Midday Magazine

Weekdays, Noon - 1pm; Weekends, Noon- 1pm

WAMC's award-winning daily news magazine brings listeners the latest in local, national and world news. Join Brian Shields each weekday for the latest. The work of the WAMC News team is complemented each day with news and features from the BBC, The Innovation Trail, and Stardate. Midday Magazine also offers a comprehensive regional weather summary and a range of commentators who span the political spectrum. Highlights from the WAMC Listener Comment Line are usually aired on Friday's edition of Midday Magazine.

In the second of a series of interviews with democratic candidates in the race for Massachusetts’ First Congressional District, WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard spoke with former state senator Andrea Nuciforo, Jr.

Nuciforo is running against writer and activist Bill Shein, and Congressman Richard Neal, in the race for Massachusetts’ First Congressional District

Dr. Robert Spitzer, one of the leading psychiatrists in the US, recently did something remarkable. In a letter published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior on May 19th he humbly wrote, “I owe the gay community an apology.”

He was apologizing for a study -- first presented in 2001 and published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2003 -- that examined at whether or not therapy could make gay people straight. Dr. Spitzer concluded that it could, based on interviews of 200 men and women recruited from centers that offered so called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy.

The head of the state-owned Belleayre Mountain Ski Center has been dismissed - that decision by the DEC leaves many questions...  Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

An official with the state Department of Environmental Conservation says Tony Lanza was fired - and that's all they'll say. Lanza gone from his post he's held for more than a decade at the helm of the Bellayre Ski Center.


Based on the accumulation of recent reports, Europe is among the “walking dead.” The recent elections in Greece and France indicate that the respective populations are resistant to austerity measures. Despite insolvency, or in France’s case the prospect of insolvency, Europeans are so committed to their entitlements, they won’t give them up. Claims that a higher millionaire tax will offset the deficit provides a frission for socialists, but does little to offset the financial imbalance.


In announcing their intention to cancel this year’s Memorial Day Parade, in Saratoga Springs, New York, last week, the annual event’s sponsoring organization, listed a number of reasons, one of which really shocked this commentator’s sense of how cheaply, beyond dollar value, many of today’s Americans assess the worth of their so-called ‘Freedom.’  The sponsors literally stated the event was too ‘dollar-costly.’

At that moment, the full meaning of just how materialistically divided we’ve become, struck home.  Then, a flood of pointedly related questions arose:

Watershed Update

May 22, 2012

The vast New York City Watershed area has taken a prominent spot in the
public eye thanks to the 2011 floods AND the hydrofracking issue.
Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports the watershed is
experiencing a burst of activity...

The 70-thousand acre watershed system employs a combination of tunnels,
aqueducts and reservoirs to meet the New York City 's daily need for
fresh water.

In the interest of public safety, the security of five key bridges over the Hudson River is being tightened - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Housatonic River Status Report released by the US EPA last week comes after extensive meetings with the state governments of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The report outlines goals set by both states and the EPA, but no final cleanup plan has yet been identified.

PCB’s or polychlorinated biphenyls, are any of over 200 different believed to be cancer causing chemicals released into the Housatonic by General Electric in Pittsfield until the 1970s.

Political leaders and casino executives met late last week in Atlantic City for the 16th annual East Coast Gaming Congress and Hospitality Forum, where panelists said that individual states will likely begin approving internet gambling over the next two years because partisan gridlock in Congress.


The release last year of Martin Scorsese’s HUGO has brought to the forefront a long-deceased cinema pioneer. That would be Georges Méliès, who is played in HUGO by Ben Kingsley.

What makes Méliès so interesting historically is that he was as much an illusionist as a filmmaker. His imagination allowed him to concoct and employ a range of special effects in the films he made around the turn of the 20th century. These effects include time lapse photography, multiple exposures, and hand-painted color on film shot in black-and-white.


Pittsfield’s Zoning Board of Appeals gave unanimous approval to a 22 acre solar array on the former YMCA Camp at Ponterril. The $20 million project would sit on the 77-acre site overlooking Pontoosuc Lake, and generate three megawatts of electricity. The electricity would then be sold to the Western Massachusetts Electric Company.

Deanna Ruffer, Pittsfield’s Community Development Director, said that the project owned by Connecticut-based CTC electric, will be welcome as the city’s fourth solar project.

"Hydrokinetic Generation" could set the stage for the next battle pitting environmentalists against the state of New York - Science, Government and business leaders came together Thursday at the Beacon Institute, attending a workshop all about recommending improvements to the permitting process for hydrokinetic power generation in New York State. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

There are at least two famous airlifts associated with World War II. In 1942, when the last route from India to China was cut off, FDR made the decision that it was imperative China receive armaments and supplies for the Army Air Force in China, which was struggling to pin down Japanese forces. Both the US and UK began the appallingly dangerous air lift over the Himalayas -- from Assam (famous for its tea) in India to Kunming in China.

On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives passed a modified version of the bill that will now head to the senate. The bill would help prevent foreclosures by requiring banks to be more flexible with borrowers in their repayment plans.

The bill would require lenders to analyze loans under new standards and offer modifications that can financially benefit the borrower and bank to prevent forclosure.

Advocates for the homeless note that the recession has contributed to a
rise homelessness. In Columbia County, there are two housing proposals
under consideration by the County Board of Supervisors. Hudson Valley
Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.


The study released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection shows that the Wind One industrial turbine in the Cape Cod town of Falmouth produces noise louder than the state allows.

The report marks the first time the state has recommended a shut-off of a wind turbine.

Dave Lucas / WAMC

The issue of Hydraulic Fracturing, the gas drilling technique that extracts oil and gas from shale by blasting it with water, sand and chemicals - dominated the downtown Albany scene Tuesday:  The anti-fracking movement made a stand and a statement at the State Capitol with a full schedule of demonstrations, rallies and protests staged by various activists and green groups-


Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report


The redoubtable R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. has done it again; he has written yet another penetrating analysis of the liberal establishment in his latest book, The Death of Liberalism, Thomas Nelson, 2012.

Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York, the site of pivotal moments in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, opens for the season this week. WAMC’s Alan Chartock spoke with Executive Director Beth Hill about this summer’s programs.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a non-profit policy and research center, is working on a project to  rate the country’s schools of education.  The report is to be published by US News and World Report.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with  the think tank’s president, Kate Walsh.

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.

Although William Ross Wallace may have coined the most ardently honest description of Mothers’ Day, before the malediction of American Marketing made a mockery of it, his brief citation still exudes a reality most humans wish was true:  “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Hopes are waning that Ulster County will receive a federal designation that would boost government healthcare reimbursements for Kingston and Benedictine hospitals. The company that operates the two hospitals in Kingston says one of the facilities may have to close. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has an update...


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.


I recently presented a paper at a Hofstra University conference spotlighting the 50th anniversary of the New York Mets. My subject was “The Mets in the Movies” and I chronicled the various celluloid references to the Amazins, from Bill Mazeroski, the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer, hitting into a triple play against the Mets in the screen version of Neil Simon’s THE ODD COUPLE to Billy Crystal’s wearing a Mets baseball cap while running with the bulls in Pamplona and herding cattle in CITY SLICKERS.

Next week, the people of Williamstown will vote on municipal efforts to expand and begin the process of developing new state funded Affordable Housing in the Northern Berkshire town. According to Massachusetts’ Affordable Housing Law, every community in the Commonwealth has an obligation to develop ways to provide 10% of their housing stock available to moderate and low income families. Many Berkshire communities are well below that goal, including Williamstown.


  Construction work on publicly funded housing developments in Massachusetts should be booming in coming months. The Patrick administration has committed tens of millions of dollars to build or preserve affordable housing across the state. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        $105 million in tax credits and subsidies from federal and state programs is being awarded for 36 housing developments in 28 communities.  State officials say this will build or preserve almost 22 hundred housing units and create an estimated 3000 construction jobs.

We roll back selections from this week's WAMC Listener Comment Line. The number to call:  1-800-695-9170

The most fundamental change in the plan released by the Senate is how people pay for health care. The bill offers a new global payment system – one that replaces the old fee for service model with fixed allocations from insurance companies for care.

Health insurance companies in Massachusetts began introducing global payment options for some customers in 2009. The Governor also endorsed the idea in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal. The bill would require all state subsidized health care insurance programs make the switch over the next several years, including Medicaid.

President Barack Obama's endorsement of gay marriage on Wednesday was
welcome news throughout much of the Hudson Valley Region where WAMC's
Dave Lucas gathered reactions

Linda Mussman is the co-director of Time and Space Limited in Hudson -
she and her partner Claudia Bruce were among the first people to be
married in New York State under the marriage equality act -

Mussman believes President Obama's evolution will help bring issues of
civil rights and equality to the forefront more quickly