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Sunday Conversation

Sunday Conversation

By Sunday Conversation
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'Place and Prosperity': Bill Fulton talks new book on American cities
What does the city of the future look like? That's a valid question, especially given the realities facing the modern worker after the coronavirus pandemic. Bill Fulton's new book “Place and Prosperity: How cities help us to connect and innovate” is a collection of essays, blogs, and columns written to help shape future thinking on cities. More accurately, though, Place and Prosperity is a collection of experiences. The Auburn native has a long, impressive resume of experiences having served as mayor of Ventura, California and later as planning director for the City of San Diego. He also spent 8 years at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
September 01, 2022
Keuka College President Amy Storey
For area colleges the last 12 months have been incredibly complicated. There were shutdowns, reopenings, contact tracing, testing, and now vaccination- all on top of running an academic institution. This week we caught up Keuka College President Amy Storey to talk about that. We also spent some time talking about the academic year that's wrapping up now.
May 01, 2021
Maureen Ballatori: Pandemic forced BS to be taken OUT of marketing
Maureen Ballatori leads 29Design Studio in Geneva. That has been a driving force in her life, and last year- the company pivoted to a new niche in marketing. It paid off big time with a number of high profile awards collected for their work during 2020. This week we talk with her about the future of marketing, and about the honesty businesses (big and small!) MUST have with customers or prospects.
March 26, 2021
Alexandra Ackerman: Syracuse Crunch Fan Turned Sports Reporter & Podcaster
This week we sit down with one of the newest members of our podcast network: Alexandra Ackerman is a life-long fan of the Syracuse Crunch.  Beyond spending a vast majority of her life as a fan of the team- she has also professionally reported on them for over a decade. She's written for SB Nation, has been an editor for, and now writes for The Sin Bin- a minor league hockey news website.  In 2019 Alexandra launched a podcast. It's called Syracuse Speaks, and is one of the best produced independent podcasts I've come across in my professional career.  Our Sunday Conversation with Alexandra Ackerman is live now. We talked about her career, balancing life- and sports, writing on the internet, launching her podcast, and all of the other exciting stuff she is doing to celebrate local, professional sports. Her podcast 'Syracuse Speaks' will now be syndicated on as part of a new agreement to bring more incredible local content to our visitors. Click here if you want to check out some recent episodes of Syracuse Speaks.
March 13, 2021
Guy Cosentino Talks About His Shows, Auburn, and Media
Guy Cosentino has served as host of two crucial public affairs programs that air in the Cayuga County-area. They're produced in conjunction with Cayuga Community College. He's been hosting for around 20 years, and before that, served as mayor of the City of Auburn.  This week our Sunday Conversation features a lengthy talk with Cosentino about his time at City Hall, improving the public's understanding of important issues through one-of-a-kind interviews, and the condition of public policy in modern America.
March 06, 2021
SU Alum Eric Devendorf on CNY Cares Initiative to Help Small Businesses
Since graduating from Syracuse University Eric Devendorf has made the community in Central New York a priority. He's worked hard to give back each day, and when the pandemic began- he saw how desperately needed it was. Over the last several months the CNY Cares, Inc. initiative has been working to raise funds for small businesses crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. This week on the Sunday Conversation we caught up with Eric to discuss the progress they are making, and eyed expansion of the program.
February 27, 2021
Heather McDaniel discusses future of economic development in Ithaca, Finger Lakes
This week on the show a conversation with Heather McDaniel. She leads Ithaca Area Economic Development, which was previously known in the community as TCAD. She says that a big focus after the pandemic will be bolstering waterfront development, and continuing to amplify job creation in a community that has seen a lot of success in recent years. Tompkins County is one of the few in the region that has seen population growth over the last decade.
February 06, 2021
Understanding evictions in 2021 with Attorney Jeff Feigelson
Jeff Feigelson has been an attorney for over 30 years. He's represented tenants and landlords. Since the start of the pandemic he has been representing tenants in their cases involving eviction. Why? He says that most tenants were without representation in court. "It's an important time period for tenants," he said. "There are laws protecting them, and since the pandemic started I've ended up doing a lot more of that work in the last year." Jeff sat down with for an exclusive conversation about the rights tenants have right now as an eviction moratorium remains in place. However, the state government isn't the only entity laying out rules for renters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, too. But what does that mean? What does the law mean for New Yorkers who are renting and struggling? 
January 30, 2021
National News Editor Gabe Pietrorazio from Inauguration in Washington
This week we're featuring a long-overdue conversation with FL1 National News Editor Gabe Pietrorazio. He's working through his grad studies in the D.C. area, and beyond continuing coverage for our newsroom from the Nation's Capitol -- he also experienced Inauguration Day directly. We talk with Gabe about his time in D.C. for the Inaugural ceremonies, as well his newsletter released every Saturday Morning in this feed! It's called The Capitol Connection, and it brings you closer to the headlines that shape policy and news coverage all week long.
January 24, 2021
Patch Labs President Abe Brewster On Helping Local Journalists
This week we re-launch our Sunday Conversation Podcast with a one-of-a-kind interview. Abe Brewster has been with Patch and Patch Labs for a number of years, and this week we caught up with him to talk about the Patch Labs platform, and how revolutionary it can be for the news business. Why are newspapers and small organizations closing? Well, there are a lot of reasons - as documented here, here, here, here, and here. While a lot of people focus their attention on news business models that could work in the future, Brewster says Patch Labs has focused on empowering local/community based journalists. For all of the talk we hear about the death of local news, and how often massive corporations are blamed -- the solution appears obvious: Give journalists who are invested in the community they serve, the tools to get it done. Learn more about what they're doing by visiting
January 16, 2021
Ep. #30: Saving Seneca Lake from HABs
What's up with all the algae? While experts and scientists battle with the 'what' is causing dozens of blooms each summer in lakes around the region - spotters with one volunteer organization are putting in the work to alert residents about harmful algae blooms; and where they pop up. Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association is that organization, and Frank DiOrio was in-studio this week discussing the HAB season, as it draws to a close. "There's still plenty to watch on Seneca Lake; and as HAB season comes to a close, that's where we shift our attention," explained DiOrio who was featured in this week's Sunday Conversation presented by "But we're not going to stop. We'll work throughout the winter to improve our reporting processes and efforts for next summer and fall." Listen to the entire conversation below, or check out Sunday Conversation on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. 
October 05, 2019
Ep. #29: Trailblazing Across the USA
Alexandria 'Alli' Woodard, the newest addition to the Trailblazers PAC team is bringing renewed energy to the organization, as they go through an ever-important growing phase. For the organization started by Leslie Danks Burke, it means going national. And that's exactly what they have been doing. Woodard, who serves as Executive Director of Trailblazers joined Leslie in-studio for a conversation into the path that led the two to this point, as well as the future of the organization helping restore faith in local elections.
September 20, 2019
Ep. #28: The Challenger
W. Casey McDonald is running for Congress. The Republican says his challenge to incumbent Rep. Tom Reed is based on the things he's observed over the last several years. While challenging an incumbent comes with difficulties, he's optimistic that with the support of the 23rd Congressional District - he will be able to mount a winning primary; and general election campaign. This week, McDonald was in-studio talking about his campaign. Check out the video version of the podcast below, or listen to the show on your favorite platform - like Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
September 15, 2019
Ep. #27: Roger Misso for Congress in 24th District
Roger Misso, a Red Creek native, says he's running because there wasn't time to waste. The Democrat is among the field of challengers, vying for support in the 24th Congressional District to challenge Rep. John Katko, the incumbent Republican, in the 2020 election. The 24th District is a complicated one, which has flipped parties before; and is ripe for Democrats to grab if the incumbent does not deliver a strong message that resonates.  Misso discussed his candidacy, the issues, and how he plans to make the 24th Congressional District, and Central New York as a whole - a better place to live for everyone. He touts a unifying message that aims to bring together rural and urban voters - which is an important quality for anyone vying to represent the 24th.
August 17, 2019
Ep. #26: Battling Environmental Threats on Seneca Lake
While officials are working overtime across the state to understand harmful algal blooms, or HABs, a variety of other water quality issues are present. In the Finger Lakes, protecting water quality is crucial - not only because of the economic impact - but the fact that the region relies on local water sources for drinking. Ian Smith, who was named Seneca Lake Watershed Steward earlier this year, is still learning each day what that role means - but his goal is clear: Help those who work to protect, and live around-and-within the Seneca Lake watershed. Smith was featured in this week's Sunday Conversation inside the Studio. He discussed his role, the biggest challenges facing the region environmentally, and what we know about those issues - even as a lot remains unknown about harmful algal blooms.
August 11, 2019
Ep. #25: The Army Fights All Year
The Salvation Army is much more than just a thrift store, or seasonal campaign that's as identifiable as any in the world. While a lot of folks think about the Red Kettle Campaign, or Salvation Army stores, of which there are several in the Finger Lakes - they are a dedicated group of volunteers that are relied on to serve these communities. This week, we catch up with Mike Rusinko, of Lyons National Bank, who discusses the importance of The Salvation Army. He has volunteered for years with the organization locally; and has spent time recently helping advocate on their behalf.
August 03, 2019
#24: Ryan Wallace on Solar Home Journey in the Finger Lakes
Lake Tunnel Solar Village is nearly full. That was the news we learned this week, as Ryan Wallace and Lake Tunnel Solar Village announced that 19 of the 20 units inside the development had been sold. At the time, Wallace said he was confident that the last unit would be sold; and noted that if Lake Tunnel's site along 5&20 in Geneva would have allowed 30 units, as originally planned - that goal would have been met. Wallace was in-studio this week discussing all things related to energy, homeownership, and even the proposed NYSEG/RG&E rate hikes, which mean a 5-20% bump in service fee if those entities have their way. A Public Hearing is scheduled in Rochester on Aug. 6th, where residents will have the opportunity to let the Public Service Commission know how they feel about it. What's next for Lake Tunnel Solar Village? The short answer is: A lot. Wallace says that the first people will move into Lake Tunnel by the end of summer - and reviews thus far by those woh are interested, or considering a move to the solar community have been outstanding. 
July 27, 2019
#23: Filling the Gaps
This week Josh Durso sits down with Emilie Sisson, of the Finger Lakes Rural Health Network discussing her work raising awareness and community education in rural parts of the region. Specifically, Sisson walks listeners through a unique training opportunity to gain skills and knowledge that is crucial given the realities associated with suicide prevention and awareness in the Finger Lakes. The Centers for Disease Control identified suicide as a leading cause of death and an issue of extreme importance in a recent report, and since those findings were published - communities like Seneca, Yates, and Schuyler have been working overtime to address them given the difficulty of receiving state or federal funds to fight issues like substance use disorders or mental health awareness.
July 20, 2019
#22: Will Vaccines Kill Or Divide Us?
Vaccines are complicated. Recently, there have been a lot of questions about them. When New York State ended religious exemptions for vaccinations - doctors began getting even more questions about their safety, viability to protect, and the ramifications for those who decide to not vaccinate their children. This week a conversation with Dr. Grace Freier and Nurse Christina Redding. The duo have these conversations every day; and now with changes coming to the regulatory landscape in New York - there is an effort to educate the community taking shape. 
July 11, 2019
Episode #21: Three Bears Go To The Library
This week on a special Independence Day edition of Sunday Conversation - two of South Seneca's strongest advocates step into the studio to talk about the Edith B. Ford Memorial Library, The Three Bears Complex, Downtown Ovid, and how the three are using collaboration to grow well-beyond the village of Ovid's borders. The future site of South Seneca's very own tourism hub will play host to an interactive event coming up on July 13th called 'Escape the Courtroom'. It's just one of the events that is a joint-effort between the Friends of the Three Bears, and the Edith B. Ford Memorial Library.  Phyllis Motill, president of Friends of the Three Bears; and Shannon O'Connor, Edith B. Ford Memorial Library Director discuss the ways the two entities collaborate, how community involvement is quintessential to maintaining South Seneca's growth, and what the future looks like.  Listen to the podcast below, and be sure to subscribe on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor.
July 03, 2019
Episode #20: Policing Heats Up
Earlier this year Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck was in-studio discussing his first month on the job following an uncontested election last fall. He succeeded longtime Sheriff David Gould. Now, Sheriff Schenck has several months under his belt. He joined us for a follow-up conversation in this week's Sunday Conversation. He talked about policing during the summer months, recruiting concerns for law enforcement in general, and much more. Check out the full-conversation below, and subscribe to Sunday Conversation on your favorite platform - including YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Tune-In.
June 22, 2019
Episode #19: The Leadership Change
What does the future of education look like in Seneca Falls? This year the Seneca Falls Central School District is undergoing a leadership change. Jeramy Clingerman will become superintendent of schools this summer, as longtime leader Bob McKeveny ends his career. The two were in-studio for a wide-ranging conversation about the transition process, and the future of education broadly.
June 14, 2019
Episode #18: What happens if we run out of cops?
This week Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike discusses the challenge recruiting police officers and deputies in this modern, troubled era for law enforcement. He says that some of the stories seen on the national news - play against those who might be considering a career in law enforcement. He wades into some of the other challenges associated with running an agency that depends on those who are oftentimes early in their careers. Check out the entire conversation here, or on your favorite podcasting platform - like Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
June 07, 2019
Episode #17: Poverty Grows as Population Shifts
This week's Sunday Conversation dives into the work that one organization is doing to make communities in Cayuga and Seneca County better. It's not an easy task - but it's one that Diane Draheim and Marie Montgomery have embraced. Montgomery serves as Deputy Director for the agency; and Draheim as Seneca Programs Director. At this point, the organization is going through a re-branding effort. Now, the organization formerly known as the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency, will be known as 'CAP'. The two discuss that change, and what types of services are offered in the community. They also dive into the systemic changes that could make the biggest difference in both counties.
June 01, 2019
Episode #16: Attention Future Journalists
What does the future of media - in all forms - look like in the years to come? To answer that question, we sit down with one of the individuals who is educating and developing the next-generation of talent. Steve Keeler, Director of the Media and Telecommunications Programs at Cayuga Community College, was in-studio talking about it. Keeler also serves as Chair of the Humanities Division and School of Media and Arts at SUNY Cayuga Community College. Check out the program below, or subscribe on your favorite platform like iTunes (Apple Podcasts) or Spotify.
May 26, 2019
Episode #15: Bucking Trends
Downtown Newark is exploding with growth. Mayor Jonathan Taylor says that growth and progress is happening thanks to perseverance of current, and past elected leaders. South Main Street has experienced the most-apparent visual overhaul. That project was worth more than $6 million, which was federally funded thanks to years of planning and studies. However, with the added bonus of overhauling the water and sewer infrastructure underneath South Main Street, total investment there is north of $11 million, according to Taylor. It's just a couple examples of the growth that's happened in Newark. This week's Sunday Conversation is a one-on-one with Taylor, who has been serving Newark for several years now - learning more each day about the intricacies, and importance of good local government. He credits his success to his Village Board; and the high caliber staff who work for the Village.  Listen to the full-conversation in the podcast player above, or check it out on your favorite platform - like Spotify or iTunes.
May 19, 2019
Episode #14: Going Back To Work
Workforce development is that thing happening in the background that a lot of people take for granted in their local community. People are looking for jobs; and despite some of the narrative surrounding the Finger Lakes Economy - there are tons of them.  Finger Lakes Works focuses on connecting employers and prospective employees. One way they do that is by assisting to fill the educational or training gap, which might stand between a person living in a rural community in the Finger Lakes - and a quality, good paying job. Karen Springmeier, Executive Director of Finger Lakes Works was in-studio this week for's Sunday Conversation.  She talked about the loss of Hillside in Seneca County; and discussed those efforts to enhance the workforce in the Finger Lakes.
May 11, 2019
Episode #13: Brothers in Blue
It's not often that brothers share a career path. In this case, while not precisely the same - Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson and Brighton PD Chief of Police Mark Henderson have not only followed a similar career trajectory - but have grown to lead two important agencies in the region. This week they discuss modern policing together, talk about some of the things they've experienced throughout their careers, and look ahead to the future of law enforcement - as agencies around the state struggle to recruit.
April 29, 2019
Episode #12: Red Cross Still Needs Blood
It was a busy year for the American Red Cross - Finger Lakes Chapter in 2018. This year has been no different, as volunteers and staff work harder than ever to keep up with a wide-range of response efforts in the region. Executive Director Brian McConnell was in-studio this week discussing his organization's response to the devastating flooding in South Seneca and the Southern Tier, as well as the continued need for blood donation. He also discussed an upcoming effort to install hundreds of smoke alarms right here in the Finger Lakes.
April 27, 2019
Episode #11: Finger Lakes' Fragile Environment
Throughout the winter, Peter Mantius spent his days reporting on some of the most-important environmental issues facing the Finger Lakes region. Doing so with more than 20 years of experience - Mantius broke the story about the DEC's investigation into the Cayuga Regional Digester, and had an exclusive with the former facility manager who quit in January after he says he was forced to accept waste at the facility, which was not allowed. This week we caught up with Mantius for our Sunday Conversation. 
April 20, 2019
Episode #10: He's Running
He's running for re-election, a plethora of new laws have adversely impacted the way law enforcement do their job in the Finger Lakes, and that election calendar has been bumped up due to changes in Albany. It's been a busy few months for Seneca County Sheriff Tim Luce, and this week he sat down with FL1 News Director Josh Durso to talk about his goals for a second term, and what's expected in the coming months.
April 13, 2019
Episode #9: Billions Spent in NYS
Last week a $175.5 billion spending bill was passed.  Some lawmakers believe that bill, which was packed with a number of consequential pieces of legislation - is proposed that way intentionally by the majority.  "This legislation simply wouldn't pass in a traditional, up-and-down vote," explained New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R-Canandaigua). That said, it passed, and now taxpayers will have to live with the consequences. While recreational marijuana was not legalized - several other key provisions were included.  Leader Kolb was in-studio this week discussing the budget outcome, and how it will impact residents of the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York as a whole. 
April 06, 2019
Episode #8: Exploring Upstate
Exploring is one of the most-essential functions of human existence. Our curiosity is often sparked by the thing that's unknown, or the things we know less about. It's the pursuit of knowledge, information, and other people.  It's been more than a half-dozen years since Chris Clemens founded Exploring Upstate. It's a blog, dedicated to exploring the 'best' the many region's of Upstate New York have to offer. He writes about history, food, unique trends in Upstate Life, and much more. And while it may seem simplistic in design: Travel to a community, talk to people in that community, then, write about the experience - it's one that has caught on.  New York is big; and while many on the outside may think of New York City - when the state is mentioned - Clemens has found that the stories in unique, small communities Upstate are just as interesting. Check out the Exploring Upstate blog, and listen to him discuss his experiences, as well as a few newsworthy topics - like the boundaries of Upstate New York; and the ever-growing argument that New York is doomed, and losing it's ability to retain residents.
March 31, 2019
Episode #7: "Scream Louder Than The Pessimists"
Steve Griffin, CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center has been working in Yates County for more than a decade. And last year Penn Yan won the $10 million prize connected to the Downtown Revitalization Initiative - setting off a chain of events. That wasn't the County's first success, either. They boast the highest employment rate of the nine-county Finger Lakes region; and Griffin attests their overall success to a community-wide effort. Scream louder than the pessimists, he says. It's become a mantra for him to work by; and it's kept the community working hard to build a better tomorrow.
March 23, 2019
Episode #6: Fixing Representation
An increasingly small number of people are 'satisfied' with the way government works. That's never been more true at the local level, where voters feel misled and misrepresented by the folks who have been chosen to serve. This week, W. Casey McDonald was in-studio talking about a new initiative he recently launched to re-engage, and re-energize those who feel frustrated. His effort is called "Life of the Party" and is a platform aimed at finding new leadership for local committees, which ultimately play a huge role in local and regional leadership. Listen to what he had to say about changes coming locally, and what he hopes to accomplish through Life of the Party in the coming weeks, months, and years.
March 17, 2019
Episode #5: Millennials and Social Media
A recent New York Times piece looked at young people and their affinity for 'hustle culture'. Is it healthy? Is it creating a generation of workers who dislike, or worse yet, hate their jobs? A link to that story is below, but this week Maria Coleman joined Josh Durso for's Sunday Conversation. They discussed the state of social media, how it impacts users - particularly those who's careers and jobs are fused with personal life via social media, and what some solutions might look like for scaling back, or more responsibly using social media.  NYT STORY: Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work?
March 09, 2019
Episode #4: Contract Negotiations
Wayne County Sheriff Bary Virts discusses the challenges of running a department that's mid-contract negotiations, and also coping with the widespread shortage of law enforcement prospects. He also tackles some of the statewide initiatives that could prove to be difficult for law enforcement to manage - like the controversial mugshot proposal, which would ban law enforcement agencies from releasing arrest information or mugshots. Virts also discussed the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana, and pointed to a number of surveys and studies, which outline concerns around 'drugged driving'. 
March 02, 2019
Episode #3: Geneva's Believer
When Jim Meaney founded the Geneva Believer - his goal was to inform city residents of the inner-workings of government. Over the years he has covered a string of important, relevant issues; and most-recently his coverage of the city manager search process, policing and intended reforms in Geneva, and Finger Lakes Health have really spotlighted the importance of this work. He was in-studio this week for's Sunday Conversation.
February 16, 2019
Episode #2: Changes in K12
Stephen Parker Zielinski has served as Superintendent of South Seneca Central School District for enough years to learn a lot about students, education, and the growth that is undertaken as student, faculty, and administrators evolve. He sat down with Josh Durso, News Director to discuss the future of his district, and some of the larger trends in education.
February 16, 2019
Episode #1: Marijuana Could Boost Upstate NY Economy
This week, longtime Victor Town Supervisor and Ontario County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jack Marren sits down for an exclusive, in-depth conversation about local issues, ramifications of statewide changes, and the upcoming election cycle, in which he'll be seeking another term as supervisor. 
February 09, 2019