The Week: What Caught Our Eye

October 30, 2021

Snow on a mountain with evergreen treesGood Morning, Colleagues and Friends:

Go ahead, we’ll wait while you brush the snow off your pumpkin.

The calendar says Halloween, but it’s beginning to look a lot like ski season. The season’s first snowfall coated the trees at Whiteface Mountain in the heart of the Adirondacks this week. It also snowed in Vermont, where ski areas desperate for seasonal employees are offering perks such as signing bonuses and dramatically reduced housing costs.

If you’re a calendar purist about Halloween, and you’re brave enough, here are 17 allegedly haunted hotels to check out in Upstate New York.

SMALLER BALL, BIGGER ROLE: Chris Conroy served as a manager for the men’s basketball team while a student at Siena College, where he made sure bags were packed, uniforms were clean and travel arrangements were set. A high-pressure job, certainly. But not as high pressure as serving as the home plate umpire in Game 1 of the World Series.

TAKE US ALL OUT …” The World Series 100 years ago was a New York spectacle through and through – the first subway series pitting the New York Yankees against the New York Giants. It was the first World Series to be broadcast on radio. But staying home and tuning in was not in the cards for a Glens Falls group. They wanted to be in the stands, as historian Maury Thompson reports.

POLITICAL HARD BALL: Bobby Valentine, the colorful former manager of the New York Mets and, for one disastrous season, the Boston Red Sox, could soon have a new title. Valentine, something of a local folk hero for his exploits as a multisport athlete before an injury cut short his career as a major leaguer, is running for mayor of Stamford, the second-largest city in Connecticut. The race is drawing an unusual mix of donors, with Valentine cashing checks from two men who fired him and his opponent getting support from the likes of Bette Midler, Michael Douglas and Rita Wilson.

BILLIONS IN BOLTON: It’s not news that there are millions in Bolton, but this week there were Billions. The cast of the Showtime show had Bolton Landing buzzing. “Billions” stars Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis in a drama about high finance and power politics. Lewis is the hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod on a collision course with Giamatti, who is U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades. “Billions” is normally filmed in New York City, but the crew has been venturing into the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks in recent years.  

NO MORE COUNTRY IN THE CITY: Just as country music is enjoying a global revival, the last country music station in New York City is sayin’ see ya. WNSH-FM had served listeners country music since 2013 —  it was originally branded 94.7 Nash FM, America’s Country Station — but it has now changed formats, leaving the nation’s largest city without a full-time country music station. The station says its new format will deliver “a uniquely curated mix of throwbacks and classic hip hop to the New York market.”

CHANGE MAKER: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, last year set out on a bold quest — to find the most brilliant young minds around the globe, wherever they were, teenagers with the vision, the brains and the drive to change the world. They called it the “Rise” program, and this week their philanthropic vehicle, Schmidt Futures, selected the first 100 winners, who will receive four-year scholarships to the university of their choice, as well stipends, mentorship programs, laptops or tablets and opportunities to network with each other. Applications for the 2022 cohort are open.

BRUSHING AWAY DEBT: Colgate University, the private liberal arts college in Hamilton, N.Y., is dipping into its billion-dollar endowment to help students minimize their student loan debt, including full tuition support for the lowest-income students. Colgate President Brian Casey said students from families with a household income less than $150,000 will receive grants instead of federal student loans, and that students with an annual family income of $80,000 or less will attend tuition-free.

NEW TWIST ON AN OLD TALE: The Schenectady Symphony Orchestra is “reframing Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ in the era of the Me-Too Movement,” lead soprano Sylvia Stoner told The Daily Gazette in describing the symphony’s scheduled performance this Sunday afternoon at the Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs. The symphony is collaborating with Skidmore College, where Stoner is artist-in-residence. The cast includes a 14-member chorus from the Skidmore Vocal Chamber Ensemble, other members of the college vocal faculty and award-winning baritone Brian Major.

An abstract painting of yellow and green, and a photo of the young female artist in a studioGOALIE TO GALLERIES: Delmar, N.Y., native Zoe McGuire (Emma Willard 2014, Skidmore College 2018) was named one of five national finalists for a New Emerging Artist MFA Grant by New American Paintings. Now based in Brooklyn, she is in her first year studying at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Her paintings have been described as “peaceful, warming, and meditative … surreal landscapes inspired by nature, music and mysticism.” Next week, her work will be part of the “Lucky Charm” show that opens at the Moosey Art Gallery in London, England. McGuire earned a bachelor’s degree in art history at Skidmore, where she achieved national student-athlete academic honors as a goalie for the Thoroughbreds’ field hockey team.

SHARK WARNINGS: Shark attacks, though still very rare, are increasing in frequency along the northeast coast of the U.S. Conservation efforts have led to recoveries in great white populations, which means there are more of them around New England beaches at exactly the times those beaches are filled with tourists. Two fatal attacks have occurred since 2018, one off Cape Cod, Mass., the other in Casco Bay, Maine, a first for the state.

BAGEL BOOST: Monticello, N.Y., is a struggling small town in the Catskills, but it used to be the bustling buckle of the Borscht Belt, the colloquial name for a series of Jewish family resorts that welcomed visitors escaping sweltering New York City summers. Once the home to several bagel shops, it is now down to one, but that didn’t stop the state Legislature from adopting a resolution in 2013 declaring Monticello “The Bagel Capital of New York.” It’s a designation local boosters have been using as an economic development and tourism tool ever since.

TIME TO CHECK INNES: George Innes was a prominent 19th-century landscape painter who celebrated the dreamy rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. His vibe has inspired the development of a new all-inclusive resort with a 12-room farmhouse and 28 cabins on 225 acres with sweeping views of the Catskills, a fine-dining restaurant featuring seasonal fare, and lots of upscale amenities.

BIRD BURDEN: The town of Bunn, N.C., northeast of Raleigh, has about 300 residents. People, that is. The buzzards? That’s another story. Technically, they’re turkey vultures, a protected species that has been sitting on Bunn’s light posts, pulling off shingles, feeding on garbage, dropping their acidic waste on cars and generally grossing people out. No one can figure out why so many have made their home in Bunn; they just want them to go somewhere else. “If I ever sell my house,” Ally Leggett, a real estate agent, told the Raleigh News & Observer, “I’ll have to disclose. People say, ‘Oh, you’re the one with the buzzards.’”

MASK CASUALTIES: In Michigan, in a rural county south of Lansing, the local public health director issued a mask mandate for the schools; she was, predictably and sadly, threatened. When the chair of the county health board interjected on her behalf, saying he disagreed with the mandate but respected her right to issue it, he, too, became a target. On the other side of the world, Australians are making it clear they’re not interested in mask advice from certain folks over here.

ADIRONDACK TRAILBLAZER: Klarisse Torriente loves the outdoors. So much, in fact, that she volunteers to climb to the tops of tall mountains in the summer to talk to strangers about the fragile alpine ecosystems and offer tips to safely enjoy their hikes. But she might never have discovered that love if not for a decision to join her high school cross country team. Last summer, she became the first Black Summit Steward for the Adirondack Mountain Club, and is using her experiences to advocate for more people of color to get out and enjoy nature. “Everyone should have access to this joy,” she told the Albany Times Union. “Nature is inherently healing.” A new program at SUNY Potsdam is creating just such opportunities in another effort to bring diversity to the outdoors.

A PLACE TO CALL HOME: Most people know Woodstock, N.Y., as home to arguably the greatest collection of musical talent ever to share a festival stage, an iconic event in pop culture and a symbol of the free love ’60s. But it has long been a haven for artists and Bohemians looking to live among nature, many of whom built and lived in houses of their own design, using the materials they could afford. The unique houses continue to have appeal.

STOP AND THINK: People who jump to conclusions based on little or no evidence — judging a book by its cover — are more likely than others to have trouble with thoughtful analysis generally, and more prone to believe in conspiracy theories and medical myths, according to research by two university professors. They also tend to have a lot more confidence in their abilities than is warranted, and make errors in other areas of beliefs, reasoning and decisions. “In everyday life, the question of whether we should think things through or instead go with our gut is a frequent and important one,” they write. “What our research and other recent studies show is that sometimes the most important decision can be when you should choose to take time before deciding. Even gathering just a little bit more evidence may help you avoid a major mistake.”

DON’T CALL ME … : Face it, we all do it – the phone buzzes, you see a number you don’t know, so you don’t answer (so much for the National Do Not Call Registry). That happened repeatedly earlier this month to someone in Colorado — buzz, unfamiliar number, ignore. Only that person was a hiker lost in the mountains, and the callers were rescuers trying desperately to locate the hiker.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
— L.M. Montgomery, Canadian author

THE SIGNOFF

Tweet of a sign reading "Nude Psychic Readings and Tax Advice"

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Maury Thompson, 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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