No. 310: Remaking the Nassau Expressway, recognizing Feinstein’s finest and why your laundry may soon be fungus-fresh

"Rent" to own: Syosset-born (or Queens-born, depending on the telling), Tony Award-winning, foundation-founding, universally beloved Broadway megastar Idina Menzel turns 47 today.

It’s still May? Strange but true, dear reader – Memorial Day is already two days gone and still the month of the emerald and the Crataegus monogyna has another day to go.

Which must mean today is Wednesday, May 30 – Parliament Day in Croatia, Mother’s Day in Nicaragua, Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago and, here in the States, a sort of midpoint of our shortened workweek.

Burning devotion: The Maid of Orleans’ story arc came to a dramatic conclusion on May 30, 1431, when the Roman Catholic saint, great heroine of France and overachieving teenager Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

He could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and he wouldn’t lose any voters: Charles Dickinson insulted future U.S. President Andrew Jackson’s wife on May 30, 1806, so Jackson shot him dead in a pistol duel.

Hose job: Inventor James Boyd patented the rubber-lined, cotton-webbed firehose – still the basic design today – on this date in 1921.

They’ve since lost count: Though history would record New York City’s first-ever automobile accident – horseless carriage vs. bicyclist, on what is now Broadway – on this date in 1896.

Now you don’t: The “means for nullifying or reducing window reflections” – essentially, the nearly invisible display window – was patented on this date in 1930 by inventor Gerald Brown.

Also: De Soto “discovered” Florida on May 30, 1539, but … come on.

Directed by: Without De Soto, we’d still have Florida. But without pioneering film director Howard Hawks (1896-1977), who marks a birthday today, we wouldn’t have “Bringing Up Baby,” “The Big Sleep” and a dozen other classics – and we might not have the “Hawksian Woman,” the tough-talking dame that defined the 1940s celluloid heroine.

Also adding a notch today are Loony Tunes voice actor Mel Blanc (1908-1989), bandleading clarinet king Benny Goodman (1909-1986), “Fiddler on the Roof” playwright Joseph Stein (1912-2010) and Long Island’s own congressman-turned-author-and-chairman of LIU’s Institute for Global Issues Steve Israel (born 1958).

“Wicked” good: And take a bow, Idina Menzel – the Broadway darling and “Frozen” force turns 47 today.

Wish the original “Elsa” and the rest a happy birthday at, and do please drop off a story tip or calendar item. We love those.


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Looking up: Construction is underway on a $130 million reconstruction project that will remake a section of State Route 878, also known as the Nassau Expressway, between Rockaway Turnpike and Burnside Avenue in the Town of Hempstead.

The emergency evacuation route, originally built in the 1970s and currently providing passage to more than 56,000 vehicles daily, has a long and sordid history with floodwaters, often closing during severe weather events. As part of the project, announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, the segment between Rockaway Turnpike and Burnside Avenue will be raised about four feet above the 100-year flood plain, allowing for improved drainage underneath.

A new shared-use path will also be built to accommodate bicyclists, runners and pedestrians, and intersections within the construction zone will be upgraded with new traffic signals and turning lanes. The project is due to be completed by December 2019.

The big one: Tomorrow’s the day for the HIA, as the Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island hosts its 30th annual HIA-LI Business Trade Show and Conference.

Promoted as Long Island’s largest business-to-business trade show, the annual showcase is slated to feature a record number of exhibitors (375-plus) and some 4,500 business professionals, nearly 80 percent of whom are “decision makers” at their companies, according to the HIA-LI. In addition to a massive trade floor, the show is scheduled to include “specialized executive programs” focused on business expansion and a number of event-specific promotions from sponsors and exhibitors.

The 30th Annual HIA-LI Business Trade Show & Conference kicks off with an Executive Breakfast at 8 a.m., with the show itself running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. inside the Suffolk Community College Sports & Exhibition Center in Brentwood. More info right here.



Small ones are sweeter: Long Island’s Class of 2018 shined this month, but none brighter than the two scientists who earned fresh PhDs from the Feinstein Institute’s Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine.

In development: A $3 million state stipend will unite the NYS Department of Labor and the state university system in a proactive apprenticeship effort that prepares tomorrow’s in-demand healthcare and advanced-manufacturing workforces.

Keep reading: It’s going to be a busy summer for innovation and socioeconomic development on Long Island – make sure your crew keeps up by having them subscribe to this newsletter (totally free, by the way).



Best of the best: With eight of the top 10 based here in the good old USA, Forbes has released its annual list of The World’s 100 Most Innovative Companies.

Break out the old DMV jokes: The lines are growing long again, thanks to new documentation requirements and other stringent secure-license protocols.

What’s the dark matter? Why the search for elusive dark matter is turning away from the stars and going underground.

Fast start: How an assistant SBU engineering professor (and Brookhaven National Laboratory National Synchrotron Light Source II appointee) captured a prestigious NSF early-career development award.



+ C4Coin, a New York City-based developer of carbon negative blockchain technology, closed a $450,000 seed funding round led by Miles O’Brien.

+ Notarize, a Boston-based notary public platform allowing any person or business to get their documents legally notarized online, raised $20 million in VC funding led by Polaris Partners, with participation by Lennar Corporation, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Fifth Wall Ventures, Second Century Ventures, the venture arm of the National Association of Realtors and a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp.

+ Vervoe, a NYC-based advanced interviewing platform, raised $3.5 million in VC funding led by SEEK with participation from former Etsy COO Jesse Hertzberg, Arrow Global Ltd. founder Zachary Lewy and RusIan Kogan and David Shafer of

+ CareZone, a San Francisco-based smartphone service for managing chronic health conditions, raised $50 million in Series D funding led by New Enterprise Associates.

+ Heal, a Los Angeles-based market leader in doctor house calls, closed $20 million in funding. Backers included Bascom Ventures, Inflection Capital, IRA Capital, RLJ Equity Partners and Trans-Pacific Technology Fund, as well as existing investors Fidelity Contrafund, Jim Breyer, Lionel Richie and Paul Jacobs.

+ Valimail, a San Francisco-based provider of automating email authentication solutions, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Tenaya Capital, with participation from existing investors Shasta Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners and Bloomberg Beta.



Chewable: The surprising reason why pen caps have tiny holes at the top.

Digestible: A tiny university in upstate Potsdam has landed a sizeable EPA award to help it develop more efficient food-waste digestors.

Magic ’shrooms: Those shitake mushrooms are delicious simmered in garlic – and they may get out that ring-around-the-collar, too.

Gentle reminder: The newsletter is gratis, but there’s really no such thing as “free” news. So, please support the great causes that support Innovate Long Island, including the Town of Islip’s strong economic-development programs.