No. 508: Boomgaarden rocks, Judy Garland sings, industrial forces go home and gougers get theirs

Shocking: Benjamin Franklin did fly a kite in a thunderstorm 268 years ago today, but the experiment ended differently than you may have heard.


Big day: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, and not just any Wednesday but the day Long Island engages Phase 2 in Albany’s official reopening playbook – an important step for those still following the social-distancing rules (including you, we hope).

Tea-riffic: Cooling off, with a twist.

That means it’s June 10 out there – Army Day in Jordan, Navy Day in Italy and, here in the States, National Iced Tea Day, defending the nation from thirst.

Well, that’s new: Today also marks the eighth-annual World Art Nouveau Day, focused this time on stained glass.

Do you have any Grey Poupon? Speaking of new tastes, smooth mustard became a thing on this date in 1720, when a Mrs. Clements of Durham, England, thought to remove the husks from ground mustard, thereby producing the first mustard paste.

According to the story, Clements secretly supplied King George I while otherwise hiding her iconic innovation.

Go fly a kite: One of history’s best-known scientific experiments – Benjamin Franklin’s thunderstorm kite-flying investigation – took place on June 10, 1752, in Philadelphia.

Lightning didn’t strike the kite, as some believe, but the founding father was able to collect an ambient electrical charge in a jar, proving the connection between lightning and electricity.

By the book: New York City passed the first Colonial law regulating medical practice on this date in 1760.

Big brake: A triumph for “Black Edison.”

Stop right there: African American inventor Granville Woods patented his “automatic air brake” on June 10, 1902.

Other patents issued on this date include a U.S. patent (also in 1902) for Chicago innovator Americus Callahan’s “outlook envelope” – the first paper envelope with a window – and a British patent (in 1943) for the Biro brothers, Hungarian refugees living in Argentina who made a better ballpoint pen.

Holding us in suspension: And it would subsequently close and re-open more than once, but the unique London Millennium Footbridge – the infamous “Wobbly Bridge” spanning the River Thames – first opened on June 10, 2000.

Over the rainbow: American actress, singer and dancer Frances Ethel Gumm (1922-1969) – known best as MGM icon Judy Garland, star of “The Wizard of Oz” and two dozen other studio releases, alongside such greats as Gene Kelly and Mickey Rooney – would be 98 years old today.

Maurice Sendak: Dreamer.

Also born on June 10 were American writer Rebecca Latimer Felton (1835-1930), the first woman to serve in the U.S. Senate; arctic explorer Frederick Cook (1865-1940); Hatti McDaniel (1895-1952), the first African American actress to win an Oscar; “Where the Wild Things Are” writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak (1928-2012); and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II (born 1921).

Ant man: And take a bow, Edward Osborne Wilson – the American biologist and writer, recognized as the world’s leading authority on ants, turns 91 today.

Give the naturalist, the ruby-heeled clicker and all the other June 10 innovators your best at Remember, there’s no place like story tips and event listings, which aren’t places, but work with us here.


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The price is wrong: With thousands of consumer complaints flooding in from across the state, Albany is cracking down on price gouging of personal protective equipment.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation banning sudden price spikes in PPE such as facemasks and hand sanitizer, fixing what State Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-25th Dist.) called “glaring flaws” in existing price-gouging statutes. Those laws clearly weren’t working – New York Attorney General Letitia James cited “over 7,000 price-gouging complaints related to COVID-19” – but the new one will “ensure our healthcare workers … and the public have access to these supplies,” Cuomo said this week, “while holding these unscrupulous retailers accountable.”

“As we face new challenges to contain the pandemic, we must protect consumers when they are particularly vulnerable,” added Rozic, an assemblywoman from Queens who thanked the governor for “providing the attorney general the tools to make certain that no one can prey on consumers’ fears and cause widespread panic during this health crisis.”

COVID covered: Demetriou (right) asks; Compass Workforce Solutions CEO Christine Ippolito responds.

The chronicles of Demetriou:Ask a CEO” has gone viral – literally.

The online video-interview show, placing Long Island-based executives in one-on-one discussions with host (and Lorraine Gregory Communications President and CEO) Greg Demetriou, now features a side series of discussions focused on the novel coronavirus and the pandemic’s socioeconomic ramifications – collectively, the “COVID Chronicles,” an exclusive look at regional CEOs’ personal and professional COVID-19 experiences.

The lineup is impressive, including BNB Bank’s Kevin O’Connor, Executive Strategies Group’s Jeffrey Bass, Discover Long Island’s Kristen Jarnagin, the Fair Media Council’s Jaci Clement, AVZ’s Bob Quarté and many others. Click here for more Chronicles.



The music man: In Donald Boomgaarden, St. Joseph’s College has a uniquely creative president – a critical trait in challenging times.

Heed the call: Either the next generation gets the housing options it wants and needs, or there is no next generation on Long Island, warns Terri Alessi-Miceli.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: The PPE flows and the mortarboards fly in your one-and-only Long Island-centric pandemic primer. Stay in the loop.



The “new normal” will be better all-around – especially across the medical industries, which are more prepared for the next pandemic, according to Northwell Health Senior VP Terry Lynam, healthcare champion of our amazing Voices team.



Hard core: From Forbes, why core business values matter now more than ever.

Stronger links: From, how the pandemic is pushing supply chain innovation.

Executive decision: From The Hill, fans and foes respond as more environmental regulations fall.



+ Athira Pharma, a Washington State-based clinical-stage company developing first-in-class regenerative therapies for brain disorders, closed an $85 million Series B financing round led by Perceptive Advisors, with participation from new investors RTW Investments, Viking Global Investors, Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, Franklin Templeton, Rock Springs Capital and others.

+ Pairin, a Colorado-based technology partner to workforce programs, governments and education systems, closed a $2.1 million tranche of its Series A funding round led by New Markets Venture Partners, with participation from New U Venture Partners, JFFLabs and return investors Village Capital, ZOMA Foundation and Independent Spectrum.

+ Atom Power, a North Carolina-based digital circuit breaker manufacturer, raised $17.7 million in Series B funding. Backers included Valor Equity Partners, Rockwell Automation, ABB Technology Ventures and Atreides Management.

+ Hyperscience, a New York City-based data-automation platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners, with participation from Tiger Global Management, Stripes, FirstMark Capital, Battery Ventures, Felicis Ventures, 3KVC, Gaingels and Penna & Co.

+ Superpedestrian, a Massachusetts-based mobility engineering and technology company developing urban transportation solutions, raised $15 million in funding led by Edison Partners.

+ Bigfoot Biomedical, a California-based developer of therapeutic and telemedicine solutions for people living with certain forms of diabetes, raised a total of $55 million to close its Series C equity financing round led by Abbott, with participation from Quadrant Capital Advisors, Senvest Capital, Janus Henderson and Cormorant Asset Management, along with Smile Group.



Big hitter, the Lama: Tune in, turn on.

Cooped up: Fresh eggs, stress relief and other benefits of raising chickens.

Looking up: How to keep those clear, pollution-free skies after the lockdown.

Turn it up: The Dalai Lama has cut his first album.

Keeping up: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including the New York Institute of Technology, where the COVID-19 Resource Page keeps the New York Tech community informed.