Stillwater students fighting polio

Students from Stillwater Elementary School participating in Mechanicville Rotary’s “Purple Pinkie Day” this week came up big in the fight against polio.

Their efforts raised enough money to provide 885 lifesaving vials of polio vaccine for children at risk in the still-endemic countries of Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

If you haven’t read about Pakistan’s latest effort to overcome reticence shown by families to anti-polio vaccine programs, scroll down for the New York Times report.

Happy birthday to Rotary International

A stamp issued in the Philippines to commemorate RI's 50th anniversary.

A stamp issued in the Philippines to commemorate RI’s 50th anniversary.

This week marks 110 years since Paul P. Harris (1868-1947) and a group of business friends in Chicago founded Rotary.

For those of you into playing trivia, the other original Rotarians were Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele and Hiram E. Shorey.

The quartet gathered in Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting.Today, RI has grown to more than 1,200,000 members worldwide, spreading the message of “Service above self.”

Pakistan: Police pushing anti-polio vaccinations

From The New York Times of 2/28/15

Determined to curb Pakistan’s polio crisis, police officials in the northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa said Friday they have issued hundreds of arrest warrants for parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

“There is total determination on our part,” the deputy police commissioner for Peshwar, Riaz Khan Mahsud, said in an interview. “We shall convince parents of the good of vaccinating their children, but if they refuse we shall detain them. There is no leniency.”

Last year, 306 new polio cases were reported in Pakistan, breaking the country’s previous record high of 199 new cases in 2000. Dr. Imtiaz Ali Shah, head of the government’s polio monitoring group in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said the outbreak was particularly bad in two northwestern tribal regions, North Waziristan and South Waziristan, remote areas that have been havens for militants from Al Qaeda and the Taliban and their allies, making them mostly inaccessible to vaccination teams.

A priceless artifact from our past

Double click on image to enlarge.

Double click on image to enlarge.

Charter member Dick Drumm on Thursday displayed this framed copy of the dinner program that was used during our club’s March 1960 charter dinner at the then-Crooked Lake Hotel.

You’ll note we had 23 members, that the original name was the East Greenbush club, and that the district number then was 719, later changed to 7190 during a renumbering of all Rotary districts.

If you weren’t in attendance at this week’s meeting, you’ll have an opportunity to see the document if you are attending our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner on March 5.

Minutes of 2/26/15: Community Hospice

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
February 26, 2015

Attending (17): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Charlie Foote, Carol Orvis, A.J. Amato, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Len Leonidas, Shannon Romanowski, Ray Hannan.

Guests (2): Carol Heaney, Tom Reamon.

PROGRAM: The Community Hospice

Carol Heaney of The Community Hospice speaks to the club.

Carol Heaney of The Community Hospice speaks to the club.

Dean Calamaras introduced Carol Heaney of The Community Hospice. Carol described the many and varied services of the organization, which covers a wide swath of the Capital Region and nearby Catskills.

She gave examples of recent cases in which she was involved, as well as outlining grief counseling services offered to schools and first responders in addition to Hospice’s better-known end-of-life care.

Carol also advised us to tell anyone in need not to wait until the last minute to contact Hospice for assistance. Their counselors, nurses and volunteers can do numerous things to take the pressure off the families about to suffer a loss. She also distributed wallet-sized health care proxy forms that can be of help in an emergency situation when a larger, formal proxy cannot be located.

The Community Hospice can be contacted online or by calling 724-0242 or 800-678-0711.


ANNIVERSARY DINNER: The schedule for our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner next Thursday is as follows — a 5:30 cocktail half-hour, 6 o’clock opening remarks, dinner at 6:10, musical entertainment after dinner, and then some special awards. We have 52 reservations for the event, including from our own District 7190 the current District Governor, Dave Hennel, Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine, and Past District Governor Bill Nathan, and from neighboring District 7120, Past District Governor Dr. Tamton Mustapha.

GOLF FUNDRAISER: Our final indoor simulator golf tournament of the winter is scheduled for next Saturday, March 7. Volunteers are needed. Murray Forth reported that the field is nearly full.

ROTARY HOME COOKING SERIES: The club thanked Pat Bailey for hosting “Chili On a Chilly Night” last Saturday.

ROTARY HOME COOKING: Pat Bailey was thanked for hosting “Chili On a Chilly Night” last Saturday.

CHARTER HISTORY: Dick Drumm displayed a framed program for our club’s charter dinner held in March 1960. He will bring it to the March 5 dinner where it will be put on display. It also can be seen on our club website.

NEXT MEETING: March 5 is our anniversary dinner. When we resume our regular meeting schedule on March 12, Rommel Tolentino will present an after-dinner program titled “Famous Names In Medicine.”

Charter Anniversary Dinner schedule

Screen shot 2015-01-30 at 2.13.56 PMWe’re looking forward to a festive evening when our club celebrates with a special dinner the 55th anniversary of receiving our charter from Rotary International. Here are the details:

DATE: Thursday, March 5, 2015.

VENUE: Comfort Inn, 99 Miller Road, Schodack, just off I-90 Exit 10. Free parking. Special rates for one-night lodging. Call 518-479-3217.

TIME: A cocktail half-hour will begin at the cash bar at 5:30 p.m. (wines and soft drinks are included in the price of your reservation).

DINNER: A buffet dinner and dessert bar will be provided by Jim Mendrysa’s Talk of the Town catering service.

MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT: Singer-musician Russ Kennedy will perform a medley of songs from the ’60s after dinner.

PRESIDENTIAL AWARDS: Several very special Rotarians will be honored with some very special awards.

Meeting of 2/19/15: Blue Star Mothers

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
February 19, 2015

Attending (14): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Jim Butterworth, Rommel Tolentino, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Terry Brewer, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote.

Guests (3): Chuck Rodriguez, Robin Johnson, Kate Henchey.

PROGRAM: Blue Star Mothers

Blue Star272Debbie Rodriguez introduced  Robin Johnson and Kate Henchey of the local chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America Inc.

The organization consists of mother, stepmothers and guardians of service personnel. Kate spoke about her son, Kevin, who is serving in the U.S. Air Force, as is his wife. Robin spoke about her son who served in the U.S. Army.

Some of the members’ activities include making no-sew blankets, welcoming home military personnel, packing and sending gift boxes to troops, collecting for Toys for Tots and numerous other ways to support those in the military. They meet monthly on Everett Road Extension in Colonie. Their biggest fundraiser is the annual Blue Jean Ball (everyone wears jeans), and guests are welcome.

They displayed one of the fleece blankets they make for children. They also spoke about Guardian House in Ballston Spa, a new facility for homeless female veterans .

Kate took questions collecting items for the troop boxes, and collecting both candies after Halloween and toothpaste and tooth brushes, and about how we could Kate invited us to help make fleece blankets. Also questions about how we can support their efforts.

Blue Star Mothers are online at and Their mailing address is P.O. Box 243, Delmar NY 12054.


ANNIVERSARY DINNER – President Bill Dowd thanked everyone for soliciting advertising for our 55th Charter Anniversary Dinner on March 5. We are at the $1,600 level of revenue. Reservations for the dinner need to be made by Monday (February 23) and must be paid for in advance. No payments will be accepted at the door. We have about 50 reservations so far. Debbie Brown reported that the Comfort Inn has offered courtesy rates of $89 for a room and $99 for a suite for the night of our event. Bill continues to look for names of any deceased members to add to the memorial page in the dinner program. And, he said musical guest Russ Kennedy will provide background music for the 5:30 p.m. cocktail half-hour and during the 6 p.m. dinner, as well as perform after dinner.

GOLF TOURNAMENT – Event coordinator Murray Forth reported that the final winter simulator tournament at Burden Lake Country Club on Saturday, March 7, is filling up fast. Reservations may be made through him or Terry Brewer.

ROTARY HOCKEY NIGHT – The District and the Glens Falls club will host the event on Saturday, February 28, at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Check our website for details.

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM – Superintendent Sally Shields contacted Bill and gratefully accepted our $3,000 offer to underwrite the Rensselaer City School District’s I-Ready after-school tutoring program.

HOSPITAL STAY PAMPHLET — District Governor Dave Hennel responded to our request for endorsement of the “Guide to a Better Hospital Stay,” saying he will present it at the upcoming District Executive Committee meeting.

MARCH PROGRAMS – 5th, the anniversary dinner; 12th, Rommel Tolentino will present “Famous Names In Medicine”; 19th,  Shannon Romanowski has an as-yet-unannounced program; 26th, Charlie Foote will present Dr. John Matthews of Doctors Without Borders.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 26, at Quigley’s. The program will be on Community Hospice.

Another attack on polio vaccine volunteers

The New York Times — Sunday, February 15, 2015

Polio Attack271

Make a family day out of ‘Rotary Hockey Night’

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 8.20.04 PMThe Glens Falls club is hosting “Upstate NY Rotary Hockey Night” with Adirondack Flames. The event is to celebrate District 7190’s birthday.

This family night out, scheduled for Saturday, February 28, at the Glens Falls Civic Center, includes a professional hockey game, family skating and more. The details:

• Game tickets $15 per person. Order online. Be sure to enter promo code “rotary.” Or, you can call Josh at the Civic Center — 480-3355 extension 316.

• The “Upstate NY Rotary Group” free ice skating will run at the Civic Center from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

• A Governor’s Reception dinner buffet, priced at just $15 per person, will follow the skating from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Civic Center’s downstairs Heritage Hall.

• Rotary will host a 50/50 raffle, with tickets available at the door. Prizes will be handed out. Proceeds will go to The Rotary Foundation to be split between future District Grants and polio eradication efforts.

• The National Anthem will be performed by one of our own Rotarians.

• One club will be picked to do the ceremonial puck drop that night.

This should be a good platform to promote Rotary to the general public. Radio ads, in-game announcements and video board notices will be among the promotional efforts. We also will showcase and seek donations for Shelter Box in the lobby, and announcements and promotions to help fund Shelter Box will be made during the game.


Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 8.26.18 PM• Discount tickets for Rotary members will be available on Saturday morning for snow skiing and tubing at nearby West Mountain Ski Center.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 8.27.29 PM• For the kids and grandkids, a visit to the GO! World Awareness Children’s Museum just steps from the Civic Center (in the basement of Aimie’s Dinner and a Movie) would be a treat. It is an excellent interactive facility.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 8.25.03 PM• The Glens Falls Railroad Club also is just steps from the Civic Center. It has the largest layouts of all scales of model trains in the Northeast.

Screen shot 2015-02-13 at 8.30.44 PM• Free cross-country skiing will be offered all day at the Coles Woods park in Glens Falls.

Each club in 7190 is invited to prepare and bring poster boards, displays, brochures, cards, etc. to promote membership in their local area. Projects/events/organizations that you support locally. It’s our chance to promote and “Light up Rotary” and maybe attract a few new members.
Bring Rotary Banners if you have them. We want to cover the arena.

Meeting of 2/12/15: ‘Life On a Dairy Farm’

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

Attending (18): Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A.J. Amato, Jim Butterworth, Dick Drumm, Doris Calamaras, Dean Calamaras, Debbie Rodriguez, Ray Hannan, Charlie Foote, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martinez.

Guests (1): Beth Chittenden.

PROGRAM: ‘Life On a Dairy Farm’

Beth Chittenden describes her Dutch Hollow Farm.

Beth Chittenden describes her Dutch Hollow Farm.

Beth2Dick Drumm introduced Beth Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm, a large dairy operation that straddles the Rensselaer-Columbia border near Schodack Landing.

Beth, a graduate of Cornell University who earned a master’s degree from the College of Saint Rose,  has been a teacher as well as a farmer, and is active in many local organizations, including the Hudson Valley Fresh group of farms that produce high-quality milk. She said the creation of the Discovery Center on the farm allowed her to combine two passions — farming and teaching.

Dutch Hollow Farm is family-owned and -operated, with  700 milking cows and 2,000 acres of land. A few facts Beth shared:

• New York State ranks behind only California and Wisconsin in milk production.

• Only 2% of the population are farmers

• 98% of farms are family owned.

• Research shows that teens may not be getting enough calcium. Milk provides calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D, magnesium, B-12, potassium riboflavin, niacin and phosphorus.

Beth stressed the health and safety procedures required of dairy farmers. Farms are inspected four times a year, sometimes with no advance notice. They can be inspected by agents from the state or federal governments or their dairy co-operative.

She displayed photos of the milking process and then tanks where milk is rapidly cooled from 98 to 38 degrees. The herds are milked three times a day and the trucks pick up regularly. Each tank truck load is tested for the presence of antibiotics, bacteria, foreign objects and water. Finding any problems would mean that the entire load must be rejected and probably destroyed.

Beth spoke about treating cows for medical problems, about pasteurization and  ultra-pasteurization and noted that regulations are very strict. Dutch Hollow participates in the Hudson Valley Fresh and Cabot Dairy co-operatives.

The farm also serves as an educational facility, with school children hosted their regularly to view the entire process, camp on the grounds, and even visit with other members of the public on the annual “Day at the Dairy,” which this year is scheduled for Saturday, August 1.


Screen shot 2015-01-30 at 2.13.56 PMANNIVERSARY DINNER DETAILS – Tomorrow, February 13, is the deadline for turning in all program advertising materials for our “55th Charter Anniversary Dinner,” scheduled for Thursday, March 5. And, the deadline for reservations is February 23.

HOSPITAL-STAY PAMPHLET – President Bill reported that he had contacted District Governor Dave Hennel, seeking District endorsement of the hospital-stay pamphlet that already has been endorsed by the club. He said he would let the club know when a decision is made.

RENSSELAER SCHOOLS GRANT – Bill reported that he called Sally Shields, the Rensselaer city school superintendent, concerning the $3,000 grant the club wants to give the schools to underwrite the I-Ready after school program. He was told she was in a meeting, so he left a message requesting a return call, To date, she has never called. He also sent a letter approved by the club Board. And, to date, he has received no response. He suggested that anyone who is in contact with Peter Rehonis or any other school official ask them to nudge Superintendent Shields.

Microsoft Word - 2015 Golf Simulator Poster.docxGOLF FUNDRAISER – A reminder that our  final indoor simulator golf tournament of the winter is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, two days after our Charter Anniversary Dinner. Murray said reservations are flowing in at a good rate.

RYLA logoRYLA EVENT – The RYLA program has scheduled a “RYLA Celebration Dinner” for Saturday, March 7, at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs. The deadline for reservations is February 20. Check our website for details.

PETS TRAINING – Terry Brewer said he has attended President-Elect Training Sessions (PETS), and there are some changes in the works for next year. He said during his presidency he would like the club to work on a project grant. To be eligible, as in past years, at least two club members must attend the grants training seminar For 2014-15, Bill and Murray attended on behalf of the club. Bill noted that the District encourages smaller clubs to partner with similar clubs for grant projects.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 19, at Quigley’s. Debbie Rodriguez has arranged for a program from the Blue Star Mothers organization.