Finger Lakes

Finger Lakes

Section President Messages

Greetings fellow MBCA Finger Lakes Section members and a Happy New Year 2022.

We all thought Covid would be in the rearview mirror( or rear-view camera for some) by now. Fortunately, we can better visualize now than at this time last January what events can successfully occur. We want to schedule events that most will feel safe attending. We were successful this past year with events that followed masking and social distancing during our gatherings. We chose to  accommodate as best that we could by holding events that were more driving and outdoor gatherings that respected the current environment. We closed out the 2021 Events Schedule by holding our annual meeting in the beautiful small village of Clifton Springs at Warfield’s Restaurant & Bakery ( pictured above) in their separate banquet room, a room offering pleasant and ambient surroundings closed off from the other diners in our effort to respect social distance requirements.

It was at this meeting that event ideas were considered by using the past years’ schedule as a beginning point followed by members brainstorming ideas. Currently our schedule includes a June 1st FL MBCA-Western New York Lotus Club Joint  show Driving Education and Driving Event, the Sonnenberg Gardens Fathers’ Day car show, the annual picnic on July 10th at Red Kozinski’s home and a fall color tour in early October, sponsored and organized by Peggy Lopez Raffo. Our 2022 annual meeting will fall in early November (possibly Nov. 12 or 13th) at a time and place to be determined. The annual car shows in Syracuse and Rochester are on the agenda for February 10-13th and March 3-6th respectively. Other suggested ideas are a late spring tech session and a summer driving tour in August. The Seneca Falls Rotary Jazz Festival appears to be off the agenda at this point in time. Several of our own club members over the past years have volunteered to organize and coordinate such events as Ethan Fogg did with the Ontario County Historical Driving Tour, the Cars and Coffee gathering by Dave Tobin and our Fall Color Drive along Skaneateles Lake sponsored by Doug and Bea Archer in 2020 and by Don and Oscar in 2021. A tech session was suggested to be held at the Mercedes Benz of Rochester. Volunteers need to be found to sponsor and coordinate such.

Our club has succeeded the past two years because of the effort and commitment of our loyal members. Do you have an idea? Contact one of the club officers ( contact information found in this Tri-Star issue) with your thoughts about such an event. Please consider becoming more active in our section for all or some of our 2022 events. Mercedes Benz club members are wonderful people to spend time with.

Of additional interest we held elections during our November annual meeting. Long- time member Mel Dillon nominated Don Klug as president, new comer member Obed Opare-Sem for vice president, Peggy Lopez Raffo as treasurer and Bob Harradine as secretary. As no additional nominations were received Jan Driscoll motioned for the nominations to be closed and a unanimous vote be cast for the slate. A unanimous show of hands confirmed the election. Oscar Lopez Raffo has offered to continue as our web page  guru and Oscar and Peggy will continue as our news- letter editors. Thank you!  We want to again thank retiring past secretary-treasurer Judith Handzo for many-many years of service. Bob Harradine was gracious  to record our annual minutes and has been (and continues to be) busy with club membership efforts. I also want to thank all of our new officers for volunteering to help our club as we strive to meet your club expectations.  

Of course, we all are able to see that 2022 will be much improved in allowing gatherings as we see the pandemic devolve to allow greater social interaction. I, along with your fellow officers,  look forward with great enthusiasm to an  entertaining event filled FL MBCA year. 

Happy and safe driving,

Don Klug, FL MBCA Section President



President of Finger Lakes Section

Donald Klug

    Greetings fellow members of our wonderful Finger Lakes Section of Mercedes Benz Club of America. It has been a year of Mercedes Benz cars and friendship fun curtailed by the low attendance. Certainly, your club officers have a good idea what has caused hesitation. Our picnic was blessed by an all-day rain. The unexpected resurgence of the pandemic here in upstate New York, has no doubt provided pause. As a result, our schedule of events this past season, has become focused on driving events and gatherings that have been offered spacing for social distancing. 

     Our last 2021 event, which you do not want to miss,  is our “Annual Meeting” on Saturday November 13th at 1:30PM. This is the time we begin planning for 2022 gatherings. We need your thoughts and ideas regarding motoring and car inspired gatherings. 2021 has consisted of the following events: Cars and Coffee, April 10th in Horseheads at Tobin Motor Works, the annual Fathers’ Day Car Show at Sonnenberg Gardens, the annual picnic in Scottsville, the Ontario County Historical Tour with a very nice lunch stop in Clifton Springs, the Fall Color Tour along Skaneateles Lake and of course, our annual meeting.  

    The 2021 annual meeting will be in Clifton Springs, NY at Warfield’s Restaurant for a lunch paid for by your club, 2022 elections will be held and the afore mentioned discussion concerning next year’s events. Lunch details can be found elsewhere in the pages of this newsletter. We experienced the wonderful venue at Warfield’s Restaurant during the Ontario Historical Tour in mid- September. Excellent food, accommodations and service. This is the reason for returning to this colorful and attractive little village called Clifton Springs for our annual meeting.

   Currently our board of directors has been re-aligned to accommodate change. Judy Handzo has retired as secretary/ treasurer. Peggy Raffo has volunteered to handle club expenses as treasurer and arrangements have been made to transfer this responsibility with our banking institution. The new board alignment will consist of president, vice -president, secretary, treasurer and web master We have volunteers who have offered to serve as VP and Secretary, Obed Opare-Sem and Bob Harradine respectively. Oscar Lopez Raffo is happy to continue as our web master and Oscar and Peggy Lopez Raffo continue to serve admirably as our newsletter editors. 

    As always, Mercedes Benz owners are a very fun group of people to share time with. Please join me on November 13 in Clifton Springs. Thank you once again for allowing me to serve you as club president in 2021. I have had fun.

Happy and safe motoring,

Section President Don Klug, 2019-2021


President of Finger Lakes Section

Donald Klug

Presidents' 3rd Quarter 2021 Tri-Star Message

by Don Klug

    Summer is in full bloom in the Finger Lakes Region with Mercedes Benz Club ‘get-togethers’ and the fun of enjoying our cars and relishing each other’s company. We had a sun filled afternoon of enjoyment at the Sonnenberg Gardens Car Show in June (see page 3-4) and a few braved the rain at our annual picnic at Red Kosinski’s home in Scottsville on July11th (see page 6). Fortunately, we escaped the rains and celebrated under the roof of Red’s huge garage and all had an entertainment filled afternoon of hilarity and fellowship. Thank you Red, for sharing your home as a destination for our annual picnic over many years!! The MBCA event of the year is Mercedes Freude, National’s newest event, which is to be held in Hilton Head, South Carolina November 2nd-7th (see pages 9-11).

  Member Ethan Fogg is investigating a drive-in afternoon event for mid- August to early September, planned to match us up with at least one other area German car club. A restaurant lunch and a drive for ice cream will be the afternoons ‘flavor’. Sounds like fun to me! A repeat of our fall color tour of last October is scheduled for an October 2nd drive from Cortland to Skaneateles (see page 2 for details) and plans are percolating for our annual club business meeting in mid-November. We all look forward to seeing more of each other, in person, very soon.

   The section will keep you posted with messages from Oscar and Peggy, our newsletter editors extraordinaire, with the details as they focus. This is a great opportunity to ask the question, ‘Where would we be as a club if not for Oscar and Peggy Lopez Raffo?’  Their selfless volunteer efforts have kept our whole club membership informed and communicating with our Tri-Star newsletter throughout a very trying and unusual period. Oscar and Peggy, thank you and we are grateful for a job very well done.

   Have you been dreaming or pondering of an activity that you think the club would enjoy or even a fundraising activity where the dollars get donated to a charity?  Ideas and champions are always sought for events that you and fellow club members find entertaining; we welcome your input. After all, club events, fellowship, and shared stories concerning our beautiful cars are the reason for a car club.  Your thoughts are always welcome and may be shared by contacting President Don at [email protected] or Peggy &Oscar at  [email protected]

Happy driving,

Section President Don Klug 



President of Finger Lakes Section

Donald Klug


by Don Klug

Greetings fellow Finger Lakes Section MBCA Members,

What we think as normal is something we’re all looking forward to. It appears that some of the restrictions we have been living with are beginning to ease in 2021 with the introduction of the Covid vaccines. Progress!

However, the old normal has changed and as we regather for our social activities of club events expect to see some change.  Shown above is a picture of what a normal Mercedes Benz Grill used to look like. Of course, a Mercedes Benz grill looks a bit different today. Our new normal will no doubt be different too.

The Sonnenberg Gardens Fathers’ Day car show will be June 20th and our club has agreed to set up our regular club section to display our cars. The annual picnic will again be hosted by longtime member ‘Red’ Kosinski, at his home in Scottsville on July 11th. This event is always a top notch gathering. Red supplies the meats and the club supplies an assortment of refreshments. Bring a dish to pass and your bathing suit. Red’s pool is beautiful. This year the picnic will also serve as our annual meeting, albeit a short one.

National MBCA Director at Large Jim Roberts has arranged for the 2021 Performance Driving Event at Watkins Glen, now re-scheduled for July 25th. Our club, National and the Lotus, Ltd have held this event for many years now on one of the most desirable tracks in North America. Set your calendars for these events.

As a club, we want to return to something social and normal. This of course means that we need champions willing to coordinate other events between August and October. For instance, how about another car rally trip in September or October?. This can be discussed at our picnic/ annual meeting.

Another item in need of discussion is membership. Discussions have been ongoing this past year from National down to regional levels. I am sharing with you here some of the numbers provided by North East Regional Director Drew Webb in upstate New York as well as National. 

Our own FL Section has lost three members over all, dropping to 87. In 2020. Our neighbor to the west, Niagara Section have remained static at 110 while to the East, Hudson-Mohawk has increased 29 to a membership of 256.

Drew Webb also shared with all of the section presidents that at the end of 2020, MBCA National noted a member increase of 1,420 over 2019, an 8% increase. While this is good news, Drew Webb, noted that 3,489 new memberships in 2020 were from the rebate program offered through the National and Mercedes Benz dealerships partnership. National decided to shorten the lead time of membership that allowed  immediately joining MBCA at a dealership to obtain a significant discount on a new MB vehicle. The time requirement has now been extended back to 30 days; it remains to be seen how much that extra waiting time will affect the ongoing membership increases. I suspect our new member numbers from the program will decrease.

Let’s hope that it still contributes to a fair number of new members; our individual section challenge will still be to retain a fair number of these new members by making them feel valued and welcome. New members should feel so pleased with us that they will want to continue membership in the club. Of course, there may be several different characteristics to new members. People buying cars at the dealer may be different car buyers than many of today’s younger Mercedes Benz vintage car buyers. Elsewhere in this newsletter Dave Tobin has shared a message titled “Generation Shift”,  about who is purchasing vintage cars from long time Mercedes Benz’s owners and club members. Thank you, Dave.

Looking forward to sharing your most recent Mercedes Benz experiences. Happy driving.

President Don Klug



President of Finger Lakes Section

Don Klug

Greetings fellow MBCA Finger Lakes Section members,

 Welcome to 2021 and goodbye 2020!!

 This is usually the issue that we briefly review our past year and introduce our schedule of events for the next year. Even though we haven’t had much opportunity to gather this past year, the good news is that 2021 shows promise. We did manage to enjoy at least two events this year. Our Fall Color Tour Drive in October explored the route 41 corridor along Skaneateles Lake between Cortland and Skaneateles and was hosted by Doug and Bea Archer. It seems that driving our cars as a group, distinctively respects social distance guidelines.

Long time club member Dave Tobin invited FL Section members for a November 15th Coffee and Donuts event which offered the last opportunity to drive a summer car and visit his location in Horseheads. It was a rare opportunity to view beautiful antique cars. 

We had to unfortunately cancel the balance of our 2020 schedule. Yet, during this lapse in sharing events, your executive board has been active with plans for next year attending zoom meetings with Regional Director Drew Webb, who has kept us informed of National’s actions. It seems that income has been down enough that section rebates were reduced for the balance of 2020. A new national website is scheduled for 2021 and a new national rebate program for dealers of from $500 to $5,500 was initiated for new car buyers that required club membership. As a result, national club membership has increased 3.3% since August 31st. Our Northeast Regional membership increased by 62 members, a change of 5.6%. This very positive uptick may mean that National can restore local club rebates to their full share.

The 2021 Board will retain Judith Handzo as our Secretary/ Treasurer and Peggy and Oscar Raffo as section webmasters. The Handzo’s are planning to sell their home and move somewhere warm. As a result, we have openings at our executive level, Secretary/Treasurer position, I am told by Judith, the job requires little time.  Rather than burden with regular executive meetings we communicate as needed via e-mail and phone.  Volunteering at the executive level is its’ own reward and a wonderful way to meet so many people enjoying the marque automobile we all love to drive. Yours truly continues to carry on as your section president till our annual meeting.

Three 2021 events have been set and they are listed elsewhere in this Tri-Star issue. We are holding off on the opening of our schedule till June. Our annual meeting for 2021 will be on a date, time and location to be determined in June. Judy Handzo is investigating venues with an expected date announcement in our 2nd quarter Tri-Star Issue. The annual picnic will again be hosted by longtime member ‘Red” Kozinski on Sunday, July 11th.  National MBCA Director Jim Roberts asked if our club will host the 2021 Performance Driving Event at Watkins Glen on Wednesday June 16th. Our club, National and the Lotus, Ltd have held this event for many years now on one of the most desirable tracks in North America. Set your calendars for these events.

We are open to ideas and coordinators for dates in August thru October. A Fall Color Tour is always a ‘crowd pleaser’ which simply needs someone to coordinate. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 315-785-8800 with your thoughts for additional 2021 club events.

Now, allow me to again share some famous words of our past president Bob Handzo, “Enjoy the rest of winter, in the sunny south (Mercedes weather) or the blustery north (possible Mercedes Benz weather with the right vehicle and Blizzak snow tires). Remember the good times had by all when the FLMBCA will gather sooner than we all think”.

  Another reminder, if your membership is coming due, please renew.   Be safe, be healthy and have a wonderful holiday season.

All the Best,

Section President Don Klug




President of Finger Lakes Section

Don Klug