No. 268: The New Year (kinda) dawns, Darwin sails again, John Kanas won’t stop and the Islanders are riding the ponies (or vice versa)

Recognized with American Banker's Lifetime Achievement Award, John Kanas says he wants to do "one more thing" before he finally retires, though he has not yet decided what that will be.

Welcome to … wait, what day is it? It’s that haziest week of the year when long weekends, vacations and holiday parties have our bellies full and our minds slightly befuddled. The Innovate Long Island team is taking a few more days to clean up this wrapping paper and prepare for the New Year, so watch for your next regularly scheduled newsletter on Jan. 3.

While we’re getting ready, tell us all about it at Story tips, calendar events and eggnog recipes still welcome.

Have a safe and happy weekend, and here’s to an innovative 2018!

Make a day of it: Charles Darwin and the HMS Beagle first set sail (1831), James Barrie’s play “Peter Pan” first took flight (1904) and “Howdy Doody” first made time on NBC (1947), among other intriguing Dec. 27 debuts.

Calendar of events: As we turn the page to 2018, a few notes of interest about our Gregorian Calendar, which remains the world’s most widely used timekeeper. The calendar, introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582, is a tweaking of the circa-46 BC Julian Calendar designed to synch up human annals with annoying natural occurrences like equinoxes and solstices (and to reset the date for Easter, but let’s stick with the science).

The new calendar involved an approximately 0.002 percent correction in the length of a calendar year and also refined the concept of a “leap year” thusly: Years exactly divisible by four, except for those exactly divisible by 100, are leap years – but “centurial years” that are also exactly divisible by 400 are leap years (so 1900 wasn’t a leap year, but 2000 was).

Listen, don’t trouble yourself: 2018 starts Monday, or thereabouts.


Training day: Huntington Hospital’s Dolan Family Health Center has been awarded an $857,000 New York State Department of Health grant to help train new medical residents.

The grant, from the Health Department’s Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management, will allow the Dolan Family Health Center to expand the scope of its resident-training program, which includes residents from Huntington Hospital and fellow Northwell Health facilities Glen Cove Hospital, Plainview Hospital and Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. The training will occur through 2020.

“The residents who have trained at the Dolan Family Health Center speak highly of their experiences,” Joseph Volavka, senior administrative director of the Dolan Family Health Center, said Tuesday “We are elated to be able to expand this educational opportunity.”

Island chain: History extended from the Land of the Rising Sun to Suffolk County’s picturesque Shelter Island this week, with “the Rock’s” famed Japanese Bridge among 23 additional properties, resources and districts recommended by the New York State Board for Historic Preservation for inclusion in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Built in 1905, the ornamental Japanese bridge was designed by engineer and inventor Ernest Ransome, and is one of the last surviving traces of the estate of Francis Marion Smith, one-time owner of the Pacific Coast Borax Company.

Other locations in this round of historic-places nominations include the Mid-Hudson Valley home of historic painter George Bellows, a Manhattan pocket park and one of Buffalo’s oldest tool- and machine-manufacturing facilities. There are currently more than 120,000 historic New York buildings, structures and sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, either individually or as components of historic districts.

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Happy Tech Year: If you thought 2017 included major personal-technology advances, just wait until next year, predicts Intelligent Product Solutions President Mitch Maiman.

Heart to heart: A new collaboration has heart-surgery experts from Manhattan’s NYU Langone bolstering the already-formidable cardio programs at Mineola’s NYU Winthrop.

The hot “co” co.: Bridgeworks entrepreneur Graham Beck has launched a new Long Beach tech startup designed to be the brains behind the co-working space movement.


Belmont is betting on the Islanders, Northwell Health and Mather Memorial have made it official.


He zigs, everyone else zags: American Banker has recognized John Kanas with its Lifetime Achievement award, although it doesn’t look like Kanas – who retired as CEO of BankUnited late last year – is quite done achieving.

Backup data: Neuroscientists gained several surprising insights into memory this year, including the discovery that the brain creates multiple copies of memories at once (and hides the long-term copy at first).

Snooze button: You can live for about three minutes without air, three days without water and 21 days, give or take, without food. But there’s something else that’s critically essential: sleep.

Block party: Google Chrome goes live with its new ad-blocking process Feb. 15 – and it will be in a powerful position to dictate terms to websites and advertisers.


+ FLX Bio, a San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of oral, small-molecule anti-cancer drugs, completed a $60 million Series C financing round with backers that included new investors from GV (formerly Google Ventures) as well as existing investors The Column Group, Kleiner Perkins, Topspin Partners and Celgene Corporation.

+ Aura Biosciences, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology company developing a new class of nanoparticle conjugate cancer therapies, closed a $30 million Series C financing round.

+ Common, a NYC-based shared housing company with 14 homes in five cities, has closed a $40 million Series C financing round led by Norwest Venture Partners.

+ Happy Returns, a California-based technology, logistics and services provider for online retailers, raised $8 million in Series B funding led by USVP with participation from Upfront Ventures and Trunk Club founder Brian Spaly.

+ UpLift, a California-based platform allowing travelers to pay for trips in monthly installments, realized an investment round with a $75 million credit facility in partnership with funds from the Fortress Investment Group and a $15 million equity round.


Regional relief: Every culture has its own comfort food.

Everyday ingenuity: Technological breakthroughs can be grand, but sometimes, the little things are even better.

Resolution rejuvenation: Tired of New Year’s resolutions that peter out by February? Tips for re-thinking your 2018 to-do list from FastCompany, Inc. and TED.

Speaking of resolutions: There’s really no such thing as “free” news. Please support great companies like PSEG Long Island and the important economic-development programs they offer.