Brian Shields

Senior News Anchor

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

Ways to Connect

President Franklin D. Roosevelt
United States Library of Congress

Among other accomplishments, President Franklin D. Roosevelt is known for his first inaugural speech when he said the only thing to fear was "fear itself", his "Day of Infamy" speech to Congress the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and his many "fireside chats" to Americans over the radio. Seventy-six years ago this week, FDR delivered his "Four Freedoms" speech declaring freedoms of speech and worship and freedoms from want and fear. This Saturday in Pittsfield, Mass., those words will be remembered with a march and a rally.

Money in a pants pocket
Flickr/Mike Schmid

New Yorkers can now deposit their tax refund check directly into a college savings account under legislation that was recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The refunds can go into a 529 - accounts which can grow over time and are not taxable, as long as the proceeds are used for college expenses.

Pamela Tatge
Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

Six months from today, a major part of what makes the Berkshires special every summer will return for a new season. Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Becket will mark its 85th season, running from June 21 to August 27.

The logo of the Massachusetts Medical Society
Facebook: Massachusetts Medical Society

Voters in Massachusetts approved a ballot question on Election Day to legalize recreational marijuana and doctors in the state are concerned. At a recent meeting, the Massachusetts Medical Society passed resolutions on a number of issues including recreational marijuana, drug prices, aid-in dying and concussions. 

Seventy-five years ago tomorrow, Americans gathered around their radios as President Franklin Roosevelt spoke to Congress 24 hours after the nation was stunned by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That "Day of Infamy" speech, FDR's first inaugural address and a number of other talks by the president are being restored and digitized by the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park. The library's director, Paul Sparrow, says the project is a partnership with AT&T and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Facebook: Price Chopper Supermarkets

One of the region’s best known companies may be sold. The Reuters News Agency is reporting that talks are underway that could lead to the sale of Price Chopper supermarkets to Albertsons, a national chain. 

Mayor Mark Boughton
By Tayobrien - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48874659

The mayor of Danbury, Connecticut may try once again to become governor of Connecticut. Republican Mark Boughton ran for governor two years ago, but suspended his campaign amid fundraising problems before supporting GOP candidate Tom Foley, who lost to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy. Boughton says he has filed the papers to set up an exploratory committee for the 2018 election.

Dr. Elise Andaya
Dr. Elise Andaya

What's next for Cuba and its people after the death of Fidel Castro? It's a question that's being considered in world capitals to the cafes of Havana and Miami. For more, we spoke with Dr. Elise Andaya in the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany. Andaya has spent a good deal of time doing research in Cuba. She says the Castro era actually ended a decade ago, when Fidel handed power off to his brother.

The warm summer evenings at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra may seem far away after this weekend's snow and cold, but the schedule for next summer is out. For more, we spoke with Mark Volpe, managing director of the BSO, who says the season will begin and end with musical director Andris Nelsons holding the baton.

Prof. Hendler
RPI

The numbers from the election are still coming in, but one analysis indicates that despite what many of the pundits believe, the Trump victory was not driven as much by the white working class, but more by the fact that Democrats stayed home. Jim Hendler is the Director of the Institute of Data Exploration and Applications at RPI. He says while the numbers are still preliminary, it is clear that the Clinton campaign failed to get enough Democrats to the polls.

Lisa Frisch
Lisa Frisch

Attorneys who volunteer their time to help those who cannot afford a lawyer are being honored today. The Legal Project is holding its pro bono awards luncheon in Latham. Lisa Frisch is the executive director of The Legal Project, a non-profit that began 21 years ago to provide free and low-cost legal advise for those in need of help in family court, in cases of domestic violence and those facing foreclosure.

The symbol for the Veterans in Economic Transition Conference
Facebook: VetCon

A two day-conference is under way today at the Desmond Hotel in the Albany County town of Colonie to provide advice and inspiration to military vets looking to start a business, or for those already in business for themselves. The Veterans in Economic Transition Conference, which brings together the private and public sectors and not-for-profits is sponsored by the law firm Tully Rinckey. WAMC spoke with Mario Cometti, a partner in the firm.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes stops by with an autumn harvest of songs, some from the Local 518, some not. 

Vote sign
wikipedia commons

Tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote in New York in time for Election Day; Massachusetts' deadline is next Wednesday. People in more than 30 state can go to a federal website to be directed to the state vote registration systems. It's called vote.gov, and it's been up and running for about a year. Meghan Daly is with the U.S. General Services Administration and oversees vote.gov.

Dolores Cimini
UAlbany

A town hall is being held this afternoon at the University at Albany on underage drinking. "Our Community, Our Health, Our Future: A Conversation Addressing Underage Drinking" will include a panel including Rep. Paul Tonko, academic leaders, law enforcement officials, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, mental health professionals and government officials. One of the organizers of the event is Dr. Dolores Cimini, assistant director for prevention and program evaluation at the Counseling and Psychological Services at UAlbany.

Shimon Mercer-Wood
Shimon Mercer-Wood

Israeli founding father Shimon Peres has died at 93. For more on his legacy, WAMC News spoke today with Shimon Mercer-Wood, a spokesman for the Consulate-General of Israel in New York City, who spoke about the situation in 1995 when Peres became prime minister after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

Stephen Clingman
Stephen Clingman

James Foley attended UMass-Amherst as a graduate student between 1999 and 2003 and later went on to volunteer for Teach for America and other causes before he became a freelance journalist, a passion and a calling that would cost him his life. Today and tomorrow, UMass is remembering Foley's life and legacy with The Task Of Witnessing: A Symposium In Honor Of James W. Foley. Dr. Stephen Clingman, a distinguished professor of English and director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute at UMass, tells us more about Foley.

Victor Asal
UAlbany

With the suspect in the New York City explosion now in custody, the questions are many. For some possible answers, WAMC News spoke today to Dr. Victor Asal of the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy in Albany, where he is director of the Center for Policy Research and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science. Was this attack the work of a so-called lone wolf, or was it directed from afar?

Greg Haymes
Times Union

WAMC's Brian Shields gets this month's music selections from Greg Haymes of Nippertown.com.

Judith Enck of the EPA
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

At Tuesday's state Senate hearing on the water contamination in Hoosick Falls, the federal EPA came in for criticism from some state officials who blamed the agency for failing to lead, and from some lawmakers who said they were disappointed the EPA did not send a representative to the hearing. For a response, WAMC News spoke Wednesday with District 2 Regional Administrator for the EPA, Judith Enck.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

 As the harvest begins, the lack of rain in parts of the state will mean a lower than usual apple crop this year in New York, the No. 2 apple grower in the nation. Jim Allen, the president and CEO of the New York Apple Association, says the weather did not cooperate this year with some apple growers.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes is back in the studio with his August music selections.

Today is the first day on the job for the new president and CEO of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. John Eberle comes to the area from a similar position in central New York. Eberle says The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region is a philanthropic organization, founded in 1968, that targets the region's most pressing problems with financial donations.

Elizabeth Warren at DNC
WAMC

On the third night of the Democratic National Convention when President Obama and Vice President Biden are expected to speak, our capital correspondent Karen DeWitt has the latest from Philadelphia. 

Has Bernie Sanders created a movement that he no longer controls? At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, some Sanders supporters have heeded the Vermont senator's call to support the party nominee, Hillary Clinton, but others remain committed to Sanders. Dr. Luke Perry is chair of the department and associate professor of government and politics at Utica College and has been covering the convention for WKTV in Utica.

Among the delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia is Dolores Huerta, a member of the California delegation and a board member of People For The American Way. In 1962 she co-founded The National Farm Workers Association with Cesar Chavez, which later became The National Farm Workers Union. She is also president of The Dolores Huerta Foundation for grassroots organizing. Dolores Huerta says the economy is among the most important issues facing the nation this election year.

  By the end of the year, a new newspaper will be in the Capital District, both in print and on-line. The Daily Gazette, Proctors Theater in Schenectady and Overit Media of Albany are part of the new venture called The Alt. The president and publisher of the Daily Gazette, John DeAugustine, spoke with WAMC.

DeWitt: Day Two Of RNC Under Way

Jul 19, 2016
Donald Trump at the Flynn Theatre
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Day two of the Republican National Convention is under way is Cleveland, and tonight a rising star in New York Republican circles, who is from the Capital Region, will deliver a nominating speech. WAMC's Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt says the New York delegation has been front and center so far in Ohio.

The President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Albany writer and activist Barbara Smith are the featured guests at an event today in Albany in support of the Upper Hudson chapter of Planned Parenthood. The women's leadership circle luncheon at the Albany Hilton is part of a fundraising effort by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood and its President Chelly Hegan, who joined Cecile Richards on the phone in advance of the event. Richards commented on the importance of a recent U.S Supreme Court ruling against Texas laws regulation.

Could a gondola like this span Rensselaer and Albany?
Doppelmayr

Gondolas are a common site at large ski resorts, carrying visitors to the highest peaks, but they can also cross rivers, and one such project is under consideration in the Capital District. A transportation feasibility study is under way on an aerial gondola between the Amtrak station in Rensselear, across the Hudson River into downtown Albany. The McLaren Engineering Group is self-funding the study. Peter Melewski is the national director of strategic planning for McLaren.

Pages