Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

January 8, 1997

Phil Jones, Jinny Jones, Peggy Thomson, John Thomson, David Winer, Tryon Wells, Doc Taliaferro, John Matthews, Johnna Robinson, Brad Coolidge, George Loeb, Marcia Loeb, Al Brown, Peter Winkler, Jessie Bakeman, Gerry Barton, John Krasny, Blair Bower, Starr Mitchell, John Stapko, Alan Gelb, Susanna Membrino, Holly Syrrakos

Tryon Wells (Vice President, acting as chair in the absence of President Bill Eichbaum) called the meeting to order at 8:09 p.m.

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved by voice vote.

John Thomson (and others, John Matthews and Bill Eichbaum mentioned) received a letter from the Potomac Conservancy acknowledging the slow pace of repairs to the Towpath between Locks 5 and 10. The Conservancy indicated that it might help speed repairs if the Club tried to pressure the Park Service.

Captain's Report
John Matthews noted that caretaker Doc Taliaferro currently has the ferry running. He commented that there is still a pit that needs filling, a lot of debris to be picked up, and a lot of beaver damage. Doc said that he got an ultrasonic device, activated by a motion sensor, that seemed to keep the beavers away form the trees. A workfest task may be to wrap trees with chicken wire to keep the beavers away.

Canoe Supervisor
David Winer said that there are still a couple of fragile canoes on the Island and he is not able to find their owners. He would still like the boats removed as they are not stored properly. In a discussion about the canoe shed, the committee (Bill Eichbaum, John Matthews. John StaDko and David Winer) believes they have a design worked out but they need to meet to solidify the plans. Blair Bower again raised the idea of a floating shed and suggested that a model be built for about $2,000-$2,500. Tryon Wells asked the committee to make a proposal, in writing, about how to proceed.

Old Business
Gerry Barton noted that in the Jan. Notes from the Island, the correct name is NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Bylaws and Standing Rules changes
The intent of the changes is to bring the Club documents (last revised in 1992) into line with current practices. After discussion, by a vote of 9-7, the changes to Standing Rule 5 passed. (Changes in bold)

Standing Rule 5 now reads:
5. Application for Membership
An applicant shall fill out and sign an application form approved by the members in which he or she shall agree to conform to the By-Laws and Standing Rules, the substance of which relating to dues and arrears shall be printed on the form. He or she shall also certify his or her willingness to assist in the operations and maintenance of the Club, filling out a questionnaire concerning the chief fields of competence in this regard. He or she shall attach a non-refundable deposit of $75 as an application fee and will receive The Sycamore Islander.

Beginning in the calendar year following his or her application, each applicant shall pay an annual $20 fee, known as the Waiting List Fee, to help defray the cost of maintaining the waiting list, communicating with applicants and the cost of mailing copies of the Islander to applicants. The fee shall be waived for any applicant who purchases a full-year guest card.

Applicants are encouraged to participate in Club events, such as workfest, and may purchase a guest card for use of the Club as provided in Standing Rule 8B.

When a vacancy occurs, the first acceptable applicant may be offered a Regular membership, and will become a Regular member upon payment of an initiation fee of $50 and the annual dues prorated to the nearest month.

An applicant who resides outside the Washington metropolitan area may decline an offer of Regular membership but retain his or her place on the waiting list. Applicants residing in the Washington metropolitan area must accept an offer when tendered, or be moved to the end of the waiting list, unless there are extenuating circumstances, as determined by the membership secretary.

The responsibilities of the Financial Secretary, Membership Secretary and Chairman of the Eligibility Committee with regard to application are detailed in the Standing Rules 3D, 3E, and 4C respectively.

A two-thirds vote of the members present and eligible to vote shall be required for approval for an application for membership.

Changes to By-Law 20 passed on a voice vote. The effect of this change is that Senior Members may now host large parties. By-Law 20 now reads:

20. Senior Membership
A regular member in good standing who has maintained that status for 20 years or more may apply in writing to the Membership Secretary for Senior Membership. Such application shall be approved and reported to the next Club meeting. A Senior member shall be entitled to use of the Club facilities with the exception of a locker and canoe rack.

  • Senior member shall pay one-half of the regular Club dues.
  • Senior member may apply in writing to the Membership Secretary for the resumption of Regular Membership and shall be reinstated when the first Regular Membership becomes available.
Changes to By-Law 17 all passed in a series of 3 voice votes. The effect of the changes is to allow for automatic expulsion of for non-payment of dues. By-Law 17 now reads:
17. Expulsion for Non-Payment of Dues
a. Membership dues are due and payable upon a member's receipt of the annual dues notice. A member whose dues have not been received by the Financial Secretary by April 1, or in the case of quarterly payers, by Feb. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct. 1, shall be withdrawn from membership, without advance notice to the member required.

b. The Waiting List Fee assessed against applicants on the Club waiting list is due and payable upon an applicant's receipt of the annual notice. Any applicant hose fee is not received by the Financial Secretary by April 1 shall be withdrawn from membership, without advance notice to the applicant required.

c. Withdrawn members or applicants who seek reinstatement shall be obliged to reapply as new applicants, unless there are extenuating circumstance as determined by the Membership Secretary.

The membership requested that a notice be put in the March Sycamore Islander reminding everyone that dues are to be paid by April 1. And, as a result of the ByLaws discussion, Tryon requested that a By-Laws committee be formed to bring all the By-Laws up to date. This committee should be headed by the chair of the Legal/Law committee.

In the continuing discussion about how to increase club participation, many suggestions were tossed around. It was pointed out that members can work at the Island at times other than workfests. Doc is willing to maintain a list of tasks and to help focus work on the Island. There was general agreement that an annual or quarterly planning meeting of committee chairs and officers, to outline work for the upcoming year would be helpful. Johnna suggested a potluck, not associated with the workfest, to welcome new members. There was also agreement that numbers of participants, gathered from meeting minutes, workfest lists and relief caretaker lists would give a good idea of the actual level of participation. The Loebs will write up a plan and submit it to the Islander. Current activity level is being monitored through a sign-up sheet on the ferry.

New Business
George Loeb will sponsor the Discovery Creek School as his guest for camping this summer.

Tryon developed a test website for the Island. The URL is as follows: http://www.mindspringcom/~tryon/sycamore.htm

Next Meeting
The February meeting will be held on the 12th at 8 p.m. at the home of David and Katy Holdridge at 4553 Windsor Ln., Bethesda.

The Club needs a volunteer to host the March 12th meeting.

After a thank you to the Loebs for their hospitality, the meeting adjourned at about 9:45 p.m.

Holly Syrrakos, Recording Secretary