Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s name has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, but first, he may be facing some obstacles to win a third term as governor in 2018. Cuomo has taken actions in recent months that could be viewed as steps toward a presidential run. He’s hired key staff from President Barack Obama’s administration, as well as a new chief of staff, Maria Comella. Comella worked on Republican presidential campaigns and was a top aide for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. In speeches, Cuomo often presents a Democratic alternative to President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress, contrasting New York’s policies to those in Washington.
The Tompkins County Jail is overcrowded. The firm doing a study on how to bring the numbers down is presenting their findings Thursday evening. For a long time, the state granted the jail a waiver to go overcapacity, but last year told them to find a long term solution. So, the legislature hired a Rochester consulting company – the Center for Governmental Research – to analyze the programs inside and outside the jail – programs like substance abuse treatment, house arrest bracelets, and drug courts. The major finding of the study: don’t add more beds to the jail, instead, expand the programs. Overall, Paula Ioanide, Assistant Professor at Ithaca College and member of the criminal justice reform group, Decarcerate Tompkins, appreciated how comprehensive the study is.
The Endless Mountain Music Festival opens July 21 and continues through August 5 with fifteen concerts in various locations in Tioga and Potter Counties in Pennsylvania, and Steuben and Chemung Counties in New York. We hear from conductor and Artistic Director Stephen Gunzenhauser. http://wskg.org/audio/endlessmtns.mp3
The second voter survey in two weeks shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating plummeting to a near record low. According to the Siena College poll, Cuomo’s job performance rating dropped to 43 percent. His overall favorability rating, at 52 percent, is down nine points from just two months ago. Last week, a poll by Quinnipiac University also found the governor’s approval rating at a near-record low. Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg said the major reason is transit troubles downstate; riders overwhelmingly blame Cuomo for the mess. “Given this ‘summer of hell,’ as he described it, and what’s going on with MTA service, mass transit, down in the New York City area,” Greenberg said.
RARE Creatures of the Photo Ark airs on WSKG July 18, 2017 at 9pm. Joel started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, over a decade ago. Since then, he has visited over 40 countries and completed portraits of more than 6,500 species in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, which will feature portraits of an estimated 12,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. As part of Joel’s deeper collaboration with National Geographic, the project is now called the National Geographic Photo Ark. No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect.
Face It! Theatre and Southern Tier Actors Read present ‘The Fertile River’ by Binghamton born playwright Vincent Terrell Durham. Directors Judy McMahon and J. Vaclav Michalec tell about finding this powerful story about the eugenics programs in mid-20th century America. http://wskg.org/audio/fertile.mp3
New York’s top elected Democrats rallied against the Republican Congress’ proposals to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, saying they will take legal action, if necessary, to stop it. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, speaking Monday before a crowd of unionized health care workers at Mount Sinai Hospital, said if the plans to repeal and replace Obamacare in the GOP-led Senate and House do become law, he will sue on behalf of New Yorkers. “I’ve developed a bit of a reputation since January as the guy who sues Donald Trump and the federal government,” Schneiderman said to cheers. “Always on the merits, and boy, have we got a lot of merits on our side.” This is not the first time that Schneiderman has made the threat. The attorney general said after the House passed its version of the Obamacare repeal and replacement that court action was likely. Schneiderman said provisions in both the Senate and House plans to defund Planned Parenthood services “would create an undue burden” on women’s constitutional right to reproductive health care, including the right to choose abortion.
Monday is the deadline for public comments on the cleanup status of the Ithaca Falls Overlook. New York State says “No Further Action” is needed. The Overlook is just one part of the area that was contaminated with lead from the former Ithaca Gun Factory. A status of “No Further Action” means the state Department of Environmental Conservation will do periodic inspections and maintenance of the Overlook, but active soil excavation is finished unless future screenings show elevated contamination. “There is ongoing involvement by the Department with the City [of Ithaca] in their work at the site,” said Gary Priscott, project manager with the DEC. “But the health exposures and protection of the environment have been taken care of.”
Side by side comparison of a coral reef, before and after bleaching. Credit: Chasing Coral
Science Friday: Coral bleaching occurs when warmer-than-normal waters stress corals and cause them to expel the colorful algae that live symbiotically in their cells. A bleached coral is still alive, but is likely to die if the stress lasts too long. An estimated 30 percent of the world’s monitored reef formations have already perished as the climate has heated up. [This hybrid coral withstands climate change better than its relatives.]
As reefs around the world have suffered bleaching events—including several that are still affecting large portions of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—one group of filmmakers worked for nearly three years to document the devastation in real time and share it with the public.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today awarded three grants totaling nearly $1 million for programs in New York’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEC’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program administers the grants. “Riparian buffers are critical to New York’s continued effort to reduce nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York, along with six other jurisdictions, are working together to restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos. “Riparian buffers have the added benefit of reducing flood impacts, creating wildlife habitat, and providing shade to streams. These land acquisitions and conservation easements will permanently protect these riparian areas and help improve and sustain water quality and habitat.”