The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 30, 2019

Winter view of Lake George with snow on the surrounding mountainsLake George, any time, any place, any season, for any reason,
is one of our “Favorite Things.” See our list below. (
Luke Dow)

A LIFE IN MUSIC: John Sykes helped establish MTV and VH1, managed Carly Simon, Mariah Carey and John Mellencamp, ran record labels and radio stations, and has just been appointed Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He credits his career success with what he learned in his hometown Schenectady (“a town filled with music”), the local radio stations, college bands, his sisters’ extraordinary record collection and, especially, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. A delightful profile by The Schenectady Daily Gazette’s Indiana Nash.

JUST HAPPY TO BE MILKED:  The milk and cream served in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream ... Does it come from happy cows? The company says so, but a former gubernatorial candidate from Vermont (not some Urban Bourbon, mind you) is sour and suing. Ben and Jerry’s, of course, is owned by Unilever now. It was founded May 1978 by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in Burlington. They were looking for a home in a college town and almost settled on Saratoga Springs. Get the dish on the controversy:

ANGELS IN OUR MIDSTKristin Hansen of Clifton Park lost her husband Keith to cancer, when their daughters, Samantha and Kaitlyn, were just 6 and 4. There was an overpowering sense of emptiness -- a feeling that Mark, Connor and McKenna Mulholland knew well. Connor and McKenna were 7 and 5, respectively, when they lost their mom Kelly Mulholland 12 years ago. Her husband, television reporter Mark Mulholland, and the kids found the strength to channel their grief into good works, establishing Kelly’s Angels Inc., the charity that provides fun grants, scholarships and other support for kids and families facing life-changing health crises. In January, Kelly’s Angels will celebrate ten years of love at a festive community gala. You can purchase tickets now or, if you’d like to include Kelly’s Angels in your holiday giving, click here.

THE MIRACLE, REMEMBERED: Lake Placid, one of only two cities in the world to have twice hosted the Winter Olympics, is preparing to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Winter Games (and the community’s long  Olympic tradition) Feb. 14-23. The Olympics first came to Lake Placid in 1932, the first time they were held outside of Europe. The Olympic Village is also distinguished for having sent at least one athlete to every winter Games, for a total of 100 since the first modern Winter Games in 1924. True to its winning style, Lake Placid is planning a full slate of events, including opportunities to meet Olympic medalists: Alpine Ski Racer Andrew Weibrecht, a two-time medalist in Super-G, speed skater Dan Jansen, luger Mark Grimmette and figure skater Paul Wylie, among others.

MIKAELA MAKES HER MARK: Thirty-two years ago, the Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark became the most successful slalom skier in history when he clinched his 60th World Cup victory. Last weekend, 24-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin shattered that record. She is now the world standout, the most successful slalom skier in the history of the sport. This weekend she is in Killington, Vt., to defend her Killington Cup slalom crown in front of 40,000 people. Shiffrin, the daughter of two ski racers, began skiing on her family’s driveway at 2. She has ties to Vermont and the Berkshires and is a graduate of Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy. For his part, Stenmark won 40 slaloms between 1974 and 1987. But she amassed her total in just seven years. For her World Cup victory last weekend, she was awarded a reindeer – her fourth.  She named him Ingemar.

HONORING GABE’S GIFT: A few weeks ago, we introduced our readers to the gifted Gabriel Donovan of Albany, the Christian Brothers Academy sophomore who has led a fundraising campaign to purchase assistive technology for residents of St. Margaret’s Center, a skilled nursing home serving medically fragile children and young adults. Gabe met Lilly, a St. Margaret’s resident who is on a ventilator, and was inspired by her love of flowers. He created “Adirondack Lilly,” a piece of art in chalk pastel, sales of which have raised $50,000. Gabe has now been honored with a National Philanthropy Day Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Firetrucks decorated with holiday lights in a Christmas paradeWhen fire trucks converge, the news is usually not good.
Saranac Lake does things differently. (

BRING ON THE HOLIDAYS: Lake Placid, N.Y., and Burlington, Vt., draw national attention for their enchanting holiday Main Streets, but Saranac Lake and Lake George are lighting up the Adirondack night in their own right. Saranac has a knack for teasing summer-like fun out of cold winter nights with a decadent dining scene and an eclectic music scene and its decidedly different holiday kickoff, Light up Saranac Lake, on Friday, Dec. 6. Lake George Village will be magically transformed on Saturday, Nov. 30, when 10,000 holiday lights are turned on at once during Lite Up the Village which also features live music and fireworks and (nothing says holidays like) an ugly sweater contest. Check out the events in Troy, Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls too.

Firetruck decorated as a reindeer at a Christmas paradeLight Up the Village illuminates Lake George Saturday. (LG Chamber of Commerce and CVB)

SARANAC’S PEARL: It was built before 1879 and is best known as the home of the venerable Adirondack Beef Co. So much in demand were its venison, pheasants, steaks, fruits and vegetables that Cadillacs were double-parked outside for the “be-furred and bejeweled” clientele. The Adirondack Beef Co. even claimed to offer “fresh oysters,” though how fresh the oysters could be in Saranac Lake is open to debate. Then came the Depression and that was the end. After a 1936 sale, the building became Saranac Lake’ Post Office Pharmacy,  featured this month in the nationally circulated Preservation Magazine, the journal of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Exterior storefront image of Saranac Lake Post Office PharmacyA WARM PLACE: The homeless population outside their doors was growing, so employees of a bus station in Brazil opened their doors. They used materials at hand to make custom beds which turned out to be perfect for homeless pups.

INEXPLICABLE GENEROSITY: About 200,000 Choctaw Indians still live in the United States. They are the third-largest Native American tribe in the country, behind the Cherokee and Navajo tribes. The Choctaws were among the 60,000 Native Americans who between 1830 and 1850 were forced out of their ancestral homes in the Southeastern United States and relocated west of the Mississippi. From an Irish man who was helping to implement the forced displacement, they learned of a famine in his homeland. Here’s how they responded.

OUR FAVORITE THINGS: Now that the last slice of crisp apple strudel is gone and we’ve cleared the snowflakes from our nose and eye lashes, we’ve invited our team, in the spirit of the holidays, to make a holiday list of Our Favorite Things. We’ll be sharing these lists over the next few issues. By all means, take off your warm woolen mittens and drop us a note with your favorite things.


·      Christmas lights in a dark room.
·      Sitting around the Christmas tree with the kids, even though they’re grown and have                         Christmas trees of their own.
·      The morning you walk outside and know spring is here.
·      Disney World with kids who still believe. 
·      The first spring day warm enough to be barefoot outside.
·      A comfortable, pre-mosquito June night on the front porch watching the Yankees win.
·      Crandall Park with the Glens Falls Symphony on the Fourth of July.
·      Cooperstown, N.Y.
·      Lake George – any season, for any reason.
·      The morning’s first cup of coffee, on the dock while relaxing in an Adirondack chair.
·      A wood fire on a cool fall evening.
·      Wandering through Venice.
·      The view from the roof of the Plaza Hotel Lucchesi in Florence, Italy.
·      Reading on a Cape Cod beach.
·      Walking along the Feeder Canal Trail in Glens Falls.
·      Driving through the breathtaking views of Washington County (Parker Hill Rd., South                         Granville, Christian Hill Rd., Hartford, Co. Rt. 44, just west of Co. Rt. 43 in Argyle).
·      The Indian Lake islands.
·      Hiking Snowy Mountain.
·      K squared C – Kayaking on Kayaderosseras Creek.
·      A warm summer night on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
·      Finding sea glass during a walk on the beach.


NUTS AND BOLTS OF A NEIGHBORHOOD: A hardware store is more than a place to buy nails and building supplies. It’s a place that builds community.

WINNING BUT LOSING: The popular brewery thought it had a solid legal defense against the employment discrimination claim. Then came the inevitable and unflattering media coverage. After that came the boycott. When winning in court is less important than winning in the court of public opinion.

MORE BEES WITH HONEY: “Our society celebrates failure as a teachable moment,” says Lauren Eskreis-Winkler of the University of Chicago. Her new research shows that feedback about failure undermines learning because it is ego-threatening and people stop processing the information.

NO ALZHEIMER’S: She faced the near certainty of Alzheimer’s disease. Her brain developed a major neurological feature of the disease. But remarkably she experienced no immediate cognitive decline. Her case is inspiring new research into promising treatments for Alzheimer’s.

HIRE ERIK: A culture of trust is a secret weapon for success in a new organization, but it’s not built with just pizza Fridays and other perks. It takes empathy, resilience, improvisation and kindness.

ONE OF OUR OWN: When we met him, Bill Callen was an award-winning journalist who could do it all. Politics, breaking news, sports — a journalist’s journalist. He was a leader, a mentor, a columnistImage of man standing on a rocky shoreline and sports editor who insisted on high standards and brought out the best his people. At heart he is a storyteller with a gift for capturing all that makes us exquisitely human and a desire to tell important and meaningful stories. As a colleague, he is a man of kindness, empathy and good humor. Ten years ago, he joined our team. He has been sharing his intelligence, experience, good judgment and well-turned phrases with our clients ever since. Happy anniversary, Bill! And thank you.


“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking  for a job the next day.”
— Phyllis Diller


DRUM ROLL, PLEASE: Let’s pause for a moment on this pre-holiday weekend to share a holiday commercial from the British catalogue retailer Argos that we absolutely love.

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, Tara Hutchins, Matt Behan and Claire P. Tuttle.

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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