The Week: What Caught Our Eye

July 30, 2022

A black German Shepherd dog sitting on a large tree stump in the woodsSome prefer a cabin or a tent platform. Some are happy just to sleep on the ground. The best part of summer camping in the Adirondacks is finding a comfortable spot with a great view, as Mikey, our own Tina Suhocki’s German Shepherd, did in Speculator.

 Dear Colleagues and Friends:

Last week, you might say, the chips were up.

IT WAS A GOOD WEEK for anyone – almost everyone — who drives a car or uses a computer or cell phone and for the U.S. semiconductor industry. The House passed legislation already approved in the Senate to allocate billions of dollars toward domestic semiconductor manufacturing and science research. The bill helps the U.S. keep pace with China and protects a key American manufacturing asset. President Biden is expected to sign the legislation.

MEANWHILE, IN UPSTATE NEW YORK, GlobalFoundries, which has been manufacturing computer chips in a $15-billion facility in Malta since 2009, this week secured the final local approval to build a second manufacturing plant near the first. The expansion will require an investment of at least $6 billion and is expected to create 1,000 jobs. The company already employs approximately 2,600 at the Malta complex.

PARENTAL ESCAPES: In-person trade shows and similar work-related conferences and events are back and working parents are flocking to them, in some cases getting away from spouses and children for the first extended period since the start of the pandemic. An event planner in Colorado told The Wall Street Journal that guests attending conferences often are arriving days before or staying days after to take advantage of a little extra me time. Parents, he said, are “eating more, drinking more and trying more stuff.”

BASEBALL PIONEER: Bud Fowler grew up not far from Cooperstown, N.Y., and learned to play baseball in the 19th century on the fields of the Cooperstown Seminary. He became the first Black professional baseball player in 1878, 59 years before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball (Robinson finally has his own museum, in Manhattan), though opponents and even teammates often refused to play if he did. The “gentleman’s agreement” barring Black players was soon in place, and Fowler would play on numerous minor league teams throughout his career. A promoter of Black baseball as well as a player, he was posthumously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was enshrined along with other members of the Hall of Fame Class of 2022 last weekend.

STILL WATERS: For 75 years, The Word of Life in the quiet Adirondack hamlet of Schroon Lake, N.Y., has been hosting young people and families for a summertime week of fun and Bible study. Founded by evangelists Jack Wyrtzen and Harry Bollback in 1946, the summer camps are part of the larger Word of Life Fellowship Inc., a global enterprise with satellites in 80 countries and a college that offers a two-year certificate program. Though it has hosted thousands of people over the years, the Word of Life remains a quiet presence in the Adirondacks. “Even now, when you look at the size of their facility and the number of students they have at the Bible Institute and the number of campers that come up each summer, and all the programs that they put on, they’re a well-kept secret,” Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett told the Adirondack Explorer.

FUTURE CITY: Saudi Arabia this week unveiled details of a planned walled city that will extend 105 miles and be home to 9 million people. The city, only 220 yards wide, will extend east from the Red Sea to the mountains and cost hundreds of billions of dollars to build. There will be no cars or roads, but a high-speed rail line will carry commuters from end to end in 20 minutes.

JOB WELL DONE: Each day at the end of his shift, Dave Esch goes home, logs on to his computer, opens a spreadsheet and records his work activity. That’s how he knew he was about to return his 1 millionth cart for Meijer, the Midwest grocery store chain he has worked for since 2008. Family and friends surprised Esch, who has a disability, with a celebration that included a sheet cake and a jersey presented by Michigan State’s hockey coach. “There's never a bad word out of his mouth,” his sister told the Lansing State Journal. “He's always kind. He's always happy. There's people that don't have the adversity that he has to face and it's never a problem.”

THE FLU’D CHAIN: The recovery of bald eagle populations in the U.S. is rightly heralded as a historic conservation success story. Once on the brink of extinction in the lower 48 states, bald eagles today are flourishing. But in a reminder that nature can be fickle, an increasing number of bald eagles across New York State are succumbing to avian flu, made worse because the outbreak occurred during the mating season and the virus can be passed from adults to their young. The virus is most prevalent in birds that feed on land animals, other birds, and carrion. Bald eagles are thought to be vulnerable at least in part because of lead in their bloodstreams, caused by eating carcasses of animals shot by hunters.

CATTLE KILL: A June heatwave killed thousands of cows in Kansas, many of which ended up in a municipal landfill or buried in unlined graves because of the sheer numbers, Reuters reported this week, based on a review of documents obtained from the state and confirmed by some of the companies involved. Cattle that die of heat stress are not processed for human consumption; they typically are rendered into pet food or fertilizer, but processing facilities were overwhelmed.

Small red flowers with green leaves, and a black wasp on the flowersDon’t judge a book by its cover. The flower is Euphorbia milii; the insect is Polistes dominula. What a first glance doesn’t tell you is the plant, also known as the “Crown of Thorns” has incredibly sharp thorns on its stems, and was said to be used on Jesus during his crucifixion. The insect, commonly known as a paper wasp, can sting, but is a beneficial predator, eating corn earworms, armyworms and hornworms. (Skip Dickstein)

SAVING DOME: John Apperson left his native Virginia in 1900 to pursue an engineering job with GE in Schenectady. He loved the outdoors and soon was spending his weekends exploring the remote corners of the Adirondacks. Lake George was fast becoming a summer getaway of comfortable resorts for the wealthy, but Appie and his GE friends preferred roughing it — rustic tents on the islands and skiing on unbroken trails in the backcountry. Scientists all, they worried about preserving the unparalleled natural resources and beauty of the region and formed an early and effective environmental advocacy organization that included Dr. Irving Langmuir, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1932. This summer, two new books are out on the GE-Lake George connection: One on John Apperson’s signal accomplishment, the preservation of Dome Island as an untouched wilderness in the middle of Lake George, by a New Jersey writer just out of high school; the other, a memoir on the preservationist community that GE scientists fostered on Lake George 100 years ago.

OUTDOORS FOR MORE: Benita Law-Diao got to know the Adirondacks in her job as a dietician for the New York State Department of Health, developing a deep respect for the year-round residents who she considered the prime stewards of the land. A lover of the outdoors, she has an abiding fondness for the people and the place, which she carries into her new role as the first Black member of the Adirondack Park Agency Board, which oversees the state agency that develops long-range land use plans for both public and private lands within the boundary of the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. She’s looking to make a dent in the region’s affordable housing shortage and to encourage more people of color to enjoy nature in the Adirondacks.

THIRD OPTION: Dozens of prominent former Democrats and Republicans announced this week that they were forming a centrist third political party, called Forward, that they hope will appeal to voters tired of the constant culture wars, polarization and childish insults that have become hallmarks of the two major American parties. The party, co-chaired initially by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, is planning a convention for next summer. Two pillars of the new party's platform are to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and to “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future.”

THEY DELIVER: The trucking industry is at once a challenging and rewarding place to be today – critical to an efficient and timely supply chain, but struggling with driver shortages and myriad regulations. Mark Miller is up for a challenge. With the same can-do attitude that enabled him to grow a small residential pressure washing business into one of the Northeast’s leading industrial cleaning and painting contractors, Mark is now teaming with his stepson, Drew Trombley, to provide cargo and freight solutions to businesses seeking to move their product around the region and across North America.

TO THE TIMES: Queensbury, N.Y., native Madison Malone Kircher, a New York Magazine (Approval Matrix) and Slate alum who has already made a national mark covering the wild, weird, can’t-possibly-look-away aspects of Internet culture, has joined the prestigious Style section of The New York Times.

HOLY ROLLED: A Brooklyn pastor known for his expensive tastes was robbed at gunpoint along with his wife while delivering a livestreamed sermon at his church last weekend. Lamor M. Whitehead, 44, a bishop at the Leaders of Tomorrow International Ministries, had just posed a question to the congregation when he saw the gunmen come in. Before they left, they had stolen jewelry worth more than $1 million from the couple, who weren’t injured. He offered a $50,000 cash reward for information leading to an arrest.

A BULLDOG HIMSELF: Richard Rosenthal is a dog lawyer. He gets dangerous, sometimes killer dogs off the hook. When dogs hurt people and local authorities pronounce a death sentence, he takes the case and often draws death threats himself. He’s part of a growing field of professional animal legal advocates. More than 160 law schools now offer at least one animal law class. In 2021, the Harvard Law School’s Animal Law and Policy program received a $10 million endowment.

COMMITTED TO COACH: Fans of lacrosse in New York’s Capital Region will remember Kayla Treanor as a superstar player, a four-time first-team All-American at Syracuse after a standout career at Niskayuna High School. In addition to setting the Syracuse career scoring record, she has starred on two world championship-winning U.S. national teams, including as recently as earlier this month. But she has decided at 28 to retire from the national team and focus her full attention on her duties as head coach of the women’s team at Syracuse, which she led to the NCAA quarterfinals last season in her first year on the job.

RURAL PAIN: Soaring inflation that has hit all segments of the U.S. population is acutely felt in rural areas, where people often must drive longer distances for work and errands, with no public transportation, and where wages are lagging inflation significantly. Higher gas, diesel and fuel oil costs all disproportionately affect rural populations. An Iowa State professor who has been studying the effects of inflation in rural communities is worried that people will be pushed to make ultimately crippling financial decisions to stay afloat.

LIVES

MIKE LONG led the New York State Conservative Party for 31 years, a period that encompassed Republican Gov. George Pataki’s three terms in office. A former Marine, Long volunteered for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign and, before his elevation to state party chairman, was the first enrolled Conservative to serve on the New York City Council. Gov. Pataki, speaking with the Albany Times Union, called Long “one of the finest human beings I ever met.” Long died at 82.

DAVID TRIMBLE was a firebrand Protestant politician passionately committed to forging closer ties between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. His adversaries in the Irish Republican Army and Catholic groups strove instead for a united Ireland. The antagonisms led to The Troubles, 30 years of fighting that left 3,000 people dead — a horrific period he helped bring to a lasting end with the American-brokered Good Friday agreement of 1988. The Irish Times called him “a man of real courage and imagination … a key figure in a critical period in modern Irish and British history.” He was 77.

TIMOTHY ANTOINE GAIGO JR. and his wife Doris used a cousin’s old Ford as collateral to take out a $4,000 bank loan to start the first independent Native American newspaper, the Lakota Times, in 1981. Their goal was to correct “the national media’s constant misrepresentation of Indian people.” The Times challenged discriminatory U.S. government policies and, at times, tribal leaders themselves. Tim was a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, and his Oglala name was Nanwica Kcjii, which translates to “He stands up for them.” He died in Rapid City, S.D., at 88.

PAUL SORVINO was a Brooklyn native whose girth, stern look and star turn in “Goodfellas” belied the soft-hearted father who wept openly when his daughter, Mira Sorvino, recognized his example when collecting a best supporting actress Oscar in 1996. A tenor, he sang in Catskills hotels as a teenager, and fulfilled a dream when he performed for the New York Opera at Lincoln Center in 2006. Nominated for a Tony Award in 1973, Sorvino had a stage and screen career that spanned more than half a century. He died at 83.

TONY DOW played Wally Cleaver, the older brother in the much-loved “Leave it to Beaver,” a show whose popularity endured decades past its original six-year run. The show portrayed a wholesomeness and innocence to suburban life, always with room for hijinks, as its main characters learned life lessons with each episode. He revealed that he battled depression as an adult, and credited art with helping him to overcome it. He had been in hospice after a recurrence of cancer and died at 77.

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“I humbly beg forgiveness for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples.”

—    Pope Francis, issuing a historic apology this week for the Catholic Church’s cooperation with Canada’s policy of Indigenous residential schools, saying the forced assimilation of Native people into Christian society destroyed their cultures, severed families and marginalized generations in ways still being felt today.

THE SIGNOFF

PUPPIES: The space bar as an antidote to doomscrolling.

—— 

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

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

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