What happened the year SRC was founded?

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The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club was founded as the East Greenbush club on March 2, 1960. That means our organization will turn 58 next Friday.

Some of us clearly remember 1960, some remember it a little less clearly, and some were not even born then. Here’s a look at what was going on during that particular Leap Year:

• President Dwight D. Eisenhower was visiting the South American nation of Uruguay and suffered from a touch of tear gas that drifted his way when police in the capital city of Montevideo used the gas on rioting students.

• Chubby Checker released his recording of the pop song “The Twist,” and it sparked a worldwide dance craze.

• Comic actress and producer Lucille Ball filed for divorce from husband Desi Arnaz after 19 years of marriage, effectively ended the wildly popular  “I Love Lucy” franchise of TV shows and films.

•  The U.S. government announced it was sending 3,500 military personnel to a place called Vietnam.

• “Ben Hur” won the Oscar for Best Film.

• The National Football League announced the addition of two franchises — the Dallas Cowboys for the 1960 season and Minneapolis-St. Paul for ’61. Later in the year, the first regular season game of the new American Football League is played in Massachusetts, with the Denver Broncos defeating the Boston Patriots, 13-10.

• In Greensboro, NC, four black college students staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in a Woolworth’s department store. That triggered numerous non-violent protests across the South as the civil rights era began heating up.

• In Buenos Aires, Argentina, a team of agents from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad kidnaps fugitive Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann and spirits him to Israel where he is tried, found guilty of crimes against humanity during World War II, and is executed.

• Dozens of countries, particularly in Africa, gain independence from their colonial rulers France, England, Belgium, and Italy.

• The Kennedy-Nixon debates are held throughout the year, and Kennedy is elected 27th president in November.

Of course, many, many more historic happenings in science, academics, sports, politics, entertainment and other fields took place in 1960, but this smattering may jog your memory.



Meeting of 2/22/18: Committees at work

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
February 22, 2018

Members Attending (16): Roberto Martinez, Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Debbie Rodriguez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, A.J. Amato, Dean Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Dick Drumm, Bonnie Nasca, Becky Raymond, Phil Nasca.

Guests: None.


OPENING — President Roberto Martinez greeted attendees and noted that today is the 113th birthday of Rotary. SRC’s 58th birthday will fall on March 2.

Screen shot 2018-02-16 at 11.57.52 AMCLYNK RECYCLING — It was suggested that we should maintain a supply of Clynk recycling bags and bar code stickers in the locked cabinet off the Quigley’s meeting room so members in need of them can conveniently pick them up. We also will make bags available to breakfast meeting members who do not participate in dinner meetings.

LEUKEMIA PROJECT — Local high school student Olivia Sterantino has requested a donation for her cancer research project. She is hoping to raise $10,000 for the Leukemia Foundation. It was proposed that the club donate $500. Debbie Brown made a motion to do so, Becky Raymond seconded it, and it was approved.

INITIATIVES ARCHIVE — Anyone working on projects for the club is asked to be sure to complete an official initiatives form and send it to Matt Smith.

PETS TRAINING — Andy Leyhane has completed the second PETS (Presidents-Elect Training Sessions) workshop, preparing him to assume the club presidency on July 1.

Screen Shot 2018-02-23 at 7.44.25 PMROTARACT — Members are asked to save their newest issues of The Rotarian magazine, which is the Rotaract issue. We plan to give the copies to members of our new Rotaract club. (We have long had a link on our website to the online version of the magazine. Click here to access it.)

TREE PLANTING — District 7190 has devised a tree planting project in line with RI’s global plan to have one tree planted for every Rotarian. By vote, the club has agreed to plant one tree for every 48 members in our club. This will be passed on to a committee so coordination can begin.

EVENT REMINDERS — Rotary Home Cooking events: February 24 Greek dinner at the Calamaras residence; March 24 cocktail social at the Brewer residence; April 7 dinner at the Forth residence; May 19 event at the Martinez residence. … Our March 22 meeting will be held at the UAlbany School of Public Health in conjunction with the Rotaract club at that venue. Details to come. … Lane sponsors still are needed for the March 4 “Bowling for Vets” fundraiser. … Samantha Raynor, manager at the Spinney at Pond View residential complex, will speak at our March 1 meeting..

Committee Working Sessions

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-2-17-25-pmAll the new committees were represented at tonight’s meeting, and there were lively discussions by each group about goals and initiatives.

This aligns with the club wanting to have more members involved with our initiatives and being part of their execution.

Each committee gave a report of initiatives they will be working on including such things as fundraising, donations, increasing dues to cover some club initiatives, student exchange program, Ronald McDonald House, Easter baskets, and Rotaract.

It was decided the future club assemblies should be working sessions and that the weekly agenda give time for committee updates.


New energy with SRC’s, Rotary’s birthdays coming up

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 8.26.38 PMThe 58th birthday of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club is coming up fast.

Our club was chartered on March 2, 1960, as the East Greenbush Rotary Club. The name was changed in the 1990s to reflect the expansion of its area of membership and service.

On a global basis, Rotary itself will mark its 113th birthday on Friday, February 23. With that in mind, and sensing new energy throughout Rotary, our District 7190 Governor wrote this “Happy Birthday, Rotary!” essay:


There’s that old saying that you’re only as young as you feel. Or maybe that’s what “the old” say. Having just celebrated a personal centennial with my father’s sister, my great Aunt Ellie, and having just enjoyed the centennial of the Rotary Foundation and its incredible new round of pledges in the fight to eradicate polio, it is worth noting Rotary’s upcoming 113th birthday.

Maybe a little creaky? Stiff? How’s your vision? Getting a little hard to remember all the details? Wondering what the future holds? How about stamina? In it for the long haul?

I was at a recent PETS (Presidents-Elect Training Session) training for District 7190, when all the incoming presidents get together to start their training and bond as a team.  Toward the end I looked around the room and realized, quite suddenly actually, that about 70% of the people at the tables were really quite young!

When I had a chance to speak at the end I asked them all to tell me why they thought I was so excited, and asked them to look around the room. It didn’t take but a few seconds till they had the answer — “We’re all young!” And then my friend President-elect Donna (with a silvery head of hair) said: “Or, young thinking, Fred!”

And that’s the key. Young thinking, from younger Rotarians or seasoned Rotarians, is the key to Rotary’s stamina, Rotary’s vision, and the long haul. And in District 7190, I am very excited to say, there is a lot of young thinking going on.

At this same PETS training, DG-elect Tammy Heckenberg offered a few comments about the most recent Council on Legislation. That is when representatives to Rotary from all over the world come together to make suggestions about improving Rotary and solving the challenges we face. Tammy said it was revolutionary, and it was, because the leaders of Rotary loosened up the organization.  In fact, the adjustments they made to membership policies, ideas they formalized regarding collaboration, and improvements they adopted regarding public image were like a super-cocktail of steroids, vitamins and energy boosters infused into the organization.

The infusion didn’t just loosen up the joints of Rotary, it loosened Rotary upon the world. It speaks to Rotary’s vision, which remains razor sharp. Not only is it about bettering humankind and “Service Above Self,” it also is about staying focused on the fact that everything about Rotary happens at the club level — one club at a time.  It always has been that way, and all the policy changes implemented at the recent Council on Legislation affirmed that the clubs know best how to make it happen: how best to serve their community, how best to engage the world with optimism and energy, and how best to actually save humankind.

It all happens at the club level, and that’s why I am very excited to see so many young Rotarians in our District taking the leadership as presidents, working with our Next Gen Committee, and organizing dynamic service projects in our communities and around the world.

So, how’re ya feeling, Rotary? Creaky joints? Nope, just got a big shot from the Council and they’re loosening right up. Vision? Focused, tight, and clear. Memory? Keeping with the right traditions, and moving toward new, dynamic and smart models that are keeping the brain sharp.

Stamina? Still need some work there because we need to keep working hard on membership, bringing new energy into the organization, and developing the new generation of Rotary so us oldsters can ride off into the sunset without needing to look back. And the future? Just look around at any District gathering. Young faces and young thinkers all around us. Look around your club. Seeing some younger faces? Watching as your leadership tries new things and works hard at being flexible and dynamic?  If not, call me!

It’s happening. There is a leadership shift in Rotary. And, this coming July 1 — the start of the 2018-19 Rotary Year — a new crop of young-thinking Rotarians will be in charge of District 7190. Folks my age (62) will recognize the line from this song: “Summer’s here, and the time is right, for dancing in the streets!” Wanna dance, Rotary?

Meeting of 2/15/18: Tech Valley High School  

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
February 15, 2018

Members Attending (17): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Debbie Rodriguez, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Leyhane, Phil Kellerman, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, A.J. Amato, Dean Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Carole Spencer, Charlie Foote, Dick Drumm, Carol Orvis.

Guests (2): Jim Neidermeier, Tech Valley High School principal; Alessandra Barbarossa,  exchange student.


Alessandra Barbarossa

OPENING — President-elect Andy Leyhane presided in Roberto Martinez’s vacation absence. He welcomed the Rotarians and our guests, including Alessandra Barbarossa, an Italian exchange student presently enrolled at Columbia High School.

MIRCACLE LEAGUE DINNER — Andy reported that nine SRC members — Bill and April Dowd, Kevin Leyhane. Roberto, Shannon Romanowski, Burke Adams, John Justino and himself — participated in the annual dinner held at the Greenbush YMCA in cooperation with Rotaract and the Sand Lake and East Greenbush Kiwanis clubs. More than 60 clients and support people from the league, which offers sports activities for special needs athletes, were feted at the Valentine-themed event. Click here for photos from the event.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.09.50 PMCLYNK RECYCLING — Bill Dowd said our club account with the recycling company Clynk is set up, and he asked anyone wishing to participate in the bottle-and-can recycling program as a club fundraising activity to see him after the meeting to pick up recycling bags and barcode stickers. He explained the process to redeem the containers at any Hannaford market. Click here to see the “how to,” video, and Q&A he posted on the website explaining the project.

BREAKFAST MEETING / EXCHANGE STUDENT — The agenda for the Third Thursday meeting held this morning at the Greenbush YMCA was a working session. It included discussion of a possible Rotary Youth Exchange student for the next academic year. A.J. Amato, our Youth Officer, said the key to successfully hosting a foreign student is having enough host families lined up in advance, and that whichever school hosts the student needs to be much more involved in finding families. He will make that known to exchange people at the District level.

SRC Bowling LogoBOWLING FOR VETS — Jim Leyhane said he had met with administration at Bell Top School, which will be the recipient of some of the money raised by the March 4 event at the East Greenbush Bowling Center. They are promising a strong turnout of bowlers. Debbie Rodriguez said she has contacted the Blue Star Mothers group which has participated in past events and asked them to send a contingent. We still are looking for more $100 lane sponsorships. Please see Murray, Terry or Jim if interested ASAP.

MISCELLANEOUS — The annual RYLA awards dinner is scheduled for March 10 at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Reservations are $30. … The Rotary Home Cooking event to be hosted by Dean and Doris Calamaras has been rescheduled from Saturday, February 17, to February 24. Please contact them ASAP if you would like to attend the Greek-themed dinner. … Our next meeting is set for 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 22, at Quigley’s. It will be a working session dedicated to committee efforts.

PROGRAM: “The Mission of Tech Valley High School”

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Jim Neidermeier makes a point during his presentation.

Carol Orvis introduced Jim Neidermeier, a native of the Finger Lakes area who is principal of the innovative Tech Valley High School, which is housed on the SUNY Polytechnic campus in Albany and serves a multi-county region that is home to 29 different school districts.

He explained that students are nominated by their districts to enter a lottery for placement in the 120-student school. They have a mix of students of various academic strengths and differing backgrounds working on project-based study.

Jim asked two key questions to open his talk:

  • What qualities do you think high school graduates should have?
  • What do you remember most from high school?

He said he was told as a young teacher that what students most remember in later years are things like a prom or sports events. However, he said, he has tried throughout his career to create an experience that will help students remember and value their academic experience just as much.

Tech Valley emphasizes “soft skills” that have been shown to be valued by the business and academic community — team building, communications, self-directed work, current technology and problem-solving skills. Many projects begin with a letter from someone seeking help solving a problem — clean water in Haiti, for example, or prosthetics for injured animals.


Students also participate in an “I term” in which they leave the usual classroom to intern at a variety of businesses to give them real-world experience. They also have the opportunity to earn a two-year associate’s degree through Excelsior College with a certification as project managers.




How our Clynk recycling account works

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.09.50 PMSRC now has a registered account with Clynk, the recycling company that partners with Hannaford to handle glass, plastic, and aluminum drink containers.

All refunds from container deposit fees that are redeemed through this account will go to SRC. There is no charge to individual club members using the service.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1 — Place all containers on which you have paid a deposit in one of the Clynk bags provided by the club. (No other types of bags may be used.) No need to sort them.

Step 2 — Affix a barcode sticker to the bag where indicated.

Step 3 — Take the bag to a Hannaford supermarket container-return area, use the hand-held scanner there to read the barcode, and drop the bag in the space provided.

That’s it. It can’t get much simpler.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQ) :

Q: Where can I get the Clynk bags and barcode stickers for the SRC account?

A: Bill Dowd is our liaison with Clynk and will obtain them for club members. Initially, he will be distributing only a limited number of bags until we ascertain the level of participation by SRC members. Hopefully, he will have to quickly increase the number distributed if member participation is strong.

Q: I already have a Clynk account. Can I still use it but have my refunds go to SRC?

A: No. We initially thought that was possible, but Clynk now tells us that option is available only to high-volume major fundraising organizations, which we are not. Of course, you can simply stop using your own account and begin using the SRC account to participate in our fundraising effort. Just be sure you have the correct barcode sticker.

Q: Can I include non-deposit containers in what I drop off?

A: Yes, although of course there is no monetary benefit to SRC.

Q: Do containers have to be rinsed out and any screw tops removed?

A: No and no.

Q: Can I use any type of recycling bags?

A: No. Clynk accepts only its own, which are 100% recyclable.

Q: What happens if I forget to tag and scan a bag of containers?

A: Our account gets no money for that particular bag.

 Q: How long will this in initiative go on?

A: As long as Clynk and Hannaford offer the service.

In memoriam: Carmen Rodriguez

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 7.31.47 PM This obituary for the mother-in-law of SRC member Debbie Rodriguez appeared in the Hartford (CT) Courant. Our condolences to Debbie and husband Chuck on their loss.

Carmen Milagros Rodriguez (Ramos), of Hartford passed away Monday, January 22, 2018, on her 83rd birthday.

She was born and raised in the sugar mill town of Aguirre, Puerto Rico. In 1953, she migrated to Buffalo, NY, with her husband Faustino Rodriguez-Trias. Carmen was a strong believer in education and received her B.A. in Spanish from Rosary Hill College and master’s in education from SUNY at Buffalo, while raising her children.

Carmen was active in the Puerto Rican communities in Buffalo and Hartford. In Buffalo she was a member of the Puerto Rican Center and in 1972 became the administrator of bilingual education at Public School 76 (Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy). Carmen moved to Hartford, CT, in 1979 to work at the Hartford Area Manpower Consortium. She worked for the Hartford Housing Authority from 1981 until she retired in 1996. She became the executive director of La Casa de Puerto Rico from 1996 until 2004. Carmen served on the Hartford Board of Education from 1989 to 1993 and served as President in 1992.

During her many years in Hartford, it was Carmen’s passion to work with the Puerto Rican community and be active in Hartford and Connecticut politics. Carmen loved spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She enjoyed her time at her condo in Isla Verde in Puerto Rico; dancing; listening to Puerto Rican music and playing poker.

She leaves her seven children — William Fuentes (Cheryl), Rafael Rodriguez (Mary), Faustino “Chuck” Rodriguez (Deborah), Raul Rodriguez (Margaret), Lynn Marie Rodriguez, Juan Carlos Rodriguez (LeAnne Shepard), and Maria Rodriguez (Deborah); 15 grandchildren; and nine great grandchildren. Besides her husband Faustino, she was predeceased by infant son Juan and siblings Ligia Westwood, Frederico Ramos and Rose Nesterowicz.

A memorial Mass will be held Saturday, February 17, 2018, 10 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 53 Capitol Avenue, Hartford. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either CCMC- Foundation, 282 Washington Street, Hartford, CT 06106, or San Juan Center Inc., 1283 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103. The Carmon Funeral Home & Family Center of Avon is caring for the arrangements. For directions or condolences please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com

New date for Rotary Home Cooking dinner

Screen Shot 2017-05-24 at 4.13.48 PMMark your calendar. There’s a new date for the next Rotary Home Cooking dinner series.

“A Greek Evening” at the Calamaras residence will be held on Saturday, February 24, a week later than originally scheduled.

The menu and times remain the same — roasted leg of lamb, roasted potatoes, green beans a la Grecque, Greek salad, homemade baklava and other assorted sweets, with drinks and hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m., dinner at 6.

Please be sure to contact Dean or Doris if you wish to reserve a seat.