No. 520: On endless summers, lasagna and NASA’s origin story – plus, Spectronics stays home

Triomphe-ant: After three decades of planning and construction, Paris' glorious Arc de Triomphe officially opened 184 years ago today.


Dog days: The Spring That Time Forgot has been followed by the July That Wouldn’t End – but we press on, dear readers, through pandemics and heat waves and whatever else they throw at us.

No cheese left behind: Not on National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day.

Yes, it’s still July out there – July 29, to be precise – and if things haven’t been wacky enough, try this: Today is National Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day. which is absolutely real and aims to both kill rodents and score you some great deals on cheese.

Now you’re cooking: Once you score your cut-rate formaggio, put it to good use – July 29 is also National Lasagna Day.

Not to mention National Chicken Wing Day. We’ll get the Tums.

Story Arc: You know who liked chicken wings? Napoleon Bonaparte.

Actually, we don’t know that. But the infamous dictator did commission Paris’ grand Arc de Triomphe, which French King Louis-Philippe officially inaugurated on July 29, 1836.

All aboard: Connecticut’s Valley Railroad steams ahead.

Smoothing things out: Asphalt pavement dates back thousands of years, but America’s first asphalt pavement was laid down in front of City Hall in Newark, NJ, on this date in 1870.

Speaking of transit innovations, the Connecticut Valley Railroad – still operating, now as a historical “heritage railroad” – first connected Hartford and Old Saybrook on July 29, 1871.

Oh, Boy: Scouting became a thing 113 years ago today, when Oxford professor Sir Robert Baden-Powell opened the Brownsea Island Scout camp at Poole Harbour on England’s southern coast – unofficially, the founding of the Boy Scouts.

Long distance rates may apply: Alexander Graham Bell (in New York City) dialed up buddy Thomas Watson (in San Francisco) on this date in 1914, marking the world’s first transcontinental phone call.

Boldly going: And it was July 29, 1958, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which would ultimately create NASA.

Inked the deal: Innovative Italian empresario Marcel Bich (1914-1994) – who bought the patent for the ballpoint pen for a cool $2 million and wrote his name into disposable-products history – would be 106 years old today.

Paul Taylor: A giant of modern dance.

Also born on July 29 were overlooked American inventor Walter Hunt (1796-1859), who came up with the repeating rifle, the fire engine gong, the safety pin and lots more; American biologist Charles Beebe (1877-1962), a top natural-history explorer and writer of his day; longtime Hollywood leading man William “The Thin Man” Powell (1892-1984); English physicist Henry Albert Howard “Harry” Boot (1917-1983), who developed (with John Randall) the cavity magnetron, which facilitated radar and won World War II; and influential American dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor (1930-2018).

The Dole nine yards: And take a bow, Mary Elizabeth “Liddy” Alexander Hanford Dole – the author, one-term U.S. senator and wife of former Kansas senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole, who also served in the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, turns 84 today.

Wish the accomplished public servant, the prince of cheap pens and all the other July 29 innovators well at Story tips, calendar events and general socioeconomic howdy-do’s always welcome.


About our sponsor: The Law Offices of Andrew Presberg is Long Island’s premier “IDA attorney” for businesses relocating, expanding and growing on Long Island. Founded in 1984, the practice also focuses on the purchase, sale, leasing and financing of commercial and industrial property, SBA loan transactions, construction, commercial banking and real estate litigation.



Media rare: Devin Kulka, talk-show host.

The Incredible Kulka: A Hauppauge-based builder has launched a new media platform designed to connect regional thought leaders on key economic-development issues.

Kulka Interactive is the brainchild of The Kulka Group, a circa-1974 commercial and residential developer with deep ties across Long Island’s construction trades. Those five decades of regional influence are evidenced by Kulka Interactive’s team of founding contributors, which combines familiar names (and well-known regional enterprises) musing on the best strategies to obtain a clerk’s judgement (as per Brown & Altman partner Keith Brown), advances in single-family residential development (a Q&A with Realty Connect USA licensed broker Paul Musso), breakthroughs in carbon-friendly concretes (as observed by ace architect Ray Caliendo) and other business-development topics, with a heavy nod toward construction.

Other names you know – Dean DeCarlo, Rich Humann, Sara Lipsky, Paul Tonna and more – have already chipped into the fledgling media platform, which includes a video-interview segment featuring Kulka Group CEO Devin Kulka. “We have invested heavily in the concept of being a construction and real estate development company driven by the powers of technology,” the CEO noted. “We want to use the platform to connect the many stakeholders we deal with [and] the local business community.”

Daikin the grade: An international Fortune 1,000 HVAC manufacturer with a new Long Island showroom has introduced itself to its Lynbrook neighbors with scholarships for three exceptional Nassau County high schoolers, complete with virtual awards ceremony.

Daikin North America LLC – which recently opened the Daikin Comfort Design Center on Sunrise Highway, and is itself a subsidiary of Japan-based Daikin Industries – presented its inaugural Daikin Science Scholarship Awards July 22 to three Class of 2020 members who demonstrated academic excellence in the sciences or mathematics and plan to follow up in college. The awards (including $2,000 scholarships and “ongoing mentoring from Daikin’s team of experienced innovators and engineers”) were presented to Sara Bahri of Lynbrook High School, Stephen Debany of Garden City High School and Matthew Furst of Oceanside High School.

“Daikin places paramount importance on education, and we feel it is our duty to provide support and encouragement to those students who are passionate about the sciences,” noted Daikin North America VP John Fraser-Mifsud. “We are delighted to present this scholarship to Stephen, Sara and Matthew. We have every expectation that they will continue their success at the college level.”



Island anchor: Uber ultraviolet guru Spectronics Corp. follows up its big sale with a tax-friendly Suffolk shift.

Just click it: Please share this informative and enlightening newsletter with your innovation team – and suggest they get their own, since they’re free and you’re not, like, the help.

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: When is a strip club too topless? Find out in your one-and-only pandemic primer, where it’s always COVID-19, Island-style.



Behold, the executive order – always fast, often furious and changing your life at the speed of a signature, every day! Voices legal eagle Michael Sahn shares everything you need to know about life and business in an emergency-order era (which may last a while).



 In a world: …where digital payments are everything, two titans unite to power the next level of digital commerce. Motley Fool’s blockbuster preview.

Parental guidance suggested: Is the pandemic the right time to put parents in charge of national education? Forbes issues a rating.

To be continued: Could today’s pandemic-related unemployment spike catalyze tomorrow’s entrepreneurship surge? Inc. screens it.



+ Transformative, a New York City-based healthcare startup with a software package designed to predict cardiac arrests, raised $1.7 million in seed funding led by Tera Ventures, with participation from the Wellcome Trust and InHealth Ventures.

+ Claim Genius, a New Jersey-based AI company focused on vehicle-damage assessment solutions, closed a $5.5 million Series A funding round backed by Financial Link and SIRI Info Solutions, among others.

+ Propeller, a Colorado-based 3D-mapping and worksite analytics company, raised $18 million in Series B funding. The round was co-led by Blackbird and Costanoa Ventures.

+ Tasso Inc., a Washington State-based, clinical-grade, at-home self-sampling blood-collection company, closed a $17 million Series A financing round led by Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures, Foresite Capital, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Vertical Venture Partners, Techstars and Cedars-Sinai.

+ SmartHo​p, a Florida-based, high-tech dispatch solution for small trucking companies, closed a $4.5 million seed funding round led by Equal Ventures, with participation from Greycroft and Las Olas VC.

+ Elevation Oncology, a NYC-based clinical-stage biopharma focused on genomically defined cancers, raised $32.5 million in Series A financing led by Aisling Capital, Vertex Ventures HC, Qiming Venture Partners USA, Driehaus Capital Management and BVF Partners.


BELOW THE FOLD (Hard-Hitting Edition)

Strong focus: Think about it.

Hitting the gym: They’re open (in Colorado, with masks, and England, with caution).

Hitting the sofa: Why hedonism will make you happy.

Hitting a higher plane of consciousness: Meditative exercises that actually build mind muscle.

Hitting the marks: Please continue supporting the amazing firms that support Innovate LI, including the Law Offices of Andrew Presberg, always on-target when it comes to Long Island businesses in growth mode.