Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

October 9, 2012

The meeting was called to order by President Jim Drew at the home of Larry Heilman, who graciously offered his home for the meeting since the bridge is closed. His hospitality and the refreshments he provided were appreciated by all.

Larry Heilman, Alan Gelb, Karen Possner, John Noble, Jim Drew, David Winer, Jane Winer, Drew Walsh, Richard Lodish, Ann Lucy, Lisa Kleifoth, Joe Hage, Cora Shaw, Louise Meyer, and Ann Marie Cunningham.

The minutes as they appeared in The Islander were approved.

Treasurer’s Report
The club is solvent.

Captain’s Report
A stalwart crew consisting of Drew Walsh; Gerry Barton; Jim Drew; Geoff Holdridge and his sons, Sebastian and Christian; built a temporary bridge across the canal last month for use until the iron bridge is repaired. However, a Park Service maintenance crew removed the temporary bridge this morning. Joe received notice the night before, so he was able to salvage the ladders. Efforts by our president to contact the Park Superintendent have thus far been unsuccessful. Various solutions to the problem were discussed, including the possibility of adapting two lock bridges for use. The ultimate goal is to get the bridge repaired as quickly as possible. Drew and Joe Hage will contact park maintenance supervisor, the volunteer coordinator, and the Canal Trust to see what can be done. (Drew subsequently had a conversation with the Deputy Park Superintendent, who said that the National Highway Administration performed an assessment of the damage. Plans for short term and long term repairs are being worked, including one for a temporary bridge, and should be completed within approximately a week.)

Drew and Joe are working on plans for the work session, which is scheduled for November 11th, including getting people and materials to the Island. They are also looking for volunteers who are willing to be crew leaders for specific tasks.

Drew Walsh and Davey Hearn examined the ferry pontoons for leaks and did not find anything conclusive. Dave Winer expressed concern about water in the pontoons that makes it difficult to operate the ferry. Drew will investigate further.

The Environmental Committee planted 10 trees, including sycamores, pawpaws, and tulip poplars as part of a long-term effort to reduce erosion on the upriver end of the Island. The trees are wrapped to provide protection from voracious beavers. The next effort will be to meet with experts on the dynamics of river flow and removal of invasive plants.

Membership Report
John Noble reported that he has contacted three applicants on the waiting list to offer them membership once they provide two letters of recommendation from club members other than their initial sponsor and attend an orientation. The applicants are Jonathan Zimmerman and Maya Beth Lodish, Ashley Baquie, and Elizabeth Ewing and Louis Smith. This will bring the total number of members to the maximum of 160.

Lisa Kleifoth, Financial Secretary, reported that once dues are paid, there is no receipt or other documentation that is provided to show that the member has fulfilled their obligation and is entitled to enjoy the privileges that come with membership. She proposed an easy-to-administer way of providing membership cards, which could help Joe and relief caretakers to identify those entitled to access. A roster of members should also be on the ferry. Starting next year, she’ll send receipts.

Nominations Committee
Sherri Fizdale has agreed to be vice president next year. Please volunteer to serve as relief caretaker coordinator next year. Nominations for other offices are being accepted. Please contact Jim Drew or Bill Marmon if you are interested.

Large Parties
Jody Benjamin requested, and the members assembled agreed, that Paul Stanton’s and Kathleen Hooke’s large party privileges be suspended for two years. They held a party despite the rejection of their application and in violation of the large party guidelines. In addition, they have not yet paid the fee.

Key rules for large parties are:
  • The hosts must have completed three volunteer activities for the club.
  • Weekend large parties must be scheduled on odd-numbered days.
  • Weekend large parties must be announced in The Islander.
Complete rules can be found on the web at

New Business
Ann Lucy suggested that the meeting time be changed to 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. She will write a proposal to be placed in The Islander and the issue will be discussed at a future meeting.

Joe will be on vacation the week before Halloween.

Jane and Dave Winer and Karen Possner and Stan Wiggins have generously agreed to host the November and December meetings, respectively.

Larry Heilman said that the new committee reported in last month’s minutes would not be effective if swimming safety were combined with canoeing safety. Jim Drew responded that he saw that committee as serving a different purpose, namely to find effective ways of orienting all members of an applicant’s family to safety issues, including operating the ferry, swimming, and canoeing. Larry’s concern is more focused on swimming safety for all members.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Anne Marie Cunningham
Co-Recording Secretary