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

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.

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.

Sari Feldman

There was a time when the public library was the place to take out books, do some studying, or research through spools of microfilm. You can still take out a book, but libraries have changed with the times. This is National Library Week, a time to speak with the president-elect of the American Library Association, Sari Feldman.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

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

Tim Kremer
Tim Kremer

Education took center stage this budget season in Albany, with teacher evaluations, testing, and tenure the major points of debate as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislature worked on the details of the spending plan, which passed this week. Tim Kremer, the Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association, has been going over the fine print on some of the major education changes, including teacher evaluations.

While most museums focus on the past, the Iroquois Indian Museum in Howes Cave, New York makes sure the present is on display as well. Stephanie Shultes has been with the museum for 30 years, beginning as a volunteer and is now the newly appointed director.

The debate for and against Boston's bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics is well under way, with supporters now promising to bring the question to the voters in a statewide ballot referendum. Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College, is the author of a new book Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting The Olympics And World Cup. He will be speaking later today at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. Zimbalist says the gamble is a long shot for Boston, with most cities losing. But he says there were two exceptions, Barcelona in 1992 and L.A. in 1984.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

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



What began four decades ago as simple garden plots in city neighborhoods has grown into an organization that now not only grows fresh food, but delivers it to people in urban neighborhoods, and also provides nutritional information for young people. To reflect their growth, Capital District Community Gardens recently changed its name to Capital Roots. Amy Klein is the Executive Director.

The DREAM Act has once again passed the state Assembly in Albany. But once again the measure's future in the state Senate is uncertain. Supporters of the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to receive college tuition assistance from the state, are more optimistic this year of the bill making it to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's desk. Steven Choi, the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition, is in Albany today for a rally and lobbying.

WAMC/Allison Dunne

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro says consolidation will be at the foundation of his effort this year to trim the budget and save money. The Republican discussed his budget plans for 2015 after delivering his state of the county address Wednesday night.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Governor Cuomo has said he would risk a late state budget this year to get ethics reform passed in New York.

Albany County

There is a vacant space at the Albany County Nursing Home in the town of Colonie, but under a plan outlined last night by the county executive, that space could be used by the Albany Medical Center. The plan was detailed in the State of the County speech by County Executive Dan McCoy.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Like most other cities, Troy, New York is dealing with tight finances. In his recent State of the City Address, Mayor Lou Rosamilia detailed budget cuts in city departments, along with several other measures, including a parking ticket amnesty to raise revenue. But luckily for Troy, this cold and snowy winter has not yet depleted the snow removal budget, according to Rosamilia.

As a member of the nation’s most prominent political family, Patrick Kennedy has enjoyed the privileges that come with wealth and recognition. But Patrick Kennedy is also familiar with the pain and stigma felt by families across the nation dealing with mental illness. Patrick Kennedy is bipolar, and a recovering alcoholic, a condition that came to national attention after an early morning accident in Washington, D.C. in May of 2006 when he served in Congress. Now out of politics, Patrick Kennedy is devoting his attention to mental health, and has formed the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research in Washington, in partnership with former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and Morehouse College. Kennedy says one of the goals is to end the stigma of mental health.

Tiffany Van Alstyne
Albany County Sheriff

A grand jury has returned charges in a child murder case in the Capital District that shocked the public and the police. 

A murder indictment has been handed up in a case that began with a multi-state Amber Alert but ended with the discovery of a young boy's body.

The Albany County District Attorney's office says 20-year-old Tiffany VanAlstyne of Berne, in Albany County, is now facing charges of murder and manslaughter in the December strangulation death of her 5-year-old cousin, Kenneth White.

Alicia Ouellette
Albany Law School

Alicia Ouellette earned a law degree in 1994 from Albany Law School, and then began a career that included private practice, a stint as a Court of Appeals clerk and as Assistant Solicitor General in the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes is here with his January musical selections. 

Math for America

Attracting and keeping math teachers is the goal of the group Math for America. The organization says it was the model for New York's Master Teacher Program, celebrated at Thursday's State of the State by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Math for America President John Ewing says there are a number of ways to get math teachers into schools, and there are ways not to.

Tim Kremer
Tim Kremer

Among those who will be paying close attention to Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State and budget message Wednesday will be Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association. As is the case every year in Albany, education will be front and center as the budget takes shape. We spoke with Kremer Tuesday about what he hopes to hear from Gov. Cuomo tomorrow.

Scenic Hudson

There have been many suggestions recently about how New York should spend the $5 billion windfall it gained from legal settlements from banks and other financial institutions stemming from the financial meltdown of 2009. The majority seem to favor using the money the money to build and repair the infrastructure, New York's roads and bridges. But Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson, says at least half of the windfall should go to the state's environmental infrastructure.

City of Schenectady

Schenectady, like many other Northeastern cities that once hosted a major manufacturer, faced hard times as the payrolls at GE were cut and the downtown stores and the shoppers headed to the suburban malls. But with word that a major riverside casino and development are coming, there is renewed optimism in the Electric City. Mayor Gary McCarthy, who gave his state of the city address this week, says the casino is just one reason why Schenectady is looking forward.

The business and taxpayer group Unshackle Upstate has a new executive director. Greg Biryla served as the group's director of development before being appointed by the executive board to the top position. Unshackle Upstate supports hydrofracking, and Biryla says there may be a slim chance someday that the recent decision by the Cuomo administration to ban the gas drilling procedure could be reversed.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes is here with his December musical selections.

On Dec. 17, New York's casino siting board may announce where the four upstate casinos will be located, and both gambling opponents and supporters are counting down the minutes. Some of the loudest opposition to a casino has come from East Greenbush in Rensselaer County, where the group "Save East Greenbush" will hear tonight from former Connecticut Congressman and casino opponent Robert Steele. Steele says the failure of the casino law repeal in Massachusetts on Election Day was not a great surprise.

While most New Yorkers don't pay much attention to the water levels in Lake Ontario, one environmental organization says it is among the most important issues now facing the region. It is called plan 2014, and it's being promoted by the New York arm of the Nature Conservancy. Stu Gruskin is the chief conservation and external affairs officer for the Nature Conservancy.

Members of law enforcement, educators, health care, and treatment experts and others gathered at the Guilderland Town Library Tuesday evening for a panel discussion on heroin and opiate addiction. The panel was organized by Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy.

The city of Detroit is beginning to emerge from the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, and the man who helped to pull New York City out of its severe money problems back in the 1970s will be steering Detroit's long road back to recovery. Former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch has been appointed as a senior adviser to the financial review commission in Detroit. Ravitch will be at Albany Law School Wednesday afternoon at 2 for a panel discussion on Detroit and what it might mean for New York.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

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