The Week: What Caught Our Eye

July 10, 2021

SilverBaySummer_1.jpgBeautiful Silver Bay on Lake George is perhaps best known for the 700-acre YMCA Conference Center and family retreat built in 1900 with many fine examples of Arts and Crafts architecture. (Kevin Kelly/Crown Focus Media)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

At this time last year, historic Saratoga Race Course was opening its 152nd season with horses, jockeys, trainers and owners — but not one of the 1 million fans who typically find their way to the Union Avenue oval each summer to see the finest race horses in the world. COVID-19 had closed the gate. The excitement was gone, the charm was lost, and Saratoga Springs’ downtown took a beating. But that was then. The Saratoga we know and love reopens Thursday.

MEDICAL PIONEEER: Dr. KMarie King, a professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine and chief of surgery and medical director for surgical quality at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, will join Albany Medical Center in September as chief of surgery and chair of its Department of Surgery, the first Black woman to be named chair of surgery at an academic health science center in the United States. She’s an Army veteran with a master’s degree in biomedical science and a master’s in business management in addition to her medical training and background.

LOG THE FOREST PRESERVE? What if all the forests of the Adirondacks, public and private, were sustainably harvested for maximum health? Would that confer even greater long-term environmental protection and also foster a sustainable economy? New York’s constitutional prohibition on harvesting trees in the state-owned Forest Preserve would have to be rescinded — highly unlikely. But the revenues raised from harvesting public lands could be used to acquire more state lands and maintain the ones already in public ownership, and political opposition would likely be lessened. Whose radical idea is this? It was New York Gov. Charles Evans Hughes’, writes historian Maury Thompson.

STILL ONE NATION? The work of artist Edward Hopper, “the visual bard of American solitude,” suddenly seemed newly relevant as we hunkered down at home during the pandemic. Aloneness, though without masks, was Hopper’s frequent theme. Think of his painting “Night Hawks.’’ Writing in The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl notes that the pandemic and our stark political differences have increased isolation in America.  He asks: Are we still one nation, or one nation in name only? 

THE DISH

THE WAY IT GROWS: From a 29-acre vegetable farm outside of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Gordon Sacks built a thriving business delivering healthy lunches to the financiers and others who toiled away in the high-rise offices of Boston and New York City. It was a huge success until March 20, 2020. Nine Miles East quickly pivoted, returned to its roots, broke into new markets, and is gaining national attention again. Meanwhile, Saratoga Springs’ iconic Hattie’s Restaurant (1938) has been purchased by local entrepreneur-philanthropists Ed and Lisa Mitzen’s Business for Good Foundation. Owners Jason and Beth Alexander will stay on, preserving the Hattie’s tradition of delectable southern and Louisiana cuisine.

nbDinerBlueCDMD-0348.jpgDARRELL’S DISHING IT OUT: Since the end of World War II, people in the charmingnbDinerBlueCDMD-0386.jpg Adirondack hamlet of Blue Mountain Lake could count on the Lumberjack restaurant on Route 30 for strong coffee and a solid meal. But by 2017, the Lumberjack had served its last, and “Blue,” as locals call it, was without a restaurant, a sort of food desert in one of the greenest places on Earth. Now, the aromas of pot roast and turkey are wafting through Blue again. Culinary Institute-trained chef Darrell Spencer, a Navy and Army veteran, is treating local people and tourists alike to his eggs benedict and classic meatloaf in a lovingly restored 1946 diner owned by former Adirondack Life Editor Betsy Folwell and her husband Tom Warrington.

The Candy Space Rendering.JPGSWEET HOME ADIRONDACKS: As Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson fire up public interest in space travel, Chad Rabinowitz is trying a sweeter, more down-to-Earth approach in Queensbury. The former producing artistic director of the Adirondack Theatre Festival has opened The Candy Space, a cosmic sweets destination at French Mountain Commons Outlets. Candy Space customers can fill a “space pouch” with some of more than 1,000 candies, then launch them into the star-filled ceiling, with a safe landing at the checkout counter. Check out the cocktail-inspired gummy bears (Buzz-ed Aldrins!).

sign post_BarkeaterChoc.jpgSWEET AND SCARY: The chocolate they’re making at the Barkeater Chocolates factory in North Creek, N.Y., is so good it will send a chill up your spine. Or maybe it’s not the chocolate. In 2013, Barkeater moved into a 140-year-old building on Route 28 and soon encountered unexplained phenomena: swinging doors, the sounds of footsteps and muffled voices and a persistent banging. The heat fluctuated; lights flickered. Candy placed on shelves suddenly fell off. That’s when they called in the paranormal investigators. Don’t let the lovely, warm ambience fool you. There’s a strange history to this place.

HIT THE CRICK: And while you are in North Creek, check out how a classic winter destination has become a summer hot spot with downhill mountain biking, rail biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, tubing, scenic sky rides, disc golf, and glassblowing. North Creek is the front door to the 114,000-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area with 70 miles of mapped and marked trails, endless miles of streams and scores of remote lakes and ponds for backcountry adventures, camping and fishing.

EGGING ON THE STURGEON: Lake sturgeon may be the most valuable fish on the planet. The 27 species under the name have been around since the Triassic period 200-plus million years ago. They grow up to seven feet long in the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes. If they are not caught, they may live as long or longer than humans. But they’re in trouble because their caviar is a prized delicacy. New York has been a leader in protecting sturgeon, but they are in danger around the world. So, state and federal biologists are carefully orchestrating their comeback.

THE GOAT: Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell may just be the GOAT (greatest of all time) when it comes to making and marketing goat’s milk. Forbes profiles the entrepreneurs who moved from Manhattan to Sharon Springs, N.Y., to help a neighbor who was about to lose his farm and his beloved goats. They adopted the goats and created Beekman 1802, purveyor of all things natural. Since Cleopatra, goat milk has been known as a healing and rejuvenating balm for sensitive skin. But the big beauty companies shied away because of a sourcing problem. That’s where having 100 goats comes in handy.

FRESH START: Dr. Jennifer Lefner, a neonatologist and chair of pediatric medicine at Saratoga Hospital, has launched Seedlings, a business that provides farm-fresh baby foods with a menu that changes based on what’s in season. She sources the ingredients from a nearby farm, and all of the food is free of sugar, salt and preservatives. She hopes to create a series of local Seedlings hubs nationwide.

GREASE IS THE WORD: We’ve all read stories about thieves stripping copper wiring from abandoned buildings or stealing catalytic converters from cars. Now we learn there’s a black market for used cooking grease. Believe it or not, according to the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., there have been hundreds of thefts of cooking grease reported in the past two years. It’s big business — a company in Buffalo that buys the grease and recycles it as biofuels estimated it’s losing $300,000 a week because of the thefts.

HOPING FOR THE BEST: There is a lot to love about dogs, but perhaps no trait is more charming and uplifting than their eternal optimism. “Dogs regard any delicious smell emanating from the kitchen as a meal they can reasonably expect to share,” Margaret Renkl writes in The New York Times for a piece headlined “Everything I Know About Hope I Learned From My Dog.” “An elderly dog may have been fed only kibble in all the years of his long life, but he will nevertheless haul his arthritic self to his feet and wander into the kitchen, confident that this time the lasagna sitting on the counter will be his.”

MORE HAPPY CAMPERS: For the planners among us, especially those already thinking about camping next summer, New York State has launched a loyalty program for campers. The more you camp, the more you save.

MESSAGE RECEIVED: A little green bottle at the bottom of a Michigan river contained a message asking the person who found it to contact George Morrow of Cheboygan, Mich., and tell him where it was found. Given that the note was dated November 1926, that wasn’t going to happen. But thanks to modern communications, the mystery behind the note didn’t last long.

CHAMPIONS

UNION HOMECOMING: Katie Marcella, who followed a stellar playing career with a successful run as head coach of the women’s basketball team at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., is coming home. She was introduced as the new head coach at Union College in Schenectady, just down the road from where she starred at Guilderland High School. She replaces Mary Ellen Burt, who stepped down after 26 seasons and 344 wins.

THE LONG ROAD: Sarah Keyes, who grew up in Saranac Lake, N.Y., and is a part-time nurse at Adirondack Health, finished 12th in the Western States 100, a 100-mile ultramarathon foot race in California that features about 18,000 feet of climbing and 23,000 feet of descent. It took her just under 22 hours, a much better result than her first attempt in the race in 2017, when severe foot pain forced her to walk the final 30 miles.

FLEET FEET: Saratoga Springs High School runners Ella Kurto, Alycia Hart, Mackenzie Hart and Emily Bush, running as the Kinetic Track Club, combined to set a national high school record in the 4 x 1-mile relay at The Outdoor Nationals in Oregon, shattering a mark that had stood for 15 years. Their combined time of 19 minutes, 40.67 seconds was more than 16 seconds faster than the previous record. Long a track and cross-country powerhouse, Saratoga runners also hold the national indoor 4 x 1-mile record.

LITERARY EDGE: Sometimes, the label just fits. So when Alexis Stephenson, a senior at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, N.Y., suggested a theme for the spring edition of the Pine Hills Review, her classmates quickly agreed. And the response was overwhelming, even if the title is a bit spicier than you might expect. “If only the founding nuns of this college could see me now,” Professor Daniel Nester, who founded the online publication, told the Times Union.

SHORTER IS BETTER: Researchers in Iceland found that shorter work weeks with no commensurate cut in pay resulted in “dramatically” improved wellbeing across a range of indicators, and that productivity and services stayed the same or improved across the majority of workplaces. Icelandic trade unions already are negotiating shorter work weeks for their members.

LIVES

HE CALLED HER Joanie. She called him Walter. And what a pair they were. Walt Grishkot was a crack Navy photographer who, with hustle and smarts, succeeded as a Johnny-on-the-Spot lensman in the rough and tumble of the New York City media. When his family moved to Lake George in the early 1950s, he came along, too, and met the love of his life, Joan, whose family operated the Springdale Manor Cottage Resort in Hague. Joan became Warren County’s first public health director and a distinguished leader in delivering essential health care services throughout the southern Adirondacks. Together, they founded the Adirondack Hot Air Balloon Festival, now almost 50 years old. Joan Grishkot died at 79.

PAULA STOPERA joined CAP COM Federal Credit Union as membership relationship officer when it had nine employees. By the time she retired as president and CEO in 2019, CAP COM had more than 360 employees and nearly $1.8 billion in assets, and she had become a titan of the Capital Region business community, an advocate for corporate philanthropy who led by example. She died at 64.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“Red Smith’s standard directions for getting to the track still work: From New York City, you drive north on the Thruway for about 175 miles, turn off at Exit 14, take Union Avenue heading west – and go back about 100 years.” — William Nack, writing about Saratoga Race Course in Sports Illustrated, Aug. 22, 1988

THE SIGNOFF

The Washington Nationals were in a rain delay when a fan from Delaware, whose family was at the game, called the ballpark to see if anyone could tell her whether it might resume. She ended up speaking to Nationals manager Dave Martinez for about 20 minutes.

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

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Lisa Fenwick, Troy Burns, Claire P. Tuttle, John Brodt, Tara Hutchins, 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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