The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 15, 2020

1980 photo of Lake Placid Village during the Olympics, with billboard sign reading "Welcome World We Made It"Rochester’s Chuck Mangione wrote a song for the 1980 Winter Olympics: “Give It All You Got.” It captured both the spirit of the Lake Placid community and of the Games themselves. (Times Union)

The Soviets won the gold medal in hockey in five of the six previous Winter Olympics and were heavily favored to win in Lake Placid. The Soviets were grown men who had played together for years; the Americans, led by head coach Herb Brooks, a collection of mostly college athletes. As the final seconds ticked away on the tape-delayed broadcast of the game, ABC's Al Michaels spoke the words history would remember: "Do you believe in miracles? YES!" Following this game, the U.S. won the gold medal by beating Finland. (Times Union)The Soviets won the gold medal in hockey in five of the six previous Winter Olympics and were heavily favored to win in Lake Placid. The Soviets were grown men who had played together for years; the Americans, led by head coach Herb Brooks, a collection of mostly college athletes. As the final seconds ticked away on the tape-delayed broadcast of the game, ABC's Al Michaels spoke the words history would remember: "Do you believe in miracles? YES!" Following this game, the U.S. won the gold medal by beating Finland. (Times Union)

SO MANY MIRACLES: Forty years ago this weekend, the world made its way, along a winding, two-lane road, to the 1.5 square miles of Lake Placid, N.Y. The 1980 Winter Olympics are remembered today for the “Miracle on Ice,” the U.S. hockey team’s historic triumph over the long-dominant Soviet Union, and for the unprecedented five Gold Medals American speed skater Eric Heiden won, but the miracles at Lake Placid were many. Indeed, it was a miracle Lake Placid had been chosen at all. It was a miracle that the facilities were ready. It was a miracle in the first days that the Games did not collapse in a transportation crisis. And it was a miracle that, with Americans being held hostage in Iran and memories of Munich 1972 searingly fresh, the specter of international terrorism did not find its way to Lake Placid. Little in everything but spirit, the Lake Placid Games recharged the international Olympic flame at a time when the future of the Games was in doubt, restored American confidence, and turned the snowy storybook town into a year-round resort whose popularity endures. No place embraces the legacy of the Olympic
moment like Lake Placid, home now to a new
generation of Olympians. Long may its Olympic
flag fly high. For those who were there and those
not yet born, we look back as Lake Placid celebrates.

OlympicTorch_Luce.jpegIn 1980, Saranac Lake native Mickey Luce, a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic bobsled team, was chosen to carry the Olympic torch through a huge crowd in downtown Glens Falls on its way to Lake Placid. Mr. Luce focused his Olympic energy on the classroom, teaching for years in Lake George and Glens Falls. He and his family are the widely beloved founders of the Lake George Youtheatre. (NYS Historic Newspapers)

MASTERSTROKE: Siena College prides itself on educating future leaders who want to make a difference. Its Trustees showed the way Friday, unanimously naming former Congressman and decorated combat veteran Chris Gibson as Siena’s 12th president. Dr. Gibson rose to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army during a 29-year career during which he commanded the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade, served four combat tours in Iraq, and was part of the NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. He is currently a distinguished professor at Williams College, member of the Hoover Institution’s Working Group on the Role of Military History in Contemporary Conflict, a visiting fellow with the Catholic University’s Center for the Study of Statesmanship, and a member of the Editorial Advisory Committee of the Bipartisan Review, a project with Cornell University’s Institute of Politics.

DON’T COME BACK NOW: In hospitality-centric Warren County, there’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s not an inn keeper. He’s trying to reduce the repeat business at the county hotel – the jail. Jim LaFarr is focused on giving inmates the tools they need to stay out of trouble, and he believes some inmates could save themselves by saving dogs.

AMERICA’S WATCHING: Queensbury and Glens Falls, the gateway to Lake George and the Adirondacks, get a nice turn in the national spotlight in the “Made in America” series celebrating American companies and the history of proud American places.

CLIFFORD, THE WELL-READ DOG: At Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls, kids are learning to sound out new words by practicing on some patient listeners with waggy tails and floppy ears.

VANILLENA? CHOCOLENA? AMERICAN MUD PIE? Caffè Lena in Saratoga Springs is the longest continuously operating folk music venue in the country. It opened in 1960 and, throughout the years, has hosted Bob Dylan, Don McLean, Emmylou Harris and countless other performers.  But what if it were an ice cream? What would you call it? Stewarts and Caffè Lena want to hear from you.

SUPER CATCH: Not all the action on Super Bowl Sunday was in balmy Miami. On a tiny Adirondack lake in Olmstedville, Essex County, three young ice fishers looking to use up some leftover bait hooked a monster northern pike.

VERY CLOSE TO HOME: Life is hard, full of stress, but John McPherson lightens the load every morning for thousands of newspaper readers around the country who get a laugh from his Close to Home comic strip drawn in Saratoga Springs, the source of some of his best laughs.

THE NEXT EDITION: A wise (if fictional) Irish bartender once said that the job of a newspaper was to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Now, those inky halls of comfort and affliction are looking a lot more comfortable. Abandoned newspaper buildings are being transformed into urban lofts, tech hubs and gathering spaces. In Saratoga Springs, the venerable Saratogian building is the new home of a restaurant, brewery and coffee gathering spot known as Walt and Whitman. In Troy, The Record now houses beautiful apartments at The News. It’s a national trend.

THE BEST OF TIMES: Journalism has never faced greater economic upheaval, but some of the best and most insightful journalism in 100 years is being produced right now — amid the collapse of the old system.

TO BRIGHTON YOUR DAY: A man from The Bronx loses his wallet on a Metro North train in New York. A woman from Upstate New York recovers it. Then they discover what they have in common.

CELEB CRIBS: Brad and Jen’s newlywed home is on the market for $44.5 million. Kelly Clarkson’s selling her seven-bedroom/11-bath mansion for less than $8 million. Jeff Bridges sold his Santa Barbara spread to Oprah. Joe Pesci’s asking $6.5 million for his Jersey Shore haunt, complete with its own barber’s chair. Take a look inside the homes the Boston Globe dubbed “the top 10 celebrity homes that hit the market in 2019.”

BUT IS THERE ROOM SERVICE? Headed to the Big Apple for a mid-winter break? NYC has plenty of rooms with a view, but how about a room with a hammock? Or bunk beds? A hotel housed in a former paper factory? Or the place where they put up the Titanic’s survivors after their harrowing experience? ranks these the “Top 12 Cool and Unusual Hotels in New York” for 2020.

Storm1_Color_CrownFocusMedia.jpgWeather just before and during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid ran the gamut – from thaw to deep freeze – as has the North Country weather of the past week. This shot of a cold winter sun was taken near Lake George last weekend when the daytime high was in the mid-20s, but nighttime temperatures dropped well below zero. (Crown Focus Media)

REPORTS OF THEIR DEMISE: Catalogs and direct mail are making a comeback. Why? Have you seen your in-box lately?

BETTER GET A SECOND CUP: First he studied the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs. Then he turned to an even more conspicuous drug of mysterious and wide-ranging potency. How coffee improves recall, helps athletic performance, and even boosts capitalism.


THAT GUARD GIRARD: Joseph Girard III was all the ESPN announcers could talk about. One of the best free throw shooters in the country. Dazzling performance in the breach. ESPN’s Dan Shulman said he’s the kid whose basketball games on TV fill up bars in his hometown of Glens Falls. The Orange fell short to North Carolina State on Tuesday night, but JG III accomplished a scoring feat no Syracuse freshman has achieved since Carmelo Anthony.

And what’s it like to be Jim Boeheim? The Athletic tagged along for the NC State game, the 1,456th in his career.

VIGILANCE OR VENGEANCE: The job fell to Stephen Joyce to protect his grandfather’s legacy, and the iron glove he inherited fit him well. Stephen kept at bay literary critics and biographers — detestable “rats and lice’’ — who might find fault with “Ulysses” and “Finnegans Wake.”

FROM ROCHESTER, WITH BITTERS: He was a tall drink, at 6’ 5’’, and internationally known on the cocktail circuit, a new-school liberator of public appreciation for old-school libations. Joe Fee worked in the Rochester business his family started just before the end of the Civil War. You know them as Fee Brothers Orange Cocktail Bitters made from the skins of oranges grown in the West Indies.

ROYAL RERUN: It was her first international trip without her husband Prince Charles. In 1989, Diana, Princess of Wales, came to New York and famously visited young AIDS patients and homeless families in a halfway house. Charles came two weeks later. Played polo. Now, The Crown Season 4 is recreating the trip that told us everything.

ANCHOR AWEIGH: Longtime CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera surprises the political and media world, announcing she’ll challenge U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for a congressional seat from The Bronx and Queens. Caruso-Cabrera is the author of “You Know I’m Right: More Prosperity, Less Government.”

THE HOUSE THAT LAUGHTER BUILT: Jamestown’s National Comedy Center is nominated for USA Today's Best New Museum honors, one of 20 museums selected by travel experts from around the country. The museum is based on the vision of comedy legend and Jamestown native Lucille Ball.

GOTTA BE NUTS: Come out of your shell. Take a crack at this summer job. Planters is seeking a few good nuts to drive its three Planters NUTmobiles across the country. This job’s a handful.

DROP IN, YOU’RE HIRED: The Body Shop beauty products retailer is diving head first into Open Hiring — giving a job to virtually anyone who shows up. Body Shop says “the money saved in recruiting, screening résumés, interviews, and background checks will be redirected into training, employee benefits, and programs to support new employees with challenges such as transportation issues …” What’s more, they say, turnover rates are dropping dramatically.

HOME IS WHERE THE HARP IS: Just about now the Boston Symphony was to be playing in Shanghai, Hong Kong and other parts of Asia. The coronavirus dashed those plans. Now, the BSO is staying home and playing home — free community concerts, including one at Tanglewood.

HOW’S ABOUT A PICNIC? Rescuing a malnourished bear cub in the Adirondacks … it’s all in a day’s work for a New York Environmental Conservation Police Officer.

DEFICIT OF IDEAS: New York is facing a $6 billion budget deficit, higher taxes, and continuing population losses. So, what big ideas are cooking at the Capitol? Legalizing prostitution and liquor-infused ice cream.


Like bacon, butter and chocolate, love makes everything better. Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody.


SEALED WITH A HISS: If your Valentine’s Day date was a dolt or a creep, don’t ghost him. Name a hissing roach for him.

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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