The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 14, 2019

Image of sunlight and clouds on a winter dayThere is often a silver lining in the clouds, if you take a moment to look. (Skip Dickstein) 

SAVING BRAINS IN CORINTH: The first thing to know is that Magali Haas is a biathlete. That’s what drew her to Corinth. The second thing is that Magali Haas, M.D., Ph.D., is a neuroscientist, engineer and physician who has devoted her career to trying to heal traumatized brains. She dreams of the day when the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder can be spotted before it occurs and preventive treatment initiated. Magali leads Cohen Veterans Bioscience, the national nonprofit created and backed by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen that’s fast tracking diagnostic tests and personalized therapeutics for millions of others suffering from PTSD and other trauma-related disorders.

AiMOS SO HANDY: The most powerful supercomputer at a private university anywhere in the world has just been installed by IBM at RPI in Troy. The computer will allow scientists to model potential solutions to climate change, improve cybersecurity and fight disease – even protect Lake George. It’s part of IBM’s $2-billion initiative to develop an artificial intelligence hardware center, and its name is AiMOS for Artificial Intelligence Multiprocessing Optimized System (and also for one of RPI’s founders, Amos Eaton). The new computer was ranked No. 24 on the latest list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world. We bring all this to your attention on this, the birthday of quantum theory.

Cover of HerLife magazine showing headlines and a womanON THE BEAT IN BOLTON: From the security and serenity of Bolton’s homey streets, Roberta Berkowitz fights crime on some of our nation’s meanest streets, protecting America’s law enforcement officers and helping to train the next generation of investigators. If law enforcement needs it, she knows where to find it. HERLIFE has the goods.

ROOM AT THE INN: Last weekend, 900 people spent a long night trying to sleep on the cold pavement of New York’s Times Square, in a global protest known as the world’s largest sleepout. If they lasted the 20-degree night, they went home in the morning to warm beds and hot showers — a luxury not known to everyone. Every dark winter night people turn up at Glens Falls’ Open Door Mission in search of the one hot meal they may get that day and the human kindness that may keep them going the next.  Last year, 11,000 meals were served at the Open Door. On winter’s worst nights, 90 men and women found a warm, safe place to sleep at Open Door’s Code Blue Shelter. In 2108, half-a-million people were homeless in the United States and, while most were in shelters, as many as 150,000 were sleeping on the street, according to federal estimates. This holiday season, we hope you’ll remember the Open Door Mission of Glens Falls or Shelters of Saratoga in your holiday giving.

THE DON OF SKIING: A few weeks ago, when we celebrated Mikaela Shiffrin’s rise from Vermont and New Hampshire to the summit of international ski racing, we were unaware of an even more local connection. For three years in a row, Mikaela was honored with the “Golden Ski Award,” which since 1969 has been given to the most promising junior male and female alpine skiers in the Eastern United States by the North American Snowsports Journalists Association. Like Mikaela, many Golden Ski winners have gone on to win the World Cup and Olympic Gold. The full name of the award is the Don A. Metivier Golden Ski Award, in honor of the the dean of ski journalists, Don Metivier of Glens Falls. Don pioneered ski writing with his “Along the Ski Trails” column for The Glens Falls Post-Star in the 1960s and went on to become the editor and publisher of Ski Racing Magazine and president of the Eastern Ski Writers Association and the United States Ski Writers Association. He covered the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Innsbruck, Austria, and Sarajevo and chronicled the careers of ski racing greats like Phil and Steve Mahre, Ingemar Stenmark and Franz Klammer. But even as he slalomed about the world, his heart never strayed from his base lodge, Glens Falls, and he wrote lovingly about his hometown as a local author and historian, and for decades a reporter, editorialist and popular columnist at The Glens Falls Post-Star. Don used to say the best thing about living in Glens Falls was that his kids and grandkids could swim at Lake George in the summer and ski West Mountain in the winter.

WALE OF A COMMERCIAL: The best holiday gifts are made with love at home. Perhaps the same goes for commercials. You’ll love the holiday greeting from the Hafod Hardware Store of Rhayader, Wales.

THE GIFT OF CHARLEY AND PAUL: Every summer, kids as young as six who are dealing with cancer and other debilitating illnesses make their way to Lake Luzerne and Adirondack adventures they could hardly have imagined. Surrounded by new and old friends, and around-the-clock pediatric, hematologic and oncologic care, they are the campers of the Double H Ranch, founded by Lake George entrepreneur and philanthropist Charles R. Wood and actor and philanthropist Paul Newman. Paul opened a camp for critically ill children in Connecticut. Charley loved the idea, bought 320 acres in Luzerne, and invited the actor to collaborate on another one, launching one of the great humanitarian enterprises in Upstate New York history. It’s been more than a decade since we lost Paul Newman and Charley Wood, and Saratoga Living looks back.

A winter scarf hanging on a park bench with a note reading I am not lost. I was handmade for you. If you are cold and need me, take me.Best sign of the season we’ve seen. Holiday warmth lives in City Park, Glens Falls. (Eric Potter)

MORE ROOM FOR KINDNESS: First, there was just single shelf in one teacher’s classroom in a single elementary school. That’s where they stored the donated snow pants, hats, gloves and other winter necessities for children who did not have them. Over time the donations piled up, and soon the one small shelf became one small closet, and then that, too, was full. Now, there’s a whole building built with love.

THE CRASH, 50 YEARS LATER: Local people still point to the scar on Pilot Knob, and some still remember the night. The worst plane crash in Adirondack history happened 50 years ago on a mountain overlooking Lake George when Mohawk Airlines Flight 411, en route to Warren County Airport from Albany Airport, disappeared in the rainy darkness. Eleven passengers and three crew members perished.  The Post-Star’s veteran crime reporter Don Lehman returns to the scene.

BUY THE WORLD A COKE: Coca-Cola celebrated 100 years as a publicly traded company this week. Atlanta pharmacist John S. Pemberton originated it in 1886; his bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, chose the name and penned the flowing script that became Coke’s trademark. They served only nine cokes a day that first year. Thirty-three years later, Coke made its initial public offering. You should have bought in. One original $40 share – along with reinvested dividends – would be worth more than $18 million today.

FAMILY (DOLLAR) TREE: Let’s hope your ancestors had a few bucks. You may need your inheritance to discover you’re related to Russian royalty or a World War I hero. The federal agency that makes genealogical information available is proposing to increase the cost to access records from the first half of the 20th century.

KEEP THE NIGHT HOWLS TO A MINIMUM: If the dog is coming along on your holiday trip to see the whole damn fam, remember your pet-iquette.  You won’t have a bone to pick with these tips.

GRANDMA GOT IT: Eat your soup, she said, because she understood chicken soup could suppress the symptoms of a cold. But can minestrone can cure malaria?

HEY, BARCOMPUTER: Introducing the beer wall. Insert your credit card, pour a draft – one of 24 on tap – and enjoy. But will the computer cut you off?

WE GOT NO BANANAS TODAY: You duct tape a banana to a wall. Is it art? I come by and eat it. Is it vandalism? In Miami, they’re debating whether this is bad behavior or performance art.

A pair of red wool mittens hanging from a line

OUR FAVORITE THINGS: We’ve got our warm woolen mittens on and we’re thinking about our favorite sights, sounds, reads and scenes.

• Voices singing in harmony, like The Mamas and the Papas, Crosby Stills and Nash, and this.

• NPR’s  “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

 • Schitt’s Creek

• A Dan Brown novel, a cup of tea, and nowhere to g

• The Glens Falls Symphony’s annual rendition of “Sleigh Ride”


Ozark on Netflix

The Crown on Netfiix. 

The Deuce on HBO

Live PD

Newhart (the one at the Inn)

• Mysteries by Greg Iles, Tana French and Dennis Lehane

John Candy in anything

The Morning Show on AppleTV+.

• “Since You Went Away,” the 1944 home-front drama produced by David O. Selznick

• The Sunday New York Times on a snowy afternoon

• Dorothy Rabinowitz on TV and Peggy Noonan on politics in The Wall Street Journal

Frank Bruni of The New York Times 

• Robert Caro

• David McCullough

• The Irishman on Netflix

OUR READERS RIGHT: After last week’s foodie takeover of Our Favorite Things, readers reminded us of places we loved but somehow overlooked, including Doc’s in Glens Falls and Jack’s American Bistro in Queensbury, Clark’s Steakhouse in Schuylerville, Pennell’s in Saratoga Springs, the revived Garrison in Lake George, and LoPorto Restaurant and Caffé in Troy. Keep those tips coming.


No one should be alone on Christmas.
— Cindy Lou Who 


WHAT FLIES IN VEGAS: Why does all the good stuff have to stay in Vegas? Somebody is putting cowboy hats on pigeons.  No known connection, but pot is legal there.

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, John Behan, 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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