Sycamore Island
Meeting Minutes

March 9, 2016

Lucky Marmon, Bill Marmon, Suzette Risachek, Joe Hage, Tryon Wells, John Membrino, Jared Farber, John Noble, Gerry Barton, Marianne Ross, Jim Drew, Sherry Fizdale, Ann Marie Cunningham, Ned Goddard, Drew Walsh, Sarah Fraidin

President Tryon Wells called the meeting to order. The February Minutes were unanimously approved.

Membership Report
Attendees welcomed and elected to membership Sarah Faidin and Stephen Roggie, along with their three children. The family has been using the club as waiterlisters and are enthusiastic about finally becoming members.

Julia Strasser requested by letter an extension of her family’s waitlist status due to “extraordinary” circumstances.” Members voted 9 to 1 to allow a one-year deferral from the date of the decision.

Waitlisters Nichole Fraser and Harley Feldbaum have come to the top of the Waitlist, but are on assignment in Geneva. They propose to pay their dues and apply for inactive status until the their return. Gerry Barton and Bill Marmon volunteered to act as their sponsors in absentia and communicate with them via email.

The youngest applicant for the 2016 membership lottery is 10-years-old. He was advised that his parents must be the applicants.

Relief Caretaker’s Report
Madeleine Carter has taken over for Jodi Benjamin, who did a wonderful job scheduling relief caretakers for the past several years. This is certainly one of the most important jobs. Thanks for stepping up to the plate, Madeleine. And thanks to the following who served as relief caretakers during February: Joe and Tammy Belden, Ned Goddard, Lisa Hemmer, and Eric Simpson. We couldn’t do without you.

Treasurer’s Report
Treasurer Ned Goddard reported that the club’s finances are solid at this time of the year, due to the annual influx of member dues, waitlist fees, rentals, etc. He will have a more detailed report at the next meeting after discussing the 2016 income report with Financial Secretary Lisa Kleifoth.

Captain’s Report
Captain Drew Walsh announced that the Spring Workfest is Sunday, April 17th, starting at 9:00 a.m. The raindate is Sunday, April 24th. If anyone has a specific task he/she would like to do or see done, please contact Caretaker Joe Hage.

Gerry Barton pointed out several areas on the Island where there are serious drainage problems and said that a discussion of how they might be resolved is ongoing. Three windows in the caretaker’s apartment need replacing. There is a sink hole which will require some professional engineering input to remedy.

Old Business

New Business
Long-time Sycamore Island Club member, Charlotte Brewer, passed away in February. She was an enthusiastic participant in Sycamore Island activities and an avid environmentalist. She had left instructions that her friends not commemorate her life with flowers, but with donations to various organizations, one of which was Sycamore Island.

Jim Drew reported that he had taken advantage of the unseasonably warm and sunny weather to visit Rupert’s Island. It was a “magical experience,” he said, “very beautiful, and no poison ivy.”

Sherry Fitzdale has observed that members’ adolescent children, who visit the Island unchaperoned, often throw caution to the wind and take few or no safety precautions while on the water. She has seen some of them paddling canoes while standing up and wearing no life vests. Her observations prompted a discussion of how best to enforce the club’s safety rules. Several suggestions: a special event or Safety Day, reporting those indulging in unsafe behavior to the club president. Bill Marmon noted that it is every member’s responsibility to enforce the club’s safety rules. If you see something, say something. Don’t hesitate to speak up.

Potomac Watershed Clean-up
Ned Goddard announced that this event is scheduled for April 16th. Just show up at 11a.m. at the ferry and help fill garbage bags of trash on the Island, above and below on the towpath, and path to MacArthur Boulevard. As a precaution, make sure to wear gloves. All are welcome; please email Ned at if you plan to come.

Green Energy for the club
Ned Goddard introduced waitlister Jared Farber of Ethical Electric, who proposed a plan for the club to switch from coal-generated power (dirty energy) to wind-and solar-generated power (cleansourced energy), and thereby reduce the club’s carbon footprint. Since 2012, all consumers and businesses in Maryland have a choice of energy providers. Ethical Electric is a mission-based, for-profit company that has a small budget set aside for non-profits. The company buys green/clean energy from regionally sourced solar and wind energy providers. Pepco transmits power to customers along its transmission lines, but generates electricity from coal-fired sources. The proposal would retain PEPCO’s transmission services, but the club would contract with Ethical Electric for clean/green energy generation services. The cost of switching to clean power would increase the club’s electricity cost by an estimated $300–$600, based on last year’s bills, as green energy is currently more expensive than dirtier sources like coal. Ethical Electrical is willing to make a donation of “energy credits” for the club to offset the increased cost of green energy for the club’s electric bill. No change in hardware would be involved, and Ethical Electric would handle the paperwork involved in switching. A proposal to try the clean energy program for one year was accepted by a vote of 9 to 2. Thank you Ethical Energy.

The next meeting
Wednesday, April 13th, on the Island at 8:00 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Lucky Marmon
Co-recording Secretary