No. 321: Integrating LI schools, fighting crime with TV, and why the sun shines so brightly on J. Kings

It's a small world after all: Celebrated every July 11, World Population Day shines a spotlight on global health and human-rights issues.

Half full: Over the hump we go, dear readers, as another summery week of socioeconomic innovation reaches its midpoint.

It’s July 11 out there – “7-Eleven Day,” according to the marketing geniuses behind the international convenience store chain, with participating locations marking the date with free Slurpees.

Pop culture: It’s also World Population Day, a function of the United Nations Development Programme designed to raise awareness of global population issues.

Among World Population Day’s touchstone topics: family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights, all of which are under fire right now in the United States.

…though he did lose voters: The famous gun duel between former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr, the violent culmination of a long and bitter political rivalry, was fought on July 11, 1804, in Weehawken, NJ.

Hamilton shot first and missed; Burr shot second and scored, mortally wounding the Founding Father, who died the next day. Although Burr – at the time, a candidate for New York governor – was cleared of murder charges in both New York and New Jersey, backlash from the famous gunfight ended his political career.

Dig it: On July 11, 1892, following two years of burrowing and construction, work was completed on the East River Gas Tunnel – a 2,550-foot passageway designed to carry gas mains from Long Island into Manhattan and the first completed tunnel under the East River.

Speaking of river crossings, the Triborough Bridge – a complicated concoction of arches, elevated expressways and connecting viaducts linking Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, known officially as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge since 2008 – opened on this date in 1936.

Super Bowl: The Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, a showcase for the world’s greatest musicians and the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, opened on July 11, 1922.

Scout’s honor: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning treatise on racism and American justice, was first published on this date in 1960.

The Skylab is falling: With the world watching (rather tensely), the first U.S. space station, Skylab, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere on July 11, 1979, and burned up over Australia.

It’s been a long year: In other spaced-out news, on July 11, 2011, icy blue giant Neptune completed its first orbit around the sun since it was discovered by mathematicians in 1846.

Neptune finally returned to the spot in the constellation Aquarius where it was first detected, making one Neptunian trip around the sun equal to about 165 Earth years.

Also measured in Earth years: Sixth U.S. President John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), American entrepreneur and marketing pioneer John Wanamaker (1838-1922), “Charlotte’s Web” author E.B. White (1899-1985), Russian movie star Yul Brynner (1920-1985) and groundbreaking physicist Theodore Maiman (1927-2007) – credited with the creation of the first working laser – all add a notch this July 11.

And take a bow, Giorgio Armani – the iconic Italian fashion designer turns 84 today.

Well wishes: Send your birthday greetings to, and while you’re at it, please send along a story suggestion or calendar item. No need to giftwrap.


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Come together: Lamenting Long Island’s “overwhelmingly segregated” school districts as “disadvantageous for all of the region’s students,” the Garden City-based Rauch Foundation announced Tuesday that it’s partnering with Syosset-based ERASE Racism to sponsor an Island delegation at the Reimagining Education Summer Institute, scheduled for next week at Columbia University Teachers College.

Although America’s public schools are increasingly diverse, “diversity alone does not lead to integration,” according to the Rauch Foundation, and to that end, the Summer Institute will explore opportunities for creating racially, ethnically and socioeconomically integrated schools.

The delegation of 25 Rauch Fellows – part of ERASE Racism’s Education Equity Initiative, which engages educators and community members in developing real solutions to the problem of segregated public schools – represent five school districts from across Nassau and Suffolk: Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, Greenport Union Free School District, Roosevelt Union Free School District, Sewanhaka Central High School District and Uniondale School District.

Krushing it: Woodbury-based organic eatery Organic Krush has announced a generous tie-in with Long Island Cares, the food bank founded by late musician Harry Chapin.

For every new customer that enters an email address into the pop-up registry on the circa-2015 restaurant’s new website between now and Aug. 31, Organic Krush will donate $1 to LI Cares. The promotional tie-in kicked off June 29 and the health-conscious café anticipates a charitable donation of between $1,000 and $2,500, according to a statement.

Organic Krush – which features pesticide-, hormone- and GMO-free foods and opened a second location in Amagansett in 2017 (more are on the way) – is “honored” to support Long Island Cares, according to owner Michelle Walrath. “It was a natural tie-in for us,” Walrath said Tuesday. “The work that LI Cares has done in providing food for the thousands of food-insecure people on Long Island is so admirable.”



Solar flair: Major-league food-and-beverage distributor J. Kings is reducing its carbon footprint with style, unveiling a shiny new 771-kilowatt photovoltaic system atop its Holtsville headquarters.

Medical team: Longtime collaborators Hofstra University and Northwell Health are teaming up again, this time to provide topflight medical care for the university’s 300-plus NCAA Division 1 student-athletes.

Biting remarks: Melville-based healthcare products global distributor Henry Schein and a California-based tech firm have launched Henry Schein One, a tech entity dedicated to improving dental practices.

And share alike: If you enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoy writing it, please share it with other innovators – and encourage them to subscribe for free, so they can pass it along.



Growing nicely: From Forbes, the 25 most innovative ag-tech companies of 2018 (who knew there were so many robotic farmers?).

Safety first: From Newsday, why Northwell Health is putting armed guards in Long Island hospitals.

Screen savior: We hear plenty about the negatives of screen time, but not as much about the positives. From the New Yorker, a look at how major televised sporting events might actually help lower crime rates.

Farming without borders: Why Albany’s ESDC is so excited about the new partnership between Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Israel’s Agricultural Research Organization.



+ Savioke, a California-based developer of service robots for use in public environments including hotels and hospitals, raised $13.4 million in Series B funding backed by Brain Corp, Swisslog Healthcare, NESIC and Recruit.

+ Cedar, a New York City-based patient financial management platform for hospitals, health systems and independent medical groups, raised $36 million in Series B funding led by Kinnevik with participation from existing investors Founders Fund and Thrive Capital, as well as Lakestar, Sound Ventures, Kevin Systrom of Instagram and Nat Turner of Flatiron Health.

+ Inbox Health, a Connecticut-based provider of patient communications and payments for medical billers, raised $900,000 in new funding, completing a $2.4 million seed funding round, led by Connecticut Innovations, with additional participation from I2BF Global Ventures, Launch Capital, Enhanced Capital and several angel investors.

+ Appello Pharmaceuticals, a Nashville-based preclinical-stage company focused on advancing novel treatments for Parkinson’s disease, completed a $10.5 million Series A financing round led by Deerfield Management and Mountain Group Partners.

+ Honk Technologies, a Los Angeles-based platform connecting drivers, towing professionals and insurers, completed an $18 million funding round led by Altpoint Ventures, with participation from existing investors Venture 51 and Structure Capital.

+ Postie, a Los Angeles-based marketing automation platform that makes direct mail behave like a digital channel, received $3.5 million in seed funding led by Bonfire Ventures and Crosscut Ventures.



By design: It’s a cool buzzword (buzz phrase?), but be warned – “design thinking” won’t solve all your innovation problems.

Innovation is their Bisnode: Europe’s most in-demand data bureau is trying to convince banks that innovation isn’t a pipe dream.

What’s hot: Whether you’re vacationing or staycationing, check out this year’s coolest summer tech.

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