The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 2, 2019

Sunset at Crane Mountain in the AdirondacksDarker earlier is better?
Daylight Saving Time ends Sunday. Only Coldplay understands. (Eric Potter)

A NATIONALS HERO:  Before the season even began, they had lost their star slugger. By May, they were a mess. But the resilient Washington Nationals put it back together this fall with a winning streak no one could have predicted. This week they clinched their first World Series. Victory has a thousand fathers and one is the Nationals’ director of player development, a Queensbury native and Williams College alum who consistently deflects the credit, Mark Scialabba.

TR MIA IN MLB: There is no shortage of admiration for Teddy Roosevelt. He was a war hero who came home to fight monopolies and gangs. He was the Rough Rider, the Lion, the Hero of San Juan, and America’s First Outdoorsman. He was a legendary police commissioner in New York and a progressive New York Governor. He was the youngest person ever to become President, sworn in while in the Adirondacks to climb Mount Marcy. So how come Teddy Roosevelt would not go to bat for something as patriotic as our national past-time?

MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN THE ROOM: FOX News Chair Roger Ailes toppled himself, but Albany’s Megyn Kelly and 20 other female journalists at FOX News gave him the shove he deserved.  Now, the story of the sexual advances and harassment they alleged is told in a new film “Bombshell” opening in December. It stars John Lithgow as Ailes, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Charlize Theron as Kelly, the Fox anchor, Bethlehem High School and Albany Law School grad who famously feuded with President Trump.

PARTS WELL KNOWN: His alma mater, The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, is making sure that Anthony Bourdain inspires the next generation of chefs and culinarians. A mural has been created as a tribute. Chef friends have set up a scholarship to help students study global cuisine and culture. Now, a main CIA corridor has renamed Roth Hall Les Halles d’Anthony Bourdain. And his belongings are being auctioned to help his daughter and support the scholarship.

A FAMILY’S CRUSADE: Chris, Gary and Charlie Henderson lost Alex on his 22nd birthday. A heroin/fentanyl overdose. He was a beautiful young man brimming with sunny smiles, energy and promise, not someone you’d think of as an addict. The questions were painful. Why? How could this have happened? The Hendersons have answered bravely in the new video, “How Addiction Happens.” It’s another important contribution to the national and local fight against heroin and fentanyl. The United Nations has posted the video, and it’s being featured in the Reel Recovery Film Festivals in New York and LA. Schools across the country are showing it. Shortly before he died, Alex said to his Mom and Dad: “Maybe I can help others.” Through them, he is.

BEST OF THE BESTS: The Best family was good to rural Middleburgh in Schoharie County. Dr. Christopher Best graduated from medical school in 1876 and, after apprenticing with another physician, opened a medical practice in his home there in 1884. He was reputed to be an excellent diagnostician, popular with patients, president of the local railroad and telephone companies. His son Duncan graduated from Albany Medical College in 1932 and joined his Dad in practice. The name Best was synonymous with good care in Middleburgh for decades. When Duncan died, the family donated their home and all of their medical equipment supplies to the community. It survives today as a museum where you can see, among other curiosities, a 1910 electrostatic machine used to treat brain fog, flabby breast and alcoholism. Imagine.

Raw steak with herbs on a dishTime was when they served a memorable steak at Peter Luger and foie gras in New York.


PUT A FORK IN IT: Lyndon Johnson knew he’d lost America’s support for Vietnam when CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite turned against the war in 1968. Not quite the same, but The New York Times shook the foodie world this week when it issued a no-star, kitchen-as-a-quagmire review of the fabled Brooklyn steakhouse Peter Luger, that brusque, all-cash, joint that thought it invented buttery steak burned on the outside. The estimable Times critic Pete Wells likened dining at Luger to a trip to the DMV. So, where’s the best beef now?

LORD LOVE A LIVER: First, salt and soft drinks. Now duck liver. The New York City Council has a lot on its plate but not so much that it could not find time to regulate dinner. They have voted to outlaw the sale of foie gras beginning in 2022. Now what’s a big liver to do? The 1,000 New York City restaurants whose diners love it and the Hudson Valley farms that produce it are barking, squawking, quacking and crying fowl

Old print ad image for Schrafft's RestaurantSTEAK OR SALAD: Remember Schrafft’s? The chain once had a restaurant in Albany. Schrafft’s and Madison Avenue (the New York Madison Avenue) changed the way we eat. Before the Civil War, men and women ate much the same thing. But Schraffts pioneered the light menu as a way to appeal to women. Goodbye, beer and a burger. Hello, fish and white meat, Jell-O molds, cottage cheese. And chocolate.


ASCENDING: Paul Smith’s, the only four-year college in the Adirondack Park, is having a well-deserved moment. The national governing body for ski jumping and Nordic combined in the United States is establishing its East Coast training center there and will begin accepting student-athletes for the fall of 2020. And the College has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Stewart’s Shops and the Dake Family to create an on-campus training and competition space for Esports, featuring state-of-the-art gaming equipment and spectator seating.

NOTA BENE:  Utica College cut its tuition nearly in half in 2016, and the desired enrollment surge followed. Now, Utica is the fastest growing college in Upstate New York, followed by SUNY Polytechnic and RPI.

CAN HAMPSHIRE PULL IT TOGETHER? Can crunchy, design-your-own major Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., be saved? Like many small private liberal arts colleges without large endowments, Hampshire is in trouble. The college-age population in the Northeast is in decline; so, too, are enrollments. The days when some students paid full tuition and helped subsidize the educations of their peers are gone. Parents and students demand proof that four years in an expensive bubble will result in a real job. Hampshire still hears a different signal, and it has some influential friends, like alumnus Ken Burns, who wants to be sure this film ends on a happy note.

WHY ARE WE DELIBERATELY HURTING HOSPITALS? Across the country, hospitals that serve rural communities (and provide care to aging and disadvantaged populations) are in serious financial trouble because federal and state reimbursements do not cover the cost of the care they provide. Since 2010, 110 rural hospitals have closed. More cuts are pending, and hospital leaders ask, “How many punches can we take?”

THE HISTORY THEY HOLD: More than a dozen shipwrecks dating to the 1880s have been found on the bottom of Seneca Lake, the largest and deepest of the 11 Finger Lakes. Researchers from Middlebury College and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont, using side-scan sonar and bathymetric surveys, discovered most of the boats in remarkably intact condition. Seneca Lake was a major shipping route to the Erie Canal before railroads, and storms, drove the wooden fleets to the bottom.

DRIES VS. WETS: Argyle is dry as a bone even in a thunderstorm. At roughly 50 square miles, it’s the largest dry town in New York State. You can drink alcohol; you just can’t buy it. But the tradition may be on the rocks. In their 11th try at the polls, the Wets taste victory.

PLAYER PIANO: You can almost hear those first piano notes. This pre-dawn view of the George Washington Bridge reflected in Hudson River will put you in a New York State of Mind.

TRIALS AND TRIUMPH OF TRUDEAU: When James Trudeau contracted tuberculosis, his younger brother Edward Livingston Trudeau cared for him for three months. When James died, Edward Trudeau, then 20, channeled his grief into study, enrolling at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He earned his MD in 1871 and, only two years later, contracted the disease himself. So did his wife. Three of their four children died. Undaunted, Trudeau repaired to the Adirondacks in pursuit of a cure, initially at Paul Smith's Hotel.  In 1876, he moved his family to Saranac Lake and eight years later established the Adirondack Cottage Sanitarium and the Saranac Laboratory for the Study of Tuberculosis, the first laboratory of its kind in the United States. Now the historic property has been sold.

BE A BEARER OF BAD NEWS, PLEASE: Most corporate crises begin life as problems that somebody noticed (and could still fix or avert). A crisis may surprise the public, investors and the media, but insiders are rarely shocked. We routinely help clients cultivate corporate cultures where employees are not just encouraged to speak up, they are expected to elevate problems and concerns early. After all, they see the problems (and often the solutions) first. Corporate cultures that suppress bad news sometimes bring great organizations to their knees.

SOCIAL MEDIA BENEFIT? The social media curse afflicts many teens and families, and kids with anxiety orders may be particularly affected by excessive worry over what they post, what others post and how their online “lives” compare to their peers. But some psychologists believe controlled, carefully monitored social media may actually be helpful for those teens who otherwise would lose opportunities to make important social connections.

GUARDIANS OF THE SEAS: She’s spent 28 years protecting the habitat of whales, but that day in the deep waters of the South Pacific, when the 25-ton humpback suddenly charged her, she thought she was dead. First, he threw her on his head. Then he tucked her under his fin and escorted her to the surface. Then another humpback appeared nearby. This is the story of a rescue at sea.

A VERY BRADY CHRISTMAS: It was always Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. But, of course, you remember middle-sister Jan (played by actress Eve Plumb) from The Brady Bunch. She’s coming to the Capital Region to narrate Kris Kringle The Musical at Proctor’s.

100,000 BUMS: That’s how many seasonal snowmakers ski centers across the country hire each year. But with unemployment at its lowest level in 50 years, ski areas are struggling to find enough ski bums, their essential seasonal employees, and they’re offering higher wages, sign-on bonuses and housing. The old season pass just does not cut it anymore.


“More than any other American sport, baseball creates the magnetic, addictive illusion that it can almost be understood.”
— Thomas Boswell


RIBBING THE MAYOR: It was a routine photo-opp. The mayor went to the K-9 training center to thank Lowe’s for remodeling it. He volunteered to participate in a K-9 bite demonstration. The dog did its job. When the mayor got up from the ground, he had five broken ribs. Good photos, though.

THANK YOU to our contributors: John Brodt, Bill Richmond, Bill Callen, Lisa Fenwick, Colleen Potter and Tina Suhocki, Claire P. Tuttle and Matt Behan.

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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