The Week: What Caught Our Eye

October 19, 2019

Photo of fall leaves on trees on an island in a reservoirPeaceful now, but how about that Bomb Cyclone that dropped in this week? (John Bulmer)

THE ANGEL GABRIEL: Sometimes adversity unlocks the deep generosity reposing in a human heart. Meet Lilly. She’s 14 and on a ventilator. She will be confined to a nursing home the rest of her life. Her mom was killed in the accident in which she was grievously hurt. But Lilly is not her loss; she is her dream.  Now meet her guardian angel, Gabriel, 16, an Albany high school student, who has a rare genetic condition that neither defines him nor limits his inventive and generous spirit. Gabe recognized that Lilly needed need some help to realize her dream. Here’s what he did.

A long communal dining table set up in a barnDiscover fresh tastes and friends at the Dancing Ewe’s communal table.

A barn with stonework in the front and red wood paneling in the back.Charming June Farms hosts events and offers dinners,
cocktails and rustic accommodations.

WHERE FARM AND TABLE MEET: For foodies who crave ever-more-authentic experiences, two Capital Region restaurants are tops in the field, setting the standard for dining on the farm. At the Dancing Ewe in Granville, as authentic as it gets, Luisa and Jody Somers craft cheeses from the sheep they raise, make salumi from pigs they feed whey, and produce olive oil from perfectly ripened olives. The Somers rescued a dilapidated farm and created Dancing Ewe to offer delightful weekend Tuscan dinners at communal tables, sell fine imported wines, lead food tours of Italy, and sell woolen goods. Not far away, in West Sand Lake, the restaurant and entertainment imaginator Matt Baumgartner has created a charming gentleman’s farm on 120 acres. June Farms offers weekend dinners, handcrafted cocktails and beautifully rustic accommodations. It hosts weddings and special events beside pastures where heritage breeds graze. If you enjoy food and love gorgeous settings, you must care about farms and these two are worth checking out before the season ends.

WADE TIL YOU HEAR THIS: Millennials are tying flies and seeking the peace found only while wading waist-deep in sound-canceling rushing water. Fly fishing is hot. Boutique hotels are offering lessons. So, grab a vest and stick a speckled rooster feather in your hair. Welcome to the gentle, new stream-to-table sport.

BABY BRAINS: The fastest learners in the universe insist on eating at 4 a.m. They crawl among us, are strapped into car seats, and blissfully nap in their cribs. Babies learn faster and make intellectual connections faster than any form of artificial intelligence, and they draw better conclusions from messier data. That’s why scientists are turning to the crib to learn how to make machines smarter.

ALL BRAND NEWELL: Musician — the term is way too narrow to truly capture him — Jonathan Newell is bringing the music back to his hometown Hudson Falls, one big dream, one perfect note, one restored building at a time. In a 1923 building on Main Street, he tore away the sheetrock and fake ceiling and discovered a 350-seat theater with a decorative ceiling, grand foyer, crystal chandeliers and strong acoustics. He has led the effort to restore its glory, and now, the Strand Theatre, which screened its first film in 1923, is back.

SNOW ON THE ROOF, FIRE IN THEIR HEARTS: In a small rural community, you do what’s necessary to help your neighbors. That’s why, in the lakeside community of Huletts Landing, when they put out a call for volunteer firefighters, retired doctors, lawyers, teachers and a funeral director showed up. Experienced guys, in their 60s to 80s. They are breathing new life into the volunteer department.

A view of fall foliage and Lake George from a road along a hill.Colors light up the mountains ringing Lake George as beautifully as any sunset,
as seen from Bolton Landing.

THE YEAR-ROUND PLACE TO BE: Under new CEO Elizabeth Sobol, Labor Day no longer brings down the curtain at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. SPAC, easing gracefully into middle age at 53, is pulsing with the energy of an amped-up rocker. After a summer with a record number of premiers, it’s now moving into new year-round offerings (Vienna Boys Choir, Nutcracker, live jazz and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s performing Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos), new lectures and concerts, new venues and refurbished facilities for community engagement and educational programming, new partnerships with non-profits and cultural organizations. Plus, it’s looking to end the year in the black.


PRINCE OF THE PASQUINADE: For 55 years, Dana Fradon sought to create the honest, fair humane society to which we all give lip service. He worked only with a pen. Those were his cartoons in The New Yorker.

WASHINGTON WHO? Why have so many of us forgotten Washington Irving? His books were wildly popular, his characters Rip Van Winkle and Ichabod Crane legends of American literature. His Hudson Valley places are well known. He bequeathed to very Sleepy Hollow a ghostly tourist attraction that draws thousands year round. So, why do we overlook the man who invented Knickerbocker?

WHO DOES HE LIKE THIS WEEK? If Pope Francis has a football team, it really ought to be the Saints.

FAWNING OVER THEM: The sky was dark with a brewing storm and the three babies needed a warm place to stay. See what happened when a wildlife rehabilitator left the back door open.

SAVING TURTLES: Turtle populations are declining worldwide, but veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators at Cornell University have found a way to save some in Upstate New York. When pregnant turtles are killed crossing roads, they carefully remove their fertilized eggs and incubate them before releasing the hatchlings to the world.

FLIGHT TO NOWHERE: It was hailed in 1967 as America’s biggest airline project ever: The world’s first commercial jet with an afterburner, optimized to cruise at Mach 2.7 at 60,000 to 70,000 feet, America’s answer to Europe’s Concorde and the Soviet Union’s Tupolev Tu-144. The four-engine 2707 was designed to carry 350 people at 1,800 miles per hour. It never left the ground.

BOB’S YOUR MILKMAN: This news is so old it’s curdled. If you live in Upstate New York and you’d like fresh milk delivered to your door, give King Brothers Dairy a tinkle on the blower and you can drink like a king. Or you can call Battenkill Valley Creamery, and they’ll deliver in a bottle milk that was in a cow less than eight hours ago. Now, our British brethren have rediscovered the milk man and he’s the bee’s knees.

YOU BEST BE CHILLIN’: It’s counter-intuitive, but consumers seem to attribute greater value to objects that are cold to the touch.  Here’s a test: When you land on a toilet seat in a public bathroom, do you prefer a cold seat or warm one? Do we have to call it cold? How about “thermally exclusive?”

LOGOS, PATHOS, ETHOS: Do you remember Nike before the swoosh? Pepsi Cola before it dumped Cola? How about those McDonald’s Custom-Built Hamburgers?


ON THE MARK: Leadership lessons from the last and perhaps most respected Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius: Great leadership begins from within. Take stock of your biases and blind spots. Assess your shortcomings. Keep your emotions in check. Reflect, reflect, reflect. He is reputed to have said: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.”

HAND IT OFF: Women are less likely to delegate than men, perhaps because they view delegation as a kind of assertive behavior that may draw criticism. Problem is that delegating less keeps them tied to the desk, not engaging in the big-picture strategizing, mentoring and networking that may open up more opportunities.


“Some people are afraid of generosity. They feel they will be taken advantage of or oppressed. In cultivating generosity, we are oppressing only our greed and attachment. This allows our true nature to come out and become lighter and freer.”
— Ajahn Chah


UPSTATE FUN: Come on, upstate New York. We’re making it way too easy on those Saturday Night Live funsters. Chuckin’ pumpkins? Next, they’ll have us tipping cows.

PLEASE SHARE: Feel free to pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU to our contributors: John Brodt, Bill Richmond, Bill Callen, Lisa Fenwick, Colleen Potter, Tina Suhocki and John Bulmer.

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 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. 

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