Meeting Clipboard: 10/1/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (9, no quorum): Dick Drumm, Bill Dowd, Debbie Rodriguez, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Phil Kellerman, Charlie Foote, Kevin Leyhane, Pat Bailey.

GUESTS (1): Tony Morris.

MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed the attendees and guest. He asked if anyone in the club had participated in the initial virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) session last Saturday. No one had. … Debbie Rodriguez reported that the Danes Rotaract is hoping to host a viewing of the World Polio Day streaming event on Saturday, October 24. She will provide details as they become available. …

A brief discussion was had among members who participated in the ZOOM workshop on virtual fundraising hosted by District 7190 earlier this evening. (Bill Dowd, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Roberto Martinez, Jim Leyhane, Charlie Foote, and Murray Forth attended the workshop on behalf of SRC). It appears SRC may not be eligible to participate in the program because the club’s IRS status has not yet been resolved by the IRS. Phil Kellerman, who headed the team submitting our application for reinstatement of tax-exempt status, said he would contact the IRS to ascertain the progress, if any, of that request submitted several months ago. …

Jim and Roberto have kicked off a sale of custom-made soaps ($7 per bar, three for $20) as a club fundraiser. The soaps, which comes in seven different scents, are made by a nurse at Crouse Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse. Since she sells them to us for $3 a bar, the profit margin could be very healthy for the club. Jim and Roberto, who underwrote the initial purchase, will provide marketing materials and details in the near future, although several members immediately put in orders. … Guest Tony Morris, who owns a CBD retail business in Columbia Plaza, introduced himself as someone interested in Rotary. He had attended a dinner meeting in March just before the pandemic shutdown, and reconnected with us recently. …

Kevin Leyhane offered a brief report on the hybrid teaching now going on in the East Greenbush schools. He said as of today three high school students and one elementary student have tested positive for COVID-19. …

This was our first ZOOM meeting using the club’s new, free organizational account. It is limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants. Our virtual meetings have been running just shy of 40 minutes, so we will continue to see if that level of membership meets our needs or whether we need to move up to the $20-a-month level that greatly expands the time. … Our next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, October 8.

You’re invited to a ZOOM doubleheader

Several weeks ago, 7190 Governor Richard Griesche announced at one of our meetings the development of Eventgroove, a virtual fundraising program the District was putting together.

Details now are ready to be shared for the virtual, free program.

The District’s Eventgroove training team will hold a ZOOM meeting for all interested parties at 6 p.m. this coming Thursday. That works well for SRC, since our club ZOOM meeting that same evening is scheduled for 7 p.m.

• To access the Eventgroove meeting, use this online link:
Meeting ID: 839 9913 0368
Passcode: 619343

• To access the SRC club meeting, use this online link:
Meeting ID: 710 9475 3379
Passcode: 4CMfUg

You can get an advance idea of what Eventgroove covers by clicking here.

Meeting Clipboard: 9/24/20

Meeting held virtually via ZOOM videoconferencing.

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


MEETING NOTES: President Dick Drumm welcomed the usual suspects. He reminded members that the virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) session is this Saturday, and today is the deadline to register online. Bill Dowd told attendees he had posted on the website information just received from the District clarifying the RLI process which we now are told will be spread out over the year rather than being contained in one session. Full new details are available by clicking here. …

Dean and Doris Calamaras reported that Monday’s annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament at Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland drew a sellout crowd of 120 golfers and netted about $15,000 for GOL. Our club had two foursomes, one sponsored by Dean and Doris and one by Jim Leyhane, as well as individual item sponsors. …

Debbie Rodriguez said a member of the Niskayuna club would like to visit us via ZOOM to present information on a global grant that club is seeking for a women’s hygiene and education effort in several African nations. It is known as The Mooncatcher Project. She will arrange for the visit sometime in the next month. … World Polio Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 24. We are looking into whether there are events marking the day that we can participate in or view as we do most years. …

Treasurer Murray Forth reported that we have received about $3,000 in member donations so far as part of our new fundraising process to help underwrite our community and global projects. Bill Dowd will craft a followup letter to send out to all members within the next week, reiterating the details of the new process. … Murray also reported that he has retrieved the donation jug as well as a collection of CLYNK bags and barcode stickers from Quigley’s. …

Jim Leyhane said the East Greenbush Police Department is raising funds to purchase and train a K-9 police dog. He said such an effort usually costs in the $20,000 range and about half that amount has been raised. While SRC has not yet been approached about contributing, he asked that we give some consideration to a $1,000 donation. Dick said the topic will be discussed at the next Board of Directors meeting. … Our next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. next Thursday, October 1, again via ZOOM.

We’re meeting at 7 tonight via ZOOM

A reminder that we are meeting virtually via ZOOM at 7 p.m. this evening. 

Please be sure to join  us, especially those of you who for various meetings have not been involved in Rotary activities since before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. (You know who you are!) Just go to to participate. It’s as simple as that. If for some reason you haven’t downloaded the ZOOM software we have been using since early summer that enables everyone to join in, it will walk you through it.

A solid core of members has kept Rotary alive and vibrant locally during this critical period, despite the pandemic restrictions. We have been collecting and delivering supplies to needy students in the Rensselaer City School District, contributing to various food pantries, awarding scholarships to graduating students at Columbia, Maple Hill, and Rensselaer high schools, and raising funds for the general club treasury since March.

We still have a lot of plans to make, projects to discuss, and fellowship to share even while socially distancing. 

The meeting price is right: no charge (because there is no dinner). The timing is right: about a half-hour or so per meeting. So, what do you have to lose? And, consider what your community has to gain by your involvement.

See you, virtually, this evening!

RLI update 2: Forget what you’ve heard before

We’ve been posting information here on the virtual version of this Saturday’s Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) as it has been supplied to us. Turns out some of it inadvertently has been misleading.

Here is the latest message from District Governor Rick Griesche:

“Needed to get this clarification out to you all today.  Please read the message from Sue Austin.  I apologize for the confusion.” And, here is that update/clarification/modification:

“The ZOOM RLI on September 26 is a TEST of the new delivery method we will be using through the 2020-21 Rotary Year.

We wanted a few folks from our District to attend if they could just to give us a good cross section of Districts.  RLI is planning on offering one or two ZOOM sessions per month throughout the year.

“Our original date for 7190 was November 7, but with this new method our members can attend ANY of the planned RLI sessions.  During this new method of virtual training there are a lot of changes: (1). All virtual; (2.). Lower cost as you will be at home and we will have breaks for you to get snacks or lunch; (3.) We are starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 2 p.m. which will be less time than previous in-person RLI classes.  Also, no drive time or cancellations for inclement weather; (4). We have the opportunity to draw facilitators from all over the Rotary world.  

“We have all first class facilitators this week for the test class. But, the biggest change is that you can attend ANY of the classes (schedules will be posted very soon for dates of other classes). You don’t have to only visit our own District’s RLI.  Keep watching for more news on upcoming RLI ZOOM classes.”

RLI Update: Payment process changed

We recently provided you with details of the virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) scheduled for next Saturday, September 26. (Click here for details if you somehow missed the website posting … and the Facebook posting … and the email sent to you on the topic.)

As always, the club will pay the registration fee for any SRC members who wish to participate. However, the process has been changed. In the past, the club directly paid RLI for your fees. This year RLI is not accepting club checks. You must pay when you register online. The club then will reimburse you.

The deadline for signing up is this coming Thursday, September 24. And, the price has been greatly reduced — to just $25 — because the session is being done via ZOOM, so there is no food service, facility charge, or printed materials charge. So, good training at bargain basement prices. And, the time commitment is not huge — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with breaks during the day.

When you register, you’ll be asked which level you want. Part I is for first-time attendees, and Parts II and III are for those who have attended the previous part(s) in the past. The Graduate course is for those who have completed all three parts and may be attended as often as desired since the graduate topics are new each year. This year’s Graduate topics are “Diversity in Rotary” during the morning session and “Public Speaking” during the afternoon.

We hope to continue SRC’s tradition of strong participation in RLI.

Meeting Clipboard: 9/17/20

Meeting via ZOOM teleconference.

MEMBERS ATTENDING (17): Dick Drumm, Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Bill Dowd, Terry Brewer, Murray Forth, Maggie Forth, Debbie Rodriguez, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Ray Hannan, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Pat Bailey, Andy Leyhane, Phil Kellerman.


MEETING NOTES: President Dick welcomed members to our first 7 p.m. meeting. He said current plans are to continue holding weekly 7 p.m. ZOOM meetings, with an eye toward holding in-person meetings at least monthly when we finalize a new meeting space. Dick provided an update on the potential of using the 1,500-square-foot basement space of his vet clinic as our meeting room. A new floor has been installed, baseboard heating is in place, and he thinks there is sufficient space. He asked our two doctors — Jim and Roberto — to check it out, and they did so this week. Jim said it is a good possibility to host occasional in-person meetings there once we are satisfied the air handling and seating configuration are sufficient. …

Treasurer Murray Forth reported that he has received approximately $2,000 so far from members making donations under our new fundraising process as explained at a meeting, posted on the website, and emailed to all members. (Click here to see the details again.) A general discussion was held on fundraising. Terry Brewer and Roberto both provided refresher explanations on giving and budgeting, and Terry and Debbie Rodriguez mentioned that money had been made via several summer events, so we are seeing a fair amount of money coming into the treasury. Dick asked Bill Dowd to update and re-distribute the explanation of the new process to the members. … Murray also reported that we have three people who still have not paid their 2020-21 dues that were due back on July 1 but for whom the club has paid their District and RI dues. Under the recently-passed Bylaws change, we can remove them from the membership roles. The consensus was to try contacting each of them yet again before taking that action. …

Bill reported that we have collected in the range of $800 so far through the CLYNK recycling program. When we hit the $1,000 mark, the cost of one ShelterBox package, he will have a check drawn for purchase of a ShelterBox and deliver it to the local liaison. He urged people to keep drinking. … The annual Gift of Life Golf Tournament remains on schedule for next Monday, September 21, at the Pinehaven Country Club in Guilderland. SRC has three teams entered. Dean Calamaras said volunteers still are needed for the event. Anyone interested is asked to contact Rich Suker, who is coordinating the event, at as soon as possible. …

Debbie Rodriguez reported that the Danes Rotaract at UAlbany held a telephone conference call on Monday as part of its annual reorganization. It is trying to figure out fundraising efforts to be held within pandemic guidelines issued by the university. She also said that nationally, the age limit has been discarded by Rotaract. Consequently, several members who had “aged out” have rejoined. … Members were reminded to sign up for the September 26 virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) day-long event. As always, the club will pay the fee. Details and registration link are available online.

Sign up now for virtual RLI session

By now we are not surprised when regular events of any sort are reimagened to endure the COVID-19 pandemic requirements.

The latest is the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI), a program in which the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club has been heavily involved on an annual basis.

As is the case for so many activities, RLI this year has been converted to a virtual event. On Saturday, September 26, a pilot RLI virtual event will be hosted by the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill club of Central New York. This provides Rotarians of all clubs an opportunity to experience the first such RLI activity. It will run from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m., with breaks throughout the session.

The price for the event has been substantially reduced to just $25 per person. As always, SRC will cover the fee for any member who participates. To be involved you must register online in advance of the session.