Assemblyman Jake Ashby our Thursday guest

Assemblyman Jake Ashby, R-C

Jake Ashby, who represents the 107th District (most of Rensselaer County and parts of Columbia and Washington counties) in the State Assembly, will speak to SRC during our 7 p.m. Zoom meeting this week.

Jake, who served as a Rensselaer County legislator before being elected to the Assembly in 2018, has for the past 18 years worked as an occupational therapist and rehabilitation director, founding his own practice in 2014. Additionally, he has been an instructor in occupational therapy at Maria College in Albany.

He earned his commission with the U.S. Army Reserves, serving for eight years and rising to the rank of captain. He completed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a humanitarian mission in Africa. During his service career he earned two Bronze Stars, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Badge. He is a past commander of VFW Post 7337 in Castleton.

Jake holds an MBA in healthcare management from Union Graduate College in Schenectady, a B.S. in occupational therapy from Keuka College, and an A.A, from Hudson Valley Community College.

Jake resides in Castleton with his wife, Kristy, and their two children.

As always, to gain access to our Zoom meeting, simply go online to our club website’s calendar page and clock on the link for January 27.

CCP offers explanation on COVID updates

Community Care Physicians, which is a corporate member of the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club, today distributed an update on COVID-19 topics for its patient base (which includes a number of SRC Rotarians). For the benefit of those SRC folks who are not among that group, here is the update in its entirety.

Three important COVID-19 announcements were made this past week. First, there was a change in quarantine/isolation requirements for the community. Second, it was announced that free COVID-19 at-home tests could be ordered from the government. Lastly, the CDC updated its mask guidance and the government unveiled plans to make 400 million N95 masks available for free at pharmacies and community health centers across the country.

A lot to digest.

Our practices have been getting many questions about these updates. To alleviate our phone lines, when possible, we wanted to share the important highlights that you should know about each topic.

  1. Quarantine and Isolation Requirements

Remember, “quarantine” is for people who have a known exposure to COVID-19 (you have no symptoms) and “isolation” is for people who have a positive COVID-19 test or who have symptoms and are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.

The below link takes you to a chart on the CDC’s website. This is the most succinct review of the guidelines:

Read through it carefully and follow these guidelines.

A few things to note:

  • If you are required to quarantine after an exposure according to the chart above, that means you stay home and away from other people; wear a well-fitting mask when around others (including at home, if possible); monitor for symptoms.
  • If you are required to isolate, that means stay home in a separate room from others in the household, if possible; use a separate bathroom; wear a well-fitting mask at all times, especially if you can’t separate from everyone in your household; monitor your symptoms; avoid contact with people and pets; don’t share personal household items.
  1. Free At-Home COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests

IMPORTANT NOTE: for these at-home tests, you do NOT need a prescription or a note from your provider. You don’t need to contact us before obtaining your tests.

The USPS website is now letting you place your order for free at-home COVID-19 test kits:

  • Tests are free.
  • Limit of one order per residential address.
  • One order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
  • Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days (depending on shipping delays). Order your tests now so you have them when you need them.

It takes less than two minutes to order, and you need to provide only your contact information and shipping address. CCP is not associated with this website, so we can’t assist with any issues with the website. This is a government initiative, and more information can be found at

What if you buy your COVID-19 tests at your local pharmacy? You can get reimbursed through your health plan for up to 8 individual at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per person enrolled in the plan per month. That means a family of four can get 32 tests per month for free. Note, CCP cannot assist with reimbursement. Please contact your health plan.

Below is additional information for you about how to get your at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test (authorized by the US FDA) at no cost, either through reimbursement or free of charge up front. Check out these FAQs.

  1. Free N95 Masks Provided by Federal Government

The CDC now says that N95 masks may be worn by the general public if people wish to wear them. To protect yourself and others from COVID-19, it is recommended that you wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.

With that said, the US government will make 400 million non-surgical N95 masks from its strategic national stockpile available for free to the public. Retail chains such as CVS and Walgreens plan to distribute the masks, and some community health centers. From what we know as of now, there is not a website to order; masks need to be obtained by physically visiting the locations that have the supply of masks. The masks could be arriving as soon as next week at some locations, but the program will be fully ramped up by February.

There will be three masks distributed per person.

How do you get your masks? The details still need to be nailed down. We recommend that you check with your local CVS or Walgreens to see if they are participating in the program and how to obtain your free N95 masks.

If you can’t get an N95 mask, wear the best mask available to you, wear it all the time when around others, and wear it over your mouth AND nose.

Stay safe and continue to follow the guidelines.

Can you donate? Blood supply critical

The American Red Cross is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade.

The relief organization says, “This poses a serious risk to patient care as doctors are forced to make difficult decisions about who receives blood transfusions. Blood and platelet donations are critically needed to help prevent delays in vital medical treatment.T

“The shortage is being caused by:

  • 10% overall blood donation decline since March 2020
  • 62% drop in college and high school blood drives due to the pandemic
  • On-going blood drive cancellations due to illness, staff shortages, and weather
  • Surge of Covid cases and active flu”

There is no upper age limit for blood donations but you do have to be in good health. Go to to find out if you are eligible and to find a donation drive nearby.

Have you seen signs of Rotary?

If you are traveling domestically or abroad and see that familiar Rotary sign, snap a photo of it and send it along so we can spread the word of Rotary via our SRC website.

Here is one from Greenport, on the scenic North Fork of Long Island that I shot this week.

– Bill Dowd, webmaster

On the village green overlooking the Peconic River 80 miles east of New York City.

Guess which country visits SRC the most?

Periodically, we like to see who has been visiting our SRC website from around the world.

The latest count says we have had one or more — in some instances MANY more — visitors from 55 different foreign nations in the past 12 months.

Curiously, we have the most visits from people in China, more than four times as many as we have from the Netherlands. our No. 2 visitor.

Here are the double-digit visitors:

• China, 271

• The Netherlands, 59

• Nigeria, 39

• Canada, 36

• United Kingdom, 32

• India, 31

• South Africa, 31

• Germany, 29

• Austria, 23

• Australia, 21

• France, 20

• Ireland, 17

• Bangladesh, 14

• Ecuador, 11

• Philippines, 10

‘Vaccination passport’ discussion on Zoom

SRC members interested in the controversial topic of “vaccination passports” may want to join a virtual discussion on the subject from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, April 26, via Zoom.

The event is being sponsored by the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy with co-sponsors, the Center for Global Health at the UAlbany School of Public Health and the Center for Technology in Government.

Advance registration, which is required, can be done by clicking here.

NOTE: Because Rotary and its clubs does not take positions on political topics, this notice is neither for nor against such “passports.” It is merely for informational purposes.

A rundown on the topic from the Council On Foreign Relations is available by clicking here.

SRC qualifies for District Grants

Four SRC members participated in Saturday’s District 7190 Grant Management Training program via ZOOM.

A minimum of two members’ participation was required for our club to be eligible to apply for district or global grants during the 2021-22 Rotary Year, so we are doubly qualified, thanks to President-elect Debbie Rodriguez and current club board members Bill Dowd, Phil Kellerman, and Roberto Martinez going through the training session.

The club will be discussing potential grant undertakings for the new Rotary Year, which begins July 1. In essence, all grant efforts are handled on a very tight time schedule, so Debbie and current President Dick Drumm will be working to be sure SRC is fully in compliance with all requirements.

There are different procedures and requirements for district and global grants. District grants go to individual clubs (sometimes two or three clubs cooperating on a single project), while global grants go to projects with both domestic and foreign Rotary clubs, and sometimes non-Rotary organizations, partnering in the initiative.

‘Young People Speak’ about life in Rotary

If you missed Monday’s multi-district panel discussion called “Young People Speak,” an insight into what young people experience in Rotary, you may want to give it a try by clicking on the video above.

The panelists, who were from Upstate New York districts, talked about what attracted them to Rotary, what turned them off about Rotary, and what Rotary clubs can do to connect with youths — provide guidance (loosely!), have a strong orientation program, be welcoming, encourage teamwork, be flexible, and be people of action.

Give it a try. You may find the video enlightening and helpful as we try to refresh our club membership.

A very merry unbirthday

Those with a knowledge of the “Alice In Wonderland” stories know one celebration typical in her topsy-turvy world was an “unbirthday” party, of which you can have 364 a year. Unfortunately, Rotary District 7190 may have inadvertently duplicated the idea.

An email sent out to all Rotarians in the District, and copied and distributed by various clubs’ websites and Facebook pages such as ours, provided a zoom link to the virtual 116th birthday celebration of Rotary International and the accompanying online auction fundraiser. Regretably, the email was in error as to the proper link.

A late correction was sent out in an email blast, but there’s no telling how many people didn’t see it in time to particptae in the event. Luckily, the auction had been going on for several weeks before the party, and wound up raising about $4,000, according to District Governor Richard Griesche.

So, apologies if you inadvertently were misled by the District and missed the party, but thanks if you were one of the auction bidders who helped make the fundraiser a success.