No. 316: The winds of change blow at SBU, the BeerBox keeps tabs and Keith Hernandez steps up

Full "Moon": "Moonstruck" co-stars Olympia Dukakis and Danny Aiello share a June 20 birthday.

Wednesday welcome: And a happy midweek to you, dear readers, as we hurtle together through an exciting (and blessedly summerlike) week of socioeconomic innovation.

It’s June 20 all over the world. Here in the United States, it’s also American Eagle Day, the 236th anniversary of the date the U.S. Congress selected the bald eagle as our national bird.

Now arriving: Before we dive in, a heartfelt welcome to freshly minted newsletter subscribers Jim, Tywana, Gerry, Coralie, Teresa, Jacqueline, Kim, Dana and Dianna. Thanks for joining us, please keep your hands inside the car at all times.

Great dots and dashes in history: It was June 20, 1840, when American painter and inventor Samuel Morse received the patent for his telegraph machine.

Appalachian anniversary: West Virginia was admitted as the 35th state on June 20, 1863. (Adding to its identity crisis, the Mountain State is regarded as both the northernmost Southern state and the southernmost Northern state.)

Forty whacks: The suspect in one of America’s most infamous unsolved murders, Lizzie Borden, was acquitted by jury on June 20, 1893.

One degree of separation: It was this date in 1895 when Caroline Willard Baldwin became the first woman ever to receive a science doctorate from an American university, when Cornell University famously granted her a PhD in physics.

Color coded: Speaking of big steps toward equality, happy birthday to the NAACP – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People incorporated in New York City on June 20, 1911.

“Struck” on You: And speaking of birthdays, “Moonstruck” stars Olympia Dukakis (born 1931) and Danny Aiello (born 1933) both blow out candles today.

Also adding notches this June 20 are “Toys in the Attic” playwright Lillian Hellman (1905-1984), swashbuckler Errol Flynn (1909-1959), TV pitchman Bob Vila (born 1946) and actor Audie Murphy (1925-1971), who was also among the most decorated American soldiers of World War II, earning an amazing 33 combat medals.

Raise the roof and have some fun: And party All Night Long, popstar Lionel Richie – you turn 69 today.

Wish them all a happy birthday at, and please drop off a story tip or calendar suggestion, too, so we can also fiesta forever.


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Wind tunnel: A hub for national wind-industry R&D is coming to Stony Brook University’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced June 15 that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has received an $18.5 million grant to develop “a national research and development consortium for the offshore wind industry,” designed to “drive innovation through [R&D] that will cut down the costs of offshore wind technologies … and explore advanced technological solutions.”

Through NYSERDA, Albany is also committing $20.5 million to the new AERTC-based consortium, which is expected to play a major role in the development of the global offshore-wind industry. Robert Catell, former chairman of KeySpan and National Grid’s U.S. operations and current chairman of the AERTC, heralded “an excellent example of collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of New York, the [AERTC] and private industry.”

Sustained: Two major Long Island institutions are teaming up to provide legal services for low-income patients dealing with issues contributing to poor health, including the denial of disability benefits and issues related to immigration.

Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law will partner with the New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health system in the Medical-Legal Partnership program, which is funded in part by a $512,000 state grant and will focus primarily on underserved children and adults. The partnership will offer legal assistance to those who “can’t afford legal intervention,” according to a joint statement from the two institutions, with unsanitary housing conditions, community-wide health disparities, domestic violence and other important issues on the docket.

Hofstra Law students are already conducting research “to further identify and understand patients’ needs,” according to the statement, with some 10 students slated to participate this fall in program-related law clinics. “Hofstra Law and Northwell will join the growing movement to expand healthcare law that will serve the community and transform healthcare for vulnerable populations,” promised the Hon. Gail Prudenti, dean of Hofstra Law and former chief administrative judge for the New York State Court.



Nice interview, pretty boy: Mets legend Keith Hernandez sits down with Innovate LI to discuss his new book and explain why not all MLB innovations introduced since he hung up his spikes are for the better.

Artificial flavor: The head of Stony Brook University’s new Institute for AI-Driven Discovery and Innovation is a 30-year SBU veteran – and a distinguished expert in computational biology and related fields.

Get your beer here: As the summer beer season dawns, Long Island is riding a sudsy wave of innovation – and IPS’s impressive BeerBox vending machine is only the beginning.

Chain gang: If you like reading this newsletter as much as we like writing it, please pass it along to your innovation-minded buddies – and encourage them to subscribe for free, so they can do the same.



Doing more with less: The Town of Brookhaven has won Albany’s first-ever Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Competition, earning a $20 million award to help reduce property taxes and modernize services.

Brew pot: With recreational marijuana laws lighting up across the land, a California company is introducing the first craft beers infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient that gives weed its kick.

A good yarn: How researchers at Washington State’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are using acrylic yarn – yes, the same stuff grandma knits into blankets – to capture uranium from Earth’s oceans.

With all due respect to the Incredibles: From the Forbes Technology Council, why superheroes are like innovation kryptonite – and why progressive societies are better off without them.



+ WindMIL Therapeutics, a Baltimore-based clinical-stage company developing marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes for cancer immunotherapy, completed a $32.5 million Series B financing round led by Qiming Venture Partners USA, with participation from Medivate Partners, Camden Partners Nexus, Domain Associates and Foxkiser.

+ Influential, a California-based AI influencer technology, social intelligence firm and IBM Watson Developer Partner, secured a $12 million Series B financing round led by existing investors Capital Zed and Europlay Capitol Advisors, with participation from WME.

+ Kustomer, a New York City-based CRM platform for customer experience and support, raised $26 million in Series B funding led by Redpoint Ventures, with participation from Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

+ Mindstrong Health, a California-based healthcare company focused on improving brain health through measurement science, secured a $15 million B round of financing through a syndicate of investors and healthcare innovators.

+ Cleo, a San Francisco-based startup helping working parents to transition back to the workplace, raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. Backers included Greylock Partners, Forerunner Ventures and Felicis Ventures.

+ Evolve BioSystems, a California-based infant gut microbiome company, completed a $40 million Series C round co-led by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Horizons Ventures, the venture division of the Li Ka Shing Foundation, joined by new investors Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Arla Foods and Continental Grain Co., plus existing investors Tate & Lyle Ventures, Alta Ventures, Spruce Ventures, Acre Ventures and Bow Capital.



Do they get a bulk rate? Already entangled in high-profile lawsuits with the National Rifle Association, two Long Island teachers and the Trump Foundation, Gov. Cuomo’s office is now suing President Trump for violating the Constitutional rights of immigrant children.

Bed, bath and way beyond: As trendy small-batch beers spread across the land, more hotels are adding on-site breweries and distilleries to attract tourists.

Stumbling Block: Why NYSERDA revamped its NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive program (hint: bigger is better).

Free advice: Our tip of the day – nothing’s really free, including “free news.” So please support the amazing institutions that support Innovate Long Island, including NYIT, where forward-thinking Dean Nada Anid and her School of Engineering and Computer Sciences rock the cutting edge.