The Week: What Caught Our Eye

July 23, 2022

The sun over downtown Albany amid red hazeThe hottest time of the year, the ancient Greeks and Romans noted, was when the star Sirius, located in the “Canis Major” (large dog) constellation, seemed to rise with the sun. Sirius has been called Orion’s dog, and so today we swelter under the “dog days of summer.” (John Bulmer)

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Baseball has a magical capacity to restore our spirit.  If you watched any of this week’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game and its attendant festivities, such as the home run derby, you witnessed the easy camaraderie among the very best competitors in the game. It was a reminder that rivalries and competition needn’t feel existential and fraught, and that there is ample room to celebrate the common ground we stand on. Kudos to MLB and Fox Sports for bringing viewers behind the scenes, where they could listen to, among other insights, Toronto Blue Jays ace Alek Manoah narrate as he was striking out the side, or New York Yankees teammates Nestor Cortes and Jose Trevino discussing pitch selection.  It’s our good fortune that the annual midsummer tradition, like many a game, did not turn out as expected. Arch Ward, sports editor of The Chicago Tribune, cooked up the idea and the first All-Star Game was played on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago as part of the 1933 World's Fair. The AL won 4-2. Organizers expected it would be a one-year thing.

BIG PAPI’S MOMENT: It’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown, the first full-scale ceremony in two years. Big Papi, David Ortiz, will be inducted along with Gil Hodges, Bud Fowler, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, and Buck O’Neil.

SIZZLING SUMMER: The temperature hit 104.5 degrees in Britain this week, the highest ever, and fires broke out. If you Googled “summer heat,” the headlines were discomforting: Summer Heat to Peak This Weekend in the Northeast, Brutal heat from Phoenix to Boston triggers alerts for 100 million, China endures summer of extreme weather as record rainfall and scorching heat wave cause havoc, Extreme summer heat forcing several companies to warn residents about energy usage, Extreme heat piles on Europe’s summer travel chaos, and U.K. Heat Wave: Britain Sets New Record on a Second Day of Scorching Temperatures. President Biden considered, and decided against, declaring a climate emergency, which would unlock federal resources to confront climate change, though the White House kept open the possibility.

SAVING JAMESTOWN: Jamestown, Va., the coastal community where the English first settled in North America and where representative government was established in the New World, is endangered by climate change, with the director of the nonprofit that oversees the colony’s original 22 acres telling CBS News, “We are concerned that if we don’t take action, Jamestown will be lost.” Jamestown is near the mouth of the James River, which has risen more than 18 inches in the past century, and susceptible to powerful storms off the Atlantic. It’s likely that tens of millions of dollars will be needed to protect it in the coming years.

ANCIENT FOOTSTEPS: A diner in southwestern China spotted what he thought might be dinosaur footprints in the restaurant’s courtyard, which until last year had been buried under layers of dirt and sand. A paleontologist and his team, using a 3D scanner, confirmed the footprints of two sauropods, an enormous dinosaur that thundered across the earth 100 million years ago.

GLENS FALLS RISES: Families are remaking Glens Falls, N.Y. The dynamic mother-and-son team of manufacturing executive Elizabeth Miller and her Celtic musician son Ben are transforming the downtown Fenimore Square neighborhood into a vibrant corner for fine dining, jazz, comedy and other entertainment, upscale living, and shopping, with an investment of nearly $10 million. “As a kid, there weren’t a lot of reasons for me to stay,” Ben Miller said. “All of the sudden Glens Falls has become a place with great food and restaurants …” Meanwhile, the historic Queensbury Hotel is celebrating the opening of an expanded ballroom – part of an overall renewal of the landmark undertaken by entrepreneurs Ed Moore and son Zack Moore and their neighbor and friend, hotelier Tyler Herrick. Saratoga Springs developer Sonny Bonacio is planning to make another major investment in Glens Falls that could bring 75 or more new apartments plus restaurants and retail stores downtown. And developer Peter Hoffman, one of the pioneers in Glens Falls’ comeback, is investing again – this time with his daughter.

ON A ROLL: Morcon Inc. is the tissue and towel company that former Finch Paper CEO Joe Raccuia and his family purchased in 2013. Since that first year, he’s grown annual revenue from $25 million to a projected $75 million this year. Morcon operates facilities in South Carolina and New York and, if local support can be arranged, would like to pursue a $14.6-million expansion that would bring more jobs to its Washington County headquarters.

LEARNING TO BE TOGETHER: There’s been a lot written and said about the pandemic’s impact on schools and student development, both academically and socially. Much of the national dialogue has focused on learning loss and ways to help students catch up academically, but the principal of an elementary school near Albany, N.Y., was convinced that an emphasis on social skills would be at least as important, so she organized the school year around an array of fun activities and made sure her staff was alert to students who showed signs of struggling. “We had lots of things to celebrate despite the trials and tribulations,” the principal, Helen Squillace, told the Albany Times Union. “These activities that promote socialization and fun have our kids come streaming off the bus, excited to come to school each day. Our parents have really relished watching their kids enjoy these days. Not a single one had a concern about the social opportunities.”

TO YOUR HEALTH: Fortune, one of the world’s preeminent business media organizations, has partnered with CVS Health to launch Fortune Well, featuring news about physical and mental health and wellbeing. In announcing the partnership, Fortune wrote, “The pandemic was a painful reminder that health and prosperity are inextricably linked. You can’t run a successful business without caring for the health of your employees and customers. You can’t be a successful leader without tending to the physical and mental well-being of your team.”

NAMING FIGHTS: Pittsburgh Steelers fans love their team. They do not love the name the team is putting on its stadium, heretofore known as Heinz Field, for H.J. Heinz Company, a Pittsburgh institution. Acrisure, an insurance broker and real estate services company based in Grand Rapids, Mich., bought the naming rights. “Home will always be Heinz Field!” recently retired quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tweeted. One fan who signed an online petition demanding the name change be dropped told The Wall Street Journal, “Our football is so important to us. To put something from Michigan on there is almost sacrilegious.”

Two sisters from Ukraine posing with cameras in a hotel ballroomSAFE IN LAKE GEORGE: When the Russians invaded Ukraine in February, the community of Ivano-Frankivisk was bombed first. Anna and Tanya Huzii watched the destruction of their hometown on television. They were away at school in Brataslava, Slovakia, where the 24-year-old twins are studying for master’s degrees in tourism management at the Economics University. Their mom, dad and older brother were present as the Russians mounted five additional attacks on Ivano-Frankivisk’s airport and factories. This summer, Anna and Tanya are a world away, working in Lake George at the Fort William Henry Resort, where they are greeting visitors at the front desk. COVID delayed their arrival, but they are here now and making new friends every day. Thoughts of home are never far away. “We will never give up,” Anna said of her fellow Ukrainians. “We will hold our country until the last day. We want to get our sovereignty back. We will need help.”

A man sitting at a desk with his baby daughter sitting on the desk, under the Warren County NY seal and with a sign, "NY Counties Stand With Ukraine" on the front of the deskTHE REAL BOSS: We made a little news of our own this week with the announcement that Ryan R. Moore will join our team as chief executive officer of Behan Communications. He’ll help our clients with community, media and government relations matters and, when necessary, help them manage crises. Of course, the announcement of his appointment was accompanied by a beautiful executive portrait, but we like this shot, too – Ryan with his daughter Madison on the dais at the Warren County Municipal Center, where Ryan has served with distinction as County Administrator. Ryan and his wife Katy Delgado welcomed Madison just over a year ago, and we welcome all the Moores to our family.

ROLE REVERSAL: At 10, Mary Badham, selected for the role largely because of her Southern accent, was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Scout, the daughter of Atticus Finch, in the film adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Now 69, and decades after she last performed, she has returned to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” this time portraying the racist neighbor, Mrs. Henry Dubose, in a touring play. It’s her first-ever stage role.

AT THE CONTROLS: 8-year-old Wyatt Tate of Glenmont, N.Y., got a pretty cool wish fulfilled this week by Make-a-Wish Northeast New York and BBL Construction Services, operating heavy construction equipment at a nearby work site. But the excursion was a cover for the fulfillment of his real wish — a gaming room that was assembled and outfitted while he was out.

FAMILY MATTERS: Kate Manley, who has led the Rensselaer County (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce since 2017, announced this week that she was stepping down to devote more time to her family, which includes an infant and a 4-year-old. The chamber received the 2020 Business Council of New York State Chamber of the Year Award. Chamber board member Katie Doran told the Albany Business Review, “Although I and my fellow board members are sad to lose Kate, we are very supportive of her decision and understand that she is doing what she knows is right for her family. In her time as president, she has led this organization very capably and will leave us in a position of strength.” Manley will remain as chamber president through mid-October.

WE’RE OUTTA HERE: Thinking about pulling up stakes and moving to another country? You’re not alone. Whether to retire, because work flexibility allows it or for other reasons, more people are re-evaluating their living options. InterNations, an online resource for expatriates, surveyed nearly 12,000 expats representing 177 nationalities and came up with lists of the top 10 and bottom 10 countries for relocations. No. 1: Mexico, with 91% of expats reporting they are happy there, largely because the cost of living is so affordable. At the bottom: Kuwait.

WYLDER TIMES: The Thompson House Resort, a northern Catskills landmark that was operated by generations of one family since the 1800s, has been upgraded and rebranded under new ownership. Wylder Hotels bought the resort last year for $2.27 million and has spent at least $20 million on improvements to the property, now known as The Wylder Windham.

FISH TALES: Chad Jackson, who started fishing just two years ago, caught the fish of a lifetime from the Mohawk River in Utica, N.Y. — a 36-inch tiger muskie that weighed, by his estimate, 12 to 15 pounds. Three days later, he landed an even bigger fish, a 45-inch, 20-pound northern pike, from the same shoreline location. He released both, but has the photos to prove it.

SWING AND A MISS: Fox Sports is apologizing after airing a graphic last weekend that superimposed the logos of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees on the reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial, where the Twin Towers stood. “During last night’s telecast, we used poor judgment on the use of a graphic,” a Fox Sports spokesman understated in a statement. “We sincerely apologize and regret the decision.”

SAVING LIVES: The suicide rate among U.S. military veterans is roughly twice that of the adult population at large, an urgent crisis that veterans services organizations are attempting to address, in part, by highlighting the critical role service dogs can have in helping veterans to cope with and overcome suicidal impulses. The National Guard Association of Michigan has launched what it’s calling the "54 by 24: Service Dogs Save Lives" campaign, aiming to train and place one service dog with one veteran in 54 U.S. states and territories by the summer of 2024. The dogs are trained to sniff out symptoms of PTSD, depression, panic attacks, anxiety and other afflictions, and also to relax a person, often leaning against him or her to offset a panic attack.

TIMELESS INSPIRATION: The boy is free, leaping as if to catch a high flyball, or corral a rebound, something Matthew Robison never had the opportunity to do in his too-short lift. Born with cerebral palsy, Matthew spent all of his 10½ years in a wheelchair, which features prominently in a unique and moving headstone sculpture, designed by the boy’s father, that has attracted countless visitors over the 23 years it has stood in a Salt Lake City cemetery.

HISTORY INDEED: Last week we featured a piece extolling the Bolton Landing, N.Y., Historical Museum and a long-concluded 2019 exhibit. (Where did the time go?) What we should have promoted is the current exhibit, “The Thatchers: Photographing Lake George,” this year’s expansion of an exhibition that opened last summer, “The Thatchers: Photographing Lake George 1880-1850.” The exhibit offers a remarkable visual record created by father-and-son photographers. Fred Thatcher was also a builder, business leader, mayor, assessor, Justice of the Peace, village trustee and treasurer of the fire department. He is said to have photographed almost every child in Lake George and other important people like the Roosevelts, New York governors, Jack Dempsey, and Madame Sembrich, and his work graced the pages of The New York Times and other publications.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
—    Dr. Seuss

THE SIGNOFF

FINDING TREASURES: A Michigan man floating on a raft lost a prosthetic leg that he received the month before, the $80,000 device resting 50 feet below the surface of the water. His family contacted the local sheriff’s department and, three days later, a deputy recovered the leg, which the department said was “in surprisingly good shape.” And in Upstate New York, a man free diving in Lake George found what appears what appears to be a lost wedding ring, and is turning to social media to reunite it with its owner.

Some of the linked material in Facing Out requires a subscription to read.

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

THANK YOU to our contributors:  Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Tina Suhocki, John Bulmer, Skip Dickstein, Rob Simmons, Claire P. Tuttle, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, and Tara Hutchins.

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

Recent Posts

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 17, 2022

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 10, 2022

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 3, 2022

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 26, 2022

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 19, 2022

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 12, 2022

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 18, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 11, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 19, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 13, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 25, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 18, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 11, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 4, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 27, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 20, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 13, 2021

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 19, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 12, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 21, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

November 14, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

October 17, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

October 10, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 26, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 19, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 12, 2020

The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 5, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 29, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 22, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 15, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 21, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 14, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 30, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 23, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 16, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 21, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 14, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 7, 2019

Old West Adirondacks

July 19, 2019

A Glens Falls Night

November 20, 2018

A moment for our home city

October 9, 2018