The Week: What Caught Our Eye

July 17, 2021

We start this week by “facing in” for just a moment and going behind our chief editor’s back. He would have nixed this story idea in a heartbeat.

Earlier this week, Behan Communications’ president, Mark Behan, was announced as the recipient of the 2021 J. Walter Juckett Community Service Award, presented annually by the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce. The award will be presented on Friday, Oct. 29, at a dinner at The Sagamore resort on Lake George.

When Mark founded our firm 33 years ago, he wasn’t content to just build a successful business. He wanted to make a difference in the regional community where he was raised and raised his family. We’ve seen it every day ever since. Mark’s volunteer commitments make us tired just watching him — whether helping ensure the viability of health care in our region, preserving and promoting our historical and cultural treasures, helping educate and inspire our kids, or working hand-in-hand with our hospitality community to rebound from COVID-19. Mark doesn’t just lend his name to good causes, he’s active and energizing in every volunteer assignment he takes on, bringing new ideas, challenging the status quo, always looking for ways to do things better. 

It’s worked. Our community is a better place because Mark Behan chose to live here. 

The staff of Behan Communications congratulates Mark on this well-earned honor. We’ll be there to celebrate him on Oct. 29. We hope you’ll join us.

Now back to our regularly scheduled news.A jockey riding a horse, silhouetted against the rising sun.

A jockey riding a racehorse at a trackA man smiling in a crowd  

There was something reassuring about the rhythms returning to Saratoga this week. As the season dawned anew, Pretty Birdie, owned by Marylou Whitney Stables, took the Grade III Schuylerville race for up-and-coming two-year-old fillies as John Hendrickson, Mrs. Whitney’s widower, watched with pride and appreciation. Mrs. Whitney died as the racing season opened in 2019. (Skip Dickstein)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

ANNNND, THEY’RE OFF: In Upstate New York this week, the rain stopped briefly and the July sun warmed 27,000 souls who, at 1:07 p.m. Thursday, July 15, welcomed thoroughbred racing back to historic Saratoga. Security guards at the gates could barely hold back the crowds racing to the rail –people who last year were not even allowed to peer through the fences to watch some of the finest horses on Earth.

HOLLYWOOD ON THE HUDSON. They’re rolling out the red carpet at the buzzworthy Strand Theatre in the little Upstate New York village of Hudson Falls next week for a special screening of a new streaming TV series pilot called … “Hudson Falls.” The show stars TV and movie veteran Richard Kind (You may have seen him in “Mad About You,” “The Goldbergs” and a whole lot more) as a private eye caught up in a murder investigation while visiting his ex-wife, played by Jessica Hecht (she’s been all over your TV screen, too, including in prominently recurring roles on “Friends” and “Breaking Bad”). The show’s writer-director-producer didn’t know the real Hudson Falls existed when he chose the name for the show and began filming in downstate Rockland County, but the show’s publicist was familiar with the Strand, and they’re bringing the show to town as a fundraiser for the newly renovated theater. Cast members will be on hand for the screening and a panel discussion. It all starts at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 20. Tickets are $25, including a wine-and-cheese reception. Get them here or by calling 518-832-3484. Catch a sneak peek here.

VOTING WRONGS: For New Yorkers who decry modern efforts at voter suppression, some history: New York was a pioneer in barring Black men from voting (to say nothing of women). New York law limited voting rights to those who owned $100 worth of property ($250 for Black men). Supporters of Black voting rights managed to force a statewide vote in 1846. The Adirondack counties and other Upstate areas overwhelmingly favored Black voting rights, but downstate voters were decisively opposed. Then an Adirondack activist, with the help of John Brown, came up with a brilliant workaround: Welcome to Timbuctoo.

SICK TICKS: Attention, outdoors lovers — once-rare tick-born illnesses are surging in New York’s Capital Region, with one county reporting a four-fold increase in cases of anaplasmosis, whose symptoms mimic the flu and can be fatal if not treated.

A HOUSE IN THE WOODS: Treehouses evidently are the new place for glamping. Airbnb reported in May that 20% of all users who “wishlisted” homes in the past year picked treehouses, and there’s a bunch available close to the New York State capital.

IRON WILLED: Several issues back, we published an item on Chris Nikic, a 21-year-old who became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon, which requires a competitor to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles (go ahead, catch your breath; we know it’s exhausting to even imagine doing that). We missed the amazing story ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski delivered to viewers back in March, but you shouldn’t miss it now.

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING: Bolton Landing Brewing Company, which has a delightful and popular taproom and eatery on Lake Shore Drive in the heart of the village, is slapping its appeal for workers directly on a new batch of IPAs that it’s calling Help Wanted.

ARMS RACE: Tyler Mattison, a native of tiny Fort Ann, N.Y., near the Vermont border, and the Northeast Conference Pitcher of the Year for Bryant University, was selected 104th overall in the 2021 Major League Baseball draft by the Detroit Tigers. That was two spots after Owen Kellington, who dominated his high school competition in Vermont (about one of every 10 hitters put a ball in play against him), was chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates. History happened with the 77th selection, when the Arizona Diamondbacks made Long Island native Jacob Steinmetz the first known practicing Orthodox Jewish player to be drafted.

THE JOY OF GREAT DESIGN: Fresh from Cornell, Bob Joy came to Glens Falls, N.Y., in the late 1970s when the city was losing downtown businesses to suburban malls and wrecking balls. He opened a one-man architectural firm and, with a few other stouthearted souls, set about saving Glens Falls’ charm. Now, from offices in the beating heart of downtown Glens Falls, the firm Bob Joy started, today called JMZ Architects and Planners, is shaping the look of modern college campuses across the country — more than 100 so far, including many SUNY campuses, Dartmouth, West Point and the University of North Carolina. JMZ helps colleges express their aspirations and values through great design — rethinking space for the era of remote work, creating places that inspire big ideas, awaken the senses, are cost-effective and people-friendly, sustainable and universally accessible. Arch Daily profiles the firm that’s built a national reputation from the city it helped revive and has been led by the visionary Teneé Casaccio since 2009.

THANKS TEN MILLION: Fodor’s Travel names Lake George’s Million Dollar Beach one of the 15 best beaches in the United States that’s nowhere near an ocean. New York By Rail calls it simply heavenly. The beach was Gov. Thomas E. Dewey’s idea. It opened in June 1951 at a cost of $1 million, hence its name. An expansive beach house and other improvements were added later. All in, the sandy strip at the southern end of Lake George probably should be called Ten Million Dollar Beach. At its grand opening on Sunday, Jun 17, 1951, New York State Conservation Commissioner Perry Duryea called it “a sound investment in preventive medicine, giving our people relief from the stresses and strains of this fast-moving and uncertain era.” ’Twas ever so.

ON THE BUCKET LIST: Outside magazine says Lake George is one of the best in the world for water lovers. Its “low-key summer-camp vibes,” with camping, hiking and biking opportunities and chill attractions like the Adirondack Pub and Brewery and Adirondack Winery earn a spot on the “Water Lover’s Bucket List.” Lake George also makes an appearance on Travel and Leisure’s list of best small towns in New York.

A young woman in a bathing suit jumping in a river at a waterfallWhat better way to tame summer than to leap into Split Rock Falls on the Boquet River near New Russia, south of Elizabethtown, N.Y. (Nancie Battaglia)

OPEN FOR BUSINESS: New York does well on access to capital, Vermont on quality of life issues, and Ohio and Oklahoma are tops for their low cost of doing business. But you can’t beat Idaho and South Dakota for business friendliness.

MY, YOU’VE GROWN: At some point in your life, chances are pretty good that you’ve shared your home with a goldfish. A staple of county fairs, they’re easy to care for, fun to look at and inexpensive. That little fish flashing around your aquarium is hardier than you might think; it can become huge and quite destructive when released to the wild, competing with native fish for food and shelter and reproducing rapidly.

BUILDING THE FUTURE: Speaking of items in what seems like every household with a child: Lego, which has produced trillions of the colorful, interlocking polymer toy bricks over its 72 years in business, has, after years of research, created a new prototype block from the plastic of discarded bottles, the first recycled product to meet its quality specifications for standard pieces. Turns out one of the biggest challenges is finding just the right amount of clutch power, a measure of how well the precisely calibrated pieces fit together and hold their grip.

OVERHEATING: A 2017 study found that about 30% of the world’s population was exposed to a potentially deadly combination of heat and humidity at least 20 days a year, a figure projected to jump closer to 50% by the turn of the century. It was so hot recently in the Pacific Northwest that shellfish cooked on the beaches of Puget Sound. Factors such as age and physical condition play a part, but there is a limit to the amount of heat any body can bear before it can no longer cool itself and vital organs begin to break down. MIT Technology Review explains why, as one expert put it, a warming world will stress us “beyond what normal physiology can cope with.” If you’re curious how the climate has changed in your hometown since you were born, The New York Times has a tool that will tell you.

NO MICKEY MOUSE, SHE: Outside the company, she was the fearsome warrior princess protecting the vaunted Disney brand. Inside, Zenia Mucha gave the CEO what he needed most: a daily dose of brutal honesty. The daughter of a grave digger and night custodian, who escaped Albany politics for Disney’s world, is retiring after 19 years of steering the iconic global brand through a thousand storms.

DEAR BOSS, LET’S TALK: Kahlil Greene, a senior at Yale who served as the university’s first Black student body president, wrote an open letter for the Harvard (!) Business Review, addressed to the CEOs of this generation’s emerging workforce. He lays out what he and his peers expect, including a workplace that elevates diversity because it’s the right thing to do, not for its impact on the bottom line; that is willing to take a stand on social issues; and that help them develop the skills they need to make an impact. 

ESCAPE ROOMS: A library made from old shipping containers and filled with donated books and furnishings is providing respite and a safe place to learn and explore in the middle of a slum in Cape Town, South Africa, that is racked by gang violence and drug abuse. “For most of these kids, poverty, unemployment, the lack of good role models, that's the norm,” the library’s founder told NPR. “They wake up every day and put on this tough exterior, and they accept this kind of life as the norm. And what we wanted to do is to change that norm for them through reading books.”

PEDAL POWER: City Ratings, an online platform that advocates for cycling and the infrastructure to support it, evaluated 767 cities in 12 countries for bike-friendliness. One U.S. city — Provincetown, Mass., on Cape Cod — made the top 10. Five of the top seven are in The Netherlands. Albany, N.Y., was in the middle of the pack.

RAINING FISH: The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has lots of high-altitude lakes that it must manage, and that includes restocking from time to time. The challenge is that many of them are remote and hard to reach. The solution: Thousands of fish dropped from low-flying airplanes, with an estimated survival rate of 95%.

JUNIOR ACHIEVER: Tommy Goodelle, an 11-year-old from New Hartford, N.Y., near Utica, made 50 consecutive free throws to win a national competition in his age group. His inspiration: Syracuse guard and Glens Falls, N.Y., native Joe Girard III, Tommy’s favorite player and a previous winner of the contest, who is busy preparing for his junior season with the Orange.

Green ferns and red lilies with raindropsRain, humidity and heat have the lilies and ferns along Lake George looking downright tropical. (Jeff Killeen)

HOT WHEELS: Got your eye on a sporty new set of wheels but aren’t sure about the cost? The New York State Office of General Services may be able to help. The OGS, which periodically auctions confiscated or forfeited property, is auctioning a fiery red 2015 Corvette, among other items, online beginning a 9:30 a.m. July 26. Registration is required. OGS initially auctioned the car in June, but the winner, who bid $32,300, couldn’t come up with the cash.

DOODY CALLS: Tel Aviv, Israel’s second-largest city, is requiring dog owners to provide DNA samples of their pets when receiving or renewing their dog ownership licenses in an effort to reduce the estimated half-ton of poop left unscooped in the city each month. Municipal inspectors will sample the abandoned feces and owners will be fined and charged for the sampling and testing expenses.

KIDNEY FAILURE: A hospital in Cleveland transplanted a new kidney into the wrong patient. The hospital released a statement acknowledging the error and reporting, thankfully, that the kidney was compatible and the patient is recovering. The other patient will have to wait a little longer.

COUNTRY LIVING: Much has been written and said about New Yorkers abandoning the city for — quite literally — greener pastures during the pandemic. While it’s unclear whether the moves are permanent, what is clear is that rural living is a very different and at times disconcerting feeling for the newcomers, even those who have long been a weekend presence in their new communities. “It was hard to know people or be in the community,” Mat Zucker, founder of the podcast Cidiot, told the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., about his experience in Tivoli, in the Hudson Valley. “You are treated differently even though we were here a lot. We noticed it after the full-time move. There are tiers of people who have been here forever.” One furnishing that may help the new residents fit in: The iconic Adirondack chair.

MEDICAL MARVEL: The ability of people to create, manipulate and perfect new technologies has been a defining characteristic of progress over the millennia, to the point where we can sometimes take for granted the truly extraordinary. This isn’t one of those times. A team led by the chairman of neurological surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, has created a device that allows a man who is paralyzed and mute to “speak” by, in essence, reading his mind. When he thinks of the word he wants to say, electrodes in his brain transmit signals that display the word on a computer screen. Incredible.

LIVES

HIRSCH MORITZ ROSENFELD and his Polish immigrant parents fled the violence engulfing Nazi Germany in 1939, and found refuge in the Bronx. He never forgot the price his family paid for freedom, never took American citizenship for granted. He developed a keen eye for unaccountable power and nascent oppression and embraced his responsibility to fight for the freedoms that made America a beacon of hope. Harry Rosenfeld grew up to be a newspaper man and, at The Washington Post in mid-career, found himself handling the most important political scandal of the 20th century – Watergate – before joining the Times Union in Albany, N.Y., which, through his mentoring of young journalists, he transformed into a power of modern investigative journalism. He was 91, and still as feisty as ever.

LEONARD SMITH was a petty officer on the USS Oklahoma when it sank during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Smith, a native of Albany, N.Y., was one of 429 sailors and Marines killed in the attack, but his remains, and those of many others, were unidentified until a 2015 exhumation and examination using modern DNA analysis. He was 29.

THOMAS PLASKETT was the senior vice president of marketing at American Airlines in the early 1980s, a time when airlines were struggling to fill seats and stay in business. His solution changed the industry: a frequent flyer program to build and reward brand loyalty. Plaskett, who later served as CEO of Continental and Pan Am airlines and chaired Greyhound Lines, Inc., died at 77.

WILLIAM S. ANDERSON spent four years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, subsisting on rice and unidentifiable greens. When he returned to the States, he decided to follow the advice of a fellow prisoner and applied for work at National Cash Register. He was dispatched to Asia, where he helped build one of NCR’s most profitable businesses — in Japan. That’s when the Board of Directors called him home to become President and later Chairman and CEO. He died at 102.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

SURE, WHY NOT? As if there isn’t enough to worry about these days, it turns out that a prediction made by scientists from MIT in 1972 about economic decline and societal collapse is pretty much right on target, according to a study from a KPMG director who was curious about the accuracy of the forecast. 2040 is shaping up as a very fraught time.

THE SIGNOFF

A shocking thing just happened in New York State — lawmakers voted to repeal a regulation. Thank goodness that Sunday haircut you’ve been getting for years is finally legal

THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS: Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Lisa Fenwick, Jeff Killeen, Skip Dickstein, Nancie Battaglia, 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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