No. 301: On Morse code, award winners, second chances and a $24 million rock for the Montauk Lighthouse

Can you hear me now? Happy birthday Samuel Morse, American inventor of the telegraph machine and his namesake Morse Code.

Welcome back to the show: It’s been a dog’s age, dear readers, but here we are again, back where we belong, in your inbox and on top of the Long Island innovation economy.

It’s Friday, April 27: And we’re still coming down from Tuesday’s high, our 2018 Innovator of the Year Awards show – a smash hit, if we don’t say so ourselves.

Please remember, it’s never too early to start thinking about our 2019 Innovator of the Year Awards – nominees always accepted at, along with story tips, calendar suggestions and all manners of socioeconomic discourse.

That patented wit: Pampers disposable diapers (1965), the air-brake pump lubricator (1920) and the first electric hearing aid (way back in 1880) were all patented on April 27.

The mouse that roared: And happy anniversary to the computer mouse, which debuted as a personal-computing staple on April 27, 1981, as an accessory of the Xerox Star workstation.

Giddy-up: Place your bets if you remember Jamaica Race Course, a.k.a. Jamaica Race Track, a thoroughbred horseracing facility that opened in the eastern Queens neighborhood on April 27, 1903.

Owned by the old Metropolitan Jockey Club, the 1-mile track remained part of the pro-racing circuit until the big races moved west to South Ozone Park’s renovated Aqueduct Racetrack in the mid-1950s. Jamaica Race Course finally crossed its finish line in 1959.

Code-blooded: Happy birthday Samuel Morse (1791-1892), American inventor of the telegraph machine and his namesake Morse Code (and a surprisingly well-regarded historical painter).

Eighteenth U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), “Quincy M.E.” and “Odd Couple” grumpus Jack Klugman (1922-2012), American activist and wife of Martin Luther King Jr. Coretta Scott King (1927-2006) and English aviator Sheila Scott (1927-1988) – the first woman to fly solo around the world – also share the day.

Long-distance dedication: And keep reaching for the stars, Casey Kasem, who would have been 86 today.

On your marks…: Before we finish the very busy week in Long Island innovation, a quick acknowledgement of the start of Year Eight of the Empire State Development Corp.’s annual Regional Economic Development Council competition. Consolidated Funding Applications officially open to businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits and the public May 1.

As the eighth round opens, the Long Island region leads the state in total dollars earned through the annual economic-development contest. The Long Island REDC has delivered $570.8 million for 688 projects through seven rounds, edging the Finger Lakes REDC ($570.1 million for 715 projects) and the Mid-Hudson REDC ($560.7 million for 687 projects).

Oh, and: Congratulations to Adelphi University, where the Robert B. Willumstad School of Business has been reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


A few words from our sponsor: Farmingdale State College is New York’s largest public college of applied science and technology, and a national pioneer in environmental sustainability. With over 9,600 students, Farmingdale has Long Island’s second-largest undergraduate enrollment among four-year institutions, and offers rigorous academic programs in business, engineering technology, health sciences and liberal arts and sciences. Farmingdale also offers a master’s degree in Technology Management. Learn more here.



Swinging open the Gateway: The Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency on Thursday issued preliminarily approval of a tax-incentives package that essentially greenlights the second phase of an ambitious Huntington Station downtown-redevelopment effort.

Gateway Plaza at Huntington Station – Renaissance Downtowns at Huntington Station LLC’s $21 million mixed-use, multi-phased redevelopment plan – will now move into its second chapter, with the ultimate goal of creating 61,000 square feet of new residential, commercial and retail spaces.

The Suffolk IDA was “pleased to play its part to help move the project forward,” noted IDA Executive Director Tony Catapano, while Gregory DeRosa, president of Huntington-based G2D Development, said project managers were “excited to move forward” with the agency’s assistance. “Gateway Plaza is the lynchpin project of the master plan for revitalizing Huntington Station’s downtown,” DeRosa said Thursday. “And it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and assistance of the Suffolk IDA.”

Speaking of second phases: Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday announced a series of major milestones – and the launch of Phase Two of the groundbreaking Vital Brooklyn Initiative – in the state’s ongoing efforts to address chronic social and economic shortfalls in Central Brooklyn.

Cuomo announced five RFPs to construct more than 2,000 affordable homes on state-owned land and parcels owned by Brookdale University Hospital, part of Vital Brooklyn’s $563 million commitment to build 3,000 affordable-housing units in Kings County. The governor also noted a slate of new project awards and RFPs designed to improve access to open space, recreation and healthy food in the area, while expanding community-based educational and economic-empowerment initiatives.

The new investments follow January’s issuing of $664 million in state funding to create a sustainable healthcare system that expands access and transforms care throughout Central Brooklyn. “Every New Yorker deserves equal access to healthcare, quality housing, outdoor recreation and opportunities to earn a decent wage,” Cuomo said Thursday. “The launch of Phase Two builds on progress already made by continuing to invest in the holistic Vital Brooklyn Initiative.”



It’s electric (boogie woogie woogie)! Sister startups with strong ties to Stony Brook University are empowering the powerless – as, in literally – on their mission to “pretty much electrify anything.”

Brain food: An unexpected blessing will feed the efforts of an NYU Winthrop Hospital research team using reprogrammed stem cells to recreate Alzheimer’s disease-infected brain neurons.

Big CSTEP: Three scientific SUNY College at Old Westbury students have earned top honors in a statewide competition designed to help underprivileged collegians pursuing STEM studies.

Hitting the gas: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has greatly accelerated his master plan to reduce statewide greenhouse emissions, including significant carbon reductions five years ahead of schedule.



The Long Island Index takes a last look, next-generation vendor Vengo takes a giant leap and lots of Long Island locations will take back your unused prescriptions on Saturday.

Isn’t this fun? We like it, too – so we’d be thrilled if you’d share our newsletter liberally, and encourage your crew to sign up here.



Brave old world: It’s the Rise of the Human Overlords, sorta, as fears of an AI apocalypse prompt a surprising surge in human jobs.

The bigger, the better: Eyeing 1.5 million megawatts of renewable electricity per year, Albany has put out the call for as many as 20 large-scale renewable-energy projects.

Well, we got the Third Track and stuff: New York State will pump $32 million into a new innovation hub to support startups orbiting the University at Buffalo.

Ripened on the vine: After four years on the market, Riverhead’s Martha Clara Vineyards has finally changed hands in a $15 million deal.



+ Hillary Frommer, counsel in the Trusts and Estates Department at Uniondale-based Farrell Fritz, has been appointed co-chair of the New York County Lawyers Association’s Estates, Trusts and Surrogate’s Court Practice Committee for a three year term. Frommer focuses her practice in litigation.

+ Elizabeth Sturm has been promoted to assistant medical director at Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. She has been a staff physician with the facility since it opened in 1988.

+ Theresa Going, a vice president at Bridgehampton National Bank, has been appointed commercial real estate private banker. She was previously branch manager of BNB’s Melville North branch.

+ Theresa Vespoli has been promoted to assistant vice president-branch operations for Hauppauge-based Teachers Federal Credit Union. She previously served as financial services manager.

+ Jennifer Gallagher has been appointed superintendent of Long Beach Public Schools. Gallagher previously served as interim superintendent and, before that, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

+ Carrie Adduci has been hired as an associate in real estate at East Meadow-based Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman. She previously worked for Joseph A. Faria in Garden City.

+ Amy Marion has been hired as a partner in litigation at Lake Success-based Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone. She was a founding partner with Barket, Marion, Epstein and Kearon in Garden City.

+ H2M architects + engineers in Melville has announced eight promotions: Gary Loesch, executive vice president, was promoted to senior executive vice president; Gregory Smith, senior vice president, has been promoted to executive vice president; Ronald Lanner, deputy division director of architecture, was promoted to division director of architecture; George Desmarais, Lower Hudson municipal market director, has been promoted to senior vice president and municipal market director; Guy Page, Education Practice leader, has been promoted to market director of education; Michael Bonacasa, Real Estate Practice leader, has been promoted to real estate market director; Charles Martello, vice president, has been promoted to senior vice president; and Elizabeth Uzzo, vice president, has been promoted to senior vice president.

+ Christopher Pendergast has been hired as senior vice president and chief technology officer at Henry Schein Inc. He had a similar role at VSP Global in California.



Rock on: A state-funded $24 million project will replace a stone seawall essential to protecting the 222-year-old Montauk Point Lighthouse.

Five easy pieces: How to destroy innovation with five readily accepted conventional wisdoms.

And the loser is: The surprising word that shows up the most on hacked-password lists (and no, it’s not “password”).

Free news? Like the Loch Ness monster, there’s probably some basis in truth, but finding it is a prehistoric beast of another color. We’ll keep looking. Meanwhile, please keep supporting the great institutions that support Innovate LI, like Farmingdale State College, where they have that that Technology Management master’s program and lots more cool stuff.