The Week What Caught Our Eye

August 22, 2020

IMG_1565[2].jpegAnother five-alarm sunrise as August slips toward autumn on Lake George. (Bill Callen)

Good Morning, Colleagues and Friends:

(Checks calendar). Yes, we really are heading into the last full week of August, and even in this oddest of years it’s remarkable how fast the summer has passed. In a time of such upheaval and uncertainty, we hope the beautiful weather that we’ve enjoyed more or less since Memorial Day has rejuvenated your spirit and provided you with opportunities to make memories that will long outlast the pain, suffering and sacrifice that have coated our world like an oil slick for going on six months. Remember to take care of yourself, take care of each other, and be kind, especially to those who are just trying to do their jobs and keep people safe. Find the good and celebrate it.

FORCES FOR GOOD:  The Adirondack Foundation has found the good — and is supporting it generously. When COVID-19 hit, the Foundation rose to the challenge, rallying others to create a “special and urgent needs” fund that provided, remarkably, more than $1 million to secure access to food and child care services, support low-wage workers and the elderly, and support for nonprofits and small businesses involved in response efforts. It’s even provided a grant to support local journalism at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. Similarly, the Glens Falls Foundation stepped in quietly to ensure local health care and human services agencies had the financial support they needed. In times like these, the Adirondack Foundation says, the best way to love the Adirondacks is to give back.


FALLING FOR THE ADIRONDACKS: For abundant autumn colors, chilly early-morning kayaking, campfires and cozy rentals — plus apple and pumpkin picking — Reader’s Digest says head to the Adirondacks, Lake George, Lake Placid, the Catskills or the Finger Lakes. The Amsterdam News, which bills itself as the “oldest black newspaper in the country,” urges readers to explore the Lake George area, “since the 1800s, a fall hotspot.” While you are in town, check out the new exhibit of turn-of-the-century Lake George photographs at The Hyde Collection — all very white in black and white. And consider the case of reader Jessica. When her dreams of a tropical honeymoon were dashed by COVID, she discovered beauty closer to home with a wonderful long weekend in Lake George.

NOT WELCOME HERE: The never-ending fight against invasive species in the Adirondacks opened a new front with the discovery on Lake George of an insect that can devastate hemlocks. The insect has caused widespread damage downstate and in the Southern Tier.

CHARLESTON’S CHALLENGE: The beautiful destination Charleston, S.C., has long sold itself on Southern charm and cuisine, branding that has helped it attract 7.4 million tourists each year. But there’s another part of the Charleston story that’s getting more attention these days — its history as the capital of the North American slave trade.

BOULUD IN THE BERKSHIRES: A few weeks ago, we reported on Michelin-starred New York chef Daniel Boulud’s journey to the Berkshires, where he’s opened a summer café at Blantyre. Go, you must, says the Times Union’s Suzy Davidson Powell. “(I)ndulge in some Downton Abbey fantasies and local ingredients … an amuse of arancini (with) middles leaking soft, stretchy cheese … heirloom tomatoes, milky burrata and arugula slick with basil-sunflower pesto and translucent petals of beet-pickled onions … duck paté encased in glossy rustic pastry … (d)ried figs are a counterpoint to grain mustard and the piquant crunch of quick-pickled carrots … perfectly ripe corn and lipid-rich cream into which lumps of sweet poached lobster and avocado slowly sink.” (That noise is us smackin’ our lips.)

RESTAURANT RECKONING: Dominick Purnomo, an Albany restauranteur who’s as well known for his sartorial tastes as he is for the eclectic dishes he serves at Yono’s and dp, An American Brasserie, issued a stark warning about the state of his establishments and of his industry — without more aid, he said, he’s not sure how much longer he can stay in business.

FINGER LAKES FINERY: A new resort hotel just opened in Canandaigua, and Vogue magazine’s Elise Taylor is a fan: “The Lake House on Canandaigua does not challenge the region’s relaxed identity,” she writes in her review. “It merely enhances it.”

IMG-3563.jpgThe Fund for Lake George pursues science-guided solutions for the protection of Lake George and this summer is spotlighting the people who make it possible. (Jeff Killeen)

MY DOG’S SMARTER THAN YOUR KID: Stuck at home too long, bored with family conversation, some people are teaching their dogs, cats and guinea pigs to talk. Thankfully, not every pet feels the need to chat.


SUSAN B. ANTHONY SLEPT HERE: Dead 114 years, Susan B. Anthony has been all over the news this week, the centennial of the 19th amendment. First, President Trump pardoned her. Pardon? Yes, she was convicted in 1872 of voting before it was legal for women to do so. The next day contemporary historians rejected the pardon; she would not have wanted it, they said; she did nothing wrong. Then news came that the Washington County home where she spent most of her childhood would receive a state restoration grant. It’s in bad shape, full of mold and structurally weakened by years of inundation, but soon will be reinvigorated as a tribute to the leader who secured voting rights for millions of Americans.

EQUAL TIME: Leta Stetter Hollingsworth was born in 1886, when it was common to think of women as mentally and physically inferior to men. Her own father, upon seeing his oldest daughter for the first time, is reported to have said, “I’d give a thousand dollars if it was a boy.” That little girl grew up to be a pioneering psychologist whose research gave a scientific underpinning to the drive for gender equality and continues to inspire the fight today.

FEELING CHEATED: Barbara Gicquel was an inspirational marvel, an 80-year-old Californian who set a world record for her age group at the 2019 USA Cycling Masters Track National Championships and was a regular on the medal podium at masters cycling events for years. Then the go-get-’em grandma took a mandatory drug test that upended her world worse than any tumble from a bike ever could.

TRANSFORMED BY MAGIC: Joshua Jay was a professional magician and writer whose column for the now-defunct Magic magazine attracted an interested, curious audience he didn’t expect: prison inmates. As he thought about it, it made sense. “If there is anything missing from a maximum-security prison,” Jay told The New York Times, “it’s wonder.”

SATURDAY NIGHT LEGEND: Kenan Thompson, who got his start in teen television on Nickelodeon, already holds the record as the longest-tenured cast member of Saturday Night Live, and at 42, he’s in no hurry to give up the spotlight.

COMPARE AND DESPAIR: Much has changed during the pandemic, but one thing remains, and has arguably gotten worse: our penchant for envy. There’s a simple explanation, Jens Lange, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg in Germany, told The New York Times: “The pandemic is increasing the divide between the advantaged and disadvantaged, so there’s more opportunity to compare yourself to others in unflattering ways.”

EDUCATIONAL TOUR: A group of San Francisco teens planned for months to take a cross-country cycling trip this summer. After some reconfiguring to avoid major cities, they decided to follow through, and the lessons they’re learning have made it all worthwhile.

THE SOUND OF SUMMER: Those of us of a certain age will remember the Go-Go’s, especially their debut album Beauty and the Beat, a New Wave sensation that spent six weeks at No. 1 and remains the only album written and performed by an all-female band to hit No. 1. They’re the subject of a new documentary on Showtime, and took Vogue magazine on an oral history tour of their origins and rise to the top of pop culture.

CAMPUS CATCHUP: Hudson Valley Community College has hired its first Esports coach. The team, which will compete against other schools in the National Junior College Athletic Association Esports, has both fall and spring seasons. At SUNY Adirondack, a new agreement with SUNY Potsdam is paving the way for the guaranteed transfer of Adirondack graduates into BA degree programs in theatre and arts management at Potsdam. And SUNY Empire State College is offering college credit for indigenous learning.

ALTERNATE REALITY: The problem with our politics, Anne Applebaum writes in The Atlantic, is not that we disagree. It’s that the information bubbles we live in are increasingly impervious to information that doesn’t conform to our worldview, and when that information breaks through, we ignore it, deepening the partisan divide.

MIND GAMES: You know the old trick where you stare at the sky and others join you? Turns out the human mind is wired to cue us that the other person must be looking at something interesting or important, with one notable exception.

HIDDEN TREASURE: Workers renovating a centuries-old Tudor mansion in England have uncovered thousands of rare artifacts beneath its floors and in the attic, including hand-written music from the 1500s.

LOVING AMAZON: The Amazon Prime series “Modern Love” will be shot in Schenectady’s Armory (the Times Union’s Steve Barnes broke the story), and Amazon has begun hiring to fill 1,000 full-time jobs at its $100 million fulfillment center in Rensselaer County.

PEAK PROTECTORS: The pandemic is driving people outdoors, many of whom apparently are unfamiliar with the rules and rigors of High Peaks hiking. The crowds have been challenging for the High Peaks stewards who are there to educate, inform and protect sensitive ecology above the timber line.


“Our job is not to make young women grateful. It is to make them ungrateful so they keep going. Gratitude never radicalized anybody.”


TASTEFULLY DONE: Rhode Island used its turn in the spotlight at this week’s Democratic National Convention to tout the wonders of a calamari comeback, and the internet approved.

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. 

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