The Week: What Caught Our Eye

May 9, 2020

A display of red tulips in front of an outdoor sculpture.The tulip, as Emily Dickinson wrote, has put on her carmine suit in time for spring in Saratoga.

Dear Clients, Colleagues and Friends,

In recent weeks, we have celebrated and honored the heroism and sacrifice of the men and women who put aside their fears and go to work in the midst of the most challenging and scary health crisis anyone younger than 107 can remember. We all know who they are.

Today, we turn our thoughts to the heroism and sacrifice of the women to whom each of us literally owes our lives.

“A mother,” in the famous words of Swiss Cardinal Gaspard Mermillod, “is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”

Nurturer. Provider. Teacher. Protector. Healer. Counselor. Friend. Fan.

To feel a mother’s unconditional love is to face the world with confidence, knowing that when you fall, hers will be the hand that lifts you up, the arms that hold you, the words that comfort you and propel you onward. It is why a mother’s loss, whether you’re 5 or 85, is so acute. And why the withholding of such love, sadly, is a void that cannot be filled.

This Mothers’ Day, of course, many will see their mothers only through a window or on a screen, a poignant reminder of a lurking and deadly menace that has taken too many. May these painful days remind us never again to take them for granted.

To all the moms, thank you. Happy Mothers’ Day.

FLOWER POWER: The Albany Tulip Festival is among the Capital Region’s most beloved and anticipated spring traditions, and thanks to the City of Albany and Discover Albany, the show will go on as many are these days — online. Fire up the computer and head over to the Albany Events YouTube channel at noon Sunday for a virtual Tulip Festival video featuring musical performances from local artists, tulip garden tours and more. https://bit.ly/AlbanysVirtualTulipFest

A KINDNESS REPAID: There’s an Irish blessing that goes, “May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.” In 1847, the Choctaw Nation, having been forcibly relocated to Oklahoma from their ancestral home in Mississippi — part of the infamous Trail of Tears — learned of the Irish Potato Famine and donated $170 (about $5,000 today) to aid people they knew nothing about. Today, the Irish are donating in huge numbers to provide food and water to the Navajo Nation as it fights a spike in COVID-19 cases that threatens to devastate the Navajo people. Irishman Pat Hayes, who donated to the relief fund, said: "From Ireland, 170 years later, the favor is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship." https://bit.ly/IrishReturnTheFavor

A LITTLE NEW YORK MUSIC

A STAR IS IN THE HOUSE: Julia Gargano, a 21-year-old senior at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, blew away the judges on “American Idol” with her rendition of Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” a moment she was proud to share with her mother in their Staten Island home. “Me and my mom were in this room for, you know, like hours on end a day,” Gargano said. “Just like working little things, so when she hugged me, it meant so much more. Because once we wrapped, once we filmed that performance, it was just like, ‘We did it. This is all me and you.’” https://bit.ly/StRoseStudentMovesUpOnIdol

THE ACCIDENTAL CLASSIC: “New York, New York” was a rallying cry for New Yorkers after 9/11 and now, when it serves as the backdrop for nightly salutes to health care workers and others on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus. But the anthem that revived Frank Sinatra’s career might never have happened if it weren’t for the fussiness of Robert De Niro. https://bit.ly/NewYorksAnthem

Historic photo of then-Senator Robert Kennedy with his mom Ethel KennedyU.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy helps his wife, Ethel, from the Upper Hudson River after her harrowing trip through the rapids at the White Water Derby in May 1967. (Walter Grishkot)

CANOE REMEMBER? It was the Johnsburg Fish and Game Club’s idea. The White Water Derby began 62 years ago as a recreational tribute to the historic logging drives on the Upper Hudson River. The event captured the public’s growing interest in recreation and the environment and, just two years after its founding, 15,000 people were shivering in the cold of a May morning, watching 126 contestants in kayaks and canoes navigate the rapids. And then came 1967, the year U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and his family showed up and turned the town (and their own kayaks) upside down. https://bit.ly/TheKennedysAtNorthCreek

FROM QUEENSBURY TO QATAR: With the pool of available students shrinking in the Northeast, SUNY Adirondack is building a bridge to the Middle East. “What are the possibilities? It’s a big world out there,” SUNY Adirondack President Kristine Duffy told the Glens Falls Post-Star. https://bit.ly/SUNYQueensburyToQatar

TAKE US AWAY: Cities and air travel are out, wide open spaces and road trips are in as travel marketers adjust quickly to the new reality that when people say they want to get away from it all, they mean it. https://bit.ly/SocialDistancingVacations

TRUST ME, I’M FROM THE GOVERNMENT: It seems everyone’s favorite punching bags — the government and the news media — have people’s confidence when it counts. Edelman, a Chicago-based communications firm with offices around the globe, publishes the much-anticipated Edelman Trust Barometer, which, as the name implies, seeks to quantify how much we trust various institutions. Trust in government surged to 65%, up 11 points since January. Trust in traditional media rose 7 points, to 69%. On the flip side: Only 38% believe business is doing well or very well at putting people before profits. https://bit.ly/TrustingGovtAndMedia

FOR PETS’ SAKE: Thanks to the Tri-County United Way for the heads-up on this item. Nancy Wilder of Hudson Falls has organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help buy food for the pets of people who have lost their jobs. “Maybe now, maybe at the end of the month, but soon people will face the impossible thought of surrendering a beloved pet to a local shelter because they can't feed it,” she wrote. Every dollar donated goes directly to buying pet food and cat litter, which will be picked up and delivered by volunteers. If you need assistance or wish to volunteer, send an email to pauseforpets@outlook.comhttps://bit.ly/PetFoodFunding

OFFICE DISPLACE: Even before the coronavirus, critic Catherine Nixey writes, “the reign of the office had started to look a little shaky.” High rents, lost time with families, irritating colleagues. The Social Security Administration is finding that its employees are more productive working at home. As the pandemic leaves offices around the world empty, Nixey asks, what was the point of them anyway? https://bit.ly/NoNeedForTheOffice

HOCKEY WITH THE ASSIST: General Motors had the Herculean task of producing mass quantities of medical face masks for hospitals amid the coronavirus outbreak, but there was a problem: requirements for disinfection produced a bottleneck at packaging. A call to the Detroit Red Wings solved it. https://bit.ly/HockeyHelpsGMSanitizeMasks

FANS-TASTIC: Forbes examined local TV ratings, stadium attendance based on capacity, merchandise sales and other factors to rank the best fans in professional sports. Fans of a certain city’s teams will find it totally wicked. Fans of another’s? Fugedabout it! https://bit.ly/ForbesRanksSportsFans

LOVE LETTER: Even without nearly 38,000 people jammed shoulder to shoulder, the Boston Globe’s Stan Grossfeld found it so good, so good, so good. “Spending a few hours at Fenway Park,” he writes, “is good for the soul.” https://bit.ly/FenwaysGoodVibes

A mare and foal running in a paddock

A foal follows mom’s lead as they frolic in the paddock at Sequel New York in Hudson.
(Skip Dickstein)

LIVES

BADA BING, BADA GONE: Gil Schwartz was the top spokesman for CBS for 28 years. Stanley Bing was the author of the book “Crazy Bosses’’ and a humor column in Forbes and Esquire where he joyfully skewered the insanity of senior corporate executives like Gil Schwartz. They were one and the same. https://bit.ly/GilSchwartzAndStanleyBing

A CLASS IN TOGETHERNESS: Casey Nevin, a senior at Saratoga Springs High, realized that his school’s weren’t the only seniors missing out on the traditional events and celebrations that mark the end of a scholastic journey, so he had an idea: What if we made a T-shirt that unites all the area’s seniors? https://bit.ly/UnitedClassof2020

ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL: As we thank so many for keeping our communities safe and healthy, Maureen O’Brien writes, let’s not forget the individuals with disabilities who are providing their own vital services. “In the best of times, individuals with disabilities are the most underemployed segment of New York’s population. Yet here they are, working in critically important environments to safeguard us all.” https://bit.ly/WorkersWithDisabilitiesEssential

HISTORY COMES ALIVE: The Keene Valley Library, in the heart of the Adirondacks, has launched a multi-year local history project that is collecting and organizing audio stories and related photographs, including contemporary stories about the local impact of the coronavirus. So far, 160 storytellers have recorded and submitted their accounts. https://bit.ly/RecordingHistoryinKeeneValley

I KNOW YOU!: Upstate New York viewers of “Upload,” a new sci-fi comedy series on Amazon Prime Video, may recognize one of the region’s most famous hotels in some outdoor shots from the trailer. That majestic mountaintop hotel is indeed Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz. https://bit.ly/UploadOfAHudsonValleyLandmark

BEST SELLER’S GETAWAY: She’s worked with Justin Bieber and Melissa Etheridge. She helped Al Roker document his weight-loss journey. Now, New York Times best-selling author Laura Morton is selling her historic farmhouse near Saratoga Springs, seven acres of peaceful, gated retreat with views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondack foothills. https://bit.ly/AuthorsGetawayForSale

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

On this Mothers’ Day weekend, we turn to the great mother and humorist Erma Bombeck:
“I’m going to stop punishing my children by saying, 'Never mind! I'll do it myself.’”

FINAL WORDS

Dr. Amy Acton overcame neglect and homelessness to become the leader of the Ohio Health Department. Today, as the New York Times reports, she has her own Facebook fan club, T-shirts, chalk drawings and ’70s sitcom parodies. The Times breaks down what makes her so effective. https://bit.ly/AmyActonsAppeal

THE SIGNOFF

DAUGHTER KNOWS BEST: What's a father to do when your 25-year-old daughter says you're an ineffective communicator, and you have an important message to send? If you’re Gov. Andrew Cuomo, you listen and act. https://bit.ly/CuomosDaughterHelpsHerDad

PLEASE SHARE: Feel free to pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Colleen Potter, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, 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 or interest 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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