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.

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.

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 ( 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.


Another virtual social is in the books

Screen Shot 2020-04-03 at 5.56.21 PMSRC’s latest virtual social hour drew 10 people Thursday night via Zoom: Dick Drumm, Phil Kellerman, Debbie and Peter Brown, Andy Leyhane, Kevin Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, and Roberto Martinez.

That means the Leyhanes topped the Browns by a 3-2 score, and everyone else tied for third place.

What did we learn in this first few days of the state’s reopening? That our members are their families seem to be doing OK in this time of COVID-19, keeping busy with gardening, lawn care, reading, etc., and a few still working.

The next official meeting via Zoom is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 4. Members will receive via email the link to the meeting site.

Until then, as we head into the long Memorial Day weekend, a happy holiday to all!


Socializing while still distancing

Screen Shot 2020-05-07 at 7.56.16 PM
A screen shot of Thursday’s virtual social hour.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s edict banning group meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic remains in effect through next Friday, May 15. Until then, we’re playing it safe but still getting together.

Thursday evening we met for a well-attended virtual cocktail hour via Zoom teleconference hosted by Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane, sharing talk of spring gardening, grocery shopping, family hikes, summer camp cleanups, pets, and, of course, the pandemic.

Next up, a 6 p.m. business meeting via Zoom next Thursday, May 14. One of the items on the agenda will be voting for a slate of candidates for the SRC Board for the 2020-21 Rotary Year. Please mark your calendars and plan to join your fellow Rotarians then.



You’re invited to an SRC virtual social event

Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 11.58.18 AM

Our first clubwide videoconference meeting went very well last Thursday, so this week we’re going to try a virtual cocktail (or coffee, tea, etc.) hour.

Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane are serving as our online hosts for the social event, scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 7. We can catch up some more, share our stay-at-home anecdotes, and generally get reconnected with each other. (We’ll have another formal virtual business meeting the following week.)

The Zoom meeting ID number and password are being sent out to all club members for access to the social hour. If you don’t receive an email containing them, please contact Roberto.

See you (literally) on Thursday.


Time’s almost up for dinner raffle ticket sales

The drawing for the winner of the latest Cafe Capriccio wine pairing dinner as a club fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday’s dinner meeting at Quigley’s. No need to be present to win.

But, you still have time to buy or sell tickets at just $20 each for a special private-room dinner for 12 people, valued at $1,300, designed and prepared by chef-owner Jim Rua.

If you haven’t picked up tickets from Andy Leyhane or Murray Forth to buy or sell, please call them to do so ASAP. If you already have sold tickets, please get the money to Murray as soon as you can.

(And, speaking of Andy, he’ll be emceeing a session of  musical trivia after dinner on Thursday. Think of it as a one-category warmup for the 6th annual “Great North American Whizbang Trivia Contest” Bill Dowd will be presenting on May 7.)

Here’s the flyer we have been circulating about the dinner raffle. Enjoy!

2020 Dinner Raffle


And a good time was had by all

60th logoSixty years officially in the books, thanks to an SRC gala dinner party Thursday night at the Comfort Inn.

In addition to a performance by magician Doug Eash — who performed some close-up sleight of hand magic for the kids in attendance before his main show — the crowd of SRC members, spouses, friends, and guests enjoyed a buffet dinner and awards presentations.

President Phil Kellerman presented awards to a number of SRC members for various activities. Those present to accept were Bill Dowd (also the event coordinator), Murray Forth, Andy Leyhane (two awards), Shannon Romanowski, Debbie Rodriguez, Jim Leyhane (two awards), and Kevin Leyhane. Not in attendance, but receiving awards, were “Rotarian of the Year” Pat Bailey, Becky Raymond, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Roberto Martinez, and Terry Brewer (two awards).

In addition, we heard remarks from two District Governors — our own 7190 DG Larry Jones, and visiting 7120 DG Dave Hannan from the Rochester area.

Here are some scenes from the evening:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


24 hours till 60th Anniversary Dinner

60th logoThe food and drinks have been ordered, the entertainment acquired, and we’re all set to mark 60 years of community service.

From our club’s founding as the East Greenbush Rotary Club to its current expanded existence as the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club, we have worked together to bring comfort, aid, and enlightenment to all ages through our support of education, health care, youth activities, family assistance, environmental preservation, and much, much more.

So, we’ll see all of you who have made reservations for the dinner, which will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Comfort Inn & Suites, 99 Miller Road, just off I-90 Exit 10.