Meeting of 10/27/16: ‘Alaska: The Final Frontier’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
October 27, 2016

Members Attending (14): Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, A.J. Amato, April Dowd, Ray Hannan, David Taylor, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Becky Raymond, Julius Frankel.

Guests (2): Mike Stangl, Frank Von Rienen.

PROGRAM: “Alaska: The Final Frontier”

Dean Calamaras presenting his Alaska travelogue. (That’s Doris under the cowboy hat.)

Club members Dean and Doris Calamaras took us on a photo tour of Alaska with a side trip to the bustling metropolis of Vancouver, British Columbia.

On their early summer trip, Dean and Doris flew into Anchorage, a very busy airport with jumbo jets from all around the world. In addition to seeing the activity of the state’s largest city, Dean pointed out Earthquake Park, an area that became a park in the aftermath of a major earthquake in the 1960s that caused an entire swath of homes and residents to be dumped into the sea.

Their trip, via Holland America, included travel on a cruise ship, a tour bus, etc. They chose this time of year because there still was snow on the mountains, which created contrasting colors that defined the terrain. They stayed in the lower half of the state, far from what then was called Mt. McKinley and now is called Dinali, the native name for the mountain. They also toured the Dinali State Park and were fortunate enough to spot many examples of the local wildlife — sheep, Soldatna bears, brown bears, moose, etc. Luckily, they avoided what Dean referred to as “the state bird” — mosquitoes.

Also on their tour was a closeup view of a glacier. As Dean noted, seeing glaciers in books and photos doesn’t provide the same insight as experiencing first-hand the intense dampness and cold.

They also visited Juneau, the state capital, and Ketchican, a busy seaport with its own drydock facilities, and in both places cruise ships abounded. Dean said that in some cases, such ships travel convoy style, particularly around islands and areas where there are watery dangers such as submerged rocks. As Dean explained:

“The individual ships could keep to any schedule they wanted if they traveled to the west, in the Pacific Ocean proper. By navigating through the islands, they shorten the trip and avoid the wave action one experiences on the open seas.

“On the other hand, the island route subjects them to the strong currents generated by the tides, so they travel together so all can benefit from the calm waters when the tides are in or out.  If, as I said, the whales knew enough to stay out of there when the tides were flowing, it would have been the height of folly to take an 80,000 ton ship through there at night under similar circumstances.”


WELCOME — President Debbie Rodriguez welcomed members and guests Mike Stangl (member Becky Raymond’s husband) and Frank Von Rienen.

WORLD POLIO DAY — Debbie, Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane attended the “World Polio Day” event at the UAlbany Health Sciences Campus on Monday. The event was live-streamed from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. A number of students also attended, and the club treated everyone to pizza.

ROTARY LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE — Debbie and Bill Dowd graduated from the three-year training regimen of RLI; Roberto finished Level 1 during a day-long event held on the Siena College campus.

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-2-28-59-pmSHELTERBOX — Bill Dowd, our ShelterBox Liaison Officer, displayed the silver-level Honor Club award we received from the relief agency for our $3,000+ contribution in the 2015-16 Rotary Year. The club’s board this week approved a three-year pledge of $3,000 per year, which will earn us silver status each year. Bill noted that we’re only $400 from raising that amount already in this Rotary Year. He also reported on the organization’s efforts to help people fleeing from the fighting in and around Mosul, Iraq, where in the past two weeks 2,000 ShelterBoxes valued at $2 million have been shipped in. He also noted that while ShelterBoxes are $1,000 each, any contribution large or small is welcome, and urged members to check with Treasurer Murray Forth on how to contribute.

PR GRANTS — We are working on additional public relations efforts and will apply for a reimbursement of up to $250 from the District. PR Committee Lead Bill Dowd is working on designing generic business cards that individual club members can distribute, and is looking into obtaining a vertical-banner — sometimes called a “feather” or “blade” sign — for use indoors and out to publicize Rotary.

CALENDAR ITEMS — A District Public Relations Workshop will be held at 9 a.m. this Saturday at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. … RI President John Germ will be the keynote speaker at the 108th annual Eastern Cities Dinner in Rochester on December 6. Registration information is on the club website. … The youth organization Girls on the Run race will hold its annual 5K race on November 10 at the Corning Preserve in Albany. Details plus registration information is available on that organization’s website.

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-12-31-26-pmYOUTH EXCHANGE — A.J. Amato reported that Ella Cancio, our student from Brazil, is fitting in nicely with the Maple Hill High School community. She is on the track team and choir, and A.J. and his wife have been seeing to it that she meets other students and sees the sights of the area. He said we still need a host family for Febriary through the end of Ella’s stay here. A.J. also urged members to read the blog being written by Michaela Rosetti during her exchange year in Italy. Go here for the link.

BOWLING FOR VETS — Murray reported that lane sponsorship sales are going well for the event, scheduled for next Sunday, November 6, at the East Greenbush Bowling Center. Members are asked to continue distributing copies of the flyer that are available online. The event is open to people of all ages and skill levels. Go here for the details.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-2-12-56-pmLEGOS PROJECT — Jim Leyhane said the first set of age-appropriate Legos has been ordered for Debbie Rodriguez’s grandson Xavier, who is undergoing treatment for leukemia. He asked that anyone wishing to help the ongoing project see him. The cost will be a onetime $60 (cash, please).

GIVING BACK — Last week, Russ Myer, founder-director of the Capital Region Nordic Alliance adaptive sports organization presented a program. We issued a $200 grant to his group, and quickly received a thank-you note — as well as a $100 bowling lane sponsorship check from Russ.

no-sew-blanket-logoNEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, November 3, at Quigley’s. We will hold a session making no-sew blankets, part of our ongoing support of the Blue Star Mothers military family support organization. If you didn’t take part in our last major blanket-making effort, go here for a look at what went on.

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