Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

February 11, 2015

Richard Bertaut, Jody Benjamin, Star Mitchell, Meredith Griggs, Jeff Komarow, Jane Winer, Renee Butler, John Butler, Dave Winer, Marianne Ross, Jim Drew, Karen Possner, John Noble, Tryon Wells, Vicky Judson, Sherry Fizdale, Drew Walsh, Ned Goddard, and Ann Marie Cunningham.

Call to Order and Minutes
The meeting was called to order by President Wells at the home of our gracious hosts Vicky Judson and Michael Esch. The minutes of the January meeting were approved after being amended to say that John Noble projects that 10 members will move to senior membership, which allows 10 waitlisters to join.

This year the dues were due on February 15, rather than March 31, as in the past. Tryon Wells sent an email to the approximately 50 members with dues outstanding. There will be follow-up calls to prevent members from overlooking the due date. Vicky related how it is important that your email address be current so that they can contact you so that you don’t lose your membership.

John Noble nominated John and Ann Marie Cunningham, Partricia Hartge and Alan Strasser, Lisa and Christopher Kliefoth, Wayne and Susan Limberg, John and Susanna Membrino, Patricia and Richard Roth, Jack and Brenda Sanders, Richard and Carol Schleicher, and Peter Winkler and Barbara Kraft for senior membership.

John also nominated George and Marcia Loeb for Honorary Membership. They had resigned after 53 years of membership because they are unable to participate in club activities due to age and health. George and Marcia organized the Labor Day Regatta for many years and devised games and races that are still being used. They supervised the entertainment committee and manned the grill at many events over eight years. The nomination passed unanimously.

Tryon Wells began a discussion about changing the rules concerning eligibility for honorary and senior membership. Currently, to be an honorary member, one must resign from the club and then be nominated in writing by a current member, and have been a member for 25 years or more, or have performed outstanding or unusual service to the club. To be a senior member, one must have been a member for 20 years or more, and apply in writing to the Membership Secretary. An exception is for caretakers who have served long and well. Tryon is considering lengthening the time to be eligible for senior membership and honorary membership.

Captain’s Report
Drew Walsh is currently working on reviewing, planning, and designing spring projects that fit within the budget. Tove Elfstrom is going to rebuild the canoe dock. One under consideration is to declutter the screened porch, and to build benches with backrests that flip so that you can look into or out of the porch. Drew also requested approval to host a large party of more than 35 persons on March 21, which was approved. The spring workday will be held on April 12th with the 19th as the rain date. The Flower Walk will be May 4th. Drew also thanked Jody Benjamin for the article in last month’s Islander and her work recruiting substitute caretakers for Saturdays—Joe’s day off—and his vacations during the year. Jody has also built a list of Islanders who have volunteered to lend a hand on small ad hoc projects around the Island, as the need may arise throughout the year.

Relief Caretakers Report
Jody Benjamin thanked the caretakers who volunteered during the last month: Meredith Griggs, Penelope Mitchell, Wayne Limberg, and David and Sharon Gustafson. She particularly wanted to recognize Meredith and Penelope who have been regularly volunteering each month.

Treasurers Report
Ned Goddard has completed all of the federal and state filings that are required at this time for Employee Insurance, payroll and Sycamore Notes. The club’s 2014 Federal Tax Filing will be completed in April for the May deadline. He also reported that the county tax refund due to the club as a result of the solid waste assessment appeal is still outstanding. Due to a database irregularity on paying interest, rather than collecting it, he will continue to work with County Finance Director to resolve and get the refund. Ned commended Lisa Kleifoth for the admirable and honorable work she does at this time of year to collect and deposit the dues payments. Lisa reports that there are 50 member families who have not yet paid their dues, which is much better than at this point in previous years. This year’s earlier deadline so far appears to benefit the club to bring in revenue more quickly, and enables new members to join earlier in the year.

New Business
The Downriver Race will be held on May 16 and ends at Sycamore Island. A volunteer is needed to staff and coordinate the safety boat volunteers who primary responsibility is to ensure that the racers stop at Sycamore Island rather than paddling past it. Volunteers receive a T-shirt and lunch provided by the Canoe Cruisers Association. Jim will submit an article to The Islander requesting volunteers. Vicky Judson can provide pictures and Star Mitchell will write an article after the race.

Sherry Fizdale reported that She, David Winer, Marianne Ross, and Tryon Wells attended a presentation by the C&O Park Superintendent about the proposal to raise entrance fees. While initially opposed to the proposal, she was swayed by the reasonableness of it, and the dire financial straits the park is in. The budget has been cut repeatedly over the years, so there is fewer staff and less funding for maintenance. She explained the the proposed fees were similar to those charged at parks nationwide and that they would only be charged at the current parking lots plus at Fletcher’s. Only a portion of the fees would go directly to the C&O Park. The rest would go to the Park Service where all parks could compete for the funds. A few days later, she heard that the proposal has been shelved.

Star Mitchell was thanked for the wonderful memories she shared of John Lentz, who we will miss greatly.

We all appreciated the generous spread of refreshments that Vicky provided for us.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted
Lucky Marmon
Co-recording Secretary