No. 409: Affordable rentals, sudden departures and Fulbright scholars, starring Bob Hope and Bing Crosby

King of cool: Refrigeration pioneer F.M. Jones was awarded 61 patents over his lifetime, including one for his "two-cycle gas engine" on May 29, 1945.


Welcome to Wednesday: And a happy midweek to you, dear reader, as we speed through another exciting (and blessedly abbreviated) week of socioeconomic innovation.

Hard to believe, with Memorial Day over and summer unofficially started and all, but it’s still May out there. May 29, to be exact, and if you had Roman Emperor Julian defeating the Sasanian Army in the Battle of Ctesiphon on this date in 363 A.D., you’ve won 100 gold solidus – 200 if you knew Julian retreated after the narrow victory, lacking sufficient resources to take the capital city.

Rumbly tummy? Perhaps you’ll get some answers today, the World Gastroenterology Association’s 16th annual World Digestive Health Day.

Happy Statehood Day: To our readers in Rhode Island and Wisconsin, which were admitted to the Union on May 29 in 1790 and 1848, respectively.

For the record, Rhode Island was the last of the original 13 colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Tom on a tear: Prolific inventor Thomas Edison scored repeatedly on May 29, earning five U.S. patents in 1883 covering several electrical innovations; six more in 1906 covering a “Process for Cleaning Metallic Surfaces,” a “Gas-Separator for Storage Batteries” and other battery-focused breakthroughs; and one in 1923 for a phonographic “Stylus Mounting” that incorporated precious gems.

Patents granted to other inventors on May 29 include one in 1945 for African-American tinkerer F.M. Jones and his “Two-Cycle Gas Engine.”

The real thing: Describing it as “Delicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! Invigorating!” the first advertisement for Coca-Cola was published in the Atlanta Journal on this date in 1886.

Prize possession: The heirs of Alfred Nobel signed a “reconciliation agreement” on May 29, 1898, settling personal disputes that allowed Nobel’s will – which bequeathed the creation of the Nobel Prizes – to be executed.

Lift and tuck: The name “escalator” was trademarked on May 29, 1900, by the Otis Elevator Co.

Bing cherry: Some estimates say 50 million copies sold, others say 100 million – but by any count, the bestselling single of all time, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” was recorded on this springtime date in 1942.

Flame on: English chemist John Walker (1781-1859), who invented friction matches by combining sulphur, potassium chlorate, antimony sulphide and gum arabic on the tip of a small wooden stick, would be 283 years old today.

Other May 29 birthdays include German astronomer Johan von Mädler (1794-1874), one of the first to map the moon; entrepreneurial Massachusetts tailor Ebenezer Butterick (1826-1903), who invented paper patterns for clothing; iconic American shutterbug Doris Ullman (1882-1934); legendary entertainer Bob Hope (1903-2003); 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963); and Grammy Award-winning cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge (born 1961).

Birthday particle: And take a bow, Peter Ware Higgs – the British theoretical physicist and namesake of the Higgs boson (an elementary particle at the center of the Standard Model of particle physics) turns 90 today.

Wish the physicist, the rocker, the president and the rest a happy birthday at, where we’re gratefully accepting story tips and calendar items on their behalf.


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Rent all about it: Affordable rentals are at the heart of two new “critically important tax agreements” approved by the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, according to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.

The Nassau IDA recently greenlighted an incentives package that will help SLC Development LLC construct a 150-unit rental apartment complex (with 15 units for renters making between 40 and 80 percent of the area median income) on a vacant site in Garden City. The IDA also approved a tax agreement for a Florida-based developer expanding an existing Great Neck rental apartment complex, including the construction of three new buildings and 185 new units, 75 of which will be “rent stabilized,” according to Curran’s office.

“Nassau needs more rental housing, particularly at more affordable price points,” the county executive said in a statement. “I’m especially pleased by the IDA’s approval of the [Garden City] project, which will include some much-needed affordable units.”

Hitting the green: The 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black wasn’t the only lucrative golf event held this month on Long Island.

South Nassau Communities Hospital’s 35th Annual Golf Outing, which attracted nearly 500 golfers May 20 to three of the region’s most prestigious and challenging golf courses, raised nearly $600,000 total, with an estimated net of $400,000 – a new highwater mark for the annual charity outing, surpassing the record set in 2018 by 25 percent, according to SNCH.

All proceeds raised by the outing – which teed off simultaneously at the Seawane Club in Hewlett Harbor, the Rockway Hunting Club in Lawrence and the Rockville Links Club in Rockville Centre – will benefit the hospital’s Emergency Department Expansion Campaign. Reconstruction of the Emergency Department is already underway, with the Oceanside hospital planning to double the size of its ER and add new dedicated areas for behavioral health and pediatric emergencies.



Rapid response: With Stony Brook University President Samuel Stanley Jr. announcing his resignation, SUNY is scrambling to fill some big shoes.

Fully bright: An Adelphi University graduate with a truly global worldview is heading to Costa Rica as a freshly minted Fulbright scholar.

Lifetime lifeline: Coming off a rebuilding year, Garden City-based Lifetime Brands posted a stronger first quarter – and talked up bigger bottom lines to come.



‘E’ is for education equality: To ensure a better education (and stronger economy) for all, professional educators must level the playing field for rural and less-privileged students, says K-12 education expert Harry Aurora.



Co-working-plus: From Forbes, how America’s ambitious and inventive “second cities” are transforming themselves with homegrown innovation spaces.

War party: From Newsday, it’s the Shinnecock Indian Nation vs. the state DOT in the great Battle of the Billboards.

Buffalo millions: From the University at Buffalo, a look inside the new UB/New York State Innovation Hub pumping life into upstate startups.



+ Unruly Studios, a Massachusetts-based startup helping teach children ages 6 and up STEM and coding skills, raised $1.8 million in seed funding led by eCoast Angels, Amazon Alexa Fund, AT&T, Rough Draft Ventures powered by General Catalyst, Techstars, LearnLaunch, NextFab and other New England angel funds.

+ Ride Report, an Oregon-based enterprise offering urban micromobility solutions (bikes, scooters, small electric vehicles), raised $3.4 million in seed funding led by Homebrew, with Urban Innovation and Better Ventures also participating.

+ OnSite Waste Technologies, a California-based leader in on-site medical-waste disposal, completed a $3.5 million seed-funding round led by Mark IV Capital and UCI Applied Innovation’s Cove Fund II, with participation from individual investors.

+ Solugen, a Texas-based specialty-chemicals manufacturer and producer of bio-based peroxide solutions, closed a $32 million Series B funding round led by Founders Fund, with participation from Y Combinator, Refactor Capital, Fifty Years and KdT Ventures.

+ Folio Photonics, an Ohio-based developer of new optical solutions for data storage, closed an $8 million seed-funding round led by Refinery Ventures, with participation from Pavey Investments and Capital One Partners.

+ Natural Partners Fullscript, an Arizona-based nutraceutical-prescribing platform for healthcare practitioners, raised $25 million in Series B financing led by Kayne Partners.



Book: American and Canadian energy leaders have published a new tome on nuclear innovation in the clean-energy age.

Line: Following a $200 million refit, Carnival Cruise Line has renamed its New York-based flagship.

And thinkers: Please continue to support the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, including Sahn Ward Coschignano, where the amazing Environment, Energy and Resources practice group sets the ecological standard.