ShelterBox pledges being sought

Screen shot 2015-03-28 at 2.12.07 PMThe Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club budgeted $1,000 in this Rotary Year to fund a pair of scholarships for the Rotary Scholarship Composition competition. However, we have received zero entries.

So, the $1,000 will be rolled into the line-item budget commitment to ShelterBox. That increases the amount to $3,000.

In addition, Bill and April Dowd have personally pledged $1,000 toward ShelterBox, meaning the club now has funds to purchase four (4) of them @ $1,000 each.

Anyone else who wishes to contribute toward that project should contact Bill no later than the April 2 meeting because we want to get the club check sent to the District 7190 ShelterBox coordinators right away.

SRC has long been a strong supporter of the ShelterBox humanitarian aid program and recently received recognition from the program during the annual Rotary Day at the United Nations.

For newer members who may not be steeped in knowledge about ShelterBox, information is available by clicking here.

Meeting of 3/26/15: ‘Doctors Without Borders’

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
March 12, 2015

 Attending (14): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Debbie Rodriguez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martrinez, Carole Spencer, Rommel Tolentino.

 Guests (2): Dr. John Matthews, Ebot Tabe.

PROGRAM: Doctors Without Borders

Dr. John Matthews

Dr. John Matthews

Charlie Foote introduced Dr. John Matthews, a Columbia County anesthesiologist who has been on four assignments for Doctors Without Borders — globally known by its French name, Médecines Sans Borders (MSF).

Dr. Matthews explained that there are more than 30,000 volunteers working with MSF, about 6,000 of them doctors, the rest psychologists, specialists in water purification, pharmacists and people with many other skills.

He showed a short film about the program and its beginnings. It described the variety of people and places they are trying to help in the face of civil war, natural disasters, medical epidemics, human trafficking, and wholesale human displacements. MSF has pushed pharmaceutical companies to provide needed medicines. It also is strictly non-partisan, and will treat people on both sides of armed conflicts. It also does not accept financial aid from any national government with the single exception of Ireland, and accepts organization financing only if grants are unrestricted.

MSF divides the globe into five areas for staging operations. Dr. Matthews himself has served in the Middle East, Nigeria, the Gaza Strip, eastern Congo and South Sudan. He said MSF covers all expenses for travel, lodging and food for its volunteers. He will embark on a fifth assignment in the fall, but does not know at this point where he will be sent. He said he plans to retire in about four years and increase his MSF work.


“WE THE PEOPLE” – The club received a thank-you note from Keefe Watson, the Columbia High School student who is part of the “We the People” team for New York State. The club donated $1,000 — offset by $250 from Bill Dowd, $150 from April Dowd and $100 from Terry Brewer — to help underwrite expenses for the team to go to the national Constitution competition in Washington, DC. Keefe will speak to us at our May 14 meeting. We also will invite team members from Averill Park and Troy high schools to attend.

UPCOMING EVENTS – President Bill Dowd reminded members that our last formal meeting of the 2014-15 Rotary Year will be on June 25, when we hold the presidential changeover. He asked members to come up with suggestions for summer outings and for those who wished to host an informal summer picnic meeting to contact him as soon as possible to we can give President-elect Terry a leg up on summer planning.

MEETING/PROGRAM COORDINATOR NEEDED — Bill noted that for several years he has handled the coordination and scheduling of all meals, meetings and after-dinner speakers, but will step away from those roles after his presidency ends on June 30. He asked for people to step up to become more involved in our club and share the workload that makes us successful.

HOSPITAL STAY BROCHURE – Peter Brown announced that the brochure aimed at making hospital stays better for patients and families will be shared with two local senior center participants next week. After that, it will be shared with local hospitals in an attempt to get them to do a pilot trial of the product. The brochure has been endorseD by our club and it will copyright the brochure to protect it from being pirated. Anyone who would like a copy should let Peter know.

ADVERTISER REQUEST – Roberto mentioned that several businesses that purchased ads in the program for our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner requested copies of the program. Bill said if he can ascertain which advertisers had not yet received copies he would mail them copies.

NEXT MEETING: Roberto has scheduled a talk by Paul Lannon of Hippo’s on “Current Technology In Home Entertainment.”

Professional chef’s ‘Rotary Home Cooking’ menu

Screen shot 2015-03-27 at 12.40.58 PMAndrew Plummer, who made his name in the kitchens of such spots as the Allegro Cafe in Troy, Creo in Guilderland and McGuire’s in Albany, and now runs a private dining service, will be serving this menu at the Saturday, April 11, “The Chef Is In The House” dinner.

The “Rotary Home Cooking” series event, to be held at Roberto Martinez’s residence, also is being co-hosted by Jim Leyhane, Bill Dowd, A.J. Amato and Carole Spencer.

Deviled quail eggs
Oysters Rockefeller
Chicken Liver Paté
Roasted Red Peppers and Provolone Cheese

Greens and Beans

Grilled Octopus and Abalone Salad
Nashi Pear and Roquefert salad
Polpetti in Porcini Cream
Grilled Spring Asparagus
Maryland Crab Cake
Sliced Cured Meats

Wild Mushroom, Caramelized Onions and Parmigiana Over Mezzi Rigatoni

Grilled Grass-Fed Angus Strip
Toasted Garlic and Parsley Demi Butter

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with Fresh Berries

Meeting of 3/19/15: ‘Aging & Fitness’

Attending (12): Terry Brewer, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Dean Calamaras, Charlie Foote, Roberto Martinez, Len Leonidas, Shannon Romanowski.

Guests (1): Allison Reinhardt.

PROGRAM: “Aging & Fitness”

Speaker Allison Reinhardt

Speaker Allison Reinhardt

Shannon Romanowski introduced Allison Reinhardt, wellness director at the Greenbush Area YMCA.

Allison explained that anyone over age 50 is at risk for developing diabetes, meaning 25 million Americans are at risk today.

To respond to that, the Y has developed a program for the prevention and dissemination of information on diabetes.

Allison noted that diabetes increases the risk of strokes, prompts an increase in insurance costs and complicates other health problems.

Reducing one’s weight by 7% and performing moderate exercise five days a week can reduce risk of diabetes by as much as 58% reduction. The Y offers social support and many activities for 16 weekly sessions followed by eight monthly sessions to support risk reduction.

Next Friday, March 27, is Diabetes Alert Day, and Allison encouraged us to talk it up. She noted that the offers other fitness programs, and encouraged us to learn about them. She said she could be contacted by e-mail at for information and suggestions. The Y, she said, has a policy of not turning away anyone for lack of ability to pay. She also responded to questions about membership, other Y offerings, cycling, and involvement with youth in the schools.


FUTURE EFFORTS: President-elect Terry Brewer presided in the absence of  President Bill Dowd who is ill. In preparation for his presidency, which will begin July 1, Terry spoke about our club’s direction and a need to assess our situation — alternative ways to attract members, reaching out to younger people, meeting times, what we offer to potential members, and refocusing on aiding Southern Rensselaer County. He said one possible avenue to increasing support of local events is greater involvement with the Boy Scouts. He is looking at having committee chairs beginning before July with the goal of more ownership in our club. He stressed that we all need to be involved and that he would like to hear ideas for the future, how we can benefit each of us as members as well as the club as a whole.

PROGRAM PLANNING: The club expressed thanks to members who have been active setting up speakers for the remainder of the coming months. If you are lining up a speaker be sure to contact Bill with that information as soon as possible.

DISTRICT CONFERENCE: A reminder that the District 7190 Annual Conference is scheduled for Friday-Sunday, May 15 -17, at various venues in Schoharie County. You do not have to attend all the activities. More information is on the District website —

SUMMER ACTIVITY: Dean Calamaras spoke for Doris, who was absent, and provided flyers for the Mac-Haydn Theatre summer shows — “Hairspray,” “West Side Story” or “The Producers.” Next, we need to pick a show to attend as one of our annual summer events in July or August. Doris will coordinate.

BLUE STAR MOTHERS: Debbie Rodriguez shared that the Blue Star Mothers, who recently presented a program to the club, will hold their annual “Blue Jeans Ball” on April 18 at the Joseph E. Zaloga American Legion Post 1520, 4 Everett Road, Albany. Admission is $25 each. Terry encouraged us to support this event and suggested that the club might support a table of eight.

HOSPITAL BROCHURE PROJECT: Roberto Martinez announced that the “Guide to a Better Hospital Stay” brochure the club has endorsed will be available for further discussion next week and for distribution to sponsors. It was requested that this be on next week’s agenda.

 NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 26, 2015, at Quigley’s. The program will be Dr. John Matthews of Doctors Without Borders.

Medically-related program arc continues this week

Screen shot 2015-03-15 at 3.23.39 PMOur after-dinner speaker this Thursday will be Allison Reinhardt of the YMCA, speaking on “Aging & Physical Fitness.”

This certainly is an important and interesting topic, and perhaps something you’d like a colleague, friend or family member to hear.

It is part of a four-meeting arc of medically-related programs that began with a presentation by Carol Heaney of Community Hospice, followed last week with Dr. Rommel Tolentino’s “Famous Names In Medicine.” Next week will be  Dr. John Matthews of the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders.

The dinner menu this week will feature Chicken Marsala, rice, vegetables, bread, dessert and beverages. As always, we need your final RSVP no later than Tuesday. A reminder to all: If you make a reservation, you must pay for it even if you’re a no-show. This has been our policy for several years for a simple reason: We have to pay the restaurant for the reservation even if it is not honored.

Here’s where we stand so far:

  1. Pat Bailey
  2. Terry Brewer
  3. Debbie Brown
  4. Peter Brown
  5. Jim Butterworth
  6. April Dowd
  7. Bill Dowd
  8. Dick Drumm
  9. Murray Forth
  10. Jim Leyhane
  11. Ray Hannan
  12. Dennie Rodriguez
  13. Shannon Romanowski
  14. Allison Reinhardt (guest speaker)
  1. Ron Annis
  2. A.J. Amato
  3. Geoff Brewer
  4. Len Leonidas
  5. Carole Spencer
  1. Dean Calamaras
  2. Doris Calamaras
  3. Charlie Foote
  4. Rob Mangold
  5. Jim Mendrysa
  6. Roberto Martinez
  7. Carol Orvis
  8. Rommel Tolentino 
Thank you. We hope to see a strong turnout this week.
– Bill Dowd

Minutes of 3/12/15: ‘Famous Names In Medicine’

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
March 12, 2015

Attending (13): Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Rommel Tolentino, Jim Leyhane, A.J. Amato, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Ray Hannan, Carole Spencer, Stewart Wagner, Charlie Foote. (3 no-shows among the reservations)

Guests (1): Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine.

PROGRAM: “Famous Names In Medicine”

Dr. Rommel Tolentino presented another of his informative medical history programs, this one titled “Famous Names In Medicine.”

Rommel spoke about the instances of men being “honored” by having diseases and other medical conditions named after them. He highlighted three of them associated with commonly-known maladies.

• Lou Gehrig’s disease (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,   or ALS):

Rommel explained the facts, such as a survival rate of only three to four years after diagnosis. It is more common in men and the average age of diagnosis is 55- to 65. One famous long-term survivor is the scientist Stephen Hawking, who now is 74. ALS received its now-common name when New York Yankees baseball star Lou Gehrig, a much-admired athlete, was diagnosed in 1939 and the disease became more commonly known.

• Parkinson’s disease, which affects nerve cells in the brain that produce dopamine.

Symptoms include muscle rigidity, tremors, and changes in speech and gait. After diagnosis, treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure.disease. The average onset is about age 60. There is no known cure, but it is treatable to help ease some symptoms. In 1817, the English physician James Parkinson published an essay on six cases of what he called the “shaking disease.” His name came to be most associated with the condition.

• Alzheimer’s disease.

Seventy percent of the risk is genetic, and usually appears at about age 65 or older when abnormal “tangles” are found in the brain. The German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer studied the first person so-diagnosed with this brain degenerative condition.


ADG VISIT – Murray Forth, presiding in place of President Bill Dowd, welcomed Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine. Bob commended us for our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner, which he attended. He reminded us that the next Presidents-Elect Training Session (PETS) is scheduled for March 13 -14 in Syracuse as a multi-district event. He also said the District Grant Seminar will be held on April 11 in the Curtis Lumber Co. executive conference room in Ballston Spa. He reminded us that two members of the club must attend if the club wishes to be eligible for grants in the 2015-16 Rotary Year. And, he reminded us that the annual District 7190 Conference will be held May 15-17 at various venues in Schoharie County.

FINANCIAL REPORT – Treasurer Murray reported that the Charter Anniversary Dinner netted the club approximately $950. And, he reported that the final winter simulator golf tournament netted $ 1,080, with $110 from the 50/50 raffle going to Ronald McDonald House. He thanked all who helped with both the dinner and the golf tournament.

COMMUNITY SERVICE GRANTS — The club has made $4,000 available in recent education-related grants.

(1.) Rensselaer City Schools Superintendent Sally Shields called Bill Dowd to report receipt of the club’s $3,000 grant check that will underwrite the after-school “I-Ready” tutoring program for third graders. She said a formal thank-you will be forthcoming.

(2.) The board approved a $1,000 grant to the “We the People” program. The cost to the club is only $500, since three members have made individual pledges totaling $500. Of course, anyone else is welcome to contribute. The only “string” attached to the grant is that the Columbia High School student on the team must make a presentation to the club on May 14 as part of our after-dinner program schedule.

(Explanation of the “We the People” effort: A team of 10 high school students from throughout the Capital Region, including one each from Columbia, Averill Park and Troy, recently became the first Upstate team in 28 years to win the New York State championship in the competition officially titled “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution,” which spotlights students’ knowledge of the Constitution of the United States. That qualified the team for the national event in Washington, DC. They have set an overall fundraising goal of $15,000 to pay for travel, lodging and other expenses, which is necessary because Congress dropped funding of the event several years ago. The competition is run by the Center for Civic Education.)

AWARD – At the Charter Dinner, District Governor Dave Hennel presented the club with a certificate honoring its 55 years of service. A copy of it can be seen on the club website.

BOARD MEETING – We will hold a board meeting immediately following the March 19 meeting. If you have any items you would like to call to the board’s attention, please do so before that date.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE –  We’re lagging badly on scheduling after-dinner programs. Please line up your assigned dates ASAP and get the information to Bill. If you have forgotten your date, simply check the club website under EVENTS. If for some reason you will be unable to fulfill that commitment to the club, please let Bill know that ASAP so he can attempt to fill the date.

NEXT MEETING – 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 19, at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Dr. John Mathews of the humanitarian organizationDoctors Without Borders.

2017-18 DG nominee announced

Fred Daniels

Fred Daniels

District Governor Dave Hennel has announced the nomination of a Schenectady Rotarian for the 2017-18 governorship.

Fred Daniels, a longtime Rotarian and currently an Assistant District Governor, was selected by a vote of an interviewing panel representing eight of the District’s nine areas Monday night.

“Per protocol, this announcement serves notice to our clubs and allows a challenge period of 14 days for clubs to formally challenge this nomination,” Hennel said in making the announcement.

“Should a club find cause, the procedures and protocol are outlined in our District bylaws that are posted on the website. Any challenge should be directed to our nominations chair, Past DG John Eaton (, and myself. Following that period, our District Governor Nominee Designee will officially be confirmed by a vote to be conducted at our District Conference in May.”

Fred has owned and operated his own company, Daniels Media and Communications, LLC, for the past five years. Among his past endeavors have been management positions with the Palace Theater in Albany and Proctors in Schenectady, and in a fundraising role for WMHT. He was club president in Schenectady for the 2010-11 Rotary Year.

SRC makes $4,000 in educational grants

Screen shot 2015-03-10 at 11.12.52 AMThe Southern Rensselaer County club has just made two monetary grants to maintain its ongoing commitment to supporting education at all levels.

One is for $3,000 to fully underwrite the cost of an after-school-tutoring pilot program for City of Rensselaer third-graders, using the “I-Ready” online tutoring program.

The other is for $1,000 to help finance the Capital Region team of 10 high school students representing New York State in the “We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution” competition in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Center for Civic Education.

Three of the 10 schools represented are in our area of service — Columbia, Averill Park and Troy. This is the first time in 28 years a local team has earned the state championship.

At this point, the cost to the club for the “We the People” team grant is just $500, because three members have made individual pledges totaling $500. Of course, anyone else wishing to contribute may do so.


Hooray for us!

This certificate was presented to the club by District Governor Dave Hennel at our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner, held on March 5, 2015. Scroll down for a look at some images from that event.

55th Certificate274

Scenes from our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner

SRC's official pennant.

SRC’s official pennant.

Souvenir program from the club's inaugural dinner in 1960. (Double click on image to enlarge.)

Souvenir program from the club’s inaugural dinner in 1960. (Double click on image to enlarge.)

District Governor Dave Hennel and SRC President Bill Dowd swap lies before dinner.

District Governor Dave Hennel and SRC President Bill Dowd swap lies before dinner.

Singer-musician Russ Kennedy presented a program of '60s tunes  to mark the decade of our chartering.

Singer-musician Russ Kennedy presented a program of ’60s tunes to mark the decade of our chartering.

Murray Forth, who received the "Rotarian of the Year" award.

Murray Forth, who received the “Rotarian of the Year” award.

Dick Drujmm, who received a special "Charter Member" award.

Dick Drumm, who received a special “Charter Member” award.

Jim Leyhane, receiving a "Lifetime Achievement Award."

Jim Leyhane, receiving a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alsztine and dinner chair Debbie Brown chat.

Asst. District Governor Bob Van Alstine chats with dinner chair Debbie Brown.

Former longtime member and past president Russ Edberg chats with President-elect Terry Brewer.

Former longtime member and past president Russ Edberg chats with President-elect Terry Brewer.

A trio of Leyhanes sharing a smile.

A trio of Leyhanes offering smiles.

Maggie Forth and friends.

Maggie Forth and friends.

Peter Brown and Rommel Tolentino chat over appetizers.

Peter Brown and Rommel Tolentino chat over appetizers.

Pat Bailey and Lois Hannan.

Pat Bailey and Lois Hannan.

Past District Governor Bill Nathan and wife wife Betty.

Past District Governor Bill Nathan and wife Betty.