No. 485: Panther pride, equitable entrepreneurism and smarter self-diagnoses, in the palm of your hand

Bar none: Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes -- just ask the World War I soldiers who made the newly invented Clark Bar a household name.


The days, they are a blurrin’: And we’re just getting started, dear readers, as the global pandemic continues to take shape and the “new normal” – however impermanent it may be – finds its form.

Sartre: Back off.

It’s Friday out there (trust us), March 20, and it’s a good time to note the words of author Steven Kotler, who believes innovation requires isolation, and French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who reminded us that “Hell is other people” and “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.”

White out: Spring has officially sprung, somewhat anticlimactically, considering the weather, and still a day early.

While it didn’t quite break the record, Winter 2019-2020 ranks as one of this region’s all-time least-snowiest, with Brookhaven National Laboratory measuring less than 9 total inches, including a 2-inch November dusting.

Meat up: Before we get to cheering you up, add this to your list of coronavirus-canceled events – the Great American MeatOut, held annually on March 20, has been called off.

Actually, that’s fairly cheery – absent any Lent-ian objections, go ahead and fire up the grill!

Feeling better already: Even the staunchest Charmin hoarder will agree that COVID-19 is not as bad as the Black Death, which was “created” on this date in 1345 by “a triple conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius,” according to 14th century scholars.

Better scholars now know the bubonic plague – which killed 25 million across Europe – is actually caused by the bacterium yersinia pestis.

Distant relativity: Einstein, theoretically.

Stowe away: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” Harriet Beecher Stowe’s revered masterwork about U.S. slavery, was first published in Boston on March 20, 1852.

Other historic written works associated with this date include Einstein’s general theory of relativity, first published on March 20, 1916, in the German journal Annelen Der Physik.

Look ma, no wires: Serbian scientist Nikola Tesla earned a U.S. patent on this date in 1900 for his “System of Transmission of Electrical Energy,” a breakthrough wireless-transmission method.

The first, and still the greasiest: And predating McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell and all the rest, the Sanders Court & Café – the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant – was opened by entrepreneur Harland Sanders on March 20, 1930.

With 20,000-plus locations, Louisville-based KFC is now the world’s fourth-largest restaurant chain, trailing Subway, McDonald’s and Starbucks.

It’s Greek to her: Gender barrier-busting archeologist Lucy Myers Wright Mitchell (1845-1888) – a self-taught, internationally recognized expert on ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, remembered among the first female field archeologists – would be 175 years old today.

Face it: Funnyman Carl Reiner turns 98 today.

Also born on March 20 were American mechanical engineer Frederick Taylor (1856-1915), arguably history’s first management consultant; English-American psychologist Raymond Catell (1905-1998), a cognitive-abilities expert known for his 16-factor personality model; iconic children’s TV host Fred “Mr.” Rogers (1928-2003); and almost-2,000-year-old-man Carl Reiner (born 1922).

Do the right thing: And take a bow, Shelton Jackson “Spike” Lee – the world’s most frustrated Knicks fan turns 63 years old today.

Wish the racially acute auteur, your childhood neighbor and all the other March 20 innovators a happy birthday at – and can you say “story tips?” We knew you could.


About our sponsor: Northwell Health is New York’s largest healthcare provider and private employer, with 23 hospitals, 750 outpatient facilities and 70,000-plus employees. We’re making research breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute and training the next generation of medical professionals at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. Visit



Shelf life: The Panther Pantry, up and running.

Forward thinking: From the Social Distancing Before Social Distancing Was Cool File comes the Panther Pantry, Adelphi University’s on-campus food pantry, which continues to dish it out even with the campus closed by the coronavirus.

In addition to traditional in-person shopping, the student-, faculty- and staff-servicing pantry incorporated online ordering protocols when it first opened in 2018, with scheduled pickups at the campus mailroom. The original idea was anonymity – but it turns out the order/pickup system is also pandemic-approved, with online orders placed in the morning ready by the afternoon in the mailroom, which remains open for now.

“The pantry is continuing to operate and serve the needs of the community,” noted Michael Hoffner, coordinator of Adelphi’s Interfaith & Spirituality Services, and the largely volunteer operation figures to keep busy throughout the COVID-19 crisis: As of Wednesday, the Panther Pantry had already filled 52 online orders this month, according to Hoffner.

Inkling: And from the Department of Opportunistic Pivots comes multistate printing and marketing company Sir Speedy, with an idea that promotes social health in a time of crisis – and maybe a little business on the side.

The company, a subsidiary of California-based conglomerate Franchise Services Inc., has enlisted its franchises – including operations in Westbury, Hauppauge and Melville – to an email campaign linking recipients to U.S. Centers for Disease Control posters and fact sheets, chock full of COVID-19 information. The colorful, PDF-format content is free to download and print, and shared by Sir Speedy because the printer is “deeply concerned about the coronavirus crisis and the wellbeing of our clients, your staff and our employees or other associates.”

Of course, should you require “large volumes of prints or if the posters are too large for your equipment … please give us a call,” the email adds. “Sir Speedy is fully operational.”



Check up: From the Hamptons, an AI-powered symptom-checker with emergency-room benefits and special pandemic powers.

And healthcare for all: Hofstra’s annual Community Challenge biz-plan contest focuses entrepreneurs on healthcare equity.

Chem class: The numbers are still a bit off, but the pieces are in place as Medford-based Chembio Diagnostics eyes a big fiscal comeback.



Northwell’s cautious elective pause, Facebook’s untapped diagnostic potential and the Nassau IDA, busy as usual.



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

From Washington State: Renton-based LED lighting specialist Aleddra flips the switch on a patented “de-odorization lamp” that eliminates stinks and even certain viruses.

From Canada, eh: Vancouver-based wearable-device innovator Hapbee introduces a strap-on “augmenter” that pumps mood-enhancing magnetic fields straight into the noggin.

From Florida: Orlando-based software maker Engineerica Systems offers colleges thrust into online-only mode complimentary access to its cloud-based academic-management suite.



Suzanne Kontak

+ Suzanne Kontak has been hired as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at the Ronkonkoma-based Association for Mental Health and Wellness. She was previously on staff at the Suffolk County Department of Mental Hygiene.

+ Jamie Memisha has joined Uniondale-based Forchelli Deegan Terrana as a legal assistant in the Tax Certiorari Practice Group. She previously held the same position in the office of J. Bradford Kenealy in Massapequa.

+ Robert Bedford has been appointed to the boards of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency and its Local Development Corp. He serves as general counsel of the Municipal Credit Union in New York City.

+ Cherice Vanderhall has been appointed to the board of the Town of Hempstead Industrial Development Agency. She serves as attorney for the Village of Hempstead.

+ John Stewart, chief security and trust officer at California-based Cisco Systems, has been appointed to the board of Code DX in Northport.

+ Baraa Allaf has been hired as section chief for maternal-fetal medicine at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre. He previously served as a maternal-fetal medicine physician at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola.

+ Nick Gaffney has been hired as a senior paid search strategist at Hauppauge-based Austin Williams. He previously served as a campaign coordinator at Mineola-based Fat Guy Media.

+ Carol Dunning has joined Cold Spring Harbor-based Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty as general counsel. She previously served as principal of Carol A. Dunning P.C. in Manhasset.



Game theory: Boards for the bored.

Scrabble: Take a screen break and try out a classic board game.

Candyland: Recalling the origins of the Clark Bar, a true American innovation.

Go fish: A guide to substituting ingredients in coronavirus-challenged kitchens.

Game on: They’re always eyeing their next move at Northwell Health, home of the Northwell Center for Learning & Innovation and one of the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI. Check them out.