Meeting of 2/2/17: ‘Our Towne Magazine’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
February 2, 2017

Members Attending (14): Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan, A.J. Amato, Carole Spencer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Ray Kellerman.

Guests (1): Jennifer Felts.


Program: “Our Towne Magazine”

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Jennifer Felts

Pat Bailey introduced Jennifer Felts, publisher of Our Towne Magazine, a monthly print publication based in East Greenbush and covering  Southern Rensselaer and Northern Columbia counties.

Jennifer, a virtual one-woman band, handles all aspects of the publication, from ad sales to graphic design to editorial content, to create what she refers to as “a happy read.” Her emphasis is on positive information without politics or controversy as well as connecting different parts of the community.

Jennifer assumed ownership of the publication with no previous experience in the field. She learned all aspects of it during an intensive six-week tutelage from a friend from whom she purchased Our Towne. The magazine had been a franchise spun  off from the original in Bethlehem, but eventually became an individually-owned publication when the franchised collection disbanded.

She noted that Our Towne is printed in Massachusetts by a company that handles a particular process no company in the Capital Region offers. She said she has some assistance from her father in the monthly physical distribution of the magazine, and has lined up a professional graphics artist to create some specialty advertising layouts. She does the bulk of the ad creation work at no extra charge for customers. She also utilizes a Facebook account as a value-added  exposure for her advertisers, and has grown distribution from 9,000 to 21,000 homes.

Jennifer, who explained that her work week often runs 100 hours although she is able to take off about one week a month, said she sees her role in the community as connecting businesses that might be able to benefit from each other: i.e., being a matchmaker at no charge to anyone;  being involved in such efforts as sitting on the board of the Greenbush YMCA; and also channeling 20% of her revenue into supporting programs in the community. As an example, upon hearing at this meeting that SRC is sponsoring a community recognition awards night later this month, she volunteered to be one of the event sponsors.


Business/Announcements

GREETING — President Debbie Rodriguez presided, and welcomed members and guests.

ROTARY HOME COOKING UPDATE — We raised $210 at the initial event of the 2017 series, a Greek dinner rotary-home-cooking-logo-2hosted by Dean and Doris Calamaras for the Gift of Life project. The next event in the series of home-hosted dinners is “A French Bistro Dinner” scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, February 11, at the residence of Debbie and Peter Brown. The menu, taken from the book “Bistro Cooking” by Patricia Wells, will feature: Provencal beef stew, gratin of macaroni, a green salad, a cheese plate, and chocolate mousse, and beverages appropriate to the menu. There are just four reservations remaining at $35 each. This is an excellent opportunity for socializing. If interested, please contact the Browns ASAP. All proceeds will go to the club treasury to support our community service projects. The Brewers will host a March event, and the Dowds will host “An Agave Evening” on Saturday, April 8. As always, reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

RI BIRTHDAY PARTY — This year marks the 112th anniversary of Rotary International and the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. Those milestones will be celebrated with a birthday party from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, February 24, at the Brookside Museum, 6 Charlton Street, Ballston  Spa. Admission is $20 per person. Details are available by clicking here.

MEMBER APPLICATION FORMS — Updated forms for individuals and groups (corporate, family) reflecting recently-enacted rules changes on the local and international levels now are available from Treasurer  Murray Forth, Secretary Pat Bailey, or the club website. … Jim Leyhane reported that former members, and past club presidents, Rommel Tolentino and Len Leonidas will be rejoining the club as part of the Community Care Physicians’ corporate membership application.

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-2-05-01-amA COMMUNITY CELEBRATION — That is the title of an awards recognition event being spearheaded by John Sawchuk and sponsored by our club to honor people in numerous walks of life in the community for their service. A buffet dinner will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 28, at Moscatiello’s Restaurant on Route 4 in North Greenbush, adjacent to Hudson Valley Community College. Awards will be given in such categories as schools, veterans affairs, first responders, scouting and businesses. Sponsorship opportunities from individuals and organizations are available at $100 each. Dinner reservations are $35 per person. SRC members are asked to solicit for both, because all proceeds above costs will go to the club to help supports its community service projects. Sponsorship and reservation donations, payable to SRC Rotary, should be sent to the club at P.O.Box 71, East Greenbush, NY 12061. Additional information is available by emailing the club at SRCrotary@gmail.com, or by calling 441-8783.

PETS TRAINING VOLUNTEER NEEDED — The second event in the annual three-part PETS (Presidents-Elect Training Series) program is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m.Wednesday, February 15, at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, located at 475  Moe Road in Clifton Park. Our own president-elect, Roberto Martinez, will be out of state on that day and, thus, unable to attend. He is asking anyone who may be interested in representing SRC to immediately contact him so he can forward their name to the event organizers. It is very important for our club to be represented.screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-2-31-46-am

FOOD PANTRY DRIVE — The District is asking individual clubs to collect canned food items for the annual “CANstruction Hunger Heroes” drive by Food Pantries of the Capital District for pantries in Rensselaer, Albany and Saratoga counties. Please bring canned items to our meetings of February 16 and/or February 23. Terry Brewer will take them to the weigh-in between 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday, February 25, at Grassland Equipment & Irrigation, 892-898 Troy Schenectady Road, Latham.  All donations collected there then will be transported to the central “CANstruction” site later  that day.

RYLA DINNER — The annual celebratory dinner marking the conclusion of the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is scheduled for 5 p.m.Saturday, March 4, at Skidmore College. Reservations are $35 each. Our club sponsored four students this year.

POLIO HISTORY PROJECT — Several of our members are participating in creation of a video to explain the history of polio for those who are not sure of details of the disease that Rotary has long fought against. Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez will keep us apprised of the progress of the project.


NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 9, 2016 at Quigley’s. A representative of the East Greenbush Fire Department will make a presentation  on the department’s role in the community.


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