District offering enhanced Zoom training session

Brady BunchIt has been a challenging year for everyone around the world as we all have felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in some manner. But, with those challenges came new opportunities and ways for our Rotary clubs to operate and help our communities locally and around the world.

One major change of our Rotary clubs was the inability to hold our club meetings in person. However, almost all clubs in District 7190 were able to continue to meet and operate using virtual methods, primarily the Zoom video-conferencing application.

The District, in an effort to help all clubs use virtual methods efficiently and effectively. will be holding training on Zoom meetings on June 23rd. It will cover:

HOW TO ZOOM — Covering basics and initial setup, screen sharing, presentations, visitors/guests, recording, and troubleshooting/concerns.

LIVING WITH ZOOM — Successful meetings, finding speakers, including new members, and retaining members.

Time: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23
How: Click on the Zoom link
Meeting ID: 859 1757 4902
Password: 660611

You’re invited to virtual DG Changeover

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The 2020-21 Rotary Theme & Logo

Richard Griesche will be inducted as District 7190 Governor on July 1, the first day of the 2020-21 Rotary Year.

Past DG Tammy Heckenberg will be inducting Griesche in the virtual event as well as Bruce McConnelee as District Governor Elect and Denise DiNoto as District Governor Nominee. We also will have the traditional pin exchange.

“I will be making a short presentation outlining my goals and vision for our year, as we ‘Open the Doors of Opportunity’,” Griesche said.

The 2020-21 Rotary theme — “Rotary Opens Opportunities — “is such a great theme for this year, faced with the challenges we are now dealing with. But, these challenges present opportunities for us to do more service in our communities and around the globe. So, please join us on July 1, and let’s start this new Rotary Year off right.”

The virtual event will be accessible via the Zoom video-conferencing service. Details:

Time: 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 1
How: Click on the Zoom link
Meeting ID: 817 1064 1133
Password: 173739


Details for our Presidential Changeover event

picnicPlans for our al fresco Presidential Changeover dinner on June 25 are evolving.

The site remains the Drumm residence on Fox Hollow Road in Valatie.

However, in these uncertain times we all want to stay safe so, after consulting with two eminent doctors, we have come up with some “novel” ideas. Could everyone please bring their own lawn chair and, if you have one, a TV snack table, masks, wipes, and sanitizer?

We will dine on chicken Parm with spaghetti, a salad, and chocolate mousse. Coffee will be served with dessert. The caterer, Jim Mendrysa of Talk of the Town, will be handling all the food and coffee serving to minimize risk. If you wish a beverage beside coffee (cocktails, wine, soda, water) please bring that and an ice bucket if you’d like.

Dinner will be $15 each (no charge for children). However, we are hoping to make this a fundraiser for the club treasury, so if you would like to make a contribution on top of the $15 it will be appreciated.

We hope that these serving practices plus avoiding surface contact, along with using masks and practicing social distancing will minimize risk and make everyone more comfortable in these days of COVID-19. They might even be a gateway for future summer get-togethers.

We hope to see those of you who responded with an RSVP by last week’s deadline at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25. (Rain date Friday.)  If you have any questions or comments, please contact Dick or Mary at 518-470-0808.

ValleyCats season delayed, or discontinued

Screen Shot 2020-06-13 at 1.42.34 AMOne of the “Summer Casual” events SRC has enjoyed for quite some time is a picnic and Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy.

As we already knew, such an event was in jeopardy because of event restrictions in the face of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Now comes word that the entire New York-Penn League minor league baseball season has been delayed, according to a Friday announcement by the league.

The ValleyCats had been scheduled to open their NYPL season in an away game at the Vermont Lake Monsters next Thursday. Their home opener was slated for June 24 against Williamsport at Bruno Stadium at Hudson Valley Community College. The league also canceled its all-star game, which was to be held August 18 in in Lowell, MA.

“The League and its clubs will continue to monitor the situation and work with our Major League Baseball affiliates, while following the recommendations of public health officials and adhering to local reopening guidelines,” read an NYPL statement. “As always, the health and safety of the New York-Penn League fans, players and staff members are our top priorities.”

Minor league baseball seems to be nearing outright cancellation for 2020. Baseball America reported Friday that Major League Baseball and its players’ union are instead discussing expanded rosters with taxi squads whenever the big-league season begins. Those squads would consist of 20 to 25 prospects in reserve who would stay in game shape by working out at facilities within 100 miles of the big-league club. They would not play full games, but rather simulated contests with no fans.


Here’s the latest on what we are, or are not, doing

Screen Shot 2020-06-09 at 11.22.43 AMWe are beginning to gradually emerge from event restrictions on group activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we have been holding a variety of meetings and social events via Zoom video conferencing and have one more scheduled, as of July 1 we will enter our “Summer Casual Calendar” period that runs through July and August. But, before that, we’ll gather at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 25, for a Presidential Changeover picnic at the Drumm residence to close out 2019-20.

Any in-person activities in the “Summer Casual Calendar” period remain very tentative. We already know at least two of our traditional outings — to the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham (summer season cancelled) and a Tri-City ValleyCats baseball game (the fate of the NY-Penn League’s season remains up in the air)  — have been scratched. So, feel free to use your imaginations and share any ideas you may have for safe activities we can enjoy as a group, families included.

Looking down the road, we hope Quigley’s will fully reopen for business by September so we can resume weekly dinner meetings, but we currently have no insight into whether it will reopen at all since a number of restaurants have been ruined by the pandemic restrictions and are permanently closed.

Meanwhile, click here to access the Calendar page for a few events on the abbreviated schedule.


Who needs Hawaii? This month you can attend the RI Convention virtually

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to attend a Rotary International Convention? While a few SRC members already have participated in the annual event held at various places around the world, most have not. This month, you’ll have the opportunity to do so  without any of those pesky travel plans.

That’s because this year’s June 22-26 convention was planned for Honolulu, but because of the global ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic it has been reconfigured to become a virtual experience you can access via computer.

Plans call for a busy schedule you can drop in and out of to experience the topics that interest you most.

In addition to the the wide-ranging General Sessions and the traditional House of Friendship that facilitates mingling with people from around the world, a host of breakout sessions are planned with topics ranging from conservation initiatives to rethinking how Rotary meets and serves its members, strengthening Rotaract, digital trends for 2020-21, and on and on. Some of them even will be held in July as a sort of extended convention attraction.

You do have to register (you can do that by clicking here) to gain access to the events. When you use that link, you’ll see a full schedule to help you choose what you want to experience. Don’t delay. Do it today and mark the dates on your calendars.


RSVP now for Presidential Changeover picnic

picnicAs we slowly and carefully emerge from the “stay home” portion of the COVID-19 pandemic, life gradually is getting back to some semblance of normalcy.

Although our club has not met in person since March 12, we are hoping to change that by ringing out the 2019-20 Rotary Year with an outdoor catered picnic on Thursday, June 25. It will be hosted by Dick and Mary Drumm at their Fox Hollow home, and will serve as our annual Presidential Changeover event.

We hope you can join us to witness the passing of the gavel from Phil Kellerman to Charter member Dick who will serve as president during SRC’s milestone 60th year of community service.

All recommended social distancing protocols will be observed — gathering outdoors with plenty of room to avoid crowding; one person (chef Jim Mendrysa) serving the food; everyone asked to wear face masks, etc.  The menu will include Chicken Parmigiana, Italian mixed salad, bread, beverages, and desserts from the Crisp Cannoli. No one will be asked to bring any food items.

To be sure we have at least the caterer-required minimum of 20 people, Mary has asked anyone planning to attend to either email (RMdrumm176@aol.com) or call (518-339-7459) her no later than this coming Monday evening (June 8). Please be sure to tell her whether you are bringing a guest or guests.

We hope to see you on the 25th.


Meeting Clipboard: 6/4/20

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

Due to a variety of factors, including some communication problems in advance of the event, the scheduled Zoom meeting on Thursday did not draw enough members to constitute a quorum. Thus, no official actions were taken.

Those in attendance did discuss the possibility of an outdoor picnic to serve as the annual Presidential Changeover (details here), and a Thursday, June 18, Zoom meeting at which we hope to include the recipients of our scholarships for Rensselaer, Columbia, and Maple Hill high schools.

There will be no Zoom meeting next week, June 11.


You can join Saturday’s county food drive

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During a recent virtual meeting, SRC members discussed renewing support for several local food banks. It was agreed to urge members to make financial donations, but some expressed a desire to donate non-perishable food items as well.

Well, Saturday will be a perfect time to make such product donations. That’s when Rensselaer County will hold a collection effort at Hudson Valley Community College. (If you plan to do so, why not wear your Rotary hats and/or shirts to make a solid, if brief, statement?)

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin today announced the effort, explaining that all non-perishable food items and comfort and hygiene items donated will be distributed to food pantries throughout the county, thereby extending the reach of donors.

McLaughlin said county officials are concerned about impending shortages at community food banks and pantries that service the county.

“We are appealing to residents who want to help their neighbors get through what may be tough times ahead,” McLaughlin said. “Our community food pantries do a great job serving those in need, and these donations will help in that mission.”

People are invited to drop off items in the parking lot near the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium on the HVCC campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The best route to the designated area is via the South Drive entrance off Vandenburgh Avenue (Route 4).