RSVP by Tuesday for Thursday dinner

Aviator Charles Lindbergh and his famous plane. (Photo courtesy of the Lindbergh Foundation)
Aviator Charles Lindbergh and his famous plane.                                                       (Photo courtesy of the Lindbergh Foundation)
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Thursday’s entree.

This Thursday’s dinner meeting at Quigley’s has several interesting components:

• A visit by a contingent from the Lansingburgh club, the only other Rotary club in Rensselaer County.

• A presentation on “Charles Lindbergh and The Spirit of St. Louis” by a representative of the historic Rhinebeck Aerodrome.

• A dinner of roast pork loin, salad, vegetables, bread, and beverages.

As always the deadline is tonight — Tuesday — for emailing dinner coordinator Debbie Brown at if you haven’t already made a reservation. And, please, be sure to let her know if you are bringing a guest.

Here’s who we have signed up at the moment:

  • Annis, Monika
  • Annis, Ron
  • Brewer, Terry
  • Brown, Debbie
  • Brown, Peter
  • Dowd , April
  • Dowd, Bill
  • Drumm, Dick
  • Foote, Charlie
  • Forth, Murray
  • Hannan, Ray
  • Leyhane, Jim
  • Rodriguez, Debbie
  •  Van Alstine, Bob
  • Guest speaker


‘Clothes for Kids’ drive is under way

Clothing ThanksEach year, Rotary International holds a “Day of Service” to encourage clubs to continue connecting with needs in the community. The designated effort this year must be poverty related.

We have chosen Circles of Mercy as our recipient, given that the organization offers a wide range of services to many low-income families and individuals in Southern Rensselaer County, and does it with virtually an all-volunteer staff.

Those who run Circles’ consignment thrift shop just changed over the inventory from winter clothing to spring/summer, and reported that they are in dire need of children’s clothing items. So, our project will be a “Rotary’s Clothes for Kids Campaign.”

Club members are asked to donate new or good-condition clean clothing for kids of various age. How? Simple. Drop off items at the next few dinner meetings through May 5, at the breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA this Thursday, or at this Saturday’s social mixer at Roberto Martinez’s residence. Project coordinator Bill Dowd will deliver the donated clothing to Circles of Mercy on Saturday, May 7, the designated “Day of Service.”

Even though it’s a very tight timeline, we’re now big enough to pull it off. Thanks in advance for your contributions to this worthwhile community service effort.

Wine and tapas wrap up Home Cooking series

Rotary Home Cooking logoThe final “2015-16 Rotary Home Cooking” series of member-hosted dinners wrapped up on Saturday evening. The theme was “An International Wine & Tapas Tasting,” proceeds from which went to the club treasury to support our various service projects.

Bill and April Dowd hosted the evening at their Troy residence, attended by Jim Leyhane, Roberto Martinez, Debbie Rodriguez, Pat Bailey, Murray Forth and Maggie Forth.

The menu, and some images from the dinner, courtesy of April, Roberto, and Bill:

Hors d’oeuvres
— Ducktrap Farms (Maine) smoked salmon with cream cheese and caper shmear, red onion confetti, on melba rounds
— Assorted Upstate New York and English cheeses with various crackers
— Santa Margherita NV Prosecco (Italy)

2nd Course
— Cream of Mexican leek, Canadian potato, and Troy chive demitasse
— Spanish picadillo-filled tortilla rolls
— 2002 Valckenberg Gewurtztraminer (Germany)

3rd Course
— Backfin crab silver dollars with Cajun remoulade, arugula tossed with Dijon balsamic vinaigrette
— 2012 Laurent Gerard Sancerre ( France)

4th Course
— Sliced Black Angus sirloin with herbed compound butter
— Twice-baked mini red potatoes
— Diced Canadian heirloom tomatoes in herbed Meyer Lemon olive oil vinaigrette
— 2014 Adirondack Winery Premium Meritage (New York State)

5th Course
— Moroccan Spice Cake with whipped cream
— Lustau Capataz Andres NV Deluxe Cream Sherry (Spain)


The two parts of a tasting dinner.
The two parts of a tasting dinner — the cooking and the sampling.
The kitchen staff at work.
Bill and April, the kitchen staff at work.
Party 1
Jim Leyhane and Roberto Martinez, center, digging in to the first sampling …
Plating a crabcake and arugula salad tasing.
… a remoulade-dotted crabcake with baby arugula salad.
The wine lineup accompanying the foods.
The wine lineup accompanying the foods (details on the menu above).
Debbie Rodriguez and Pat Bailey chat at the table.
Debbie Rodriguez and Pat Bailey, co-hosts of an earlier dinner in the series.
Maggie and Murray Forth, who also hosted an earlier dinner in the series.
Maggie and Murray Forth, who also hosted an earlier dinner.
A group grin to end the evening.
A group grin to end the evening.

Meeting of 4/14/16: ‘Sierra Leone’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
April 14, 2016

Members Attending (13): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Ron Annis, Monika Annis, David Taylor, Ray Hannan.

Guests, (2): Bill Nathan, Julia Goodwin.

PROGRAM: “Sierra Leone”

Speaker Julia Goodwin.
Speaker Julia Goodwin.

Ray Hannan introduced Dr. Julia Goodwin, a retired educator who presented a program on life in Sierra Leone, a tiny, impoverished West African nation that more than a decade later still is shaking off the effects of a lengthy, brutal civil war as a constitutional democracy.

The country — which got its name from Portugese explorers who called it Land of Lions (“sierra leone” in Portugese) even though there are no lions there, has about 6.1 million inhabitants. It ceased being a British protectorate in 1961 when it was granted independence.

A sampling of carved and fabric handicrafts Julia purchased in Africa.
A sampling of carved and fabric handicrafts Julia purchased in Africa.

It is one of the poorest African nations. Its capital, Freetown, founded in 1787 as a home for repatriated slaves, is home to more than a million inhabitants. The poverty and lack of medical care — there are no hospitals, for example, in Freetown — is shown in the fact that the average life expectancy is 48 for men, 49 for women. More than 11,000 people there have died from the ebola virus.

The economy depends on fishing, agriculture, and surface mining for such things as “blood diamonds” — so-called because they fueled much of the civil warfare and governmental corruption — as well as bauxite (aluminum ore), rutile (titanium dioxide), gold, and iron ore.

Julia noted that in contrast to western roles, women usually do the mining and men usually do the sewing in the garment industry. She said that because of the lack of consistent electric power, the sewing machines used are the old treadle type.

The level of education is poor, since few people went to school during the civil war. There are no adult education programs, and formal schooling remains limited for children. What textbooks are available usually are very outdated. In Freetown, which Julia described as being in a beautiful setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, there are no stop signs or traffic lights despite a large number of cars, which she said made for some frightening experiences. No driver education or licensing is required.

Julia also displayed a selection of  handicrafts and artwork she purchased during two trips to Africa, and spoke of the kindness of the people she came across in her travels.

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Socializing Old TimeSOCIAL MIXER — Members were reminded that RSVPs are due to Jim Leyhane or Roberto Martinez no later than this weekend for the new member/old member social mixer they are hosting at Roberto’s residence from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23. President Terry Brewer urged all members to make a special effort to attend to foster familiarity among members in this booming year of new-Rotarian inductions. As noted before, this is not a dinner event, but attendees are asked to bring an hors d’oeuvre for six, with beverages and desserts being provided by the hosts. Dress is casual.

IRS UPDATE — Terry reported that the club’s 501(C)(3) paperwork has been accepted by the Internal Revenue Service, so we are up to date on all requirements as a tax-exempt organization.

THANK YOU LETTERS — Bill Dowd reported that he received, on behalf of the club, an effusive letter of appreciation from Circles of Mercy for our Easter basket drive for needy kids. And, he said, letters also were sent to Columbia High School and the Greenbush YMCA for their extra efforts supporting the drive.

Screen shot 2016-04-15 at 10.15.05 AMCLEAN WATER — Visiting Rotarian Bill Nathan extended an invitation to an Albany club luncheon set for Wednesday, April 20, on the topic of  “Rotary’s Effort to Provide Clean Water to Schools in the Developing World.” The speaker will be Bob Mohr from the Colonie-Guilderland Club, representing Pure Water for the World Inc. The subtitle of his talk is “The Right Way, The Wrong Way (What Works and What Doesn’t).” The one-hour event will begin promptly at noon on Wednesday, April 20, at the American Legion Zaloga Post, 4 Everett Road Ext., Albany. Admission is $20. The menu includes sausage and peppers, vegetarian baked ziti, tuna salad, tossed salad, mixed fresh fruit and cookies. Reservation deadline is this Friday. Call (489-4499) or email ( Bill Nathan. The event is open to non-Rotarians as well.

GRANTS TRAINING — Five members attended the District 7190 Grants Training Workshop last Saturday at Skidmore College, which now qualifies us to submit grant requests. Terry said he’ll report to the members in the next few weeks some grant ideas.

FUNDRAISING BUFFET — Debbie Brown reported that she and Peter attended the Returned Peaces Corps Volunteers’ fundraiser on behalf of the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. She said the goal was to raise $1,300, but more than $4,000 was raised. (See next item.)

Pocket Change JugPOCKET CHANGE FOR … — This annual fundraiser, begun by April Dowd during her presidency, this year is supporting the Down’s Syndrome Buddy Walk. Because that event is coming up soon, Terry said we’ll cut off the donations for it in two weeks, but then will continue the weekly contributions through May and June on behalf of the Freedom From Fistula Foundation. Previous “Pocket Change For … ” donations have gone to the Wildwood School’s autism program and The Great American Milk Drive. Each new club president selects the recipient at the start of the new Rotary Year.

RONALD McDONALD HOUSE DINNER — A contingent from the club will prepare a dinner at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany on Thursday, May 12. Signed up so far are Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Debbie Brown, and Mike Dewey. We need one or two more volunteers, so anyone interested should contact coordinator Debbie Rodriguez. The team will report to the facility at 4 p.m.

DAY OF SERVICE — Rotary has designed Saturday, May 7, as a day of service on poverty projects. Terry asked Bill Dowd to speak with Circles of Mercy to ascertain the potential for a joint effort that day.

Screen shot 2016-04-15 at 10.31.49 AMSCIENCE TEAM SUPPORT — Once again, a Columbia High School team has won the Division C title in the New York State Science Olympiad and is raising funds to go to the national competition in May. The club agreed to donate $200 to that effort. Columbia outscored 53 other schools in 25 categories ranging from “Air Trajectory” to “Wright Stuff.”

OFFICER SLATE — We still are accepting potential candidates for office for the next two Rotary Years. Anyone interested in being considered as President-elect and Vice President please see any member of the Nominating Committee — Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, or Murray Forth — ASAP. We will vote on a slate at our May 26 meeting, in accordance with our bylaws.

PROGRAMS — All members with assigned program dates are asked to provide Debbie Rodriguez with details on speakers and topics for May and June ASAP.

NEXT MEETINGS — There are two next Thursday. At the 7 a.m. breakfast meeting at the Greenbush YMCA, John Sawchuk and Jim McHugh will speak on education today. At the 6:15 p.m. dinner at Quigley’s, we will have a speaker from the Rhinebeck Aerodrome with a presentation on “Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis.” We are expecting a contingent from the Lansingburgh club to join us for that event.

And, remember, we now are using the Quigley’s entrance that leads directly into the meeting room, rather than having to trek through the bar and dining areas. Just look for this sign and ignore the “Please use other door” instruction.

Come on in!


Tuesday RSVP for Thursday dinner

Screen shot 2016-04-12 at 3.56.29 PMWhat’s on the menu for our 6:15 dinner at Quigley’s this Thursday?

After a meal of baked salmon, veggies, salad, bread, and beverages, Ray Hannan will introduce Julia Goodwin, who was one of our dinner guests last fall. This time around, she’ll be making a presentation on the poverty-wracked African nation of Sierra Leone.

As always, please be sure you have emailed your dinner reservation, and included any guest you may be bringing, to dinner coordinator Debbie Brown at NO LATER than this Tuesday evening.

Save the date for mixing the ‘old’ and the new

Socializing Old Time

If you have not already saved the date for an “SRC Rotary Social Mixer” on Saturday, April 23, today is the day to do so.

With the rapid expansion our club is undergoing — 15 new members in the 2015-16 Rotary Year so far, Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane thought it time to be sure we get to know one another better. Here’s their invitation:

“This is an opportunity for the new members of Rotary to meet the ‘old’ Rotary members in a more social and relaxed setting. Members and their significant others are invited to attend.

“This not a dinner. The hosts are providing beverages and guests are asked to bring an appetizer [serving six]. Looking forward to meeting everyone.”

The other details:

When: 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23
Where: Residence of Roberto Martinez, 624 Miller Road, East Greenbush
RSVP: No later than April 15 to either Roberto (479-0305 — or Jim (477-4881 —

Meeting of 4/7/16: ‘2nd annual Trivia Test’

Screen shot 2015-05-22 at 12.44.07 PMMeeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush, NY
April 7, 2016

Members Attending (21): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, April Dowd, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Dick Drumm, Ron Annis, Melissa Bill, Dean Calamaras, Marko Koshykar, Andy Leyhane, Charlie Foote, Stewart Wagner, Roberto Martinez, David Taylor, Ray Hannan, Julius Frankel.

Guests (5): Maggie Forth, Jeremy Forth, Michaela Rossetti, Mark Rossetti, Karen Rossetti.

PROGRAM: “The 2nd annual Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test”

Jim Leyhane shows off his first-place prize awarded by quizmaster Bill Dowd.
Jim Leyhane shows off his first-place prize awarded by quizmaster Bill Dowd.

Bill Dowd, who initiated the event last year, presided as quizmaster and presented a wide range of questions in five categories:

• movies
• uncommon words
• sports
• astronomy
• food and drink

Questions ranged from difficult to a bit easier to simple. All enjoyed the challenge. In a very tight competition, Jim Leyhane emerged as the winner, followed by Marko Kosyhkar, and Terry Brewer. Each received a prize. Jim, incidentally, finished third last year in the inaugural event.

Here’s a montage of what went on.


Trivia Montage


BIRTHDAY — President Terry Brewer opened the meeting by wishing Jim Leyhane a happy birthday, and an impromptu round of “The Happy Birthday Song” ensued.

Michaela Rosetti, seen here with her parents Mr. and Mrs. Mark Rosetti, is our latest Youth Exchange student.
Michaela Rosetti, seen here with her parents Mark and Karen, is our latest Youth Exchange student. She will study in Italy.

YOUTH EXCHANGE — We were introduced to Michaela Rossetti, a senior at Maple Hill High School, who the club is sponsoring for a year’s study in Italy. Michaela, who was accompanied by her parents, said she is deferring the start of her college studies at Niagara University by a year to participate in the exchange program. She said she applied because she had heard very good things from acquaintances who had spent a year abroad under the Rotary program, and was happy that she got Italy, her first choice, although she does not yet know which city she’ll call her temporary home.  The club will be working with Maple Hill in the next school year to help host a student from abroad. … A.J. Amato reminded members of the document shredding day he’ll be holding on Saturday, April 30, at his place of business. A small donation will be requested from anyone using the service, with proceeds going toward funding our Youth Exchange efforts. The address is 4 Springhurst Drive, Suite 212, East Greenbush.

Terry reported on the breakfast service a club contingent performed at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany on April 2 (photos here). He, Betty Brewer, Geoff Brewer, Andy Leyhane, Murray Forth, and Shannon Romanowski participated. He said it was a quick and easy process, beginning at 7 a.m. and ending at about 9.

BUSINESS EXPO — Terry reported that of all the tables at the “2nd annual Business Expo” held by the Capital Region Rotary Club, only one was from a Rotary club — ours. Brochures and other information were distributed. Debbie Brown said she received some positive comments about the club from attendees at the event, held at the Radisson Hotel on Wolf Road in Colonie on Tuesday


MEMBERSHIP — We welcomed Julius Frankel back to the fold after a long absence. Julius has been attending dinner meetings for several weeks, and has submitted his application for reinstatement. That raises the number of members accepted into the club in this 2015-16 Rotary Year to 15. Also recognized were recently-inducted Rotarians Marko Koshykar and Andy Leyhane, who have been regulars at our monthly breakfast meetings.

SOCIAL EVENTS — The next member-hosted “Rotary Home Cooking” dinner will be at the Dowd residence on Saturday, April 16. Reservations are full. … A social mixer co-hosted by Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane will be held at Roberto’s residence from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23. The intent is to allow new and old Rotary members to get to know each other better. Although this is not a dinner event, attendees are asked to bring an appetizer serving six. Drinks and dessert will be provided. RSVPs are requested no later than April 15 with Roberto or Jim.

Screen shot 2016-04-08 at 10.19.33 AMDISTRICT CONFERENCE — The annual District 7190 event, this year titled “Mystery In the Woods,” is scheduled for May 13-15 at the High Peaks Resort in Lake Placid (details here). Terry said he hopes to present two special awards at that event — to Bill and April Dowd and to Murray Forth for their overall continuing work on behalf of the club and its programs and practices. He urged members to consider attending at least part of the conference. Charlie Foote, who said he has been to a number of such conferences, joined in by saying he found the events very worthwhile and that fellow members should consider attending.

FREE TICKETS — A reminder was issued that new member Becky Raymond has offered a pair of free tickets to a fundraiser for the Freedom From Fistula Foundation  (go here for a look at her recent presentation to the club on the topic) to be held on Tuesday, April 12, at the Hamilton Union Presbyterian Church on Route 20 in Guilderland, opposite the library. Anyone wishing to attend should contact Becky or Terry Brewer ASAP.

GRANTS TRAINING — Five members will be attending the annual District Grants Training Workshop at Skidmore College this Saturday. Any club that hopes to apply for a project grant in the next Rotary year must have at least two members attend this year’s training.

Effective on May 5, the price for our weekly dinners will go from $15 to $18 per person, the first increase in at least two decades. The higher price will give us access to a more varied menu selection.

Screen shot 2015-12-04 at 1.30.31 PMOFFICERS URGENTLY NEEDED — Bill Dowd reminded everyone that we are in need of three members, old or new, to step up to fill three club offices for the coming Rotary Years: a president-elect, a vice president, and an at-large board member. As of today, there has been virtually zero response. He noted that in addition to posting a request, and details about the offices, on the club’s website and Facebook page, he sent an email to every member. We face a May deadline set by our club bylaws to come up with a slate of officers. Please contact Bill or one of the other Nominating Committee members, Murray Forth and Jim Leyhane, ASAP if interested.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at Quigley’s.

RSVP by Tuesday for Thursday dinner

BannerTwo popular things are on the menu for this Thursday’s dinner meeting at Quigley’s: Chicken Parm and Trivia!

We’d like to get a strong turnout for the event, the 2nd annual “Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test,” and we’re especially hoping to see some of our “breakfast club” members join us for dinner.

Quigley’s Chicken Parm and all the fixin’s is a popular meal with Rotarians. And, since Rotarians like to have fun as well as good food, our trivia test is a casual, fun event, scored on the honor system, resulting in a good time plus prizes for the top three finishers.

The top three scorers from last year already have submitted their RSVPs — Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine, Ron Annis, and Jim Leyhane. Come on out and try to unseat them!

As always, please be sure to email dinner coordinator Debbie Brown at no later than Tuesday evening if you’re planning to attend — and if you’re planning to bring a guest.

SRC prepares breakfast at Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House in Albany.

A contingent from the Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club took over the communal kitchen at the Ronald McDonald House in Albany on Saturday morning.

Members Terry and Geoff Brewer, Shannon Romanowski, Murray Forth, and Andy Leyhane and guest Betty Brewer spent the early morning hours preparing breakfast for families staying at the facility while receiving attention at the nearby Albany Medical Center.

The Albany Ronald McDonald House, located at 139 South Lake Avenue, actually consists of three connected former residences adapted for no-fee, short-term use by families of critically ill children beset with medical expenses. It is operated by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region Inc.

Meals are provided by volunteers from the private sector and from a variety of local service organizations, many of them Rotarians. On Thursday, May 12, another contingent from our club will be preparing dinner there.

Here’s a look at the SRC breakfast crew in the kitchen.

RM 1
Murray Forth appears to have an audience shortly after the volunteer effort begins. Behind him, from left: Andy Leyhane, Betty Brewer, Shannon Romanowski, and Geoff Brewer.
RM 2
Murray, Andy, and Terry Brewer unpacking and prepping breakfast items.
RM 3
The five SRC volunteers stand behind their efforts.

5 days and counting …

Quiz SlideReady for next Thursday’s “2nd annual Great North American Whizbang Trivia Test” ?

It will begin right after our weekly dinner at Quigley’s, 593 Columbia Turnpike, East Greenbush. Assistant District Governor Bob Van Alstine, who won last year’s inaugural test, has promised to be on hand to defend his title. (Ron Annis and Jim Leyhane finished 2-3.)

For those Rotarians new to the test, the parameters are simple: a self-scored honor test of knowledge in five different categories, with fun prizes going to the top three finishers.

Guests are welcome, as is the case for all Rotary activities. But, as always we need to know who will be there for dinner (chicken parm this week) so we can give Quigley’s an accurate headcount. So, be sure dinner coordinator Debbie Brown has your names, guests’ names, etc., no later than this coming Tuesday evening. Her email address is

Oh, the categories? They are:

• Movies
• Uncommon Words
• Sports
• Astronomy
• Food & Drink