FYI: Theater Barn cancels season

The Theater Barn will suspend its 38th season after the July 3 performance.

If anyone was hoping to visit The Theater Barn, which we visited as a group during last year’s “Summer Casual Season” when our usual spot, the MacHaydn Theatre, was in flux due to the pandemic, forget it.

The owners of the summer theater in New Lebanon since its founding in 1984 have suspended the 38th season, effective at the end of the current run of Agatha Christie’s “Fiddlers Three,” which is being presented through next Sunday, July 3.

Allen Phelps, whose parents founded The Theater Barn, said the venue has not been able to attract the same level of attendance it had before the pandemic. Subscriptions have dropped by two-thirds, and single-performance ticket sales are off as well.

A ‘Summer Casual’ date opens up

We’ve had a change in our July-August “Summer Casual Schedule.”

The Drumms have moved their picnic date from July 28 to August 11, meaning we have that July date plus two August and one September dates open.

If you would like to host an event, or make arrangements for a “field trip” on any open date, please let incoming President Kevin Leyhane know which date you want to reserve and copy Bill Dowd on your note so the calendar can be updated.

Here’s the current schedule:

Meeting Clipboard: 6/23/22

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Ray Hannan, Kevin Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, Becky Raymond, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Andy Leyhane, Pat Bailey. By proxy: Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras.


President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order, noting the presence of a quorum and the fact that it was the last Zoom meeting of the Rotary Year.


• DONATIONS — By consensus, it was decided not to make a financial contribution to the Rotary float project for the 2023 Rose Parade.

• MEMBERSHIP — It was reported that all but one current member paid six-month or one-year dues for the start of the 2022-23 Rotary Year. Wells Packard has been removed from the membership roll.

• VALLEYCATS OUTING — Several tickets remain for the Thursday, August 4, ValleyCats baseball game and pre-game pavilion picnic, part of our “Summer Casual” schedule for July and August. Prices: $30 per adult, $25 for children 12 and under. Anyone who has not yet let event coordinator Debbie Rodriguez know of their interest is asked to do so no later than next Thursday, June 30.

• VIKING GYM — Ron Annis reports from Sweden that he’ll begin work on reconstruction of the rustic installment at Schodack Town Park when he returns home in August.

• IMPACT COMMITTEE — Chair Pat Bailey reported that about $800 has been raised, and numerous members of the public spoken to about Rotary, during a series of appearances at Kristy’s Barn and the Schodack Town Park summer music series. The last such event is scheduled for next Tuesday.

• DRIVER SAFETY COURSE — Kevin Leyhane issued a final call for anyone interested in participating in a course on Saturday, July 23, at a venue TBD. A minimum of 20 people is needed. SRC members are eligible, as are friends and family. Contact Kevin at by this weekend.

• PRESIDENTIAL CHANGEOVER — Debbie Rodriguez will pass the gavel to Kevin Leyhane for the 2022-23 Rotary Year at the 6:15 p.m. Thursday, June 30, meeting at Moscatiello’s, our final meeting of the 2021-22 year. As of the next day, July 1, Peter Brown will become President-elect en route to becoming president for 2023-24.

A breakout session at the convention center.

• THE RI CONVENTION — Jim Leyhane (5th convention) and Roberto Martinez (3rd time) were among 22 Rotarians from District 7190 to participate in the Rotary International Convention in Houston June 4-8. In total, more than 11,000 Rotarians were at the first in-person convention in three years.

Roberto and Jim described the range of speakers — from the first woman ever to be RI’s president-elect to a Nobel laureate, to a former moonwalking astronaut, to a Ukranian OB/GYN.

Discussion emphasis was on such global problems as clean water, child trafficking, and women’s rights.

The 2023 convention will be in Melbourne, Australia, and the 2024 session in Calgary, Alberta.

Texas native Roberto shown under a Texas-themed artwork.

Jim says his shoulder surgery won’t let him hold the world. but the moon is another story.

RSVP to attend Capital Roots thank-you event

In April, the SRC Rotary Club hosted a speaker from Capital Roots, the current incarnation of what started out as a community garden project and has grown considerably in recent years to include feeding the hungry, improving nutrition in the region, and providing educational opportunities.

If that visit piqued your interest in the organization, you’re invited to the organization’s “Spring Donor Appreciation” event — SRC sent a check to Capital Roots — any time from 5:30 to 7 p.m. this Wednesday at the organization’s headquarters, 594 River Street in Troy.

Drinks and small plates will be served to attendees, but you do need to RSVP if you plan to attend. Contact Capital Roots by email at to do so, or give them a call at 518-274-8685.

For those of you who missed the program in April, you can get filled in on Capital Roots’ many impressive activities by going to the organization website.

Meeting Clipboard 6/16/22: Scholarship Night, Part 2

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Debbie Rodriguez, Kevin Leyhane, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Andy Leyhane. By proxy: Bill Dowd, Tony Morris, Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras.

GUESTS (4): Scharlette Wilkins of Unity House, student Chelli Lopez and mother, RHS Counselor Chris Labatagglia.

President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant, noting the presence of a quorum.


Scholarship winner Chelli Lopez and mom pose with RHS counselor Chris Labatagglia.

• SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS — Last week, we honored the winners of $1,000 SRC Scholarship Awards to students from Columbia and Maple Hill high schools. Tonight, we honored the third student — Chelli Lopez of Rensselaer High School, who was accompanied by school counselor Chris Labatagglia. Chris described Chelli as someone dedicated to community service that is integral to having the school and public communities function together. She tries to provide tools for projects to succeed.  Because it is a smaller school district, she feels connections are more personal than in some others. Chelli also is a member of her school’s varsity softball team.

Chelli, who was presented with a $1,000 cashier’s check and a certificate of achievement from the club, plans to attend SUNY Oswego. 

President Debbie with Scharlette WIlkins from Unity House, holding a check from SRC.

• GUEST SPEAKER — President Debbie introduced Scharlette Wilkins, assistant director of domestic violence services for Unity House of Troy, where she has worked for 17 years.

Debbie presented Scharlette with a check from the club for $382. The money was collected via the “Pocket Change” contribution jug that is passed around at in-person SRC meetings. That method of fundraising for a different, specific purpose each Rotary Year as designated by the current president was instituted in 2013 under then-President April Dowd.

Scharlette explained that Unity House gets its funding from grants and donations. Its programs include assisting women and men in such areas as poverty, domestic violence, and mental illness. Unity House has a regular staff and the assistance of three attorneys plus a cadre of volunteers, serving people from all ethnic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds. They even have a gun violence program. Most of their clients pay 30% of the cost of given services. 

• NOTES OF GRATITUDE — We received thank-you notes from ShelterBox and Capital Roots, our two most recent financial recipients.

• SHELTERBOX — Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane are in the process of acquiring a $250 Lumaid starter kit for rechargeable lights offered by ShelterBox, to be sold by the club as a ShelterBox fundraiser. We continue our Clynk container recycling effort to help support the emergency aid organization. Anyone needing bar code stickers for that purpose may contact Bill Dowd.

• IMPACT COMMITTEE — The most recent public meet-and-greet effort was staffed by Debbie and Peter Brown at Schodack Town Park on Tuesday during the town’s summer concert series. Anyone wishing to volunteer a few hours to help at additional weekly events is asked to contact Pat Bailey.

• NEXT MEETING — 7 p.m. Thursday, June 23, via Zoom. As always, use the link in the club’s website calendar page to access the session.

Meeting Clipboard 6/9/22: Scholarship Night, Part 1

SRC scholarship winners pose with Rotarians, family, and school officials.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Debbie Rodriguez, Becky Raymond, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Andy Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Murray Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jeff Simon. By proxy: Carol Orvis, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd.

GUESTS (8): Michael Harkin, Brenna Sambrook, Kelly Sambrook, Brian Sambrook, Megan Sambrook, Hillary Brochu, Ethan Wilkinson, Cathy Wilkinson.

President Debbie Rodriguez called the meeting to order at Moscatiello’s Restaurant and noted the presence of a quorum.

ROTARY INTRO — For the benefit of our visitors, Jim Leyhane gave an introduction to Rotary from the local to international prospectives. Rotary is the largest non-governmental service club in the world and is represented in more countries than in the United Nations, with 1.4 million members.

SCHOLARSHIP HONOREES — Two of the three $1,000 SRC Scholarship awardees for this year joined us for dinner, with school and family guests. The students were nominated by their school administrators for exemplifying the principles of Rotary in their service to their schools and communities.

BRENNA SAMBROOK / Columbia High School

 CHS Principal Michael Harkin introduced Brenna, who has earned the Gold Award, highest honor from the Girl Scouts of America. She implemented strategies to prevent the spread of invasive species in the East Greenbush Town Park. She built foot brushes and developed signage for placement on waterproof signs that were installed at trail entrances in the park. Brenna also designed an educational website explaining the dangers of invasive species that is featured on the town’s Parks & Recreation page. She created a QRL code that was incorporated into the signage that allows hikers to use their mobile devices to connect to the website.

Brenna  is a member of Students for Environmental Action, Future Business Leaders of America, and
Key Club. She is an honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society. She will be attending SUNY New Paltz to focus on environmental studies.

ETHAN WILKINSON / Maple Hill High School

Assistant Principal Hillary Brochu introduced Ethan. He has participated in community service activities
through the Kiwanis Club and his church. He has focused on collections for refugees coming to the Capital Region by raising  $2,000 and a truckload of goods for the Tulip Project and RISSE of Albany. He has participated in ALS walks, raised funds for domestic violence programs and placed flags on
veteran’s gravesites.

Ethan also is a student member of the interview committee to determine the best candidates to join the Maple Hill Community. He is treasurer of both the Key Club and SADD. He will be attending the University at Albany where he plans to major in atmospheric and environmental sciences.

ADDITIONAL MEETING NOTES — Rotarian Jeff Simon, superintendent of the East Greenbush Central School District, spoke about the Times Union’s 2022 “Best of the Capital Region” poll in which East Greenbush was voted “Best School District.”

Jeff spoke about the challenges of returning students to school after the worst of the pandemic and
different programs that were implemented to assist them, such as after-school tutoring and transportation.  They also implemented some mental health support programs and worked to increase the resources.

The district had the second highest graduation rates in the region at  98%. He attributes the success
to a very supportive community, teachers, school board, and nurses. The environment was service oriented and they never had to close the school. COVID grants were used to hire more teachers and support staff. Non-traditional programs, which included trap shooting and archery, were added.

NEXT MEETING — Thursday, June 16, dinner at 6:15 p.m. (5:30 social period), at Moscatiello’s Italian Family Restaurant, Route 4, North Greenbush. Speaker: Scharlette Wilkins, assistant services director of
Unity House’s Domestic Violence Programs.

‘Summer Casual’ takes us out to the ballgame

It’s Summer Casual time

We’ve reached the point at which we have half of our “Summer Casual” calendar dates filled.

Save the latest date: Thursday, August 4.

That’s when we’ll be gathering at Bruno Stadium on the grounds of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy for a pavilion picnic followed by a Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game against the Ottawa Titans in their new Frontier League affiliation.

Details of time and price (parking remains free) will be shared soon. Event coordinator Debbie Rodriguez says the menu has changed this summer to include barbecued chicken, pulled pork, hot dogs, pasta salad, cole slaw, dinner rolls, and choice of soda or water. Children have the same menu. 

Here’s the SRC event calendar. If you want to reserve one of the remaining July-August dates to host or arrange a social event, please contact Bill Dowd to get on the schedule before someone else snatches up that date.

Thursday’s dinner meeting is ‘Scholarship Night’

Please be sure to join us to create a strong turnout for Thursday’s 6 p.m. dinner meeting at Moscatiello’s. That’s when we will be honoring several recipients of our annual “SRC Scholarship Awards.”

As always, we’ll begin our social time at 5:30, followed by dinner (and a cash bar). The entree choices will be a chicken Caesar salad or spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara and meatballs.

Our student guests, who will receive $1,000 scholarships, will be accompanied by a parent and a school representative. so we’d like to have as many Rotarians on hand as possible so we can continue to spread the word about Rotary’s commitment to local, regional, and global community service.

RI, ShelterBox renew partnership pact

• From Rotary International

HOUSTON, TX — Rotary International and the disaster relief charity ShelterBox today announced a three-year partnership renewal that will help the organization support more people, in more places, in more ways.

ShelterBox currently has teams working to support communities in Ukraine, Yemen, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, the Philippines, Syria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Nigeria. In addition, it maintains equipment depots around the globe to enable it to quickly respond to disasters.

ShelterBox was founded by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard in Cornwall, England, in 2000, forming a special humanitarian alliance that has made a tangible difference to the lives of people around the world. Based in the U.K. and with offices around the world — including a United States division — ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and other essential items to people who have lost their homes to conflict and disaster.

With growing collaboration with Rotary members and clubs across the globe, ShelterBox became Rotary’s official project partner in disaster relief in 2012. The partnership has helped transform ShelterBox into an internationally recognized disaster relief charity, together supporting more families when they need it most.

“Rotary has been beside us on our journey from day one and we are reminded of the significance of the partnership each time we mobilize,” said ShelterBox Chief Executive Sanj Srikanthan. “What began as a local connection with one Cornish Rotary Club has led to an extraordinary international movement that has provided emergency shelter to millions of people around the world.”

The official partnership has been renewed for another three years. The agreement will be announced at the annual Rotary International Convention, this year hosted in Houston, where Srikanthan will give a keynote speech to more than 10,000 Rotary members attending the event.

“Rotary members are involved in ShelterBox as volunteers, staff or response team members. Our responses can stretch us logistically and often it’s the Rotary network that help us navigate the import challenges that delay our lifesaving aid or provide us with warehousing space while we wait to distribute shelter kits,” Srikanthan added. “Rotary members also help ShelterBox response teams make vital community contacts and reach disaster-affected families in remote areas who might otherwise go without.”

Most recently, in addition to their own significant response to the Ukraine crisis, Rotary members have supported ShelterBox’s relief effort. Using their networks in Poland, Moldova, and Ukraine, Rotary members have provided invaluable situational awareness and connections enabling ShelterBox to provide aid to those in need.

The charity is providing mattresses to people in collective centers, tarpaulins, rope, tools, and other essentials to help people living in damaged buildings; in addition to supporting women and children fleeing Ukraine into neighboring Moldova.

The Rotary partnership often gives ShelterBox the flexibility and scale to respond in fast changing emergencies, including in the Philippines after Typhoon Rai made landfall last December.

The Philippines is ravaged so often by tropical storms that ShelterBox has adapted the way it works — pre-positioning aid in the country with a team on the ground ready to go when the next disaster strikes. With the help of the Rotary Club of Cebu, ShelterBox provided emergency shelter aid to 100,000 people in the aftermath of the super typhoon.

“Rotary is a global network whose members make a lasting difference in their communities – and worldwide. We are people of action, which is why our disaster relief partnership extends far beyond financial support,” said Rotary International General Secretary and CEO John Hewko. “Rotary clubs worldwide offer valuable, practical assistance to help ShelterBox reach more families fleeing disaster or conflict.”

Hewko added: “In Haiti last year, the Rotary Club of Les Cayes provided situational updates and helped ShelterBox understand local context so they could start work sooner. In Honduras, the Rotary Club of San Pedro Sula, helped to find the communities where ShelterBox could make the biggest difference following Hurricanes Iota and Eta. They unloaded shipping containers, travelled to remote communities to distribute aid, and delivered shelter training.”

ShelterBox has a global network of 14 offices worldwide that evolved from Rotary relationships. ShelterBox USA is based in Santa Barbara, CA.

“Rotary and ShelterBox will continue to collaborate, better supporting communities in need by improving preparedness, and prepositioning aid in areas prone to disaster,” Hewko said.

The renewal of the partnership comes at a decisive time against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on communities worldwide. But, that crisis will be dwarfed by the impact of a changing climate in the years ahead, with ShelterBox research highlighting how 167 million homes could be lost to climate change in the next 20 years. 

Flooding will be a leading cause of weather-related disaster, warming oceans will bring heavier rain to places that can’t cope with it, and other parts of the world will face ever more deadly droughts like the one East Africa is currently confronting.

To better meet the needs of the people who need support, ShelterBox is continuously evolving to find durable solutions. It no longer provides aid only in boxes, instead providing combinations of aid, packaged in a variety of ways to make a tangible difference.

A tarpaulin is the difference between a family staying dry in their makeshift home or not. Solar lights help families spend time together when electricity supply is impacted. A mosquito net helps families worry less about their children’s health in areas known to have malaria or dengue fever. Cash empowers local communities to hire skilled labour or buy the materials they need to rebuild their houses.

More information about ShelterBox is available online.

‘Music in the Park’ volunteers needed

Schodack Town Park

The Rotary Impact Committee needs a few more volunteers to staff the Rotary table at the Town of Schodack’s “Music in the Park” during June. Ideally, three people are needed for each event.

All events are held on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. If it rains, the event will be held on Wednesday. If you can help out, please contact Pat Bailey. Thank you to the following who have volunteered to date.