The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 27, 2021

A frozen, snow-covered lake with a small island in the center and mountains in the backgroundThe breathtaking early morning serenity of Lake George, where the silence is almost deafening. (Jeff Killeen)

Good morning Colleagues and Friends:

We stand on the front porch of March, the month of expectations, when, as Lewis Grizzard wrote, the wind is the sound of the Earth awakening. Spring training begins Sunday.

FROZEN TREAT: The Wall Street Journal’s outstanding sports columnist, Jason Gay, has a fishing-obsessed son who didn’t have to think twice when asked if he wanted to give ice fishing a try. Their father-son adventure took them 3 ½ hours north of New York City to Lake George, where the ice was sturdy and the outing a huge hit. (subscription site)

PIONEERING MOUNTAINEER: Luna Pelton dreams of being a superhero with the power of ice, just like Elsa in the animated Disney hit “Frozen.”  At the grizzled age of 5, she has hiked each of the 35 Catskill Mountain high peaks — not once, but twice.

THE DOCTOR IS BACK: If you’ve been feeling the weight of the pandemic – and who hasn’t? – there’s good news: Dr. Frasier Crane is returning to TV on the Paramount+ platform, and so are The Rugrats.

COVID CONQUEROR: Lucia DeClerck contracted the coronavirus on her birthday, which is bad enough until you consider that birthday was her 105th. The oldest resident of her nursing home in South Jersey, she learned she had contracted the virus the day after receiving her second dose of the vaccine. She showed few symptoms and was soon back in her room following her longtime health ritual: Nine gin-soaked golden raisins every morning.

SEPARATION TRIALS: The continuing border closure between the U.S. and Canada is creating tremendous challenges for cross-border families, especially families with young children and parents living on opposite sides.

RISING STARS: Sheila and Maya Dunne, sisters from Mendon, NY, near Rochester, each was named to the Forbes Next 1000 for 2021, described by the magazine as “The upstart entrepreneurs redefining the American dream.” Sheila co-founded a Rochester-based digital marketing agency when she was a freshman at Colgate. Maya co-founded the e-commerce selling platform Valet Seller when she was 17. They are among the youngest Forbes honorees for 2021.

STYLIN’ IN THE SNOW:  Look at the man in his finest suit, seated, legs casually crossed, his wife standing in a formal pose with her hand on his shoulder, outdoors, in what appears to be about a foot of snow. It’s one of the photos depicting the everyday lives of people who lived around Crane Mountain in the Southern Adirondacks in the years just before the founding of the Adirondack Park. They’ve been made available to the public for viewing and research through the Adirondack Research Library at Union College in Schenectady.

A LOGGER’S LIFE: Logging is hard, physical, demanding work subject to the whims of weather and washouts and always challenging economics. Evan Nahor loves it. The 24-year-old Adirondacks native spoke with North Country Public Radio about the challenges and rewards of making a living in the woods in the best logging season of all – the winter.

TENSIONS IN VERMONT: In Pawlet, Vt., just across the border from New York State, a quiet place where families go back generations, a relative newcomer has people on edge. Daniel Banyai left his home in New York for the Green Mountains in order to create a tactical weapons training site where participants can simulate combat settings. When neighbors objected, anonymous threats started appearing.

CALLING HIGH FLYERS: Something to blue-sky about: Privately owned Sky Acres Airport in LaGrangeville, Dutchess County, is for sale. Included: a lighted main runway and two approaches, an unlit parallel taxiway, three secondary parking ramps to accommodate turbine and jet aircraft, 24-hour self-service fueling station, hangars, helicopter parking, tie-downs and a terminal with a restaurant. The package includes 85+ undeveloped acres.

CLIMATE COLLABORATION: Researchers at Colgate University helped establish a Climate Smart Communities program in rural Hamilton, NY, where the college is located, the goals of which are to help the community reduce its carbon footprint and prepare for the effects of climate change. Their experience indicates collaborations between small towns and colleges may be the key to future climate action planning efforts in rural parts of the state.

AN OPEN GATES: Bill Gates, the multi-billionaire software genius and global philanthropist, has an urgent warning about carbon emissions: we need to phase them out. Quickly. Governments, businesses and individuals have to buy in, but he acknowledges in a discussion with Harvard Business Review that cutting global carbon emissions from an estimated 51 billion tons a year to even half that amount “will need to be the most amazing thing humankind has ever done.”

JUST WAIT: Those who live in Upstate New York are accustomed to long stretches of gloomy weather, but David Pogue, author of How to Prepare for Climate Change, says cities near the Great Lakes, including Syracuse and Buffalo, could become what he calls “climate havens,” the places least likely to suffer catastrophic consequences from climate change.

THE LODGE DODGE: Ski resorts are doing as robust a business as possible this season, given the pandemic-related capacity restrictions, but there’s no doubt the vibe is much different. No more spontaneous trips to the mountain, and no more lodges to change or warm up in. The parking lot has replaced the lodge as the place to pull on your boots, take a break or grab a bite. (subscription site)

NEW LEADER FOR THE BSO: Gail Samuel was 14 when her family stopped at Tanglewood on a road trip to watch Leonard Bernstein conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Her love of music and her business acumen landed her at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where she was part of a highly successful management team as chief operating officer, but when the opportunity to lead the BSO came around, she couldn’t say no. The BSO announced that she would become president and CEO in June, the first woman to lead the institution in its 140-year history.

SUPPORTING SKIDMORE: Skidmore College is completing a fund-raising campaign launched in 2013 that secured $229.4 million in pledges from more than 27,000 donors, nearly 15% above its original $200 million goal. The funds will be used for building construction, scholarships and other financial aid, and program costs.

MALCOLM X CONFESSION: A former New York City undercover police officer wrote in a deathbed letter that he had intentionally lured two of Malcolm X’s key bodyguards into actions that would result in their arrest, preventing them from managing security at the door of the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where Malcom X was assassinated while addressing the Organization of Afro-American Unity on Feb. 21, 1965.

ONE POWERHOUSE VEHICLE: A retired refinery worker in Texas became an international news story overnight when he used his 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid pickup with Pro Power Onboard to power his freezing home west of Houston during a dayslong power failure. Soon, Ford was encouraging its dealers to loan available inventory to Texans in similar predicaments. The company confirmed a huge spike in online searches for the F-150, already its top seller.

THE HEART OF TEXAS: Texans were frozen, in the dark, reeling. But they knew where they could go to find food, water and a sense of normalcy: the local H-E-B, a statewide grocery store chain that, it can be said without hyperbole, is a Texas institution. “They know their customers and that gets rewarded,” author and University of Texas marketing professor Leigh McAlister told The New York Times. “It just feels like when I go into an H-E-B store, they’re trying to figure out how to make my life wonderful.”

EXPLOSIVE CUDDLINESS: Sheriff’s deputies in Butler County, Ohio, summoned the department’s bomb unit to check out a suspicious bag that had been left outside a church.  When they opened it, they found a cat and her litter of day-old kittens, who were taken to a shelter, cleaned up and placed with a foster family.

The sunset over a frozen field with a hay wagon in the foregroundThe beautiful solitude of dawn at the Round Lake Preserve in Mechanicville. (John Bulmer)

A CENTURY OF BEAUTY: Duncan Phillips was a wealthy man who pursued fine art to decorate his mansion in Washington, D.C., finding solace in the works of masters such as Picasso, Matisse and Van Gogh as he mourned the deaths of his father and brother. Determined that others should experience art in a comfortable, homey setting, he and his wife, Marjorie, opened The Phillips Collection in 1921, America’s first museum of modern art. It has comforted, welcomed, inspired and uplifted ever since.

FAKE MOOS: The Hindu nationalist government in India is being mocked and ridiculed after the country’s National Cow Commission, set up by the prime minister, pushed a curriculum that asserted, among other things, Indian cows have more emotions than foreign ones and their humps have special powers. Critics see it as further evidence of the country’s move to an overtly Hindu nation, undercutting the secularism enshrined in India’s Constitution.

EVERYBODY WANTS IN: The opportunity to design a 10,000 square foot farmers’ market and community center in downtown Glens Falls is drawing extraordinary interest from architects across New York State and even from New Jersey. Mayor Dan Hall told the Albany Business Review that more than 100 firms inquired, and that he expects 30 to submit proposals. (subscription site)

SKILLS TEST: There are a lot of reasons why Josh Saville, a professional taxidermist in Central New York, enjoys hunting coyote, including that the prime hunting times fit best with his schedule. But perhaps the biggest is the way they challenge him to sharpen his skills. A fascinating read about a subject wholly devoted to his craft.

WATER WARRIOR: 21-year-old Jasmine Harrison became the youngest woman ever to row solo across an ocean, finishing her journey across the Atlantic at the southern coast of Antigua after just over 10 weeks in which she rowed 12 hours a day. She survived two dunkings and the loss of her speaker, which left her grinding away in silence.

ANOTHER BRAND RECKONING: Recent years have seen a heightened national discussion of racial and social justice issues that has resulted, in part, in companies from professional sports franchises to everyday consumer products dropping nicknames or imagery that is offensive or derogatory. Now, for the first time, the Cherokee Nation is asking Jeep to drop its name from the automakers top-selling SUVs, the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee.

SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS: Nearly 20 years ago, Hayley Arceneaux was undergoing life-saving treatment for pediatric cancer at the world-renowned St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, her hometown. She joined the staff at St. Jude as a physician assistant nearly a year ago, and is set to make history as the youngest American and first with a prosthesis to travel in space. She is scheduled to be part of the first all-civilian mission to space in late 2021.

TRAGIC ENDING: A woman who received a double lung transplant in Michigan died of COVID-19 the first documented case of the disease being transmitted through transplantation. The organ donor, mortally injured in a car accident, had twice tested negative for the coronavirus before her organs were harvested.

LIVES

EDGAR KING bloomed where he was planted. He grew up on the Saratoga County farm his grandfather established in 1901. When he purchased it, he renamed it Kings-Ransom and set about building an operation that today includes a bottling plant, a milk and food delivery service, and a retail store. He was passionate about helping farmers locally and across the country survive misguided public policy. He became New York State’s Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture, served on the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, chaired the State Farm Service Agency, and was the longtime Supervisor of the Town of Northumberland. He died at 81.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

The sun was warm but the wind was chill
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you're two months back in the middle of March."
Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time

THE SIGNOFF

ROSIE THE ROCKETEER: Mae Krier lives in the Philadelphia suburbs now, but during World War II, she helped build B-17s at the Boeing plant in Seattle. She was among the thousands of American women who took manufacturing jobs to support the war effort, a group collectively known as Rosie the Riveters. Boeing surprised her with a call to let her know it will soon launch a flight into space to honor all Rosies. Rosie the Rocketeer, a robot in a capsule, is headed to the International Space Station.

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Lisa Fenwick, John Bulmer, Tara Hutchins, Claire P. Tuttle, Kelly Donahue and John Brodt.

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 conversationmark.behan@behancom.com

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