Attending (13): April Dowd, Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A.J. Amato, Terry Brewer, Jim Leyhane, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez, Patrick Ciraulo, Dean Calamaras (one reservation no-show).
Program: Cruising the Danube
Peter and Debbie Brown spoke on the recent cruise they took on the Danube River, Europe’s second-longest after the Volga.
Peter showed a map of the region to orient his listeners, along with a shot of the river boat that was their home during the seven-day, 900-mile trip.
Much of his presentation focused on Budapest, Hungary, which he and Debbie had visited before, and on Bucharest, Romania, and Belgrade, Serbia.
Among the historical sites were the memorial and burial place of the onetime Yugoslavian dictator Josip Broz Tito in Belgrade, an overwrought grand government building in Bucharest that is a white elephant from the regime of the late dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, the country’s last Communist leader.
Other sites included the Iron Gate, a gap between two towering cliffs on the river, a 300-year-old village that is largely unchanged from its early years except for the addition of electricity and running water, and a Romanian fort built over the course of several centuries.
Debbie spoke about the financial situation in the former Communist Bloc countries visited. They are in the process of joining the European Union but do not yet use the Euro except in major cities; U.S. dollars are well received. Also, a lot of infrastructure rebuilding is evident, financed primarily by the EU.
• Rotary Run: Event coordinator Peter Brown reported on planning for the May event. He and Murray Forth met with Bobby Hammond of Green Meadow School and Glenn Wolin of Finish Right, the race timing company. Wolin said he has worked out the technical problems that plagued last year’s event. … Bill Dowd reminded everyone that he has created a Facebook page specifically for the Rotary Run and urged everyone to spread the word about it since social media has a major impact on events these days.
• Essay Scholarship Contest: Bill Dowd reported that he has mailed out contest information to superintendents and principals at eight high schools in the SRC area, inviting them to have 2014 graduates-to-be to take part in the competition for a pair of $500 scholarships. A club committee will conduct judging of all essays received by the April 1 deadline.
• Training: Bill, who is president-elect, also reported on attending the second of four Presidents-Elect Training Seminars (PETS). Among the items on that agenda were discussion of District’s 7190 proposed budget for the 2014-15 Rotary Year, which would maintain the per-member fee at the $38 level used this year. He also described RI’s branding campaign that is being phased in. … In addition, he said he spoke at the session with the president-elect of the Lansingburgh club, the only other club in Rensselaer County, about the potential of conducting some joint meetings or projects in the next Rotary Year.
• Bowl Over Polio: Event coordinator Murray Forth reported that the event last Sunday had about 100 participants and raised $1,270 thanks to a late contribution by Jim Leyhane. Bill Dowd added to the pot and so the official figure hit $1,300. … The fundraiser was covered by The Record, and copies of the photo and story were passed around.
• Bidding War: Carol Orvis has provided the club with a $1,500 prize from Glenpeter Jewelers for a cheese and wine tasting event for up to 40 people. President April Dowd invited members to bid on the event by e-maikling her by February 28. The prize is good through June 1.
• CPR Certification: Jim Leyhane reminded all that our 3rd annual CPR Certification course will be held on Saturday, March 15, at Maple Hill High School. Because our initial course was well attended and re-certification is required every two years, he anticipates good attendance this year.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Diane L. Hutchinson, Town of Schodack historian.