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.

It’s RI’s 116th birthday, and you’re invited

A note from District 7190 Governor Rich Griesche:

Are you ready to party? I know I am. On Tuesday February 23, Rotary International will celebrate its 116th birthday. I am inviting you to celebrate it with your fellow Rotarians at a virtual social event at 7 p.m. that day via live streaming.

To participate, BYOB, wear your favorite party hat, have a cupcake (or whatever) with a candle in it, and be ready to have some fun.

No speakers, no format, no business. YOU set the tone. It will be an opportunity to socialize in the district. And, no masks required.

Many of you may know that a virtual auction to raise funds for the Rotary Foundation will take place from Monday, February 1, through Monday, February 22. The results will be announced on the 23rd. Any auction items that didn’t get auctioned (no bids) will be auctioned live during the birthday party! Please mark your calendars.

The zoom link will be sent out a few days before on a reminder e-mail.

Meeting Clipboard: 1/21/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

Always show pre-publish checks.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (18): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Kevin Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Andy Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Murray Forth, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, John Justino.

GUESTS (1): Charles Frink.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members and our guest, Area 8 Assistant District Governor Charles Frink. … Bill Dowd displayed a pair of handwritten thank-you notes from the two families we sponsored in December’s “Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays” effort with Circles of Mercy. … Murray Forth mentioned that we also received thank-you notes from the four local food pantries we helped support over the holidays with financial contributions — (The Anchor, Doors of Hope, CoNSERNS-U, Food for Families) …

Murray also reminded members he still has Hoffman Car Wash tickets for sale as a club fundraiser. This is a good time of year to regularly wash road salt from your cars. … Bill noted that he posted the timeline and shopping list on our website today for the annual “Easter Basket for Cate’s Kids” project in conjunction with Circles of Mercy. Shannon Romanowski is our coordinator this year. … It also was noted that members should regularly check the website calendar page for information and links to local and district activities. …

Terry Brewer led a discussion on the pros and cons of applying for 501(c)3 IRS status (the club currently is recognized as a 501(c)4 organization) and of creating a foundation as an adjunct to the club. Members had been sent copies of an analysis by Terry served as background for the discussion. Our guest, Charles Frink, currently is president of the Albany Rotary Foundation, which is more than 25 years old. He described its operation and its revenue streams primarily coming from fundraisers, member donations, and bequests. He advised having a “reasonable level” of money as the target for a foundation startup, clear investment guidelines, and a simple money in/money out operation.

Terry opined that $25,000 might be a good target level and asked that the topic be placed on the discussion agenda for the next SRC Board meeting, to be scheduled.

NEXT MEETING: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 28, via ZOOM. All meeting links now may be found in advance on the club website calendar page. We no longer will be sending out link announcements via email.

Easter basket timeline, shopping list

This year, we are looking to collect items to fill up to 175 Easter baskets as part of our effort to assist Circles of Mercy, the family assistance organization. Our project coordinator, Shannon Romanowski, also is recruiting the assistance of the Greenbush YMCA and Columbia High School to once again make our effort a successful one for underprivileged kids.

Shannon will be setting up an “Amazon Wish List” and a “Target Registry” for people who are not comfortable shopping in-person and prefer to order online. Items can be designated for delivery directly to the Greenbush YMCA, 20 Community Way, East Greenbush, NY 12061. Links for those items will be made known soon.

Meanwhile, here are the key elements of the initiative:


Monday, February 1: Donated items will begin being accepted at the Greenbush Y during normal operating hours — 5:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:15 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Friday, March 19: Final day to drop off donations at the Greenbush Y.

Friday, March 26: Basket assembly at the Y, 2 to 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 27: Basket assembly at the Y, 9 to 11 a.m.


• Baskets (Jennifer Felts already has donated 16 baskets, so we need another 159)
• Toothbrushes (ages 1-12)
• Toothpaste
• Dental floss
• Hairbrushes
• Combs
• Hair ties, bows or barrettes (ages 1-12)
• Socks
• Children’s books (ages 1-12)
• Coloring books
• Crayons / markers
• Small games (ages 1-12)
• Small toys (toy cars, dolls, blocks, airplanes)
• Bubbles
• Small stuffed animals
• Assorted traditional candy (must be individually wrapped)

‘All Things Rotary’ podcasts makes debut

A new podcast series called “All Things Rotary” is debuting this month.

In each episode, host Nick Taylor will bring together voices from around the Rotary world to find new approaches to topics old and new.

The podcast homepage can be accessed by clicking here. It contains not only a link to the podcasts, but you can get a written transcript of the program, and you can use the Podcast Search Engine to find other podcasts on other topics that may interest you.

Meeting Clipboard: 1/14/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (22): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Carol Orvis, Murray Forth, Maggie Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Debbie Rodriguez, Geoff Brewer, Terry Brewer, Tony Morris, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Pat Bailey, Andy Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Becky Raymond, Phil Kellerman, John Justino.

GUESTS (2): Lara Vazquetelles, Carrie Knudsen.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members and guests. The 22 members constituted the largest such group we have had since transitioning from in-person to virtual meetings for this Rotary Year. … Bill Dowd reminded members that rather than sending out repetitive emails each week to give Rotarians the link to our ZOOM meetings, everyone is asked to check the calendar page on the club website to find the link and simply click on it to access the session. …

Our guests were two teachers from the East Greenbush Central School District, sharing their experiences so far handling “Education In the Age of Pandemic” — Lara Vazquetelles, a veteran special education teacher who joined the district in September, and Carrie Knudsen, who has been teaching sixth-graders at Goff Middle School.

They discussed the changes in public education created by the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They touched on the variables in class size, the need for innovative use of technology, group dynamics, distractions during virtual instruction (barking dogs, loud music, etc.), the ongoing need for socialization while maintaining proper distancing and safety measures, and so forth.

They took questions from members both during the meeting and for another 20 minutes or so in an “after hours” session attended by nearly every member who had participated in the formal meeting period.

NEXT MEETING: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 21. Terry Brewer will lead a discussion on the possibilities of applying for 501(c)3 IRS status (the club currently is recognized as a 501(c)4 organization) and the pros and cons of creating a foundation as an adjunct to the club. Members have been sent copies of an analysis by Terry that will serve as background for the discussion.

‘Easter Baskets for Kids’ is under way

Each year for the past seven years, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has partnered with Circles of Mercy to provide “Easter Baskets for Kids” ages 1 through 12 in the City of Rensselaer.

This year, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re doing it yet again. Shannon Romanowski has stepped up to act as coordinator for the project, for which we thank her. In the past few years, the Greenbush YMCA she administers has been a strong ally in the effort.

We will be circulating via our club website and Facebook page as well as e-mail blasts a shopping list of items such as traditional Easter candies, oral hygiene items, reading books, small toys, etc. Shannon will be letting us know her deadlines, basket-creation procedures, etc., which we’ll share via the same methods. This is just to give you a bit of a headstart on shopping.

For those not fully familiar with it, Circles of Mercy is an outreach center for poor and low-income families which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. SRC has partnered with the organization for years on a number of effort, including holiday family “adoptions,” back-to-school supplies, etc.


Registration now open for virtual RLI event

Despite the vagaries of the COVID-19 pandemic era restrictions, District 7190 plans to go ahead with the annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) training in February. It will, of course, be done virtually, which means a lower per-person fee.

Assuming sufficient participation, training will be offered in Classes 1, 2, 3, and Graduate level. The training is open to all Rotarians in good standing, but the classes must be take sequentially: i.e., you need to have completed Class 1 to attend Class 2, Class 2 to attend Class 3, etc. Anyone who has completed 1 through 3 may enroll in the Graduate level even if they have attended Graduate sessions before. The content is continually evolving.

This year’s RLI will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 27. Registration, which will be be reimbursed by SRC, is $25 and must be done online no later than February 20. Class sizes are limited.

RLI is particularly recommended for all club officers and people new or relatively new to Rotary, although everyone is welcome. SRC has a history of strong RLI participation, and we hope to maintain that record this year.

Rotary Member Census deadline nears

Have you completed the 2020 Rotary Member Census?

By now, all Rotarians whose email addresses are on file with Rotary International should have received copies of the survey, which is open only until this coming Friday, January 15. The email is from RI General Secretary John Hewko.

It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the electronic form. And, you can decide not to answer sections or specific questions the survey poses if that improves your comfort level.

Speaker: Educating in a pandemic

Have you or anyone you know been home-schooling kids during the COVID-19 pandemic? No easy assignment, to be sure. But, imagine if you had to do the same for dozens and dozens of kids, sometimes in person, sometimes virtually.

That’s what teachers and support staff have been doing in our schools this academic year. Lara Vazquetelles, a Delmar resident who is a special ed teacher in the East Greenbush Central School District, will be visiting us at our 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, ZOOM meeting to take us “behind the scenes.”

Please be sure to circle the date on your calendar, and plan to join your fellow SRC Rotarians for what promises to be an enlightening event.