The Ithaca-based musical group Answer the Muse has performances coming up at Oquaga Lake, at the Ithaca Festival, and at the Faerie Festival. We hear from founders Jai Hari Meyerhoff and Susan Ceili Murphy about how the group got started, their multi-faceted performances, and the wide range of venues they play. http://www.wskg.org/audio/muse.mp3
After an embarrassing controversy over stipend payments, the beleaguered group of breakaway Democrats in the state Senate is trying to change the subject. The eight-member Independent Democratic Conference has been the target of some bad headlines lately because some of its members have accepted stipend payments of $12,500 to $18,000 for chairing committees when they were in fact the vice chairs, a position that does not legally entitle a senator to extra pay, or “lulus.” The IDC’s leader, Sen. Jeff Klein, has said repeatedly that it’s all legal. “We’re within the law,” Klein said on May 16. And the Republicans who control the Senate with the help of the IDC agree.
The Goodwill Theatre welcomes Tri-Cities Opera alumna Cynthia Clarey, who will perform her cabaret act ‘What Becomes of the Broken Hearted’ at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage on Thursday, May 25. She joins us via Skype from Chicago to talk about putting together a very personal act. She also tells about how her career unexpectedly turned from musical theatre to opera, and about her encounter with a very famous singer. http://wskg.org/audio/clarey.mp3
ALBANY (WSKG) – There are reports that state senators who received payments for chairing committees that they actually did not chair are now under a probe by the state attorney general and at least one U.S. attorney. Several Republican and independent Democratic senators were paid stipends allocated to chairs of Senate committees. But the senators weren’t actually the chairs; they had all been designated as vice chairs, a relatively new title. There is no provision in state law to pay stipends to vice chairs. Senators have defended the practice as perfectly legal, based on the Senate GOP leadership’s top lawyer, who has issued a memo justifying the practice. Senate Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein said his members have been “transparent” about the arrangement.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — Dozens of activists are marching from Philadelphia to Harrisburg to demand lawmakers enact three government reform bills. The members of grassroots organization March on Harrisburg will have spent 10 days walking about 100 miles. At night, they’ve been sleeping in donated spaces, like churches. Pittsburgh coordinator Madeline Whitehill explained, they’re doing all this to show lawmakers they’re serious about government reform. “We have a failing system,” Whitehall said. “Our voice is not heard.
As the TV Program Manager for WSKG, I watch a lot of videos. Here on wskg.org, I’ll share a glimpse at some of my favorite programs that WSKG will broadcast and video clips I think you should check out online. I hope you enjoy! And let me know what you think – tell us in the comments. — Stacey
This episode is the fifth in the new six-part series “Being Poor in New York State.” WCNY director of public affairs, Susan Arbetter hosts this program where we explore what it looks like to live in New York State without enough food, clothing, housing, money or means. Being poor often means a daily struggle to fight a system seemingly stacked against those on the margins of society, while also fighting against desperation and hopelessness. In this WCNY six-part “Connect: NY” series, viewers are exposed to the world of poverty in New York State and the choices and sacrifices both the urban and rural poor must make every day to survive. Who are the working poor? If you are working one job or multiple jobs, is it still possible to fall short financially when it comes to affording the basic necessities of life? The United Way’s study of financial hardship, nicknamed “ALICE” referring to Asset Limited,Income Constrained, Employed individuals aims to answer these questions and provide a broader picture of financial insecurity than just state and federal poverty guidelines.
photo credit: Missouri Department of Public Safety
Science Friday airs on WSQX weekly Fridays from 2-4pm
In 2009, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a harsh critique of forensic science: Many of the techniques long relied upon, such as matching bite marks or hair samples, or even crime scene fingerprints, to suspected criminals, are actually unreliable and lack any basis in scientific research. In 2015, the FBI admitted that its analyses of hair samples tilted unfairly in favor of the prosecution in 95 percent of reviewed cases. The end of April saw the expiration of the multidisciplinary National Commission on Forensic Science, created by President Obama to establish standards and bring rigor to forensic science. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the Department of Justice will conduct an internal review on how to move forward on reforming forensic science, and will perhaps lean more heavily on law enforcement than did Obama’s commission, which included independent scientists, lab directors, attorneys, and more. [Forensic entomologists hunt down insects to help catch criminals.]
One of those independent scientists, West Virginia University forensic chemistry professor Suzanne Bell, joins Ira to explain the impact of losing the commission, the ongoing lack of consistent scientific rigor in forensics investigations, and how to improve forensic science.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) — At the behest of Democratic Governor Tom Wolf and top Republicans, the state Auditor General is launching a formal review of how the Democratic National Convention’s host committee spent state money. The state gave the DNC committee a $10 million grant last summer to help fund its event, which was held in Philadelphia. Ultimately, the committee–which is chaired by former Governor Ed Rendell–ended up with a $4 million surplus. Among other things, that money was used to give bonuses to staff members. Lawmakers argue any extra money should have gone back to the state. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said his investigation has two possible outcomes: either the DNC misused funds by spending the surplus, or the state simply didn’t make its grant terms strict enough.
HARRISBURG (WSKG) – Paul Mango, a health care consultant running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has so far kept an extremely low profile. Mango still hasn’t granted any media interviews. But speeches at his official campaign announcement events have shed a little light on the man who, at this stage, is a political unknown. One thing Mango has made clear? He’s not a politician. “We need Harrisburg to start doing its job and stop doing ours,” he said at his speech in Pittsburgh.