The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 12, 2022

Photo of lunar eclipse.A total lunar eclipse, as seen from Saratoga County this week, is sometimes called a Blood Moon because the light reaching it takes longer to pass through Earth’s atmosphere and looks red. (John Bulmer)

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Take a long, deep breath, the post-election exhale. Election Day is behind us. The holidays are just ahead. So, how are we as a nation this morning?

The political world seems to have shifted toward greater balance. The economy seems a little better.

If we can be so presumptuous as to discern their message, the voters now want Congress and the President to deal with inflation. (See turkeys and gas tanks.) They want less political theater, more practical progress. To help curb inflation, they want to see federal spending cut in the limited areas (not entitlements) where it is possible to do so. They want to increase legal immigration because our employers are desperate to hire people. They want the number of work visas increased so sectors of our economy that are critically short of workers will have them. They want the border secured.

To dampen inflation, they want more domestic energy development, but they are also concerned about climate change, so they want more global – global – action on clean energy. They also want the U.S. to invest in the necessary research to develop emission-reduction technologies that might help save the planet. There’s a lot to do. The voters have set the course. Let’s get crackin’.

WHY WE’RE IMPATIENT: Turkey prices are up more than 70 percent from a year ago in some parts of the country, potatoes are up 18 percent, canned fruits and vegetables 19 percent and butter 27 percent. A survey by an online financial advisor found one in five Americans doubted they could cover the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving this year.

THE BIG PICTURE: Employers continue to hire steadily and would hire more people if they could. Of particular note, manufacturers seem to be hiring, a critical and very positive sign of how our biggest industrial employers see future demand for their products. As a result, unemployment remains historically low. With more people working, there is greater demand for consumer products, so prices are up, inflation is up, and interest rates have been raised in response. Our gross domestic product was up last quarter, by 2.6 percent, after declining in the two prior quarters. Why is this important? A healthy economy sees GDP growth between 2 and 3 percent.

NOW, LET’S GO PLAY 18: A panel of experts assembled by Golf magazine has ranked the top 100 courses in the U.S., and 15 of them are in New York State, more than any other state (California is second, with 12). New York’s courses rank from Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island at No. 3 to the Donald Ross-designed Glens Falls Country Club course in Queensbury at No. 83.

LADY JUSTICE: The massive 11-county Fourth Judicial District of New York, stretching from the Canadian border to the Capital Region, has elected three new judges to the bench for 14-year terms that begin in January. Among them is Allison McGahay, who makes history as the first woman from the Adirondacks ever to serve as a Supreme Court justice in the district. McGahay was the top vote-getter in a competitive six-way race for three seats. The mother of two young children, McGahay was raised on an apple orchard in St. Lawrence County and brings to her post 17 years of experience as an attorney in both the private and public sectors, including service as an assistant district attorney, county election commissioner, town attorney and positions in the state Attorney General’s office and State Board of Elections.

Concept art for Park & Elm grocery and restaurant.Adirondack Studios’ rendering of Park and Elm, the new grocery and restaurant that Elizabeth Miller’s Park Street Hospitality business is opening in Glens Falls, N.Y.  An open house is scheduled Saturday, Nov. 19, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

BRAVERY IN BUSINESS: Elizabeth Miller was honored this week as Executive of the Year by the Albany, N.Y., Business Review. She’s the former Saratoga Springs teacher who was suddenly thrust into the world of industrial machining when her husband, entrepreneur Myles Miller, died in 2007. Myles was an expert in pulp processing and, at the time of his death, Miller Mechanical Services was a major force in the pulp and paper industry. It remains so today. Over the years Elizabeth and her team – she would credit her team exclusively – also expanded Miller’s services to include metal fabrication and machining, custom engineering, and water jet and plasma cutting for not only the pulp and paper industry but for the chemical, pharmaceutical, construction and power generation industries. In 2014, she purchased one of the largest and most versatile machine shops in the Northeast so that Miller could offer everything from engineering and design to the manufacture of critical industrial products. Now, with her son Ben and daughter-in-law Anita MacDonald, she’s making major investments in hospitality, entertainment, and housing in Downtown Glens Falls, including the Park Theater, Doc’s Restaurant and a new Eataly-inspired grocery and fine dining restaurant.

NEWS OF YOU: The mainstream media have been criticized for the imbalance in news coverage when it comes to reporting on missing people. To be blunt, if you’re white, young and a woman, the media pay a lot more attention (there’s even a term for it — Missing White Woman Syndrome). The editors at Columbia Journalism Review, a respected media watchdog and advocate, want to change that. “Who you are and what you look like should not determine your likelihood of being found,” they write in explaining a new database that allows users to determine the “press value” of their disappearance using factors such as age, race and location. The analysis and model are based on a review of more than 3,600 relevant news stories in 2021.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: The Lake George Association, the preeminent lake-protection entity dedicated to safeguarding water quality and clarity in one of America’s cleanest lakes, was among the organizations celebrating this week when New York voters overwhelmingly approved the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022, permitting the state to borrow $4.2 billion to address flood risk mitigation, clean water infrastructure, land conservation, emissions reduction and other climate initiatives. “Lake George is a priceless resource for all New Yorkers, and the investment of Bond Act dollars can help ensure its sustained protection,” LGA President Eric Siy said. Fittingly, passage of the bond act nearly coincided with the 20th anniversary of Chris Navitsky’s service as Lake George Waterkeeper, defending the natural resources of Lake George and its watershed by promoting compliance with existing laws, supporting scientific research, and upholding sound engineering principles that provide for the continuing protection of the lake and the common good of the community. His work was highlighted recently by a national organization dedicated to the protection of water quality.

Photo of Esmé Savoie with her parents.The efforts of Make-A-Wish Northeast New York to fulfill the wish of Esmé Savoie, here with her parents Hillary and Andre, resulted in a Wish Innovation Award, Make-A-WishAmerica’s highest award for wishes.

THE BEST WISH: Congratulations to our friends at Make-A-Wish Northeast New York, which this week won the Wish Innovation Award, Make-A-WishAmerica’s highest award for wishes. The Wish Innovation Award honors “chapters that have used exceptional creativity, imagination and innovation to fulfill the one true wish of a child.” The award recognized the wish of Esmé Savoie of Troy, N.Y., a non-verbal child whose wish to be the subject of a museum exhibit resulted this past spring in a multimedia art show at The Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy. “Esmé’s Stories: A Magical Journey,” was inspired by autobiographical tales sprinkled with fantasy that Esmé, who’s 11, writes using eye gaze technology. Her writing was transformed into sculpture and song by local artists, punctuated by other media.

ENERGIZING OPPORTUNITY: New York Transco, which is modernizing and upgrading electric transmission lines in the Hudson Valley, introduced Dutchess County students to the abundant career opportunities in energy and electric transmission during a Careers in Construction Month event at the Career and Technical Institute at Dutchess BOCES and the Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School in Pine Plains. “The clean energy transformation that is taking place across New York State and throughout the country is creating many new career opportunities for high school and college graduates alike,” said New York Transco President Vic Mullin. “We love introducing our exciting field to local students, and we congratulate Dutchess BOCES and Stissing Mountain for taking a leadership role in opening the door to these opportunities.”

IT'S A DEAL: The word is out, and now all the young whippersnappers are enjoying the perks of old age without the crow’s feet and creaky joints. It’s conventional wisdom that AARP is for people 50 and older, but the truth is, anyone can sign up and avail themselves of the vaunted AARP discount, and in these days of soaring inflation, that’s exactly what a lot of twenty- and thirtysomethings are doing.

A TOAST: To Adirondack Winery, which raised more than $20,000 for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of the Adirondacks during the organization’s monthlong fundraiser, helping it exceed its $60,000 goal by more than $9,600. In all, Adirondack Winery has raised over $100,000 for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of the Adirondacks in its decade of participation.

SALUTING SERVICE: Carol Herbert, born in Glens Falls, N.Y., and raised nearby, next week will be inducted into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. Herbert, whose maiden name is Carol Petel, enlisted in the Army soon after graduating from South Glens Falls High School in 1979 and rose to the rank of sergeant. Two years after leaving active duty in 1992, she joined the Michigan Army National Guard and served until 2005. She currently serves on the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund Board of Directors and was the first female State Commander of Michigan AMVETS. She’ll be inducted November 18 at a ceremony in Lansing.

OUTDOOR IMPROV: Wilderness rescuers carrying an injured hiker off a mountain in New Hampshire this week were concerned about the possibility of slipping on the loose leaves that covered the rocky terrain, so they used a tool not customarily associated with wilderness rescues: a leaf blower.  Whatever it takes.

BLOOD LINES: Actor Luke Evans this week revealed that King Charles III casually mentioned to him a few years ago that he was related to the notorious medieval Romanian ruler Vlad III, better known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracula and said to be the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s fictional vampire. King Charles is believed to be Vlad's great grandson 16 times removed through King George V's consort Queen Mary.

ALWAYS ENTERTAINING: “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, a beloved Glens Falls, N.Y., legend who is in the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame, has a new gig: entertaining audiences with funny stories about his time in the ring. “I’m lucky that I wrestled during the ‘Golden Age’ of wrestling: Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, those guys were like Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart,” Duggan told the Albany Times Union. Local friends still call him Moose and remember him as a state wrestling champ and (still) holder of the Glens Falls High shot-put record. He played football at Southern Methodist University in Texas and with the Atlanta Falcons. He will be at The Linda, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio in Albany, on Sunday as part of his “2x4 Tour.”

LIVING HIS VALUES: Romello Early and Melvin Anderson are best friends, 7th graders at the charter school Buffalo Creek Academy. Lately, Melvin had been coming to school in battered old shoes that the other kids made fun of. “I could tell it was upsetting him,” Romello told WGRZ-TV in Buffalo. “It just put a real bad ache in my stomach to see somebody have to go through that, and to be to be picked on just based off appearance.” Romello had saved up his allowance and asked his mom to take him to the store, so he could buy his friend a new pair of shoes, which he did, with no expectation of repayment. “At my old school, throughout all the grades I was picked on because of my height,” Romello said. “And that made me think about how nobody else should have to go through how I felt.”

GAMESMANSHIP: We’ve all played board games, but 30-year-old Peter McPherson of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., invents them. He started designing games in 2017, after a layoff. His newest, “Fit to Print,” a puzzle games that challenges readers to quickly lay out the front page of a newspaper, launched last week on Kickstarter and already has blown way past its initial funding goal. McPherson knows a thing or two about the newspaper world: His dad is John McPherson, the nationally syndicated cartoonist and creator of “Close to Home.” He is married to Indiana Nash, the talented features editor of the Schenectady, N.Y., Daily Gazette.

MORE OUTDOOR FUN AHEAD: New York State started construction on the first segment of the Adirondack Rail Trail, a 34-mile multi-use trail connecting Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. When it’s finished in 2025, the trail will offer biking, hiking, skiing and snowmobiling, as well as connection to other trails, waterways and campsites within the 6 million-acre Adirondack Park.

THE ALBANY WATERWAY: If you’ve wondered whether it’s plausible to create a Venice of the Northeast in Albany, N.Y., here’s a chance to find out: A public presentation and Q&A on Saturday, Nov. 19. Remember that water and commerce flowed into Albany for more than 400 years in ways that made New York the most prosperous state in the nation. The proposed Albany WaterWay Canal is designed to re-establish that rich historic, social, and economic connection to the Hudson River.

LIVES

EDWARD C. PRESCOTT was born the day after Christmas, 1940, grew up in Glens Falls, N.Y., and won the Nobel Prize in Economics. He was pointed toward becoming a rocket scientist, but economics captured his brain. His dad was a pigment company executive dealing with the global supply chain, and he brought his challenges home for young Edward to ponder. Prescott earned a Ph.D. and went on to teach economics at the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Minnesota, the University of Chicago and Arizona State University. For four decades, he was an adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Along the way, he mentored scores of young economists. “We should get away from thinking about stimulus policies and worry about long-run growth policies,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2004. He was 81.

PAUL SCHRADE was a native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., who was struck in the head by a bullet that Sirhan Sirhan intended for Robert F. Kennedy. Schrade was in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on the fateful June night in 1968 when Kennedy, celebrating his victory in the California presidential primary, was murdered. Schrade was involved in the Kennedy campaign. He had introduced RFK to Cesar Chavez and was an official with the United Auto Workers and deeply involved in civil rights. In later years, he came to believe Sirhan was not responsible for the assassination and forgave him, even apologizing for not being more active in efforts to clear his name. He was 97.

JAKE CROUTHAMEL was the athletic director at Syracuse University for 27 years, instrumental in the formation of the Big East Conference and the construction of the Carrier Dome — now called the JMA Wireless Dome. A star running back at Dartmouth, Crouthamel coached his alma mater’s football team for seven seasons, winning or sharing three Ivy League titles, before taking the job at Syracuse, where the programs he oversaw won 10 national championships (nine in men’s lacrosse, the other in men’s basketball) and 22 conference titles. He was 84.

GRACE O’CONNOR was so aptly named. For 30 years, she was a reporter and editor at the Albany, N.Y., Times Union and the newspaper’s abiding social conscience. While others covered politics and the cops, she covered the stories of people in squalor and desperate straits and coordinated the newspaper’s long-running holiday charity, a fund for needy older people. Some reporters had a bottle stashed in their desk drawers. Grace kept a Bible on hers. She was 95.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS:

“I don’t feel like you can have a democracy where it’s like, ‘Either I win or you cheated.’ Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but when people have that ‘Our winner was cheated,’ that’s like a developing, barely democratic country to me. I don’t like that.”
—    Logan Patmon of Detroit, as quoted by The New York Times

THE SIGNOFF:

TERM LIMITED: It was quaintly corrupt when they allowed dead people to vote. But now we’re actually electing them!

__

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THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Ryan Moore, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, John Bulmer, Tara Hutchins, Claire P. Tuttle, and friends who wish to remain anonymous.

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 conversation:   mark.behan@behancom.com

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