Meeting of April 18, 2013

Picture 3Attending (15):  Peter Brown, April Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Debbie Brown, Terry Brewer, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Charlie Foote, Bill Dowd, Dean Calamaras, Doris Calamaras, Carole Spencer, A. J. Amato.

Guests (1): William Staats.

Announcements/Business:

• Venue Change: This was the club’s first meeting in its new venue, Quigley’s Restaurant. The consensus was that the facility was a major upgrade over several previous places we had used as stop-gap sites after leaving the Holiday Inn Express.

Cancer Relay• Jessica Colvin (left in photo) and Carol-Jo Pusateri (right), co-chairs for a mini-relay scheduled for June 5 in Schodack, made an appearance to explain the event and request a donation from the club to support the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  They plan to encourage and teach kids to celebrate cancer survivors. They hope for 250 participants. After they left, the club approved a $100 donation to the effort.

• The club approved taking out a $50 ad in the program for the Columbia High School Hall of Fame awards dinner. That will both support the Hall and allow us to advertise the upcoming Rotary Run.

• Health updates: Dick Drumm said he had visited Russ Edberg in the Evergreen Commons rehab facility. He is showing improvement and is happy to have visitors or cards. … Jim Leyhane  reported that Stewart Wagner is having successful post-operative surgery, although his wife, Lois, ironically now is in the same rehab bed he recently vacated. … Doris Calamaras thanked everyone for their concern, cards and letters after her recent leg surgery.

• The Rotary Run is one month away. Terry spoke about signing up advertisers for the mile markers.  Rob Mangold has been lining up T-shirt advertisers.There was discussion about toys for the kids and ordering the trophies and / or medals.

• The next Rotary Home Cooking event — called “Fiesta!” — will be held Saturday, June 1, at Debbie Rodriguez’s residence, with Pat Bailey co-hosting. They can handle up to eight guests. Contact either of them to reserve a place.


Program: The History of Staats Island


William Staats

William Staats (standing in photo), a retired Hudson Valley Community College professor, was introduced by Charlie Foote, who long ago was one of his students.

Bill spoke about his 2009 book,  “Three Centuries on the Hudson River: One Dutch House, One Family (1696-2009).” The house, which carries the Dutch name Hoogebergh, has been home to 12 generations of the Staats family, which settled on Staats Island, Castleton, after having land deeded to them by the Patroon who owned the land in the area known as Rensselaerwyck.

Like his entertaining talk, the book is a collection of historical data, photographs, sketches and humorous anecdotes about a family living on the Hudson River for over 300 years. One of Bill’s anecdotes dealt with the “haunted mummy” at Hoogeberg, a practical joke he played on his nephew and his date who were visiting the house unannounced, not knowing he was on the premises.

Bill spoke about Henry Hudson sailing up the Hudson River 11 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock and claiming the area for his employer, the Dutch West Indies Trading Company.

The Staatses were one of the original tenant farmer families. To keep the house in the far-flung family, they have incorporated the property and today it is 23 owners. The house has no modern amenities, so it is used only in summer months.

Bill’s book is for sale on Amazon.com or at another website for $14.95.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 25, at Quigley’s Restaurant, 593 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush.


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