Meeting of 3/8/18: ‘Yuri: A Life Lived’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
March 8, 2018

Members Attending (16): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, Dean Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Dick Drumm, Stewart Wagner, Julius Frankel, Kevin Leyhane, Monika Annis, Ron Annis.

Guests (5): Gary, Debbie & Sally Holden; Dan Annis; Mike Prusser.


OPENING — President Roberto welcomed members and guests, and showed a video of former SRC member John Sawchuk being interviewed on Fox News about the gun incident at Columbia High School in light of the current spate of school violence.

SRC Bowling LogoBOWLING FOR VETS — The final tally for the March 4 event held at the East Greenbush Bowling Center showed $2,493 raised for the Bell Top School military service dog project and other veterans services. We had about 70 bowlers of all ages, and 25 individual and company lane sponsors at $100 each.

MEETING VENUE CHANGES — Rather than meeting at Quigley’s and the Greenbush YMCA, two of our upcoming sessions will be held at the UAlbany School of Public Health, located on the Health Sciences Campus off Columbia Turnpike, Rensselaer. They are the dinner meeting on March 22and the breakfast meeting of April 19. The latter will begin at  8 a.m. rather than our usual 7 a.m. The dinner meeting, set for 5 to 7 p.m.,  will be free as part of a Rotaract fundraising event, which will include a silent auction in which we are invited to participate.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 6.59.04 PMROTARACT UPDATE — Roberto suggested the club provide a $2,000 “scholarship” for one or more Rotaract members to attend the Rotary International Convention in Toronto in June, or for another Rotaract project. There was discussion about whether need a dedicated fundraiser to support this idea. The entire matter was referred to the Community Services Committee headed by Debbie Rodriguez and Becky Raymond who also are our club liaisons with Rotaract.

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE — We are in the process of scheduling a dinner preparation there, and are scheduled to make a breakfast. Volunteers so far for the breakfast effort are Peter and Debbie Brown, Julius and Effie Frankel, and Phil Kellerman. No firm date yet for the dinner effort, although we have requested May 6..

Screen shot 2018-03-09 at 1.56.08 PMEASTER BASKETS PROJECT — Members are asked to continue bringing donations for the annual Circles of Mercy Easter basket drive to our next breakfast meeting and/or next dinner meeting. The shopping list is available by clicking here.

BYLAWS CHANGES — Bill Dowd is drafting language changes pertaining to the recent committee restructuring, and Terry Brewer and Murray Forth will work on new language pertaining to dues as a result of a change in the dues structure by RI. The proposed language will be presented to the membership for a vote at our March 29 meeting.

OPIOD CRISIS TRAINING — On Saturday, April 7, all Rotarians in District 7190 are invited to attend the annual District Training Assembly. This year the training theme will focus on an issue affecting us all: the opioid crisis. Click here for details on the event.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 9.30.13 PMDISTRICT CONFERENCE —This year’s 7190 District Conference will be held in a very different sort of venue — the new Rivers Casino & Resort in downtown Schenectady. The event will run over parts of three days on June 1 through 3, beginning with a traditional Friday “District Day of Service” that will involve projects for all abilities being offered in and around Schenectady. Click here for details and a link to registration information.

UPDATES — We hope to get the RYLA students we supported to visit a dinner meeting. … Bill Dowd has asked all committee leads to provide names of all committee members so he can update the “Committees” page on the website. Only one committee has responded so far. … Anyone interested in participating in the upcoming “Rotary’s Got Talent” event is asked to contact Roberto ASAP. The Thursday, May 3, talent showcase is sponsored by the District 7190 Next Gen Committee at the Lucky Strike entertainment center at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. Each three-minute act will be eligible for prizes — $500 and a traveling club trophy for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third. Admission will be $25 per adult, $15 for kids 7-14, and free to kids 6 and under. Further details will be posted on Next Gen’s Facebook page closer to the event.

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 4.13.48 PMROTARY HOME COOKING — The next event in the annual series of member-hosted gatherings, “A Cocktail Social, Plus,” is set for Saturday, March 24, at the Brewer residence. The cost of the event will be just $10 per person. Please see Terry ASAP to sign up. All are welcome to the event that will include hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer tasting, and other fun items. … Two more events will complete the series — an April “Surf & Turf Night” hosted by Murray and Maggie Forth, and a May “International Wine Tasting” hosted by Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez.

NEXT MEETINGS — Next Thursday, Giuliana Cianfarani will speak on “A Puppy With a Purpose at Your School” at the 7 a.m. breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA, and Debbie Brown will present “A Retrospective: Capital District Landscapes, Houses & Gardens Through the Eyes of 1936 Residents” at the 6:15 p.m. dinner meeting at Quigley’s.

PROGRAM: “Yuri: A Life Lived”

Screen shot 2018-03-09 at 1.21.55 PM
Julius ‘Yuri’ Frankel

Club member Julius Frankel, who was called “Yuri” by Russians who took over his home area in his youth, spoke about his life.

Julius displayed a map of Eastern Europe, where he was born in 1935 at the edge of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Russian forces moved in and took control of a slice of Romania, so, heeding the advice of a Russian officer, Julius’s father decided to leave their home in 1939 in a horse-drawn carriage.

The Frankel family was allowed to cross the border, but the Russians took them to an internment camp. They stayed in Romania and his father did business in the textile industry as an intermediary in the capital city of Bucharest with the Swiss Red Cross. By 1947 they knew Russians were increasing their stranglehold on the area and it was time for them to move again.

They were smuggled into Vienna, Austria, where his father continued in the textile business. The family at first planned to stay in Austria, but by the end of 1947 decided to emigrate to the United States. Here, Julius went to high school and graduated in three years. However, his father could not find work here, so he returned to Europe.

Julius received a scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy to study physics. He also worked on Wall Street for a while, but did not enjoy the experience, so he returned to RPI where he eventually became head of the ultrasonic lab in the Physics Department. He stayed there for the remainder of his academic career until he retired.

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