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

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.

A new law in Albany County is aimed at making it harder for thieves to sell stolen merchandise. The law, approved last night by the county legislature, will place new mandates on pawn shops and jewelers in Albany County. Also, sellers must be at least 18 year old. County lawmaker, Democrat Gary Domalewicz , is  the lead sponsor of the legislation. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

The latest round of financial disclosure forms from members of the New York State Legislature will be the last, before a new law begins that aims to open up even further the information the public and the press can view about the outside business dealings of state lawmakers.

Police in Utica spent the Fourth of July responding to two calls of people under the influence of bath salts, a drug that has become a growing problem across the country, but especially in parts of central New York where at least seven cases, including one fatality, have been reported since June. Madison County lawmakers have called on state officials to take immediate action, and there is discussion of a local law to make bath salts illegal. Madison County health director Eric Faisst says local law enforcement and health officials recently met to discuss bath salts.

Before they check the menu, diners in Albany County can also find out just how clean the kitchen is kept. Under a new law restaurants in Albany County have to post their inspection results in a prominent location. Albany County Fifth District legislator Christopher Higgins was the force behind the new law that is now in effect. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

For more on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, WAMC’S Brian Shields spoke with Vassar College economics professor Shirley Johnson-Lans, author of The Health Economics Primer, who says the upholding by the court of the individual mandate requiring those who can afford it to buy health insurance is the backbone of the Obama plan.

Recently a woman was arrested in Ballston Spa in Saratoga County for driving while intoxicated, and even though this was the seventh time she was charged with D.W.I. , she still had a valid driver’s license. That would not be allowed under a bill from Republican Assemblyman James Tedisco of Schenectady and Saratoga counties who says repeat drunken and dangerous drivers should have their licenses taken away. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed the teacher evaluation bill into law. Parents will be able to see the evaluations for their own child’s teacher, but the information will not be available to the general public or the media. Tim Kremer , the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association tells WAMC’s Brian Shields that the evaluation system , which the governor has described as evolving, needs to become more valid.

The racing will go ahead this weekend at Windham Mountain in Windham, New York this weekend. The area suffered severe damage last year from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, but the hard work of organizers and volunteers has made it possible for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to go ahead. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with several of the organizers and one of the racers today on Midday Magazine.

On Friday, June 22, at 1 p.m., WAMC will debut Playing on Air – a new program featuring short plays by America's greatest playwrights, performed by America's greatest actors. It will air each fourth Friday the month at 1 p.m.

Each one hour episode will feature two or three short plays. Playing on Air is produced and hosted by Columbia County resident Claudia Catania. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Weighing in at more than 265,000 words,  the novel Ulysses by James Joyce is, to say the least, a literary challenge to those who attempt to read it. The book, published in 1904, has 18 episodes, extending over 700 pages, and has been called dirty, blasphemous and unreadable. It is often a college assignment, but for some students in western Massachusetts seeking their GED, or high school equivalency degree, Ulysses is on the reading list.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have announced an agreement on a program to track the prescription of legal narcotic drugs in the state and curb the abuse of those substances through what is known as the I-STOP program. WAMC's Brian Shields spoke with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who proposed the program earlier this year.

The New York State Senate is expected to take action today to close a loophole in the state’s child porn laws. The bill was introduced just days after a recent court of appeals ruling which threw out a conviction against a former college professor who was found to have child porn on his work computer. The court ruled viewing the images did not constitute possession or procurement. The bill has been introduced in the state Senate by Republican Martin Golden of Brooklyn, who spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

What led to the sudden change in President Obama’s itinerary last week in the Albany area? The president came to the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale science and Engineering, even though the original choice was GlobalFoundries’ plant in Malta in Saratoga County. At the time, the reason given for the change was “logistics,” but James Odato of the Albany Times Union is reporting today it was the Cuomo administration that lobbied for the venue change, he spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Most parents and teachers would be skeptical to hear that young people should spend more time in front of video games to do better in school, but there are some who say that is the case. Clark Aldrich is a leading interface designer and one of the top educational simulator creators in the world. He will moderate a gaming summit tomorrow at Excelsior College in Albany on how serious video games can be used in higher education. Aldrich tells WAMC’s Brian Shields that parents and teachers should be open to serious video games as a good way to learn.

School budget votes will be held across New York next Tuesday, and this will be the first year that districts must comply with the state’s new two percent property tax cap. Most of the school budgets to be decided next week are within the cap, but school officials say it will come at a cost. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association.

The number of weapons background checks carried out by the F.B.I. has been on the increase in recent months. That’s according to a new report compiled by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence in Washington D.C.  

Three members of the New York State Police are suspended as officials look into allegations of a prostitution ring. One of the troopers, 18 year veteran Titus Taggert, allegedly promoted prostitution while off-duty from Troop-T, the branch which patrols the NYS Thruway. For more on the case, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke to Albany Law School professor and defense attorney Laurie Shanks.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral David Titley is in the Albany area today, meeting with government, business and scientific leaders to discuss the changing role of the Navy in security and commerce. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Rear Admiral Titley, who says the visit is part of the Navy’s fifty cities in fifty days initiative.

What does the future hold for health care in the United States? Alumni of the Union Graduate College‘s M.B.A. in health care management will gather tomorrow in Schenectady to discuss the many answers to that question.  

New and innovative models of health care will be on the table including “health home” and “patient navigation”. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Kelli Valenti, a Union graduate, who works with Ellis Medicine in Schenectady, and Dr. John Huppertz, chair of the M.B.A. in health care management at Union Graduate College.

A forum will be held this evening at 6 p.m. at the stockade room at Schenectady County Community College in Schenectady on racial disparities in law enforcement. For more on the community forum on race and criminal justice in Schenectady WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke today with the organizer, Dr. Alice Green, executive director of the Center for Law and Justice in Albany.

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