The gavel is passed on a stormy evening

SRC ClipboardHeld at Drumm residence,
Fox Hollow Road, Valatie

Members Attending (18): Phil Kellerman, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Andy Leyhane, Bill Dowd, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth, Geoff Brewer, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Jim Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Maggie Forth, Ray Hannan.

Guests Attending (10): Numerous friends and relatives.


The figurative gavel was passed on Thursday evening, with lone charter member Dick Drumm (1960) assuming the presidency of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club for the 2020-21 Rotary Year from Phil Kellerman as dozens of members and guests looked on.

The al fresco dinner event, hosted by Dick and Mary Drumm at their rural Valatie manse, was the first in-person SRC event since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Although well attended, the crowd fell well within the 50-person limit imposed by the state. All social distancing protocols were observed.

Catering was by Talk of the Town, owned by former Rotarian Jim Mendrysa who served a dinner of his signature chicken Parm, plus appropriate sides, salad, rolls, coffee, and chocolate mousse. All went well until a sudden storm blew up the event around 7 p.m., upending the catering canopy and drenching many attendees before they moved indoors. Typically, the Rotary spirit was undampened.

Outgoing President Phil thanked several members for their varied effort in the pandemic-curtailed Rotary Year. In particular, he made note of the trio of $1,000 scholarships presented a week earlier, the work done on filing for reinstatement by the IRS of our club’s tax-exempt status, and hosting of virtual events via Zoom.

While no firm dates have been set for “Summer Casual” events during July and August, members were encouraged to let incoming President Dick Drumm and incoming President-elect Debbie Rodriguez know of any thoughts on planning and scheduling such events. Members were encouraged to visit the club website’s Calendar page regularly to stay apprised of events.

The fate of our normal weekly dinner meetings for September through June 2021 remains in limbo until we learn owner John Walsh’s plans for Quigley’s restaurant, which has been closed since mid-March.

Thanks from the entire membership was proffered to Dick and Mary Drumm for hosting the event.

Here are more scenes from the event, including the scramble to anchor the catering tent upended by the blustery winds.



Bill & Debbie




Chow Line







RI incoming president not who we expected

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Holger Knaack

German Rotarian Holger Knaack is expected to take office on July 1 as president of Rotary International for 2020-21 after an unusual set of circumstances.

The Nominating Committee’s decision to select him follows the April resignation of President-nominee Sushil Gupta due to health reasons.

Michael McGovern, chair of the Nominating Committee, issued a statement explaining the process for selecting a new presidential nominee. It also addresses some controversy in the use of social media to perhaps try to influence the committee’s final decision. Interesting reading.

Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, says to build a stronger membership Rotary must focus on increasing the number of female members and transitioning Rotaractors into Rotarians.

Knaack says he believes the People of Action campaign offers new public awareness possibilities for Rotary. “This campaign conveys our global image while still respecting differences in regions and cultures,” he says.

A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.

He is an endowment/major gifts adviser and was co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg.

He is the CEO of Knaack KG, a real estate company. He previously was a partner and general manager of Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year-old family business.

Knaack is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambek. He also is founder and chair of the Karl Adam Foundation.

He and his wife, Susanne, are Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society.


Guidelines and forecast for Changeover event

picnicThe National Weather Service forecast for Thursday is a high of 85 degrees and sunny skies. That bodes well for our 6 p.m. al fresco Presidential Changeover dinner that day.

A reminder to those who made reservations by the deadline for the event.

Guidelines have been established for the safety and comfort of all involved:

• Everyone is asked to wear a face mask, and bring hand sanitizers and wipes.
• Social distancing of at least six feet is requested.
• Everyone is asked to bring their own lawn chairs (and small snack tables if desired).
• While the main meal and coffee will be served by our caterer, anyone wishing other beverages is asked to bring their own (coolers are OK). We’re trying to limit the number of shared-touch surfaces.

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

If you have any questions or comments, please contact our hosts, Dick and Mary Drumm, at 518-470-0808.

Dues are due for 2020-21 Rotary Year

Rotary CashIt’s time for the annual reminder that dues for the upcoming Rotary Year should be submitted by July 1.

Checks, payable to “SRC Rotary,” may be given to Treasurer Murray Forth, or mailed to Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club, P.O. Box 71, East Greenbush, NY 12061.

Annual individual dues remain at just $175 per individual member or $350 for “Family” or “Corporate” group memberships covering an unlimited number of members (although such entities have only a single vote on matters coming before the membership). If it is easier for you, dues may be paid in two equal installments, by June 30 and by December 31. The initial partial payment for individuals is only $87.50, or $175 for “Family” and “Corporate” groups.

As explained in our Club Bylaws: “Club annual dues will be based on dues levels set by Rotary International and District 7190 plus a Club membership fee of $20 above RI and District dues for first-year members and $30 above RI and District dues for all members after their first year. A $5 deduction from each member’s dues will become an annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation. All club fees are subject to modification by subsequent votes of the membership. Fees are payable annually no later than the last day of June, or semiannually no later than the last day of June and no later than the last day of December. Per Rotary International regulations, a portion of each payment shall be applied to each member’s subscription to the RI official magazine.”

Thank you for your cooperation.


Meeting clipboard: 6/18/20 – Scholarship winners

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

MEMBERS ATTENDING (11 – no quorum): Phil Kellerman, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Mike Bennett.

GUESTS (3): Brandy Cenci, Mackenzie Brown, Shannon Tacy.

MEETING NOTES: Two of our three $1,000 Rotary Scholarship Awards winners (shown above) joined us in a virtual Zoom meeting on Thursday.

Shannon Tacy (left), a Rensselaer High School senior, told us she plans to attend St. Lawrence University in the fall, majoring in government. She hopes to be in a public decision-making role of some sort upon completion of her university studies. Mackenzie Brown, a Maple Hill High School senior, told us she plans to attend the University at Albany in a “3 and 3” program in which students can earn a bachelor’s degree in three years then move directly to Albany Law School for her next three years of study. She hopes to be a criminal defense attorney, perhaps eventually joining the FBI. The third recipient, Lindsey Conboy of Columbia High School, was unable to join us. …

No official business was transacted because of the absence of a quorum. … Phil Kellerman thanked Peter Brown, Roberto Martinez, and Jim Leyhane for setting up Zoom meetings over the past few weeks. … Debbie Rodriguez reported she recently spoke with owner John Walsh of Quigley’s, who said he does not plan to reopen until Phase 4 because of difficulties reconfiguring the restaurant to conform to social distancing. …

Members were reminded to check the club website for details on how to attend the virtual RI Convention at no charge and the virtual District Training on Zoom use. … Dick Drumm said plans have been completed for next Thursday’s outdoor Presidential Changeover event at his Valatie residence. That will be the last meeting of the 2019-20 Rotary Year. We will not meet on July 2 because of the long Fourth of July weekend. …

While we have no “Summer Casual” events on the calendar for July and August, Debbie Rodriguez said she would volunteer to host an outdoor event on a date to be decided. Bill Dowd reiterated that two of our usual outings have been scratched — Mac-Haydn Theater, which has cancelled its season, and ValleyCats baseball, because no decision has been made on whether the New York-Penn League season will be played this year.

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.