‘Summer Casual’ resumes July 12; RSVP now

Boeuf a la Corse

Coming out of the Fourth of July break, we’ll enter our “Summer Casual” schedule in earnest when Doris and Dean Calamaras host a special Mediterranean-tinged dinner on Thursday, July 12.

The present heat wave will somewhat abate by then, but temperatures still are expected to be in the mid-80s. Because of that, and some major renovation work being done on their deck, Dean and Doris will host the event indoors — with air conditioning. (Thank you!)

It’s a sit-down dinner limited to 18 people. Our hosts will provide the customary social hour refreshments and some appetizers for guests arriving at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6 or 6:30.

Please RSVP by email to dcalamaras@verizon.net or by phone to 518-477-4694 no later than 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 10. Please specify names of all guests. Donation to the club is suggested at $15 per person.

The menu:

Boeuf a la Corse — Corsican beef tips in a delicate wine sauce, with macaroni (see photo above), accompanied by green beans a la Grecque, and corn on the cob.

Beginnings & Endings — Guests with last names beginning with A through M are invited to bring an appetizer serving 4-6 persons, and those with surnames beginning with N through Z a dessert serving 4-6.

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The remainder of our “Summer Casual Calendar” is as follows. Please email or call in your RSVPs as soon as possible to help the planning go smoothly. Note that we still need several someones to host or coordinate two remaining open August dates:

Thursday July 19 — “Cookout By the Pool I”

6 p.m. Leyhane residence, East Greenbush. Please make your reservations with Jim Leyhane at 518-428-1732 or leyhane@aol.com.

Wednesday, 25 — Pavilion picnic and New York-Penn League baseball game (Tri-City ValleyCats vs. Auburn Doubledays)

Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, Troy. Tickets $26. Please make your reservations with Terry Brewer at 518-221-4050 or tlbrewer12piseco@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 2 –– “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

8 p.m. curtain, Mac-Haydn Theatre, 1925 State Route 203, Chatham. Tickets $39.50. Please make your reservations with Debbie Brown at 518-441-8579 or

Thursday, August 9 — Open

Thursday, August 16 — Open

Thursday, August 23 — “Cookout By the Pool II”

6 p.m., Forth residence, East Greenbush. Please make your reservations with Murray or Maggie Forth at 518-441-8783 or mmforth51@gmail.com.



Why is Independence Day on July 4?

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In a letter written on July 3, 1776, to his wife, Abigail, founding father John Adams of Massachusetts predicted:

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

Well, he was only off by two days.

While the Second Continental Congress in assembly in Philadelphia actually voted on July 2, 1776, to sever ties with Great Britain, they adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4. From that time on, the Fourth became the day commemorated with all the hoopla Adams envisioned.

A few other facts about the momentous day:

• A formal call for independence actually had been issued on June 7, when Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion in the Congress to do so. Twelve of the 13 colonies represented there eventually voted in favor; New York abstained, then later cast a “yea” vote in favor.

• The Declaration of Independence was written by a congressional committee consisting of Robert R. Livingston of New York (who later would administer the presidential oath of office to George Washington), Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Acknowledged as the strongest writer in the group, Jefferson created the majority of the wording.

• In 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, VA, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

• The Fourth of July was not designated an official national holiday until 1870, which was 94 years after the fact.

• Held since 1785, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, RI, is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.

 • Since 1868, Seward, NE, has held a celebration on the same town square. In 1979, the little town of 6,000 residents was designated “America’s Official Fourth of July City-Small Town USA” by resolution of Congress.

Presidential Changeover: Passing the baton

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Outgoing President Roberto Martinez (left) poses with incoming President Andy Leyhane.
Party 3
That takes the cake!

The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club is primed to enter its 59th year of public service on Sunday, July 1, when Andy Leyhane takes the office of president for the 2018-19 Rotary Year.

The transition was begun at Thursday’s Presidential Changeover Dinner, hosted by Debbie and Peter Brown, with outgoing president Roberto Martinez passing the figurative baton after an extremely busy and productive year.

Rain cleared in time for event to be held outdoors, so some visitors toured the extensive gardens while others took advantage of the pool.  Rotarians and guests were welcomed by President Roberto, and he thanked the Browns for hosting. Dinner was catered by a local service — kabobs, pork, salad, breads, cheeses (a gift from Cabot), and beverages, plus a special themed Rotary cake (see above).

After dinner, Roberto commented on the fine year the club had, and thanked everyone for their efforts in helping make it so. He also recognized a number of Rotarians for their special efforts in the 2017-18 Rotary Year via support of our club’s activities, a commitment to involvement, and some giving to the Rotary Foundation.

He presented Paul Harris certificates and pins to Phil Kellerman (fundraising, the Oley Foundation,  volunteering), Debbie Rodriquez (immediate past president, volunteer, Rotaract  initiator and liaison), Dean Calamaras (hosting events, Foundation support), and Debbie Brown (hosting events, coordinating meals at Quigley’s). Because Ray Hannan (vice president, volunteer) donated his refunded Rotary International Conference fees to the Foundation, Roberto awarded the gap points to also make him a Paul Harris Fellow. In addition, Roberto awarded 200 Paul Harris Points for their work with the creation of the Rotaract club at UAlbany to Phil Nasca, Becky Raymond, and John Justino.

Two SRC members who already were Paul Harris Fellows were recognized as PH+1 Rotarians (additional PH level): Murray Forth (fundraising, hosting events, Foundation support, sponsor) and Bill Dowd (volunteering, web and social media support, Foundation support, sponsor).

Andy presented a gift of craft beers and a V Twin Motorcycle Engine model to Roberto with the thanks of the club for his efforts in this Rotary Year.

Roberto and Jim Leyhane gave a quick summary of the Rotary International Convention they attended this week in Toronto.

It was noted that  starting at the member level and branching out, it all adds up as we really do great things in the world.  Being surrounded by 18,000  other Rotarians from around the world, sharing ideas and stories was a truly great experience.  When they traveled with the same shirts (see photo below), people would ask if they were brothers. Then they would see the name tags saying they both are physicians and Jim couldn’t help but say, “We are a pair of docs: i.e., paradox.” At the Host Hospitality, our SRC freezer bags of New York State craft beers, whiskies, and Death Wish Coffee were auctioned off at $100 apiece.

Some other scenes from the Presidential Changeover event

Party 1
Mary Drumm and Debbie Brown socialize with Marco Koshykar, Dick Drumm, and Charlie Foote.
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Hydroponically growing our future Rotarians.
Party 2
Autumn Brown of Rensselaer High School, an SRC scholarship winner, with grandparents Butch and Donna. Autumn plans on studying engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology.
Party 10
A water view of one sort from the Browns’ gardens …
Party 11
… and a water view of a different sort.
Party 7
Mmm, good eats!
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The more colors, the better the food.
Party 6
Can you find 5 differences between the twins?
Party 5
Ray and Lois Hannan, with Ray’s brother Ken.
A gift from the folks at Cabot for our dinner buffet.


Columbia HS unveils student mural

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A group of Columbia High School students created and unveiled this mural encouraging positive traits and thoughts to nurture in the school experience.

The Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club supplied a $150 grant to the school to purchase paint for the project.

The photo of the mural was sent to us by CHS senior Jess Winter, along with a note saying, “The mural is finally complete! Thank you for your donation. This wasn’t possible without your help! I will definitely be looking into the Rotaract club at UAlbany in the fall.”

Staying involved with the educational community is a good way to grow future Rotarians.


Update: SRC teaming with YMCA for school supplies drive

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Yes, local schools have just closed for the summer, but we still have some homework to do.

Today is Day 1 of our “5th annual School Supplies Drive,” a club-wide effort in support of Circles of Mercy’s push to help supply needy kids in the Rensselaer City School District in time for their return to school in September. But, there’s a twist: We’re combining our effort with a similar one by the Greenbush YMCA, which means we also will be helping to provide supplies for students in need in the East Greenbush and Schodack school districts.

For those unfamiliar with our drive, we undertook this project in keeping with Rotary’s pledge to foster literacy, encourage education, and improve communities. Each year we encourage Rotarians to get their kids or grandkids involved in shopping for the supplies as part of a “Kids Helping Kids” experience.

Here’s how Richard Zazycki, executive director of Circles of Mercy, describes the needs of the Rensselaer kids we have been supporting:

“Of the approximately 1,100 Rensselaer students who attended school this year, 46% qualify for either free or reduced price lunch program. We continue to be surprised to learn that so many children — 1 out of 3, or 33% — live near or below the federal poverty level, which is much higher than the national average of 23%. Due to the high cost of preparing a child for school, Circles has a program available through which low-income parents may come in and get free school supplies for their students. This project is known as ‘Cate’s Kids Back to School Program,’ and we need your assistance again to help us help others.”

Put another way, the number of Rensselaer kids on assistance is about five times the average figure in other districts in the SRC service area. However, there are students in need in other districts in that area as well, thus the expansion of our effort this year.

Here are the details of SRC’s effort:

— Items may be donated until Sunday, August 19. Project coordinator Bill Dowd will deliver them to Circles of Mercy on the August 20 deadline. That will give the folks at Circles a week to divide and pack donations into backpacks for parents to pick up just before school starts.

— We ask each member of our club to purchase one or more items on the following shopping list, and bring them to any of our club get-togethers so Bill can begin collating the collection. Those events begin this week — Thursday, June 28 — with the Presidential Changeover picnic at the Browns’ residence. Or, if it is more convenient, you can drop off donated items at the Greenbush YMCA, where SRC member Shannon Romanowski is executive director.

— If for some reason you do not plan to participate in any club activities through August 19, you still will be able to contribute. Simply contact Bill to arrange pickup of your items or, as noted above, you can drop off donated items at the Greenbush YMCA.

— Please stick to the following shopping list. It contains the most-needed items for grades K-12.

  • Pencils (Regular Lead #2 and Color)
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Erasers (for pencil work)
  • Pens (black or blue)
  • Markers (dry erase and color)
  • Pocket Folders (Assorted Colors)
  • 3-Ring Binders (in 2” and 3” Sizes)
  • Loose leaf paper (college ruled)
  • Graph paper
  • Spiral subject notebooks (1-, 3- and 5-subject, college ruled)
  • Subject dividers
  • Pencil cases / boxes (plastic, zippered)
  • 3”x5” index cards
  • Highlighters (yellow)
  • Rulers (regular with metric)
  • Kleenex tissues
  • Hand sanitizer (small bottles)
  • Post-It Notes
  • Backpacks (no rollers / no wheels)
  • Ear buds (inexpensive, for computer use)
  • Flash drives (all sizes)
  • Scientific calculators (Texas Instrument TI-84)
  • Hole reinforcement labels
  • Combination locks (for gym lockers)


If you’re on Twitter, check out SRC

SRC Rotary has lots of ways to communicate with each other — website, Facebook, email, etc. But, there are those among us who love to spend time each day on Twitter, so why not make a point of looking for us there as well?

The address is easy to remember:  @SRCrotaryNY. Here’s a quick look at the most recent things we posted there. Follow us and you’ll stay in the loop on all things Rotary.

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Meeting of 6/21/18: ‘Scholarship & Review’

screen-shot-2016-10-16-at-7-10-54-pmMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
June 21, 2018

Members Attending (12): Roberto Martinez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Charlie Foote, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Debbie Brown, Peter Brown, Phil Kellerman, Dick Drumm, Jim Leyhane, Ray Hannan.

Guests (1): Kassidy Berger.

Program: “A Scholarship Winner Pays a Visit”

Kassidy Berger is all smiles after Roberto Martinez presents a $1,000 scholarship check.

Kassidy Berger, literally on the eve of her graduation from Maple Hill High School, was the second of three students to be presented with $1,000 SRC Scholarships checks to help finance their further education.

This morning, Jessica Williams of Columbia High School, received her check when she spoke at our monthly breakfast meeting. (Click here for details.) A third student, Autumn Brown of Rensselaer High School, also will receive a check.

Kassidy, who a year ago was one of the students SRC sponsored in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program, will enroll at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut in the next academic year.

She told us about her extremely busy senior year, which included being on her school’s student council, being the first non-voting student member of the district school board, interning in the region’s New Visions program that allows students to divide their time between school and real-word experience in various fields — in a law office, in her case. She did this and other public service and internship work while staying heavily involved in student life. And, she was named a top leader by Zonta International, which works to empower women of all ages.

While Kassidy will be majoring in some form of communications at Quinnipiac, she said she expects to change majors several times because she has so many varying interests. She said she sees herself working in some form of political or public communications.


OPENING: President Roberto welcomed members and student guest Kassidy Berger. He showed the website coverage of this morning’s Third Thursday breakfast meeting, the last such session until September. Click here for details.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 8.53.57 PMPRESIDENTIAL CHANGEOVER: Debbie and Peter Brown will host our annual changeover dinner at 6 p.m. next Thursday (June 28). Attendance is strongly urged as Roberto will be turning over the gavel to Andy Leyhane. A catered dinner, at our standard $18 dinner price, will be served.RSVP deadline is this Sunday, with emails going to Debbie at mdbrown@nycap.rr.com.

CLYNK UPDATE: Bill Dowd asked anyone in need of more of the proper bags and bar code stickers over the summer for our Clynk beverage container refund initiative to contact him and he will see to it that they get the materials needed to participate.

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 8.51.42 PMCALENDAR ITEMS: District Officer Changeover brunch, 9:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, July 8, at Dunham’s Bay Resort in Lake George. Registration is available online by clicking here. … “Pool Party & Cookout I,” a family-friendly “Summer Casual” event at Jim Leyhane’s residence (co-sponsored by Andy and Kevin Leyhane and Roberto) is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 19. Contact Jim if you plan to attend. … Our annual field trip to Bruno Stadium for a pavilion picnic and ValleyCats baseball game is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25. Contact Terry Brewer is interested. … The musical version of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, August 2, at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham. Contact Debbie Brown if interested. … “Pool Party & Cookout II,” another family-friendly event, will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 23, at the Forth residence. Contact Murray or Maggie if interested.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Roberto led us through the discussion topics addresses and the conclusions reached at the recent Board retreat, And, he reviewed a list of highlights of the many, many initiatives and activities SRC was involved in during the current Rotary Year. He noted that we must continue to reach out to the numerous club member who rarely or never get involved if we wish to continue the torrid pace of work we have set. Too few people are doing the bulk of the club’s work, and at least our next two presidents will have full-time jobs that do not allow them to do as much as some presidents who are retired have been able to devote.