No. 332: Hitting it big in vagus, hitting it bigger at SBU, commercial support for the disabled and eternal respect for Aretha

Aretha Louise Franklin: You better think.

Well done: It’s Friday, dear readers, and once again, you’ve conquered the five-day minefield that is the American workweek.

To mark your achievement and put you in a proper Friday mood, ladies and gentlemen … The Cure!

Continental breakfast: We’re sending a special hello this Aug. 17 to all of our South American readers – whether you’re celebrating Engineer’s Day in Colombia or Flag Day in Bolivia, please celebrate responsibly.

Here in the States, it’s National Nonprofit Day, so go ahead and hug a helper, cuddle a candy striper and otherwise cheer for charities.

Steamed: Robert Fulton didn’t invent steamboats, but he was the first to commercialize them – and his much-disparaged “Fulton’s Folly” made its maiden voyage up the Hudson River, from New York Harbor to Albany, on Aug. 17, 1807.

Tightening up his IP: The first U.S. patent for an adjustable screw wrench was issued on this date in 1835 to Massachusetts inventor Solyman Merrick.

Prized moment: Newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer gifted $1 million to Columbia University on Aug. 17,1903, giving birth to the famous Pulitzer Prize.

Start your engines (literally): Inventor Charles Kettering earned a U.S. patent for the first electric automobile starter on Aug. 17, 1915.

Kettering – who founded the Ohio-based Delco Electronics Corp. and co-founded the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after heading up research for both the NCR Corp. and General Motors – is credited with 186 patents in all, including the invention of the first electric cash register, the refrigerant freon and the world’s first aerial missile.

Stole its thunder: United States mail (123 letters, to be exact) was carried by hot-air balloon for the first time on Aug. 17, 1859, when the airship Jupiter lifted off from Lafayette, Ind., bound for New York City.

Unfortunately, severe weather – including thunderstorms and strong southwest winds – ended the flight after just 30 miles and the balloon put down in Crawfordsville, Ind. The swift completion of that appointed round was done by train.

Iron Horse: And on this date in 1933, New York Yankee Lou Gehrig set a new mark for consecutive Major League Baseball games played, appearing in his 1,103rd straight contest.

Gehrig was just getting started – he’d play in another 1,027 straight, setting an iron-man record of 2,130 games that stood until 1995.

King of the wild frontier: American frontiersman and politician Davy Crocket (1786-1836) was born on Aug. 17.

So were English physician Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866), who lent his name to a dreaded lymph-tissue disease; American scientist Frederick Russell (1870-1960), who developed the first successful typhoid fever vaccine; Polish-American movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974, born Shmuel Gelbfisz); bawdy sex symbol Mae West (1893-1980); American chemist Hazel Bishop (1906-1908), credited with the invention of non-smear, “kiss-proof” lipstick; and Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya (1923-2012), co-creator of the Red Bull energy drink.

Speaking of raging bulls: Take a bow, Robert De Niro – the American screen legend turns 75 today.

You talking to us? Wish the original Goodfella a happy birthday at – and please include a story tip, calendar item and any other offer we can’t refuse.


A few words from our sponsor: EisnerAmper is a leading international accounting, tax and advisory firm serving more than 500 technology and life-science clients. Our dedicated team of more than 125 professionals supports startup companies, emerging growth, IPO-track and publicly traded clients.



Pavlov’s dog in the hunt: Arguably the center of the universe regarding the study of the vagus nerve, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research has added another sizeable score to its electric-nerve-stimulation war chest. Northwell Health’s Manhasset-based research mecca announced Thursday that Professor Valentin Pavlov has received a five-year, $1.65 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine the vagus nerve’s role in the inflammation and metabolism associated with sepsis.

The research will follow up previous work by Pavlov and bioelectric medicine pioneer Kevin Tracey, the Feinstein Institute CEO, showing the brain and the vagus nerve jointly control immune responses and inflammation – essentially, the discovery of the so-called “inflammatory reflex.”

While that research uncovered the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation throughout the body, “we do not know the exact neural signaling taking place during sepsis,” Pavlov noted – and understanding that “should help us identify new therapeutic targets, [which] could lead to new medications or bioelectronic medicine therapies for sepsis and its long-reaching sequelae.”

Best of the best: Congratulations to our friends at Uniondale law firm Farrell Fritz, where 10 attorneys have been named to the 25th edition of The Best Lawyers in America, the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession.

Announced Wednesday, the 2019 roster includes Farrell Fritz attorneys Martin Bunin (Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Litigation-Bankruptcy); Brian Corrigan, John Barnosky and Ilene Sherwyn Cooper (Litigation-Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates); Domenique Camacho Moran (Employment Law-Management); John Morken and Eric Penzer (Litigation-Trusts & Estates); Jason Samuels (Litigation-Construction); Robert Sandler (Real Estate Law); and Charles Strain (Healthcare Law).

Strain and attorney Ilene Cooper also received “Lawyer of the Year” honors for the Long Island region, awarded to attorneys with the highest overall peer-feedback ratings for specific practice areas in a particular geographic location.



Wise investment: With enrollment raging and all eyes on the regional economy, Albany has plunked down $25 million to help Stony Brook University design and plan a $100 million, state-of-the-art engineering facility.

Playback it again: With a hefty outlay in a Westchester County tech startup, Northwell Ventures is betting big on multimedia patient-engagement software.

Greetings, salutations: Smiles abound as several regional organizations have come together to help Maryhaven Center of Hope launch a greeting-card business staffed by people with disabilities.



A California e-retailer has come to life inside the Roosevelt Field mall, while tons of debris have found new life in Long Island waters.



Still wrangling: From Newsday, why two Long Island aerospace manufacturers are doing battle over a sold/not sold welding unit.

Still Echoing: From Forbes, how a great supporter of social innovators manages to keep going strong three decades later.

Still screaming: From Popular Mechanics, the reason rollercoasters – despite major technological innovations – really haven’t changed through the years.



+ Michael Berger has been hired as a labor and employment associate at Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana. He was previously an associate at Frank & Associates in Farmingdale.

+ John Collins, president and CEO of Mineola-based NYU Winthrop Hospital, has been elected chairman of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council.

+ David Bamdad has been promoted to partner at Mineola-based Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone.

+ David Johansen has been hired as a marketing coordinator at Melville-based Tenenbaum Law. He was previously a corporate communications intern at Entercom in Manhattan.

+ Christina Noon has been hired as an associate attorney at Riverhead-based Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo. She was previously an associate attorney at Woodbury-based Stefans Law Group.

+ Bohemia-based P.W. Grosser Consulting has announced three new hires. Josetta Williams has been hired as an; accounting project administrator; she was previously a billing/accounts receivable specialist at Islandia-based Roux Associates. Patricia Yelner has been hired as controller; she was previously a senior accountant at Hauppauge-based Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp. Ashley Yucel has been hired as a staff engineer; she previously was an intern at the firm.



Queen of the soul: How the late, great and enduringly inspirational Aretha Franklin embodied both black and female empowerment.

Speaking of black empowerment: African-American craft-beer brewers now have a festival of their own.

Ticked-off Tesla: Why the innovative carmaker is not happy with a renegade tinkerer teaching the world how to fix its broken-down vehicles.

Before we go: There’s still no sign of “free news,” so please keep supporting the great firms that support Innovate LI, including EisnerAmper – and yes, as a matter of fact, that is Steve Kreit’s firm.