The Week What Caught Our Eye

October 10, 2020

image001.jpgViolence rained from the sky in the Capital Region this week. Weather spotter and photographer
John Bulmer found wonder in the violence. (
John Bulmer)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

The East End of Glens Falls was the beginning for Joe Bruno. In those Depression and War years,
it was home to Sullivans, Singletons, Buckleys and Behans. Around the block were the Scarsellettas, Falcones, Faranos and Brunos. Immigrants all. Modest and proud. Joe Bruno’s family had it particularly hard, but nobody had it easy. Struggle knew every address. Hardship tied families together, and the old-neighborhood friendships lasted forever. Being an East Ender meant you stood for hard work and loyalty. He rose to become one of the most powerful political figures in New York State, but as historian Maury Thomspon recounts, Joe Bruno wore that badge proudly.

SNOW KIDDING: The first snow of the season typically shows up in early October in the higher elevations of the Adirondacks, and this year, for once, something happened the way it’s supposed to.

WANTED: TREE DOCTORS: The Glens Falls Chronicle’s Mark Frost is pursuing a major exclusive: the discovery of wooly adelgid on Dome Island in Lake George, the Nature Conservancy’s triumph of preservation. Hemlocks aren’t the only species of trees threatened by invasive species, climate change and a host of other challenges. Talk to tree experts in the Northeast and they’ll tell you the health of the region’s forests has been better.

Newcomb2.jpgFrom Newcomb, an Adirondack vacation for your eyes and your spirit. (Kevin Kelly/Crown Focus Media)

GET OUT: Swept up in the spectacle of fall foliage? Colors are popping in Upstate New York. This weekend they may hit peak in the southern Adirondacks. Ride along as  The New York Times takes a richly detailed spin through six splendid autumn drives and hikes. Be warned: After reading the first entry, you may be tempted to drop what you’re doing and head to The Berkshires.

AND CONSIDER THIS: Fall fishing. It’s the season normally associated with big-game hunting, but outdoors expert Don Lehman says this may be the best time of the year to catch trout, salmon, bass, pike and even the elusive walleye.

CRIPPLING RIPPLES: The florist. The tap cleaner. The linen supplier. The accountant. The news about restaurants in the United States is grim, as is business for those who make a living serving them.

FEEDING THE COMMUNITY: Beech-Nut Nutrition Company put together a two-day drive-thru food distribution in Amsterdam, an event that drew 1,000 local families.

COPY THAT: A doctoral student in England studying the life and work of the great American artist Edward Hopper discovered that three of his earlier works were essentially copies of prior paintings. Kim Conaty, curator of drawings and prints at the Whitney Museum in New York, told The New York Times the copying “cuts straight through the widely held perception of Hopper as an American original.” 

HANG TIME: A pet genetics company (who knew?) is out with a survey that shows that nearly three-quarters of dog owners admit to canceling plans with others so they could hang out with their dogs. Not surprising to some of us, the news for cats wasn’t as good — only 32% of cat owners copped to bailing on two-legged friends to spend time with the cat (though we’re guessing a survey of cats would find that 100% could not care less).

ADK-9: Who can resist a name like that? A new hiking challenge called the ADK-9 invites dog owners to hike what it calls a series of nine dog-friendly peaks in the Adirondacks. Those who hike all nine with receive an ADK-9 patch, sticker and roster number.

THE KID’S ALL RIGHT: Time to check in on Atlanta Braves rookie Ian Anderson, the 2016 Shenendehowa High School graduate who rose quickly through the organization to make his major league debut this season. Regular season: 3 wins, 2 losses, an ERA under 2.00 (sensational), 41 strikeouts in just over 32 innings pitched. Impressive. But mediocre compared to what he has done in the playoffs. In two starts, both victories, the 22-year-old has given up 5 hits and 0 runs in 11 2/3 innings with 17 strikeouts. Opponents (these are playoff teams, remember) are batting .125 against him. And to make it even better, he’s sharing the experience with a childhood friend and high school classmate, who also happens to make a living as a professional athlete in Atlanta.

HELPING IDEAS FLOURISH: The headline is blunt and to the point: Being Smart is Not Enough. It’s atop a thoughtful essay that reminds organizations that, while great ideas are important, it takes work — and a different skill set — to spread them around.

QUEENS CONNECTION: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, which has manufacturing operations in East Greenbush and has been in the news because it provided an experimental drug cocktail used to treat President Trump’s COVID-19, is led by two scientists and executives who share roots in Queens.

MATH PROBLEM: A pair of researchers in New England reached a startling conclusion when it comes to child safety seats. They found that such seats saved 57 children’s lives in 2017, but that far fewer children are born — an estimated 8,000 in 2017 alone — because of them. The reason: Most sedans can fit only two child safety seats in the back, so parents who drive them are choosing to delay having a third child or not having them at all.

A THREAD OF DESPERATION: A community has sprouted on Reddit where unemployed people gather to share their fears, swap advice or just to vent. “I have $2,000 in bills due next week and literally $40 sitting in my bank account. I’ve been living on dry Cheerios,” one wrote. Another suggested selling plasma, an old standby for hungry college students, but with this helpful advice: “You need to have a good breakfast and at least a gallon of water the day prior.” The thread continues to add subscribers, all of whom seem to share a sense they’ve been abandoned.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL: Remember that? No one knows what holiday travel will look like this year. Will the airports be ghost towns? Will airfares bottom out or rise as they typically would? A lot of questions remain, but if you’re thinking about holiday travel, this is a good place to start.

DINGING VERIZON: From the New York State DEC Forest Ranger Highlights this week comes word of a wilderness rescue that was delayed because of poor guidance from a certain very prominent cellular service provider. The item notes that the hiker got lost while walking to a trailhead in the Town of Schroon. Attempts to locate him that evening using cellphone coordinates and a foot search were unsuccessful, so he spent the night in the woods. The next morning, “While Essex County 911 had Verizon ping the lost man's cell phone, the hiker texted Forest Rangers his coordinates from the compass application on his phone. The coordinates from the phone were 3.4 miles away from the coordinates provided by Verizon.” Forest Rangers responded to the coordinates he provided and everyone was out in time for lunch.

HAPPY TIME: Given a choice between a job with the local government where she grew up and a chance for higher pay and more prestige elsewhere, Ashley Whillans made the choice many young people would make. She quickly learned some very important lessons about happiness that she is now sharing with others, including in a new book.

OUTDOOR ADVOCATES: Several outdoors-lifestyle brands, including Orvis, L.L. Bean and Keen, are taking part in an initiative to encourage employees and customers to vote, including delayed store openings on election day.

image006.jpgIt ought to be a country song: An old truck full of flowers, one of autumn’s finest hours. At Bowman Orchards in Rexford. (Skip Dickstein)


IF YOU ARE a child of the ’70s or ’80s, and a fan of rock music, odds are you can still draw Van Halen’s iconic VH logo from muscle memory. This week the band’s legendary guitarist and co-namesake, Eddie Van Halen, died after battling cancer. The flamboyant virtuoso known for his speed and unique fingering style leaves behind a Hall of Fame catalog of solos, from “Ice Cream Man,” “Hot For Teacher” and “Panama” to the iconic “Eruption.” On a short list of all-time guitar greats that includes Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, he was 65.

JOHNNY NASH helped popularize reggae in the U.S. with his chart-topping “I Can See Clearly Now” in 1972, which endures today as an uplifting anthem of optimism and renewal. He was an early booster of Bob Marley in a career that included acting and record-label ownership. He released only one album after 1979, largely retiring to his home in Texas.

EDWARD CHARLES FORD grew up in Astoria, Queens, idolizing Joe DiMaggio. A high school first baseman, he attended an open tryout in 1946 at Yankee Stadium, and while he didn’t hit well enough to play first base as a professional, a scout noticed he had a strong left arm. Six months later, he had a $7,000 signing bonus, and by July 1950, Eddie Ford was in the big leagues. It was only later that the nickname Whitey stuck, to be joined in the mid-50s by Chairman of the Board. He won a record 10 World Series games, which included a string of 33 2/3 scoreless innings, and his 236 regular-season victories remain the most in Yankees history.

JIM DWYER thought he was on his way to becoming a doctor. Then he caught the journalism bug. He told New York’s toughest stories in careful, vivid prose that jolted the reader into experiencing the many trials and injustices of life in one of the world’s great metropolises. A gifted observer and chronicler who was a Pulitzer Prize winner, he was a master at finding the small details that illuminated the bigger picture.


“Oh, yes, I can make it now the pain is gone / All of the bad feelings have disappeared / Here is that rainbow I've been praying for / It's gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day. “

—   “I Can See Clearly Now,” Johnny Nash.

TO CELEBRATE OR TO MOURN: For you, is this weekend a time to celebrate the great Italian explorer or a time to mourn the violent history of the early Americas?

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Troy Burns, Mark McGuire, John Bulmer, Skip Dickstein, Kevin Kelly, Matt Behan, Bill Richmond, Kelly Donahue, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, Tara Hutchins, and Claire P. Tuttle.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value or interest to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

Let’s make it a conversation:

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