The Week: What Caught Our Eye

October 23, 2021

A sunset over a lake, with autumn trees in the background“It's the hour when night breaks away from the day, my dove, let me go.’’ Jean Genet (John Bulmer)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends,

The approaching end of Daylight Saving Time has us thinking about time, and not just because those of us in the Northeast will soon be using our headlights at 4:30 in the afternoon.

The falling back of the clocks, even if it’s in the middle of the night, gives us an extra hour in our day. Whether you use it to take a walk, write a letter, call an old friend or relax with family, how about investing it in something that will pay dividends long after the hour has passed?

’S NO WAY: If the earlier sunsets aren’t enough of a reminder, winter is on the way. But does it have to be in such a hurry

DOGS’ BEST FRIENDS: Anyone who has owned a pet knows the heavy sadness of saying goodbye when it’s time to cross the Rainbow Bridge. So imagine the kind of fortitude and compassion it takes to foster sick older dogs, a labor of love in action. To date, Chris and Mariesa Hughes of Clifton Park, N.Y., have rescued more than 600 dogs through their Mr. Mo Project, inspired by the loss of their pit bull, Moses, in 2012.

LOVE LETTER: If you’re around Lake George and start noticing more Pennsylvania license plates, this may be why. Anthony Conroy, a journalist with the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, was invited by Honda to test drive a motorcycle and review it. He made the journey to Americade, the annual gathering of motorcycle enthusiasts, and found a lot to love up and down the lake, from historic venues to hiking, ice cream and unique gifts. “I started coming here 25 years ago with my father,” Edward Goddeau of Plattsburgh, N.Y., told Conroy. “Ever since then, it’s a been a ritual. You come down here and enjoy the peace and relaxation, and the company of family. The people of Lake George are incredible.” We agree.

SAFE PASSAGE: 2020 was, in the words of wildlife biologist Greg LeClair, “a great year to be an amphibian.” And for deer, turkeys, moose and other creatures that cross our roadways. Salamanders and frogs move from their forested homes to puddles and ponds to breed, but unlike their larger cousins in the animal kingdom, drivers typically have no idea they’re even there. The pandemic-related reduction in traffic caused about a 50% reduction in the number of amphibians crushed on Maine roads.

WHITEFACE FACELIFT: The Olympic Regional Development Authority, which manages recreational activities at Whiteface and Gore mountains as well the Olympic training venues in and around Lake Placid, is planning significant upgrades to Whiteface in advance of the 2023 Winter World University Games, an 11-day international festival and competition. Plans include a new ski lift and wider trails.

BOILER UP! Purdue University had a moment last weekend. The football team, typically middling and occasionally good, traveled to the University of Iowa and pounded the previously undefeated and second-ranked Hawkeyes 24-7. What could be better? A Purdue lineman picking up a thrown beer can and showering himself with its contents, and a viral tweet cheekily bragging that the Boilermakers had “just beat the No. 2 out of Iowa,” that’s what.

A poster with a drawing of a gibbon and a sign reading: "Stay tuned for more about these amazing apes as we celebrate International Gibbon Day - October 24, 2021GIBBON ’EM THEIR DUE: Sunday is World Gibbon Day, in honor of the most endangered primate in the world. Apes and gorillas grab all the attention. Gibbons console themselves with the knowledge that they are the true rulers of the jungle. They use their hands and long arms to swing through treetops at up to 35 mph as high as 200 feet above the forest floor. To put that into perspective, Usain Bolt’s record-breaking sprint clocked in at just 23 mph.

HOT JOBS: The Modern Welding School in Schenectady, N.Y., a private career training school founded in 1936, is working to increase enrollment among women, a national trend as the industry confronts what is expected to be a severe shortage in the next five years. Seven of the 70 students currently enrolled are women; about one in 20 welders nationwide is a woman. “I am not a man in a man’s field,” student Alyson Manchester told Spectrum News, “but with a trade, that’s something you can prove.”

HEAT AND LIGHT: Renewable energy projects — solar and wind, especially — take a lot of space, cost a lot of money and create new tax revenue to support local goods and services. Rural areas have lots of space and, typically, not a large tax base. But where some see alignment — achieving renewable energy goals while investing in under-resourced rural areas — opponents see only ugly scars on the land. There appears to be an emerging tension in rural America between addressing climate change – a goal most U.S. citizens support – and age-old “not in my backyard” tendencies rooted in concerns about aesthetics and land-use traditions. 

A SISTER’S WISH: Civil rights champion Susan B. Anthony died before the major goal of her life’s work was achieved: Passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women to vote. But there was something else she desired dearly, something more personal: She yearned to add her brother’s name to the monument in the rural cemetery in Battenville, Washington County, N.Y., where her father and grandfather were buried. Now, 116 years later, the Willard Mountain Daughters of the American Revolution have granted her wish.

WHAT GOES AROUND: Michael Thompson spent more than 25 years in a Michigan prison after selling three pounds of marijuana to a confidential informant, which led to a search of his home and felony gun charges. Granted clemency by the governor, he was a 70-year-old with nothing but a duffel bag and nowhere to go. Today, he works for a cannabis entrepreneur, traveling to marijuana dispensaries across the state to talk with customers about prison reform.

WASHED AWAY: Eminent domain — the right of a government or its agent to take private property for public use, with compensation — traditionally has been used to make way for new roads and other infrastructure, government buildings and other projects said to be in the public’s interest. Dams and their reservoirs took out entire communities, covering them in thousands of acres of water, as with the Ashokan Reservoir north of New York City, built to supply water to the burgeoning metropolis. The scars can last for decades.

JAUNDICED VIEW: Meghan McCain, daughter of the late U.S. Sen. John McCain and for years the co-host with the conservative perspective on the “The View,” told “Variety” that the most-watched program on daytime TV was a “toxic work environment.”  McCain, who left the program in August, said her political views made others “not comfortable around me,” and that she was mocked as “Elsa,” the ice princess from “Frozen.” Seems the on-air feuds weren’t just for ratings.

CORRECTING AN ERROR: Like many highways built during the 1960s, Interstate 787 near Albany, N.Y., is widely regarded as a monstrosity that cut off the community from the western shore of the Hudson River. The 9.5-mile ribbon of asphalt, while convenient for commuters, has come to symbolize the misguided urban renewal policies that irreversibly transformed a lot of cities in that era. Efforts to build support for its removal have fizzled over the years, giving rise to a host of creative solutions, from installing gondolas over the river to digging a canal from the river to downtown.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: Ruth Hamilton was asleep in her bed in Golden, British Columbia, when she was suddenly awakened by a very loud intruder — a meteorite that crashed through her ceiling and landed on the pillow next to her. It was about the size of a fist and weighed just under three pounds. “You’re sound asleep, safe, you think, in your bed, and you can get taken out by a meteorite, apparently,” she told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

PAY THE MAN: At 23, Kevin Huerter is what a lot of people never become: Financially secure for life. A native of Clifton Park, N.Y., near Albany, Huerter — known as Red Velvet for his hair color and smooth shooting stroke — is a solid contributor for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks, a rising young team that this week rewarded him with a four-year, $65 million contract extension.

BETTER DAYS: Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, in his annual letter, recapped the company’s major milestones over the past year, but it also was an exhortation to expect and work toward better days ahead, with a focus on delivering platforms and technology to economic development opportunities around the world, while protecting fundamental rights and committing to a sustainable future. “Although it may be difficult to imagine in this time of immeasurable hardship and deep uncertainty, I see boundless possibility ahead,” he writes. “I am encouraged because of the power of you, our shareholders, our employees, our partners, our customers, and everyone who has continued to work hard to make the world a better place in the face of constraints. And if we continue to pursue our mission, I am certain that we will collectively achieve so much more together. I couldn’t be more optimistic.”

HISTORIC DISCOVERY: An amateur Israeli diver exploring the waters of the Mediterranean near the coast found a large, barnacle-encrusted sword and reported it to the Israel Antiquities Authority, which determined it likely was used by a Crusader knight 900 years ago. It is one of several recent discoveries of ancient artifacts off the Israeli coast, which scientists attribute to shifting conditions on the sea floor. The Antiquities Authority plans to clean up the sword and display it publicly.

ENGINEERING SAFETY: Beavers, the famously industrious engineers of nature, use the network of ponds and canals they create to find shelter and avoid predators. In the American West, plagued by wildfires, their work creates abnormally wet patches in otherwise dry areas, protecting both the beavers and the land that surrounds them. “When you’re at this beaver complex,” an ecohydrologist who studies the animals told a Northern Colorado radio station, “it never stops being green.”

WILD STUFF: Remember Tiger King, the short Netflix documentary series that it seemed everyone was watching in the early days of the pandemic? If you’re the person who missed it, it’s about the life and wildlife management practices of a guy who calls himself Joe Exotic. He did a lot of bizarre stuff. Perhaps recalling him will help you follow along with this story about an Adirondack wildlife refuge that lost its license to operate. The allegations are as wild as they come, including complaints that staff were walking wolves and a lynx on leashes on public roads.

OHIOOPS: Don’t you just hate it when you tout your state as the birthplace of aviation, lean into it with a license plate celebrating that distinction, then immediately have to announce you’re redesigning the just-unveiled plate because the plane is flying backwards?

LIVES

COLIN POWELL accomplished far more in his lifetime than could ever be adequately summarized in this space. Secretary of State. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. National Security Advisor. Four-star general. Author. He died at 84 from complications of COVID-19.

MEGAN RICE was a nun and peace activist who spent two years of her 80s in a federal prison after she and two fellow activists broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex, a nuclear site in Tennessee, in 2012. Her activism was heavily influenced by an uncle who spent four months in Nagasaki, Japan, after it and Hiroshima had been leveled by atomic bombs to hasten the end of World War II, bombings that Rice would later call the “greatest shame in history.” She died of congestive heart failure at 91.

JERRY PINKNEY was a legendary and prolific illustrator of children’s books, frequently collaborating with his wife, Gloria Jean, an author. He earned money to buy art supplies by shining shoes while growing up in Philadelphia, and turned his passion into a career that featured numerous national awards — including a Caldecott medal for his 2010 picture book “The Lion and The Mouse” — and a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Illustrators. He died of a heart attack at 81.

DAVID FINN helped turn a former barber into America’s top recording artist. After Perry Como, he helped Dinah Shore, Burl Ives, Jack Lemmon, Eydie Gormé and the Mills Brothers. Then corporate clients began calling with their problems, and soon Finn’s firm became one of the largest in American public relations. He was 100.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”
—  Auguste Rodin, sculptor of The Thinker

THE SIGNOFF

TRUTH, JUSTICE AND A BETTER TOMORROW: That’s Superman's new motto, as announced by DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee. The motto is an update to the iconic line, “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” Lee said the motto was changed to “better reflect the storylines that we are telling across DC and to honor Superman's incredible legacy of over 80 years of building a better world.”

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, John Behan, Claire P. Tuttle, John Brodt,  John Bulmer, Kelly Donahue, and Katie Alessi.

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.  www.behancommunications.com

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. 

Let’s make it a conversationmark.behan@behancom.com

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