No. 312: On D-Day, Nassau’s underage smoke-out, Feinstein’s lupus leap and SBU’s big new gig

First wave: Unimaginable courage stormed the beaches of occupied France on June 6, 1944 -- a crucial battle for six miles of beach that would "define the 20th century, on both sides of the Atlantic," according to President Barack Obama.

Seasonal greetings: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and the midway point of another exciting week in Long Island innovation.

It’s June 6 out there, and as the weather slowly warms, let’s thank our lucky News 12 forecast this ain’t 1816 – the infamous “Year Without a Summer,” when an eerie “dry fog” hung over the eastern U.S. for months, at least one hard frost was recorded every month throughout New England and six inches of snow fell in Albany on this astonishingly late date.

D, for “definitive”: Any June 6 historical review is going to land on the beaches of Normandy, of course. Today marks the 74th anniversary of the Allies’ historic D-Day invasion of occupied France, which started the long and bloody process of driving Hitler’s forces back into Germany.

Especially worth noting here are the many innovations the American, British and Canadian invaders pressed into service for the super-secret attack, including “swimming” and flame-spewing tanks, collapsible motorbikes, “midget submarines” (known as “X boats”) and the newly developed drug penicillin.

It’s fun to stay: Happy anniversary to the YMCA – the Young Men’s Christian Association was founded on June 6, 1844, by English philanthropist Sir George Williams.

Pressing matter: Inventor Henry Seely of New York City patented the “electric flatiron” on this date in 1882.

Eruptive presence: As Hawaii and Guatemala deal with deadly volcanos, today marks the 106th anniversary of the largest volcanic event of the 20th century – the explosive eruption of Alaska’s Novarupta volcano on June 6, 1912.

Novarupta spewed ejecta into the atmosphere for 60 consecutive hours and blanketed a 30-kilometer zone with tephra, lava and gas. The explosion from the initial blast was heard 750 miles away in Juneau, one hour after it blew.

It’s Fiat Chrysler now: But industrialist Walter Chrysler founded his namesake automobile manufacturer, the Chrysler Corp., on this date in 1925.

Imagine if they tried this now: Today also marks the 86th anniversary of the Revenue Act of 1932, which raised U.S. tax rates across the board – spiking top income-tax rates to 63 percent, doubling the estate tax, hiking corporate taxes 15 percent and invoking the nation’s first-ever gasoline tax (1 cent per gallon).

Full of regret: American Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, born June 6, 1755, had only one life to give for his country, and on Sept. 22, 1776, he was pretty bitter about it.

Also marking birthdays today are Abercrombie & Fitch founder David Abercrombie (1867-1931), “Porgy” playwright Dorothy Heyward (1890-1961), Duncan Toys founder Donald F. Duncan Sr. (1892-1971), “Flowers in the Attic” author Virginia “VC” Andrews (1923-1986) and Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund (born 1947).

And take a bow, Gary “U.S.” Bonds – the legendary “This Little Girl” rocker turns 79 today.

Wish them all a happy birthday at, but save the presents for us – we love story tips and calendar items, all sizes.


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Smoke signal: Nassau County’s new law prohibiting tobacco sales to customers under 21 kicked in Tuesday, and the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network – the ACS’s volunteer lobbying wing, focused on effecting change through legislation – lit up in response.

Noting that 95 percent of smokers start before age 21, Julie Hart, government relations director for the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group, praised Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and other county lawmakers for “(acting) to protect young people from Big Tobacco.” Hart called the 21-year-old restriction “a common-sense measure that will help prevent kids from picking up their first cigarette.”

But victory in Nassau isn’t enough for the CAN, which cites an Institute of Medicine report that concludes raising the minimum smoking age to 21 significantly lowers future smoking rates. “It is now time for New York State to enact Tobacco-21 legislation,” Hart said.

They’ll always have Paris: The U.S. Climate Alliance has marked the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s controversial decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement – an international greenhouse-gas action plan negotiated by 195 countries – with an ambitious slate of new climate-friendly initiatives.

The new efforts introduced June 1 aim to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, expand clean-energy financing, drive the deployment of renewable-energy technologies, improve the energy efficiency of household appliances and increase resilience against climate change.

To date, 16 states and Puerto Rico have committed to the USCA and are on course to collectively meet their share of America’s climate targets, as laid out in the Paris Agreement – chiefly, emissions reductions of 26 to 28 percent, based on 2005 levels, by 2025. And they’re reaping economic benefits, too, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, which says Climate Alliance states are not only reducing emissions faster than the rest of the country but are “expanding per capita economic output twice as fast.”



Security alert: Stony Brook University’s Center for Biotechnology has been recruited by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a business-development mission focused on “health security.”

Beating lupus to the punch: A unique “risk index” devised by Feinstein Institute scientists could unlock new preventive and early-intervention protocols for the dreaded autoimmune disease.

Appetite for success: Long Island food manufacturers can now sprinkle in some expert business-consulting services, through a fresh Long Island Food Council/ Manufacturing & Technology Resource Consortium partnership.

Winner, winner: Two Long Island innovators on completely different paths – a Medford biotech and a Lake Success fintech expert – share at least one thing in common: They both just recorded killer fiscal quarters.



A clock ticks in Ronkonkoma: Suffolk lawmakers have given a Chicago developer eight months to flesh out its $1.1 billion plan for a sprawling development off the LIE, complete with research labs, a hotel and a 17,500-seat arena.

Economic report card: New York places 18th in Wallethub’s annual ranking of the Best & Worst State Economies, with high marks in “Economic Activity” and “Innovation Potential” (needs improvement: “Economic Health”).

Moving the ball: With their sport earning Olympic status for the first time, global rugby stakeholders are looking for technological innovations to help promote ol’ ruggers.

Bat signal: A Dutch town has become the world’s first to install bat-friendly LED streetlights that brighten the night for humans without fritzing the winged rodents’ senses.



+ Trilogy Education, a New York City-based workforce acceleration platform, secured $50 million in Series B funding led by Highland Capital Partners, Macquarie Capital and Exceed Capital, with participation from existing investors Rethink Impact, City Light Capital and Triumph Capital LLC.

+ Paxos, a NYC-based fintech company, closed a $65 million Series B financing led by existing investors including Liberty City Ventures, RRE Ventures, Jay Jordan and others.

+ Ancora Heart, a California-based biotech developing new treatments for heart failure, raised $17.8 million (in a funding round expected to reach $30 million) led by Savitr Capital and other existing investors.

+ Hello Alfred, a NYC-based service technology company building an in-home assistant service, closed a $40 million Series B funding round led by a syndicate of strategic partners, including real estate developers Divco West and Invesco and early investors New Enterprise Associates and Spark Capital.

+ Emogi, a NYC-based provider of a conversational content platform, raised $12.6 million in Series A funding led by Hatzimemos/Libby.

+ CleanSlate Centers, a Nashville-based leader in outpatient pharmacological treatment for the chronic disease of addiction, secured $25 million in a recent financing round led by HealthQuest Capital, which joined existing controlling investor Granite Growth Health Partners.



Good things come to those who bait: It’s tourney time for Long Island anglers, with a full slate of inshore and offshore fishing contests on the line.

War is helluva good cinema: In honor of D-Day, review Esquire’s 20 Best World War II Movies (spoiler alert: Esquire published this before “Dunkirk,” which absolutely must be on any such list).

Lifting your spirits: If you think they invented elevator music to calm frightened riders, think again (hint: take your time).

Not entirely unrelated: Learn the unusual origin story of Muzak (invented by a World War I major general, among other surprises).

Free news? Not quite. But fortunately, there are some great firms out there supporting Innovate LI, so please support them – including Sahn Ward Coshignano, where the Environment, Energy and Resources practice group is fairly awesome.