SRC to be honored by Circles of Mercy

Screen shot 2018-04-21 at 12.56.11 PMWe have just received notification from the Circles of Mercy Board of Trustees that the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club will be presented with its annual “Sister Gail Rieth Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service” in June.

The award is named for the late Sister Gail, who passed away 10 years ago after serving as a Sister of Mercy for 42 years. The award is given, according to the Trustees, to “an individual or agency who exemplifies the Mercy mission of care to the poor, sick, and uneducated, and the values of dignity of the person, compassion, hospitality, stewardship, leadership, and collaboration, with a special concern for the poor and disadvantaged.”

Quite an honor, and certainly in keeping with Rotary traditions and practices.

The award will be presented at Circles’ annual signature fundraising event, “A Taste of Mercy,” scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, at the Shaker Ridge Country Club. The evening will include refreshments, foods, and music.

If anyone would like to attend the event, please contact Roberto Martinez as soon as possible. The reservation deadline is May 14.

Donated clothing makes money for Gift of Life

Bill Dowd makes a deposit in the Gift of Life bin in Schodack. (April Dowd photo)

Despite the balky weather, many of us have been busy getting out spring clothes and putting away winter duds. Along the way, you probably came across items you no longer want. So, some may have good-condition clothes you want to donate but don’t know the best way to dispense with them.

Well, think Gift of Life. The childhood medical relief organization has many locations throughout District 7190 for its clothing donation bins. There are several in the immediate Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club area, but for those of you who live or work elsewhere, there are plenty of other options as well.

These bins are placed in conjunction with American Clothing Recycling Company, a Glens Falls business, with profits going to Gift of Life. (Click here for the local GOL website.)

Here are the most convenient clothing bin locations (the list may change from time to time):

In the immediate SRC area:

  • Adjacent to the former Community Care Physicians building, (home of Top Form) 81 Miller Road, Schodack
  • Tractor Supply Store, Schodack Plaza, 1649 Columbia Turnpike, Castleton

Elsewhere in the region:

  • Ryan’s Produce, 114 Railroad Avenue, Albany
  • Hewitts, Clifton Park
  • Powers Irish Pub, Clifton Park
  • Kelley Farm & Garden, Cobleskill
  • Rustic Gourmet Restaurant, 785 Delaware Ave, Delmar
  • SE Kitchens & Baths, Gansevoort
  • Hewitts, 605 Feura bush Road, Glenmont
  • Faddegon’s Nursery, Latham
  • Grassland Equipment & Irrigation Corp., Latham
  • Mechanicville Area Community Services Center, Mechanicville
  • Watervliet Elementary School, Watervliet
  • State Line Flea Market, Whitehall


Meeting of 4/19/18: The Rotary Foundation explained

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
April 19, 2018

Members Attending (12): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Becky Raymond, Terry Brewer.

Guests (2): Sue Austin, Harriet Noble.


OPENING — President Roberto welcomed members and guests representing the District 7190 liaison with the Rotary Foundation. He also gave a brief review of that day’s breakfast meeting. (Click here for minutes.) And, he thanked Murray and Maggie Forth for hosting a “Rotary Home Cooking” series surf-and-turf dinner that raised $315 for the club treasury, and thanked Ray and Lois Hannan for filling in for Debbie Brown to coordinate the dinner meetings while Debbie is traveling. … In addition, we received a thank-you letter from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for our $500 grant to local student Olivia Sterantino’s effort to raise funds. All students participating in the regional effort raised a total of $72,000.

THERAPY DOG PROJECT — The effort in support of Bell Top Elementary School (which is separate from the military service dog we also are helping finance) appears to be moving ahead quickly. The dog will be used to help a reading teacher and a counselor interact with children in need. The school is scheduled to make a presentation to the EGCSD School Board in May, with plans to make the dog purchase in June. Terry Brewer made a motion, seconded by Jim Leyhane, that SRC provide a $1,700 grant toward the purchase. It was approved without dissent. (Click here to find the link for project details.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 6.46.31 PMRONALD McDONALD HOUSE MEALS — We have seven club members signed up to prepare breakfast at Ronald McDonald House in Albany on April 29, and four club members plus two Rotaract members to prepare dinner there on May 6. We need at least one more member for the dinner team. Anyone interested should contact Bill Dowd.

DISTRICT SUMMIT — Terry Brewer reported on the recent District 7190 Summit he attended as chairman of the District Membership Committee. The event dealt with ways to fight the opioid crisis in our communities; with ongoing membership recruitment and retention efforts — this year was the first time in recent years the District saw a net increase in membership; and, it included the annual District Grants Program training. Debbie Rodriguez attended the grants portion on behalf of SRC. Terry will complete that training in the near future so we have the required two trained members to be eligible for a grant in the 2018-19 Rotary Year.

NEW-MEMBER INDUCTION — All those who joined SRC in the 2017-18 year, and all charter members of the new Rotaract Club we sponsor at the UAlbany School of Public Health have received invitations from President Roberto to the Thursday, May 3, joint induction dinner. All members are strongly urged to attend.

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 6.50.54 PMTREE PLANTING PROJECT — Students from Columbia High School have expressed interest in working on the Star of Hope garden memorial on the East Greenbush Public Library grounds as part of SRC’s role in the global Rotary tree-planting effort. The memorial was created some years ago in memory of Columbia students who died before graduation. Shannon Romanowski, of SRC and the Greenbush YMCA, has pledged on behalf of the Y additional watering and care for the memorial.

SHELTERBOX FUNDRAISER — Bill Dowd, SRC’s ShelterBox liaison, reminded members who wish to make small donations to the relief agency that anyone who pledges anything from $1 to $100 online between noon on May 1 and noon on May 2 will have their donations matched dollar-for-dollar. (Click here for details on how to do that.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 6.40.03 PMRECYCLING & SHREDDING DAY — Murray Forth is looking for volunteers to help staff our “Recycling Day III” event scheduled for Saturday, May 5. Please contact him ASAP to see if there is anything you can do to help. (Click here to see the event flyer for details.)

ROTARY HOME COOKING SERIES — Next up, and the last of the series in this Rotary Year, will be “An International Wine & Cheese Tasting” event — that’s for adults; there also will be games and goodies for kids. The nevening is being put together by Roberto, Jim Leyhane, and Bill Dowd, and will be held on Saturday, May 19, at Roberto’s residence in East Greenbush. All proceeds will go to the club treasury. Please contact Roberto, Jim, or Bill if you would like to attend. Kids and guests are welcome — and encouraged.

PROGRAM: “Explaining the Rotary Foundation

Sue Austin, with Jim Leyhane playing the role of the Rotary Foundation, uses real dollars to explain the back-and-forth financial flow between the Foundation and our District.

Visiting Rotarians, and Past District Governors, Sue Austin and Harriet Nobel presented a talk on the ins-and-outs of the Rotary Foundation, which they represent in District 7190.

Sue became Foundation chair in 2016. Her role, she said, is to give away money to clubs in the form of grants to support a wide variety of initiatives. One current example is the $500 check she presented to SRC in support of the recently-completed Viking Gym installation at Schodack Town Park.

She described the various components of the Rotary Foundation: the PolioPlus fund, with donations it receives matched 2-for-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Endowment fund, to which Rotarians can leave bequests of money in their wills; and, the Share fund which earns interest and returns funds to Districts every three years to fund local grants.

Harriet spoke about a two-year master’s degree Peace Fellowships program funded by the Foundation. It is geared toward people with undergraduate degrees plus real-world work experience. It comes at no cost to clubs or Districts. Applications for the next round are now available. (Click here for details about the program.)


NEXT MEETING — 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Allessandra Barbarossa, an Italian student currently studying at Columbia High School.


Breakfast meeting of 4/19/18: CHS and Rotary

SRC Breakfast LogoBreakfast Meeting
at the Greenbush YMCA
East Greenbush
April 19, 2018

Members Attending (8): Roberto Martinez, Matt Smith, Shannon Romanowski, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Murray Forth, Andy Leyhane, Jim Leyhane.

Guests (2): Mike Harkin, Marty Mahar.

Screen shot 2018-04-19 at 4.09.57 PM

Mike Harkin, the new principal at Columbia High School, was a special guest. He spoke about the “Student Leadership Grooming” program at the school.

He also discussed trying to line up initiatives at the school with Rotary in such areas as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program, Rotary Youth Exchange, scholarship programs, murals at the school, and work on the the Star of Hope memorial at the East Greenbush Public Library.

Mike said he will try to arrange to bring several students to our next Third Thursday breakfast meeting, scheduled for 7 a.m. on May 17.


RSVP by Tuesday for dinner on Thursday

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 3.29.28 PMWhat do you really know about the Rotary Foundation? Like, what does it do with the money we donate? What kind of local return do we get on our investment? In general, how does it work?

Sue Austin, District 7190’s Foundation point person, and Jim Leyhane of our own Foundation & International Committee will team up to provide an overview and answer any questions you may have at this week’s dinner meeting.

The menu will include Quigley’s popular pork roast, plus chef’s selection of sides, antipasto salad, bread, dessert and beverages. And, of course, the cash bar is available.

As usual, you need to make your reservation no later than Tuesday evening. What’s different is that you’ll need to send your email to Lois Hannan who is subbing for dinner coordinator Debbie Brown for several weeks. Lois can be reached at

Here’s who has signed up so far:

Sue Austin (guest speaker)
Pat Bailey
Terry Brewer
April Dowd
Bill Dowd
Dick Drumm
Charlie Foote
Murray Forth
Ray Hannan
Phil Kellerman
Jim Leyhane
Becky Raymond
Debbie Rodriguez

‘Surf & Turf Dinner’ at the Forth residence

Rotary Home Cooking logoMurray and Maggie Forth were the hosts of the latest “Rotary Home Cooking” series event, a surf-and-turf dinner catered by SRC member Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town catering service on Saturday evening.

Enjoying a menu of steak, lobster tails, potatoes, asparagus, chocolate mousse and coconut cream pie were Mary and Dick Drumm; Terry, Betty and Geoff Brewer; Jim Leyhane; Carol Orvis; Pat Bailey; Nicole, Brian and new baby Natalie Anne Forth; Murray, Maggie and Jeremy Forth, and Roberto Martinez.

A few scenes from the event:

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.02.43 AM
And baby makes three.
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.01.54 AM
Now, THAT was a meal!
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.02.03 AM
More dessert? No, thanks!
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.02.20 AM
We’ve had enough, too.
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.02.53 AM
Ready to serve it up.
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.03.16 AM
Does this look like a relaxed group?
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.03.25 AM
If  not, this does.
Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 1.03.37 AM
And, as we said at the beginning, baby makes three.
Here to help?

Meeting of 4/12/18: What’s new at Albany Med?

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
April 12, 2018

Members Attending (12): Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan, Bil Dowd, April Dowd, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Terry Brewer.

Guests (4): Lou and Pat Rubenstein, Kevin Leyden, Pamela Sawchuk.


OPENING — President-Elect Andy Leyhane, presiding in place of Roberto Martinez, welcomed members and guests. Twelve members were in attendance, the minimum for a quorum.

THANK YOU — The club received a thank-you note from member Carol Orvis for the sympathy card and floral arrangement sent to her after the death of her younger brother.

Join Us LogoNEW MEMBER INDUCTION — We will be welcoming new Rotarians and Rotaractors in a joint induction ceremony at our Thursday, May 3, dinner meeting. Membership pins have been awarded for everyone on the list. … Rotaract held a happy hour social at Wolff’s Biergarten in Albany on Monday evening that raised more than $200 for the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Click here for details.

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE — We still are lining up the kitchen volunteers for the April breakfast and May dinner SRC teams will be preparing at the facility. A final invitation to participate has been sent to the Danes Rotaract club. If we do not hear from them ASAP, we will ask club members to fill out the roster so planning can move forward.

TREE PLANTING PROJECT — As part of District 7190’s portion of the Rotary global tree planting project, we will work with Columbia High School in refreshing the Star of Hope memorial area at the East Greenbush Public Library. And, members are encouraged to plant a tree as an individual effort.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 4.05.45 PMSHELTERBOX SPECIAL OFFER — Bill Dowd, the club’s ShelterBox liaison, reported on a special matching funds effort scheduled for May 1 and 2. Each dollar, up to $100 per person, pledged online during that specific period will be matched by a foundation. He noted that many SRC members do not contribute to ShelterBox each year because they may think they have to purchase an entire $1,000 box. However, he emphasized that even a donation of $1, $5, or $10 is appreciated, and this special matching funds plan will double the impact of each dollar given. Details are available on the club website by clicking here.

ROTARY HOME COOKING — Reservations are full for this Saturday’s surf-and-turf event being hosted by Murray and Maggie Forth. The May event in the series will be “An International Wine & Cheese Tasting” at Roberto’s residence, co-hosted with him by Bill Dowd and Jim Leyhane. Please contact any of those three people if you would like to attend. Guests are welcome.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 1.43.09 PMROTARY’S GOT TALENT / RECYCLING DAY — The talent show and social event being sponsored by the District’s Next Gen Committee on Thursday, May 3, at Lucky Strike in Crossgates Mall, is seeking program advertisers. Terry Brewer moved, and Bill Dowd seconded, that we buy a half-page ad. However, during discussion April Dowd suggested we take out a full-page ad using the flyer for our “Recycling & Shredding Day III” event that will be held the Saturday after the talent show. She said that will help us reach a broader cross-section of potential recyclers. The amended motion was passed without dissent.

NEXT MEETINGS — On Thursday, April 19, at 7 a.m. at the Greenbush YMCA, Principal Mike Harkin will speak to the breakfast group on plans for ties between Columbia High School and SRC and the Rotary Exchange program. And, at the 6:15 p.m. dinner meeting at Quigley’s, District 7190 Foundation Chair Sue Austin will present “The Rotary Foundation Explained.”

PROGRAM: “What’s New at Albany Med?”

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 1.14.21 PM
Kevin Leyden

Kevin Leyden is a senior vice president at Albany Medical Center “charged with developing non-traditional partnerships and alliances to leverage existing assets and generate new revenue.”

He reviewed AMC’s position in the region’s medical universe, where it is the only Level 1 trauma center in 25 New York and two adjacent New England counties.

He said AMC President James Barba embarked on an effort several years ago to better serve the 16,000 children treated at the facility each year.

Part of that is to provide them with better care without exposing them to some of the harsher aspects of emergency services. And, part of it is the creation of a new pediatric trauma center to open this summer, the only such facility in the region. The $50 million project has been funded by both private and public money.

That is not the only new initiative at AMC. Three years ago, it began a new effort to become an incubator for bio-tech research to complement its other prongs — being a treatment facility and a teaching college. He showed a video that described the facility — called the Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center (BACC). It facilitates research and development efforts combining engineering, science, health, and technology with partners such as RPI. They are looking to increase partnerships possibly with Siena College, Union College, and others.

Kevin also spoke about the “Executive Health Program” that allows plan members a form of “concierge” medicine within AMC. For a $995 fee, members receive such things as: access to expedited appointment scheduling; a broad range of services such as urinalysis, prostate exam, pap smear and pelvic exam, blood chemistry, etc.; long-distance assistance linking up with medical care while on the road; a “nurse navigator” coordinating their care; and an atmosphere more like a luxury hotel than a hospital.