No. 264: Tribute to a friend

John L. Kominicki, founder and publisher

The outpouring of affection and well-wishes that followed the passing of Innovate LI founder and Publisher John Kominicki is deeply appreciated.

We loved him, too. We’ll remember the humor, the wit, the generosity of spirit, the innovative vision.

And we’ll especially remember the work ethic, which reminds us that time – and newsletters – stop for no man. So keep those story suggestions, calendar items and other new-economy tips coming at

Anyone who knew him knows he’d have it no other way.


Tax attack: Never one to pull his punches regarding the Trump administration, Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week let loose on the commander-in-chief and others supporting the GOP tax plan – “an economic death blow to New York and the nation,” according to the governor.

Cuomo, whilst strongly urging New York’s Congressional delegation to vote down the reconciliation plan being hatched by the House and Senate, issued a naughty list highlighted by an average annual federal income tax increase of $3,200 for 2.4 million New Yorkers, an average annual hike of $2,750 in NYS property taxes, a $1.5 trillion tax break for national corporations with no job- or wage-growth requirements and a Moody’s Analytics-estimated 5 percent reduction in home values across the nation – with values dropping by nearly 10 percent in more expensive markets, including New York.

And don’t get the guv started about slashed mortgage-interest deductions, spiking healthcare costs, increased expenses for schools and students across the collegiate spectrum and the “exploding” federal deficit.

Farm aid: On a less apoplectic note, the governor this week also noted that $2 million is available in the third round of Albany’s Climate Resilient Farming grant program, designed to help statewide farms reduce their environmental impact and better prepare for (and recover from) severe weather events.

That’s certainly noteworthy for Long Island’s numerous vineyards and other working farms. But what’s really interesting is that the CRF grant program is just one of dozens of current state-funding opportunities, including competitive grants and numerous RFPs for state contracts, currently available to East End and statewide agricultural enterprises.

Fairy tale: From the Christmas Spirit File come The Book Fairies, a 501(c)3 that collects reading materials for less-fortunate New York schools and will be doing its thing Sunday at the Free Teacher Book Fair in Freeport.

With teacher’s school-supply tax credits suddenly in doubt (the House tax plan eliminates them), teachers are scrambling to get creative. Enter the Book Fairies, who from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday will be giving away free books and reading materials to Long Island and New York City educators.

Since 2012, The Book Fairies have donated more than 900,000 books to 550-plus underprivileged schools and organizations across Long Island and the New York metropolitan area.

About our sponsor: The Rauch Foundation invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain success in children and promote systemic change in our communities. To read more about the foundation’s many efforts, including the Long Island Index and the Build A Better Burb program, visit us.


Pumped up: An innovative mechanical pump with next-gen anti-clotting technology is a major advance for heart-failure patients at Manhasset’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.

Don’t panic: Northwell Health providers and facilities will not be cut from Cigna health plans as of Jan. 1, as previously stated.


Applied DNA is talking Turkey (and DNA-based therapeutics), a stay-home dad is making millions, Mission Disrupt is going national and the Feinstein Institute’s Chad Bouton is tightening his grip.


 + Jay Silverman, a partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale, has been named to the Council of Overseers for the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts in Brookville.

+ Laurence Epstein of Great Neck will direct electrophysiology for Northwell Health and teach at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell in Hempstead. The Harvard professor and former chief of cardiac arrhythmia services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston will treat patients at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

+ Allison McGovern of Brookhaven has joined VHB in Hauppauge as senior archaeologist. McGovern formerly served as an adjunct assistant professor at Farmingdale State College.

+ Devon Giordano of Massapequa Park has been named director of advancement at the LIU Global Institute in Brookville. Giordano formerly served as campaign director at The Hagedorn Foundation in Roslyn.

+ Charlotte Van der Waag of Williston Park, a manager and partner at Coach Realtors of the Willistons, has been installed as the Long Island Board of Realtors president for 2018.


Toxic environment: Environment America, a national ecological watchdog, has released its annual federal scorecard, evaluating the state-by-state performance of Congressional delegations regarding the protection of clean air, the protection of clean water and other environmental concerns.

According to the scorecard, national representatives are completely polarized when it comes to environmental protection, and the New York delegation is “no exception,” according to Environment New York Director Heather Leibowitz – although New York’s House and Senate representatives, on average, scored higher than their national counterparts regarding support for environmental protections.

Check out Environment America’s ZIP-by-ZIP, district-by-district breakdown right here.

Well, we beat 19 of ’em: Despite a higher average Social Security benefit than most states, New York is the 31st worst state to retire rich, with the second-highest cost-of-living index (behind Hawaii) and the nation’s fourth-highest home costs. A GOBankingRates survey breaks it down.

Slow down: Forbes contributor John Nosta explains why the next great breakthroughs don’t need to be in such a rush.

Innovation vs. Reality: We know what the managers of programs like Start-Up NY would say, but do universities really promote regional innovation? Mother Jones discusses.


Fish tail: More than 3,000 students from 78 schools have surveyed sites across New York State since Cornell University’s student-oriented citizen science project, FishTracker, kicked off three years ago, scooping e-DNA samples from bodies of water to check for invasive fish species.

Cider house rules: It’s a hot time for hard cider, with the number of national cideries doubling to about 800 in the past four years, according to The Cyder Market.

Warm and fuzzy: Wrapping your frozen fingers around one of these warm cocktails will remind you why cold weather can be wonderful, too.

Food for thought: New tea flavors, convincing mocktails, plant proteins and sushi in a croissant – behold Fortune’s predictions for the top food trends of 2018.

And of course: There’s no such thing as “free” news. Please support great organizations like the Rauch Foundation.