More scented soaps for the holidays

There’s a national discussion going on about the pros and cons of scrubbing college loan debt for many people. We at SRC have a way to help “pre-scrub” the costs of college or post-high school training courses — by awarding scholarships to local high school seniors each year.

This year, to help underwrite that initiative, we have been selling handcrafted scented soaps.

Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez started the project back in October, and have sold nearly all of the first batch of 100 cakes of soap. And, they have just received 100 more cakes with some new scents, all of which would make great presents for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and any other occasion you can think of, especially for the person who has everything.

The soaps are available on a first-come, first-served by contacting Roberto or Jim who will arrange for delivery. Just check our website’s Member Contact Data page for their phone numbers and email addresses if you don’t have them.

The products are plant based, meaning they derive primarily from plants and natural sources. Simplicity is beauty. They are made in Syracuse, and therefore are Upstate Local. As we like to say, they don’t kill anything, they just soothe you and make you feel good, a very welcome treat in this stressful pandemic era.

Price: $7 per cake, or three for $20. Jim and Roberto footed the bulk purchase of the soaps, so all sales proceeds go directly to our club treasury to help fund the annual SRC Rotary Scholarships.

Here’s what we have to offer, and their appealing scents: 10 bars each of …

• Lingonberry Spice
• Frosted Cranberry
• Saguro Spruce
• Cergruyoo Sage
• Citrus Splash
• Aloe & Lemon
• Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey
• Green Tea & Cucumber
• Juniper Breeze
• Cactus Organic

And, from the first batch, we have just one each of …

• Seagrass & Herbs
• Sunshine
• Evergreen
• Kentish Raisin
• Lavender & Lemon

So, reserve your soaps now before all the other last-minute shoppers beat you to it!

How are your raffle gift baskets coming along?

After a COVID-induced break in our annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Raffle last December, we’re back on schedule with a 3B (basket bidding battle) dinner at Moscatiello’s on Thursday, December 16.

We’ve been dropping large hints on how to come up with a theme for your baskets (in the $35-or-so range to create) to help jump-start your imaginations. Here are some more.

To begin with, “baskets” can be any type of container, such as these:

Then, of course, the contents are up to you. In the past, we’ve had wine baskets, candy collections, cheeses-and-crackers, movie-and-popcorn combos, children’s toys, soaps and lotions, craft beers and munchies … It’s limited only by your imagination. And, if you feel particularly creative, don’t feel constrained to creating just one basket. The more the merrier!

For those new to the process, it’s a simple one. Baskets are arranged on tables with bidding sheets next to them. Party-goers jot down their bids, with the highest bidder winning the basket. All proceeds go to the club’s general treasury to help support our community service initiatives.

So, be sure to mark December 16 on your calendar and plan to join your fully vaxxed fellow Rotarians and their guests at Moscatiello’s to ring in the holiday season in fine form.

Wine treat basket

Green thumb collection

Bloody Mary in a basket
Italian dinner in a colander
Something to satisfy the sweet tooth

Meeting Clipboard: 6/10/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (11, no quorum): Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Bill Dowd, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Phil Kellerman, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Charlie Foote.

GUESTS (2): Emma Endres, Brandy Cenci.

President Dick Drumm called the meeting to order and welcomed our guests — student Emma Endres and faculty member Brandy Cenci of Rensselaer High School. Emma is one of our SRC Rotary Scholarship recipients this year as part of the Class of 2021.

Emma, who is graduating second in her class, will attend SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall. She plans to major in early childhood education (K-6). In addition to her regular academic regimen, Emma was involved in the New Visions occupational-shadowing program for technical education. A multi-sport athlete (her softball team won its league championship and was undefeated until the final game of the season), she was instrumental in numerous major fundraising efforts to help fund her school’s athletic program which, due to financial cuts, had been reduced from $213,000 to $135,00.

Asked her advice to students planning their future, Emma said, “Follow what your heart wants and what makes you happy.”


DINNER & A SHOW — Bill Dowd reported that all 12 seats for the August 5 package in New Lebanon have been reserved. Dinner will be at Mario’s Restaurant, followed by a performance of the Cole Porter musical “Night & Day” at The Theater Barn. He noted that although the restaurant group size is capped, anyone else who wishes to reserve a theater seat on their own can do so online.

PICNIC & BASEBALL — Debbie Rodriguez reported that she has received reservations for 13 of the 20 available seats for a picnic and ValleyCats game at Bruno Stadium on August 19, and has a tentative group that will fill the remaining spots. Anyone still wishing to reserve should contact her ASAP to discuss the possibilities.

• TENTATIVE EVENT — Ray Hannan tentatively reserved August 12, one of our two open “Summer Casual” dates for an event he is working on. Details to come. That leaves August 26 as our last open date. Anyone wishing to host or arrange an event for that date should contact Debbie Rodriguez and/or Bill Dowd to hold the date.

SOAP SALES — Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez reported they have sold the last of 200 bars of handcrafted, scented soaps as a scholarship fundraiser. They accumulated $1,400+.

GIFT OF LIFE — Dean and Doris Calamaras announced that the District GOL is seeking candidates for board seats. In addition, organizers of the September 20 GOL Golf Tournament at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland are seeking sponsors via program ad purchases and outright donations. Contact Dean for details.

• MEETING VENUE SEARCH — Jim reported that he has been in contact with the East Greenbush Fire Department about making one of the firehouses available at no charge for our weekly dinner meetings. (We would need to find a caterer.) He said he should receive preliminary information on details after an EGFD next week. Roberto said he plans to contact the management of the Crisp Canoli to discuss possibilities.

SCHOLARSHIP VISITORS — Two more SRC Rotary Scholarship recipients are scheduled to join us via Zoom next Thursday, June 17: Meghan Bennett of Maple Hill High School and Hannah Grill of Columbia High School.

Meeting Clipboard: 3/18/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (16): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Phil Kellerman, Andy Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Kevin Leyhane, Murray Forth, John Justino, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown.



• President Dick Drumm scheduled a Board meeting to be held immediately after the April 1 club meeting. The main topic will be to make a final decision on creating a club-based foundation, for which $10,000 in startup funds are needed. The Foundation Subcommittee will meet at 7 p.m. this coming Monday. March 22, to firm up the details to be voted on.

• Murray Forth reported that owner John Walsh of Quigley’s said all parties interested in purchasing his restaurant, which has been closed for the past year, have expressed interest in continuing to host SRC’s weekly dinner meetings.

• Shannon Romanowski reported, via Roberto Martinez, that we will produce 150 to 175 baskets for the annual “Easter Baskets for Kate’s Kids” drive in conjunction with Circles of Mercy. Final donations (checks, basket items, etc.) are due by this Friday at the Greenbush YMCA, where Shannon is director and coordinates our basket drive this year.

• Jim Lehayne said just 22 of the original 200 bars of handmade scented soaps he is selling as a club fundraiser remain. Please contact Jim if you would like to purchase any.

• Bill Dowd said he has sent bar code stickers to three members in response to a request for them as part of our Clynk recycling fundraiser. Anyone else who needs them should contact him. The recycling bags necessary to participate can be purchased in boxes of 10 for about $1.75 at any Hannaford supermarket, where bags of containers can be dropped off.

• Dick asked anyone who can line up a speaker to contact him to be put on the calendar.

• The Danes Rotaract has revised its bylaws in response to the national organization’s bylaw changes. As its sponsor, SRC needs to approve the club’s changes. We are trying to line up a Rotaract officer to speak with us at our next meeting. Meanwhile, Debbie Rodriguez, one of our liaisons to Rotaract, will email the revisions to all Board member for review.

Meeting Clipboard: 3/11/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Debbie Brown,Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Ray Hannan, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Kevin Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, Tony Morris, Murray Forth, Andy Leyhane, Pat Bailey.



• If anyone knows of an organization in need of face shields, please contact Sue Austin who, speaking on behalf of District 7190l, informed us a limited supply still is available. Sue can be contacted online via the District emailbox.

• Next Friday (March 19) is the final day to drop off Easter basket items or checks at the Greenbush YMCA in support of our annual drive in conjunction with Circles of Mercy. Club member Shannon Romanowski, director of the Y, is coordinating our effort.

Fundraisers: Hoffman Car Wash tickets are available from Murray Forth. … A few handmade soaps remain available from Jim Leyhane or Roberto Martinez. … Bill Dowd urged members to be sure to use the Clynk container recycling program that helps support ShelterBox.

• Next week’s 7 p.m. ZOOM meeting will be a Club Assembly. Anyone who can recruit speakers for meetings after that is asked to contact President Dick Drumm.

Program: Debbie Brown presented a video called “Revolutionary Gardners,” produced by the Garden Club of America. It featured virtual visits to George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello to see what these early American garden enthusiasts and brought to life on their Virginia properties.



Meeting Clipboard: 2/18/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Carol Orvis, Ray Hannan, Phil Kellerman, Roberto Martinez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Tony Morris, Pat Bailey, Charlie Foote, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members and led a brief discussion of COVID vaccine experiences. Most members have had at least one shot, several have had both, and several have not been able to get on a list. Members shared possibilities and contact points. … Roberto Martinez, speaking on behalf of project coordinator Shannon Romanowski, reported that progress is being made toward the goal of providing 150 Easter baskets for kids through Circles of Mercy. Donated basket items are being accepted during regular hours at the Greenbush YMCA. The shopping list and project timeline are on the club website. Shannon said anyone not comfortable shopping for items can send a check payable to the Greenbush YMCA to cover the cost of baskets: 20 Community Way, East Greenbush NY 12061. (Be sure to include a note saying the check is for Easter baskets. …

Reminder that the deadline for registration for the virtual March 27 Rotary Leadership Institute is March 20, and the club will reimburse registrants for the $25 fee. Bill Dowd noted that anyone interested in this and other signups can simply go to the clkub website’s calendar page and click on the event rather than search through the website postings if they haven’t bother reading them as they are posted. … Reminder that Jim and Roberto still have some handcrafted scented soaps to sell, and Murray still has Hoffman Car Wash tickets. … Bill suggested that, since we have not had a major fundraiser this year, we begin looking into the possibility of a spring recycling/shredding event in case the pandemic eases enough to allow it to be held. Murray said he will check with our usual vendors to ascertain their availability and report back to the club next week. …

Terry Brewer reported on this week’s Foundation Subcommittee meeting. He explained some of the pros and cons of creating a foundation compared to attaching to RI’s Foundation. Continued study is under way, and another meeting is scheduled for 2/22. … Debbie Rodriguez noted that a meeting of the Danes Rotaract board was held this week, which prompted Bill to report that the club has received an email

Meeting Clipboard: 1/28/21

MEMBERS ATTENDING (18): Dick Drumm, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez, Carol Orvis, Tony Morris, Pat Bailey, Phil Kellerman, Charlie Foote, Ray Hannan, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Murray Forth.


MEETING NOTE: President Dick Drumm called the meeting to order and welcomed members. … In a round-robin chat, about half the members reported having received the first of their COVID vaccinations. … As part of the annual Easter baskets project in conjunction with Circles of Mercy, Jim Leyhane has purchased 60 baskets. He will inform our event coordinator, Shannon Romanowski, who is keeping a running tab of the number of baskets contributed so far, with 175 baskets as the target. The shopping list for basket contents SRC members and friends are asked to purchase is available on the website, along with all details of the effort. …

Financial items: Murray Forth said he still has Hoffman Car Wash tickets for sale. All proceeds go to the club treasury. … Jim reports having only 50 more bars of handcrafted scented soaps to sell. So far, that effort has raised more than $1,000. Please contact Jim or Roberto Martinez if you would like to purchase some.  … Phil Kellerman said he has a limited number of coffees available. … A committee has been formed to study the possibility of creating a 501(c)3 Foundation as discussed at the January 14 general meeting: Members: Terry Brewer, Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane. They will discuss options and report back to the club. … 

Speakers:  February 4, Kevin Leyhane on “Elementary School During COVID”; February 21, “Gift of Life” update. Meeting access links available on the website calendar page.

Meeting Clipboard: 1/7/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Debbie Rodriguez, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm called the meeting order, noted the presence of a quorum, and greeted attendees. … Webmaster Bill Dowd reported that his upgrades on the website are proceeding apace to make the site even more compatible with the growing number of users who access it via smartphones. He also once more encouraged members to check the site regularly, particularly the Calendar page, to stay abreast of events scheduled by the club, the District, and RI. … Treasurer Murray Forth updated members on funds received and where we now stand for each undertaking — $1,000 toward our Scholarship Fund, $550 toward food pantries (over and above what we already have donated in this Rotary Year), $100 toward ShelterBox (over and above what we already donated), $600 for Circles of Mercy projects, $4,075 toward the general treasury. He also said our paid membership is 32, counting one corporate group membership. …

We had a brief discussion on the matter of the club moving from the IRS-designated 501(c)4 status to 501(c)3, which would make donations to the club tax deductible. Terry Brewer will be making a presentation to the club on the matter within the next few weeks. … Jim Leyhane said about 80 bars of handcrafted soaps being sold as a fundraising effort remain from a supply of 200. He and Roberto Martinez would like to complete sales within the next month or so, preferably at the price of $20 for 3. Anyone interested should contact them to arrange delivery. Phil Kellerman said he had just sent a $100 check to the club from sales of specialty coffees to go toward the general treasury. …

Pat Bailey and Debbie Rodriguez reported that personalized cards had been mailed this week to all club members urging greater attendance at the weekly ZOOM meetings. … Bill Dowd will make an inquiry to Circles of Mercy to ascertain whether it would be sponsoring an Easter basket drive again this year. He will report back to the club next week. … Murray will contact Goff Middle School, which just received financial support from several club members for a “thank you” gift for teachers working under pandemic conditions, to supply a teacher to visit us via ZOOM to talk about teaching in the COVID-19 era. …

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, via ZOOM. Bill will send out the invitation link over the weekend plus a day-of reminder.

Meeting Clipboard: 12/17/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Ray Hannan, Roberto Martinez, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members. He noted that this is the final meeting of 2020 since we will be on hiatus for the Christmas and New Year’s weeks, and that due to pandemic restrictions we are not holding our annual Holiday Party & Theme Basket Auction. … Coordinator Bill Dowd thanked members, family, and friends for their extreme generosity to the annual Adopt-a-Family project, undertaken in conjunction with the Circles of Mercy family aid organization. He collected and delivered “two packed-to-the-gills carloads of gifts” for the two families we adopted this year. …

Treasurer Murray Forth reported that checks for grants in varying amounts have been sent out to four local food pantries (The Anchor, Doors of Hope, CoNSERNS-U, Food for Families) totaling $1,840; ShelterBox, $1,300; Mooncatcher Project, $500, and Goff Middle School Staff Appreciation, $250 via an individual gift. … Jim Leyhane reported that sales of scented soaps as holiday gifts are going strong and projects $1,400 to $1,500 for the club treasury because he and Roberto Martinez front the initial setup costs. … Phil Kellerman reported $50 from sales and his matching amount resulted in $100 for the treasury from coffee sales. …

Debbie Rodriguez mentioned that the Medical Reserve Corps of the Rensselaer County Department of Health is looking for volunteers. The MRC’s mission is to improve the health and safety of our community by organizing and training volunteers to supplement existing emergency response resources when public health is threatened. MRC volunteers are local citizens interested in helping their community during large-scale public health emergencies. They may include licensed medical professionals such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and veterinarians, as well as non-medical community members with an interest in public health who fill key support positions.