Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

June 11, 2014

John Noble, David Winer, Bill Marmon, Jim Drew, Marianne Ross, Tryon Wells, John Cunningham, John Lentz, Molly Newberry, Meredith Griggs, Larry Heilman, Gerald Stanley Barton, Jonathan Rose, Duncan Thomson (F.O.J.), Jody Benjamin, Bobby Benjamin, Charlotte Brewer, and Ann Marie Cunningham

Call to Order and Minutes
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Marmon on the Island. The minutes of the May 14, 2014, meeting were approved.

Treasurers Report
Ned Goddard reported by email that he will report next month on the possibilities of repaying the construction notes early. In other respects, the finances are copacetic.

Captain’s Report
Bill Marmon reported on behalf of Drew Walsh that a roofer is under contract to repair the roof above the apartment.

An arborist has been hired to do some tree work and to replace the rope on the rope swing with a better, safer cable—the same as used on the zipline.

The swim dock will be returned to the water as soon as the new anchor is ready—in approximately 3 weeks.

Ann Lucy resigned as Grounds Supervisor. Alice Ballard is willing to replace her. This will be decided next month.

The surfboard has been installed, and the safety equipment that washed away has been replaced at the captain’s dock.

Caretaker’s Report
Joe Hage reported that his life’s mission is to let everyone know how great canoeing on the Potomac is. To that end, he and Mary Kearney canoed the Potomac alongside the C&O Canal, from Cumberland to Georgetown, raising awareness of the river, the canal, and the C&O Canal Trust. They presented a slideshow on their Canal-by-Canoe expedition. Under the auspices of the Canal Trust, they were able to stay in some of the lockhouses and they met Brent Walls, the new Upper Potomac Riverkeeper who posted an interview with Joe and Mary on the Upper Potomac Riverkeeper Facebook page. See pictures and read more about their trip at

Membership Report
John Noble proposed the election of new members.

• Molly and Edward Newberry, and their children Thomas, Erin and John. They love swimming, hiking, boating, biking and fishing. They are recommended by Silvija Strikis and Miguel Browne, and Garret Rasmussen.

• Jonathan Rose. He is an economist from the Adirondacks who has bicycled across the US twice for worthy causes. He is recommended by Charlotte Brewer, Sue and Greg Super, and Jody Benjamin.

Please welcome our new members.

John also reported that 37 waitlisters have purchased passes. The membership will be published this month. John is proposing a revision to Bylaw 15, Expulsion for Non-Payment of Dues that would shorten the period from three months, as it is now, to one month and add a penalty for late payments. The proposed amendment will be discussed and voted upon next month.

Relief Caretaker’s Report
Jody Benjamin expressed gratitude to those members and wait-listers who volunteer to pull the ferry on Joe’s day off. In May, they were Gerry Barton, Marianne and Phil Ross, Louis Boorstin, Andrew Umhau, Harely Feldbaum and Nicole Fraser, Louise Meyer, Chris White and Tamara Zemko, Joe McBride, and David and Sharon Gustafson.

Jody also reported that the horseshoe pits have been rehabilitated. If anyone has horseshoes to donate, please contact Jody or Joe.

When Joe is on vacation, members serve as temporary caretakers. If you are willing to be contacted to serve as caretaker so Joe can revigorate himself, please contact Jody at When Joe plans his next outing, she will contact you to see if you are available. It’s worth $50 per day.

New Business
Tryon Wells reported that the Solstice party is evolving into a square dance with a DJ, possibly to be held on September 27th. This is intended as more of an adult activity than most events on the Island. The planners are considering asking for a one day exception to the no alcohol rule.

Please contact Tryon at or Jane Winer at if you can help. And watch for more details.

As lightning flashed and thunder clapped and rumbled, Joe Hage reported that we still don’t have a generator on the Island, which was approved a year ago. Bill Marmon will talk to our captain, Drew Walsh about it.

Next month, Joe Bell of the US Geological Survey will come to the Island to discuss their proposal to upgrade the instruments that measure water quality in the Potomac. He will also lead an informal, interactive discussion on water quality to the members, which will include:
• New monitoring at Little Falls Pumping Station
• Continuous nitrate concentrations in the Potomac
• A cross-section of the river just downstream of Sycamore Island
• Lasting influences of road salts in the Potomac
• Fracking

As this will be a very interesting discussion, the next meeting will begin at 7:30 on July 9th to allow more time.

The striking photo on the page 1 of June Islander is of a Prothonotary Warbler and was taken by Bruce Beehler.

Larry Heilman expressed his concern that if there is any incident, we could lose the privilege of swimming. When he was the Supervisor of Swimming, an ad hoc special committee was formed that established guidelines on swimming safety that was to include training. He is concerned that we must keep a log of all incidents, ensure that the equipment is always available and in good working order through daily inspections.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Ann Marie Cunningham
Co-recording Secretary