The Week What Caught Our Eye

November 5, 2022

IMG_6711[42].jpgChicago artists Michael Ferrarell and Nick Capozzoli dug into the history of Glens Falls, N.Y., to celebrate the city in a block-long downtown mural. We’ll fill you in below.

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Tuesday is Election Day, finally, though in our hyper-politicized times, is it ever not campaign season? If you don’t vote, don’t complain about the outcome. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “It is the people’s business — the election is in their hands. If they turn their backs to the fire, and get scorched in the rear, they’ll find they have got to sit on the blister!” 

If you do vote and your side happens not to prevail, please do everyone a favor — accept the outcome like adults and work hard next time to persuade more people to your point of view. 

And for our friends in broadcasting, condolences on the end of a great pay day. We now return to our regular programming.

GREETINGS FROM QUEENSBURY: The national Christmas tree that casts a warm and welcome glow over Washington, D.C., has twice come from Warren County, N.Y. — once in 1964 from  Chestertown and then in 1969 from Crandall Park in Glens Falls. This year, another highly visible Christmas tree — the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in Manhattan — will come from Queensbury, a donation of the Lebowitz family of Glens Falls. The head gardener of Rockefeller Center spotted the tree on a recent trip and pronounced the 82-foot Norway spruce perfect. It will be lighted on national television on Nov. 30. The best news: When the tree has completed its holiday duties, it will be cut up and used to build a Habitat for Humanity home, a tradition that started in 2007.

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Palazzo Riggi, the ornate Saratoga Springs, N.Y., mansion owned by Michele and the late Ronald Riggi, is about to have another colorful new owner — Syracuse scrap metal mogul Adam Weitsman, who confirmed to the Albany Times Union that he is under contract to buy the property. Weitsman, a huge booster of Syracuse University sports, has business operations across the state, including in Albany. He said he looks forward to following the Riggis’ legacy of giving and community involvement.

image001.jpgHONORING THE BRAVE: Eight thousand flags will be displayed on the front lawn of the Fort William Henry Resort in Lake George. N.Y., during the annual Field of Flags ceremony on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Each flag is placed on the lawn in honor of a veteran, living or deceased, who served in the U.S. military. Veterans and members of the public are cordially invited. After the ceremony, an Italian buffet lunch in Fort William Henry’s Tankard Tavern will benefit the Adirondack Vets House Inc. of Glens Falls, a non-profit home for homeless veterans. 

THE CLIMATE ESCAPE: The Adirondack region of upstate New York as a prospective escape for climate refugees is getting increasing attention. Not that climate change will spare the Adirondacks. Climate scientist Curt Sager of Paul Smith’s College said he believes it may threaten the length and ferocity of Adirondack winters — and the economy that depends on them — and will cause shifts in wildlife and plants. Over time, as Sager sees it, the overall climate of the region will come to approximate that of the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Mid-Atlantic, which may cause more people fleeing floods and fires elsewhere to seek safety and comfort in the Adirondacks.  

A NEW STOP: The hot spot for a cold one in New York City used to be the Oyster Bar in Grand Central or, for the totally hip with time on their hands, The Campbell Bar. Now there’s a new place to rock before you roll — The Bar at Moynihan in New York City’s grand Moynihan Hall train station. There are travelers, yes, but a surprising number of regulars, non-travelers and people who just come to rock but not to roll.

IMG_6712.jpgART CITY, USA: Beautiful murals are bedecking exterior walls in downtown Glens Falls, N.Y. The latest: A head-turning, block-long depiction of Hometown, USA’s history, leading businesses, and local luminaries.  The energetic Glens Falls Arts District led the project, with the support of a New York State Downtown Revitalization Grant. The larger purpose is to bring attention to the outsize cultural and entertainment scenethat led Glens Falls to be named one of America’s coolest small cities.

A GLASS HOUSE: Here’s the thing about social media — if you post it, it lives forever, even if you’ve forgotten, grown up or moved on. A young reporter in Tennessee found that out the hard way this week after labeling as “disgusting” a tweet suggesting that fans paint their faces black as part of the University of Tennessee’s “Dark Mode” game against Kentucky, where fans were asked to dress in black. Someone dug through her timeline and found that she had used racist language a lot more offensive than that when she was a teenager. She has since been fired from all of her reporting positions, including as a sideline reporter for the SEC Network.

Y GO FARTHER? How far would you go for healthy, fresh food? The distance just got shorter for people in the Capital Region of New York. Saratoga Springs’ Nine Miles East, purveyors of farm fresh food to (seemingly) the world, is teaming up with the Capital District YMCA to provide healthy meals at Y locations. Order food, select the branch where you’ll pick it up, and you’ll have it on Monday. Nine Miles East offers a variety of meal choices, including meals tailored for people with diabetes. A portion of sales will benefit Y programs. The company also recently struck a deal to provide high-quality farm food to another in a growing list of major corporate client, the Boston headquarters of the on-line betting firm Draft Kings.

THAT’S THE SPIRIT: Each year, Blake Mompher and his family brainstorm creative new Halloween costumes that his dad, Aric, can build to accommodate Blake’s wheelchair. It started with a school bus. Last year’s creation, a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, landed Blake a year’s supply of the product from its maker. This year, the 9-year-old was a container of McDonald’s French fries. Sure enough, McDonald’s found out and not only gave him a year’s supply, they put his name in lights.

GROWING ENTERPRISE: Actor and comedian Jim Belushi was in far northern New York this week to cut the ribbon on his company’s newest recreational cannabis dispensary, on Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe territory near the Canadian border. Belushi started Belushi's Farm in 2015. It also has locations in Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, Illinois and Massachusetts. The New York franchise is majority-owned by a member of the tribe.

FILLING IN FOR THE BOSS: As they watched their beloved Phillies suffer through only the second no-hitter in World Series history, Philadelphia fans took some comfort in the big names who came in solidarity to cheer on the team during Game 4. First Lady Jill Biden was there. But the biggest cheers rose for Phillies mega-fan Miles (“Top Gun”) Teller and Bruce Springsteen. Oh, wait a minute, that’s not The Boss. That’s Miles’ dad. The Boss is over there.

JACKPOT: No, not the massive Powerball prize that everyone is talking about; it’s the windfall enjoyed by the relatives of Joseph Stancak, not a single one of whom had ever heard of him. Stancak died in 2016 with no will, no immediate family and an $11 million estate, the largest unclaimed estate in U.S. history. Investigators in the Illinois state treasurer’s office spent years assembling a family tree and eventually identified 119 heirs, scattered across five U.S. states, Canada and Europe. Each will receive about $60,000. 

VIRAL OVERLOAD: Coughs, colds, runny noses, the flu — you name it, they’re back and looking for prey after a relatively mild 2021, when a lot of people were still wearing masks or keeping their distance. The cold and flu season is off to a nasty start, with pediatric care units reporting a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which can be serious in infants and older adults. “We used to worry about a twin-demic. Now some people are worried about a tri-demic: influenza, Covid, and RSV,” William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told Vox. 

GET READY: Officials in Hawaii are warning of new activity in Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, noting a spike in earthquakes near its summit. The volcano, which last erupted in 1984, makes up more than half the land mass of the island of Hawaii — “the big island.” Civil defense officials are telling people they don’t need to panic, but should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which is part of the U.S. Geological Survey, said Mauna Loa has been in a state of “heightened unrest” since the middle of October.

DRINK LIKE A GIRL: “Drink Like a King” is the locally famous tag line of the family-owned King Brothers Dairy in Saratoga County. This weekend, women running in the New York City Marathon will have a chance to, well, drink like a queen. King Brothers is providing their standout chocolate milk to help female competitors regain their energy after the grueling race. It’s part of a program to support Girls on the Run.

LIVES

JULIE POWELL was about to turn 30, working at a low-level administrative job in New York, when she decided to follow her heart to the kitchen. She cooked every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child’s epic “Mastering The Art of French Cooking,” and wrote about the successes and failures in a blog that transformed food writing. The blog became a book and the book a movie starring Amy Adams. She died of cardiac arrest at her home in Olivebridge, N.Y., in the Catskills, at just 49.

JULES BASS brought Christmas to American living rooms for more than a half-century. He was the Bass of the Bass/Rankin Studio, producers of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” and other holiday TV specials that used stop-action puppet animation and featured the familiar voices of actors like Burl Ives and Mickey Rooney. “They’re the fabric of our Christmas hearth, the wood in the Christmas fire,’’ said a former CBS executive. “You knew Christmas was coming when Rudolph and Frosty showed up on CBS.” Bass was 87.

MICHAEL CORSO spent 34 years with the New York State Public Service Commission, the agency that regulates public utilities in the state, where he rose to chief consumer advocate. He served as both president of the University at Albany Student Association and as president of its Alumni Association, and was a member of the University Council. Blind since the age of 12, Corso, who grew up in Brooklyn, was an advocate for people with disabilities, establishing the Michael Corso ’83 Scholarship Fund to help students with disabilities. He had been in declining health and died of kidney failure at 61. 

REV. CALVIN BUTTS III was a legendary figure in Harlem whose gifts and connections were as immense as they were varied. He was the longtime senior pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, served more than two decades as president of SUNY Old Westbury and founded Abyssinian Development Corp. to redevelop the areas around the church with a mission to “rebuild Harlem, brick by brick, block by block.” In the 1990s, he called out rap music for its degrading lyrics, hiring a steamroller to crush hundreds of rap CDs in a publicity stunt outside the church. He was appointed to state boards by Republican Gov. George Pataki and gave Fidel Castro a warm welcome when Castro visited his church. He was 73.

SEYMOUR HERMAN PRUTINSKY was 13 when he attended the dedication of the new post office in his hometown of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The crowd was there to see President Roosevelt, but young Seymour was more interested in the work of Mel Allen, then a CBS newsman and later the famed radio voice of the New York Yankees. While studying journalism at NYU, he responded to a flier offering $5 a week to write for a public relations man, heralding a change in trajectory that made Sy Presten — he legally changed his name soon after graduation — the last of the golden era of New York City publicists and press agents. He knew how to work the reporters who would illuminate his clients for millions of eager readers, trading tips and gossip for the occasional client mention. He was 98.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“Matt has great experiences throughout his career that have prepared him for this. He thoroughly impressed us all during our interview process and is clearly respected across the industry. We are looking forward to working alongside Matt to bring winning baseball to our great fans.”
—    J.J. Picollo, vice president and general manager of the Kansas City Royals, after announcing the team had selected Matt Quatraro, a native of Delmar, N.Y., to be the team’s next manager.

THE SIGNOFF

SENSITIVE TEETH: The owner of a Steinway grand piano once owned by Thomas Edison is hoping to find someone to put it on public display after discovering tooth marks near the keys that were quite likely left there by Edison, who was hard of hearing and known to bite into phonographs and pianos to experience the music through vibrations in his skull. 

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THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Ryan Moore, Troy Burns, John Brodt, Matt Behan, Tara Hutchins 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.  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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