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

Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners

The gun control debate is about to begin on Beacon Hill in Boston. A state lawmaker will introduce legislation this week that will, among other things, require assault weapons in Massachusetts to remain locked and secured at gun clubs, when not in use by their owners. The legislation is from State House Democrat David Linsky of the 5th Middlesex District. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

After accepting the recommendations of a panel appointed to study how public schools in New York can be improved, Governor Andrew Cuomo made it clear that not all schools are created equal, and they cannot be treated as such. The governor says schools in the poor, high-needs areas of New York must also provide student support in social services. Tim Kremer, the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, agrees with the governor but has concerns about where the money will come from. He spoke today with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

The dreaded drop off the fiscal cliff has been avoided, so what does it mean for our taxes.  Before the agreement, there were dire predictions that many middle-class Americans could see their yearly tax bills go up by some three thousand dollars, if Congress and the White House did not agree on a tax and spending plan by the time the ball dropped in Times Square.

It’s been said that death and taxes are the only two guarantees in life , but being unable to find a parking spot in the city in Albany is also certain. But for some city residents, who live near the state capitol and the empire state plaza, which will change next month. After almost two decades of discussion, debate and court challenges, Albany will implement a permit system in certain designated areas, beginning January 15th.  Albany city clerk Nala Woodard is in charge of getting distributing parking permits for the new system.

Several lower courts have ruled against it, saying it is un-constitutional, but the nation’s highest court will take up a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by congress in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. New York is among a handful of states that have legalized same sex marriage, and the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court will be watched very closely in New York. George Simpson, spokesman for Empire State Pride Agenda, spoke about the issues under review by the court with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Republican New York State Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin claimed victory on election night, but his opponent, Democratic challenger Cheryl Roberts did not concede right away,  waiting for absentee ballots to be counted. Roberts has now admitted defeat, and McLaughlin says he is ready for a new two year term representing New York’s 107th Assembly District which includes Washington, Rensselaer and Columbia Counties. Speaking with WAMC’s Brian Shields, he says recent events have changed the agenda for January.

Education and business officials came together today in Saratoga County with the high tech future in mind.  GlobalFoundries and the Center for Economic Growth organized the meeting at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park to develop a regional 13 county laboratory to promote the future of an educational system that must meet the needs of a growing technology sector. Michael Tucker is the CEO and executive director of the Center for Economic Growth. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

If high school students could vote, President Barack Obama would sail to an easy re-election. A mock vote was held at 130 high schools across the country, and on Sunday night, the votes were counted. Obama received 50 percent of the vote and 316 electoral votes, while Mitt Romney took 41 percent of the popular vote, and 208 electoral votes. This mock election has been held every four years since 1988. It was organized by Jim Shea a teacher at Northfield-Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts. He spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.

Voters in Saratoga Springs will vote tomorrow on how the city government will be structured. A charter change is on the ballot. Voters can stay with the current commissioner form of government or decide to change to a council-manager form of government. For more on the charter question, WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Saratogian city desk reporter Lucian McCarty.

Here's the latest forecast with News Channel 13 Meteorologist Paul Caiano.

WAMC's Brian Shields spoke with Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal this afternoon for an update on storm preparations and response.

It’s been said that practice makes perfect, but only if you make the most of that practice. That’s the theme of the new book Practice Perfect. For many people, practice means hours at the piano when we were kids, or long and boring sessions that we would rather avoid.

The New York State Attorney General and the office of the Albany County District Attorney will review the findings of a state audit that found highly questionable spending and expenses at the State University of New York Research Foundation.

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.

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