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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GOP Formally Backs Molinaro For NY Governor

May 23, 2018
Marcus Molinaro
WAMC/Allison Dunne

Politicians from both sides of the aisle gathered today in the New York City area as the Republican and Democratic parties hold their nominating conventions. The GOP nominated Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro to run against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo picked up the backing of Hillary Clinton today on Long Island. Our Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt is covering the GOP convention in Manhattan and listened to Molinaro’s 35-minute acceptance speech.

Wikimedia Commons/St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

After the high school shooting in Florida in mid-February, President Trump suggested arming teachers as added security against such events, but the idea was largely rejected. A new documentary that will be screened tonight in Northampton, Massachusetts says in some school districts teachers are carrying guns, and in some cases so too are school bus drivers, custodians and other staff members. Kate Way, the co-producer and co-director of the film “G Is For Guns", spoke with WAMC's Brian Shields.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Greg Haymes of Nippertown returns with his May music choices.

President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017.

It was President Reagan who often repeated the phrase “trust, but verify” during his nuclear arms negotiations with the Soviet Union, and in the opinion of Pace University Professor Dr. Matthew Bolton, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of on Tuesday, was a hallmark of verification. 

Facing allegations that he assaulted four women, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will resign at the close of business today. The second-term Democrat announced that he would step down Monday night — just hours after The New Yorker published a piece outlining the graphic allegations. Lawmakers, who have the power to name a replacement to the office, have been meeting today at the capitol in Albany. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt says there was no indication that the former state Senator could be part of the #MeToo reckoning until last night.

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

With the possibility of a major breakthrough toward reconciliation looming on the Korean Peninsula after decades of danger and mistrust, New York Congressman John Faso recently visited South Korea. 

The Frontline logo Domain

The perilous journey of a refugee across often dangerous seas and hostile mountains and valleys can be video accounts to tell that story. PBS Frontline Managing Editor Andrew Metz will return to his alma mater, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, this Saturday for a free screening of the movie Exodus, which includes smartphone videos taken by refugees. Exodus and its sequel Exodus: The Journey Continues were directed by James Bluemel who will also be at Hamilton this weekend. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

When Neil Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon almost 50 years ago, the silicone rubber in his boots was made along the banks of the Hudson River in Waterford, New York, just north of Albany in Saratoga County. The plant, once owned by General Electric began operating in 1947, and is now Momentive Performance Materials. The plant was the scene of a strike from November 2016 until February of last year with health benefits a major demand of the workers.

Justice Scales
Adobe Stock

It may seem at times that lawyers have become the fourth branch of government. Since Watergate, the Clinton-Lewinsky investigation, Enron and now the busy court dockets prompted by the Trump administration, lawyers are front and center in government and politics.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Greg Haymes of Nippertown is back with his April music selections.

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

Now that the state budget is passed, school boards across New York have a better idea of what to expect in school aid as they work on budget plans that will go before the voters next month. The executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, Tim Kremer, says the $859 million increase in state aid to schools included in the new budget is less than what is needed to maintain current programs. 

Prof. Hendler

With word that 50 million Facebook users had their personal information collected during the 2016 presidential campaign by the data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica has brought new and intense scrutiny on Facebook and social media. Posting your friends, likes and dislikes may seem harmless enough, but that seemingly benign information can be mined, studied, analyzed and transformed into political campaign ammunition. For more we spoke Prof. James Hendler, the Director for Data Exploration and applications at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig
Gary Herzig

The mayor of Oneonta, NY says despite the problems facing the Otsego County city, there is plenty of room for optimism. Mayor Gary Herzig delivered his state of the city address this week to the Common Council, and then spoke with WAMC News. 

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.