No. 518: In which pipers pipe, pilots soar and Lazarus rises – and an LI biotech cures COVID (maybe)

Holiday from hell: He cleared out the rodents, all right -- then came back for the children. And now we celebrate the Pied Piper of Hamelin with National Rat Catcher's Day, all of which is very confusing.


Onward and upward: Welcome to Wednesday, dear readers, as the national pandemic, the coast-to-coast heat wave and our universal drive toward socioeconomic greatness all press on, undaunted.

DeFina point: It’s July 22 out there, and before we dive in, a nod to reader Michael DeFina, who wrote to let us know our recent rundown of new outdoor gaming investments at Jones Beach confused the history of the state park’s Boardwalk Café with that of the Gatsby on the Ocean catering hall.

They are actually “two completely separate places,” the eagle-eyed reader notes, and right he is – nice catch, Michael!

Top that: You really can’t go wrong on National Hot Dog Day.

Put that in your piper: Today is National Rat Catcher’s Day, which doesn’t salute modern exterminators so much as the legendary Pied Piper of Hamelin, who actually has a pretty dark backstory.

On lighter notes, July 22 is also National Hot Dog Day and National Hammock Day, so have a wiener and relax.

Feeling hot, hot, hot: Yeah, it’s muggy out there – but not like it was in upstate Troy on this date in 1926, when New York’s record-high temperature of 109 degrees Fahrenheit was set.

Capital idea: Albany entered the picture 352 years ago today.

The 518: Troy, of course, is a mere stone’s throw from our state capital of Albany, which was chartered on this date in 1668.

Happy anniversary also to the City of Cleveland, which is not Ohio’s capital but was founded on this date in 1796 by surveyor Moses Cleveland.

Sprinkle, sprinkle: The “Self-Propelled Sprinkling Irrigating Apparatus” – those ginormous water-piston-powered artificial rainmakers rolled into the middle of farm fields – was patented on July 22, 1952, by Colorado innovator Frank Zybach.

Also patented on this date (in 1919) was a “Synchronizing Clock System” by inventor James Bryce, through which a “master clock” could control “slave clocks.”

Post mark: After seven days and 18 hours (at the time, the fastest-ever global circumnavigation), American aviator Wiley Post completed the first round-the-world solo flight on July 22, 1933.

And also touching down on this date (in 1989) was then-fourth-grader Tony Aliengena, who returned to John Wayne Airport in California almost seven weeks after taking off in a Cessna 210 Centurion, thereby becoming the youngest pilot to fly around the world.

Rising: Emma Lazarus, poet and Jewish activist.

Dreamer: American poet Emma Lazarus (1849-1887) – whose sonnet “The New Colossus” was inscribed on a bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal in 1903, when “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” were still openly welcomed – would be 171 years old today.

Also born on July 22 were German astronomer Friedrich Bessel (1784-1846), who mapped 50,000 stars with unprecedented precision; American engineer and politician James Geddes (1763-1838), chief designer (and main proponent) of the Erie Canal; American physician Karl Augustus Menninger (1893-1990), a pioneer of modern psychiatry; and, bless him, game show host Alex Trebek (born 1940), still holding his own against Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

They grow up so fast: And take a bow, Selena Marie Gomez! The Texas-born singer, songwriter, actress and producer – who debuted on “Barney & Friends,” cut her teeth on the Disney Channel and has long-since outgrown all that – turns 28 today.

Wish Justin Bieber’s ex, the “Jeopardy!” host and all the other July 22 innovators well at These are welcomed also: What are story tips and calendar events?


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Well-earned: Barbara Osborn led Northwell Health through the COVID-19 media blitz.

Farewell to a friend: With an old ally of (and key contributor to) Innovate LI hanging up his mighty pen, Northwell Health’s COVID-19 media point-person is assuming command of all public relations functions for the state’s largest healthcare provider.

Since January, Rockville Centre resident Barbara Osborn has been at the forefront of the pandemic as the main link between state and national media and Northwell Health’s virtual army of healthcare experts. Now promoted to vice president of public relations, Osborn – who logged 18 years in the Lenox Hill Hospital media shop, where she rose to assistant vice president of regional public relations for Northwell’s Western Region – will oversee all media relations, thought leadership and strategic communications for the 23-hospital system, the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research and other Northwell Health facilities.

She succeeds outgoing Senior Vice President (and trusted Innovate LI Voices columnist) Terry Lynam, who retired this month. “Barbara Osborn’s deep knowledge of the health system and media landscape made her an ideal fit to take on this leadership role at a challenging moment in our history,” Northwell President and CEO Michael Dowling said Tuesday. “Her ability to clearly and transparently communicate with the public … has never been more vital than during this pandemic.”

On the roads, again: When regional lockdowns were finally lifted, smoother sailing (at least, smoother motoring) awaited many of the 55,000 workers who commute daily to Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, thanks to a $600,000 roadway enhancement project completed by the Town of Smithtown.

It wasn’t the region’s biggest or costliest infrastructure project, but the effort was critical to the Long Island economy – and especially to the 1,350 businesses and organizations operating inside the industrial park, which ranks among the largest in the nation. The $600,000 covered the widening of two main arteries leading to the park (New Highway and Adams Avenue), along with the installation of modern traffic signals, new streetlights, new signage and sidewalk replacements, all “much-needed” upgrades in “a heavily traveled area,” according to Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island President and CEO Terri Alessi-Micelli.

“These improvements now offer safer roads for bicyclists, runners and pedestrians, in addition to motor vehicle traffic,” Alessi-Micelli said in a statement. “Thank you to the Town of Smithtown for understanding how important sustainability is to … the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge.”



The Roman candidate: COVID-19 vaccine candidates created in Italy and manufactured on Long Island are showing serious promise.

Mach to the future: Realizing the “new normal” would require speedy innovation, one Bridgehampton startup got a running start.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Heroic nurses, new “travel advisories” and some seriously “stupid” behavior – all that and more in Long Island’s one-and-only pandemic primer.



In his final Voices column, healthcare expert (and recently retired Northwell Health VP) Terry Lynam offers direct answers to employers with real workplace-safety questions. (We’ll miss you, Terry!)



Best of the best: Visual Capitalist ranks the 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2020.

Worst of the worst: Time examines how the United States and the U.K., the nations ranked first and second in pandemic preparedness in 2019, failed so miserably.

On the move: Smart Cities Dive explains how mobile technologies will drive personal safety and business efficiency in the post-pandemic world.



+ Second Front Systems, a California-based software company focused on the aerospace and defense industries, raised $6 million in seed funding led by ARTIS Ventures, with participation from Kleiner Perkins, 8VC, Gula Tech Adventures and Abstract Ventures.

+ Mori, a Massachusetts-based food-tech company focused on creating sustainable supply chains, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Acre Venture Partners, Prelude Ventures, The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, ACCELR8, The Engine, Refactor Capital, Closed Loop Partners, Blindspot Ventures and The Fink Family Foundation.

+ SAB Biotherapeutics, a South Dakota-based clinical-stage biopharma focused on plasma-free polyclonal antibodies, closed a $14 million Series B funding round led by Merck, South Dakota Equity Partners and several private investors.

+ BlueVoyant, a New York City-based cybersecurity services company, closed a $68 million funding round led by Temasek, with participation from new and existing investors.

+ Joshin, a Minneapolis-based tech firm dedicated to special needs and disability care, closed a $1.55 million funding round led by Anthemis, with participation from M25 and Sure Ventures.

+ Pattern Bioscience, a Texas-based in vitro diagnostics company, raised $9 million in Series B-1 funding led by Illumina Ventures, with participation from Omnimed Capital.



You got it: And it’s pretty good.

When innovation stalls: With the influx of overseas brainpower shrinking, America’s innovation engine is sputtering.

When production slows: The 25 best productivity apps, for the pandemic and always.

When the clock punches you: A 40-hour workweek is actually not that bad.

When you need them: The professionals at Nixon Peabody, one of the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, will be waiting – including the Coronavirus Response Team, ready to help you and your business weather the COVID-19 storm.