No. 288: On awards season, Opportunity Zones, international patents and dumpster fires

Flame on: Thanks to the good folks at Merriam-Webster, "dumpster fire" is officially a thing.

Snow kidding: Another whitewashed workweek is in the books, dear readers, and if you thought Wednesday’s surprise snowstorm was a shocker, just be glad you weren’t in England 127 years ago today.

That’s when the Great Blizzard of 1891 began its tear across the UK. Featuring 15-foot snowdrifts and crippling winds, the five-day snowmageddon is blamed for the deaths of 200 people and more than 6,000 animals. According to the story, snow piles were still melting in Dartmoor in June.

Lip-locked: Speaking of deadly anniversaries, kissing in public was officially banned, by ordinance, in the Italian city of Naples on May 9, 1562. Punishable by death. Seriously.

By the numbers: “The Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith’s influential economics book, was published on this date in 1776.

And New York innovator Charles Graham was granted the first U.S. patent for artificial teeth, on this date in 1822.

Birthday pony: Happy anniversary to the Ford Mustang – the first production model of the highly anticipated muscle car rolled off assembly lines on March 9, 1964.

Birthday boys: Italian explorer/U.S. namesake Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), mystery writer/“Mike Hammer” inventor Mickey Spillane (1918-2006), Russian cosmonaut/original space ace Yuri Gagarin (1934-1968) and chess master/man of mystery Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) are among those who also rolled into service today.

To note: Birthday e-cards, Mustang memories, story tips and calendar listings all welcome at

Win-win: Innovate Long Island is proud to announce the first batch of winners in our annual Innovator of the Year awards, which recognize Long Island’s most amazing ideas and the incredible people making them fly.

Dedicated to the memory of founder and publisher John Kominicki, who firmly believed Long Island’s economic vitality depends on its brilliant researchers and risk-taking entrepreneurs, our program will honor the career-long contributions of 2018 Master of Innovation Michael Faltischek and more than 30 of this region’s best and brightest innovators. This year’s winners include:

+ Biotechnology: Applied DNA Sciences
+ Clean Gen: NextSwitch/BTG, United Technical Services, Edgewise Energy, GreenFramework, Havelide
+ No Boundaries: MindYolk

Check out our next newsletter for another batch of 2018 winners. And be sure to join us April 24 at the Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury for our annual celebration of ingenuity and economic development. Registration and more information await.

In other big-time award news: Major kudos to Baylor College of Medicine’s Huda Zoghbi, winner of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research’s sixth-annual Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine.

Zoghbi is a professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Molecular and Human Genetics, Neurology and Neuroscience at Texas-based Baylor College and director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital. Her examination of the genetic causes behind neurological diseases “has led to a better understanding of neurobiology,” according to Feinstein Institute President and CEO Kevin Tracey.

The prize, including a $50,000 award, will be presented to Zoghbi on June 5 at Manhattan’s New York Academy of Sciences, followed by lectures from the honoree and other eminent researchers.



Anybody seen Andy? Governor Andrew Cuomo has never been one to spare the rod regarding President Trump, especially regarding the chief executive’s controversial Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which Cuomo has likened to a “federal assault” on New York State.

But the TCJA is at the heart of a new community-development program being offered by the Empire State Development Corp., Albany’s primary economic-development engine. The EDC announced Thursday that New York will participate in the TCJA-spawned Opportunity Zone Program, which establishes Opportunity Funds that allow investors to pool resources in under-served and low-income urban and rural communities.

Most interesting about Thursday’s announcement is that Cuomo is nowhere to be seen. While state press releases invariably invoke and extensively quote the notoriously control-freaky governor – “Gov. Cuomo Announces Homeland Security Grants Available,” “Gov. Cuomo Issues Winter Storm Update” – Thursday’s announcement came from ESD and let Howard Zemsky, the corporation’s president and CEO, do the talking.

Even Zemsky appears to have forgotten the boss’ name. While he frequently defers to Cuomo in press statements – “Thanks to Gov. Cuomo, there is a renewed interest in the state’s industrial hemp production” – Zemsky made no mention of Cuomo or the governor’s legendary leadership in Thursday’s announcement.

As for the OZP, critics abound – but on paper, the effort appears simpatico with Albany’s community-revitalization goals, according to Zemsky. “Participating in the Opportunity Zone Program demonstrates New York’s commitment to revitalize and develop local communities, which is a key component of our economic-development strategy,” he said.

Pet friendly: By the way, Gov. Cuomo announced last week that the nation’s first state-run capital fund for animal shelters will support construction, renovation and expansion projects at shelters across New York, to the tune of nearly $5 million.

The New York State Companion Animal Capital Fund includes $498,200 for the construction of a new shelter to replace the Town of Islip’s Municipal Animal Shelter and $168,750 for an addition to the Town of Smithtown Municipal Animal Shelter.

“New York’s animal shelters perform critical services in communities across this great state,” Cuomo said in the announcement. “This funding will better equip these facilities and help improve quality care.”

Howard Zemsky could not be reached for comment.


A few words from our sponsor: Northwell Health is New York’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals, more than 550 outpatient facilities and 63,000-plus employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit



It takes a village: Or in this case, an international consortium of IP experts, all focused on “harmonizing” patent laws across international borders for the sake of global commerce. Ray Farrell explains.

Vision quest: It’s years away from commercialization, but a Stony Brook-based biotech has made significant progress toward a long-lasting treatment for glaucoma (way better than four-a-day eye drops).

Stay calm: New American Heart Association-approved guidelines that reset the hypertension threshold at lower blood-pressure levels may be harming healthy patients, according to a Feinstein Institute investigator.

Taking it personally: Joshua Miller, Stony Brook Medicine’s medical director of diabetes care and the new president of the American Diabetes Association’s Long Island Community Leadership Board, is a 20-year diabetes patient himself.



Now you can be a smarter co-parent, a faster doctor (at least, a doctor faster) and the world’s most well-informed fan of the Empire State Development Corp.



Changing skies: These five data trends will transform the cloud in 2018, and AI along with it.

Why innovation fails: A cautionary tale from our friends at Forbes (hint: big ideas are just the beginning)

Speed reader: A “natural language-processing solution” by international innovator Clinithink has assisted a new Guinness World Record for diagnosing rare genetic disorders in newborns.



+ Jennifer Hillman, a partner and member of Ruskin Moscou Faltischek’s Trusts and Estates Practice Group, has been named a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Hillman, who concentrates her practice on surrogate court proceedings, is a member of Trusts and Estates Section of the New York State Bar Association and chairs its Estate Litigation Committee.

+ Bohemia-based Cerini & Associates has announced multiple promotions and new hires.

In its Nonprofit Accounting & Audit focus area, Mahnaz Cavalluzzi, Lauren Grandinetti, Alissa Moriarty and Shona St. Angelo have been promoted to supervisors, Peter Raimondi has been promoted to senior accountant and Eric Gonzalez has been promoted to staff III accountant. New additions to the department include Staff I Accountants Kaitlin Asam and Kaylin Moriarty.

In its Education Audit & Consulting focus area, Adam Brigandi was promoted to staff II accountant. New additions to the department include Senior Accountant Jorge Cano and Staff I Accountant Meghan Gee.

In its Tax & Business Advisory Department, Kayla Vigorito was promoted to staff III accountant. New additions to the department include Staff I Accountants John Carpeneto and Arielle Markiewicz and Lead Tax Administrator Stacie Rennecker.

In its Marketing Department, Lula Lukasiewicz was promoted to senior marketer and Kristina Laino was promoted to graphic designer.

+ Kyle Lawrence has joined Uniondale-based Sahn Ward Coschignano as counsel. Lawrence, who concentrates his practice in corporate and securities law and real estate law, is a founding member of the Hydra Collective, a professional networking organization, and a volunteer with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Maurer Foundation.

+ Annie Holdreith has been promoted to sales manager of the Manhasset office of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. A veteran top-producing agent, Holdreith served previously as assistant sales manager.

+ Alexander Wong, assistant vice president and director of project development at Manhasset-based Castagna Realty Company, has been elected to the executive board of the Long Island Real Estate Group. Wong serves on the Advisory Council of The Viscardi Center and is cofounder and co-director of the Huntington-based 9/11 Heroes Run for the Travis Manion Foundation.

+ Rodolfo Domingo was named president of the medical board at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Domingo will continue to serve as chairman of the hospital’s Anesthesiology Department.

+ Daniel Clayton has joined Investors Bank as assistant vice president and manager of its new Franklin Square branch. Clayton was previously a branch manager for Citibank.



Betta meta: Better scientific thinking through meta-analysis? Forty years of evidence doesn’t lie, according to a new paper co-authored by a Stony Brook ecology professor.

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad situation: Thanks to the Urban Dictionary and some ambitious Merriam-Webster editors, “dumpster fire” is now a thing.

Stop signs: Before you invest in a used car, memorize these 10 red flags from HowStuffWorks.

This just in: Still no sign of “free news.” The search continues. Meanwhile, please support the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, like Northwell Health.