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

Here is some health advice you probably already know; don’t buy contact lenses at a gas station. But the fact is some people do indeed purchase temporary, decorative contact lenses in gas stations, or costume stores, that can in some cases lead to eye damage and a loss of vision. Dr. Michael Goldstein, the co-director of the cornea and external disease service at the New England Eye Center at Tufts University of Medicine, and an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Tufts, says these decorative contacts, often popular at Halloween can cause serious problems.

If you are so inclined, and your legs are up to it, you could bicycle all the way from lower Manhattan to Albany with the help of a new booklet that outlines the routes and the points of interest along the way. The booklet, Cycling the Hudson Valley - A Guide to History, Art and Nature on the East and West Sides of the Majestic Hudson River, is published by Parks and Trails New York. Martin Daley is the organization’s project manager. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Among the many races to be decided by primary elections tomorrow in New York, a very contentious contest for the Republican nomination in  the 43rd State Senate District , and a more issues-driven campaign for the Democratic nomination for the 107th Assembly District. The candidates in the 43rd, incumbent senator Roy Mc-Donald and challenger Kathy Marchione met for a debate last night and the charges and counter-charges flew.  Andrew Beam of the Troy Record was there. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

A congressional committee has been looking into why the federal government overpaid New York State by more than $10 billion for the care of developmentally disabled people in state developmental centers. Congress began its probe after reports in the Poughkeepsie Journal. Mary Beth Pfeiffer, projects writer with the journal, says even though the overpayments were first detected in 2007, they still continued. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Teachers have a new resource to help them in the classroom. It’s called share my lesson, a new online resource bank, where teachers can collaborate and share teaching resources. Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, announced the new program today in Rockland County.

New research has found that a missing gene could be responsible for almost 28% of human breast cancer cases, that’s more than 60,000 cases a year in the U.S. and more than 383,000. The study on the NF1 gene, and its role in breast cancer, is from Cornell University. For more on the findings, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with the research paper’s senior author, John Schimenti, a professor of genetics at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

The debate over hydraulic fracturing in New York will take on a religious and spiritual flavor tomorrow. An event called the Blessing of the Waters will take place at noon tomorrow at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown at the shores of Otsego Lake. The organizer of the event is Reverend Craig Schwalenberg, the Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.

The candidates in an often contentious campaign for the Democratic primary in New York’s 44th State Senate District met in a debate last evening at Russell Sage College in Troy. The campaign between incumbent Neil Breslin and challenger Shawn Morse has been marked with accusations of private investigators and arrest records with character an issue. Andrew Beam, who covered the debate for the Troy Record says while issues were discussed so was the character of the candidates. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

When some students go to college this fall, they will do so at a campus surrounded by farms and fields. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is working with colleges in rural areas, providing funding to keep them up to date and competitive with larger, urban-based institutions. U.S.D.A. Deputy Undersecretary Doug O’Brien was at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in the town of Johnstown yesterday to dedicate a new residence hall at the school, Raiders Hall. It was built with the help of 11-point three million dollars from the U.S.D.A.

Courtesy NOAA

One year after Tropical Storm Irene, repair crews remain busy in Greene County New York, where the reconstruction is expected to cost as much as $15 million on roads, bridges and culverts. For an update, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Gary Harvey, the superintendent of the Greene County Highway Department.

With the school year starting for students across New York State in the coming weeks, there are several new programs being implemented. WAMC's Brian Shields spoke with Tim Kremer of the New York State School Boards Association about the new policies, including teacher evaluations and anti-bullying programs.

Times Union

Republicans will end their national convention in Tampa tonight with a speech by their presidential nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The polls suggest that New York is well out of play for Romney, with the Obama-Biden ticket holding a strong lead in one of the bluest of blue states. Still it’s been a busy few days for the New York delegation in Tampa. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke this morning with Jimmy Vielkind of the Albany Times Union, who is covering the Republican National Convention.

Whenever a government charter is revised, elected officials pay close attention to determine how they could be affected by the changes. That seems to be the case in Ulster County, New York, where the charter revision commission has finished its work, and now it’s time for public hearings and a vote. One commission member issued a warning to the county legislature saying the charter revisions should not fall prey to political whims, but the chair of the revision commission, Cynthia Lowe, says that was just one persons opinion. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Schoharie County in New York took perhaps the hardest hit from Tropical Storm Irene compared to any other upstate county. One year later, the recovery continues, but it could take another four years before all the damage has been repaired. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is one federal agency involved in the recovery, but it is local and state officials who have been on the front lines for the past year. For an update on Schoharie County, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke to the chairman of the county board of supervisors, Howard Vroman.

At one point after Tropical Storm Irene moved through upstate New York one year ago, national grid reported 156,000  customers without power. For a look back, and a look at what has changed since the storm, WAMC’s Brian Shields talked today with Bill Flaherty, a regional executive with National Grid, who recalls the preparation before the storm hit.

One year ago today, Tropical Storm Irene moved into the northeast leaving flooding and destruction on a scale rarely seen in the region.

Homes and farmland were washed away, bridges and roads were destroyed, and trees and power lines were leveled leaving hundreds of thousands of people without service for days , and even weeks .

A computer virus named Stuxnet has drawn the attention of security and utility experts around the globe over the past two years or so. The experts say the virus has the potential to knock out power grids, leaving millions in the dark. It has already been used against the Iranians to slow down their nuclear development programs. Dan D’Ambrosio, a business reporter for the Burlington Free Press has been researching the story of Stuxnet. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

It’s been one year since Tropical Storm Irene came up the coast and into the northeast, leaving behind damage that most people and most communities had never witnessed before. One year later some the scars remain, but people have been slowly putting back their lives and towns. Dutchess County, in New York's Hudson Valley was hit hard by the wind, the rain and the flooding. Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields about how the county has fared one year later.

A company that wants to build a natural gas pipeline through parts of four New York counties could be facing growing public opposition. Constitution Pipeline wants to run the line from Susquehanna County Pennsylvania through parts of Deleware, Schoharie, Chenango and Broome counties, but more landowners in those counties will not grant permission for the company to conduct land surveys for the project. Joe Mahoney is a reporter with the Oneonta Daily Star newspaper, and has been following the story. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Concerned about a recent string of arsons, and violent crime in their streets, people who call the city of Troy’s north-central neighborhood home came together for a meeting last night at a church in Lansingburgh. The focus of the gathering was what people can do about these problems. Danielle Sanzone is a reporter for The Record newspaper, and was at the meeting that was organized after the fires and crimes. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

You may have seen the movie “Dolphin Tale”, the true story of a dolphin that was injured when caught in a crab trap, and was then fitted with a prosthetic tail, allowing the dolphin named winter to swim and live. The man who came up with that device is Kevin Carroll, a prosthetic expert who will be in Albany tomorrow to meet with fellow clinicians and patients at the hangar clinic at 13-15 Central Avenue. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Albany Medical College recently received a $10.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for research on a vaccine to prevent a dangerous and somewhat mysterious disease called tularemia, also known as “rabbit fever.” The disease is carried by rodents, and can be transmitted to humans, but those cases are rare. The real concern is the use of tularemia as a biological weapon. Dr. Dennis Metzger is a professor at Albany Medical College, and the director of the Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease. Dr.

More than 1,100 homes in Dutchess County have been added to the government’s list of being at a high-risk of flooding. That could mean that the homeowners will have to pay for mandated flood insurance that can cost more than $2,000 a year. After the recent study by the federal emergency management agency of the flood risk, more than 5,200 properties in Dutchess County are now designated in the high risk category. For more on the new flood maps, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Paul Weberg, senior engineer at FEMA’S New York office.

We expect to see bears in the woods, but now the bears are showing up in the suburbs and the cities. for more on why the number of encounters with bears is up, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with research biologist Brian Underwood,  an adjunct professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and  Forestry in Syracuse, who also does work for the U.S. Geological Survey.

It is called ‘bullet aid,’ but others have called it ‘school district pork.’ Extra state aid to school districts and libraries doled out by the majority parties that control the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. The latest bullet aid from State Senate Republicans is going, by and large, to schools and libraries in the districts now held by Republican senators. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke about bullet aid today with Nikki Jones of the Alliance for Quality Education, a school and education advocacy group in New York.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that this could become the worst year in half a century for whooping cough, or Pertussis. So far in New York State this year, there have been 1,288 cases, that’s three times the number for all of last year. For more on whooping cough, what it is and what can be done about it, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Dr. Thomas Clark, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC, who gave insight into why Pertussis has become such a problem this year.

Government reform groups say there are a number of loopholes in New York’s campaign finance regulations, and that LLC’s, or Limited Liability Corporations, are part of the problem. Jimmy Vielkind of the Albany Times Union has been looking into these organizations and how they can be used to get around some of the campaign donation limits. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke to Vielkind about his front page story in today’s paper.

The Schenectady Museum is undergoing a major change. Plans have been announced for the museum to become The Learning Center. Heading the effort is Neil Golub, the executive chairman of the board of Price Chopper supermarkets, who says there will be two main interactive science programs; the Exploratorium and the Challenger Learning Center. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

It is being called a major development and a milestone in the 30 year fight against HIV and AIDS. A new drug called Truvada, a medicine that can help prevent the transmission of HIV. For more on this drug, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke to Dr. Douglas Fish, an associate professor of medicine at Albany Medical College, and chief of the Division of HIV Medicine.

Being a foster parent can be among the most joyful, but challenging experiences. Taking in a troubled, abused child has many rewards for those who take the step and today we will learn more about foster parenting from Brian Perrotto director of foster care for Saint Catherine’s Center for Children in Albany, Pat Gagnon, a foster parent , and Karen Hill, an expert in child welfare education. Brian Perrotto begins the discussion with more about Saint Catherine’s. They spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

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