No. 521: London Jewelers rising up, rising up – so are fascism, Mars probes and consumer confidence

Pure joy: Purebreds take a back seat on National Mutt Day, a celebration of furry cross-breeds that reminds us how beautiful blending can be.


The end is nigh: You’ve made it, dear reader – the terminus of both the wicked-warm workweek and the molasses-slow month. Good job, enjoy your weekend.

When flags collide: The multinational, independent Hawaiian State Flag.

Flags of our makua: It’s July 31 out there, which is of course Ka Hae Hawai’i Day – a.k.a. Hawaiian Flag Day, recognizing Hawaiian sovereignty (as declared by the British on July 31, 1843).

Today also delivers a feast for the hungry: July 31 brings us, in no particular order, National Avocado Day, Shredded Wheat Day, National Raspberry Cake Day, National Cotton Candy Day (also celebrated Dec. 7) and National Jump For Jelly Beans Day.

A real mixer: And it’s National Mutt Day, saluting mixed-breed pups across the land.

Cleaning up: Inventor Samuel Hopkins earned the very first numbered U.S. patent – covering his process for making potash, a key ingredient in soap and fertilizer – on July 31, 1790.

Front line: The world’s first narrow-gauge mainline railway opened on this date in 1865, connecting Grandchester and Ipswich in Queensland, Australia.

For those keeping score, a narrow-gauge railway features a track gauge narrower than the standard 1,435 mm, falling somewhere between 600 and 1,067 mm.

Make Germany great again: Hitler’s base supports the Nazi Party outside a German polling hall on July 31, 1932.

Misled: Hitler wouldn’t become chancellor for several more months, but the Nazi Party swept into power with nearly 40 percent of the popular vote in German national elections held July 31, 1932.

Historians blame frustrated patriots deceived by jingoism, racism and xenophobic political rallies.

Danger Ranger: American space probe Ranger 7 crashed into the Moon (on purpose) on this date in 1964, after sending down 4,300-plus detailed images of the lunar surface, critical to future landings.

And seven years later – on July 31, 1971 – Apollo 15 astronaut Dave Scott put some of that topographic knowledge to good use, tooling around the Apennine Range in mankind’s first lunar rover excursion.

Neat trick: According to Harper’s Bazaar, J.K. Rowling is the world’s highest-paid author.

Material gains: American chemist Stephanie Kwolek (1923-2014) – a DuPont standout who created the first exceptionally strong synthetic fibers, including the super-material Kevlar – would be 97 years old today.  

Also born on July 31 were Swedish-American naval engineer John Ericsson (1803-1889), who invented the screw propeller; British geologist and seismologist Richard Oldham (1858-1936), who was brilliant to the core; American economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006), a 1976 Nobel Prize winner; and billionaire British author J.K. Rowling (born 1965).

Sherry on top: And take a bow, Sherry Lee (Duhl) Lansing! Once listed among America’s most powerful women, the former actress, first woman to head a major Hollywood studio (she ran two) and first female movie-studio boss with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame turns 76 today.

Wish the trailblazing producer, the spellbinding author and all the other July 31 innovators well at, where story tips and calendar events always elevate our spirits. Wingardium leviosa!


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Nice setting: Upscale Manhasset retailer London Jewelers is relocated its corporate headquarters to Glen Head.

Diamonds, in the rough going: With a nod to the Nassau County Industrial Development Agency, a local jeweler with a nearly 100-year local legacy – and a consolidation plan that will actually grow its employment rolls – may just outshine the pandemic.

The novel coronavirus has ravaged local businesses both big and small, with virtually no industry spared, not even fine jewelry. With that in mind, the IDA has issued preliminary approval of a tax-abatement incentives package that will help LJ Services (dba London Jewelers) centralize its human resources, accounting, marketing and IT functions in one Glen Head location – a $2.5 million project that will not only help the company remain competitive (and retain 45 jobs), but according to the IDA will actually create eight new full-time positions over the next two years.

The incentives, centered on the acquisition and renovation of a 14,015-square-foot building on Glen Cove Drive, still require a full IDA review and approvals, but the circa-1926 Glen Cove staple is already looking forward to a bright future right here on Long Island. “For 94 years, we have provided best-in-class luxury products to Long Island and New York City residents,” noted LJ Services CEO Mark Udell. “Our plans for a new office will help us improve the quality of our services and keep our company local.”

Mental faculty: After plowing through the most difficult academic year in recent memory, Stony Brook University has piled up the SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence, with 27 esteemed faculty members earning praise from the office of outgoing SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson for their 2019-2020 efforts.

The awards, presented annually in seven categories, acknowledge the dedication and accomplishments of instructional faculty, librarians and professional staffers across the statewide SUNY system. Stony Brook professionals captured nine awards in the Excellence in Professional Service category; five each in Excellence in Faculty Service and Excellence in Teaching; three in Excellence in Classified Service; two each in Excellence in Adjunct Teaching and Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities; and one in the Excellence in Librarianship category.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael Bernstein, who led the Stony Brook faculty through the 2019-2020 academic year (and the teeth of the COVID-19 pandemic) as SBU’s interim president, trumpeted “the tremendous contributions of these 27 staff and faculty members,” calling them “a testament to the excellence of our Stony Brook community.”



Life on Mars: It’s a big question, and with help from Long Island-based Red Planet explorer Joel Hurowitz, NASA’s Perseverance rover will seek big answers.

Good Reed: With consumer confidence down, Destination Long Island has hired a medical doctor (and native Islander) as its first “health & wellness ambassador.”

Innovation in the Age of Coronavirus: Tourists are avoiding New York, but golfers aren’t – these and other non-sequiturs in our one-and-only, Long Island-flavored pandemic primer.



Born and raised in Nassau County, Spectronics Corp. is staying home (kind of).



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

From Tennessee: Memphis-based grassroots group Good Choice Education Center introduces an online library designed to help parents help kids make better decisions.

From Nevada: Las Vegas-based data-exchanger Terbine offers subscribers a wealth of global IoT data, covering energy, weather, transportation and more.

From California: Sunnyvale-based WonderSpray kickstarts fundraising for a portable, rechargeable “butt shower” – sort of a bidet in a can.



Kimberly Hawkins

+ Kimberly Hawkins has been elected president of the Huntington Public Library Board of Trustees. She is chairwoman and CEO of Huntington Station-based Tech Odet.

+ Michele Reed will serve as the new health and wellness ambassador for Hauppauge-based Discover Long Island. She is the owner/medical director of Rosedale-based MS Family Medicine Health Care P.C.

+ Matthew Pomara has been hired as chief information officer at Long Island City-based ICAS. He previously served as a regional vice president at Hauppauge-based Core BTS.

+ Joseph Krol has been promoted to assistant controller and energy settlements manager at Caithness Energy in Manhattan. He previously served as accounting manager.

+ Todd Silverstein has been promoted to chief operating officer at Ben’s Kosher Deli Restaurant & Catering in New York and Florida. He previously served as vice president.

+ Katelyn Kaim has been hired as an environmental planner at Bohemia-based P.W. Grosser Consulting. She previously held the same position at Hauppauge-based VHB Engineering, Surveying, Landscape Architecture and Geology.

+ Mike Brignoni has been hired as a staff engineer at Bohemia-based P.W. Grosser Consulting. He previously interned at the firm.

+ Jeffrey Kimmel has been elected chairman of the Nassau Suffolk Law Services Advisory Council. He is managing partner at Woodbury-based Salenger, Slack, Kimmel and Bavaro.

+ Gina Pirozzi has been elected vice chairwoman of the Nassau Suffolk Law Services Advisory Council. She is the founder of Smithtown-based G. Pirozzi Consulting.



On your Mark: Investing, Cuban-style.

Big ideas: Smart (and down-to-earth) investment advice from Mark Cuban.

Enormous challenges: Building an inclusive culture, in 2020 and beyond.

Macro chips: For some reason, Tesla has re-engineered the chocolate chip.

Huge advantage: The Town of Islip Office of Economic Development, one of the amazing institutions that support Innovate LI, gives its expansion-minded clients a leg up. Check them out.