The Week: What Caught Our Eye

January 18, 2020

A dark colored wolf-dog hybrid sitting outside near a wooded area.DOG? WOLF? YEP.  Not all of the strays that end up at the Animal Protective Foundation in Glenville are traditional pets. Meet Gaia, a smart and beautiful six-month-old pup. She needed a good home, but she was so much more than a dog. APF’s team knew exactly how to care for her and where she belonged – and our team was pleased to help APF tell Gaia’s story.

THE BOOK DOCTORS: In a magic workshop in the woods of Indian Lake,  Jack and Taff Fitterer give new life to great books. They clean them, bind up their wounds and restore them to deserved glory, and their services are much in demand among book dealers and collectors, families and institutions from all over the country and as far away as Europe and Australia. In the Fitterers’ skilled hands, precious first editions, Bibles, children’s classics and family heirlooms are renewed in the same way Indian Lake restores tired souls. Remember the old Cowsills song about Indian Lake? “It’s a scene you should make …” if you treasure old books.

BONUS QUESTION: What are the 10 most checked-out books in the history of the New York City Public Library? Answers below.

LOCAL VOICES, NATIONAL BANTER: Washington’s American Enterprise Institute publishes an engaging weekly podcast that features thinkers and policymakers like George Will, Peggy Noonan, John Bolton, Paul Ryan, Andrew Sullivan and J.D. Vance. Called Banter, it’s the official podcast of AEI,  and this week it had a distinctly Upstate New York vibe with two millennials — Elise Stefanik of Schuylerville and Glens Falls native Max Frost — engaged in a thoughtful conversation on domestic and foreign policy issues and the rising role of millennials in American politics. At the time of her election, Elise was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress; Max is a widely traveled University of Virginia grad, AEI researcher and writer, co-host of Banter, and son of Sandra Hutchinson and Mark Frost of The Chronicle newspaper.

WHICH WAY TO PODUNK? For some, Podunk is a state of mind: A bleak, God-forsaken backwater where “(t)he scenery turns gray; the people lose their charm. You find yourself at a rest stop with no toilet paper, where the vending machine eats your last single.’’ But Podunk is a real place — several of them, actually. There’s one in Upstate New York, one in Connecticut, and one each in Vermont and Massachusetts. Meet Mark Twain, founder of Podunk.

A chef using a knife with a cutting board in a restaurant kitchen
“I try to be very loud with food, and I can't color inside the lines,” Park 26
Chef Colin Miner told an interviewer. "I want dinner to be an experience."

CHEF’S CHOICE: Colin Miner, the self-made, crank-your-taste-buds-up-to-10 chef de cuisine at the Queensbury Hotel’s Park 26, is honored as one of seven rising star chefs in the Capital Region at Albany’s Wine and Dine for the Arts festival. Chef Miner has transformed dining at the Q: Think duck foot caramel and lobster meat grilled inside a banana peel. Over the last 10 years, the Wine and Dine event has raised $1 million for Albany arts organizations.

MONDAY MORNING COMING DOWN: Monday morning began with a little rock and roll in the North Country, a magnitude 3.4 earthquake along the New York-Quebec border. It was the second quake in January in the Adirondacks, one of the Northeast’s more seismically active regions.

THERE’S A PLANE DOWN IN THE HUDSON: US Airways Flight 1549 was in the air for less than five minutes when, 11 years ago this week, it struck a flock of birds and lost both engines. Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger guided the plane into the frigid Hudson River, saving 155 passengers. New York news radio station WCBS reporters remember the day.

AT HOME IN THE HUDSON VALLEY: It’s not the Hamptons (you’ll need an EZ-Pass, not the Jitney), but bucolic Hudson Valley towns are increasingly the choice of New York creative professionals trading concrete for chic country, people who want to work, relax and put down roots in towns and cities once left for dead but now very much alive.

… And more people are on their way. Forbes has just named the Hudson Valley one of the top places to visit in 2020.

WHY WE HIRE INTERNS: Scarsdale’s Wolf Cukier joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as a summer intern, assigned to examine variations in star brightness. Three days into the job, he noticed an anomaly in the data generated by NASA’s planet-hunting technology. He had discovered a planet 1,300 light-years from Earth with a sun 10% more massive than ours. He and his colleagues are publishing what Wolf did on his summer vacation.

A CAPITAL IDEA? Might it protect the environment, reduce traffic, and make a policy difference to the lives of Bay Staters if Massachusetts’ capital were moved from Beacon Hill to the Berkshires? Yes, Boston is the beacon of Massachusetts, but must it also be its capital? New York’s capital, after all, is not New York City.

INVESTMENT CLIMATE: Larry Fink runs the largest investment management company in the world, Blackrock, with $6 trillion under management from customers in the U.S. and 100 other countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. His annual letter to the world’s CEOs gets lots of attention, and this year’s drew even more: He declared “we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance” because of climate change. Will municipalities at risk for floods or fires be able to finance infrastructure? Will the 30-year mortgage disappear if homeowners can’t get insurance against climate risks?


AN OLYMPIC STRUGGLE: After 20 years of sacrifice and struggle, Jack Hatton was on the verge of making his first Olympic team. And then, suddenly, inexplicably, all the promise was gone, replaced by darkness and a family’s heartbreaking search for answers. NBC Sports’ Tim Layden chronicles the life and loss of a gifted Saratoga County athlete — and the lessons for all of us.

THE SPIRIT OF RUSH: He wrote of unrest in the forest, the trouble with the trees. For the maples want more sunlight / And the oaks ignore their pleas / The trouble with the maples / And they're quite convinced they're right / They say the oaks are just too lofty / And they grab up all the light / But the oaks can't help their feelings / If they like the way they're made / And they wonder why the maples can't be happy in their shade? They are the words of Rush drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, #4 on Rolling Stone’s list of greatest rock ’n’ roll drummers of all time, who died last week.

A WRITER IN SPRING: Geoffrey Chaucer knew how to write about the weather. He opened “The Canterbury Tales” thus: “Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote / that droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote …”  Journalist Ken Fuson had the knack, too. With a single sentence, he once turned a surprising 70-degree day in Iowa’s March into a reason to live.

LITTLE JOHN IS IN THE HOUSE: John Oliver is back – not the comedian, John Oliver Zippay, the cherubic kindergartner. He beat leukemia and now he’s back to school, back with his peeps, back where he belongs. And the welcome he got will, well, you’ll just have to watch …


IT’S NOT JUST WHAT YOU SAY: In the crazy, chaotic, overbooked life of a CEO, there’s often too little time to listen deeply. Writer and executive coach Lolly Daskal reminds us that the “best leaders (listen) more than they speak, and they’re attentive to the person who is in front of them. Your full presence is among the most important gifts you can give.”

MEASURES OF TRUST: The sine qua non of leadership success is trust. Yet trust, so essential from the very beginning, often is earned only over time, tested every day and easily lost. How to be a leader in whom others consistently place their trust.

PAIS BONITO: Florida, Arizona or Hawaii … possible retirement destinations? International Investment says the best places on the planet to retire include Portugal, Panama and Costa Rica. Take a look.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
— Dr. Martin Luther King

Each of us, a cell of awareness imperfect and incomplete / 
genetic blends with uncertain ends /
On a fortune hunt that's far too fleet
— Neil Peart


WHY BUY WHEN YOU CAN RENT? If you’ve been thinking about adding chickens to your nest, now you can do it on a wing … and a prayer.


If on this winter day you guessed Ezra Jack Keats’ “The Snowy Day” was the most checked-out book in the history of the New York Public Library, you not only are right but you stack up in our book as this week’s Reader Leader. Here are the rest:


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