The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 12, 2020

image001.jpgDawn over the Hudson River at Troy with dramatic color possibly caused by smoke from horrific wildfires on the West Coast. (John Bulmer)

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

You can feel it, fall is in the air, a time the French author Albert Camus described as “a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” We’re not quite there yet, though here and there the trees are giving us a sneak preview.

If you love the fall colors — and, seriously, who doesn’t? — the State of New York may have just the job for you as a volunteer leaf peeper. It doesn’t pay anything, but you can’t beat the benefits, and you’ll see your work featured on and its affiliated social media channels. Want to get a head start on your leaf-peeping plans? The Washington Post has a tool that tells you when colors will peak in every state.

Another sign of fall: the return of college and pro football (the NBA and NHL playoffs are a different story, but hey, we’re just grateful to have sports at this point). gets you ready for some football with previews and power rankings of all 32 NFL teams, as well as predictions and storylines among the Division I programs. And if you couldn’t get enough of him in New England, follow along as The New York Times takes us on a journey to Tompa Bay.

NEVER FORGET: On the 19th anniversary of 9/11, the Daily News poignantly reminded us: It was only yesterday. It was so long ago.

GREASING THE WHEELS OF VICTORY: College football is a game of attrition, a chess match between head coaches, a battle among opposing players, and a never-ending war among the fans. It is in this state of mayhem that some of mankind's greatest schemes have been executed. So, as the college football season opens, we take a look at how rivalry can spark ingenuity.

HOW THE FIGHTING IRISH CAME TO BE: A freedom fighter, a famous brigade of the Union Army, student groups clashing with the Ku Klux Klan, and perhaps a nudge from the great Knute Rockne himself. It's only fitting that a swarm of unconquerable spirits, undoubtedly mixed with a bit of dramatic storytelling, paved the way for the "Fighting Irish" moniker to stick at a school in Northern Indiana.

ENDURING LEGACY: In the 1970s, the pick-up basketball games at the old Ogdensburg Boys Club on Patterson Street drew some of the North Country’s top hardwood talent. Local attorney Preston Carlisle was always there, ready to play even though most of the players were many years his junior. Didn’t matter. Pres Carlisle could hold his own. He was a lawyer, of course, so he knew how to throw a sharp elbow. On the court and off, he taught the kids a lot about basketball and life. Last Saturday, his son, Rick — who won NBA championships as a player with the Boston Celtics and as a coach with the Dallas Mavericks — was back in town to surprise his Dad with a 90th birthday gift the whole town is talking about.

YOUR MOVE, JOHN: The suspense has us on the edge of our seats: The mayor of Danbury, Conn., has announced the town will name its new $110 million sewage plant after the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” on one condition — Oliver has to be there for the dedication. Alas, Oliver is on a two-week hiatus, so it may be a bit before we know whether the two will do business.

WHO’S THE BOSS: Stefanie Wiley has been the president and majority owner of Hoosick Valley Contractors since 2014, when she and her husband, Scott, bought the company from her father. So, you can imagine her surprise when the state declined to renew the company’s certification through the state’s Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises program. "I've been in this business my whole career, so I was very offended by this denial," she told the Albany Business Review’s Michael DeMasi. "I feel like as a woman you have to keep proving yourself over and over."

KINGSTON’S COOKING: An analysis of 181 metropolitan areas in the U.S. found that Kingston has the fastest-rising real estate prices in the country, an acceleration that started before the pandemic and has been fueled by an exodus north from New York City. 

THE BITTER WITH THE SWEET: Angelo Mazzone, long the top name in restaurants and catering in the Capital Region, worked for years to get a piece of the New York Racing Association catering business at Saratoga. This year he finally won it — and the track did not open for fans. A master of the quick pivot, Angelo created a daily watch party – sold out most of the time — at Saratoga National Golf Club where fans could watch the races on TV and enjoy fine food outside. For many of his peers in the business, the news is worse.

SWEET DEAL: David Klein, the founder of Jelly Belly, is offering treasure hunts to win $5,000 “golden tickets” in all 50 states. The grand prize: the key to one his factories. Too good to be true? Judge for yourself.

GOOD COP, BA-AA-AD COP: A Georgia sheriff’s deputy left the door to her cruiser open as she served civil papers. Moments later, she returned to find a goat munching on her paperwork and unwilling to leave peacefully. No kidding.

WORM TURNS: Who is this guy, and why does he get so much publicity?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL: Emerging research suggests that certain foods can help you manage a range of emotional challenges, including anxiety, anger and insomnia — important at any time, and more so with the unique stresses of our pandemic era. Of course, if you find yourself lingering at the fridge door, you could just embrace it like the Atlanta woman who uses humor to help people fight those pandemic pounds.

SPICY DEBATE: It’s pumpkin spice season, and like so many things in these fraught, divided times, its consumption evidently is a subject of intense feelings. “In an era of accelerated misery,” the author writes, “how hard is it, truly, to let people enjoy something that makes them happy?”

NORTHERN EXPOSURE: A voter in Exeter, N.H., was told her T-shirt violated rules against electioneering at her polling place. So she took it off. Right there.

SING OUT LOUD: Sing like no one’s listening, they tell us. But what it you forget the words?

UNBREAKABLE BOND: Elena Gustines was a lifelong baseball fan who vowed after the 1994 players’ strike canceled the playoffs and World Series that she would never attend another game unless invited to do so by Tom Seaver himself. With a little help from her colleagues at The New York Times and longtime Mets PR ace Jay Horwitz, that’s exactly what she got, beginning a friendship that brought unexpected joy to both.

image0000[6].jpgButterflies and blossoms will soon go away as nature hunkers down for the cold months ahead. (Tammy Mooney)


RALPH HUDSON refused to let age slow him down. At 69, he was zooming across the Bonneville Salt Flats in a Utah on a motorcycle, attempting to add to his collection of speed records. He was traveling at 252 mph when he crashed; he succumbed to his injuries three weeks later.

TOM JERNSTEDT had a mild case of polio when he was five, but he grew up an athlete. In high school he was a star quarterback, basketball guard and pitcher. He was a reserve quarterback and tight end on the University of Oregon’s varsity football team. Then, after graduation and a brief career in sales (spices and electrical equipment), he did something amazing. March will never be the same.


LAST WEEK, we shared the story of the Albany drug counselor who found himself in distress on Lake George, prayed for help and was saved by priests and seminarians aboard a Tiki boat. This week it’s national news.


“Go, sit upon the lofty hill, And turn your eyes around, Where waving woods and waters wild Do hymn an autumn sound. The summer sun is faint on them— The summer flowers depart— Sit still— as all transform’d to stone, Except your musing heart.”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, The Autumn

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Troy Burns, Matt Behan, Bill Richmond, Kelly Donahue, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, Tammy Mooney, 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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