The Week What Caught Our Eye

August 15, 2020

Coneflower.jpgA coneflower shows its true colors after a recent rain near Speculator’s Moffitt Beach. (Tina Suhocki)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends.

We begin this week with a story of heroic human service and devotion to duty, a meticulously observed, beautifully written account of life inside the dementia unit at the non-profit Fort Hudson Nursing Center in Fort Edward, where staff were engaged in a nonstop struggle both to protect residents from the coronavirus and communicate with them through layers of personal protective equipment and diminishing capacity. It is a story of how things should be that contradicts the common narrative of nursing homes in crisis. No summary can do justice to the range and depth of emotions captured in this moving essay. “There’s so many losses in this,” said Caroljean Saunders, who manages the dementia unit, “but there have been so many blessings.”

INSIDE MAN: Fans of NPR (yeah, we’re nerds like that) are familiar with Sonari Glinton’s insightful reporting on the auto industry. He’s no longer with NPR, but he’s still telling powerful stories that are informed by his experience on the factory floor. His latest is an eight-part podcast series on the history, resurrection and cultural significance of the Ford Bronco.

TENT REVIVAL: In the first professional musical to open in this country since the great pandemic lockdowns began, the Berkshire Theater Group in Pittsfield is staging a production of “Godspell.” Oft-performed and oft-panned by cynical critics, this “Godspell” is “deeply affecting,’’ New York Times theater critic Ben Brantley writes, and relevant to “contemporary fears bred by isolation and inaction.”

ENDURING CONNECTION: Alex Feuz started a sports podcast when he was in middle school, having caught the broadcasting bug while listening to the Yankees on the radio. He’s in college now and hoped this summer to be the play-by-play voice for a minor league team. When coronavirus scuttled that, he began calling games for an amateur team in Albany. His father, Mark, encouraged him at every step, even while battling pancreatic cancer that was diagnosed the day after college and professional sports were shut down. “I’ll never take it for granted he was able to hear me call one more season of baseball games,” the 20-year-old told the Times Union’s Mark Singelais.

LET ME MANSPLAIN: Nicole Tersigni, a Detroit-based writer, decided to blow off some steam and literally illustrate the absurdity of mansplaining, which helpfully defines as “explaining something to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.” She took a famous painting, added her own mansplaining captions and tweeted it. Then she kept going. A year after the first tweet, her musings are published in a new coffee table book.

A BUSHEL OF CASH: Wall Street worried when Steve Jobs died that Apple would lose its luster. Given that the company’s market valuation these days is higher than the GDP of Russia, Canada or Spain, it’s safe to say those worries have been allayed. Now, if only they can come up with a way to unlock your iPhone with your face without lowering your mask.

LATER, GAITERS: In case you hadn’t heard, those neck gaiters and bandanas you see on people’s faces aren’t protecting anyone from the coronavirus. In fact, the evidence suggests they could be increasing the risk of viral transmission.

SWEATING IN SECRET: The gym may be officially closed, but in the spirit of speakeasies that sprouted during Prohibition, a lot of people are refusing to take no sitting up.

TREAT YOURSELF: With the traditional Halloween season looking very much at risk, candy makers are compensating by getting their seasonal treats in stores earlier than ever. Not that we’re complaining.

LATE ARRIVAL: The Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, which had been closed because of the pandemic, is now open for scenic gondola rides, hiking and disc golf. Face coverings are required when riding the gondolas and in other areas at the venue. Check the Whiteface website if you’re planning to go.

THE OYSTER IS THEIR WORLD: Travel with The New York Times to the waters off Cape Cod, where a world-renowned oyster fishery is facing fresh challenges from the coronavirus.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG? MGM Resorts in Las Vegas is offering special incentives to business travelers to move their WFH experience to the desert. There's a three-day minimum stay, and prices start at $100.

Sunrise.jpgMay every sunrise hold more promise, every sunset more peace – Umair Siddiqui. (Tina Suhocki)


GRAND OPPORTUNITY: The Trojan Hotel building in downtown Troy, an 1830s Federal-style rowhouse that is a neighbor to The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and described as the city’s “last grand historic property available for redevelopment,” is on the market.

RUSTIC CHIC: No longer tethered to homes and offices in New York City, more and more urban dwellers are relocating to the Hudson Valley and other wide open spaces, bringing with them eclectic design tastes.

PRESERVING HISTORY: Third House, the historic Long Island property where Theodore Roosevelt and other Spanish-American War veterans recuperated from the rigors of battle, is getting a $1.5 million makeover.

SPLITSVILLE: “Banana Split,” a coming-of-age comedy that was filmed in Central New York, is finding an appreciative audience on Netflix two years after its world premiere.

CHANGE OF SCENERY: The Common Ground Alliance of the Adirondacks, which each year brings together diverse interests to identify and resolve issues of common concern, is out with its 2020 Blueprint for the Blueline, with an emphasis on attracting younger and more diverse residents.

GET OUT, IF YOU CAN: First it was boats and RVs. Now people seeking solace in the outdoors are cleaning out recreational gear suppliers.

WHERE’D EVERYONE GO? Zookeepers around the world were surprised to learn that some of the animals in their care behave differently with no visitors to watch their every move. “We always think, ‘The animals don’t really pay that much attention to visitors. They just kind of do their own thing.’ And then when the zoo is empty, it’s like, ‘Oh, wow, they actually respond or look at visitors more than we thought,’” said Mary Yoder, collection manager of primates at Arizona’s Phoenix Zoo.

NEWS DOOM: The newsroom, like the typewriters that used to clatter away in them, may soon be just another ink-stained relic of a bygone time.

THE POTTIES OF POTSDAM: The project’s been floating in Morgan Elliott’s mind for some time: A full-length feature documentary on the toilet gardens of Potsdam. Elliott wanted to capture the story of the toilet gardens, the result of a political battle between a local businessman and the village board, before they are dethroned.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT: The family of a young New York State Corrections Officer who was killed in a drunk-driving accident had some blunt advice for those reading his obituary.

SUNRISE, SUNSET, FACING OUT’S ALL WET: Several readers pointed out that what we had described last week as a sunset over Lake George was, in fact, a sunrise. “You gotta get out more,” said one. We agree. This, we promise you, IS a sunrise, captured Thursday.

Northwest Bay.jpgThe sun comes up over Northwest Bay as Lake George awakens to another perfect summer’s
day. (Bill Callen)


“The summer night is like a perfection of thought.”


THANKS, BUDDY! The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation distributes weekly roundups of actions taken by DEC forest rangers, and this time of year they’re heavy with news of lost or injured hikers. This week’s roundup summarized a tense few hours in which the DEC, New York State Police and a local fire department searched by land, water and air for two hikers who disappeared while taking a dip at Denton Falls. Thankfully for all concerned, the missing hikers were found unharmed. We later learned that the search started when the hikers were reported missing at 8:05 p.m. They went swimming at 4:45. Why the delay? DEC deadpanned: “One of the members of the group watched as the current swept the swimmers down river and he returned to the camp without reporting the incident.” As one friend of Facing Out put it: “Well, either they are fine or they are dead ... Either way, I need another beer ...”

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Troy Burns, Bill Richmond, Kelly Donahue, 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.

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:

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