No. 367: Cashing out the thruway, powering up Yaphank and putting the heart in your winter solstice

Hung with care: Today marks the 2018 Winter Solstice -- meaning Christmas is just days away. Innovate LI wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.

It’s a wonderful weekend: You’ve done it, dear reader – you’ve completed the week and, for all intents and purposes, the year.

Welcome to the Friday of the last full work week of 2018, the start (for many) of a long and festive holiday weekend and the end of a blistering year of socioeconomic innovation.

Yule thank us later: Also known as Yule, The Longest Night and Midwinter (which seems odd to us, considering it’s technically the first day of winter), today of course marks the 2018 Winter Solstice, which occurs at precisely 5:23 p.m. Eastern Time.

To our readers in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy your longest day of the year and the start of your summer season (or midsummer, we guess).

One across: Dec. 21 is also Crossword Puzzle Day, commemorating the “word-cross” – regarded as the world’s first crossword puzzle – published on this date in 1913 by the New York World.

Hi-ho, hi-ho: Speaking of entertaining firsts, Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” the first full-length animated feature, premiered on Dec. 21, 1937, in Los Angeles.

Nothing but net: He probably drew up some plays over a long length of time, but Dec. 21, 1891, is remembered as the date James Naismith – a professor at the School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Mass. – invented basketball.

Other Dec. 21 slam dunks include radium (discovered by French scientists Pierre and Marie Curie in 1898), Apollo 8 (the first manned moonshot, which orbited the moon and came back in 1968) and Flavor Flav’s Chicken & Ribs (opened by the entrepreneurial Public Enemy rapper in 2012).

Bring home the Bacon: Tom Bacon (1904-1992), an English mechanical engineer who pioneered the first modern hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells, was born on Dec. 21.

So were producer and talk-show host Phil Donahue (born 1935), “Rocky” and “The Karate Kid” director John Avildsen (1935-2017), spaced-out rocker Frank Zappa (1940-1993) and arguably the busiest man in show business, ubiquitous actor Samuel L. Jackson (born 1948).

Working things out: And take a bow, Jane Fonda – the actress, activist, writer and former fitness guru turns 81 today.

Gentle reminder: Innovate LI will be lost in a sea of wrapping paper over the next week or so. Please watch for fresh newsletters on Dec. 28 and Jan. 4, and a return to our thrice-weekly schedule on Jan. 7.

Between now and then, you can always reach us at Have a safe and happy Christmas.


About our sponsor: The Law Offices of Andrew Presberg is Long Island’s premier “IDA attorney” for businesses relocating, expanding and growing on Long Island. Founded in 1984, the practice also focuses on the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of commercial and industrial property, SBA loan transactions, construction, commercial banking and real estate litigation.



Your money’s no good here: Just in time for all that holiday travel, “cashless tolling” technology has been installed at all seven fixed-price toll barriers on the New York State Thruway – a significant milepost on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s quest to convert the entire thruway to cashless tolling by the end of 2020.

As of this month, cash payments are no longer accepted at the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (I-87/I-287), the North and South Grand Island Bridges (I-190), the Harriman Toll (I-87), the Yonkers Toll (I-87), the Spring Valley Toll (I-87/commercial vehicles only) or the New Rochelle Toll (I-95) barriers. Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged and vehicles without E-ZPass tags will have their license plate image captured, with a toll bill mailed to the registered owner.

With the conversion to cashless tolling at the seven fixed-price barriers alone expected to save individual commuters upwards of 200 minutes annually, “cashless tolling is helping transform our state’s transportation infrastructure and creating a state-of-the-art, reliable highway system that meets the needs of 21st century commuters,” Cuomo said Thursday.

Quick cash: The Auxiliary of North Shore University Hospital, which raises funds for various programs at the Manhasset institution, is halfway home on an ambitious fundraising goal targeting the NSUH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The Auxiliary recently presented hospital administrators with a $100,000 check, bringing its total contributions to the NICU to $1 million. At the end of 2016, the organization pledged to raise $2 million for the unit over 10 years – but with $500,000 raised this year alone, boosters have already reached 50 percent of their goal.

Auxiliary Board President Lori Ballen said the organization was proud to make the latest $100,000 donation and to speed toward its $2 million target, while NSUH Executive Director Alessandro Bellucci called the Auxiliary’s commitment to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit “inspirational,” and said it would “greatly improve the environment for our patients and their families.”



Stroke of genius: When it comes to treating strokes, time equals brain function – so Stony Brook University is putting emergency rooms on wheels to speed up response times.

Cell high: A Connecticut energy company has taken a major step toward construction of the first of three planned fuel-cell power stations in Yaphank.

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The Long Island Regional Economic Development Council will make do with $68.5 million, and thanks to the Brookhaven IDA, new projects will make hay in East Patchogue and Medford.



Innovate LI’s inbox overrunneth with inspirational ideas from all North American corners. This week’s brightest out-of-town innovations:

From California: The Thousand Oaks-based California Cyberhub schedules the 2019 California Mayors Cyber Cup, a 10-region, 1,200-student tech competition promoting the Golden State’s cybersecurity workforce.

From Washington: Seattle-based Kineta Immuno-Oncology licenses a proprietary screening platform to Pfizer, on the hunt for new cancer immunotherapies.

From Arizona: Tempe-based TerrainHopper USA and wheelchair-bound founder Todd Lemay roll out “the gift of freedom” – an “off-terrain” adventure vehicle for people with disabilities.



+ Frank Trotta has been appointed to the Board of Directors for the Town of Brookhaven IDA. He is the publisher of 50-Plus LifeStyles and Fire News, a principal in a family-owned local real estate management company and vice chairman of the Suffolk Federal Credit Union.

+ Anthony Dalessio has been appointed deputy comptroller in charge of accounting at the office of the Nassau County comptroller in Mineola. He was formerly the managing partner at Melville-based KPMG.

+ East Meadow-based Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman has announced two promotions: Heather Gauweiler has been named partner in the Banking/Commercial Lending Group and Michelle Stieglitz has been named partner in the Real Estate Practice Group.

+ The U.S. Green Building Council-Long Island Chapter has elected four new board members: Alex Badalamenti, president/CEO of Patchogue-based Bld Architecture; Edward Bradshaw, senior practice leader at Huntington-based GEI Consultants; Haneef Khan, manager of capital projects at Northwell Health Corporate Facilities Services in Manhasset; and Timothy Lederer, manager of customer operations oversight at LIPA in Uniondale.

+ Christine Amoroso has been hired as vice president for quality, a newly created position at Port Jefferson-based Mather Hospital. She was formerly director of quality management at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.



Renaissance man: Kenneth Kaushansky, dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine, gives TBR Newsmedia the skinny on renaming Stony Brook University’s medical school.

Prime cut: Our friends at Fast Co. offer conscientious consumers a blueprint for going Amazon-free in 2019.

Get real: Speaking of the New Year, Entrepreneur examines the differences between dreaming and planning – and the best methods for setting realistic company goals.

And to all a good night: And please remember to support the great firms that support Innovate LI, including the Law Offices of Andrew Presberg, where superior service never takes a holiday.