It’s RI’s 116th birthday, and you’re invited

A note from District 7190 Governor Rich Griesche:

Are you ready to party? I know I am. On Tuesday February 23, Rotary International will celebrate its 116th birthday. I am inviting you to celebrate it with your fellow Rotarians at a virtual social event at 7 p.m. that day via live streaming.

To participate, BYOB, wear your favorite party hat, have a cupcake (or whatever) with a candle in it, and be ready to have some fun.

No speakers, no format, no business. YOU set the tone. It will be an opportunity to socialize in the district. And, no masks required.

Many of you may know that a virtual auction to raise funds for the Rotary Foundation will take place from Monday, February 1, through Monday, February 22. The results will be announced on the 23rd. Any auction items that didn’t get auctioned (no bids) will be auctioned live during the birthday party! Please mark your calendars.

The zoom link will be sent out a few days before on a reminder e-mail.

Meeting Clipboard: 1/21/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

Always show pre-publish checks.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (18): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Kevin Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Andy Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Murray Forth, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, John Justino.

GUESTS (1): Charles Frink.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed members and our guest, Area 8 Assistant District Governor Charles Frink. … Bill Dowd displayed a pair of handwritten thank-you notes from the two families we sponsored in December’s “Adopt-a-Family for the Holidays” effort with Circles of Mercy. … Murray Forth mentioned that we also received thank-you notes from the four local food pantries we helped support over the holidays with financial contributions — (The Anchor, Doors of Hope, CoNSERNS-U, Food for Families) …

Murray also reminded members he still has Hoffman Car Wash tickets for sale as a club fundraiser. This is a good time of year to regularly wash road salt from your cars. … Bill noted that he posted the timeline and shopping list on our website today for the annual “Easter Basket for Cate’s Kids” project in conjunction with Circles of Mercy. Shannon Romanowski is our coordinator this year. … It also was noted that members should regularly check the website calendar page for information and links to local and district activities. …

Terry Brewer led a discussion on the pros and cons of applying for 501(c)3 IRS status (the club currently is recognized as a 501(c)4 organization) and of creating a foundation as an adjunct to the club. Members had been sent copies of an analysis by Terry served as background for the discussion. Our guest, Charles Frink, currently is president of the Albany Rotary Foundation, which is more than 25 years old. He described its operation and its revenue streams primarily coming from fundraisers, member donations, and bequests. He advised having a “reasonable level” of money as the target for a foundation startup, clear investment guidelines, and a simple money in/money out operation.

Terry opined that $25,000 might be a good target level and asked that the topic be placed on the discussion agenda for the next SRC Board meeting, to be scheduled.

NEXT MEETING: 7 p.m. Thursday, January 28, via ZOOM. All meeting links now may be found in advance on the club website calendar page. We no longer will be sending out link announcements via email.

‘Easter Baskets for Kids’ is under way

Each year for the past seven years, the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has partnered with Circles of Mercy to provide “Easter Baskets for Kids” ages 1 through 12 in the City of Rensselaer.

This year, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re doing it yet again. Shannon Romanowski has stepped up to act as coordinator for the project, for which we thank her. In the past few years, the Greenbush YMCA she administers has been a strong ally in the effort.

We will be circulating via our club website and Facebook page as well as e-mail blasts a shopping list of items such as traditional Easter candies, oral hygiene items, reading books, small toys, etc. Shannon will be letting us know her deadlines, basket-creation procedures, etc., which we’ll share via the same methods. This is just to give you a bit of a headstart on shopping.

For those not fully familiar with it, Circles of Mercy is an outreach center for poor and low-income families which is sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy Northeast Community. SRC has partnered with the organization for years on a number of effort, including holiday family “adoptions,” back-to-school supplies, etc.


Speaker: Educating in a pandemic

Have you or anyone you know been home-schooling kids during the COVID-19 pandemic? No easy assignment, to be sure. But, imagine if you had to do the same for dozens and dozens of kids, sometimes in person, sometimes virtually.

That’s what teachers and support staff have been doing in our schools this academic year. Lara Vazquetelles, a Delmar resident who is a special ed teacher in the East Greenbush Central School District, will be visiting us at our 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, ZOOM meeting to take us “behind the scenes.”

Please be sure to circle the date on your calendar, and plan to join your fellow SRC Rotarians for what promises to be an enlightening event.

‘Director Dialogue’ virtual session registration open

The next “Director Dialogue” free webinar event, this one featuring Rotary International Past President Barry Rassin, is coming up.

Unfortunately, as so often is the case with District and RI events, it falls on our regular meeting time and day, 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14. (The next event is on a Wednesday, thank goodness.) This could be a particularly interesting session for members of the Danes Rotaract, given the topic title. If you’d like to attend, pre-registration is required. RI Director Valarie Wafer will be hosting the event. Just go to our website calendar page and click on the appropriate link.

As Valarie explains:

“We’ll be discussing the concept of ‘Elevate Rotaract,’ and what it means to Rotary’s future. Special guests from throughout the Rotary world will join me in future months to cover a wide range of topics of interest to all Rotarians, all provided at no charge as a benefit to you as a member of a club in Zones 28 & 32. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10.”

Meeting Clipboard: 1/7/21

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (15): Dick Drumm, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Pat Bailey, Charlie Foote, Phil Kellerman, Debbie Rodriguez, Kevin Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm called the meeting order, noted the presence of a quorum, and greeted attendees. … Webmaster Bill Dowd reported that his upgrades on the website are proceeding apace to make the site even more compatible with the growing number of users who access it via smartphones. He also once more encouraged members to check the site regularly, particularly the Calendar page, to stay abreast of events scheduled by the club, the District, and RI. … Treasurer Murray Forth updated members on funds received and where we now stand for each undertaking — $1,000 toward our Scholarship Fund, $550 toward food pantries (over and above what we already have donated in this Rotary Year), $100 toward ShelterBox (over and above what we already donated), $600 for Circles of Mercy projects, $4,075 toward the general treasury. He also said our paid membership is 32, counting one corporate group membership. …

We had a brief discussion on the matter of the club moving from the IRS-designated 501(c)4 status to 501(c)3, which would make donations to the club tax deductible. Terry Brewer will be making a presentation to the club on the matter within the next few weeks. … Jim Leyhane said about 80 bars of handcrafted soaps being sold as a fundraising effort remain from a supply of 200. He and Roberto Martinez would like to complete sales within the next month or so, preferably at the price of $20 for 3. Anyone interested should contact them to arrange delivery. Phil Kellerman said he had just sent a $100 check to the club from sales of specialty coffees to go toward the general treasury. …

Pat Bailey and Debbie Rodriguez reported that personalized cards had been mailed this week to all club members urging greater attendance at the weekly ZOOM meetings. … Bill Dowd will make an inquiry to Circles of Mercy to ascertain whether it would be sponsoring an Easter basket drive again this year. He will report back to the club next week. … Murray will contact Goff Middle School, which just received financial support from several club members for a “thank you” gift for teachers working under pandemic conditions, to supply a teacher to visit us via ZOOM to talk about teaching in the COVID-19 era. …

The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, January 14, via ZOOM. Bill will send out the invitation link over the weekend plus a day-of reminder.

A special Rotary panel discussion for you

“Do You See and Hear What I See and Hear?” may sound a bit like the title of a Christmas song, but on Monday, January 18, it will be anything but.

It’s the title of a 90-minute panel discussion on diversity, inclusion, and equity. All Rotarians who register in advance for this ZOOM virtual event will be able to hear six panelists who have been invited to share how their identity — their race, gender, religion, age, physical ability, etc. — has impacted their experiences in America and in Rotary.

The event will provide clubs with an opportunity to learn and grow by understanding how they may appear to a newcomer or to someone who may not look and sound like the majority of members. A Q&A session will follow the discussion.

Register today for the event at and join your fellow Rotarians on January 18.

Here’s your link for Thursday’s ‘seance’

Happy New Year! We’re all set for the first SRC virtual meeting of 2021. We hope to see you, literally, at the 7 p.m. meeting this Thursday via ZOOM teleconference that kicks off the second half of the 2020-21 Rotary Year.

Just use this link to join your fellow Rotarians as we resume a successful year of service to the community despite the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:

If you need additional info:

Meeting ID: 725 2784 2648

Passcode:   Vgs8uX

Look for SRC in 7190 Toolbox

Barb Wylie, editor of the District 7190 Toolbox newsletter, has informed us that the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club will be featured in the January 2021 edition.

Keep an eye out for an email alert letting you know when the newsletter is available.

Meanwhile, a happy 2021 to all as we move from this wretched year to one more filled with hope, health, and happiness.