No. 370: In which the Brookhaven IDA shines, the millennials rise … and the robocalls are winning

Forever young: Legendary folk singer, songwriter, social activist and portraitist Joan Baez -- who's performed publicly for more than 60 years -- turns 78 today.


January thaw: Welcome to Wednesday, innovators, and the midpoint of 2019’s first full workweek.

It’s Jan. 9 out there, and if you’re still writing “2018” on checks and other forms, you’re not alone.

Blue by you: Today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and you don’t need to watch “Live PD” to know how hard these men and women work, every day, in an incredibly tense and dangerous occupation.

If you see a cop today, say thanks. (And you really should tune into “Live PD,” the best people-watching in the history of television.)

Say “fromage:” Speaking of people-watching, this photograph – taken in Paris on Jan. 9, 1838, by inventor Louis Daguerre – is believed to be the first-ever photo showing human beings.

Abby dearest: The “Dear Abby” newspaper advice column written by Abigail Van Buren – a.k.a. Pauline Phillips – was first syndicated by McNaught Syndicate on this date in 1956.

Other Jan. 9 debuts include the first U.S. balloon flight (conducted in Philadelphia in 1793 by aviator Jean Pierre Blanchard), coal mine safety lamps (introduced by inventor Humphry Davy in 1816) and “Rawhide” (debuted on the CBS Network in 1959, featuring Clint Eastwood).

Happy birthday, neighbors to the north: Although it’s nicknamed “The Constitution State,” Connecticut was actually the fifth U.S. State to ratify the U.S. Constitution, on Jan. 9, 1788.

Biological births on this date include Golden Gate Bridge designer and chief construction engineer Joseph Strauss (1870-1938), Austrian neurologist and “Father of Ultrasonic Diagnosis” Karl Dussik (1908-1968), 37th U.S. President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) and romance novelist Judith Krantz (born 1928).

Folk hero: And take a bow, Joan Chandos Baez – Staten Island’s favorite singer, songwriter and social activist (not to mention recent Grammy nominee) turns 78 today.

So … Baez? Bob Dylan? How about Joni Mitchell or John Denver or Johnny Cash or Tracy Chapman? The list is endless, but somewhere out there is your all-time favorite folk singer. Hum us a few bars at, and please be sure to include a story tip or calendar item. That’s what Arlo Guthrie would do.

The merrier: Before we dive into all the fresh socioeconomic innovation, welcome new newsletter subscribers Wallace, Jacquelyn, Alexandra, Clark, Rhonda, Dave and Brian. It literally wouldn’t be the same without you. Enjoy the show.


A few words from our sponsor: Sahn Ward Coschignano is one of the regions most highly regarded and recognized law firms. Our attorneys are thought leaders, dedicated to achieving success through excellence. With our broad experience in land use, development, real estate and environmental law, we have the vision to serve our clients and our communities. Please visit



Banner year: A round of applause for the Town of Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, which posted another strong year of economic incentivizing in 2018, ultimately convincing 15 different businesses to invest $344 million in Brookhaven-based projects that will create or retain more than 1,200 jobs.

Among the 15 tax-abatement deals closed last year – which focused largely on manufacturers, wholesale distributors and residential developers – were packages for WHTB Glass, which is investing $18.9 million in a 49,000-square-foot reconstruction effort in Shirley, and Triple Five Aviation Industries, which is investing $16 million in the renovation of the former Dowling College aviation campus, also in Shirley.

Those projects, which promise both temporary construction jobs and permanent positions when the construction is done, are good examples of the 15 “job-creating projects” supported by the Brookhaven IDA in 2018, according to Chairman Frederick Braun III, who noted a particular focus on workforce housing. “We are also pleased with the diversity of projects that we have supported, which will help to strengthen the town’s economy,” Braun noted Tuesday.

Bad call: And bad news for coast-to-coast consumers who signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry – nearly 70 percent of whom say the robocall-blocking system is bunk.

Officially, 68 percent of respondents to a recent survey conducted by Washington-based business-data aggregator Clutch say the National DNCR is ineffective, with 49 percent reporting they receive the same amount of robocalls as they did before they signed up and 19 percent actually reporting an increase.

Clutch polled 687 smartphone owners across the country and recorded that 80 percent take same anti-robocall measures, including blocking numbers, joining the National DNCR or employing a third-party screening tool (like Innovate LI’s old friend Nomorobo). The full survey results are available here.



Murphy’s law: South Nassau Communities Hospital CEO Richard Murphy will leverage decades of executive experience as head of the Healthcare Association of New York State.

Local lesson: Boasting extracurricular-education partnerships with hundreds of out-of-state school districts, Jericho-based edu-tech ace iTutor is refocusing on Long Island.

Taking over: Millennials have elected the most diverse U.S. Congress in history – but a top Long Island political strategist wonders if the next generation is truly ready to lead.



Checking out? No word yet on store closings, with Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop announcing plans to purchase Long Island’s venerable King Kullen Grocery Co.

Emergency funds: Newsday reports on Melville-based Comtech Telecommunications Corp.’s $33 million acquisition of Canada’s 911 service provider.

A taste for innovation: From automation to society’s declining sweet tooth, Forbes tracks 10 macro trends ready to reshape the food and beverage industries.



+ StructionSite, a California-based provider of intelligent construction-management software, completed its $1.5 million seed round led by CEMEX Ventures, with participation from Social Starts, WND Ventures and Obayashi Corp., among others.

+ Frequency Therapeutics, a Massachusetts-based clinical-stage biotechnology company creating a new class of Progenitor Cell Activation-based pharmaceuticals, closed a $42 million Series B financing round led by Taiwania Capital Management and Axil Capital, Yonjin Capital and DF Investments, Polaris Founders Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, CoBro Ventures, Korea Investment Partners and Emigrant Capital.

+ Boom Supersonic, a Colorado-based aerospace startup developing new supersonic aircraft, completed a $100 million Series B funding round led by Emerson Collective, with participation from Sunstone Venture Capital Fund, Y Combinator Continuity, Caffeinated Capital and SV Angel.

+ Ablative Solutions, a Michigan-based company advancing innovative solutions for the treatment of hypertension, held the first close of its $77 million Series D funding round, led by new investor Gilde Healthcare and co-led by existing investor BioStar Ventures, as well as Michigan Accelerator Fund, Novus Biotechnology and other investors.

+ AlertMedia, a Texas-based Emergency-communication software provider, received a $25 million investment from JMI Equity, a growth equity firm focused on software companies.

+ Apic Bio, a Massachusetts-based gene-therapy company developing novel treatment options for patients with rare genetic diseases, completed a $40 million Series A financing round led by Morningside Venture Investments, with participation from The Alpha-1 Project and A1ATD Investors and new investor ALS Investment Fund.



Somebody’s watching: Fast Company takes a long look at “invisible security” – from both sides – with experts from the NSA and global AI intelligence company Darktrace.

Watch the language: From a flock of seagulls to a murder of crows to a flight of stairs, Quartz reviews the “nouns of assemblage.”

Watch this: That Apple Watch you got for Christmas sure is cool – but’s it’s only one of history’s most innovative wristwatches, according to our friends at T3.

That’s all the time we have: But please remember to support the great firms that support Innovate LI, including Sahn Ward Coschignano. Did we mention they have an awesome Environment, Energy and Resources practice group?