Emmy Award-winning Insight is a weekly public affairs show co-hosted by veteran journalists Susan Arbetter, WCNY’s news and public affairs director and host of The Capitol Pressroom, and Jim Aroune, WCNY’s vice president of TV and radio. Arbetter and Aroune tell stories that provide insight into the most pressing issues facing viewers in WCNY’s 19-county viewing area.
Susan Arbetter is an award-winning broadcast journalist who brings more than 15 years of experience as an Albany correspondent. In 2013, she was honored by “City & State” for journalism in the news magazine’s “Above and Beyond” awards.
Jim Aroune is WCNY’s vice president of radio and television operations and has worked in the field for 28 years. Prior to joining WCNY, Aroune worked as a television news anchor and manager for Time Warner Cable’s news division in Rochester and Buffalo for 20 years. Aroune has earned Emmy, Edward R. Murrow, Associated Press, NYS Broadcasters, Telly and Syracuse Press Club awards for his work in television.
Airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on WCNY(24.1) and re-airs Sundays at 5:30 p.m. on WCNY and Sundays at 8:30 p.m. on World.
Professor Robert Howarth and colleagues including Anthony Ingraffea have been studying the greenhouse effects from natural gas production for a number of years. Their 2011 paper on the subject was considered groundbreaking; Time Magazine named Howarth and Ingraffea to their list of the 100 most influential people in 2011. Howarth is also an outspoken critic of hydrofracking; proponents of fracking called his work “garbage science.” Howarth and Ingraffea have continued to research the topic and its effect on climate, recently releasing an updated analysis based on new studies and reports. The leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, who is visiting the United States, has even issued an encyclical on the topic of climate change. For more information, visit these online resources:
An April, 2015 climate change-related presentation by Cornell professors Howarth and Ingraffea.
Howarth and Ingraffea present further evidence about the need for reducing natural gas use for climate stability.
An interesting look at the Environmental Defense Fund and its industry-collaborative study of methane leaks in natural gas drilling, which excluded the work of Howarth and Ingraffea, strong industry critics.
Links to some of the published work of Robert Howarth.
A look at Cornell University’s Robert Howarth, the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology and Environmental Biology, including the research focus of his lab at Cornell and a list of some of his publications.
Roman Catholic Pope Francis’s recent published views on climate change.
The Craft New York Act, designed to encourage the growth of the craft beverage industry in New York State, was signed by Governor Cuomo on Nov. 13, 2014, and became effective December 14, 2014. The Act reduces regulations the industry has found to be burdensome, allows for the direct sale of beverages to consumers, and increases production caps. The law also includes $3 million in beverage promotional and tourism-related grant funding. For more information about the law and reaction to its passage, as well as information about the craft beverage industry in Central New York, visit the online resources below:
Governor Cuomo’s office press release regarding the Craft New York Act along with $3 million in promotional beverage funding grants.
This legislation page of the NYS Brewers Association includes brief notes about the Craft Act Legislation and information about the Beer Trail.
An overview of how alcohol sales in New York State has been handled and how the Craft New York Act impacts alcohol sales.
A Wall Street Journal piece exploring the effects of the Craft New York Act on craft distillers.
This article provides a look at the changes that different states have made in alcohol regulations as well as some notes of caution from other players in the beverage industry.
This website provides news and information related to brewing and the production of other “spirits” in the Central New York region.
The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance not only promotes the over 100 wineries in the region but also craft breweries, cideries, and distilleries, along with designated beverage trails.
This link will bring you to information about the beverage summit.
Governor Cuomo announced that he plans to convene another panel that will examine the state’s Common Core program and ask the panel for recommendations by January. The Governor has been critical of the program’s rollout by the NYS Department of Education and is sympathetic to parents who have chosen to have their children “opt out” of state testing. With a recently appointed NYS Commissioner of Education, next year’s budget discussions looming, and lower test scores, discussion around this issue is sure to intensify. A look at some of the news coverage regarding the Governor’s recent comments, as well as links to NYS Department of Education websites, can be found below.
Governor Cuomo to appoint a panel to take another look at the Common Core program.
Critique of NYS Governor Cuomo’s recent statement about “taking another look” at NYS Common Core learning standards.
NYS Education Commissioner Elia tells group that parents having their children “opt out” of testing is not reasonable.
An interesting look at some of the facts and figures surrounding the employment of NYS Education commissioners.
This is the New York State website for information about NYS education including reports about recent school testing, a parent’s guide to Common Core Learning Standards, and much more.
This is the website for the NYS Department of Education that features information not only about preK-12 education in the state, but adult learning, licensing of professionals, vocational programs, and much more.
This is a look at some positive aspects of the Common Core in reference to math.
All Five candidates, Democrats and Republicans, vying to be elected mayor of Rome, NY participated in a debate at Rome’s Capitol Theatre before an audience of approximately 600 people. The debate occurred on Wednesday, September 2, barely a week before the September 10 primary. The debate was sponsored by the Utica-Rome League of Women Voters. For a sample of news coverage regarding the debate, explore the links below:
The Rome Sentinel’s report on the mayoral debate held before the upcoming primary.
Coverage of the debate by the Utica Observer Dispatch.
Candidates running for the position of mayor in Rome, NY define positions during local debate.
A look at the five candidates, including incumbent Joe Fusco, prior to the mayoral debate.
SUNY Poly Quad C website and Information of the construction for the New Quad C facilities
NYS State Website Info on the Governors Announcement
AMS Website the company that has invested to utilize the Quad C site for distribution for tech products.
GE Global Research, will also utilize the Quad C site along with the perspective Marcy Site located on SUNY Poly Campus.
Protecting our natural resources, especially water, is a topic that has drawn a lot of attention across New York State. This Insight program revisits the issues – and strong feelings – around a proposal to create or expand underground storage of propane and natural gas in the Finger Lakes, principally near the Watkins Glen area, not far from the shores of one of New York State’s Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake. The websites below provide history to the discussion, a discussion that has resulted, in the past, with protestors of the proposals being arrested. Many of the concerns about underground gas storage are similar to those associated with hydrofracking, which was recently banned in New York State.
This piece looks at the safety and environmental concerns associated with Crestwood’s gas storage business.
A look at the continuing controversy about Crestwood’s plans to expand natural gas storage and add propane storage as well in caverns along Seneca Lake.
This article alludes to informal support from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to the Crestwood Midstream plans.
What is the DEC position on this issue?
Healthcare workers pass a resolution opposing liquid propane gas storage along Seneca Lake.
Winery owners explain why they are fighting gas storage plans for the Finger Lakes area.
The process for approving a gas storage facility moves one step closer to approval.
The Ithaca Common Council passed a resolution opposing propane gas storage near Seneca Lake.
This is the website for a coalition of citizens and organizations opposed to Inergy LP’s proposal to store propane gas in the Watkins Glen area.
A look at the issue of storing gas in salt caverns.
This piece takes a look at the company who wants to store propane gas in unusable salt caverns near Seneca Lake and some of the issues surrounding their plan.
Information about Crestwood (which merged with Inergy LP) which favors the storage of gas in underground salt caverns.
Watkins Glen village board votes against gas storage plans.
Gov. Cuomo, via executive order, named state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to serve as a special prosecutor to handle cases where unarmed civilians die at the hands of police officers. The Governor believes, in the face of the deaths of civilians like Eric Garner, that this will build flagging confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system. Some critics point out that local police and district attorneys have to work so closely together, that to question fairness might be a reasonable conclusion. The appointment is for one year. Cuomo had proposed this to the NYS Legislature as part of a series of reforms to the criminal justice system, but the NYS Senate and Assembly did not approve the proposals. State Attorney General Schneiderman is now responsible for prosecuting cases that involve the shooting deaths of civilians by police officers. See more about this issue by visiting the sites below:
Some journalists believe that local prosecutors should not be involved in cases of the deaths of civilians involving police officers.
Governor Cuomo appoints Attorney General as investigator of cases that involve civilians killed by police officers.
District Attorney Fitzpatrick notifies the Attorney General regarding the death of a civilian.
The importance of rebuilding trust between police and the community is the focus of this article.
Not everyone agrees with the Governor’s executive order.
District attorneys in Herkimer and Oneida County will obey but oppose Governor’s Cuomo’s order that a special prosecutor – the state Attorney General – must prosecute cases where unharmed civilians are killed by police officers.
The State District Attorneys Association believes the Governor’s order puts” politics over public policy.”
The Legislative Correspondents Association of New York State, for 115 years, has hosted an annual dinner show. Those shows, over the years, have featured many famous moments. Insight takes a look at the show with WCNY’s own legislative correspondent, Susan Arbetter.
Visit http://lcapressroom.com/ , the online home of the Association where you can find news bulletins as well as contact information for those in the media who report on New York State government.
Most residents of New York State are familiar with the Erie Canal, the world’s most successful canal, which continues to operate today. Barges loaded with “lumber, coal, and hay” plied the four foot deep ditch that opened in 1825, but today you’ll find tour boats, kayaks, and rental “narrowboats” on the canal, with cyclists, walkers, and runners using adjacent canal trails. Today’s Erie Canal System, which includes the Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca Canals, has evolved into a recreational waterway that draws visitors from around the globe. In addition to tourism, New York’s Canals also stimulate economic development in canalside communities. For more information regarding the Erie Canal, visit the online resources noted below.
The famous Erie Canal is a world-class tourism attraction.
Erie Canalway tourism itineraries combine canal sites with national parks located within the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
The Erie Canal is more than a waterway. Adjacent trails are becoming popular with cyclists who bike and sightsee at the same time.
This is the website for the National Park Service’s Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.
Boating on the Erie Canal.
A look at the Erie Canal’s trail system.
Buffalo’s development of its historic canal harbor means big business.
The New York State Constitution calls for the possibility of a constitutional convention every 20 years. Voters decide whether or not they want a convention by casting their votes in a statewide referendum.
A constitutional convention is a way for voters to address questions about NYS government and to review and potentially update this governance document. On November 7, 2017 voters will have a chance to decide whether or not they wish to have a constitutional convention held. In some circles, there has been discussion about this for nearly a decade, with some favoring a convention and others concerned that if a convention is held and changes made to the Constitution, that they made lose benefits they currently enjoy. Listed below are some sites to explore, including one where you can read the Constitution yourself.
This website provides an overview of what a constitutional convention involves, the 1967 convention, and an overview of what is involved in having a convention.
The New York State Teachers Union weighs in on a possible 2017 constitutional convention.
This organization, formed to promote civic engagement and political reform in NYS, is advocating for a constitutional convention in 2017.
An opinion piece on why NYS should hold a constitutional convention.
This pro-convention site includes a flowchart timeline should New Yorkers vote to hold a convention.
The Siena College Research Institute will help measure New Yorkers’ interest in a Constitutional Convention.
The New York State Constitution, including amendments, is posted here.
Programs at all levels of government are helping military veterans to become “agricultural entrepreneurs”, pursuing farming as a post-military career option. This episode of Insight takes a look at this movement in Central New York. The 2014 Federal Farm Bureau made special mention of military veterans as “beginning farmers” and included funding for veterans trying to buy equipment and animals for farming as well as support for programs helping veterans enter the agricultural field in all parts of the country including Central New York. Life as a farmer appears to be a therapeutic employment field for veterans dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To learn more, visit the online resources below:
Cornell, through its Cornell Small Farms Program, provides outreach and services to the veterans involved in agriculture.
A story of a Vetfarms program, begun in Oswego, to introduce veterans to farming.
The Binghamton, New York Vets Center promotes farming to veterans, especially those who saw service in Afghanistan and Iraq as a peaceful and healing career choice.
Madison County Farm Bureau proud to showcase veterans as farmers in parade float.
Veteran farmers and 2014 Farm Bill benefits.
Overview of efforts at the federal level for former military personnel to turn to farming as a post-war/service career option.
As evidenced by the website of a group in California, the “military feeding America” movement is nationwide.
Listed below are organizations contacted for this episode of Insight with a link to their respective websites.
AgrAbility– The vision of AgrAbility is to enable a lifestyle of high quality for farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural workers with disabilities, including but not exclusively, disabled veterans, so that they, their families, and their communities continue to succeed in rural America. http://www.agrability.org
Beginning Farmers Program– First launched in September of 2008, Beginningfarmers.org is a comprehensive compilation of information resources on farm financing, finding land, business planning, agricultural production and marketing, and much more available to all, including veterans. Beginning Farmers provides content relevant to new, experienced, and aspiring farmers, as well as farm educators, activists, and policy makers. http://www.beginningfarmers.org
Cornell Cooperative Extension – Cornell Cooperative Extension puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability and social well-being. The organization brings local experience and research based solutions together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world. The organization works with veterans interested in farming. http://www.cce.cornell.edu
Heroic Food– The mission of Heroic Food is to prepare and train military veterans for careers in sustainable farming, agricultural trades, and food entrepreneurship in a veteran-supportive environment. http://heroicfood.org
Institute for veterans and military families– The IVMF, located in Syracuse, is the first national center in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. http://vets.syr.edu
Veterans & Farmers Coalition– This organization is committed to cultivating a new generation of farmers and food leaders, and develop viable employment and meaningful careers through the collaboration of the farming and military communities. Their efforts are found on the belief that veterans possess the unique skills and character needed to strengthen rural communities and create sustainable food systems and that agriculture offers purpose, opportunity, and physical and psychological benefits. http://www.farmvetco.org
The 2015 New York State Legislative session, originally scheduled to end June 17, still had many unresolved issues to face, forcing a session extension. This year saw a change of leadership in both the Assembly and Senate, due to federal corruption charges levied against Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. For a look at last-minute legislative issues and negotiations, click on the resource links below.
An overview of the last hours of the 2015 legislative session and comments on what this year’s session accomplished.
Tensions rose as the New York State legislature was winding down, although the prospect of a session extension loomed large.
A look at key issues that faced the New York State legislature and decision-making around them.
More perspective on what might be accomplished in the rush to close out the 2015 legislative session.
This online source focuses on the ramifications to education embedded in NYS legislation passed in the 2015 legislative session.
Legislation proposed by Senator DeFrancisco to make the wood frog the New York State amphibian is not without opposition.
Auburn, New York, a small city rich in historic and cultural sites and organizations, is billed as History’s Hometown. Recent books and a major film on Abraham Lincoln focused attention on William Seward, former New York State governor and Lincoln’s Secretary of State, whose home is in Auburn. Just down the street from the Seward site is the Harriet Tubman Home, with a pending National Park Service designation. Tubman’s role as an abolitionist, humanitarian and even a Union spy during the Civil War is well-documented. Tubman was a regular visitor to the Seward home and in fact, purchased property in Auburn from Seward. Add to this the Willard Memory Chapel, the Case Research Lab Heritage at the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, and the Ward O’Hara Agricultural Museum and much more and it is clear that heritage and cultural tourism brings visitors from out-of-town, which in turn means economic development for the community. To assist you in learning more about Auburn and its strong ties to history, explore the online resources below:
Website for the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn, NY.
Harriet Tubman Day in Auburn, NY.
Senator Schumer is pushing for an upcoming film about Harriet Tubman to be shot in Auburn.
Movement afoot to have Harriet Tubman replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.
Update on progress regarding the naming of the Auburn Tubman site as a national park.
National Park Service brief story about the Harriet Tubman home and her purchase of property from William Seward.
A look at the Harriet Tubman – Seward Family connections.
Website for the Seward House Museum, Auburn, NY.
Auburn is billed “History’s Hometown” and historic sites and organizations are important part of the economic development of the community.
Auburn, NY website focused on Auburn’s historic and cultural sites, events, and even lesson plans for teachers to utilize.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri delivered is 2015 State of the City address this month. He reviewed how life in Utica has improved since he was elected as mayor in 2012. Today, credit rating institutions look favorably on Utica and there have been 1300 jobs created. He wants to develop a “recovery plan” for the city’s over 200 miles of roads while announcing that the city is installing solar panels on city buildings, a move that will save Utica at least $8 million over the next 25 years.
You can watch the address right here:
For more about the speech and Mayor Palmieri, please visit the online resources below:
A brief overview of the 2015 State of the City speech by Utica Mayor Palmieri.
The theme of Utica Mayor’s State of the City address focused on “the comeback” story that is Utica today.
Background on the Mayor of Utica, Robert M. Palmieri from the Mayor’s office website.
Hockey – in the form of the Utica Comets – is big in Utica and this story recounts the wager between mayors of the opposing teams.
Creating more affordable housing is a commitment of Mayor Palmieri.
Senator David J. Valesky, an Oneida, NY native, was first elected to the New York State Senate in November 2004. He represents the 53rd Senate District, composed of Madison County and parts of Oneida and Onondaga counties, including the majority of the City of Syracuse.
As indicated on his Senate webpage, Senator Valesky is the Deputy Leader of the Independent Democratic Conference. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Health Committee. He is a member of the Senate Aging; Agriculture; Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business; Education; Finance; Higher Education; Local Government; Rules; and Transportation Committees. He is also a member of the Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Rural Resources Commission, as well as the Senate Select Committees on Libraries and on Science, Technology, Incubation and Entrepreneurship.
This episode of Insight profiles Senator Valesky and his reflections about corruption in the NYS Legislature. In 2011, Senator Valesky joined three other Senators to form the Independent Democratic Conference as a way to help resolve the partisanship and arguing in Albany government and to make it more responsive to the needs of the public. Visit the online resources below for additional information about the Senator and some of the initiatives in which he is involved:
Senator Valesky’s New York State Senate home page.
The Senator discusses the 2015 NYS Legislature budget process.
Bi-partisan support for the creation of Consensus, the commission on government modernization in Onondaga County includes a $250,000 state grant secured by State Senator John A. DeFrancisco, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and supported by State Senator David J. Valesky.
2015 policy agenda for the Independent Democratic Conference, of which Senator Valesky is a member.
Senator Valesky and others respond to student letters regarding New York State aid.
John Katko, the 24th District Congressman from Central New York, has been in Washington, D.C. now for over 100 days. Some are viewing the Republican as more of an independent, based on his albeit brief history of not always voting along party lines. But the freshman congressman had stated during his campaign that he would try to do what was right for Central New York, to work for a healthier dynamic in Congress through collaboration, and to be an independent voice. The online resources below provide more information:
Congressman Katko reflects on his first 100 days as a Congressman.
An interview with John Katko regarding his first 100 days as a Congressman.
Congressman Katko comments on the first 100 days of GOP Congressional leadership.
A look at a Katko staff appointment that raised some eyebrows.
An account of how Congressman Katko chose to not to follow Republican leadership when it came to votes on two recent bills.
The Fulton Republican Committee chairperson explains why, after viewing Congressman Katko’s voting record thus far, he can no longer support the Congressman.
Considered by some to be vulnerable in the 2016 election, Congressman Katko learned that a possible strong Democratic opponent has decided against running for Congress.
A summary of a speech on forensic science and national security that Congressman Katko delivered at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in April.
Congressman Katko released a statement in reference to the NCAA charges levied against the Syracuse University basketball program.
A brief profile of Congressman Katko in a Q&A style Alumni Spotlight piece on the website of his alma mater, Niagara University.
Insight takes a fresh look at Onondaga Lake. Claims the nation’s most polluted lake is now clean enough to permit swimming has area residents talking. For succinct historical information about the lake to reports and assessments of its status as a reclaimed body of water, visit the online resources below:
This Onondaga County webpage provides a very general look at the County’s involvement in the cleanup process, the declaration of the lake as a Superfund site, and a link to a 2012 FOCUS report that collected input from the community and its stakeholders about the future of the lake.
A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website with a wealth of information about the past and current status of Onondaga Lake as well as numerous links to addiitional online resources.
This is the website for a visitor’s center built by Honeywell to share the research and technology associated with the Onondaga Lake cleanup project.
This site offers information about the Onondaga Lake cleanup, from document about the process, to reports about water quality, restoration of bird and fish habitats, and more.
Press release from Governor Cuomo in regards to $30 million in state funding for the proposed project.
A scientific report sets the record straight recording three popular myths about Onondaga Lake.
A 2014 assessment of the quality of Onondaga Lake fishing.
This page details the results of a 2014 “bioblitz”at Onondaga Lake, which found over 450 species of plants and animals in and around the lake.
“The” site for current Onondaga Lake conditions including a live stream from their lake buoys.
In less than a year’s time, the top leaders of the NYS Senate, Dean Skelos, and NYS Assembly, Sheldon Silver, have been accused of crimes and resigned their leadership posts. Most recently corruption charges were brought against Skelos, who resigned as the majority leader of the Senate, triggering speculation and ultimately a Senate vote, regarding who would replace Skelos. Very quickly, the name of Senator John DeFrancisco, a long-time Republican senator from upstate New York, surfaced as a candidate for the majority leader post. Senator John Flanagan, a state senator from Long Island, was also interested in the post – and ultimately was chosen in a vote among senators. Explore the online resources cited below to learn more about both senators as well as their bids to become NYS Senate Majority Leader.
Details on why some upstate New York senators chose not to vote for Senator DeFrancisco for NYS Senate leader.
This piece explains why Cayuga County senators supported Senator John Flanagan as new NYS Senate leader.
A number of news outlets report that NYS Governor Cuomo lobbied for Senator John Flanagan in his bid to become leader of the NYS Senate.
One report classified the contest between Senators DeFrancisco and Flanagan, Dean Skelos’s preferred candidate for the post he vacated as a “war.”
A profile of Senator DeFrancisco.
This article profiles new Senate leader, Senator John Flanagan.
A look at what brought NYS Senator Dean Skelos to resign from his Senate leadership post.