No. 509: On peanut butter cookies, LaGuardia Airport and kelp – plus baseball (remember that?)

Past times: Legendary sluggers Babe Ruth (left) and Ted Williams greet visitors to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.


Phase 2 Friday: You’ve done it again, dear readers! Another tough workweek conquered – and, as your reward, Long Island’s first weekend under Phase 2 reopening protocols. Well played!

It’s June 12 out there, and while you’re probably itching for your teenager to find a summer job after a half-year of home learning, it is indeed the U.N.’s World Day Against Child Labour, which is a very different matter and no joke.

Like butter: It’s ok to go a little nuts today.

That’s, like, a whole meal: Today is also National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, National Jerky Day and International Cachaça Day, celebrating the distilled Brazilian spirit.

Mayor’s ball: A toast, then, to New York City’s first mayor – freeman Thomas Willett, appointed by Colonial Gov. Richard Nicolls on this date in 1665.

Willett would be appointed to a second one-year term in 1667, thus becoming the future Big Apple’s first two-term honcho.

Roll with it: Mechanized personal transportation became a thing on this date in 1817, when German inventor Karl Drais took a spin around Mannheim on his innovative Laufmaschine – known alternately as the “velocipede” and the “dandy horse” and, by any name, the earliest recorded bicycle.

Either way, it’s old: Historians debate which was technically first, but one of the first two permanent U.S. astronomical observatories – Williams College’s Hopkins Observatory in Williamstown, Mass. – opened on this date in 1838.

The other maybe-oldest U.S. observatory is the Cincinnati Observatory Center in Ohio. It’s this whole big thing.

Cut above: Great knife, but do they even have an army?

Turn it up: Providing what were, arguably, history’s first motion pictures with sound, inventor John Ballance’s “Combined Phonograph and Stereopticon” was patented on June 12, 1906.

Other patents issued on this date include one in 1897 for Swiss cutler Karl Elsener, who locked up the multifaceted Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife.

Hall monitor: And it was June 12, 1939, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum – a stately reminder of prouder days for the one-time national pastime – opened in upstate Cooperstown.

The debut of the hallowed hall was actually part of a “centennial celebration” that turned out to be bupkis.

What a disaster: Columbia School of Journalism graduate, magazine editor, radio producer and iconic filmmaker Irwin Allen (1916-1991) – Hollywood’s undisputed “master of disaster,” credited with defining the disaster-film genre – would be 104 years old today.

Marvelous: Albert, members of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Also born on June 12 were German-American engineer John Augustus Roebling (1806-1869), who designed the Brooklyn Bridge; American architect Georgia Harris Brown (1918-1999), the second African American woman to earn an architect’s license and the first to earn an architecture degree from the University of Kansas; Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack (1922-2013), a bright light on dark matter (and civil rights); 41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush (1924-2018); Dutch diarist Anne Frank (1929-1945); and American sportscaster Marv Albert (born 1941).

Sly Fox: And take a bow, Blake Ross – the American software engineer, best known as the co-creator of the Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, turns 35 today.

Wish these and all the other June 12 innovators well at Story tips, calendar events and billion-dollar software ideas always welcome.


About our sponsor: Farrell Fritz, a full-service law firm with 15 practice groups, advises startups on entity formation, founder and shareholder agreements, funding, executive compensation and benefits, licensing and technology transfer, mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions. The firm’s blog, New York Venture Hub, discusses legal and business issues facing entrepreneurs and investors.



On second thought, never mind: Add a much-anticipated Long Island supermarket merger to COVID-19’s long list of economic victims.

Massachusetts-based Stop & Shop and Bethpage-based King Kullen have called off their much-ballyhooed merger agreement, through which Stop & Shop – a subsidiary of Dutch multinational Ahold Delhaize – was set to acquire 32 King Kullen supermarkets and five Wild by Nature food stores, all on Long Island, along with King Kullen’s Bethpage headquarters. The two chains noted a “joint decision” to kill the deal due to “significant, unforeseen changes in the marketplace that have emerged since the agreement was signed in December 2018, largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid expressed regret – “Both companies have put forth an incredible amount of effort to work through unanticipated challenges that have arisen,” Reid noted – while King Kullen co-President Brian Cullen assured customers that “America’s first supermarket” is ready to continue going it alone. “We are enthusiastic about the future,” Cullen said Wednesday, “and well-positioned to serve Nassau and Suffolk Counties for many years to come.”

Dock pay: Dr. Freeman, earning his kelp.

Kelp help: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is throwing a line to an Adelphi University associate biology professor who’s knee-deep in a marine study involving kelp.

Aaren Freeman, who’s also graduate coordinator of Adelphi’s Environmental Studies program and co-founder of Long Island’s Community Oyster Restoration Effort, has received a grant through the NFWF’s Long Island Sound Futures Fund, which is keen on his exploration of kelp as a possible food source for future marine-life habitats. As part of his study, Freeman has planted kelp at three different sites and already harvested plants from one of them; the harvested brown-algae seaweed will be used in a fertilizer study coordinated by Hofstra University, the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and the Town of Hempstead.

The NFWF, which funds conservation efforts in all 50 states, aims to protect and restore imperiled species, advance sustainable fisheries, promote healthy oceans and estuaries and otherwise conserve water for humans and land- and sea-based wildlife.



Terminal velocity: The $8 billion LaGuardia Airport retrofit is speeding right along, with the big new Arrivals and Departures Hall cleared for takeoff.

Growth plan: Longtime anchor tenant is moving out, but the owners of One Old Country Road (and the Nassau IDA) are planting new seeds.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: A stipend for Applied DNA, Phase 3 in sight and more from Long Island’s COVID-19 front lines, waiting for you in our exclusive pandemic primer.



Donald Boomgaarden champions creativity; Terri Alessi-Miceli rallies for rentals.



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

From Massachusetts: Boston-based patient-engagement software specialist Raxia keeps it clean with waiting room-free “contactless check-in.”

From Florida: Miami-based medical products innovator Instafloss makes a splash with “world’s first” 10-second multi-jet water flosser.

From California: Los Angeles-based therapeutic virtual reality pioneer AppliedVR  conjures anti-anxiety therapies for COVID-19 responders.



Janine Villez

+ Janine Villez has been hired as the director of pupil personnel services for the Garden City Union Free School District. She previously served as director of elementary and preschool special education for the Longwood Central School District.

+ Paul Deonarine has been hired as a partner in the Accounting Services Practice at Jericho-based Grassi & Co. He previously served as managing partner at PD CPA in Manhattan.

+ Bruce Mawhirter has been hired as a senior project manager and civil engineer at New Hyde Park-based M&J Engineering. He previously served as vice president of civil engineering at Syosset-based Gedeon GRC Consulting.

+ Kenar Jhaveri has been appointed editor-in-chief of Washington-based ASN Kidney News. He serves as professor of medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and associate chief of the Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension at Northwell Health.

+ Parag Mehta has been elected vice president of the Westbury-based Medical Society of the State of New York. He serves as senior vice chairman of the department of medicine and the chief medical information officer at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

+ Joshua Potter has been hired as an attending physician/family medicine at Meeting House Lane Medical Practice on Shelter Island. He previously served as a resident physician in integrated family medicine and neuromusculoskeletal medicine resident at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.



For rent: Eastern ambitions.

More than PPE: Employers must comprehend the psychology of safety.

More than webinars: Entrepreneurs must embrace the evolution of networking.

More than pricy: Renters must dig deep this hot Hamptons summer.

More than enough: Please continue supporting the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, including Farrell Fritz, where 90-plus attorneys across 20 practice groups and industries cover all the corporate “musts.”