Held at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061
Members Attending (12): Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Dean Calamaras, Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Charlie Foote, Ray Hannan, Phil Kellerman, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Debbie Rodriguez, Andy Leyhane.
Guests (4): David Harris, Mary Drumm, Kevin Drumm, Paige Johnson.
MEETING NOTES — President Phil Kellerman welcomed members and guests. … Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez updated members on Murray Forth’s status. He has been rehospitalized with different a different problem, but expects to go home in a day or two. … Roberto reported that he won a raffle basket at the Gift of Life Golf Tournament awards dinner on Monday and is giving it to Murray and Maggie on behalf of the club as a get-well gift. Apropos the GOL event, Dean and Doris Calamaras were recognized as Friends of Gift of Life, and SRC had two foursomes participate. …
Phil shared a flyer from a friend in Georgia who teaches English as a second language to students who speaks other languages and are financially limited. She was asking for a $150 grant to purchase specific workbooks that have proven successful in helping such students. Phil said he would personally match anything up to $75 toward such a grant. Several other members quickly chipped in $75, thus reaching the $150 grant level. … Bill Dowd said he has resumed stocking up on Clynk container recycling bags and bar-code stickers for use by club members to raise funds for ShelterBox. They will be available at all meetings at Quigley’s. Last week, Bill presented a $400 check for the first proceeds from our efforts via the program Clynk runs in partnership with Hannaford supermarkets. Bill noted that participation in the program costs the club nothing because he has been paying for the bags and will continue to do so. …
Bill also reported that, for the first time in 19 years, a case of polio has been reported in the Philippines. The polio virus also has been found in the sewage systems of Manila, the principal city, and other locations, A mass vaccine program will be resumed within the next few weeks. He asked that members continue remembering Rotary’s PolioPlus program when it comes to donations. … Debbie Rodriguez is succeeding April Dowd as the Sunshine Committee lead. Members are asked to remember to keep Debbie in the loop when they have word of illness or bereavement among our Rotary family. … Next week’s speaker will be East Greenbush Town Supervisor Jack Conway.
GUEST SPEAKER — David B. Harris, supervisor of the Town of Schodack, paid a return visit (he spoke to the club last March) to update us on what’s happening in the town. Among the major points:
• Work is proceeding on the Route 9 site that is being prepared for construction of a million-square-foot Amazon distribution center. He said he is confident a lawsuit by a neighborhood group near the site seeking to halt work will be overcome. He also noted that drilling is being done to remove a huge rock — “It’s about the size of this meeting room,” he said — because of a county regulation against blasting there.
• The town continues to concentrate on attracting new businesses, especially for the Routes 9 & 20 corridor, Columbia Turnpike. As he noted, sales taxes are the largest income stream for the town, so retail stores are particularly important. A new Stewart’s is being constructed; Cumberland Farms is looking into adding a store; strips of unused land owned by the town are being offered for sale to enable them to be returned to the tax rolls; a Georgia company is studying the possibility of reviving the former Fort Orange paper mill into a facility to produce cardboard (perhaps to sell to Amazon?).
• He said the town is in need of more staffing in the police, planning, and other departments. But, with the 2% tax increase cap instituted by the governor, that is difficult to accomplish. He has assigned one police officer to be a fulltime detective.
• On the social level, the town increased the number of dates this summer for its weekly concerts in the park program. And, a playground was added to the town park, at no cost to taxpayers.
Harris also complained about two state-mandated items. One is a requirement to have police officers follow a very complicated paperwork process when issuing a traffic ticket. He said it would take an average of 30 minutes of officers’ time per ticket which, he says, obviously would diminish their time to actually carry out their basic duties. The other is that rather than have school districts pay for required installation of cameras on buses to track motorists who violate the law by passing stopped buses the local governments would have to do so. He said at $2,000 to $3,000 per bus, such a requirement would be impossible to pay for.