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

Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig
Gary Herzig

City officials in Oneonta heard an update from a consulting firm last evening on a new comprehensive plan for the city. Elan Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture of Saratoga Springs was hired for $90,000  to help the city plan its future. A steering committee appointed by the mayor will hear from the public as part of the process. Gary Herzig, the mayor of Oneonta, says the city needs to update its plans for the future.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes is back with his February music selections.

1. Cindy Cashdollar and Sonny Landreth, "Sliding Home," from Cindy Cashdollar's album Sliding Home, playing at The Egg in Albany on Saturday.

2. Super 400, "Flashlight" from their album Sweet Fist playing at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Troy on Saturday.

3. James McMurtry, "Pocatello" from his album Childish Things, playing at The Hangar in Troy on  February 24.

Dr. Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University
Clarkson University

There is a new member of the higher education community in the capital region. Clarkson University based in Potsdam, New York, is now in Schenectady. The Clarkson University Capital Region Campus at 80 Nott Terrace in Schenectady is the former Union Graduate College. Clarkson University President Dr. Tony Collins tells WAMC’s Brian Shields that the merger which took effect February 1st began to take shape just over one year ago.

Orange County Chamber of Commerce/Energize NY

Governor Andrew Cuomo has set an energy mandate for New York. By the year 2030, 50 percent of the state’s electricity needs will be met with renewable resources, such as solar and wind power.  To get there, the state has set up a program under which colleges can compete for $1-million awards for the best energy ideas, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has set up a 10-year, $5-billion Clean Energy Fund. John Rhodes, the CEO and president of NYSERDA, explains to WAMC’s Brian Shields how that money will be used.

After decades of violence, distrust and broken negotiations, can a lasting peace ever be achieved between Israel and the Palestinians? A man who has tried to bridge that gap will be speaking this evening at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Dr. Gershon Baskin has been an advisor to both Isreali and Palestinian leaders and has been involved in backchannel negotiations, one of which led to the release of an abducted Israeli soldier.

Thirty-five years ago, an airport in the Hudson Valley marker the end of a long and troubling event in American history. January 25, 1981 was a cold Sunday at Stewart Airport, but it was a very warm and welcoming place as well. It was at Stewart Airport that the Americans who were held hostage in Iran for 444 days returned home. WAMC's Hudson Valley Correspondent Hank Gross was there that day covering the events for a local radio station.


The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week on a case that could have a big impact on unions, especially in the public sector. A teacher in California objects to paying union fees for activities which she does not support. A Supreme Court ruling in 1977 upheld those so-called fair-share fees, to support the benefits all union members receive under collective bargaining. For more on the case, and what it could mean for the labor movement, we spoke with attorney Mike Billok, a labor and employment expert with the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King

Tim Kremer
Tim Kremer

While some issues come and go at the state capitol in Albany, education always remains on the agenda for the governor and the state legislature, and this year will be no different. The theme of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday was “ built to lead,” but Tim Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association says a better description might be a work in progress.

  Actor Charlie Sheen’s recent announcement that he is HIV-positive shed new light, albeit temporary , on a disease that once dominated health care policy and the headlines. It may not get as much attention, but HIV and AIDS is still a serious health care issue, and one organization still in the fight is the Alliance for Positive Health in Albany. William Faragon was recently selected as the organization’s new executive director, and spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields. 

File photo by Lucas Willard / WAMC

It could be months before some 5,000 people in a small town to the east of Albany can use the municipal water supply. The EPA recently urged people in Hoosick Falls in Rensselaer County not to drink or cook with the water. In addition, children and people with skin conditions should avoid long showers or baths. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck says the water in Hoosick Falls has been contaminated with the chemical PFOA.

When moviegoers leave the theater after taking in the latest chapter in the Star Wars story, will it translate into a new or renewed interest in the exploration of the universe? The answer to that question is a definite "yes" according Dr. John Delano, a distinguished teaching professor emeritus of atmospheric and environmental sciences at the University at Albany who has worked on NASA-funded projects including the chemical analysis of samples brought back from the moon.

Saru Jayaraman
Saru Jayaraman

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to push for a $15 an hour minimum wage for all New Yorkers during the legislative session that begins next month, one organization says New York should make sure everyone gets the higher wage, especially workers who rely on tips. Saru Jayaraman is the co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United and director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California at Berkeley. 

Greg Haymes
Times Union

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

National Education Association

 No Child Left Behind is being left behind as both the House and Senate in Washington have agreed on a new comprehensive education bill that now goes to the president’s desk. The measure, which President Obama is expected to sign, will give more power back to the states, but it will maintain federal mandates for testing for grades three through eight. However states will have authority over how these test results are used in gauging student and teacher performance. The President of the National Education Association Lily Eskelsen-Garcia spoke with WAMC News today about the new law.

National Resources Defense Council

The Cuomo Administration has set a goal of New York obtaining 50 percent of its energy needs through renewable sources such as wind and solar by the year 2030. That’s only 15 years away, so can that goal be met? Kit Kennedy is the Director of the Energy and Transportation Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She worked for Andrew Cuomo when he was state attorney general and says the goal of 2030 can be met.

Photo by Jean-Gabriel Neukomm
National Endowment For The Humanities

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation authorizing The Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission, which will implement events and programs marking the role New York played in the suffrage movement nationwide, and the right for women to vote. Sara Ogger is the Executive Director of the New York Council For The Humanities, which will be organizing and providing funding for events across the state marking the celebration of the Suffrage Movement 100 years ago.

Working Families Party
Working Families Party

Like the Republicans and the Democrats, the Working Families Party continues to look back at the results from election day two weeks ago with an eye on 2016, which will be a busy year with Congress, the state legislature and the White House all on the ballot. The New York State Director of the Working Families Party, Bill Lipton, says the party ran nearly 1,000 candidates in New York and did well, while many of the candidates who were backed by the party line also ran as Democrats and Republicans.

Klezmer music has enjoyed growing popularity in recent years, but its roots go back centuries to Eastern Europe. The music has also been influenced by American trends after arriving on these shores. For more on Klezmer, its sound and its history, we spoke with Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics, who will play this Sunday at The Egg in Albany.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

It's November and here are Greg Haymes' musical selections for this month: 

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Nippertown's Greg Haymes stopped by with something a little different this month: a roundup of some seasonal Halloween songs.

Half Moon Market

The tulips are long gone for another year, but the leaves are now providing the color at Washington Park in Albany, a perfect setting for the Half Moon Market, an independent craft fair that will be held this Saturday and Sunday at the Washington Park Playhouse. For more on the market, we spoke with two of the organizers: Adelia Sugarman of Owlkill Studio and Caroline Corrigan, co-founder of the Fort Orange General Store in Albany.

October brought a new Executive Director to the Pride Center of the Capital Region. Michael Weidrich has served as the Interim Director, and has been on the staff of the Pride Center since 2012.The Center serves approximately 40,000 members of the LGBTQ community in ten Eastern New York counties. WAMC’s Brian Shields spoke with Michael Weidrich.

There's a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president who promises to step down from office and hand power to the vice president once he signs a campaign and election reform bill into law. Lawrence Lessig, 54, a South Dakota native, Harvard professor and attorney, also ran a poll to determine who the voters want as his running mate. Lessig says he would leave the White House if Congress agrees to pass the Citizens Equality Act 2017.

The 21st annual Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer research will take place Saturday in Albany at the Empire State Plaza. There is a 5-k coed run and a two-mile family walk. For more on the event and for an update on efforts to prevent and cure breast cancer, we spoke with Tori Roggen, executive director of the Northeastern New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.

Librarians want to make sure that when we pick up a book at the library we have a full range of choices. The American Library Association has declared September 27th to October 3rd “Banned Books Week." For more we spoke with Barbara Jones, the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association.

WAMC this week is hosting two foreign journalists, Ulviyya Akhundova of Azerbaijan and Iryna Kyporenko of Ukraine. They spoke with WAMC's Brian Shields about what they're learning during a two-week stay in the U.S., and what it's like being a reporter back home.

March Gallagher

A new president and CEO will take over soon at The Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, a philanthropic organizations that works to benefit Dutchess, Ulster and Putnam counties by raising money for scholarships, grants, endowment funds and charitable organizations. The Board of Trustees recently named March Gallagher as CEO and president effective Sept. 28. She is now with Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

It's harvest season, and there's quite a cornucopia of great music festivals on the calendar this month:

Legal action may be the next step in the controversy over the transfer of the Orange County town of Monroe to the neighboring Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel. The annexation of 164 acres was approved this week by the Monroe town board. Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus is opposed to the move for a number of reasons, including how the process was carried out and the strain it will put on county services like the sewers and infrastructure.

  As the new school year began , the New York State School Boards Association urged a truce in education, asking all sides of the often emotional debate over common core and other issues to hold off on the arguments and focus instead on the students who were returning to class. The executive director of the State School Boards Association, Tim Kremer, says unfortunately the truce did not last very long.