The Week What Caught Our Eye

September 26, 2020

Moreau4A.jpgA hike around Moreau Lake is one of many great ways to enjoy fall outdoors in the Northeast. (Kevin Kelly/Crown Focus Media).

Good morning, Colleagues and Friends:

Forgive us for being a bit whimsical. This is the time of year when our minds drift to the Adirondack Balloon Festival, the annual celebration that filled the skies from Lake George to Saratoga with a panoply of colors and drew thousands of appreciative spectators.

This year’s event was canceled for the reason everything else has been in this year of the continuous pause. Rather than miss the festival this year, we choose to look forward to its return, as we look forward to the return of many other rituals and celebrations once this pandemic is whipped.

In the meantime, stroll with local historian Maury Thompson as he walks through some of the unforgettable moments of balloon festivals past and pays tribute to its irrepressible founder Walter Grishkot. We can’t wait to see what new memories emerge down the road.

THE NOTORIOUS WATER SKIER: As a litigator, Ruth Bader Ginsburg co-founded the ACLU’s Women’s Rights project and achieved many landmark Supreme Court victories in cases establishing gender equality and human rights. As only the second woman nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, she was known for her fiery dissents, often delivered from the bench, in which she appealed to the wisdom of future generations. But Justice Ginsburg’s friends at Lake George have yet another memory. The Lake George Mirror’s Buzz Lamb has the story.

TO NEW HEIGHTS:  Katie Rhodes and Bethany Garretson set a record this week by climbing the 46 Adirondack High Peaks unsupported — meaning they carried their own gear and camped along the way — in 7 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes. They did it while raising money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

FRESH AIR: Go ahead and take a deep breath. Analysts using data from the U.S. EPA found that air quality in Albany, Syracuse and Rochester is among the best in the nation.

THE CURTAIN FALLS: The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass., just wrapped up a seven-week run of “Godspell,” the only stage musical in the country to play during the pandemic. Alan Filderman, the show's director, told the Berkshire Eagle: "We've accomplished the impossible."

Unity-Project_Instagram_Shimizu.jpegROCK THE VOTE: The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., commissioned artists to create images that will be offered as free downloads to be shared on social media as part of a voter-registration campaign. The campaign, called The Unity Project, launched Tuesday on National Voter Registration Day. All the illustrations can be found, along with artist statements and biographies, on a new website,


RUSH TO WOODSTOCK: Real estate in Woodstock is being snapped up for cash, usually above asking price and sometimes sight unseen as people moving north from New York City compete for its wide-open spaces. “Remember when you couldn’t find toilet paper? Well, that’s what real estate is like up here.”

BROTHERLY LURE: But not everyone who bids New York farewell is looking to escape an urban environment.

THE ONE BEER TO HAVE: Schaefer Beer, famous for the slogan “The One Beer to Have When You’re Having More Than One!” (this was in the days before all the ads started coaching viewers to “Please drink responsibly”), is back. Brewed in New York City for more than a century, its new home is the F.X. Matt Brewing Co. in Utica.

NOWHERE TO GO: Why stay cooped up at home when you can drive to the airport, go through security, get to your gate, board your flight and take off on a journey whose destination is the place of departure? Flights that take off and land at the same airport are fulfilling desires to fly in many overseas locations.


WELL DONE: Sheldon Lavin is one of the richest men in the world, the owner of the company that brings you Big Macs, Whoppers and Oscar Mayer wieners. It supplies chicken, ground beef, hot dogs and other products to fast-food chains across the globe. Sheldon Who? Precisely. That’s how he likes it.

MS. FIX-IT: It’s not every day that you come across people like Jd Marhevko, and it’s not every day that a story is told quite so well. Demanding, driven and spoken of in nearly reverent terms by her peers, Marhevko over the years has helped transform companies that made automotive tools, gas and diesel engines, rubber and hose products, molds, electronic switches and after-market automotive products. She is, in the reporter’s words, “perhaps the most brilliant manufacturing executive you’ve never known.”

JUNIOR ACHIEVER: Cynthia Torrence is a high school junior in Hermitage, Pa. She’s also the founder and CEO of Niu, a low-sugar drink brand that is developing a national following.

STAKEHOLDER CAPITALISM: The Business Roundtable made waves last year with its statement of a purpose of a corporation, which argued that companies must invest in employees and their communities and deliver value to customers as well as creating shareholder value. In a classic case of when all is said and done …

UNREAL RODS: Go inside Tom Morgan Rodsmiths in Montana, where craftsmen are focused on the nearly mystical task of creating the perfect the flyrod.

RETURN TO SENDER: Authorities in Thailand weren’t messing around with campers who left a tent full of garbage in a national park. They did some detective work, found the culprits and mailed the trash to them.

VLADIVOSTOK, VENUS: Dmitry Rogozin, who heads the Russian space agency, declared Venus a “Russian planet” and said the country plans to send a mission there. His comments came days after new research suggested that a gas on Earth had also been detected in the atmosphere of Venus.

IMG_0833.jpegAutumn, the time of harvest. — (Linda Dickstein photo)

AN ODE TO AUTUMN: Or, as the author of this beautiful essay calls it, “the season of farewells.” “Autumn light is the loveliest light there is,” Margaret Renki writes. “Soft, forgiving, it makes all the world an illuminated dream.”

SEEING STARS: Few areas of the East are as clear, pristine and undeveloped as the Adirondacks, which makes for some breathtaking stargazing on cloudless nights, uninterrupted by the glow of even distant city lights. But light pollution is encroaching on the Adirondacks, and the issue is worthy of attention. 

NORTHERN LIGHTS: Two friends who graduated in 2015 from North County colleges have collaborated on the North Country Art, Land and Environment Summit, a monthlong event designed to facilitate conversations about North Country land history, the St. Lawrence River Watershed and Haudenosaunee Territory, relationships to water and how art can ignite environmental action. Events and exhibitions are largely virtual.

PAY TO PLAY: Rensselaer High was looking at a school year without interscholastic sports, with athletics among the cuts to a budget ravaged by the economic effects of the coronavirus. Students and alumni got to work soliciting donations and their efforts got a huge boost with a $10,000 check from Stewart’s Shops.

PIE TIME: The Daily Meal, a website devoted to all things food and drink, has jumped in the pizza fray, offering its list of the 101 best pies in America. There’s good news if you live in upstate New York.

RESCUERS GET AN ASSIST: Chris and Mariesa Hughes run a Clifton Park-based rescue organization that specializes in helping aging and disabled dogs. A photo Chris posted of his dogs went viral, eventually attracting the attention of talk show hosts Drew Barrymore and Rachael Ray. And that wasn’t all they got from Ray.

QUIET STRENGTH: A visit to the John Brown Farm, the state historic site near Lake Placid where the famed abolitionist is buried, reveals a newly added Memorial Field for Black Lives that is stunning in its “silent force,” according to the nonpareil Paul Grondahl. The memorial field will be on display through Nov. 1.

THE OTHER JOHN BROWN: The Adirondacks has another famous John Brown, this one a member of the founding family of Brown University and, unlike the abolitionist of the same name, a wealthy man and vigorous defender of slavery during his one term in Congress.

LEISURELY PEEPING: The high time for leaf peepers is approaching, and though several trains have postponed or canceled foliage rides until 2021, two railroads will continue to have excursions this year with new precautions. And if haunted hotels are your thing, upstate New York has a couple of those, too.

MYSTERY OF THE DEEP: The Titanic continues to fascinate people more than 100 years after it sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage. Now researchers are examining a new angle: The possibility that a solar flare set in motion the fateful events of April 14, 1912.

HE’S AWL RIGHT: Leave it to comic legend David Letterman to explain to the nation how New York’s capital city is pronounced.


GALE SAYERS was one of the most agile and elusive running backs ever to play in the NFL, a shifty wizard who once scored six touchdowns on a mud-slopped field but whose career was cut short by knee injuries in an era when those where devastating to a pro athlete. “If I wanted a player for one play,” a former teammate said, “I’ll take Gale Sayers above every running back I’ve seen.”

THE REV. ROBERT S. GRAETZ JR. defied the customs of his age and his fellow clergy when he stood courageously against racial segregation in 1950s Alabama. As the White pastor of an all-Black church in Montgomery, Ala., he withstood bombings at his home and intimidation from local authorities and the Ku Klux Klan.

FEW PEOPLE OUTSIDE a select circle of elite climbers and mountaineering aficionados knew about Ang Rita Sherpa, or that he was the first man to climb Mount Everest 10 times. He made all of the ascents between 1983 and 1996, each without bottled oxygen, and was known as the “snow leopard” for his climbing skills.


“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
March 15, 1933 - September 18, 2020


TRUTH IN ADVERTISING: Reese’s is putting pretzel pieces in its peanut butter cups and announced it the only appropriate way possible: "The hell with it. It's 2020."

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Troy Burns, Tim Maisonet, John Behan, Matt Behan, Kevin Kelly, Linda Dickstein, 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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