The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will stay open amidst the government shutdown. They’re part of the National Park Service. Governor Cuomo reached a deal with the Interior Department to have the state pay $65,000 a day to keep them open. Cuomo says New York State will keep paying to operate the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as long as Congress is at an impasse. He says the closure of the statue is a metaphor for what he says President Trump and Congress are doing through their policies on immigration.
The front row of folding chairs was empty. Eight people showed up to the meeting in the hall at the First United Methodist Church on McKinley Avenue, just a block away from the Huron Campus. It’s a tragic story: IBM employed the town, cut their jobs, then left Endicott contaminated. These folks have been through a lot - they have friends and relatives with cancer. One guy is working on a film about the contamination.
January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. On Friday, the Crime Victims Assistance Center (CVAC) expanded programming into an old school building in Endicott. CVAC works with Broome County and federal programs to counsel people who have survived sex trafficking, accompany them to court, and offer them tools to cope, among other things. “I think there’s a misconception," said Raini Baudendistel, executive director of CVAC. "When you say 'human trafficking,' people think that it might be immigrants or refugees and people are being shoved in a van and driven across state lines, and that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Listen to the excerpt on sexual assault policy from the Q&A. At a Q&A with reporters Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo criticized public radio reporter, Karen DeWitt, saying she’s minimizing the issue of sexual assault by asking him what he’d do to address it in state government. Back in November, a woman accused the former head of the state’s economic development agency - Sam Hoyt - of sexually assaulting her. She also said the Cuomo administration knew about it, but didn’t do anything. Cuomo's lawyer says they investigated it.
More and more, Jews and Muslims are finding commonalities and seeing each other as allies, says Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Director of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Many of the commonalities between Judaism, Islam, and another Abrahamic faith, Christianity come through shared Scriptures, said Visotzky, and indicate how to see each other. “There’s a wonderful verse in the Book of Exodus where Jacob comes home after 20 years in exile and he’s terrified that his brother, Esau, will be angry and murder him. But Esau greets him with a kiss - and warmly -because Esau has been able to forgive. And Jacob comments, 'Looking at your face is like seeing the face of God.' "If we could all get there, in that moment, when we look at another person, even someone we perceive to be our enemy and see the godly in them...That’s the challenge we all face.” With another example, Visotzky looks at the biblical story of Abraham - or Ibrahim in the Quran - and his son, as a shared story of offering and martyrdom.
"Four more years!" chanted the crowd gathered for Republican Mayor Rich David's watch party at Terra Cotta Catering in downtown Binghamton. When the chairman of the Broome County Republicans announced the win, David took the stage to the song "Roar" by Katy Perry. David beat Democratic challenger Tarik Abdelazim. In Otsego County, Democrat Gary Herzig easily hung on to his seat. His challenger was a Republican write-in candidate.
About 500 people gathered at the United Presbyterian Church in downtown Binghamton Tuesday night for what they call a revival of Dr. Martin Luther King’s campaign for the rights of poor people. The national group heading up the new Poor People’s Campaign is organizing people in a fifteen cities across the US, including Binghamton. Multiple faith leaders rallied attendees, talking about what they see as systemic injustices - including cash bail for jail, strict rules on voting, and a lack of a living wage. "It is systemic poverty. It’s policies put in place put in place to keep people where we are," said Rebecca Kindig, associate pastor at United Presbyterian. Her group already hosts community meals once a week and makes a point to employ people who can't find work elsewhere.
The Broome County airport is trying to figure out how to keep up in an airline industry focused on big planes and big airports. The Federal Aviation Administration just offered the airport a $1.4 million grant to review existing infrastructure and figure out what needs to change. Airlines have pulled out of the airport recently; only Delta is left. “The airline industry has kinda changed in the past few years, where they're more focused on growth between larger markets," said Hickling. "They want to fly larger aircraft between larger markets. So smaller communities aren’t really in the business model of the airlines.” As it is, the airport does not generate enough revenue to sustain itself.
Republican Representative Claudia Tenney visited Binghamton Wednesday, but refused to talk to reporters about President Trump’s comments on Charlottesville. Early Wednesday, Tenney did talk about the attacks in a phone call to WUTQ in Utica. "I condemned it immediately and I was criticized for not condemning it hard enough. But I think what the president is trying to say is, 'there's fault to be found on both sides.' And I think that there is fault to be found on both sides.
Almost all of the homes in Elmira were built before lead paint was banned, but the city is not eligible to apply for big state grants to remove it. Larger upstate cities, including Rochester and Binghamton, do qualify. And even though they are allowed to apply for federal grants, many rural and poor areas don't have enough resources to do that, because they'd have to front 10 to 25 percent of the cost. Qualifying for grants Those grants are aimed at bigger cities, because they simply have more people affected by lead, according to Stanley Schaffer, who directs the lead resource center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "It often seems that some of the smaller communities are neglected in terms of not having the same opportunities to deal with the lead problem," said Schaffer.