Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

June 12, 2013

Jay Zimmerman, Drew Walsh, Gerald S. Barton, Marianne Ross, Rich Lodish, Sherry Fizdale, Alan Gelb, Ned Goddard, Star Mitchell, Cindy Bertaut, Richard Bertaut, Jim Drew, John Noble, Russel Shaw, Natalia Shaw, Ma’ayan Shaw and Ann Marie Cunningham

Vice president Sherry Fizdale called the meeting to order.

John Noble nominated Shira Stutman and Russell Shaw and their children Caleb, Ma’ayan and Natalia for membership. Shira is a rabbi at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue and Russell is Head of School at Georgetown Day School. They were sponsored by Alissa Stern, and recommended by Greg and Maia Kats and Russell Sturm. Russell, Ma’ayan, and Natalia were present at the meeting. He said that he used to teach in an Outbound program before becoming a classroom teacher and when he first came to the Island he felt that he was coming home. The nomination was accepted and they were welcomed into membership.

Upon presentation of letters of recommendation, Catherine Bourassa and her son will be nominated next month, which will bring the total membership to the maximum of 160.

The rate of vacancies for admitting new members (nine per year) is slower than was expected. John will make a recommendation later this year to delay at least two years the next new member recruitment and lottery.

The minutes of the May meeting as published in The Islander were approved.

Several officers received an email from someone who expressed great love for the Island and wondered if he could have access. John Noble responded that there was nothing in our rules that allowed such access.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Alan Gelb reported that there was about $126,000 in the treasury at the end of May. If spending trends are stable, there should be approximately $80,000 at the end of the year, slightly higher than the $78,000 at the end of last year.

Alan has reviewed the costs of insurance, a major portion of the budget. The cost of FEMA-sponsored flood insurance has been rising steadily. From $3,567 in 2010 to $5,425 now. This is due both to rising costs and increased coverage for the renovated building. The commercial propery policy also increased somewhat from earlier years, due to the increased value after the renovation.

Under current building codes, if a flood destroyed more than 50% of the clubhouse, we would not have the right to rebuild it. If the building were determined to be a historic structure by Montgomery County, we would be able to rebuild according to the current design and materials. Of course, being designated an historic property comes with restrictions as to repairs and renovations we would be allowed to make. For example, during the renovations vinyl windows were installed which would not be allowed if it was officially an historic structure. (Secretary’s note: for historic information, the flood that destroyed the previous clubhouse and the design of the current one, read this article written by the architect. http://www.sycamoreisland. org/centenl/sc11.htm)

Captain’s Report
Drew Walsh reported that he is redesigning the anchors that hold the swim float in place, as the float has moved downstream from its preferred location. He is working on a list of short and long term projects, and will talk to the treasurer about funding the projects and will then schedule them. He said that Tryon Wells is working on two more rollable benches to replace two fixed workbenches in the toolshed.

Large Parties
Jay Zimmerman reported that people who request large parties are good about meeting the requirements. There have been a lot of requests for camping.

Relief Caretaking Report
Jody Benjamin reported via email that the following people served as relief caretakers in April and May: Abigail Wiebenson, Abby Porter and David Kay, Dirk and Kim Suringa, Susan O’Sullivan, Cindy Bertaut, Stan Fowler, Peter Levine, Chris White and Tamara Zemlo, David Lyles, Norman and Nancy Metzger, Paul E. Hagen, Fred and Tina Ohly, Joe and Tammy Belden, and Mike Petrilli. In addition, Linda Greer, Louise Meyer, and Hester Ohbi volunteered but were thwarted by flood waters. All members of the club are grateful for the passages that these folks provide across the channel.

Swimming Safety
Sherry noted the article by Larry Heilman in The Islander and emphasized his point that we are all lifeguards. We all share in the safety of others and should make others aware of hazards in the water, strong undercurrents, appropriate ways to help those in trouble without endangering self or others. A discussion ensued about expanding new member orientation to include all family members who might come to the Island. Signs will be reviewed to ensure that they emphasize all the key issues.

River Gauge
Ann Marie Cunningham reported that Joe Bell and two colleagues from the US Geological Survey visited the Island on May 30 to survey the Island and take measurements on the river depth in order to determine the best location for instruments that would be used to gather measurements of pollutants in the water, as they have learned that some measurements of the chemical composition of the water that have been taken near the pumping station are not accurate during periods of heavy rain. They expect to complete the report by the end of the month and present it to an ad hoc committee of the club for review. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to the club for consideration.

New Business
Jim Drew applauded the great cover photo in the June Islander.

The next meeting will be on the Island on July 10 at 8:00. The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Ann Marie Cunningham
Co-recording Secretary