that the USFG is going to send replacement certificates out to the participants that qualified or placed. It’s embarrassing to have anyone see a certificate with incorrect spelling coming from a competition that honors exacting standards.

    • #5882

      gailbumala
      Participant
      @gailbumala

      Ha, ha, Doug, you made me spit coffee out of my nose!

      Dear Friends, I know sending a stone in with so much work is something of an emotional thing. Each stone represents hours and hours of work–especially for Novice stones. Whatever happened, which will likely be discovered eventually, the people in this guild–especially those who step up to help–are good people. This is a good lesson for all of us to understand the most important lesson here: a little communication is a good thing. If you have concerns–go to the one most likely to know. If you don’t know–ask who you should contact. If someone contacts you–give them the best information you have. It’s tough to always know what is best to do, so have a little grace with one another. This forum is hardly a place where people can respond quickly.

      Another thing–It takes a while to judge Novice stones, so be patient with turnaround once they’re in. A novice stone usually has many more issues than a more advanced stone, so takes longer to score and comment on. In return you will be rewarded with very helpful guidance from the judges.

    • #5883

      davidechols
      Participant
      @davidechols

      The key word is volunteers. All officers of the USFG are volunteers. I thank them for making the usfg possible.

    • #5884

      scottwkelley
      Participant
      @scottwkelley

      I received my pre-master stone back and my wife wanted me to take a picture of the participation certificate to show how competition was spelled copletition, check it out. I laugh but some may find this not so.

    • #5886

      filinovpavel
      Participant
      @filinovpavel

      Good day. Judging by the discussion on the forum, the results of the competition are already known. How and where can they be recognized?

    • #5887

      Alan Balmer
      Keymaster
      @alanbalmer

      The December newsletter will announce the awards and publish the names and scores of everyone who qualifies for certification.

    • #5888

      filinovpavel
      Participant
      @filinovpavel

      Many thanks. Best wishes to everyone.

    • #5890

      James Clark
      Participant
      @jamesclark

      Pavel,
      I just saw your results on Facebook. You can’t beat 100!!!!
      Well done!

      Jim Clark

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