Brian Shields

Senior News Anchor

WAMC Senior Correspondent Brian Shields has been with WAMC for 23 years as senior news anchor, host and reporter.

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Facebook: Capital District Transportation Authority - CDTA

The CEO of the Capital District Transportation Authority is in Washington today to speak to Congress about federal funding for mass transit systems across the nation. Carm Basile is concerned that the $200 billion infrastructure funding called for by the Trump administration would be taken out of the funding now set aside for public bus and transportation providers such as the CDTA. 

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A former Upstate New York congressman is part of a bi-partisan effort to take the money out of politics in Washington. Richard Hanna, a Republican who served three terms in the House from Central New York, is a member of The ReFormers Caucus, made up of almost 200 former elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, who launched the “Fix Politics Now” campaign this week in Philadelphia. 

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Greg Haymes from Nippertown is back with his March music selections.

First United Methodist Church of Schenectady

The traditional Lenten color of purple has been replaced with black outside a church in Schenectady, NY. Seventeen black ribbons are on a tree at the First United Methodist Church at 603 State Street in the city. The ribbons represent the seventeen people killed in the recent school shooting in Florida. 

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The old lever-style voting machines are gone, replaced with electronic systems including scanners and computers, but a new study contends some of the newer voting equipment is already in need of replacement and upgrades. 

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Former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis is a Republican who represented the state’s Fourth House District for 12 years before turning his attention to fighting climate change, which he says can be accomplished with conservative principles. Inglis is now the executive director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative based at George Mason University.

New York State Capitol

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to give police officers in New York the legal power to remove firearms from a home after a case of domestic violence. Currently, firearms must be surrendered by someone charged with domestic violence only if the suspect is named in an order of protection, or if a judge decides the accused poses a threat to the protected person. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s poll numbers are down. In fact, according to the latest Siena College poll, the Democrat’s net favorability rating is down 19 points from January to February. His favorable rating is down from 62 percent to 53 percent and his unfavorable rating is up from 30 percent to 40 percent. 

Facebook: City of Schenectady

The city of Schenectady, New York was once known as the city that lights and hauls the world because of General Electric and American Locomotive. American Locomotive is long gone, now the site of the Rivers Casino and General Electric remains but with a much smaller payroll. But the history of Schenectady endures, known for Thomas Edison, and Charles Steinmetz, as a pioneer city in broadcasting, and there’s the historic stockade neighborhood and the once mighty Erie Canal. 

This is a picture of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy

Despite a budget projected to be more than $265 million dollars in the red by its second year, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy used his final state of the state address Wednesday to highlight what he called an agenda of “fairness.” 

Facebook: Berkshire Museum

Since last summer, the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has been trying to sell part of its collection including two Normal Rockwell paintings to raise an estimated $60 million for an endowment and a major renovation. But the sale has been put on hold by lawsuits and legal maneuverings as citizens groups, the state and members of the Rockwell family question the legality and wisdom of the art sales. Now there may be a resolution on the horizon.

President Donald Trump called for unity and working together during his State of the Union Tuesday night after a year of often deep divides and partisanship in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Colgate University assistant professor of political science Dr. Sam Rosenfeld has written a book entitled "The Polarizers: Postwar Architects of Our Partisan Era” which looks at the unyielding political climate of today.

U.S. Representative John Faso
U.S. Representative John Faso

This will be Congressman John Faso’s first State of the Union speech tonight. The Republican from New York’s Hudson Valley was elected in 2016 and is beginning the second year of his first term on Capitol Hill. Faso says he is hoping for a message of unity from the president tonight, but is also interested in hearing details on a number of issues. 

Rep. Paul Tonko
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Members of Congress are allowed to bring a guest to the State of the Union. Tonight, Albany area Congressman Paul Tonko, will be bringing a guest to point out the need for immediate government action on the opioid epidemic. 

Massachusetts State House

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a payroll tax and has promised to sue to challenge the constitutionality of the new federal tax code, which he says will devastate New York, most notably because of the loss of SALT, the state and local tax deductions over $10,000. In Massachusetts, another so-called “high tax state”, the reaction to the federal tax code has been more subdued. During a legislative hearing Tuesday, the Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael Heffernan said the federal tax code changes will not create an emergency situation in Massachusetts.

Chernobyl power plant, seen here in 2006

A University at Albany professor was contacted by four ophthalmology and oncology practices in New York City after doctors diagnosed ten cases of vitreoretinal lymphoma, an extremely rare primary central nervous system lymphoma where cancer occurs in the eyes. Dr. Roxana Moslehi, an associate professor in the UAlbany School of Public Health, looked into the cases, and her research determined that there should only be three cases of VRL in all of New York State over four years. So the cluster in New York City was very rare. 

Tom Golisano
Facebook: The Golisano Foundation

A three-time candidate for governor of New York says too many upstate property owners are paying too much in local taxes because their assessments are too high. Thomas Golisano, who founded the Paychex payroll company, has started a website for those who think their property assessments are too high. 

Most people agree the nation’s infrastructure is in dire need of rebuilding and repair, but the disagreements often begin when the questioned is raised about how to pay for all the roads, bridges, rail lines and water systems. Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty is a Democrat from the 5th House District, and a member of a new and growing group in congress, The Problem Solvers Caucus.

Tim Kremer, executive director of New York State School Boards Association

With New York facing a roughly $4 billion deficit, how will schools fare in the state budget this year? Governor Andrew Cuomo will release his executive budget by the end of the month, but the Democrat laid out his agenda in the State of the State address January 3.

Assemblyman James Skoufis
Allison Dunne

A lot of plans and programs were laid out in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State Wednesday, but many lawmakers are waiting to see the details that will be coming when the governor releases his state budget later this month. Assemblyman James Skoufis, a Democrat from the 99th district, which includes Rockland and Orange Counties, says he is glad to see the governor will work to counter the effects of the GOP tax plan recently signed by President Trump, but Skoufis says his constituents, many of whom commute to New York City, could be hurt by another of the governor's proposals. 


China recently began its own cap-and-trade program, much like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission program involving a number of Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states. The program is aimed at reducing the airborne ingredients that are blamed for climate change.

Senator Edward Markey
Senator Edward Markey

U.S. senators including Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have signed onto a bill that would reverse Thursday’s Federal Communications Commission vote and restore net neutrality regulations. 

Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Embattled Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse tells WAMC News Tuesday afternoon he won't resign despite pressure from fellow Albany County Democrats after the Times Union published a series of reports detailing alleged domestic violence incidents against the first-term mayor dating back years. Morse also says he has never physically harmed a woman, and took shots at Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and state Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald, himself a former mayor of Cohoes.

Facebook: Addiction Policy Forum

A woman whose twin brother died of a drug overdose thirty years ago has been named the chair of the New York state chapter of the Addiction Policy Forum, a national organization that works with various groups to improve treatment, law enforcement and prevention policies tied to addiction. 

American Red Cross

People are homeless and several buildings have been completely destroyed following a major fire in the Albany County city of Cohoes Thursday afternoon. Fire departments from a number of nearby cities and towns were called in to help battle the flames that broke out in the 200 block of Remsen Street, and quickly spread. As of Thursday afternoon, there were no reports of serious injuries. Officials say the wind carried embers to other buildings and touched off other smaller fires.

A major fire is burning at this hour in the city of Cohoes, NY. 

Seyed Hossein Mousavian

One of President Obama’s policies reversed by the Trump administration is the nuclear agreement with Iran, which President Trump refused to recertify, saying it was not in America’s interest. Thursday evening at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering will be part of a discussion on U.S.-Iran relations and the nuclear deal, which will also include former ambassador and diplomat for Iran and now Princeton University scholar Seyed Hossein Mousavian. 

The campus of Hudson Valley Community College
Facebook: Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY will soon have its seventh president. The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently announced the appointment of Dr. Roger Ramsammy to lead the school which was established in 1953.

LG Kathy Hochul
WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York Lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul says President Trump’s top budget official is off-base in his comments this week that people are leaving New York because of its high taxes. Mick Mulvaney also said it is not up to the federal government to save New York from its bad decisions, a reference to the Republican tax reform plan that could eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

Susanne Craig

Donald Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns became an issue in last year’s election, and to this day, the media and the public have still not seen them, at least not all of them. New York Times reporter Susanne Craig got her hands on a portion of Donald Trump’s tax return after they were left in her mailbox.