Held at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061
Members Attending (15): Phil Kellerman, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Ray Hannan, Andy Leyhane, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Wells Packard
Guests (6): Ruth Samuels Russell, Ryan Nowak, Madison Rifenberick, Mrs. Rifenberick, Madison Shumpert, Noah Mujalli
MEETING MINUTES: President Phil welcomed members and guests. … He reported that he and Wells Packard had attended the recent District Membership Training session and will discuss the information at the next Club Assembly, set for next Thursday, January 23. … Terry Brewer reported that the new Finance Committee will meet on Friday with A.J. Amato to discuss club investments and bookkeeping practices. …
Wells Packard, who has accepted the role of club Youth Exchange Officer, explained that a student from Maple Hill High School has completed the process to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student next year. Now our club must decide whether to sponsor an incoming student as required by Rotary. He said he believes Maple Hill is receptive and will provide homes to the visiting student. This also will be a topic for the Assembly next Thursday. ….
Co-chairs Murray and Terry reported that lane sponsorship forms will be available next week for the March 1 Foundation Bowl-a-thon to benefit the Oley Foundation and the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Businesses and/or individuals are invited to sponsor at $100 per lane. … Members are asked to contact Bill Dowd ASAP to make reservations for the club’s March 5 60th Anniversary Party. … Murray issued a save-the-date reminder that the next SRC Recycling & Shredding Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 18.
PROGRAM: New Visions Students’ Science Research Projects
Debbie Brown introduced Ruth Russell, a professor of chemistry, biology, and mathematics. She is the project leader of the New Visions program’s Scientific Research and World Health Program, located at the UAlbany Health Sciences Campus in Rensselaer.
This program involves seniors from high schools in the region who spend five mornings each week researching scientific studies in addition to their usual class load. The program involves 15 to 18 students each academic year.
Ruth introduced four students to explain their projects:
• Madison “Maddy” Rifenberick, valedictorian for Troy High School, discussed mercury toxicity through ingestion or dental fillings and the risk of developing Parkinson ’s disease. Mercury can lead to the loss of dopamine receptors in the brain. Her study shows the majority of her subjects also had exposure to coal and often had a genetic factor. She explained that environmental risks clearly are a concern.
• Noah Mujalli, from Rensselaer High School, discussed his work on the pulmonary effects of hydrogen sulfide contamination from the Dunn Landfill in Rensselear. While the state Department of Environmental Conservation has said that hydrogen sulfide levels should not exceed .010 parts per million, tests show that levels around the landfill often exceed this, yet use permits have been given up to the year 2035. He explained his methods and talked about the risk of tumors and sarcoids (skin tumors) that increases with higher limits. He recommended that those concerned speak up and attend town hall meetings.
• Ryan Nowak, a senior at Taconic Hills High School, discussed private wells near dairy farms and the risk of E. coli contamination in Columbia County. He said the increase in agriculture, while a good thing, also has added problems due to animal waste, the use of manure as fertilizer, and runoff into local streams. His surveys showed that nitrates were getting into local wells and water supplies, and he discussed possible symptoms of contamination. Ryan also spoke about the use of antibiotics in farming and the concern that this, too, can lead to new, resistant E. coli strains, so more study is needed.
• Madison Shumpert, a student at Shenendehowa High School, spoke on the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis: i.e., the stuff in marijuana that gets you high — on the development of schizophrenia. Her study covered four countries that have liberal laws on the use of THC products. She said she is 90% confident that the higher use of cannabis can lead to the development of schizophrenia, but study is complicated by the variety of laws and regulations in each country.