Meeting Clipboard: 11/7/19

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

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Ray Hannan, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Becky Raymond, Wells Packard, Roberto Martinez, Debbie Rodriguez.

Guests (2): Kurt Vincent, Mike Stangl.

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.18.47 PMPresident Phil welcomed members and guests. … Jim Leyhane will represent the club at an informational meeting with East Greenbush Central School District personnel and law enforcement officials to discuss ways to get seed money to begin installing cameras on school buses in line with a new state approval. The aim is to help enforce the prohibition on passing a stopped school bus, which seems to be on the rise. The cost is about $1,000 per camera, and the EGCSD has about 100 buses, so outfitting all of them would be cost prohibitive at first. The theory is that each fine for violating the rule would go toward purchasing additional cameras. In the long term, if such a program comes to fruition, SRC might then work with other local school districts to expand it. …

Screen Shot 2019-10-22 at 2.46.26 PMDean Calamras reported that the recent Gift of Life golf tournament raised $13,752.49 for the medical philanthropy. He also reported that the Bolivian child who had been scheduled to come to Albany for cardiac surgery will not be able to because his mother cannot get a travel visa. GOL will hold a fundraiser and silent auction. Details are available online. … Debbie Rodriguez volunteered to chair this year’s Adopt-a-Family holiday effort with Circles of Mercy, succeeding Bill Dowd. Bill said he would be happy to work with her. Details will be shared once Circles send us the details on the families and their needs. …

Screen Shot 2019-11-07 at 9.22.42 PMPhil has begun selling specialty fair trade coffees at $15 a bag or $25 for two, with $5 from each sale going to our ShelterBox drive. … Our annual Holiday Party & Gift Basket Silent Auction will be held on Thursday, December 19, at the home of Murray and Maggie Forth. Details to come, but start working on your basket ideas now. … Next week’s speaker will present a program on the Norman Rockwell Museum, located in Stockbridge, MA.

PROGRAM: “Trolleys Across the Hudson”

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Historian Kurt Vincent

Kurt Vincent, prominent local historian and the Village of Nassau’s official historian, provided a PowerPoint look at the history and the future of the trolley system that opened in 1900 and ran between Albany and Hudson.

Portions of the system remain in various pieces and a large chunk of it is being incorporated under the name Albany-Hudson Rail Trail into the state’s under-development system of rail trails that eventually will run from New York City to Buffalo.

The local project’s Facebook page contains updates and progress report. Go here to access it.



Meeting Clipboard: 10/24/19

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

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Andy Leyhane, Carol Orvis, Ray Hannan, Dean Calamaras, John Justino, Becky Raymond.

Guests (10): Martha Lepow, Past DG John Mucha, Nina Mucha, Dustin Moore, Aubrey Racz, David Phillips, Bill Nathan, David Palmquist, Nicole MacFarland, Gary MacFarland.

MEETING NOTES: President Phil presided, welcoming members and numerous guests. … Danes Rotaract President Dustin Moore, just returned from a work-study project in Ireland, and Rotaract member Aubrey Racz, a Castleton native who is about to participate in a Peace Corps-affiliated work-study project in the West African nation of Sierra Leone, were among the guests. They announced that Rotaract’s latest drinks social at Wolff’s Biergarten in Albany will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (October 29), with $1 from the price of each drink purchased going to the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Past District Governor John Mucha also was among the guests. …

… Phil reminded everyone that next week’s dinner meeting has been cancelled because Quigley’s is closing early for Halloween. … Dean Calamaras, our Gift of Life liaison, reported that the scheduled November 4 arrival of our latest child for heart surgery has been postponed because of problems with the mother’s travel documents. … Members were informed that at Tuesday’s meeting of the SRC Board, it was voted to indefinitely postpone any further work on the proposed 2020 Rotary Run.

PROGRAM: 7th annual World Polio Day

Dr. Martha Lepow and John Justino presented information and thoughts on the status of Rotary’s ongoing battle against polio.

Martha was a pioneering expert in pediatric infectious diseases who was part of the early research that resulted in the Salk polio vaccine. John, an SRC member, is director of the Center for Global Health and clinical associate professor in the UAlbany School of Public Health.

As noted, the announcement that Nigeria no longer is an indemic polio country reduces the list of countries yet to eradicate polio to two — Pakistan, which has had 62 cases this year, and Afghanistan, with 16 cases this year.

Periodically, an isolated case of polio does occur, but there now is only one type of wildpolio virus remaining globally.

After their remarks, attendees were welcomed to view a video from RI that had been released earlier in the day. It is available on our club website.


Meeting Clipboard: 10/17/19

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

Members Attending (16): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Kevin Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Andy Leyhane, Wells Packard, Charlie Foote, Julius Frankel, Carol Orvis.

Guests (1): Paige Johnson.

MEETING NOTES: President Phil presided, welcoming members and visiting Rotarian Paige Johnson. … Reminder to all Board members that we will be meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 22, in the rear conference room of Community Care Physicians, 35 Empire State Boulevard, off Miller Road, Castleton. Sandwiches and beverages will be provided.

screenshot2019-01-31at11.05.47pm… We will be making a go/no-go decision on the proposed 2020 Rotary Run for Good by next week. Peter Brown remarked that he thought that, with proper planning, we could achieve a goal of recruiting at least 60 volunteers to staff the event, one of the major potential stumbling blocks mentioned in last week’s discussion. Wells Packard said he knew in the past the District might provide some matching funds for events that involve more than one Rotary club. Since our preliminary planning mentioned the possibility of including one or two Columbia County clubs, he suggested Dick Drumm check on such funding when he attends the Rotary Leadership Institute this Saturday. (It should be noted, however, that Columbia County is not part of our District 7190, so involvement from there may not be of interest to 7190.)

Screen Shot 2019-10-18 at 1.36.43 PM… Phil said he once again plans to sell gourmet coffees for the holiday season ($15 each, two for $25), with $5 from the purchase price of each package to go toward the club’s ShelterBox contribution. This would help supplement the ShelterBox funds we are raising through the ongoing Clynk container redemption effort. … Next Thursday’s dinner meeting will include a panel discussion for World Polio Day, with polio treatment pioneer Dr. Martha Lepow and Center for Global Health director John Justino. An 8 p.m. live-streaming event will begin at 8 p.m. for those who wish to stay.

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PROGRAM: Paige Johnson, a visiting Rotarian from Vermont who is spending time marketing her family’s local business, presented a brief look at the operation — from its founding by her great-grandparents Fred and Jessie Lemka on June 1, 1910, as the Glenwood Fruit Farm to its present existence as the iconic Kristy’s Barn and Farm, a century farm owned by her parents, Ken and Kristine Johnson.

Glenwood morphed into Appleland and sold its produce on Routes 9 and 20 until the Johnsons moved the sales farm stand to the farm proper and changed the name to Kristy’s. The farm itself covers 250 acres, much of it wooded or wetlands but with about 100 acres under cultivation.

Paige, a onetime Rotary Exchange Student who SRC sponsored for a year in Finland, explained some of the plusses and minuses of modern  farming — location and logistics of marketing in a region where the Hudson River looms as a mental barrier between communities; installation of solar panels; education efforts; labor recruitment — although on the latter topic she said some seasonal workers have been coming  to Kristy’s for 25 years and seem like part of the family; and, the question of what the fourth generation — Paige, her brother, and their sister — will or will not do as far as ownership of the farm. She said her parents are on “the retirement track, looking down the road five or six years or so.”


Meeting Clipboard: 10/10/19

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

Members Attending (17): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Kevin Leyhane, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Pat Bailey, Becky Raymond, Andy Leyhane, Wells Packard.

Guests: None.

MEETING NOTES: Phil Kellerman presided, welcoming members and new member Wells Packard who is returning to Rotary membership. … Doris Calamaras will be handling thank-you followup notes to outside speakers who make presentations to the club. … Members are reminded that there is a supply of official recycling bags and bar code stickers being kept on hand at Quigley’s to facilitate participation in the Clynk container recycling project, an ongoing fundraiser for ShelterBox. Members also are reminded to donate used clothing and other items to the blue dumpsters bearing the Gift of Life logo. Check the website for a list of the locations of such boxes.

… The program calendar for the remainder of October: 17th, “What’s New at Kristy’s Barn?” with Paige Johnson, marketing manager; 24th, World Polio Day” with a panel discussion followed at 8 p.m. by a live streaming program; 31st, an official visit by District Governor Larry Jones.

PROGRAM: Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez, on behalf of the multi-member planning committee, presented an update and analysis about the “Rotary Run for Good,” proposed for October 10, 2020, at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham.

The presentation dealt with event specifics, potential income and expenses, human resource possibilities to work the event, and governmental necessities such as police assistance, permits, etc. Members posed numerous questions throughout the presentation.

The bottom line was this question: “Does the club want to do this signature event?” The biggest obstacle appeared to be a lack of confidence that we could recruit a sufficient number of volunteers to help prepare and staff the 5K/10K event. Members agreed to give consideration to the details of the presentation and let their views be known by the October 24 meeting. At that, point, we will have to make a final “go” or “no go” decision.

NOTE: A meeting of the SRC Board followed the regular meeting. Further discussion was held on the pros and cons of the Rotary Run project, as well as several other topics.


Meeting Clipboard: 10/3/19

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

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Charlie Foote, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Kevin Leyhane, Carol Orvis, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Julius Frankel.

Guests (2): Paige Johnson, Justin DiVirgilio.

Recycling IconMEETING NOTES: Phil Kellerman presided, welcoming members and one guest. … Phil read a thank-you note from a friend in Georgia who thanked the club for its $150 grant to purchase workbooks to help her instruct students learning English. … He also followed up Bill Dowd’s request of last week for members to participate in the Clynk container recycling effort to raise funds for ShelterBox. … Also as part of SRC’s environmental responsibility initiatives, Murray Forth has agreed to spearhead a recycling-and-shredding day in the spring, with a date to be determined.

GOL Logo… Dean Calamaras, a board member of the District 7190 Gift of Life, said about $10,000 will be realized from the recent GOL Golf Tournament at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland. He also reported that GOL’s next third-world patient to arrive here, from Bolivia, for cardiac surgery at Albany Med will land at Albany International Airport on November 4. He urged anyone who can make it to join the welcoming committee at the airport. Details to be provided.

Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 11.29.18 PM… Members were reminded that the annual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) session is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, in Schenectady. The club will pay the registration fee for any members of SRC and Danes Rotaract who wish to participate. Such people should contact Bill Dowd, who will handle their registration, no later than Tuesday, October 8. Anyone wishing to register after that is on their own to do so. … Our speaker next week will be Jim Leyhane with an update on next fall’s Rotary Trail Run at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

Justin DiVirgilio discusses downtown Albany dig.

PROGRAM: Justin DiVirgilio of Hartgen Archaeological Associates presented a program titled “Beyond the North Gate,” an archaeological dig unearthing a Dutch colonial-era distillery in what now is part of downtown Albany.

His company specializes in studying specific plots of land to be developed to comply with state and local laws and regulations that ensure nothing of archaeological significance is harmed. His presentation discussed the history of rum distilling in Albany, the intricacies of the dig itself, an analysis of what was found, and the resulting work needed to preserve artifacts and the site itself before it was reburied.

The Albany dig uncovered remnants of several colonial distilleries that used the same footprint, and revealed how excavations and new infrastructure over the years changed the site. Several rudimentary stills were extricated and now are part of a New York State Museum exhibit titled “Beneath the City: An Archaeological Perspective of Albany.”




Meeting Clipboard: 9/26/19

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

Members Attending (14): Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Dick Drumm, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Bill Dowd, Ray Hannan, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Andy Leyhane, Carol Orvis, Debbie Rodriguez.

Guests (2): Kevin Drumm, Paige Johnson.

Screen Shot 2019-03-14 at 8.56.26 PMMEETING NOTES: President-elect Dick Drumm presided in Phil Kellerman’s absence, greeting SRC members and our guests. … Bill Dowd reminded attendees that a supply of bags and bar code stickers will be maintained at Quigley’s for use by members participating in our Clynk container recycling effort to raise funds for ShelterBox. … Visiting Rotarian Paige Johnson announced that Kristy’s Barn, where she is the marketing manager, would welcome SRC to have a table at the farmstand on weekends through Columbus Day if we wish to use it for fundraising or public information purposes.

.Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 11.29.18 PM.. Members were urged to sign up for this year’s Rotary Leadership Institute session, to be held October 19 in Schenectady. As always, the club will pay the registration fee for anyone interested in attending. Bill Dowd will handle the registration for anyone who contacts him no later than October 8. After that date, you’re on your own to register. … Bill also reminded members of the clothing drop boxes around the area that accept discarded items as a fundraiser for Gift of Life. He periodically posts on the website location a list of GOL dropoff boxes. (Click here for the latest.) … The speaker for our October 3 meeting will be Justin DeVirgilio of Hartgen Archaeological Associates.

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Dick and Kevin Drumm discuss the world of veterinary medicine.

PROGRAM: Dick Drumm, DVM, ably assisted by son Kevin, discussed Dick’s long career in veterinary medicine and the many changes in the field.

Dick, who graduated from the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine 68 years ago, has gone from that to being  the owner of Capital Vets, a company with four animal hospitals in the Capital Region — Schodack, Latham, Brunswick, and Catskill. Over the years, he has grown from a three-person staff to 75 employees.

Dick noted that there were no women in his graduating class, only one in the class preceding his, and two in the succeeding class. Today, there are more female vets nationally than males, and 80% of veterinary medicine students across the country are female.

More specialization has changed the dynamic of the field, as shown by the number of transplants, oncology treatments, and specialized surgeries. In addition, the field has been “corporatized,” with more and more practices becoming part of large corporations. That consolidation of business has provided more money for state-of-the-art equipment and a rise in the number of vet specialty hospitals, which mirrors the changes in human medicine.


Meeting Clipboard: 9/19/19

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

Members Attending (12): Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Dean Calamaras, Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Charlie Foote, Ray Hannan, Phil Kellerman, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Debbie Rodriguez, Andy Leyhane.

Guests (4): David Harris, Mary Drumm, Kevin Drumm, Paige Johnson.

MEETING NOTES — President Phil Kellerman welcomed members and guests. … Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez updated members on Murray Forth’s status. He has been rehospitalized with different a different problem, but expects to go home in a day or two. … Roberto reported that he won a raffle basket at the Gift of Life Golf Tournament awards dinner on Monday and is giving it to Murray and Maggie on behalf of the club as a get-well gift. Apropos the GOL event, Dean and Doris Calamaras were recognized as Friends of Gift of Life, and SRC had two foursomes participate. …

Phil shared a flyer from a friend in Georgia who teaches English as a second language to students who speaks other languages and are financially limited. She was asking for a $150 grant to purchase specific workbooks that have proven successful in helping such students. Phil said he would personally match anything up to $75 toward such a grant. Several other members quickly chipped in $75, thus reaching the $150 grant level. … Bill Dowd said he has resumed stocking up on Clynk container recycling bags and bar-code stickers for use by club members to raise funds for ShelterBox. They will be available at all meetings at Quigley’s. Last week, Bill presented a $400 check for the first proceeds from our efforts via the program Clynk runs in partnership with Hannaford supermarkets. Bill noted that participation in the program costs the club nothing because he has been paying for the bags and will continue to do so. …

Bill also reported that, for the first time in 19 years, a case of polio has been reported in the Philippines. The polio virus also has been found in the sewage systems of Manila, the principal city, and other locations, A mass vaccine program will be resumed within  the next few weeks. He asked that members continue remembering Rotary’s PolioPlus program when it comes to donations. … Debbie Rodriguez is succeeding April Dowd as the Sunshine Committee lead. Members are asked to remember to keep Debbie in the loop when they have word of illness or bereavement among our Rotary family. … Next week’s speaker will be East Greenbush Town Supervisor Jack Conway.

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David B. Harris

GUEST SPEAKER — David B. Harris, supervisor of the Town of Schodack, paid a return visit (he spoke to the club last March) to update us on what’s happening in the town. Among the major points:

• Work is proceeding on the Route 9 site that is being prepared for construction of a million-square-foot Amazon distribution center. He said he is confident a lawsuit by a neighborhood group near the site seeking to halt work will be overcome. He also noted that drilling is being done to remove a huge rock — “It’s about the size of this meeting room,” he said — because of a county regulation against blasting there.

• The town continues to concentrate on attracting new businesses, especially for the Routes 9 & 20 corridor, Columbia Turnpike. As he noted, sales taxes are the largest income stream for the town, so retail stores are particularly important. A new Stewart’s is being constructed; Cumberland Farms is looking into adding a store; strips of unused land owned by the town are being offered for sale to enable them to be returned to the tax rolls; a Georgia company is studying the possibility of reviving the former Fort Orange paper mill into a facility to produce cardboard (perhaps to sell to Amazon?).

• He said the town is in need of more staffing in the police, planning, and other departments. But, with the 2% tax increase cap instituted by the governor, that is difficult to accomplish. He has assigned one police officer to be a fulltime detective.

• On the social level, the town increased the number of dates this summer for its weekly concerts in the park program. And, a playground was added to the town park, at no cost to taxpayers.

Harris also complained about two state-mandated items. One is a requirement to have police officers follow a very complicated paperwork process when issuing a traffic ticket. He said it would take an average of 30 minutes of officers’ time per ticket which, he says, obviously would diminish their time to actually carry out their basic duties. The other is that rather than have school districts pay for required installation of cameras on buses to track motorists who violate the law by passing stopped buses the local governments would have to do so. He said at $2,000 to $3,000 per bus, such a requirement would be impossible to pay for.