No. 135: Ballpoints, life of Ferguson and a shot at Ali’s art

New York has extended its beer production tax credit to wineries, cideries and distilleries.

TG it’s F: A great end of the week, everybody. Hungarian brothers Laszlo and Gyorgy Biro patented the ballpoint pen on this day in 1943. A French company called Bic bought them out in 1950.

It’s also National Iced Tea Day, a major holiday for Long Island’s Kyle Chandler.

Big numbers: Former Suffolk IDA director Bruce Ferguson has been honored with the NYS Economic Development Council’s lifetime achievement award. Ferguson held the post for almost 30 years and led hundreds of deals, including wooing Computer Associates and Canon USA.

Totals on his watch: $4.5 billion in economic activity and 90,000 jobs.

Speaking of which: The Suffolk IDA posted the second-most job gains in the state, behind NYC, according to a new report from State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. (See the chart on page 9.)

On the site: Luminati Aerospace will unveil its first solar-powered aircraft in Calverton today; Stony Brook researchers may have found a fix for COPD; and former hedge fund manager Frank Trentacoste landed a state grant for his organic farm in Amagansett.

Especially with 130 trustees: Pulling off a corporate name change is a lot like running a presidential race, Northwell Health communications chief Ramon Soto tells CMO.

Welcome: Jason Tomitz (Hofstra Law, summa cum laude) has joined the tax practice at Farrell Fritz as an associate. He departs NYC’s Kramer, Levin, Naftalis & Frankel.

Congrats: Stony Brook University’s Sustainability Studies Program is now officially part of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

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Noted: The state is looking into solar array installations at state parks on Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

Such a deal: Southhampton has the lowest effective property tax rate in the state, or $4.70 per $1,000, the Empire Center reports. Median-priced homes in Old Field and Huntington Bay both had levies of more than $30,000, tops in the state.

Related: Public elementary and secondary school spending in New York reached an all-time high of $20,600 per-pupil in the 2013-14 school year, topping all states and exceeding the national average by 87 percent, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week.

We’ll drink to that: The state’s Beer Production Credit has been expanded to include the wine, spirits and cider industries. Now called the Alcohol Production Credit, it’s expected to save producers about $4 million.

Cheap dates: The Innovate calendar is here.

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Bulking up: Former LI tech giant Arrow Electronics, now in Colorado, is buying several technology and engineering publications from London-based UBM plc, including EE Times, Embedded, TechONline and

Rolling: Kaufman Astoria Studios will build two new soundstages on its campus in Astoria, bringing the total to 12 amid a boom in New York production, mostly fueled by tax credits. Film and TV work contributes $9 billion to the state economy, up 21 percent since 2011.

Ahead to the future: Google cofounder Larry Page has funded two startups working on flying cars, including a $100 million stake in Zee.Aero and an undisclosed investment in a firm named Kitty Hawk. (No DeLoreans involved as far as we know.)

Related: You can get a faux flux capacitor for under $10.

Step right up: Yahoo is auctioning off 3,000 patents it believes are worth around $1 billion.

Making things click: Bank of America has deployed 3,000 “digital ambassadors” to help customers take advantage of its online and mobile banking. The service was inspired by Best Buy’s Geek Squad and the Apple Genius Bar.

Early success: A 90-year-old customer agreed to download the bank’s app.

Attention Martin Milner: The LAPD is putting 100 BMW i3 all-electric squad cars on the street.

Coming soon: A lot more charging stations.

Starting up: The developer of the Alexandria Center for Life Science, a biotech campus on East 29th Street, is opening an incubator at the property for medical and pharmaceutical startups. The firm is also raising a seed fund of up to $25 million via its venture capital arm, Alexandria Venture Investments.

Picture this: Pinterest is social media’s top shopping site, blowing away everyone, including Facebook.

Content-only play: The New York Times is considering a higher-tier, ad-free digital subscription package.

Could be big: A blood test for Alzheimer’s has shown 100 percent accuracy in early trials.

Bright future: Solar power was responsible for 64 percent of all new U.S. electrical generation brought on line in Q1.


Power play: Kenya suffered a 15-minute nationwide blackout this week when a monkey slipped into a hydro power station and tripped a transformer. Almost 5 million homes and businesses were affected. The monkey was not harmed.

Want more? The full animals-that cause-blackouts roundup is here.

Heavy metals: Our four new elements finally have provisional names. Welcome nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson.

He always could draw a crowd: Muhammad Ali’s art is going on the block.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.