Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2003

Gerry Barton, Johnna Robinson, Jim Drew, John Wiebenson, Abigail Wiebenson, John F. Stapko, Ann Marie Cunningham, Tryon Wells, Ned Goddard, Renee Dunham, Peter Winkler

Call to Order:
President Ann Marie Cunningham called the meeting to order at 8:15 p.m.

The minutes of the August meeting were approved.

Ann Marie reported on a communication from the Nature Conservancy, which has received a grant to study the biological diversity of the Potomac River Gorge, including, with permission, a look at Sycamore and Ruppert. Several members expressed the hope that the Conservancy might be able to advise us on appropriate native plantings for the Island. We will invite our wildflower experts. [The Conservancy’s Stephanie Flack will speak on the project at the October meeting.]

Ann Marie also reported on a communication from member Pat Berry, on the dedication of a memorial in Rockville, MD, to firefighters who died on 9/11. The dedication took place September 11.

Officers’ Reports:
There were no reports from the treasurer, the financial secretary, the membership secretary, the canoe supervisor, or the caretaker.

Captain’s Report:
Much to the admiration of those present, Deputy Captain John Stapko displayed the first of two stainless steel bumpers for the ferry that he forged. Captain Tryon Wells reported that summer vacation caretaker (and former member) David Sitomer had maintained a journal of his stay on the Island, and that it was posted on the website and well worth reading.

Editor’s Report:
Ann Marie passed on Islander editor Norm Metzger's request for submissions for the November and December issues.

Fishing Derby and Regatta:
Peter Winkler reported that the fishing derby was a great success, in large part due to the splendid efforts of organizers, George and Shelley Malusky. Gerry Barton reported that Bill and Rochelle Banta did an equally admirable job hosting the regatta, which featured races, jousting, and pizza.

Old Business:
Gerry Barton reported on his efforts to research whether we in fact have a right of way for the bridge over the canal. He visited the Historical Society of Washington, DC, and spent time looking through the Club’s archives there. Although he was not able to answer the question, he learned a lot of information about the bridge and its predecessors, which he shared. The right of way is alleged to date back to 1889. Tryon Wells provided some additional information about early times, based in part on the centennial edition of the Islander, which, he noted, is available on our website. Among other things, the Club paid $100 total for Sycamore and Rupperts. Other members observed that we could perform a title search in Montgomery County to find the answer to the right of way question.

Gerry proposed that we periodically provide for an updating of our records at the Historical Society. There was discussion about our records and valuable papers generally, and about the Club’s prior difficulties in maintaining a safe deposit box. Tryon volunteered to draft a provision for the by-laws about a safe deposit box, specifying, in particular, which officers would maintain keys. Tryon stated that he had possession of certain club records and documents that he had been given by John Thomson; Johnna Robinson stated that she had a copy of the PhD dissertation concerning an archeological dig on Rupperts (apparently, there are relics from Rupperts Island in a collection at American University); and Caretaker Joe Hage has custody of the club seal.

New Business:
Ann Marie Cunningham stated that we need to form a nominating committee. Ann Marie will ask Carl Linden to help and asked for other volunteers. Tryon Wells volunteered to help.

There was a brief discussion of the release of sewage, in August, into the Potomac via Antietam Creek. The problem was caused by a power failure at a sewage treatment facility.

Tryon Wells then presented two proposals: that we charge a fee to those members who receive a mailed, printed copy of the Islander, and that we investigate providing a mechanism whereby members and waitlisters could pay their dues electronically. In discussion, we agreed that it would be appropriate for Tryon to draft a proposal and publish it in the Islander, thereby giving everyone notice before we take action.

Regarding the electronic collection of dues, Tryon stated that it is probably too late to implement anything for the coming year, but that we should investigate it for the future. There was a brief discussion of how much this proposal might cost—to set up and to maintain on an annual basis—and what we would gain in return. Tryon observed that it would relieve the financial secretary of a lot of data entry, and that it would provide for immediate transfer of all dues paid to our bank account. Tryon agreed to look into possible options, including the use of Paypal.

Next Meeting: 8 p.m. Wednesday, October 8, Sycamore.

The meeting was adjourned at 10 p.m.

-- Peter Winkler, Recording Secretary