Danes Rotaract fundraiser opens their year

Happy hour makes for happy fundraising.

Screen Shot 2018-10-16 at 10.48.23 PMThe Danes Rotaract club, sponsored by SRC, held its first activity of the 2018-19 Rotary Year, a happy hour event at Wolff’s Biergarten in Albany’s Warehouse District on Tuesday evening.

The event, the second annual such initiative for the two-year-old Rotaract group, was created to benefit the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFFF).

The foundation, which SRC has been financially supporting for several years with member Becky Raymond as the lead, assists women with specific gynecological  problems in such African nations as Sierra Leone, Malawi, and Madagascar. (Click on the links to get updates on the work in each country.)




RSVP now for this week’s breakfast, dinner meetings

Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 1.36.18 PMThis is a busy week for the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club.

• We will have a 7-8 a.m. breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA, with Marty Mahar bringing a very special guest — Auggie, the SRC-sponsored therapy dog from Bell Top  Elementary School. Please let Terry Brewer know by noon Wednesday if you will be participating.

• Our 6 p.m. dinner meeting at Quigley’s on Thursday will be a “club assembly” working session, with President Andy Leyhane leading a discussion on our goals and plans for the remainder of the 2018-19 Rotary Year. Please let Debbie Brown know by Tuesday evening if you be participating.

• On Saturday, a record team of 10 SRC members and Danes Rotaractors will participate in the annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) at the UAlbany School of Public Health.

Host Shannon Romanowski will have the usual continental breakfast available at the Y. At dinner, we’ll be dining on Quigley’s popular lasagna, antipasto salad, chef’s choice of sides, bread, dessert, and beverages. Plus, the cash bar will be available as always.

We already have more than a dozen people signed up for dinner, but the meeting topic calls for a lot more participation. Please make a point of joining your fellow Rotarians.


Meeting Clipboard: 10/11/18

SRC ClipboardBecause our club secretary no longer keeps minutes of the proceedings, we’ve switched to this briefer format, written primarily in less-detailed note form to preserve the club’s electronic archive.

Members Attending (14, quorum): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Kevin Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Carole Spencer, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Pat Bailey.

Guests: Matt Episcopo.

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One of the many ShelterBox teams working around the globe.

Bill Dowd provided an update on the ongoing effort to raise funds for ShelterBox via member contributions. Our club goal is to raise $6,000 by the end of October, to be added to any donation from the club treasury. As of tonight’s meeting we have collected $4,290, so we are just $1,710 from reaching the goal. Bill emphasized that donations of any amount are gladly accepted, explaining, “It is the cumulative power of donations large and small that will help ShelterBox in its ongoing efforts to aid many of the estimated 85 million people worldwide affected by conflict and natural disasters.” All checks should be made payable to ShelterBox to assure tax deductability, and mailed or delivered to him by our November 1 meeting for aggregation and delivery to the District 7190 Shelter Box liaison officers. …

… Bill also reported that a club-record 10 SRC and Danes Rotaract members have been registered for the Saturday, October 20, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) to be held at the UAlbany School of Public Health. Our record had been last year’s eight. Because we matched or exceeded last year’s figure, the District is underwriting the cost of one registration fee. We have people registered in all four levels of training, but we still have room for more. The revised deadline is this Saturday, and anyone interested in being signed up is asked to contact Bill no later than Saturday noon, and he will handle their registration. …

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Dr. Martha Lepow

World Polio Day is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, with a live streaming program worldwide. John Justino plans to record the program, then show it at our Thursday, October 25, dinner meeting. Our special guest at that event will be Dr. Martha Lepow, a childhood infectious diseases specialist who was a pioneer in the battle against polio. Dr. Lepow was interviewed by Dr. Jim Leyhane on-camera as part of our World Polio Day video project last year. … Our Danes Rotaract club is in the process of recruiting new members to replace those who left the area after graduating in June. Their first event will be a “Happy Hour Fundraiser” to benefit the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFFF). It will begin at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Wolff’s Biergarten on Broadway in Albany’s Warehouse District. $1 from the price of each drink purchased will go to the foundation. …

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Speaker Matt Episcopo

Matt Episcopo, a former law enforcement specialist who now is a much-traveled motivational speaker, was the evening’s guest. He presented what he described as a small slice of one of his most popular presentations, “How To Make A Strong First Impression.” … Event coordinator Murray Forth will be circulating a signup sheet for volunteers to staff a shift at our “SRC Recycling Day,” scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 3, at the Wainschaf Associates headquarters at 589 3rd Street Ext., Rensselaer (behind Target). He said he will have an employee on hand to do the heavy lifting, but we need staffers to collect money, answer questions, help accept papers for shredding, etc. …  President Andy Leyhane reminded all attendees that next week’s session at Quigley’s will be a Club Assembly, “so please come armed with your ideas and questions for our club to foster a good discussion.” The club’s Board of Directors will meet after the dinner meeting.



RLI signup deadline just 4 days off

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 12.39.35 AMTo All SRC Rotarians:

We’re just four days from the deadline for you to take advantage of a free offer from your Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club.

Here’s the deal: You spend the day participating in the Saturday, October 20, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) workshop and SRC will pay your fee to cover registration, course materials, a continental breakfast, and a full lunch. (Parking is free.)

Ask any of your fellow Rotarians who have taken the RLI course at any level — 1, 2, 3 or Graduate — and they’ll probably tell you they found it satisfying in a number of ways — organization and team-building skills you can put to use in your career as well as in your Rotary activities; networking with Rotarians from throughout the sprawling District 7190 region that you’ll find useful in many ways, and learning how to enhance your public service skills. (You can get more details on RLI by clicking on this link.)

We already have club members requesting to be registered at Level 2, 3, and Graduate. But, Level 1 for first-time RLI participants is where it all begins. We’d like to maintain SRC’s record of being the largest, or among the largest, contingents attending the session, to be held at the UAlbany School of Public Health just off Columbia Turnpike.

So far, we have Andy Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, and Jim Leyhane prepped to attend various Levels, with Bill Dowd and Debbie Rodriguez ready to attend the Graduate level. You don’t have to do anything to register except to let Bill know your intent no later than noon Wednesday, October 10. He will take care of registering all SRC members who have stepped up. You can contact him by replying to this email. Clean and simple process.

Won’t you please join us and help you and your community get more out of Rotary?


Meeting Clipboard: 10/4/18

SRC ClipboardThose of you who regularly access the meeting minutes on this website will notice a change in the format since we resumed weekly meetings this month. Because our club secretary no longer is keeping minutes of the proceedings, we’ve switched to this format, written primarily in less-detailed note form, so we still will have a record for the club archive.

Members Attending (12, quorum): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Kevin Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Carole Spencer, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Ray Hannan.

Guests: None.

PROGRAM: “Tariffs vs. NAFTA” was the topic of a discussion led by Phil Kellerman. It came in the wake of Sunday’s announcement that the U.S. and Canada have reached a deal on a “new, modernized trade agreement” designed to replace the 1994 NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) pact President Trump had long criticized as being harmful to the American economy. In a joint statement, the two nations said the new deal would be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an expansion of a trade agreement reached earlier between the U.S. and Mexico.

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 3.36.52 PMBill Dowd reported on his push for an expanded club donation to ShelterBox, which is juggling multiple disaster relief efforts simultaneously around the world. As one example, he explained that the latest numbers on just the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the major Indonesian island of Sulawesi continue to trend upward, now with more than 1,300 deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, and billions of dollars in damage to buildings and infrastructure. He noted that  the club normally donates $2,000 to $3,000 to ShelterBox each year, and he is shooting for an additional $5,000 by the end of the month. Bill  emphasized that any size donation — $5, $10, $20, $50 or  more — would help toward defraying the cost of $1,000 per ShelterBox, a price that has held steady for years. The cumulative impact is what we’re looking for. We currently are at $3,000, and the push will run through the end of the month. Checks should be made payable to ShelterBox to be eligible for a tax deduction. … President Andy Leyhane announced that, after expenses, our raffle for a wine dinner for 12 at Cafe Capriccio would clear about $2,200 for the club treasury. Carole Spencer drew the winning ticket stub, held by Murray Forth. …

We still are recruiting members to participate in the Saturday, October 20, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) workshops. We have four people expressing interest so far: Jim and Andy Leyhane at Level 2, Roberto Martinez at Level 3, and Debbie Rodriguez at the Graduate level. The club will pay the registration fees. The deadline for registration  is Wednesday, October 10. Anyone who would like to participate is asked to contact Bill Dowd, who will handle registration for the club. … We have four students from Maple Hill High School who are enrolled in the 2018-19 Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). SRC is paying the tuition for all of them. … Next Thursday, Matt Episcopo, an international motivational speaker, will be our guest, presenting on the topic “Making a Powerful First Impression.”




Global disasters stress ShelterBox; we need you

 Well, we have trouble. Big time trouble, in every quarter of the globe, and it is putting a tremendous strain on one of the best non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating as a disaster relief agency. Your help is needed.

“I’ve regularly reported on the rapid, life-sustaining aid ShelterBox has provided around the globe to people in regions ravaged by earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, typhoons, warfare, floods, and other natural and manmade disasters. Now, we have a heavily-populated region hit by several of those extremes at once, while we are being stressed to help victim in numerous countries simultaneously,” says Bill Dowd, SRC’s ShelterBox liaison officer.

What he is referring to is the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami that recently devastated the populous Indonesian island of Sulawesi, where as of today more than 400 people have perished — and hundreds more may, where tens of thousands been made homeless, and where more than $20 billion in damages to infrastructure and buildings has been identified.

ShelterBox was among the very first non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to be on the scene with emergency tent-housing, tools, water purification and first-aid equipment, basic lighting devices, and more items necessary to human survival when infrastructure is destroyed.

Sulawesi, which has a population of about 18 million, is the world’s 11th largest island, and anthropologists estimate it has been inhabited since about 30,000 B.C.

At the same time, ShelterBox has issued a winter appeal for support for its efforts at sustaining life for the many thousands of refugees from the internecine fighting in Syria.

But, those are not the only people ShelterBox has been helping, with your contributions directly making an impact. The global Rotary-affiliated aid agency estimates that right now there are nearly 85 million people around the world who have been made homeless by natural disaster and conflict and remain in dire need of ongoing assistance merely to stay alive.

“That means almost 85 million people without a place to call home; without a hope for the future. Our ShelterBoxes and ShelterKits are an emergency response, a tool, a practical solution and, in the midst of disaster, nothing less than a miracle,” ShelterBox officials say. “Please donate today to help us deliver the first glimpse of help and hope to a desperate family.”

Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club traditionally has been honored as an exemplary financial supporter of ShelterBox, both as an organization and from individual contributions. Proceeds from our Clynk beverage container redemption program, for example, helps support our club contributions, and a certain number of individuals have chipped in major grants.

At this time of unprecedented need, we are asking SRC members to step up to support a humanitarian effort for ShelterBox’s global efforts. Anything you can contribute, from as little as $5 to as much as $50 to $500 or more would go toward the purchase of ShelterBoxes, which for years has been able to freeze the per-unit cost at just $1,000 for years. You may even want to enlist of your family, neighbors, friends, church, synagogue, or mosque colleagues to contribute small amounts toward creating a powerful whole.

To kickstart the SRC effort, April and Bill Dowd again have pledged $1,000 each toward this effort as they have done annually for a number of years. However, we can’t stress enough that you please do not regard this as putting any pressure on individual SRC Rotarians to make major contributions. What we are looking for is the cumulative power of small donations. If you can help, please let Bill know by the end of October, and he’ll detail how you can be involved.

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Marker shows location of Sulwesi, Indonesia. (Google map)