No. 510: Kevin Dahill, Newt Gingrich and M.C. Escher walk into a newsletter … plus, strudel for all 

Seeing things differently: From the twisted, twisty mind of Dutch illusionist M.C. Escher, who was born 122 years ago today.


We’ve been sprung: Welcome, intrepid readers, to the last Wednesday of the Spring That Time Forgot, with Long Island’s reopening proceeding on schedule – just a week, give or take, until Phase 3 – and Summer 2020 rising Saturday.

That makes it June 17 out there, known best as the U.N.’s World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, except in Iceland, where desertification is trumped by Icelandic National Day.

The stru, the proud: Apple of our eye.

Balanced approach: Here in the States, please enjoy National Eat Your Vegetables Day, followed promptly by National Apple Strudel Day observances.

The killing fields: Combining guerilla tactics and the relatively fresh concept of industrialization, New York inventors W.H. Fancher and C.M. French patented their “Improvement in Combined Plow and Gun” on this date in 1862.

The farming tool/deadly weapon, created at the height of the U.S. Civil War, replaced typical wooden frames with metal shields and “enable(d) those in agricultural pursuits to have at hand an efficient weapon of defense at a very slight expense,” according to the patent application.

Harboring no grudges: On a more peaceful note, the Statue of Liberty – a gift of friendship from France – arrived in New York (in several pieces) on June 17, 1885.

Frequency flier: Edwin “FM” Armstrong.

No static at all: Inventor Edwin Armstrong made the first public demonstration of FM radio – before a Federal Communications Commission subcommittee investigating the future of radio and television – on this date in 1936.

Etched in stone: Chicago surgeon Richard Lawler performed the world’s first human kidney transplant on this date in 1950.

The patient, a 49-year-old woman, had lost function in both kidneys. The transplanted organ only functioned for 60 days and was ultimately rejected by her body, but first it kickstarted functions in the patient’s remaining kidney – helping her live an additional five years.

Closing the book: And it was June 17, 1963, when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down an historic 8-1 ruling in School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, officially mandating that requiring school prayer by state or local ordinance is unconstitutional.

Take notes: Irish-American stenographer John Robert Gregg (1867-1948) – a speed-writing enthusiast who invented a shorthand alphabet and the Gregg Shorthand system – would be 153 years old today.

All the Newt that fits: Gingrich, conservative anchor.

Also born on June 17 were Irish astronomer William Parsons (1800-1867), who built the largest reflecting telescope of the 19th century; Minneapolis miller George Cormack (1870-1953), who co-invented Wheaties; artful Dutch illusionist M.C. Escher (1898-1972); American baker Ruth Wakefield (1903-1977), recorded as the accidental inventor of the chocolate-chip cookie; and innovative American behaviorist William Estes (1919-2011), who bridged mathematics and psychology.

Newt cause: And take a bow, Newton Leroy McPherson – the former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who took his adopted father’s name (Gingrich) and is widely credited with devolving American politics into a self-destructive bloodsport, turns 77 today.

Wish these and all June 17 innovators well at Story tips, calendar items, psychological assessments of political extremists and cookie recipes also appreciated.


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 breakthroughs at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research 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



Kevin Dahill: Victory lap.

A legend retires: A veteran of regional healthcare policymaking is hanging them up.

The boards of the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council, which represents Long Island hospitals, and the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association, which represents Hudson Valley hospitals, have announced the retirement of longtime CEO and President Kevin Dahill. Dahill – known throughout the state for expertise in finance, managed care, workforce, quality improvement and other healthcare issues – informed the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State, the bi-regional association that lobbies for both the NSHC and the NMHA, in January of his intentions to retire effective Dec. 31.

The search for a successor is on, but replacing Dahill won’t be easy, according to Healthcare Association of New York State President Bea Grause. “Kevin is a visionary and unparalleled leader in the healthcare sector,” Grause said this week. “His historical knowledge of New York’s healthcare delivery and reimbursement system has truly benefited every hospital system and hospital association he has served. He will be greatly missed.

STEM gems: Some of Long Island’s brightest future scientists are basking in the glow of the 2020 Neurological Health Science Competition, an online brain-a-thon sponsored by a local neurosurgery practice and self-billed as “the nation’s only STEM/health science contest.”

That’s debatable, but there’s no disputing the impressive nature of the work by 254 teams from 37 Nassau and Suffolk county high schools, submitted to the annual innovative competition sponsored by Neurological Surgery P.C. of Port Jefferson Station. Those myriad entries, exploring pediatric ADHD behaviors and the role of pesticides in Alzheimer’s disease and a hundred other timely and advanced topics, were whittled down to first-, second- and third-place winners in five categories, with corresponding cash prizes of $5,500, $4,000 and $3,000.

First-place prizes went to Anushka Gupta of Great Neck North High School (Behavioral Sciences), Lianna Friedman of Roslyn High School (Biology-Medicine/Health), Tiffany Guo of Port Washington’s Paul D. Schreiber High School (Biology-Microbiology/Genetics), Chelsea Pan of East Setauket’s Ward Melville High School (Health Related Biochemistry/Biophysics) and Suchir Misra of Jericho Senior High School (Bioengineering and Computational Biology). A complete list of winners awaits here.



Honest answer: Hamptons heat-and-eat startup Honest Plate has recruited a famous TV chef to its sustainable, healthy-eating cause.

Super soakers: Future hurricanes hitting the Eastern Seaboard will deliver unprecedented and catastrophic rainfall, warns Stony Brook’s SoMAS.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: From bat signals to bona fide miracles, there’s only one Long Island-centric pandemic primer. Catch up here.



Land-use regulations must factor into our regional and national recovery efforts, urges ace attorney Michael Sahn, who sees sustainability and smarter natural-resources management as key to pandemic-proofing.



Dirty business: From Forbes, solid advice for fussy innovators – forget order and embrace the mess.

Slow learners: From The Hill, the national numbers are soaring – but the White House still says fewer tests would mean fewer COVID-19 cases.

Nassau Memorial, in memoriam: From Bloomberg, the bottom line on the shuttering of a Long Island legend.



+ RapidSOS, a New York City-based tech firm linking life-saving data from more than 350 million connected devices to 9-1-1 services and other first responders, raised $21 million in funding led by Transformation Capital, with participation from C5 Capital, Laerdal Million Lives Fund and existing investors.

+ TeleVet, a Texas-based software company creating mobile telemedicine apps for the veterinary industry, closed a $5 million Series A funding round led by Mercury Fund, with participation from Dundee Venture Capital, Atento Capital, GAN and Urban Capital Network.

+ Trade Hounds, a Massachusetts-based professional networking community built exclusively for the construction industry, closed a $3.2 million seed round led by seed-stage VC firms Corigin Ventures and Brick and Mortar Ventures, with participation from Suffolk Construction and CCS Construction Staffing.

+ Glyscend Therapeutics, a Maryland-based biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for Type 2 diabetes and related metabolic conditions, closed a $20.5 million Series A financing round led by Brandon Capital Partners and Santé Ventures.

+ WiBotic, a Washington State-based tech firm creating advanced wireless charging and power-optimization solutions for aerial, mobile and marine robots, secured $5.7 million in Series A funding. Investors included Junson Capital, SV Tech Ventures, Rolling Bay Ventures, Aves Capital, The W Fund and WRF Capital, among others.

+ ClassTag, a NYC-based provider of parent-teacher communication tools, raised $5 million in seed financing. Backers included AlleyCorp, Contour Ventures, Founder Collective, John Martinson, Newark Venture Partners, Smart Hub and TMT Investments.


The grill of victory: Get ’em while they’re hot.


A dozen do’s: Twelve summer staples that are going fast.

A dozen don’ts: Twelve frustrations that aren’t worth your time.

A dozen (plus three) effective leadership traits: Fifteen things smart leaders do consistently.

Any number of reasons: Please continue supporting the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, including Northwell Health, a true workhorse of the COVID-19 pandemic and home of the extremely useful Coronavirus Digital Resource Center.