Congrats Grads. Thank you Teachers.

Photo of graduate by Terrence Thomas on Unsplash.

We see Harborfields High School putting photos of its entire graduating class along Pulaski Road, We’ve appreciated the William Floyd School District honoring its grads on Facebook. We are grateful Syosset High School will spend two full days to safely offering a graduation ceremony.

We know this is just a little bit of the effort being made to make up for so many who are missing out on all the fun of being a senior; who have instead had to navigate the second most exceptionally challenging roll out of an education transformation in their lifetimes; and who are now facing extraordinary uncertainty regarding how their next chapter will play out.

We want to hug them all.

We are also thinking of the teachers who have done so much to make that education transition happen. This is not how they wanted their creativity finally unleashed again! We think of too many tears shed, while missing out on getting to get misty eyed over the kids they’ve shepherded to this moment. We are thinking of a beloved teacher retiring this year who, instead of getting to celebrate it, got to wave to a few of her students and parents as she helped out at a no-touch pick up of locker contents.

EdSurge offers What Teachers Wish The Public Knew About Their Jobs During COVID-19

From Long Island Weekly: Above and Beyond: Long Island Teachers Step Up During Coronavirus

Newsday reports of how Long Island Celebrates Class of 2020 with Lawn Signs, Parades, Senior ‘Adoptions’ and More.

News 12 LI Covers Schools Lighting Up to Honor the Class of 2020

Insider’s got 20 Facts about the Class of 2020 That will Blow Your Mind

E-News offers Every Celebrity Celebrating the Class of 2020

John Krasinski’s Some Good News hosted these amazing quarantine commencement conversations.

Here is Business Insiders list of The Best Commencement Speeches of All Time.

The Muse offers Five Commencement Speeches to Inspire You

To those Graduating: All our best for whatever comes next. We wish you all the greatest of success.

Firefly Lights June 2020

Our community-oriented gallery created by local artists continues to be a light in our lives. Our main Firefly Artists gallery at 162 Main St, Northport is open Tuesday through Thursday 11am-6pm (closed for Thanksgiving), Fri and Sat 11am-8pm and Sunday 11-5pm. Send Katie an email if you’d like to meet up down there!

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Fair Media Council Offers Guidance, Asks How Else it Can Help

Fair Media Council Logo

We are grateful for all who are dedicated to advancing the integrity of journalism, and helping us all be smarter, wiser consumers. Our sponsors at the Fair Media Council specialize in this.

Here is some good advice they offered on navigating the news today.

We also appreciate these archives of “The Latest” Jaci Clement’s commentary on media and culture.

If you have a few minutes, they’d love to hear from you. Here’s a quick, painless, seven-question survey to find out how FMC can help you and your organization be as successful as possible in the new normal.

BTW…Check on your local paper, will you? They need us and we need them. If you have the means, now is the time to advertise…not only are times like these hailed as the best time to reach out to the masses, these folks could REALLY use our ad dollars.

Our thoughts on that were fueled by this article by Steven Waldman and Charles Sennott in The Atlantic (which has taken its own big hits lately) “The Coronavirus is Killing Local News”, and Mark Bowden’s piece in the same publication “Small Towns Won’t Know They’re Infected Until Too Late”

Having experienced news deserts first hand, we have long been grateful for LI’s wealth of local media (and the local nature of some of the world’s most esteemed publications). They’re not immune to this either, though. Please support them. It’s important.

Speaking of Appreciation for Art and Great Teachers…

Dudley Music at Coltrane Day 2019. Photo by Katheryn Laible

Part of that article with Roger Tilles talks about the power of dedicated teachers. This reminded us of a discussion we had with two incredible local artists, Diego Garcia and Dudley Salmon, who are among those featured in the Huntington Arts Council ” DEC the Walls Exhibition”

Check it out. It’s amazing.

We met Dudley through the local endeavor to advance the legacy of John & Alice Coltrane, and then he and Diego together when he was performing at another volunteer’s gallery opening. It was a deep and meaningful conversation. We will be following up!

One interesting note: While the musician is deeply grateful for his art teachers, the inspiration Dudley really wanted to talk about was his biology teacher…

The Adventures of Craig & Trudy Chapter 3: Lesson in Community Trusteeship, The Huntington Township Chamber Foundation

Libby Hubbard and Arthur Goldstein, two extraordinary community trustees of the Town of Huntington. Photo by Katheryn Laible

The Early History of the Huntington Township Chamber Foundation

Leadership Huntington was founded by members of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce. Longtime Board Member. Ken Christensen attributes the very beginning of any mention of a leadership program to Dick Bornstein a fellow chamber board member. Dick traveled to a national chamber training program every year. He brought home news of a leadership program he thought they should consider. No one took up the idea until sometime later, although The Chamber did run a one-time program called “Practical Politics.”

At that time, The Chamber’s board included a number of members who were passionate about serving the community. One big idea they had was to start a childcare center. In order to do this and other things, they needed a mechanism by which they could accept donations, essentially a 501(c)3. So, the Chamber created “The Chamber Foundation.” It was chaired by Libby Hubbard, assisted by Ken Christensen, Jill Tane and others. While Libby was forming the foundation, Dick Bornstein suggested applying for a state grant to help get the childcare center started. The grant application needed a total list of everything a child care center would need to start operation and a budget.. Libby contacted Katie Roach, a local child care center owner, who was able to give them all the details for the grant in very short order. That contributed to the success of the grant.

With receipt of the grant the Foundation hired an Executive Director, Dianne Parker, to put together this child care center, as well as a health care facility for the community and other work. At that time Arthur Goldstein, a local attorney was the Chamber Board President. For the Health care facility Arthur and Dianne were looking at a warehouse on Pulaski Road used by Huntington Hospital for storage. Long story short, Arthur negotiated a variance for a bathroom which helped make the space suitable.  He was so successful in selling the idea that, next thing you know, they were ordering an MRI machine. He also found a state grant and county money to move this along, and convinced two people from Huntington Hospital to be on the new health care facility’s Board of Directors. This is how what is now known as the “Northwell Health Dolan Family Health Center” came to be. 

To say Arthur was a catalyst for good is an understatement. I wish I had more interaction with him. What a wonderful human.

To say Arthur was a catalyst for good is an understatement. I wish I had more interaction with him. What a wonderful human.

The Power of Community Trustees

This group of people, some whose names I have mentioned, some I haven’t and never met, had a vision for their community. These people were and are Servant Leaders, or Community Trustees.
By that I mean they took seriously the notion that community leadership is:

  • Fundamentally an act of service to the common good
  • About first endeavoring in cooperation with others to understand the big picture, the components and how they work together
  • About then empowering those served to envision their preferred future, and to realize their own unique roles in achieving it.

This approach reflects a life-transforming attitude for both the individuals and communities that embrace it. With the advent of the over 1000 Community Leadership programs it has inspired, it has strengthened and transformed communities nationwide by encouraging lifelong learning across interests and perspectives, and by actively strengthening relationships throughout communities.

Community Trusteeship has changed attitudes and helped participants become more effective local leaders. By focusing on exploring the deepest values of participants, it improves both sense of self and empathy for others. It advances clarity of purpose, deepening and broadening awareness, respect for diversity on multiple levels, and both the desire and ability to serve the community for the common good.

The Importance of Trust

The phrase “Community Trusteeship” identifies a key ingredient that is fundamental to a healthy community, and is too often lacking today: TRUST.

Greed, dishonesty, divisiveness, corruption, and acting exclusively in one’s own self-interest without regard to others destroys trust. Even without theses being actively perpetrated, lack of human connection fosters disbelief, skepticism, and suspicion. Lack of trust destroys relationships, undermines institutions and makes it difficult if not impossible to bring about effective solutions and public goods.

Trust requires honesty, mutual understanding, faith, predictability, and integrity. Earning trust is an act of the heart. Giving trust is an offering of vulnerability in good faith that it will be honored. When demonstrated by individuals who act in an unselfish manner to consider each other’s interests as fundamental to their own, it is a powerful benefit to society.

Community leaders who hold their communities in trust model commitment and caring competence. They recognize that each of our self interests is bound up in the health and well being of the whole. In this, Trustees provide deep service and leadership to individuals and organizations. At the same time, they empower the development of these people and organizations who comprise the communities they serve.

Trust requires honesty, mutual understanding, faith, predictability, and integrity. Earning trust is an act of the heart. Giving trust is an offering of vulnerability in good faith that it will be honored. When demonstrated by individuals who act in an unselfish manner to consider each other’s interests as fundamental to their own, it is a powerful benefit to society.

Community Trusteeship is an act of caring commitment that transcends narrow self interest to serve the whole community; taking responsibility for and acting on behalf of the common good, and endeavoring to help individual interests find a healthy place as part of the whole.

The concept reminds us that leadership is not about us; that our communities are complex organizations that existed before us and will continue long after we have moved on. It honors those who came before, endeavoring to understand their triumphs and tribulations, and the issues overcome and still before us. It recognizes the contributions that created and preserved the amenities we value today. It recognizes our duty to protect and enhance these resources effectively holding them in trust for those who will follow.

Community Trusteeship is more about personal commitment than specific skills, even as its execution is much about identifying strengths and then coordinating and putting them to good use. In this, it is at least as much about interaction as it is about individual action; a commitment to continued learning, relationship development, and endeavoring in service to the whole.  

I am grateful that those who formed the Huntington Chamber Foundation and participated in all its good works took these concepts to heart. I hope that you will, too.

Man on a Mission: NYS Regent Roger Tilles

It was his passion for the arts, his appreciation for teachers, and his firm belief grounded that the arts are fundamental to a good education that first led us to be intrigued by Roger Tilles. We got to sit down with him a million years ago last December. While so much has changed since then, we believe what he had to say remains relevant, perhaps even moreso than it was…

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Follow the Phoenix: Still They Rise

Our hearts break and our minds race at what is happening in our Nation; to witness our longest simmering disease now raging in a fever that renders the viral pandemic that’s been all we could think about all but forgotten. We are mindful that this is THIS, singular in its twisted trauma. Still, we are also mindful that the plague of hate and contempt of fellow man is not limited to sanctioned targets; that this disease does not exist in isolation. In thinking about this, we are reminded of so many black leaders intent on guiding everyone to higher ground…

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Get LI Counted! The Census Matters!

The 2020 Census affects how much federal dollars our region will receive for the next decade. Long Island already pays a lot more in taxes to the Federal Government than it gets back. Undercounts make that worse!!! Plus, this impacts all sorts of planning, at all levels. PLEASE GET COUNTED AND SHARE THIS ARTICLE EXPLAINING WHY, Especially with folks who reach folks in traditionally undercounted demographics..

A simple message the Health and Welfare Council of LI hopes you will share is this:

  • You can fill out the Census TODAY in just 10 minutes by visiting or calling 844-330-2020.

You may also share the Health & Welfare Council’s Long Island Counts video,

To track your community’s response rate, you can visit the following map.

This is really important. The pandemic makes the work to help make sure it happens a lot harder. Your support helps! Thank you!

Local Company At Forefront of COVID Testing, Possibly Even a Vaccine

Another new friend is John Shearman, a marketing and communications specialist who has spent his career serving innovative technology companies Island-wide. He currently works for a fascinating company called Applied DNA Sciences, Inc, which is an anchor tenant of the Long Island High Tech Incubator.

A primary service of Applied DNA is to enable the authentication of products and supply chains through unique molecular identifiers — basically they literally apply DNA to things like textiles, microchips, cannabis and other products so that their authenticity can be validated.

In recent years they have also become involved in vaccines for blood cancers. When the COVID-19 crisis erupted, they quickly turned to that .

They are very excited that, in partnership with Stony Brook University, they have developed clinical tests for COVID-19 that are apparently 100% accurate. While this aspect is still receiving approvals it may even be saliva based (bye-bye-brain tickle!), and fast enough that local companies and others will be able to regularly offer safe, quick, accurate tests for their employees on a regular basis.

This is a big step toward being freed from our collective quarantine. They’re also working on DNA vaccines in partnership with Takis Biotech, some of which are already being tested on mice and seem to show some significant promise.

Here’s hoping!