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)

Catching up on club financial notes

Rotary Cash

• We missed several major fundraisers because of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown (bowl-a-thon, recycling day, etc.). Thus, it is with pleasure we can report that Thursday’s Presidential Changeover dinner raised $680 for the club treasury. Many thanks to Dick, our incoming club president, and Mary Drumm for  not only hosting the outdoor event, but for underwriting the catering fee which allowed all monies from several dozen attendees to go directly to the club.

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• We must soon submit our annual payment to Rotary International, which means we are counting on all membership dues to be paid promptly for the 2020-21 Rotary Year. The deadline is July 1, the start of the new fiscal year, as noted in an earlier announcement. Dues remain at just $175 per individual member or $350 for “Family” or “Corporate” group memberships covering an unlimited number of members.  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. Please send checks, payable to “SRC Rotary Club,” to Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club, P.O. Box 71, East Greenbush, NY 12061.

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• We’re still involved in the CLYNK returnable beverage container program. More bags and tags were distributed at the Presidential Changeover event, but if you’ve run out of the official green bags (the only ones that may be used), you can pick up a box for less than $2 at any Hannaford supermarket. If you need the bar code stickers that must be attached to them, just contact Bill Dowd (518-238-1950 or BillDowd4Troy@gmail.com) and he’ll mail you some. All proceeds from the deposit returns go to our club treasury. And, remember you do not have to rinse and sort the metal, plastic, or glass containers. Just stick them in the correct bag, slap on a sticker, and scan the bar code at any Hannaford drop-off window. A very easy fundraiser, so drink up!


• Because of ongoing social restrictions and uncertainties, to club events have been scheduled for July and August. That does not mean, however, that we’re giving up on the usual “Summer Casual” period. It’s not to late for some small bit of return to normalcy. If you have an idea about hosting or helping arrange an event — preferably one involving families and one we can use as a small fundraiser — please contact incoming President-elect Debbie Rodriguez (518-766-3451 or debannrod@yahoo.com) as soon as possible.

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As one of his final presidential acts for 2019-20, Phil Kellerman announced that the packet of required documents has been sent to the Internal Revenue Service as part of an effort to regain tax-exempt status for the club. Although it may be a slow process, we’ll be sure to keep club members informed of any progress.


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







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.

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.

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.


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.