Attending (10): April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Peter Brown, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Patrick Ciraulo. (Stewart Wagner paid but could not attend.)
• April and Bill Dowd have collected more than 500 books for Unity House. Collections end this week. Half of the books for children and adults already have been delivered. This was our First Quarter Project.
• Bill distributed copies of the beautiful new Club brochure he designed and had printed. Thanks were expressed to Bill!
• This Saturday is the “Harvest Faire” at Ft. Crailo State Historic Site in Rensselaer. The club has awarded $500 to the Friends of Ft. Crailo to help underwrite the event. The Club also will staff an information table at the Faire and will distribute the new brochure.
• Doris Calamaras had been scheduled to be president-elect this Rotary Year. However, due to ongoing health issues, she has had to withdraw. We thank her for all her efforts on behalf of Rotary.
Bill Dowd volunteered to step into the role, and said he would continue handling his current chores as well — webmaster, social media coordinator, program coordinator, food service coordinator, nagging people, etc. He will succeed his better half as Club president for the 2014-15 Rotary Year.
• A reminder: The Club will continue to expect those who make dinner meeting reservations but are “no-shows” to pay the $15 fee. Once reservations are turned in, the Club has to pay the restaurant/caterer the fee for all attending plus no-shows.
• Ex-member Mark Hoyt inquired this week whether the club would be financially supporting students for the annual RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) program. However, the preferred deadline for registration was June and the “drop dead” deadline this Sunday, September 15. This appears to be too short a period for prospective attendees to get insurance physicals, submit the required paperwork, etc. We will check to see if the deadline can be extended for several Maple Hill High School students to attend. Discussion was held about which schools we should be considering for attendance in future years.
As part of the board-approved effort to expand the Club’s “sphere of influence” this Rotary Year, the consensus was that a form letter explaining the program and asking for one or two candidates per-school would be sent out to Columbia, Rensselaer, Maple Hill and Averill Park schools as well as others as discussed. We also discussed renewing our request for a financial report from Nick George whose firm runs the program.
In lieu of a guest speaker this week, the Club held a membership business meeting to review the official goals and projects for this Rotary Year.
Some of our projects:
• The just-completed book drive for the Unity House family shelter in Troy, which was our First Quarter project. As noted above, we collected more than 500 books for children and adults.
• The Second Quarter project, which will begin October 1, is a revival of the “Cans In a Box” food drive we had several years ago. Members are asked to begin bringing non-perishable dry foods (dried pastas, soup mixes, instant potatoes and rice, etc.) and canned foods (vegetables, soups, breakfast hash, fruits, sauces, etc.) to each meeting from October 3 through December 5. We will box them and donate them to various local food pantries; the pantries are to be decided at a later meeting.
• We are asking for suggestions for Third and Fourth Quarter projects. Please call or e-mail April with your ideas.
• As part of our ongoing effort to raise funds for local autism programs, we instituted a “Pocket Change for Autism,” with members asked to empty their pockets of spare change (paper stuff also glad accepted!) at each meeting. The amount collected by the end of the 2013-14 year will be donated.
As another autism effort, Jim Leyhane explained that high-quality anti-autism T-shirts are available at $25 each (color: black) through his office. His staff wears their shirts once a week as a way to communicate the fundraising effort to patients and visitors. Let Jim know if you wish to purchase a shirt, with part of the proceeds going to autism treatment programs.
• The 3rd annual Bowl Over Polio fundraiser will be held in March.
• The 3rd annual CPR Certification Course will be held in May.
• The 34th annual Rotary Run will be held in May.
• Dick Drumm reported on the Kiwanis-sponsored Clove Run. He displayed the shirt used this year and explained how they get sponsors — by the old-fashioned but successful method of knocking on doors of neighborhood businesses.
• We will continue selling Hoffman Car Wash tickets. Rotary gets 50% of the proceeds from each sale, a terrific profit margin that helps our general fund.
• We will continue with a membership push. One effort, called “Columbia Turnpike, You’ve Got Mail!”, will involve a direct-mail campaign run by April and Bill to businesses and professional offices on Columbia Turnpike. We will explain Rotary, include a copy of the new brochure, and invite businesspeople to attend a dinner meeting as our guest.
We also will continue finding events at which we can have an information table. Patrick Ciraulo noted that there are events at some of the YMCAs he supervises — East Greenbush and Troy, specifically — that might lend themselves to such activity.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 19. Program: Our own Stewart Wagner on bottle collecting. If you have a collectible bottle you want appraised, bring it with you to the meeting.