The Week: What Caught Our Eye

March 12, 2022

Canada Geese flying against a blue skyMarch snows notwithstanding, Canada geese have departed their winter homes in the Chesapeake Bay area and are making their way north again to Hudson Bay and the Arctic tundra region. (Skip Dickstein)

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Like you, we’ve been taking stock of these frightening, consequential days: For the first time since 1945, a major land war is raging in Europe on the heels of a pandemic that has killed 6 million people. In Ukraine, more than 1,200 civilians have been killed, including 30 or more children. Unprecedented sanctions have been imposed but still cities have been reduced to rubble and mass graves must be dug. Ukrainians have inspired the world with brave resistance, but Vladimir Putin has doubled down on evil, a maternity hospital among his targets. Can the sane world devise a way to get Putin and Russia out of the deadly crisis he created? Is western military engagement against Russia inevitable?

O, BEAUTIFUL, FOR PATRIOT DREAM: Even as democracy seems under siege everywhere, the United States is preparing to celebrate the 250th anniversary of American Democracy in 2026. The semiquincentennial of the Declaration of Independence will be a nationwide celebration of heroic leadership and commemoration of the brave sacrifices that secured our way of life. A Congressional commission has been formed. Plans are being drawn up for events from coast to coast, presenting unique opportunities for celebrations in New York communities, from Lake Champlain to Lower Manhattan, where so many pivotal Revolutionary War events took place. And, of course, as is characteristic of our beautiful, messy democracy, (subsription) there is already controversy.

A WORD FROM THE TRULY WISE: If you are feeling especially burdened today by the crush of heavy news from around the world, dial 707-998-8410. It’s a new hotline offering encouraging words from a wise and resilient group of …. kindergarteners. “Be grateful for yourself,” offers one student. “If you're feeling up high and unbalanced, think of groundhogs,” says another.

SAINT IN OUR MIDST? Peter Young was a young priest in Albany’s South End when he came across a man, drunken and unshod, in a snowstorm. He gave the man his own shoes and walked barefoot back to the rectory. Father Young went on to build a statewide ministry to help the addicted and the imprisoned rebuild their lives and contribute to society. He died at age 90 in 2020, and now the legions of people he helped are organizing an effort for canonization.

OWN A PIECE OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE: Make-a-Wish Northeast New York is auctioning a unique shield featuring the emblems of Captain America, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier — and autographed by each of the four actors who play them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The 25-inch shield is one of six made and the only one autographed by each of the four actors (Chris Evans, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell and Sebastian Stan, who made the donation). Tickets are $25 each or five for $100. The winner will be announced at the chapter’s March 26 Spark Joy Gala.

PASS (ON) THE SALT: For the second year in a row, salt levels in Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, N.Y.,  have dropped. Local road salt reduction efforts seem to be helping. Salt levels disrupt the lake’s natural mixing process, threatening fish habitat and potentially leading to algae blooms, plus salt contaminates drinking water wells. To the south, the Lake George Association continues its longstanding and successful Lake George Road Salt Reduction Initiative, working closely with local municipalities to keep roads safe and keep salt out of the lake.

DON’T WORRY: Happy leaders are more effective leaders, and the key, according to Professor Arthur Brooks of the Harvard School of Business, is a balanced portfolio — not of investments, but of life. Happiness isn’t a product of chance, genes or life circumstances, Dr. Brooks posits, but of habitually tending to (subscription) four key areas — family, friends, meaningful work, and faith or life philosophy.

A MAN OF STRENGTH: Harry Miller was one of the most highly recruited high school football players in the country in 2019, a skilled and powerful young man of whom great things were expected. He has achieved greatness, though not in the way most people foresaw, and far beyond anything he might have accomplished on the field at Ohio State or as a professional football player. He announced his retirement from the sport in a remarkable essay in which he details his struggles with mental health and thoughts of suicide, a piece that almost certainly will save lives. “God bless those who love. God bless those who weep. And God bless those who hurt and only know how to share their hurt by anger, for they are learning to love with me. I am okay.”

THOSE MIGHTY HICKS: When Hurricane Laura arrived in August 2020, the winds blew at 150 mph and the tidal surge reached 17 feet. The gym roof peeled off, the auditorium roof ended up in a parking lot, and the gym floor buckled. So, the girls of Hicks High School in Hicks, La., found other places to practice basketball, even a dirt court, and last Friday, they won their fourth consecutive state championship among Louisiana’s smallest schools.

The "Country Living" magazine cover headlined "The Joy of Makeovers" showing a woman riding a bicycle past a house.Photos inside a magazine showing country scenes  including a barn, baby ducks and gardening tools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DREAMING OF SPRING: What could be better than the first bike ride of spring? Bri Lyons of Glens Falls, N.Y., pedaled through lovely Woodstock, Vt., and arrived on the cover of Hearst’s Country Living magazine for March. She is the founder of The Yellow Note, the immensely popular blog and creative studio for brands seeking to promote simple country pleasures, lifestyle and travel.

FBI INACTION: First, they lost children and siblings in an unimaginably horrific limousine crash. To add bitter insult, they discovered the limousine company for years had been a rolling disaster of violations and had been treated with kid gloves by regulators, and the owner carried only paltry insurance coverage. Even after 20 people died, he seemed beyond the reach of the law when he scored a no-jail plea deal. And, so, the Albany Times Union, New York magazine and others have been raising serious questions about the relationship between the FBI and one of its informants, the owner of the limousine involved in the deadliest highway accident in the United States in a decade. Did the FBI intervene to get him out of earlier jams that, had they been properly pursued, could have prevented the disaster? U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko is demanding answers from the FBI, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is backing him up, and now U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik has stepped in, telling the FBI director that unless the families get answers, she will issue Congressional subpoenas.

A lake in the morning with low cloudsThe splendor of Lake George, as captured by Jeff Killeen, lakeside resident, gifted photographer, chair of the Lake George Association and a fierce protector of the lake.

VERY SPECIAL PLACES: Lake George and the Adirondacks are getting lavished with love from afar. Online publication Far and Wide calls Lake George and Lake Placid two of the best small towns in America’s mountains. Only in Your State gushes that at Lake George, “you feel more at peace, more connected to the outdoors, more self-sufficient. It’s got a small population but features breathtaking surroundings and such a wonderful ambiance that will have you feeling at one with the natural world.” And while there are traditional world-class accommodations, from luxury hotels to historic inns, why not spend a Lake George weekend like you are living in a J.R.R. Tolkein novel, staying in a hobbit hole?
LEADING OFF: The Honus Wagner T206 of 1909 is widely considered the rarest and most valuable of all baseball cards due to its abbreviated print run. But what about the first baseball card ever printed? Some say the answer leads straight to New York’s Capital Region and the 1866 Lansingburgh Unions (later the Troy Haymakers). Six Unions players apparently printed the cards as keepsakes for family and friends. Their uniforms — perhaps intentionally, surely uncomfortably — pay tribute to Troy’s heritage as the “Collar City.”

FINDING ENDURANCE: The survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew of men who sought to explore the Antarctic continent in 1915 is the stuff of legend. To this day, Shackleton’s leadership in brutal conditions is discussed in business school classrooms and executive training conferences. The ship he captained, the Endurance, became trapped in the icy waters of the Weddell Sea, which slowly crushed the vessel and dropped it 10,000 feet to the ocean floor. This week, an expedition team using sonar and an autonomous underwater vehicle found the wreck, so well preserved that the word Endurance remains clearly visible.

MEDICAL PIONEER DIES: David Bennett, the Maryland man who two months ago became the first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig, has died. At first the pig heart was functioning, but his condition deteriorated in the days before his death at the age of 57. “We are grateful for every innovative moment, every crazy dream, every sleepless night that went into this historic effort,” his son, David Bennett Jr., said in a statement released by the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We hope this story can be the beginning of hope and not the end.”

HIDDEN LESSONS: Wordle, it turns out, is more than just an immensely popular daily word puzzle — it can teach you a lot about problem solving, including the importance of choosing your first move carefully, challenging your assumptions and using a reliable process to reach a solution.

ANSWERING THE CALL: In the week since President Volodymr Zelensky announced the creation of an “International Legion” to defend Ukraine, 20,000 people from 52 countries have volunteered to fight, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said this week. A lot of them are coming from Lithuania, which also is sending hundreds of health care volunteers to Ukraine. “I think people here sense the danger,” a Lithuanian Ministry of Health advisor told Time magazine. “And they think, ‘if it happens here, I hope people would come and help us too.’” As one Lithuanian fighter put it, “I have the fitness, the youth, and the training — it would be selfish of me not to use it. If rockets are wasted on me instead of some children, I’ll take that deal anytime.”

RE-ENERGIZED: A metaphor is coming to life In the southwest Virginia coal country, where abandoned coal mines are being transformed into solar installations that will be large enough to contribute renewable energy to the electric grid. The sites are owned by The Nature Conservancy, which hopes it is creating a model that can be (subscription) replicated nationwide.

PEOPLE WATCHING: The armed robber who accosted Juli Boeheim, wife of Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim, outside the Destiny USA shopping mall in Syracuse on March 1 — pointing what appeared to be a handgun and stealing her phone and purse — is 12, police say … Elon Musk and girlfriend Claire Boucher, known as Grimes, have a new daughter, Exa Dark Sideræl Musk. She joins big brother X Æ A-12, which is pronounced “X A.I. Archangel.” Exa will be known as Y … Zac Constantine still has a few classes to finish at the University at Albany, but he’s already got his eye on a job: Member of the New York State Assembly. At 21, he would, if elected, become the youngest member in New York history.

LIVES

MONIQUE HANOTTE used her knowledge of the Belgium-France border to guide about 140 downed Allied airmen to safety out of occupied Belgium during World War II. She was a member of the Belgian Resistance operation known as the Comet line, which sheltered, fed, disguised and eventually liberated Allied airmen. Her entire family routinely risked their lives, and in 1944 she staged her own escape after double agents and Gestapo operatives infiltrated the group. She was 101.

WALTER R. MEARS won the Pulitzer Prize as a political reporter for The Associated Press and was featured in “The Boys on the Bus,” a 1973 book about the reporters who covered the 1972 U.S. presidential campaign. He wrote in his memoir that his job was “to get past the managers and spinners to assess the strengths the candidates claim as well as the failures and flaws they try to conceal.” Though he rose to become executive editor of the wire service, he never lost his passion and skill for reporting and writing on deadline. He died of cancer at 87.

SALLY KELSOE was born on Feb. 28, 1932, in the Sacramento Valley of California, where her family grew vegetables and kept a cow and where she churned butter and learned canning. She and her husband Don moved to the Napa Valley in 1967, where he managed a shopping arcade and she took over a hamburger joint and later an upscale lunch place. When a rundown stone building in town came up for sale, they bought it and set about creating what is often considered among the best restaurants in the country, if not the world, the French Laundry. She was 90.

DWIGHT AUSTIN ENSLEY had a quiet dinner with his wife at the country club on March 4 and died unexpectedly of a heart attack the following morning. He was a pilot who twice landed charter planes in engine failure, once in a blizzard, once after swooping beneath a power line. He had an MBA and owned several environmental companies. He was a business appraiser. He earned a law degree and wrote children’s books. He was a banjo player and a trombonist, and with his wife, the three-time winner of the Fred Astaire Dance Show competition. And did we mention he once paid tribute to David Bowie’s “Starman” with a contemporary dance on a hoverboard? He fit it all in in 64 years.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“Spring is when you feel like whistling, even with a shoe full of slush.”
—    Doug Larson

THE SIGNOFF

OUTDOOR MISADVENTURES: Rescuers in two states drew double duty in recent days responding for calls for help from the same people. In northern Arizona, authorities rescued a Brooklyn man twice on consecutive days — first when he got lost, then when he was injured. He was, the authorities reported dryly, “encouraged to not attempt the hike again.” And in Michigan, two men were rescued after their ice-fishing shanty was blown a mile across Saginaw Bay. They were returning to retrieve some of their stuff from the ice floe a few days later when their boat capsized in rough waters.

Remember to turn your clocks ahead tonight!

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, Tara Hutchins, Skip Dickstein, Bri Lyons, Jeff Killeen, Claire P. Tuttle, Kelly Donahue, and Katie Alessi.

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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