Brian Shields

Senior News Anchor

WAMC Senior Correspondent Brian Shields has been with WAMC for 23 years as senior news anchor, host and reporter.

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Bob Stefanowski
Facebook: Bob Stefanowski

It is common for candidates to promise to lower taxes, but the Republican candidate for governor of Connecticut wants to completely eliminate a number of state taxes. Bob Stefanowski served as the chief financial officer at UBS Investment Bank and was also an executive at General Electric. If elected, Stefanowski tells WAMC’s Brian Shields he will phase out the state income tax over eight years, and the corporate income and businesses entity tax over two years and end the gift and estate tax right away.

U.S. Supreme Court

How will Brett Kavanaugh rule as a member of the U.S. Supreme Court? That question is being considered by conservatives and liberals alike. 

Facebook: Seneca-Iroquois National Museum

The long and rich history of the Seneca nation of Indians is on display at a new 33,000-square-foot, $14 million museum and cultural center in western New York. The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum is on the Allegany reservation in Salamanca and is a new and expanded version of the first museum built in 1977.

wikimedia commons/public domain

The usually placid relations between the United States and Canada were a bit choppy recently as negotiators from both nations faced a deadline to reach a trade agreement to replace NAFTA, the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement which President Trump once called a job-killing disaster. The U.S. reached an agreement with Mexico weeks ago and with time running out also reached an agreement with Canada that must be ratified by Congress. 

Facebook: Unshackle Upstate

A number of remedies have been suggested to boost the upstate New York economy. Lower taxes and fees and less regulation is the strategy for Unshackle Upstate, an organization whose stated goal is to advocate for upstate taxpayers and businesses. The group recently appointed Michael Kracker as its new executive director. 

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Tim Kremer
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Many schools across New York began the new semester with tigther security measures including resource officers, video surveillance, emergency notification systems and physical access controls at building entrances. The New York State School Boards Executive Director Tim Kremer says many districts included funding for the new security measures in their 2018-19 budgets.

DA Paul Caccaviello and attorneys Andrea Harrington and Judith Knight.
Patrick Garrett / WAMC

Today is the end of a bitter Democratic primary campaign for Berkshire County District Attorney. It features three candidates who weren’t really on the radar for the job at the beginning of the year. District Attorney Paul Caccaviello succeeded the retiring 14-year DA David Capeless in March. Judith Knight and Andrea Harrington are each seeking to move the department in a new direction. 

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat

Connecticut Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal has introduced legislation to provide disability compensation for the 1,600 U.S. airmen who were sent to Spain in 1966 to decontaminate the countryside after two U.S. Air Force jets carrying hydrogen bombs collided. The bombs fell to the ground. Blumenthal says the airmen were sent in without protective gear and were exposed to plutonium which led to cancer and other radiogenic conditions. 

Former Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Chris Mathiessen
Lucas Willard / WAMC

On Monday’s Midday Magazine, WAMC News spoke with the former executive editor of the Saratogian newspaper Barbara Lombardo about a story she wrote for last Sunday’s Albany’s Times Union. The report found that the Saratoga Springs Police Chief Gregory Veitch, in a court deposition, said no internal police department investigation was made following the death of 19-year-old Darryl Mount Jr., despite the chief’s assurance to the media at the time that there had been such a probe. Mount died nine months after his arrest following a foot chase with police, injuries police said came after he fell from a scaffold. The public safety commissioner at the time in Saratoga was Christian Mathiesen, who took issue with some parts of the Lombardo’s interview. 

Saratoga Springs City Hall
Lucas Willard / WAMC

It’s been five years since police in Saratoga Springs, New York were in a foot chase with 19-year-old Darryl Mount Jr. after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. Nine months later he was dead from injuries sustained in what police said was a fall from a scaffold as he tried to flee police. Now the Saratoga Springs police chief, Gregory Veitch, has admitted in a court deposition that he deceived the media at the time when he said an internal investigation found no police misconduct. Veitch, who is still chief, now says there was no internal probe.

Danny Castro
Tom Franklin

A growing number of communities across the nation have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities, meaning local officials, including the police, will not cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts, but is that designation more than just a slogan? The case of 29-year-old Danny Castro who was arrested in Newark, New Jersey and almost deported, despite the city’s sanctuary designation, has raised that question.

Public Domain

The November election day ballot has been set in Connecticut after Tuesday’s primary. David DesRoches, a reporter for WNPR Public Radio in Hartford, tells WAMC's Brian Shields that the contest for Elizabeth Esty’s congressional seat in the 5th House District drew a  good deal of attention as the Democrat decided not to seek re-election after a controversy within her own office this year.

Oneonta City Hall

An update on the downtown revitalization program in the city of Oneonta will be provided tonight at 7 o’clock at City Hall. Mayor Gary Herzig spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields prior to the meeting.

The Ellis Medicine logo
Facebook: Ellis Medicine

In recent years hospitals have been joining together, establishing health care networks that often include a number of hospitals and health care facilities under one organizational structure, but one hospital is going in the other direction. 

Dr. Alain Kaloyeros and Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer.

It took a federal jury in New York City only 13 hours of deliberation over two days to return guilty verdicts in the latest state government corruption trial in New York. Former SUNY Poly leader Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, once the major force behind the Cuomo administration's upstate economic development programs, was found guilty of a bid-rigging scheme that steered state contracts to favored companies in Buffalo and Syracuse. Several co-defendants were also convicted. Rob Gavin, who covered the trial for the Albany Times Union, says while Gov. Cuomo has not been accused of any wrongdoing, his name did come up, along with his former top aide Joseph Percoco, who was convicted of corruption earlier this year.

U.S. Supreme Court
WikiMedia Commons

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on union fees, labor leaders and politicians who rely on union support, have reacted with angry words. Some elected officials have signed executive orders and introduced legislation in reaction to the 5-4 ruling. But as WAMC’s Brian Shields reports, one legal expert believes the Supreme Court has had the final say.

The Hoosick Falls Village Board, file photo
Lucas Willard / WAMC

As the village board in Hoosick Falls, New York accepted another financial settlement Monday night with the two companies blamed for polluting the village water supply with the chemical PFOA, state officials were on hand to update local residents. Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International will pay $195,000, the amount Hoosick Falls lost in water and sewer revenue when the pollution shut off the village water system.

wikipedia commons/Christaras A

Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain tumor and among the deadliest forms of cancer. U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy died of the disease and U.S. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with GBM last year. But a new treatment being researched at the Albany Medical College could offer new hope. The tumor is frozen in place or blocked to slow the growth of cancer cells.

Jill Delaney
Discover Albany

Albany, N.Y. is of course the center of state government, which is part of the reason why the city gets its share of convention business. Bringing in more conventions is part of the job for Jill Delaney, the new President and CEO of Discover Albany, the Albany County travel and tourism agency. 

Carlos Ágreda
Empire State Youth Orchestra

The members of the Empire State Youth Orchestra will be led by a man who is roughly ten years older than most of the musicians. 27-year-old Carlos Ágreda was recently appointed the conductor and music director after a global search to replace Helen Cha-Pyo who stepped down after 16 years. 

Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy
Dave Lucas / WAMC

As the birthplace of General Electric, Schenectady has a long and storied history involving power, but the city has now been honored for its efforts to save energy. Schenectady and Austin, Texas shared a first prize award from The United States Conference of Mayors, which held its summer meetings this weekend in Boston.

Facebook: Massachusetts Democratic Party

Massachusetts Democrats will gather in Worcester this weekend for their party convention to select their candidates for the November elections. Katie Lannan, a reporter for State House News, says much of the attention for the delegates at the DCU Center will on the two candidates for governor, who want the party’s backing to take on Republican incumbent Charlie Baker.

GOP Formally Backs Molinaro For NY Governor

May 23, 2018
Marcus Molinaro
WAMC/Allison Dunne

Politicians from both sides of the aisle gathered today in the New York City area as the Republican and Democratic parties hold their nominating conventions. The GOP nominated Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro to run against Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo picked up the backing of Hillary Clinton today on Long Island. Our Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt is covering the GOP convention in Manhattan and listened to Molinaro’s 35-minute acceptance speech.

Wikimedia Commons/St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office

After the high school shooting in Florida in mid-February, President Trump suggested arming teachers as added security against such events, but the idea was largely rejected. A new documentary that will be screened tonight in Northampton, Massachusetts says in some school districts teachers are carrying guns, and in some cases so too are school bus drivers, custodians and other staff members. Kate Way, the co-producer and co-director of the film “G Is For Guns", spoke with WAMC's Brian Shields.

Greg Haymes
Times Union

Greg Haymes of Nippertown returns with his May music choices.

President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017.

It was President Reagan who often repeated the phrase “trust, but verify” during his nuclear arms negotiations with the Soviet Union, and in the opinion of Pace University Professor Dr. Matthew Bolton, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of on Tuesday, was a hallmark of verification. 

Facing allegations that he assaulted four women, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will resign at the close of business today. The second-term Democrat announced that he would step down Monday night — just hours after The New Yorker published a piece outlining the graphic allegations. Lawmakers, who have the power to name a replacement to the office, have been meeting today at the capitol in Albany. Capitol Correspondent Karen DeWitt says there was no indication that the former state Senator could be part of the #MeToo reckoning until last night.

U.S. Representative John Faso
U.S. Representative John Faso

With the possibility of a major breakthrough toward reconciliation looming on the Korean Peninsula after decades of danger and mistrust, New York Congressman John Faso recently visited South Korea. 

The Frontline logo Domain

The perilous journey of a refugee across often dangerous seas and hostile mountains and valleys can be video accounts to tell that story. PBS Frontline Managing Editor Andrew Metz will return to his alma mater, Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, this Saturday for a free screening of the movie Exodus, which includes smartphone videos taken by refugees. Exodus and its sequel Exodus: The Journey Continues were directed by James Bluemel who will also be at Hamilton this weekend. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

When Neil Armstrong made his historic first step on the moon almost 50 years ago, the silicone rubber in his boots was made along the banks of the Hudson River in Waterford, New York, just north of Albany in Saratoga County. The plant, once owned by General Electric began operating in 1947, and is now Momentive Performance Materials. The plant was the scene of a strike from November 2016 until February of last year with health benefits a major demand of the workers.