Inspiration on the menu for Thursday’s meeting

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Al Mackay, hiker extraordinaire.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, our speaker at the Thursday dinner meeting at Quigley’s probably is just the thing.

The program is “The Intrepid Al Mackay: A Life of Endurance,” and the titular gentleman, age 62, will talk about how, despite being on a feeding tube and overcoming some injuries, he hiked 272 miles on Vermont’s Long Trail to raise funds for the Oley Foundation, which works with home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding through education, advocacy, and networking.

Prior to this presentation, we’ll share a dinner featuring sliced ham, chef’s choice of side dishes, antipasto salad, bread, dessert, and beverages. As always, the cash bar will be open before, during, and after dinner.

If you have not yet signed up, please be sure to email Debbie RODRIGUEZ — not Debbie Brown — no later than Tuesday evening at Here’s who has made reservations so far:

Pat Bailey
Terry Brewer
Debbie Brown
Peter Brown
Dick Drumm
Murray Forth
Phil Kellerman
Jim Leyhane
Kevin Leyhane
Wells Packard
Debbie Rodriguez

Meeting Clipboard: 11/14/19

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (16): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Wells Packard, Debbie Rodriguez, A.J. Amato, Charlie Foote, Kevin Leyhane, Dick Drumm.

Guests (1): Dan Caurabia.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 3.45.43 PMMEETING NOTES: President Phil welcomed members and our guest speaker. … Terry Brewer reported that District 7190 has approved $35,000 to support membership recruitment and retention efforts, $15,000 of which will pay an individual to head up the effort. The District membership is reaching a point at which RI may reconfigure the region and merge 7190 into another district. …

60th logoBill Dowd updated plans for the club’s 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, scheduled at the Comfort Inn & Suites for March 5, 2020. He said he has reserved the Berkshire Ballroom there, and hired a caterer, getting the two largest items out of the way. He noted that he has sent an email to all members as a “save the date” request in which he also invited input from everyone on things they would like to have considered as part of the event. … Phil reiterated that he will be selling fair trade coffee specialties during the holidays as a ShelterBox fundraising effort, and that the ongoing Clynk container redemption and recycling program overseen by Bill Dowd also is a ShelterBox fundraiser. …

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A ‘basket’ idea

A reminder that our annual Holiday Party & Themed Basket Silent Auction will be hosted by Murray and Maggie Forth at their residence on Thursday, December 19. Ideas for themed baskets are being put on the club website periodically. (See item at right.) … Anyone scheduled to secure a program for January is asked to get that information to program coordinator Dick Drumm ASAP so we can get it on the calendar. Still not sure what date you have? Just check the chart at the bottom of the website calendar page. … The speaker next week is a man who, despite being on a feeding tube, hiked 270 miles on Vermont’s Long Trail to raise funds for the Oley Foundation. .

PROGRAM: “The Norman Rockwell Museum”


A.J. Amato introduced guest speaker Dan Caurabia, a guide at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.

Dan is a wealth of information about the iconic American painter and illustrator who used, as he put it, “commonplace people for commonplace themes”; i.e., friends, family, acquaintances and the like as models for his works that have become American icons.

In addition to providing a look at the early life and artistic training of Rockwell, Dan explained the changes in color, technique, and subject matter over Rockwell’s years of painting that ranged from his early teen years until the end of his life in 1978 at the age of 84.

Dan also shared photographs and anecdotes about some of the people who modeled for Rockwell and Dan’s experiences meeting many of them when they made a pilgrimage to Stockbridge to visit the museum. He also invited SRC members to visit the facility on Fridays when he conducts tours.

Information on the Norman Rockwell Museum, now celebrating its 50th anniversary,  is available online.



An American art icon is on Thursday’s menu

Screen Shot 2019-11-12 at 1.23.01 AMCurious about the guy on the cover of this book? His name probably is familiar to you, but did you know he used people and locales in Rensselaer County as subjects for some of his paintings?

You’ll learn a lot more about the iconic artist when a guide from the Norman Rockwell Museum, in nearby Stockbridge, MA, is the guest speaker at this Thursday’s 6:15 dinner meeting at Quigley’s.

The menu calls for chicken parm, antipasto salad, chef’s choice of side dishes, bread, beverages, and dessert. And, the cash bar always is available.

If you haven’t yet made your reservation, please remember to contact “a different Debbie” at no later than this evening (Tuesday) so we can finalize dining and seating arrangements. (For those who do not know, Debbie Rodriguez has succeeded Debbie Brown as our dinner coordinator.)


Save the date for our 60th anniversary bash

60th logo1960 was a momentous year.

The Civil Rights Act became law. “The Flintstones” debuted on TV. The laser and the cardiac pacemaker were invented. The Olympic Summer Games were held in Rome. JFK won the presidency and Dwight Eisenhower completed his second term. The U.S. sent the first contingent of troops to Vietnam. The Alfred Hitchcock classic film “Psycho” and Harper Lee’s classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” were released. Chubby Checker introduced us to a dance craze called The Twist.

Oh, and the East Greenbush Rotary Club was founded.

It is that founding of what now is known as the Southern Rensselaer County club we are planning to celebrate, and we’d like to have you and your loved ones join us.

The date: Thursday, March 5, 2020.

The venue: The Berkshire Ballroom of the Comfort Inn on Miller Road in Castleton.

The event: We’ll have a catered dinner and bar, and plenty of surprises.

So, please circle and save that date on your calendar. We’ll provide details as arrangements are firmed up, but we wanted to let you know the date well in advance.

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions about what you would like to have the event include, please let event coordinator Bill Dowd know.

Time to prep for the holiday party — and baskets!

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Non-basket ‘baskets’

In just 42 days, many of us will be bidding on a lineup of cleverly-designed holiday gift baskets, with proceeds from the silent auction going to the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club treasury.

• The event: SRC’s  annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Silent Auction on Thursday, December 19.

• The venue: The Forth residence in East Greenbush.

• The reason: ‘Tis the season!

Why? Well, the meal is always hauté, the libations a hit, the company a hoot — and the socializing and fellowship are a heck of a way to lead us into the final week before Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

We’re giving you this advance notice so you can begin working on themed gift baskets to put on the silent auction tables.

For the newer members, please be advised we do not take the word “basket” literally. Gift baskets always are a nice thing for the traditionalists among us, but we invite you to let your imaginations run wild. Anything that holds stuff is good — buckets, colanders, jars, boxes, bags, vases, etc . And, it’s the cleverness of the theme that attracts the most bids.

From time to time over the next few weeks we’ll be showing you some “basket” suggestions. Two of them are shown above. Meanwhile, start shopping for basket items and, above all, save the date for this family-friendly social event.



Meeting Clipboard: 11/7/19

SRC ClipboardHeld at Quigley’s Restaurant
573 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY 12061

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Ray Hannan, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Becky Raymond, Wells Packard, Roberto Martinez, Debbie Rodriguez.

Guests (2): Kurt Vincent, Mike Stangl.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.18.47 PMPresident Phil welcomed members and guests. … Jim Leyhane will represent the club at an informational meeting with East Greenbush Central School District personnel and law enforcement officials to discuss ways to get seed money to begin installing cameras on school buses in line with a new state approval. The aim is to help enforce the prohibition on passing a stopped school bus, which seems to be on the rise. The cost is about $1,000 per camera, and the EGCSD has about 100 buses, so outfitting all of them would be cost prohibitive at first. The theory is that each fine for violating the rule would go toward purchasing additional cameras. In the long term, if such a program comes to fruition, SRC might then work with other local school districts to expand it. …

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 2.46.26 PMDean Calamras reported that the recent Gift of Life golf tournament raised $13,752.49 for the medical philanthropy. He also reported that the Bolivian child who had been scheduled to come to Albany for cardiac surgery will not be able to because his mother cannot get a travel visa. GOL will hold a fundraiser and silent auction. Details are available online. … Debbie Rodriguez volunteered to chair this year’s Adopt-a-Family holiday effort with Circles of Mercy, succeeding Bill Dowd. Bill said he would be happy to work with her. Details will be shared once Circles send us the details on the families and their needs. …

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.22.42 PMPhil has begun selling specialty fair trade coffees at $15 a bag or $25 for two, with $5 from each sale going to our ShelterBox drive. … Our annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Silent Auction will be held on Thursday, December 19, at the home of Murray and Maggie Forth. Details to come, but start working on your basket ideas now. … Next week’s speaker will present a program on the Norman Rockwell Museum, located in Stockbridge, MA.

PROGRAM: “Trolleys Across the Hudson”

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Historian Kurt Vincent

Kurt Vincent, prominent local historian and the Village of Nassau’s official historian, provided a PowerPoint look at the history and the future of the trolley system that opened in 1900 and ran between Albany and Hudson.

Portions of the system remain in various pieces and a large chunk of it is being incorporated under the name Albany-Hudson Rail Trail into the state’s under-development system of rail trails that eventually will run from New York City to Buffalo.

The local project’s Facebook page contains updates and progress report. Go here to access it.



Global Grant OKd for Honduras Clean Water Project

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Marker shows Honduran town receiving Rotary clean water aid.

The Rotary Foundation global grant effort for the Honduras Clean Water Project that began last year has received approval.

Last fall, the Colonie-Guilderland Rotary Club got the ball rolling with a goal of building a community bio-sand filter that would provide clean water to more than 1,500 people and a school with more than 500 children in Trojes, Honduras. The total project cost is approximately $77,000.

Southern Rensselaer committed $500 to the effort, with the help of students in the East Greenbush schools who held a kickball fundraiser. District 7190 agreed to commit $19,733 of District Directed Funds to the project. By this January, the project was fully funded with more donations coming in, so it was decided to expand the project to include WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programs at four schools. Those programs would include construction of water filters and latrines at the schools, and provide curriculum and education on sanitation and hygiene. As more funds were raised, the project expanded to include a study of the water boards and best practices in the region.

Kirk Pogge of the Colonie-Guilderland club explains the process thereafter.

“The grant application was first submitted in July 2019, and was returned to draft mode about a month later. In addition to several requests for more information and details, the Rotary Foundation rejected the study portion and suggested that the WASH program be eliminated for the application to simplify it.

“Initially, we had determined that we could fund the filter project using the club and district donations that qualified for Foundation matching funds and fund the WASH programs without the help of the Foundation matching funds. Since that time, the WASH programs for the schools received funding from another source.

“So now, Pure Water for the World will be using the $18,500 in excess funds we raised to provide training in hygiene, install 35 individual home filters, and construct 21 latrines and five rainwater harvesting tanks in Las Mieles.

“The grant was resubmitted at the end of August, based on the filter project alone. On October 25, we were notified that the grant was approved. Funds for the project will be transferred to our local Global Grant Project account in the next few weeks.”

The contributors or pledged funds:

District 7190
Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club
Rotary Club of Springfield, IL
Trinity, FL, Rotary Foundation
Poultney, VT, Rotary Club
Colchester Milton, VT, Club
Rutland South, VT, Rotary
Past District Governor 2012-2013
Rotary District 7870
Capital City, NH, Sunrise Rotary
Albany Rotary Club
Shenendehowa Rotary
Rotary Club of New Port Richey, FL
Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs
Rotary Club of Glens Falls
Scotia Rotary
Twin Bridges Rotary Foundation
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Rotary
Niskayuna Rotary
Colonie-Guilderland Rotary
Grassland Equipment
Loudonville Presbyterian Church