Things that caught our eye - Jan. 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

MERCY IN MERCILESS COLD: To the best of our knowledge, no homeless person in the Capital Region froze to death this week, a miracle largely attributable to the mercy of Code Blue Shelters at the Open Door Mission in Glens Falls, Shelters of Saratoga and the Soul Saving Station for All Nations in Saratoga Springs, the Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, the City Mission in Schenectady, and Joseph’s House and Shelter in Troy, among others. Amid all of its success and truly extraordinary offers of financial help, why can’t Saratoga, the center of the most prosperous county in upstate New York, find a permanent place to keep homeless people from freezing to death?

ICE BARS COMETH: Dig out your best balaclava. It’s ice bar season in the Adirondacks. Raise your cool quotient where it all began, the Sagamore in Bolton Landing, this weekend and next and then at the Fort William Henry in Lake George Feb. 8-9. For those on January diets, feel free to nibble the bar. Many more ice bars ahead.


77.9 BELOW: The intrepid staff of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that, with a temperature of 33 below and a brisk wind on Monday, it felt like 77.9 below zero at Whiteface Mountain.

REMEMBER SUMMER? New York predicting a record year for tourism. And, despite many new hotels entering the market, hotels in Saratoga and Schenectady counties report higher occupancy.

SILVER TSUNAMI: Tourism, niche manufacturing and Adirondack-branded food production still offer growth opportunities, but the Adirondack region is facing a “silver tsunami” with the impending retirement of many Baby Boomer business owners and the persistent loss of young people.

WILD QUESTION: With more than one million acres of state-owned “Wilderness” already in the Adirondack Park, do New York taxpayers need to buy more? Matt Simpson, supervisor of the Town of Horicon in Warren County, NY, and president of the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages, says not if it’s the man-made kind.

WHO WOULD PATROL THAT LAND? No room in state budget for more Adirondack rangers.

COMMISSIONERS CHEECH AND CHONG: Plenty of room in the state budget, however, for an Office of Weed.

NOT ALL WELCOME: The spectacular new Adirondack Welcome Center on the Northway has been controversial for its cost; now, even the membership of its Adirondack Hall of Fame is controversial, too. Who, exactly, is an Adirondacker?

GOOD DAY TO PICK UP THE PHONE. The New York State Rural Housing Coalition has quietly and efficiently been doing its work on behalf of upstate families and communities for four decades. Someone noticed, and the result was a transformative gift.  

EVER HIGHER ED:  Albany Law School gets its largest-ever gift, $15 million, from an anonymous donor, and applications for admission are up 25 percent.
Maria College, one of the Capital Region’s smallest colleges, saw its modest endowment almost double.
Siena College, meanwhile, has completed a $13 million renovation of its Athletic Center.
And Dan Nolan, president and CEO of Hugh Johnson Advisers in Albany, gives $1 million to SUNY Albany athletics.  

SMART CITIES: The Village of Menands is home to the second best-educated population in Upstate New York, based on the number of residents with bachelor’s degrees. Woodstock ranks 10th, Country Knolls in Clifton Park 16th, Niskayuna 17th, Saratoga Springs 18th.

ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN: To tower over St. Patricks’ Cathedral on Fifth Avenue, a new skyscraper, New York’s tallest ever at 1,551 feet, is proposed.

OUT OF GAS: Con Ed has slapped a moratorium on new natural gas hook-ups in Westchester County because the state has failed to approve new natural gas pipelines. Now, Westchester County's development boom is in peril.

RAIL IMPROVEMENT: It’s not high-speed service between Albany and New York City, but Amtrak is planning to transform its passenger facilities in what will be called Moynihan Train Hall as part of the overall NY Penn Station upgrade.

AOC ALL THE TIME: Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she who must be spoken and written of daily in the news media, is shaping the national conversation, The New York Times says, but has yet to open a district office.

SPEAKING OF ENERGETIC HOUSE MEMBERS: Elise Stefanik, who before AOC was the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, has started a PAC to recruit more Republican women to run for office.


RUSSELL BAKER: We lost a gifted pen in Russell Baker. He wrote “Growing Up,” about the best book ever (do yourself a favor), and once compared writing a newspaper column to doing “ballet in a phone booth.” The New York Times, his home for many years, gave this wielder of wit as weapon, this assaulter of absurdity, this puncturer of pomposity, the sendoff he deserved.

BUZZSAW’S WEEK: First, BuzzFeed’s report that President Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress is refuted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office. Now, BuzzFeed is laying off 15 percent of its staff.

LYONS OF LIFESTYLE: Glens Falls entrepreneurs Brianna and Tom Lyons talk about their homey 52,000-follower Instagram sensation The Yellow Note ( and their newest venture, Glens Falls Living, and of course, their celebrity Labs:


LOOKS MATTER: As robots that interact with people become more viable, engineers are realizing that looks are as important as processing power. Cute is good, but don’t cross the line into human- or animal-like design. More like Wall-E, less like Rosie from The Jetsons.


DANNY FARQUHAR: In the most important ways, Danny Farquhar’s comeback is already complete. Now, less than a year after suffering a near-fatal ruptured brain aneurysm in the middle of a Major League Baseball game, pitcher Farquhar will return to the field next month on a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. He recently told his inspiring story to the MLB Network’s Matt Yallof, himself a stroke survivor

JACK BOGLE: He defended the old ways of Wall Street and then started a revolution.

DREW BREES: The most accurate quarterback in NFL history is not going to the Super Bowl.

PLEASE SHARE: Feel free to pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU to Behan’s John Brodt, Bill Callen, Bill Richmond, Lisa Fenwick and Colleen Potter for contributions.

FACING OUT: 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.

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