Meeting Clipboard: 1/23/20

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

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Ray Hannan, Andy Leyhane, Jim Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Wells Packard, Charlie Foote.

Guests (1): Jean Carazza.

MEETING MINUTES: President Phil Kellerman welcomed members and guest Jean Carazza. This gathering was one of the periodic Club Assemblies intended to discuss club matters. … We began with setting February 20 — a date on which there will be no regular meeting because of school vacation week — as the date for the next Board meeting. Phil will contact all Board members to arrange location and details. … Discussion was held on restating our policy on financial responsibility for dinner guests. It was emphasized that program presenters will be guests of the club, but non-presenters will be required to pay for their dinners rather than having the club foot the bill. All members who schedule presenters are asked to determine precisely who and how many people are involved in the program and (a) be sure dinner coordinator Debbie Rodriguez is informed, and (b) be sure the presenter knows any otherRotary Home Cooking loogo people attending are responsible for paying for their meals. … The annual Rotary Home Cooking series of member-hosted dinner events will take place this year. We have three such events accounted for — to be hosted by Wells Packard, Terry Brewer, and Murray and Maggie Forth — with specific dates and themes/details to be announced. Historically, hosts have created themes for their events ranging from historic menu recreations to wine-centric events to whimsical themes. …

Phil and Wells Packard reported on their participation in the recent District 7190 Membership Training Session. Wells noted that key to the effort are use of signage in the community and the meeting venue, and creation of brochures to distribute at community events. It was noted that we have had a brochure Bill Dowd created but have not distributed it for some time. We will review it to ascertain what updates may be needed. Since East Greenbush Town Supervisor Jack Conway is scheduled to be next week’s speaker, we will check with him at that time to see what we need to do to have a Rotary emblem posted on town limits signs. …

Rotary CashWells also reported on the Rotary Youth Exchange program he is working on. He was the RYE liaison for his former club, and is gathering information on club involvement in the 2020-21 academic year exchange. … Terry Brewer reported on a Finance Committee meeting with club member A.J. Amato, a financial planner, to gain information on how to improve our financial record-keeping and budgeting. We will schedule a Financial Committee meeting to put into place a variety of his recommendations, and report back to the club. … The next recycling/shredding day will be held at Wainschaf Associates in Rensselaer on Saturday, April 18. Bill Dowd will create a flyer to be distributed with all details.

60th logoWe will hold our third Cafe Capriccio wine dinner raffle as a fundraiser for the general treasury. The dinner will be on March 28 at the Albany restaurant. Ticket sales will be held on March 19. … Bill Dowd reported that plans are advancing for the SRC 60th Anniversary Party on March 5 at Comfort Inns on Miller Road. Discount reservations are available for members and kids 12 and under through Valentine’s Dat. Details are available online. Terry Brewer moved that we appropriate $500 from the general treasury to support the event; it was secinded by several members and approved without dissent.



Meeting clipboard: 1/16/20

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

Members Attending (15): Phil Kellerman, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Ray Hannan, Andy Leyhane, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Wells Packard

Guests (6): Ruth Samuels Russell, Ryan Nowak, Madison Rifenberick, Mrs. Rifenberick, Madison Shumpert, Noah Mujalli

MEETING MINUTES: President Phil welcomed members and guests. … He reported that he and Wells Packard had attended the recent District Membership Training session and will discuss the information at the next Club Assembly, set for next Thursday, January 23. … Terry Brewer reported that the new Finance Committee will meet on Friday with A.J. Amato to discuss club investments and bookkeeping practices. …

Screen Shot 2020-01-18 at 3.37.57 PMWells Packard, who has accepted the role of club Youth Exchange Officer, explained that a student from Maple Hill High School has completed the process to be a Rotary Youth Exchange student next year. Now our club must decide whether to sponsor an incoming student as required by Rotary. He said he believes Maple Hill is receptive and will provide homes to the visiting student. This also will be a topic for the Assembly next Thursday. ….

60th logoCo-chairs Murray and Terry reported that lane sponsorship forms will be available next week for the March 1 Foundation Bowl-a-thon to benefit the Oley Foundation and the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Businesses and/or individuals are invited to sponsor at $100 per lane. … Members are asked to contact Bill Dowd ASAP to make reservations for the club’s March 5 60th Anniversary Party. … Murray issued a save-the-date reminder that the next SRC Recycling & Shredding Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 18.

PROGRAM: New Visions Students’ Science Research Projects

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Ruth Russell with her New Visions students. From left: Madison Shumpert, Ryan Nowack, Madison Rifenberick, Noah Mujalli.

Debbie Brown introduced Ruth Russell, a professor of chemistry, biology, and mathematics. She is the project leader of the New Visions program’s Scientific Research and World Health Program, located at the UAlbany Health Sciences Campus in Rensselaer.

This program involves seniors from high schools in the region who spend five mornings each week researching scientific studies in addition to their usual class load. The program involves 15 to 18 students each academic year.

Ruth introduced four students to explain their projects:

• Madison “Maddy” Rifenberick, valedictorian for Troy High School, discussed mercury toxicity through ingestion or dental fillings and the risk of developing Parkinson ’s disease. Mercury can lead to the loss of dopamine receptors in the brain. Her study shows the majority of her subjects also had exposure to coal and often had a genetic factor. She explained that environmental risks clearly are a concern.

• Noah Mujalli, from Rensselaer High School, discussed his work on the pulmonary effects of hydrogen sulfide contamination from the Dunn Landfill in Rensselear. While the state Department of Environmental Conservation has said that hydrogen sulfide levels should not exceed .010 parts per million, tests show that levels around the landfill often exceed this, yet use permits have been given up to the year 2035. He explained his methods and talked about the risk of tumors and sarcoids (skin tumors)  that increases with higher limits. He recommended that those concerned speak up and attend town hall meetings.

• Ryan Nowak, a senior at Taconic Hills High School, discussed private wells near dairy farms and the risk of E. coli contamination in Columbia County. He said the increase in agriculture, while a good thing, also has added problems due to animal waste, the use of manure as fertilizer, and runoff into local streams. His surveys showed that nitrates were getting into local wells and water supplies, and he discussed possible symptoms of contamination. Ryan also spoke about the use of antibiotics in farming and the concern that this, too, can lead to new, resistant E. coli strains, so more study is needed.

• Madison Shumpert, a student at Shenendehowa High School, spoke on the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol — better known as THC, the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis: i.e., the stuff in marijuana that gets you high — on the development of schizophrenia. Her study covered four countries that have liberal laws on the use of THC products. She said she is 90% confident that the higher use of cannabis can lead to the development of schizophrenia, but study is complicated by the variety of laws and regulations in each country.




Meeting clipboard: 1/9/20p

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

Members Attending (18): Jim Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Wells Packard, Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Charlie Foote, Carol Orvis, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Phil Kellerman, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jeff Simons.

Guests (5): Ida-Marie Lindberg, Jennifer Carraher, Jim McHugh, Michelle Hall, Alexandra Omicinsky.

MEETING MINUTES — President Phil Kellerman presided, welcoming members and guests to the first dinner meeting of 2020. … Phil will represent the club at the District 7190 Membership District Training sessions. … Treasurer Murray Forth reported that the themed gift basket silent auction at the recent Holiday Party he and Maggie hosted raised $500 for the club treasury. … Bill Dowd delivered $3,525 in member contributions to ShelterBox to the District SB liaisons Jack and Nancy Faddegon. …

Prices were set for the March 1 Foundation Bowl-a-Thon to raise funds for two organizations we regularly support — the Oley Foundation for people using tube feeding and the Freedom From Fistula Foundation that deals with women’s obstetrical issues in sub-Saharan Africa. Admission will be $15 per person, and lane sponsorships will be $100 each. … The date for the 2020 Gift of Life Golf Tournament fundraiser will be Monday, September 14. … New member Wells Packard reported that his daughter has been selected as a Rotary Exchange Student. She will spend an academic year in Germany. … Next week’s program involves Ruth Samuels and the New Visions project at the UAlbany School of Public Health.

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 10.22.52 PMPROGRAM: EGSCD English Language Learners

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Jeff Simons

Jeff Simons, superintendent of the East Greenbush Central School District and a former SRC Rotary member, was the guest speaker.

He introduced staffers involved in the languages programs. The number of  students involved in such study is growing faster Upstate than in other parts of New York. Nevertheless, the courses encourage students and their families to maintain their native languages while they increase their fluency in English.

The New York State Seal of Bi-Literacy is affixed to the diplomas of all students who are proficient in more than one language.


Meeting Clipboard: 12/12/19

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

Members Attending (18): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Pat Bailey, Wells Packard, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Kevin Leyhane, Carol Orvis, Mike Bennett.

Guests (2): Jodi Sullivan, Jean Carazza.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 2.09.50 PMMEETING NOTES: President Phil Kellerman presided, welcoming members and two guests. Phil also circulated for members’ signatures a sympathy card for former member Bonnie Nasca whose husband passed away last week. The attendees also agreed to send a monetary donation to the Carol A. Whittaker Global Health Travel Award Fund as requested in Phil Nasca’s obituary. … Members are reminded to contribute their returnable beverage containers from the holiday to our ongoing Clynk recycling-and-redemption effort for ShelterBox. Official plastic bags and bar-code stickers can be picked up at any meeting at Quigley’s. Phil K. also reminded members tonight was the final night of sales of free market coffee as a fundraiser for ShelterBox, with $5 from the sale of each bag going to the aid organization. …

Bloody Mary BasketMurray Forth took final reservations for the 6 p.m. Thursday, December 19, Holiday Party & Gift Basket Raffle he and Maggie are hosting. He stressed that anyone bringing appetizers or desserts limit the size to servings for four to avoid having too many leftovers. Also, attendees are strongly urged to bring along a themed gift basket for the silent auction. Suggested themes have been posted on the webite. …. Terry Brewer reported that Sunday, March 1, 2020, has been reserved for a Foundation Bowl-a-Thon to raise funds for two organizations we regularly support — the Oley Foundation for people using tube feeding and the Freedom From Fistula Foundation that deals with women’s obstetrical issues in sub-Saharan Africa. The site of the event will be the East Greenbush Bowling Center (formerly called Spare Time) on Columbia Turnpike. The contribution is $15 per person for as many frames as you can bowl in one of two sessions — noon to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. We also are soliciting $100 lane sponsors from businesses, individuals, groups, or families. Anyone interested in sponsorships is asked to contact Terry or Murray. …

giftsDebbie Rodriguez thanked all who participated in our annual Adopt-a-Family drive in partnership with Circles of Mercy. The final gift donations will be delivered there on Friday. Debbie delivered another carload of gift earlier, along with a check for a $500 SRC grant to purchase personal hygiene kits. … This was the last dinner meeting of 2019. After next week’s holiday party and a hiatus for the Christmas and New Year’s weeks, we will resume Thursday sessions on January 9. Anyone who has been assigned program dates in January (check the chart on the website calendar page) is asked to let both program coordinator Dick Drumm and webmaster Bill Dowd know the speakers and topics ASAP.


Five SRC members attended the Albany Rotary Club’s annual silent auction fundraiser in support of District 7190 Gift of Life, which usually raised about $5,000. From left: Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Phil Kellerman, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras. Several donated auction items, and Dean and Doris continue to be SRC’s liaisons with GOL.



PROGRAM: Maple Hill Mental Health Highlights

Jodi Sullivan explains Maple Hill’s mental health program.

Maple Hill Junior-Senior High School today was named one of just 35 schools in the nation selected by the National Council for Behavioral Health’s teen “Mental Health First Aid” pilot program.

The project, which began last year with eight schools, has been expanded with the support of entertainer Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

“This first-of-a-kind program will truly make a difference in our communities, and we are excited that our state was chosen … ,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS).

The course specifically highlights the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To ensure additional support for students taking the training, Maple Hill will train approximately 30 school staff in “Mental Health First Aid for Adults Working With Young People.” Overall, the program aims to ensure that students are able to recognize when a friend or peer may be struggling, and to feel confident what to do to help.

Jodi Sullivan, a vice principal at Maple Hill, is the lead staff member working on the multi-faceted mental health wellness programs at the school.

In her presentation to SRC, she outlined the many components of the Scho0dack Central School District’s ongoing efforts — emotional and physical wellness, skills training in area beyond the classroom, conflict resolution, restorative practices, curriculum writing, creation of a Twitter page called (@maphillwellness (WIldcat Wellness), and many other activities.




Meeting clipboard: 12/5/19

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

Members Attending (14): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Pat Bailey, Becky Raymond, Wells Packard, Ray Hannan, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Andy Leyhane.

Guests: None.

Tea for Two
A gift basket idea.

MEETING NOTES: President Phil Kellerman presided. He brought packages of fair trade coffees to sell as a fundraiser for ShelterBox, with $5 from the sale of each package going to the international aid agency. … Murray Forth, who with wife Maggie will be hosting our annual Holiday Party & Themed Baskets Silent Auction at 6 p.m. Thursday, December 19, gave an update on the event. He also encouraged members to bring gift baskets to be auctioned for charitable causes. (Some suggested themes have been posted on the website.) … Phil reminded members that the “spare change jar” proceeds this year will go to the Capital Region Nordic Alliance (CRNA), which provides adaptive sports activities for disabled vets.

Screen Shot 2019-11-22 at 6.00.46 PM… Debbie Rodriguez gave a brief update on the Adopt-a-Family holiday project. Many gifts were brought to the meeting. The deadline for giving Debbie the donated gifts — gift-wrapped and tagged with the recipients’ names — is next Thursday, December 12, in time for delivery to Circles of Mercy for distribution. PLEASE BE SURE  to gift wrap each item and label it with the recipient’s name. … Becky Raymond gave an update on the Danes Rotaract’s plans to raise funds for the Freedom From Fistula Foundation (FFFF). The club’s goal is to help raise $750. She said the idea of a bowl-a-thon proposed by Terry Brewer would help toward this effort. Terry then proposed that the club host a dual-purpose bowl-a-thon to raise funds for FFFF and the Oley Foundation. He will speak to the bowling center management about a tentative March date. Phil said Oley has many members locally who most likely would participate, and Becky said the Rotaract students could participate as well. Attendees expressed their approval for the event and willingness to help out. … Next Thursday’s after-dinner speaker will be Jodi Sullivan, Maple Hill High School assistant principal.

PROGRAM: SRC Fundraising

Rotary CashPhil led a discussion on current fundraising efforts by the club, and the development of future fundraisers to support our community service projects. Some outcomes:

• Murray said another recycling/shredding event will be organized for mid-April 2020.

• Terry said he is uncomfortable with the fact that some members donate so much of their personal money to support the club’s charitable activities. He thought the club should be distributing some funds from the current treasury balance. As an example, he suggested giving $500 to Circles of Mercy to enable the family aid organization to purchase hygiene kits for those in need. Debbie Brown made a motion to do so, Ray Hannan seconded it, and it was approved overwhelmingly.

• This led to a discussion about the amount of funds in the club’s treasury. Phil agreed the club should distribute some additional money to charitable causes, but that the club needs to consider investing some of the remaining balance to earn interest that can support grants while protecting the principal. The club’s Financial Committee will follow up.

• Since two past Cafe Capricio fundraiser dinners were financially successful through sales of raffle tickets, Andy Leyhane agreed to follow up with the Albany restaurant about setting up another such event.

• It was mentioned that resuming the “Rotary Home Cooking” series of member-hosted dinner parties or other social events could be helpful in raising funds and promoting social interaction.

Meeting Clipboard: 11/21/19

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

Members Attending (12): Phil Kellerman, Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Ray Hannan, Terry Brewer, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Kevin Leyhane, Andy Leyhane.

Guests (5): Speaker Al Mackey, Oley Foundation Director Joan Bishop, 2 dietitians from Ellis Hospital, Spinney resident Bob Howe.

MEETING NOTES: Phil Kellerman presided, greeting members and guests. … Members will share and discuss fundraising ideas at a Club Assembly scheduled for Thursday, December 5. … Reminders that (1) Phil will be selling free market coffees for the holidays, with $5 from the sale of each bag going into the club’s ShelterBox effort; (2) a supply of bags and tags is available at each dinner meeting for member participation in our ongoing Clynk container recycling effort for ShelterBox; (3) Members are urged to work on themed gift baskets for the silent auction that will be part of our annual Holiday Party, to be hosted by Maggie and Murray Forth at their residence on Thursday, December 19. … No meeting next week due to Thanksgiving Day.

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PROGRAM: “Hiking for Oley”

Our guest speaker was Al Mackay, 61, who in the 1990s received aggressive treatment for cancer and ended up with a feeding tube  because of difficulty of swelling. After finding the Oley Foundation on the Internet, he became a client.

Al, an experienced hiker, wanted to make a fundraising hike from June 17 to July 19 for Oley by traversing the Long Trail in Vermont, part of which is on the Appalachian Trail. He eventually made it from the Massachusetts line north to the Canadian border, a 272-mile hike while carrying a backpack that weighed more than 30 pounds.

Al had to overcome many adversities, including knee problems at Mile 36, rain, mud, fog, cliffs, and the steep trails that in some parts required ladders.  His mantra: “Limitation is a state of mind.”

You can read more details of Al’s feat by clicking here to access the Oley Foundation newsletter.


Meeting Clipboard: 11/14/19

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

Members Attending (16): Phil Kellerman, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Wells Packard, Debbie Rodriguez, A.J. Amato, Charlie Foote, Kevin Leyhane, Dick Drumm.

Guests (1): Dan Caurabia.

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 3.45.43 PMMEETING NOTES: President Phil welcomed members and our guest speaker. … Terry Brewer reported that District 7190 has approved $35,000 to support membership recruitment and retention efforts, $15,000 of which will pay an individual to head up the effort. The District membership is reaching a point at which RI may reconfigure the region and merge 7190 into another district. …

60th logoBill Dowd updated plans for the club’s 60th Anniversary Celebration Dinner, scheduled at the Comfort Inn & Suites for March 5, 2020. He said he has reserved the Berkshire Ballroom there, and hired a caterer, getting the two largest items out of the way. He noted that he has sent an email to all members as a “save the date” request in which he also invited input from everyone on things they would like to have considered as part of the event. … Phil reiterated that he will be selling fair trade coffee specialties during the holidays as a ShelterBox fundraising effort, and that the ongoing Clynk container redemption and recycling program overseen by Bill Dowd also is a ShelterBox fundraiser. …

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A ‘basket’ idea

A reminder that our annual Holiday Party & Themed Basket Silent Auction will be hosted by Murray and Maggie Forth at their residence on Thursday, December 19. Ideas for themed baskets are being put on the club website periodically. (See item at right.) … Anyone scheduled to secure a program for January is asked to get that information to program coordinator Dick Drumm ASAP so we can get it on the calendar. Still not sure what date you have? Just check the chart at the bottom of the website calendar page. … The speaker next week is a man who, despite being on a feeding tube, hiked 270 miles on Vermont’s Long Trail to raise funds for the Oley Foundation. .

PROGRAM: “The Norman Rockwell Museum”


A.J. Amato introduced guest speaker Dan Caurabia, a guide at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA.

Dan is a wealth of information about the iconic American painter and illustrator who used, as he put it, “commonplace people for commonplace themes”; i.e., friends, family, acquaintances and the like as models for his works that have become American icons.

In addition to providing a look at the early life and artistic training of Rockwell, Dan explained the changes in color, technique, and subject matter over Rockwell’s years of painting that ranged from his early teen years until the end of his life in 1978 at the age of 84.

Dan also shared photographs and anecdotes about some of the people who modeled for Rockwell and Dan’s experiences meeting many of them when they made a pilgrimage to Stockbridge to visit the museum. He also invited SRC members to visit the facility on Fridays when he conducts tours.

Information on the Norman Rockwell Museum, now celebrating its 50th anniversary,  is available online.