Attending (19): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Terry Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, A.J. Amato, Ray Hannan, Len Leonidas, Stewart Wagner, Carole Spencer, Charlie Foote, Jim Butterworth, Jim Leyhane, Rommel Tolentino, Roberto Martinez, Dick Drumm, Debbie Rodriguez.
PROGRAM: “A Financial Forecast for 2015”
Club member A.J. Amato, a wealth management adviser, had an upbeat forecast for this year.
“If you hear NBC News or other media say we’re in a recession, don’t believe them. We are not,” he said emphatically.
We are, he said, in the fifth-longest economic expansion since World War II.
A.J. said the economy is moving forward in most sectors, and we essentially have recouped all the jobs lost in the turndown of 2008. However, he noted that while stocks in general should be a good investment this year, bonds will not be as strong, especially U.S. Treasury bonds.
He said the chair of the Federal Reserve Bank looks at certain economic indicators to set interest rates: earnings indicator, interest rates, stock performance, and market volatility.
He predicted energy, healthcare, financial services, and housing will be hot topics in Washington, DC, during the coming political season. When it comes to energy, he said the oil glut in the U.S. and creation of the much-debated Canadian oil pipeline could reduce the cost of production by as much as $10 a barrel.
ROTARY FOUNDATION: President Bill Dowd read a letter from the Rotary Foundation explaining the change in their handling of monetary contributions made by payroll deduction. The letter was received by Debbie Rodriguez earlier this week, even though it was dated October 14, 2014. Such contributions no longer will be credited to the club or individual member toward Foundation giving. The kicker: This change took place July 1, 2014, but we are not aware of any notice being sent out by RF.
HOLIDAY PARTY FUNDRAISER: Treasurer Murray Forth reported that the gift basket silent auction held as part of last month’s Holiday Party raised $418, the highest amount ever for that activity. The funds go directly to the club treasury.
SPORTS-RELATED FUNDRAISERS: We have two sports-related fundraising events coming up fast — our 4th annual “Bowl Over Polio” at the East Greenbush Bowling Center on Sunday, January 25, and the “Mid-Winter Simulator Golf Tournament” at the Burden Lake Country Club on Saturday, January 31. Members were asked to take flyers Bill made available to have them posted in offices, on community bulletin boards, etc. Terry Brewer asked that members volunteer to help out at the golf event so he and Murray do not have to staff it alone. Murray likewise made the same request for the bowling event.
He also reported that we raised $1,300 for the first of three simulator golf events, and raised $250 for Ronald McDonald House through a raffle.
ANNIVERSARY DINNER: Bill said response to a letter sent to all members for reservations for the club’s 55th anniversary dinner on Thursday, March 5, has been weak. He encouraged everyone to attend and bring guests, and to indicate their intent on the signup sheet. Debbie Brown, event coordinator, said a menu has been selected; reservation prices are not yet set because we need a firmer headcount; souvenir program ads are being solicited and all members are asked to pitch in for that effort.
CANS IN A BOX: This annual drive to collect non-perishable food items for small local food pantries has begun, It will continue through Thursday, January 22. Members are asked to bring several items each week. The Greenbush YMCA is again partnering with us in the effort. Recipients will be the CEO Food Pantry in Troy, which serves much of Southern Rensselaer County; The Anchor in Castleton, which is a service of the Cooperative Christian Ministries of Schodack, and The New Hope for Life Ministries pantry in Nassau.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, January 15. The speaker will be Amy Dowd, co-owner of Dowd Racing Stables and the Stine Hollow Farm horse facility in Stillwater.