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

There's a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president who promises to step down from office and hand power to the vice president once he signs a campaign and election reform bill into law. Lawrence Lessig, 54, a South Dakota native, Harvard professor and attorney, also ran a poll to determine who the voters want as his running mate. Lessig says he would leave the White House if Congress agrees to pass the Citizens Equality Act 2017.

The 21st annual Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research will take place Saturday in Albany at the Empire State Plaza. There is a 5-k coed run and a two-mile family walk. For more on the event and for an update on efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer, we spoke with Tori Roggen, executive director of the Northeastern New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Librarians want to make sure that when we pick up a book at the library we have a full range of choices. The American Library Association has declared September 27th to October 3rd “Banned Books Week." For more we spoke with Barbara Jones, the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association.

WAMC this week is hosting two foreign journalists, Ulviyya Akhundova of Azerbaijan and Iryna Kyporenko of Ukraine. They spoke with WAMC's Brian Shields about what they're learning during a two-week stay in the U.S., and what it's like being a reporter back home.

March Gallagher

A new president and CEO will take over soon at The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, a philanthropic organizations that works to benefit Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam counties by raising money for scholarships, grants, endowment funds and charitable organizations. The Board of Trustees recently named March Gallagher as CEO and president effective Sept. 28. She is now with Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

It's harvest season, and there's quite a cornucopia of great music festivals on the calendar this month:

Legal action may be the next step in the controversy over the transfer of the Orange County town of Monroe to the neighboring Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel. The annexation of 164 acres was approved this week by the Monroe town board. Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus is opposed to the move for a number of reasons, including how the process was carried out and the strain it will put on county services like the sewers and infrastructure.

  As the new school year began , the New York State School Boards Association urged a truce in education, asking all sides of the often emotional debate over common core and other issues to hold off on the arguments and focus instead on the students who were returning to class. The executive director of the State School Boards Association, Tim Kremer, says unfortunately the truce did not last very long.

Seventy-five former members of Congress have written a letter to the current members of Congress urging their support for the joint comprehensive plan of action, the nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S. and five world powers. Among those who signed the letter is a former democratic New York congresswoman, Elizabeth Holtzman. 

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig
Gary Herzig

Gary Herzig has been appointed the mayor of Oneonta in a unanimous vote by the common council. The Democrat who is running unopposed for mayor in this fall’s election replaces acting Mayor Russ Southard, who took over late last year after the death of Mayor Dick Miller. Herzig, who is expected to take over later this month, admits there has been some disruption in city government over the past year.

  September is Suicide Prevention month. Mary Jo Gibson, a licensed clinical social worker and wife of upstate New York Congressman Chris Gibson, joins Capital Region AFSP Director Laura Marx and WAMC's Brian Shields to discuss suicide prevention and the efforts of the Congressional Spouses for Suicide Prevention to spread awareness during the month of September. 

Greg Haymes
Times Union

WAMC's Brian Shields speaks with Nippertown's Greg Haymes about the local music scene.

While praising President Obama's work in the issue, and promising not to lobby his fellow lawmakers to follow his decision, New York's Senior U.S. Senator, Democrat Charles Schumer, issued a statement last night in opposition to the joint comprehensive plan of action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal. Schumer is the highest ranking Democrat to come out against the plan. A strong supporter of the agreement is Thomas Pickering, the former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Russia and Jordan and  the U.S. Ambassador to the UN during the first Gulf War. Ambassador Pickering, now vice chairman of Hills and Company, says the deal with Iran is rock solid.

The companies that were granted medical marijuana licenses last week by the New York State Health Department are now moving forward, setting up manufacturing facilities and dispensaries. One of the companies is Etain, which has started construction on a growing operation in the Warren County Town of Chester. Etain's Chief Operation Officer is Hillary Peckham, who says she became interested in medical marijuana after her grandmother was diagnosed with ALS.

The agreement has been announced, but the many details of the nuclear deal  between Iran and six world powers will be looked over and scrutinized in the coming weeks. Professor James Ketterer, the director of International Academic Initiatives at Bard College, says there are many moving parts to the agreement.

The Affordable Care Act has changed health care for doctors and patients alike, but what about nurses. Dr. Beverly Malone, the CEO of the National League for Nursing, says the ACA has increased the demand for more nurses.

  The United States and Cuba recently announced that the opening of embassies as the two nations, whose relations have been frozen since the height of the Cold War, will resume diplomatic relations. Despite the changes, the U.S. embargo on Cuba remains firmly in place. So what does the restoration of diplomatic relations mean for the average Cuban citizen? We put that question and several others today to University at Albany Associate Professor Dr. Elise Andaya, a cultural anthropologist, who has spent a good deal of time in Cuba.

The second largest state employees union in New York will have a new president this summer. The rank-and-file membership of the Public Employees Federation recently elected Wayne Spence as the union president. Spence, a 24-year veteran parole officer with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, defeated the incumbent president Susan Kent by a very slim margin of 127 votes, out of more than 12,217 votes that were cast. Spence, who headed a slate of candidates under the coalition of union professionals or “coup” ticket, spoke with WAMC news about his priorities once he takes office August 3.

To most people, an old abandoned building is nothing more than a dangerous eyesore in need of a wrecking ball. But in the Capital District, hundreds of vacant structures will be transformed into works of art. Funded with a $1 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Breathing Lights will illuminate buildings in Albany, Schenectady and Troy beginning next year. The project is the brainchild of University at Albany art professor Adam Frelin, and architect Barbara Nelson. WAMC’s Brian Shield spoke with both.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

WAMC's Brian Shields gets June's music picks from Nippertown's Greg Haymes.

An Albany attorney recently took office as the president of the New York State Bar Association. David Miranda, a partner at the intellectual property law firm of Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley and Mesiti, took over June 1. Miranda spoke with WAMC News about several issues facing the bar, including a new agreement between the District Attorneys Association and the Innocence Project on legislation to regulate the videotaping of police interrogations.

New Yorkers gave overwhelming approval to their local school budgets this week with only a handful rejected. Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, has been watching education issues closely as another legislative session winds down in Albany. He says the school budget approval rate came as no surprise.

Her name was Margaretta Fitler Murphy, but New Yorkers came to know her as Happy Rockefeller. The widow of former New York Governor and Vice President Nelson Rockefeller died Tuesday at her home in Tarrytown. She was 88. Dr. Alan Miller, the past vice chair of the WAMC Board of Trustees, was a good friend of the Rockefellers.

Ted Barron / http://www.steveearle.com

Sitting down with a guitar, or a piano, and writing a song...do the words and melody come rushing out, or is it a struggle to create? Musician Steve Earle has been writing songs and performing for decades and he will be in the region this summer teaching the craft of songwriting. Camp Copperhead will take place in the Catskills July 20-24 at the Full Moon Resort in Big Indian.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

WAMC's Brian Shields speaks with Nippertown's Greg Haymes about his May musical selections.

The 16th annual National Women's Health Week began on Mother's Day. The week is organized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. The office's director Dr. Nancy Lee says it it important for women to take the time and the small steps necessary to maintain good health throughout their lives.

molinarofordutchess.com

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today that he is running for reelection. The republican served in the State Assembly before being elected County Executive in November 2011. A resident of Red Hook, who has also served in local government, Molinaro spoke with WAMC News today about why he wants a second term in office.

http://nyagainstfracking.org/

A rally is set for this Saturday in the Hudson Valley by opponents of a plan to build a new power plant near Interstate 84 in the community of Wawayanda. Pramilla Malick of Protect Orange County, and founder of Stop the Minisink Compressor Station, says the rally Saturday afternoon at Festival Square in Middletown is in opposition to the CPV Power Plant.

albanylaw.edu

Immigrants in the U.S, both documented and undocumented, often face a number of challenges after they arrive from their homelands, and many of those problems need a lawyer. The Albany Law School has announced that beginning in the fall semester, students will be involved in a new immigration law clinic. Associate professor of law Sarah Rogerson is the director of the clinic.

A leading supporter of a universal health care system in the U.S. says five years after the Affordable Care Act, the law often called Obamacare just points out the deficiencies in American health care. Dr. David Himmelstein, a professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health and co-founder of Physicians For a National Health Program, will speak tonight at 7 at the UAlbany School of Public Health in East Greenbush. Dr. Himmelstein says Vermont was on the right track until Gov. Shumlin withdrew his plan.

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