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The Debrief Podcast

The Debrief Podcast

By The Debrief
Debriefing the news that matters with the people who make the story. Hosted by Josh Durso.
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#155: Suicide Rate Among Teens & Young Adults Is Rising

The Debrief Podcast

#174: Shopping Small Could Save The Economy
There has been a lot of bad news about the Coronavirus Pandemic in recent weeks. It's the holiday season, and ordinarily, this is when businesses - big and small - are ramping things up. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed optimism about data that shows COVID transmission is happening less in public places - like stores, gyms, and restaurants. He says that's because safeguards are in place.  That's why the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce is launching a pair of new programs aimed at raising awareness around spending money with local businesses, and educating the consumers and businesses about the things they can do to keep themselves and the public safe. Today on The Daily Debrief Chamber CEO Jeff Shipley discusses the programs with us, and the impact they could have as businesses face a make-or-break winter.
December 2, 2020
#173: Auburn Schools Push To Stay Open
One day after we talked with Auburn Enlarged City School District Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo about the return to class after the Thanksgiving break, he informed families that the junior high would be fully-remote through Tuesday, December 8th. The cause? Contact tracing on two staff members that tested positive for COVID-19 resulted in dozens of students and a few teachers to be placed into mandatory quarantine. While other schools in the district won't be impacted by this particular batch of positives or mandatory quarantines, Pirozzolo says these kinds of spot-cases of COVID-19 have been one of his biggest concerns from the start. Today on The Daily Debrief - a conversation with Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo about what's next for his district after Thanksgiving break, and an update on some of his biggest concerns - including the finances of a district in serious need.
November 27, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Businesses fined for COVID violations, cluster zones questioned, and more!
This week it's all about COVID-19 and how that's impacting people's Thanksgiving celebrations. Josh Durso and Ted Baker discuss the biggest headlines of the last week in a special evening edition of The Weekend Debrief.
November 26, 2020
#172: Are Micro-Cluster Zones Working In New York?
This week Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that parts of Rochester and Syracuse would enter Orange Zone designation. It’s part of New York State’s Coronavirus micro-cluster mitigation strategy. It means focusing economic restrictions -- like pausing non-essential business activity -- to specific zip codes. For example, reducing the number of people who can be seated at a restaurant table in a yellow zone, or pausing dine-in service altogether in orange zones. There are specific parameters for Yellow, Orange, and Red micro-cluster zones, which is effectively a balance between the economic consequences of shutting down non-essential businesses, and trying to preserve public health -- all in the midst of a global pandemic. But here’s a question: Has it worked? Bill Hammond, Senior Fellow For Health Policy at the Empire Center, recently took a dive into the data. What he uncovered didn’t surprise him, but for casual observers of the state’s ongoing response to the Coronavirus Pandemic -- the recent surge of cases suggests the micro-cluster mitigation strategy isn’t working as intended. The positivity rate inside the zones across New York State has declined, but the overall numbers in New York State are spiking. Hammond wrote, “In the six weeks since the cluster strategy was launched, New York’s rate of new infections has increased by 244 percent, to almost 5,000 per day. The number of people hospitalized has nearly doubled, to more than 2,000. And the seven-day average death rate has increased by 125 percent, to 30 per day.” Today on The Daily Debrief a conversation with Hammond about his reporting, and what the numbers tell us as more communities across New York State are painted shades of yellow, orange, and red.
November 24, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Budget re-votes, Cuomo lashes out, local health officials frustrated
As Thanksgiving approaches all eyes are on the regional situation, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to play out at full-speed. Governor Andrew Cuomo got into a verbal spat with reporters on Wednesday -- prompting criticism in some circles. He hammered on law enforcement around the state who say they will not enforce private gathering restrictions imposed by New York State. This week Josh Durso and Ted Baker tackle the latest COVID-19 related headlines, as well as the non-COVID headlines. Stories up for discussion include: Frustrated local health officials as residents push back against quarantine measures, or lie to contact tracers about what they have done, or who they have come into contact with during potential exposure. [Read More] A poll from Siena College that shows Thanksgiving celebrations are going to happen, even though health officials are warning against it. [Read More] A new set of training tools announced by New York State to 'help' those struggling with employment, or those who are simply unemployed. [Read More] Amazon, Facebook, and Google's collective role in digital advertising, and the impact that has on other industries. [Read More] The Seneca Falls Town Board's move to re-vote on the 2021 budget after one councilor potentially changed his mind. [Read More] Auburn city officials' efforts to seize a property on Delevan Street and what that means for the community-at-large. [Read More]
November 19, 2020
#171: Are Amazon, Facebook, and Google Following You?
Are ads following you around on the internet? The short answer is 'yes', but it's a little more complex than that. Every day we search, post, purchase, and tweet our way around the internet -- data is being collected. Here at, since we're a free service -- ads served by Google are a primary source of revenue to keep our operation moving forward. But how do all of those ads work across all the different platforms you encounter in one 'digital day'? What's the role now of the big three in digital advertising: Amazon, Facebook, and Google? And most-interestingly, what happens if 'cookies' or the nuggets that allow those platforms to track users interests, searches, and activity online disappear?  Today on the Debrief a conversation with Malorie Benjamin and Dave Crist. Both work for Dixon Schwabl, and ads are their life. Malorie is the VP of Media Services while Dave serves as Senior Marketing & Strategy Analyst.
November 19, 2020
#170: Sandhill Cranes & Snowy Owls Appear At Montezuma Wetlands
Get outdoors even if it's cold. Montezuma Audubon Center Director Chris Lajewski says the months of November and December are offer prime viewing at the Wetlands Complex in Wayne County. Smaller crowds, less people hiking paths, and even more to see. "The leaves are off the trees, so it's a great time to see things that otherwise wouldn't be visible during the spring, summer, and fall," he said during his monthly appearance on The Debrief Podcast.  Among the highlights of this episode is a discussion about 150 Sandhill Cranes that have recently been out at the complex, as well as the deep dive into the Snowy Owl. This species of owl is a favorite among local photographers, who regularly send their sightings to the newsroom.  There's also a cool program called FeederWatch, which can be done at home and involve the whole family.
November 18, 2020
#169: The Fishing On Seneca Lake Has 'Gone To Hell'
This week Peter Mantius - founder and editor of The Water Front Online - brought us a story focused on the status of Greenidge Generation, and it's impact on the local environment. Specifically, how has Greenidge's expansion into bitcoin mining impacted the health of Seneca Lake? For months activists have been raising the caution flag, urging local officials and the DEC to do their due diligence. Then recently, a longtime fisherman on Seneca Lake brought an even more concerning message to local officials: "The fishing's gone to hell." Today on The Debrief Podcast we dive into Peter's reporting, and what officials at the local and state level are considering -- as Greenidge pulls unfiltered water from Seneca Lake, and dumps it back in significantly warmer.
November 17, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Election Results, Local PILOTs, and Fraud
Election Day is a week behind us, but that doesn’t mean results are final. While we did get some updated information on a couple local races Monday, big questions remain – like will a smooth transition of power occur? On a special mid-week edition of The Weekend Debrief – Josh Durso and Ted Baker answer listener submitted questions from local elections, discuss the micro-cluster mitigation strategy announced for parts of the region, and look at the future of policing and PILOT programs.
November 10, 2020
#168: Leslie Danks Burke Stays In 58th Race
On Wednesday, Leslie Danks Burke said that she was not conceding in the State Senate race shaping up in the 58th District. It includes a chunk of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes. After Election Day there were more than 33,000 ballots to be counted.  Democrats outnumber Republicans in the absentee ballot category by a two-to-one margin, and with the challenger facing a 20,000 vote deficit -- absentees could be a deciding factor. It's not a lock, but spoke with the Democrat as her team waits for absentee ballots to be counted next week.
November 4, 2020
#167: Coping With Election Stress
Has Election Day or this election cycle brought added stress into your life? If it has you're not alone. The American Psychological Association recently found that more than two-thirds of U.S. adults - 68% - say the 2020 presidential election is a significant source of stress in their life. MVP Health Care Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Dawn Gonsalves says that this year has definitely brought on more stress - whether it be due to the pandemic, economic worries, or outright election stress. There are ways to manage that stress, though, which is important given that results will likely not come as quickly as some may have hoped. Another reason for strong coping skills is that seasonal stress or anxiety - brought on by the holidays or winter - could intersect in the coming weeks with election stress.
November 3, 2020
#166: Sen. Tom O'Mara Focuses Campaign On Recovering Southern Tier
Senator Tom O'Mara has represented the 58th District of New York since 2010. A decade later he's still energetic about the community he serves.  Earlier this week we caught up with Democrat Leslie Danks Burke, as part of our spotlight on the 58th District, which includes Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, and Yates counties.  Today on The Debrief Podcast, a conversation with Sen. O'Mara about his time in office, the approach he's taken through the pandemic, and what he hopes can come next for the Southern Tier, which has not only been a hotspot for COVID-19 clusters -- but truly devastated in recent years economically.
October 29, 2020
#165: Getting The Flu Shot During COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Steven Schulz says getting a flu shot is even more important this year, than it has been in the past. He's the Pediatric Medical Director for Rochester Regional Health's Monroe County practices, as well as Finger Lakes Medical Associates, which has offices in Geneva and Penn Yan. A recent poll by CS Mott Children's Hospital in Michigan found that one-out-of-three parents do not plan to vaccinate their children for the regular flu. He says there are two main reasons for this, one of which is purely precautionary - as parents and people in general - try to avoid doctors offices. However, the flu shot is crucial in an ordinary year in preventing or lessening the intensity of millions of cases every season. Today on The Debrief Dr. Steven Schulz on the importance of the flu shot, and the safeguards in place at local medical offices in the region.
October 29, 2020
#164: Leslie Danks Burke Focuses Campaign On Small Biz & Rural Schools
Leslie Danks Burke is running for New York State Senate in the 58th District again. It's not the first time, but she says challenging incumbent Republican Tom O'Mara was necessary. "We need our elected leaders to lead, and they need to have an effective plan for making that happen," Burke said in an election preview appearance on The Debrief Podcast. "This district has real needs, and the people who call the Southern Tier home need real leaders in Albany." Funding schools, connecting families via broadband in underserved, rural communities, and delivering wins for the small business community are her priorities this time around. While they aren't significantly different than the first time she ran for Senate - New York has gone through quite an evolution in the process. The state faces a multi-billion dollar deficit, which she says cannot be made up through gutting schools, and families that rely on crucial services. "There has to be a better plan; and I'm prepared to go to Albany with one," Burke added.
October 28, 2020
#163: Fall Migration, Halloween Events, and HABs on Onondaga Lake
This month in our spotlight of the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah, Wayne County, Chris Lajewski discusses the mid-to-late fall migration patterns, the water fowl species that can be found on the thousands of acreage in Seneca and Wayne counties, as well as a couple crucial events coming up. One involves a drive for volunteers, and the other involves an important discussion about HABs on one local lake that has seen little HABs activity. Support our show by clicking here! Event Spotlight Happy Owl-ween Goes Virtual: Happening Saturday, October 31st from 10-11:30 a.m. Celebrate Halloween by joining us for a virtual presentation about the owls that can be found in New York State. Some live here year round and some just pass through during migration. Stay tuned for some special feathered friends who will join us as well. The Zoom link will be sent in a confirmation email. Space is limited and pre-paid reservations are required. Fee: $5/person, $15/family. Click here to register. HABs Spotlight on Onondaga Lake: Audubon’s Onondaga Lake Conservation Corps is proud to welcome David A. Matthews, Director of the Upstate Freshwater Institute, for a presentation about the water quality of Onondaga Lake and other New York State lakes. The presentation will take place on Saturday, November 7 from 9 AM – 10 AM at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, NY. Fee: $5/person. Click here to register.
October 27, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Travel Restrictions Loosening, Auburn Students Pushed Out, and FLH/URMC Partnership?
A closer look at upcoming elections with big time local implications, a discussion about the future of medicine after an announcement by Finger Lakes Health and the University of Rochester Medical Center that they would be working together, and the controversial story about an Auburn family that was told they would need to return to the school district if they wanted to continue learning (remotely or otherwise) in their hometown. News Director Josh Durso is joined in-studio by Finger Lakes Morning News Host Ted Baker (on Finger Lakes News Radio) inside the FL1 Studio. The duo also discusses Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent flip-flopping on travel restrictions to neighboring states. He said this week that it's possible the state scrap the 14-day quarantine mandate, and move toward something 'testing-based'. A handful of local businesses were fined $50 in Cayuga County, too. What about the COVID cluster linked to block parties in Ontario County and the future of one local fire department in Seneca County? All of those topics, and more are up for discussion on The Weekend Debrief presented by FL1 News.
October 22, 2020
#162: Parrott Hall Progress in Geneva
In early-October The Parrott Hall Coalition announced that Crawford & Stearns, Architects and Preservation Planners LLC, working with engineering firm Klepper, Hahn & Hyatt, are creating stabilization and roof replacement documents for the first phase of Parrott Hall’s rehabilitation. It was a big step, but only part of the true progress taking place at the property that could have easily been demolished if not for local, grassroots efforts. The Coalition announced that Clinton Brown Company Architecture, pc will be completing a feasibility study for Parrott Hall. The project is being funded through the Preservation League of New York State’s prestigious Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund, as well as a grant from The Landmark Society of Western New York’s Preservation Grant Fund. In the summer of 2019, the City of Geneva finalized a license agreement with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to manage Parrott Hall along with the private nonprofit Friends of Parrott Hall. The Preservation League and Landmark Society have joined a memorandum of understanding to their coalition partners stating their support of this preservation initiative. Members of the coalition were granted access to the building in June 2019 and they promptly began working together to assess the building and prioritize emergency repairs. The stabilization efforts that are now getting underway are the first step toward bringing this historic landmark back to active use. Today on The Debrief - a look at where things stand now with Parrott Hall, and what's next for the historic property along North Street. Bob Seem, Vice President of Friends of Parrott Hall and Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy & Preservation with the Preservation League of New York State give an update on the project, and what local and regional support has meant to it.
October 21, 2020
NY-131 DEBATE: Jeff Gallahan & Matt Miller
On Tuesday hosted a live-streamed debate between two candidates for New York State Assembly District 131. The district, which includes Ontario and Seneca counties has had a single representative for two decades. At the conclusion of 2020, Assemblyman Brian Kolb will retire, and could be succeeded by Democrat Matt Miller or Republican Jeff Gallahan. Miller and Gallahan will debated the issues inside the Studio in Seneca Falls. It was moderated by News Director Josh Durso. The debate was sponsored by Midey Mirras & Ricci, the Finger Lakes Personal Injury Attorneys.
October 20, 2020
#161: Providing Health Care To Poor, Rural Communities A Challenge
Keith Cutler spends most of his days thinking about ways to get crucial medical services to the most-vulnerable parts of the Cayuga County community. It's been evolving challenge, since he came into his role with a crucial local provider in 2016. "The client base has actually changed, and probably not in a positive direction," Cutler explained. He serves as President and CEO of East Hill Medical Center. "Our patient base was somewhere around 61-62% Medicaid patients [in 2016] and in the four years since we're approaching the high-60s, maybe even close to 70%." He says that's a reflection of what's happened in Cayuga County and the Auburn Community in terms of loss of industry and jobs. "You see that demographically, the area is not getting richer, as that's the case in a lot of Upstate New York," Cutler continued. "It's really suffering economically. So there are more people on Medicaid funded health plans today than there were before. That is a huge gap that we fill because a lot of private practice physicians don't accept Medicaid." In addition to basic medical care, the facility also provides dental services. Cutler says the demand is clear when looking at that side of the operation. "Our office has three hygienists and three dentists," he explained. "We have a waiting list of somewhere in the neighborhood of twelve, or thirteen hundred because we're one of only two dental providers in the entire county that take Medicaid." The question Cutler and East Hill Medical are left weighing is simple: How bad is it going to get?  "We bring federal money into the community. About 17% of our annual revenue comes by way of the federal government, and that's to allow federally qualified health centers to provide good care to those who may not be able to afford it," he explained.  The challenge looking ahead is how reimbursement for services keeps pace, so that they can continue operating.  Cutler spoke with in recent episode of The Debrief Podcast.
October 15, 2020
#160: There Is No Rent Moratorium In New York
Cea Weaver says the stakes are very real for people who have been unable to pay their rent through the Coronavirus Pandemic. And one of the biggest protections that Governor Andrew Cuomo has touted throughout it -- might not have the teeth he claimed. "Millions of people have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their rent because of COVID-19 and the economic crisis that is associated with it," Weaver explained, speaking to the housing crisis that exists in the moment. "Housing courts are reopening for the first time since March -- that's happening right now -- and millions of people could face eviction." Weaver, who serves as campaign coordinator for Housing Justice For All -- an advocacy coalition consisting of Upstate and Downstate housing interests -- says what Governor Cuomo has said throughout the pandemic isn't accurate. "Unfortunately there's been a lot of confusion coming out of our Governor," she explained. "There's no active moratorium. What we do have is an affirmative defense that tenants can raise in housing court." She says that means if tenants are being faced with the eviction process they can tell the court that they lost their income due to COVID-19. Weaver says one major problem is that it will create major gaps in application. "It's left up to a judge. A judge could decide that it's true -- or that it's not true -- based on the evidence that the tenant can provide," she continued.  "There are over 1,300 different judges in New York State. So that's leaving a tremendous amount of judicial discretion, and uncertainty." Today on The Debrief Podcast, a look at this issue -- and why the Democrat-controlled legislature in Albany hasn't taken up legislative action that would correct this issue. In that discussion -- a closer look at what it will mean for renters and advocates alike if nothing is done in the coming days, weeks, or months.
October 14, 2020
#159: Brewing Through The Pandemic
Brad and Anna Luisi-Ellis started the Fall Street Brewing journey during the summer of 2018. By October of 2019 they opened their Fall Street location, serving as the kind of anchor downtown Seneca Falls needed.  After a strong first few months, the duo took the leap and began operating as a cafe serving craft beer, kombucha, cider, coffee, and even lunch. Just a couple months after the Coronavirus Pandemic hit Upstate New York. Many businesses were forced to shut down or drastically modify operation -- and eight months later restrictions are still in place. Today on The Debrief, we talk with Brad Ellis about the experience of opening mere months before life as we knew it would be turned upside down -- as well as the realities of doing business in the 'new normal'.  Check out everything Fall Street Brewing is up to by clicking here!
October 13, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Farm Days gets moved, NY's new COVID policies, and MORE!
This week it’s all about the changes that are happening at the state and local level as fallout from the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to be evident. The state has new plans for how businesses will be shut down when cases rise, one major theater chain says it’s shutting down for the foreseeable future across the U.S., and Rodman Lott & Sons Farm in Seneca County has lost one of the largest farm expos in the country. News Director Josh Durso and Finger Lakes Morning News Host Ted Baker discuss it all.
October 8, 2020
#158: Landlords Struggle As Rent Goes Unpaid
There has been a significant debate over the last several months about unpaid rent. Some have contended that it should be canceled - while others - often representing landlords' perspective - say there needs to be another option.  It's complicated by the layers of government that have weighed in on the matter, according to Deb Hall, who serves as administrator for the Finger Lakes Landlord Association.  For now, an eviction moratorium in New York and similar guidance at the federal level handed down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mean an uncertain future for property owners -- who must maintain livable quarters for tenants at all times.  Even if rent checks stop coming.  Hall contends that among the Association's membership - less than half of those who have not been paying rent during the pandemic, or those who are behind on rent - have cited COVID as the reason. She says, among other issues - some renters are using the state's mandate as an excuse. Today on the program, a conversation with Deb Hall about the challenges some landlords are experiencing in the Finger Lakes -- and what they hope to see done about it moving forward.
October 7, 2020
#157: Inside The Leadership Change at Dixon Schwabl
The Coronavirus Pandemic is undoubtedly going to change the way people and companies do business.  However, communication and culture are two important factors for one of the region's most-identifiable brands and businesses.  Lauren Dixon and Mike Schwabl have led the Perinton-based agency Dixon Schwabl together for over 30 years. The plan was always for 2020 to be the end of their run as CEO and President.  It's part of a 15 year plan to transition leadership to Kim Allen, who will serve as CEO; and Jessica Savage, who will serve as Prsident. The two served as managing partner of communications and managing partner of account services respectively. Dixon and Schwabl will maintain ownership of the company, even though they are stepping down from the operational posts.
October 6, 2020
#156: Will Mobile Sports Betting Ever Be Legalized In New York?
Here's a good question: Why hasn't New York opted to legalize mobile sports betting? For the better part of three years -- there have been calls to do so, and now more than a year after sportsbooks opened in commercial and Native American casinos across the state -- the calls are louder-than-ever. We wanted to get to the bottom of this question, and went to one of our very own to find out what’s going on. John Sullivan hosts Sportsbook Confidential. It’s a weekly show on and John spends a lot of his time on the program de-mystifying the world of sports betting. He says for a vast majority of those who do it: It's recreation and entertainment -- allowing those who participate to find a different way to interact with a sport they likely love. John spent years in the industry -- both professionally and personally. In addition to being an avid sports-bettor himself, he has consulted for FanDuel and appeared in NPR’s ‘Only A Game’. He was also featured in ESPN The Magazine.  So, what will it take to get mobile betting legalized in New York since it’s already legal in so many other states? Gone is the opportunity for New York to stand out, as nearly a dozen other states have legalized sports betting options. Today a look at the world of sports betting and when it could come to a smartphone near you.
September 30, 2020
#155: Suicide Rate Among Teens & Young Adults Is Rising
Suicide among teens and young adults is rising. But a new report shows that it was happening even before the pandemic arrived. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a dramatic increase in the rate of suicide across the U.S. However, previous reports on this matter, like the Vital Signs edition from 2016, stopped short of evaluating the three year period including 2016, 2017, and 2018. Between 2007 and 2017 the National Center for Health Statistics found that the suicide death rate among people ages 10-24 increased 57.4%. The newest report by the CDC extended that data-set another year. As a state, New York saw an increase of 43.9%, which left it in the middle of the pack - as far as the state-by-state breakdown was concerned. Maryland had the lowest increase - at 21.7%, and New Hampshire saw the highest increase at 110%. RELATED: Read the September 11, 2020 report here For more answers, we caught up with Margaret Morse. She's the Director of Community Services in Seneca County. In her role, she oversees a number of community-based programs, including those in the mental health space. After the report's publishing - we posed some of the most-frequently asked questions at her, to help better understand what is being done to reduce the rate of suicide overall; and to get her professional opinion on how the pandemic may impact these issues moving forward.
September 30, 2020
#154: Making Better Fathers Through Communication
The Fatherhood Connection is one of those programs operating in the community that a lot of people haven't heard about. But the work being done by Reggie Cox and his team of community members throughout the region is endlessly important. It operates in Monroe, Livingston, and Seneca counties in the Finger Lakes region. The roots of the present day program, which is now in the process of becoming a statewide initiative date back to 1998. That's when Reggie began working with fathers at The Family Resource Centers of Rochester. His own story is one of development and growth, but the stories he heard about painful relationships developed early in life led to patterns. His work with the Fatherhood Connection has been powerful, though.  "We've seen powerful change in as little as one session," Reggie said during a recent conversation on The Debrief Podcast. The Fatherhood Connection runs programs of 8- and 13-weeks, which target different ages of those struggling. On this episode of the Debrief - Reggie breaks down the basics of the programs, looks at the ways it will be growing in the future, and the stigmas they work through as a group each-and-every day.  
September 29, 2020
#153: What's Happening At The Montezuma Audubon Center?
What's happening as fall arrives at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex? What about the Montezuma Audubon Center? We're answering those questions in our new monthly feature with Center Director Chris Lajewski. He gives us an update on upcoming events at the Audubon Center, which is located in Savannah, as well as some tips on how to make your own property more bird-friendly.
September 25, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Budgeting, COVID-19, and Greenidge Generation's Bitcoin
It's been a long summer for local municipalities that are struggling to adapt to COVID-19 budget issues. However, we're getting closer to final budgets in many of them. What's happening here? Also, the latest on a series of headlines from the regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Josh Durso and Ted Baker discuss on this week's episode of the Weekend Debrief.
September 24, 2020
#152: Village of Newark Stays Open For Business
Some of the smallest communities in Upstate New York - villages - could be hardest hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Over the last decade the Village of Newark has been very good at long-term planning. They have bolstered their downtown business district, taken advantage of the Erie Canal which runs through the village, and focused on giving employers the space to grow if they desire to there. Last year the village of Newark passed an impressive milestone. They had more jobs than residents. It's something that Mayor Jonthan Taylor was proud of then; and is even prouder of today since a big share of those employers have remained in-tact through the Coronavirus Pandemic. Today we debrief municipal planning with Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor, looking at one of the communities that has an outsized impact on its county and region.
September 22, 2020
#152: HEALing Communities Study in Cayuga County
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total "economic burden" of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is 78.5 billion dollars per year. This includes the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. It's a big number, and translates to very real, and equally sad outcomes. Data from 2018 shows that there are 128 fatal overdoses in the U.S. every day; and it's a problem that's getting worse in many communities. Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic, experts in addiction treatment say there is a looming wave of addiction data brought on by economic shutdown, loss of jobs, and months of being 'locked down'.  Today we debrief the topic of addiction - speaking with Monika Salvage about the HEALing Communities Study in Cayuga County. 
September 18, 2020
#151: Canandaigua Goes Back To School
Over the last several weeks has been bringing you conversations about Back to School. Our series has featured one-on-one conversations with administrators. However, all of those conversations were recorded before students returned. This time we catch up with Canandaigua Superintendent Jamie Farr, who walks us through what the first days of school were like in his district.  He discusses the concerns he has moving forward, as well as the financial challenges his district could face if federal funding does not arrive soon.
September 16, 2020
#150: Yates County Administrator Nonie Flynn On COVID Budgeting
Dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic has been difficult for communities across New York State. Undoubtedly, small communities like Yates County are those that could feel the most-adverse impact from the financial fallout associated with the Coronavirus. Especially given how heavily-reliant counties like Yates are on sales tax revenue. However, that is not the case. Long-term planning over the last several months - dating all the way back to March and April - have insulated the county from dealing with significant, harsh rammifcations caused by the pandemic.  According to Nonie Flynn, Yates County Administrator, it has taken a true team approach to ensuring that the County's financials maintain themselves into 2021. "I think about the taxpayers who cannot afford even a $50 increase in property taxes," she explained during a recent appearance on The Debrief.  "We started back in April, with a lot of cuts from the economic fallout," she explained. "So we did a lot of reductions beginning in in April to avert any permanent cuts later this year and into next year. And our department heads were great in cooperating with us on that. And that's just carried on into the budget for 2021. And they they knew they had to bring their budgets in on what you need basis and not what do you want for next year, and every department head was really great with that." She says that uncertainty connected to 20% reductions in local aid would mean a couple million dollars. To that end, Flynn has positioned Yates in such a way financially that it will be ready for the next two years. She says support from the Yates County Legislature has proven invaluable in that effort, in addition to the help issued by department heads.
September 16, 2020
#149: Movie Theater Operators Wait To Reopen in New York
When was the last time you went to the movie theater? Theaters were forced to close along with most other businesses, and not allowed to reopen until it was safe to do so amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Jason Yantz, who runs Rochester Theater Management with his brother, says original expectation for reopening was mid-July as part of 'Phase 4'. RTM operates four locations in Auburn, Canandaigua, Geneseo, and Brockport. "I've been in this business now for 20 years, and people still want to get out. We've been trapped at home. We've been quarantine we've been in lockdown," Yantz explained. "And now that we can get back out, especially during the winter months people want to get out of the house, they want to see other people, they want fresh popcorn - so as an industry - we'll be back."
September 15, 2020
#148: Coalition Pushes For Open Government
New York Coalition for Open Government President Paul Wolf says a reform of open meetings law in the Empire State is desperately needed. There are states that have better models -- Massachusetts as an example grants authority to the AG's office to investigate and reprimand in cases of negligence by elected officials. The concept is simple: Violate open meetings law and deal with consequences. But transparency in government doesn't start or end with the laws that govern meetings of public bodies. There is the FOIL request process, which journalists and concerned citizens alike must go through in order to obtain information in the name of transparency and access. Today on the show a conversation with Wolf about the Coalition's work, and how it could shape future legislation.
September 10, 2020
#147: Canandaigua Emergency Squad Takes The Call
The Canandaigua Emergency Squad is the busiest 911 response center in Ontario County, and has served it for more than 80 years.  Chief Matt Sproul says his team responds to more than 6,000 calls for service per year in a coverage area that includes the towns of Canandaigua, Hopewell, Gorham, Bristol and East Bloomfield, and the village of Bloomfield.  As an independent not-for-profit community service agency, CES’s operating and capital funds come from billing for service, grants, and donations from the community. Donations make it possible for CES to upgrade and improve services, but those donations don't come at the rate at which costs increase. Sproul discusses the challenges and successes throughout the pandemic, and what it will take for emergency response teams like his to keep moving forward.
September 8, 2020
#146: South Seneca Goes Back To School
"Teachers love to teach, and that's what they want to do," Zielinski said during a conversation with He says that for the volume of concerns that have been raised about reopening -- as well as learning models -- administrators and teachers alike are ready. And the first day of school is here. Our Back To School series continues with the leader from the South Seneca Central School District. One of the smallest districts in New York. However, it's size doesn't mean it's ill-prepared for fall. While Zielinski was dealing with expected stresses less than 24 hours before the start of a new school year -- he was optimistic about how things would go.
September 8, 2020
#145: Victor Goes Back To School
It starts and ends with relationships. That is the takeaway we were left with from our conversation with Dr. Tim Terranova, superintendent of the Victor Central School District.  "Education starts and ends with relationships," he explained during a conversation on The Debrief's deep dive into school reopening plans. "Reopening will be a test of relationship building and strengthening. If we can collectively get that piece right -- the hybrid model can work." Terranova discussed the importance of reopening plans, and the work that went into them. And even though Victor is considered a district of means, there is plenty of concern among residents and taxpayers about the future. Administrators are worried about what it will take to continue delivering the level of education people expect - as the state threatens to cut funding by 20%.
September 7, 2020
#144: Marcus Whitman Goes Back To School
There are a lot of ways to reopen schools in the middle of a pandemic. You can go fully-remote, like Auburn, institute hybrid models like Marcus Whitman or Seneca Falls, and plan for almost everything.  However, we're learning that the size of a district plays a large role in its ability to bring students back. Even as calls for all schools to resume quote-unquote normal education -- leaders are left dealing with state mandates that make it difficult. A conversation with Dr. Christopher Brown, the superintendent at the Marcus Whitman Central School District showcased how size plays into a reopening plan. 
September 4, 2020
#143: Auburn Goes Back To School
Auburn Enlarged City School District Superintendent Jeff Pirozzolo says the last several weeks have been tough. In late-August the district had to make the difficult decision to take learning fully-remote this fall. Pirozzolo says a phased-in approach to resuming in-person learning via a hybrid model will allow the district to learn what it needs to as students return to class for the first time since shutdown in mid-March. He says funding issues, as well as evolving guidance from Governor Andrew Cuomo has made every moment of planning for a district of 4,000+ students difficult. Today he joins us to discuss reopening in Auburn, the kind of experience students and faculty will have, as well as the financial challenges his district faces.
September 3, 2020
#142: Red Jacket Goes Back To School
While there have been a lot of concerns raised about the prospect of students and faculty going back to school this fall -- we are just a couple weeks away from a return to learning. Students around the region will learn in a variety of ways this fall -- and we're catching up with leaders from around the region -- discussing those plans.  Today, a conversation with Karen Hall, who is a principal in the Manchester Shortsville Central School District, or Red Jacket. They will be taking a hybrid approach to reopening, bringing students back on opposing days, twice a week. She says there was anxiety and concern, but even when faculty arrived for the first day -- a sense of normalcy could be felt.  Now, the next major checkpoint will be welcoming students back later this month.
September 2, 2020
#141: Seneca Falls CSD Goes Back To School
Days from now students, faculty, and support staff head back to school for the first time since mid-March, when the Coronavirus Pandemic forced shut down of all facilities. Throughout the summer districts have been working on plans to make educating students effective, while simultaneously dealing with the health and safety implications of the Novel Coronavirus. Doug Jones is a teacher in the Seneca Falls Central School District and leads the teacher association there. Faculty have a number of concerns and a range of views on reopening, but Superintendent Jeramy Clingerman has taken an active approach in hearing them. But there is uncertainty. Will back to school go off without a hitch? In Seneca Falls approximately 70% of students will return to in-person learning, and both Jones and Clingerman agreed that faculty and staff are anxious about the new year. Today on The Debrief, a conversation with Clingerman and Jones about the process Seneca Falls went through to plan reopening.
September 1, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Future of schools, high school sports, and regional media coverage
What happens over the next several weeks will likely play a big role in what the extended fall- and winter- months will look like in the Finger Lakes. Schools are back in session, college campuses are welcoming back students, and businesses are trying more than ever to make a go of things. This week on The Weekend Debrief, Ted Baker and Josh Durso break down the biggest headlines from the last two weeks, look ahead to the fall, and discuss the policies that have moved New York forward during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
August 27, 2020
#140: Immigrants Face Uncertainty Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Ute Ritz-Deutch, the area coordinator for Amnesty International USA for New York state also sits on the steering committee for the Tompkins County Immigration Rights Coalition.  Deutch, who hosts the Human Rights and Social Justice Program on WRFI Community Radio speaks about the current situation that immigrants face at the federal level and how the TCIRC seeks to correct issues of mistreatment in their own county, now more than ever amid the prominence of COVID-19 spreading inside detention centers.
August 26, 2020
#139: Why Rochester & Finger Lakes Economy Remains At Risk
Summer is quickly drawing to a close, and as people in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region look forward to the fall - one of the biggest questions - if not about a potential second wave - has to do with the amount of economic recovery that's taken place so far. Last week The Rochester Beacon published an in-depth look at the state of the regional economy. In just a couple weeks K-12 students will return to the classroom, at least on a part-time basis, and at colleges around the region - in-person instruction will resume. In many cases students have already started moving back on-campus. Today on the show, a conversation with Paul Ericson, executive editor of The Rochester Beacon, to talk about his piece titled "Why Rochester's economy remains at risk."
August 25, 2020
#138: Local Politics Or International Affairs?
Ken Wolkin, a master’s student at the University of Washington’s Department of Geography has been following’s extensive coverage ever since the start of the rekindling Cayuga Nation land dispute. This summer, Wolkin drove cross-country from Seattle to Seneca Falls just to see the infamous site along State Route 89 where ten properties stood on Cayuga Nation territory. Upon the ruins and remains of an entire community, a brawl ensued between Haudenosaunee protesters and the Cayuga Nation police force following a press conference back in late February.
August 24, 2020
#137: Branding the Greater ROC Region in the Finger Lakes
Economic development in New York State is complicated. There are things called Industrial Development Agencies involved who work to entice prospective and existing businesses to build or expand. There are usually tax incentives, which are complicated and receive a lot of public scrutiny. But the most fundamental responsibility of an IDA is to sell the community they represent. Effectively saying, “Our community is a good place for YOU to do business.” But years of economic development initiatives across different counties, and parts of the Finger Lakes region have created a disjointed approach. While New York State has its definitions of what the Finger Lakes is, a new initiative is leaning in-to the Greater Rochester namesake that existed before the Finger Lakes region included the Rochester-metro. Today on the show, Joe Stefko, who leads the Greater ROC and ROC2025 initiatives.
August 18, 2020
#136: Mental Health Pros Get Involved With Policing
Earlier this summer the Seneca Falls Police Department rolled out a new program in collaboration with Seneca County Mental Health and Finger Lakes C-PEP. It put tablets in the hands of law enforcement for the purpose of connecting the community with mental health services. Specifically, when officers are dispatched to scenes where mental health comes into play.  Mental health advocates have been calling for alternatives to dialing 9-1-1 for some time; and those calls have grown louder this summer. While this program won't create an alternative, it's an aggressive move to get mental health professionals involved in incidents that law enforcement would otherwise have to navigate alone.
August 13, 2020
#135: Tribes Work To Contain Coronavirus
As soon as the Seneca Nation heard about the coronavirus, non-essential staff were sent home and a COVID-19 response taskforce comprising of several stakeholders had been swiftly formed. The Nation with its sprawling five territories in Allegany, Buffalo, Cattaraugus, Oil Spring and Niagara has combatted the coronavirus across their entire reservation. Jason Corwin, the executive director of the Seneca Media & Communications Center located in Salamanca, candidly speaks to these obstacles, especially how his community has dealt with shutting down their tribal casinos.
August 12, 2020
#134: Renaming An Island On Canandaigua Lake
Two brothers born and raised in Canandaigua speak about Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations on their podcast with guests that openly include Indigenous voices and perspectives on the show about the history, folklore, politics, and culture of these peoples. Andrew Cotter, co-host of the Iroquois History and Legends Podcast joins the Daily Debrief to discuss their podcast and the history behind the naming of ‘Squaw Island’ after a recent debate has sparked in Canandaigua about renaming the historical site.
August 10, 2020
#133: Protesting for Black Lives in the Birthplace of Women's Rights
Two current Wells College student and close friends helped coordinate the Rally for Black Lives, Seneca Falls’ first public demonstration since the death of George Floyd while being held in police custody in Minneapolis. Idalis Abad, a woman of color has been even targeted this Wednesday with a death threat directed to her while preparing for this Saturday’s proceedings.  “I’ve been dealing with this sh*t for like my whole entire life. I’m used to it. Unfortunate as that is like, I’m a person of color in the United States. I get treated horribly like this a lot,” Abad told  Despite some hostility and pushback as shown through receiving a death threat, she and other organizers are still pressing forward with their plans ahead of tomorrow by promoting a peaceful protest – one that unites Seneca Falls.   The rally in support of the larger national Black Lives Matter movement is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 8th in the People’s Park.  Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing practices are supposed to be strictly enforced and even required throughout the duration of the entire event. On today’s Daily Debrief, Abad and Emmerich Hauf explain why sparking a protest movement in Seneca Falls matters, even in a predominantly white community.
August 7, 2020
#132: Flocking to the Montezuma Audubon Center
What has it been like at the Montezuma Audubon Center in Savannah, Wayne County? It has been busy, and that is a great thing for Chris Lejewski, who serves as center director. He was in-studio last week previewing some exciting events coming up at the center, and the ways in which families can get out and enjoy the outdoors. The Center is a short drive from many places in the Finger Lakes, which makes it an ideal daytrip into the Fall. 
August 3, 2020
#131: Becoming a Falconer
Have you ever dreamt of becoming a falconry master? Today on the Daily Debrief, Joseph Therrein, the head of the Special Licenses Unit for the Division Fish & Wildlife at the Department of Environmental Conservation brings us soaring through the skies to show us what it takes to become a falconer here in New York state.
July 29, 2020
#130: Sen. Rob Ortt On Nursing Homes Amid Pandemic
Governor Andrew Cuomo is content with speaking to his track record surrounding the nursing home situation, but some state lawmakers are not, including Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt [R-62] – who joins the Daily Debrief, airing his concerns ahead of August public hearings on the subject. Still, there are numerous unanswered questions left outstanding regarding handling of COVID-19 at nursing homes across the state. But even long before coronavirus, Ortt says the deteriorating condition of nursing home facilities was on his and other legislator’s radars. “There were other issues that surrounded nursing homes in New York, predating COVID-19,” Ortt told
July 27, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Sports, school, and enforcement in New York
What sports will return this fall? Will school bounce back like federal officials want it to? And how about enforcement of mask policies? This week we're tackling the biggest headlines and questions -- COVID-related and otherwise -- from the FL1 Newsroom. 
July 24, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: Update on Butler Sludge and Dresden Bitcoining
Today on The Weekend Debrief we catch up with the reporter who broke the news on that Tully Environmental would be withdrawing it's application to build a sewer sludge composting facility in Butler, Wayne County. Peter Mantius' Water Front Online has been focusing on environmental issues in Upstate New York for years, bolstering his audience along the way. We also catch up with him about a Public Service Commission decision to not provide intense environmental regulation or oversight to a bitcoin mining operation along Seneca Lake in Dresden, Yates County.
July 9, 2020
#129: From Asymptomatic To Dead at Elm Manor
From asymptomatic to dead. As our investigation into Elm Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing continues, another personal story from a former resident's daughter. Officials at the nursing home told Christina Miller than her father Ralph had contracted COVID-19, but was asymptomatic. She called the facility herself hours after finding out -- only to learn that her father had died.
July 9, 2020
#128: What happened at Elm Manor Nursing Home?
It was 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 21st when Harold Perryman of Shortsville called Elm Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Canandaigua. Each morning he would call-in to wish his wife Beatrice, “Bea” good morning as she would start her own day – but that didn’t happen on this particular occasion. Instead of hearing her voice, the phone kept ringing. It rang. It rang. It rang, and no answer. His daily routine had been disrupted. Today on the show, the heartbreaking story of Harold and Beatrice Perryman.
July 7, 2020
#127: Ontario Center Investigative Reporting Leads To Proposed Bill
On the heels of's ongoing investigation into the Ontario Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Canandaigua, State Senator Pam Helming [R-54] has announced yesterday on Wednesday, July 1st that she shall co-sponsor legislation to establish an independent and bipartisan commission to investigate the deaths of New Yorkers who passed away from COVID-19 while residing in state-regulated nursing homes. Senator Helming burdens some of the blame upon the shoulders of Governor Andrew Cuomo and Commissioner of Health for New York State Howard Zucker for the lack accountability and transparency, which was partly sparked by confusion with the reporting of COVID-19 cases and deaths at nursing homes and long-term facilities. "They've got to stop trying to point the fingers and to deflect blame, and they've got to stop issuing directives from the comfort of the Capitol," Helming told Rather than fully playing into state politics, she's far more concerned with ensuring a greater quality of life for residents – and hence why she sought to create a commission on this subject. "We've got to put their quality of life above politics," she continued. Keeping her promise of bipartisanship and independency, her proposed commission would consist of five members: one each appointed by the Senate Majority and Minority leaders, the Assembly Speaker, as well as the Assembly Minority Leader, and chaired by an appointee of the New York State Attorney General. This commission would also possess the power to subpoena as a part of their investigations, all of which would be funded through the existing state budget. Instead of pampering to party politics and affiliations, Helming insists that she is in the pursuit of the truth, obtaining answers, and ensuring future oversight for these facilities, and especially its residents. "So, we need to hold this independent investigation to figure out what went wrong, what we can do better going forward to prevent a similar situation," she explained. Ideally, Helming suggests that conversations should occur among nursing home providers and local health agencies to strategize better care options and treatments of residents, especially with the looming resurgence of a second wave of COVID-19 lurking around sometime this upcoming fall. "Really what needs to be happening is a conversation with the providers, with a local Department of Health employees to develop better strategies to provide better care and a better quality of life to folks who are living in nursing homes and assisted-living residents," she stated. For Helming, she hopes that by creating this commission, the committee would be able to accomplish her goal in collecting data, facts, and information to assist public officials and policymakers in crafting sounder health protocols and procedures at nursing homes while simultaneously taking stock of the initial costly and fatal lessons learned from the pandemic here in New York State. In the meantime, however, constituents have continued raising concerns to her office in the past and present regarding Ontario Center and she has reached-out to the state Department of Health on numerous occasions by sending letters and making phone calls even dating back "pre-COVID," notifying them about the complicated situations that she is all too familiar with, especially as a Canandaigua resident. In response to's ongoing investigation about Ontario Center, Helming has publicly commented on the situation, encouraging residents and concerned citizens alike to contact the state's nursing home complaint hotline to relay their comments. On today's Daily Debrief, we ask, what a bipartisan and independent commission do to investigate the death of COVID-19 residents in nursing homes, and why it matter?
July 2, 2020
#126: Akim Hudson, BLM Geneva Organizer on Reforming GPD
Thirty-two days have passed since the Black Lives Matter Peaceful Protests started in the City of Geneva.  Today is July 1st, and tonight is a Geneva City Council meeting.  Eleven resolutions related to reforming the Geneva Police Department are all on the table, including the creation of a police accountability board and even partly defunding the police.  Akim Hudson, a lifelong Geneva resident and one of most recognized organizers of the BLM protests reflects on these past thirty-two days and the long journey to reach tonight's meeting, which may usher in unprecedented change sweeping across the city.  What has the journey been like for him?
July 1, 2020
#125: Talking With Ontario Center Housekeeper Who Walked Out Amid Pandemic
Connie Helker claims to be the first employee who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Ontario Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, earning the nickname "COVID Connie" among some of her peers.  As a front desk receptionist and a housekeeper, Connie cared about her safety and wellbeing as someone who's immune compromised and encountered cancer three times.  She chose to leave and became chastised for her decisions, which led to her forced termination.  In a press statement, Centers Health Care Director of Corporate Communications Jeff Jacomowitz responded to's initial investigative story that was published this Monday.  "Since early March, Ontario Center has been fully equipped with PPE as per the guidelines by the New York State Department of Health and the CDC. This includes all front-line staff and health care workers, leadership, housekeeping, transport drivers who take patients to and from the facility for medical appointments such as dialysis, cardio, oncology, etc. All staff wearing PPE have been educated by Centers Health Care regional educators regarding the usage and the re-usage of PPE, also per the guidelines by the CDC. With regards to COVID-19, Ontario Center has met all of the requirements and guidelines by the New York State Department of Health and the CDC. In addition to facility-wide testing since the first case of COVID-19 appeared at Ontario Center as early as April 1, staff have been screened at the door prior to each shift whereby temperature is taken and a questionnaire about their health is answered before they enter the facility. If any employee comes with a fever or they are visually screened to have a cough or have body aches, they are turned away to return home for 14 days as per the guidelines by the State of New York and the CDC. The DOH has commended Ontario Center for the work the facility has done during this pandemic and over the past two weeks, the facility has zero in-house positive COVID-19 cases.  As a response directed towards the June 29, 2020 article in, allegations made by Mr. Corino, a disgruntled former part-time transport driver, employment came to an end due to having no further work responsibilities because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these allegations are being investigated as all matters are taken seriously, Mr. Corino has no working knowledge of the policies and procedures with regards to PPE, so any claims he has made with regards to PPE are simply and blatantly untrue. Also in the June 29 article, Ms. Helker was made aware of the 14-day quarantine period after being tested positive for COVID-19 but failed to return to work upon the competition of the 14 days, thus leading to her termination. Ms. Helker took it upon herself to be a permanent no-show and, at the same time, she was never badgered to return to work by any of the staff at Ontario Center. Ontario Center has an open door policy with regards to its staff, residents and family members. Departmental leadership for all employees inform their staff that they are available to handle any problems or concerns in the workplace. We wish Mr. Corino and Ms. Helker the best of luck in the future."  On today's Daily Debrief, was Connie pressured to return to Ontario Center? 
June 30, 2020
#124: Deer Haven Park Reopening In Jeopardy?
What's the deal with Deer Haven Park? Is Saturday's reopening of Deer Haven Park in danger? Today on the show, an in-depth look at what Earl Martin announced this week as the future of the property that ran guided tours for the last several years.
June 26, 2020
#123: What's realistic this fall in classrooms?
Jeff Pirozzolo is the superintendent of schools in the Auburn Enlarged City School District. This week he was in-studio talking about the future of the classroom, how it will be shaped, how students will get there, and what it will look like to implement it all. 
June 24, 2020
#122: Mentorship on the Rise in the Finger Lakes
Lisa Mattoon is the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Rochester. Earlier this week she was a guest on Inside the FLX. From that conversation came some interesting points: Like mentors expectations versus the reality of being one. It's not expensive, it doesn't have to involve giving back monetarily, and often - kids in the program are just looking for a person. Today on The Daily Debrief we dive into that topic with Lisa, and look at what goes into their mentorship program.
June 24, 2020
#121: Traditionalist Perspective On Cayuga Nation Lawsuit Against U.S. Government
What does the Cayuga Nation traditional leadership think about the land-into-trust legal suit?  Sachem Chief Sam George of the Bear Clan claims that the entire community was not consulted prior to the lawsuit announcement made by Clint Halftown, the Bureau of Indian Affairs representative, alongside his legal counsel.  Is the push for gaining land-in-trust status for certain parcels fueled by an interest to expand Indian gaming in the Village of Union Springs?  Shortly a few weeks after Halftown and his legal counsel met with Cayuga County officials, the lawsuit to transition fee-owned land into trust began - after fifteen years of stagnation at the federal level.  Chief George believes that might be case with the possibility of switching Lakeside Entertainment's current Class II gaming designation to Class III, which would require the state's regulation and oversight through the New York State Gaming Commission.  Nearly four months later, Chief George and other Cayuga Nation traditionalists feel that their concerns and struggles are not seen - and rather rendered invisible as state and federal actors largely overlook the destruction of several properties along State Route 89, which occurred back in February.
June 23, 2020
#120: Future of Farms & Environmental Politics in 2020
What's happening at farms across New York State? Early in the pandemic shutdown we saw a variety of headlines connected to the idea that farms were already struggling -- and that new realities made doing business nearly impossible. As businesses open up -- big questions loom -- like, "What policies need to change to protect small and medium sized farms moving forward?" Today on The Daily Debrief, a conversation with Ann Marie Heizmann, who in addition to running for New York State Assembly, has led the Seneca County Farm Bureau in recent years. Give a listen to her thoughts, and check out some of the content we've curated or produced in recent weeks on the topic of farming. - DAILY DEBRIEF: Creating resources for farm workforce during pandemic (FL1) - Small farms in New York are experiencing a surprising boom (New York Times) - Farms were already struggling across the state, and country (New York Times) - New York farms sent reeling as COVID-19 continues to spread (LoHud) - Small farms struggle as restaurants struggle (Civil Eats) - The number of farms continues to shrink in New York except for few exceptions (The Daily Gazette)
June 21, 2020
WEEKEND DEBRIEF: The headlines for June 19th
A big week of headlines broken down by Jackie Augustine, Josh Durso, and Ted Baker.
June 19, 2020
#118: Juneteenth
What is Juneteenth? Edith Wormley, the assistant director of the Academic Opportunity Programs at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and a member of the Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church talks about the history of this significant date. She also spends some time reflecting on how its remember now amid nationwide protests in memory of George Floyd.
June 19, 2020
#117: Feria Talks Confronting Racism in Geneva (Part II)
Martin Feria continues where he left off as we confront racism in the City of Geneva starting on the Hobart & William Smith College campus as he retells when he was racially profiled by students. Why was he profiled? Should it matter that Martin wasn't a student on-campus and rather a visitor?
June 18, 2020
#117: Feria Talks Heritage, Local Restaurant, Implicit Bias (Part I)
What is it like growing up as a first generation U.S. citizen with Mexican heritage in Geneva?  Martin Feria, a lifelong Geneva resident is a first generation citizen here in the United States after his parents and older brother moved from Mexico to California and then Geneva, New York. Feria, who is shortly moving away to New Jersey reflects on his challenging upbringing from the vineyard to the junkyard while balancing a life filled with traumatic racist encounters. The Feria family owns La Reyna de México on Castle, which is located on the same street as Char Burrito - but doesn't see as many customers as their competitor. Does race have anything do with it? Is there implicit bias and selectivity in choosing between authentic and inauthentic restaurants?  This is the first installment of a two-part episode, about the lived experience of Feria. Part two will be published on Thursday exclusively on
June 17, 2020
#116: Hunting Permits During The Coronavirus Pandemic
How has the process for acquiring hunting permits changed amid the coronavirus pandemic?  Norm Ridley, a Department of Environmental Conservation volunteer instructor in Region 8 speaks about how in-person training demonstrations have shifted to online training programs statewide for the first-time ever, which are being offered until today - June 15th.
June 15, 2020
#115: Prison Oversight Changes in New York State?
What does prison oversight look like in New York State? Phillip Miller, the associate director of policy at the Correctional Association of New York speaks about a bill that he and a team of other policymakers crafted, which aims at enhancing accountability and transparency within correctional facilities that are overseen by the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
June 12, 2020
#114: Rental Assistance Program Launches for Residents
Johanna Anderson and Delia Yarrow work on the frontlines of providing safe, affordable housing for those in the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. They're part of INHS, or the Ithaca Neighborhood Housing System, which serves a number of counties beyond Ithaca and Tompkins. INHS recently launched a rental assistance program connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, as thousands were left out of work -- and without a way to pay rent. They talk about the structure of the program, and how families can qualify for three months of rental assistance through the program on today's episode of The Daily Debrief.
June 11, 2020
#113: What Changes To Voting Are Coming?
Are changes to election protocols and procedures going to enhance or diminish democratic participation in the form of voter turnout amid the novel coronavirus pandemic? Assistant Visiting Professor Ricky Price of Political Science at Hobart & William Smith Colleges weighs the short-term and long-term consequences of such sudden changes to voting systems here in New York State throughout the summer.
June 10, 2020
#112: Problem Gambling in the Finger Lakes
Earlier this month Jenna Hotaling wrote a piece highlighting the outreach efforts of the Finger Lakes Problem Gambling Resource Center. May was Mental Health Awareness Month and March was Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Since March much of the world has been consumed by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Today, we catch up with Jenna, who serves as team leader at FLPGRC to discuss their effortrs, and what help is available for those who suffer from a gambling addiction.
June 9, 2020
#111: Where Are The Turkeys?
Where are the turkeys? Just a few days after the regular spring turkey season ended in New York State, Norm Ridley, a board of director at the North Seneca Sportsmen Club and president of the state's National Wild Turkey Federation speaks with us about whether hunting turkeys is a viable solution to help feed families during statewide meat shortages in supermarkets amid the coronavirus pandemic.
June 7, 2020
#110: Protests, injustice, and economic reopening
As anti-racism protests grip communities around the region, state, and country people are wrestling with systemic injustices, and the best ways to address them. There are also school board and budget elections coming up, as well as primary contests that will take place in late-June. Today on The Weekend Debrief, Ted Baker and Josh Durso break it all down – going through the headlines that were, and the ones that will be as things move forward.
June 5, 2020
#109: Separation of Church & State During COVID-19?
Is there a separation of church and state amid the Coronavirus Pandemic? Could Governor Andrew Cuomo in bounds placing restrictions on worship in New York? Antonio Gomez, a pastor at the Church of God in Farmington expresses his feelings about Governor Andrew Cuomo and reopening congregations across the New York State after recently attending an event among other pastors from other counties surrounding the Finger Lakes.
May 29, 2020
#108: Finger Lakes Drive-In Navigates Reopening
Is the Finger Lakes Drive-In experiencing a resurgence? Is this a new trend, and will the "drive-in fever" last through the summer?  On this edition of The Daily Debrief, Paul Meyer, the owner of Finger Lakes Drive-In located on 5&20 near Auburn assesses his recent opening weekend and the future of the drive-in movie theater industry amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also explains how his business has handled the reopening process. 
May 28, 2020
#107: Broadband Grant Lights Up Rural Upstate County
Why does a $10.3 million broadband grant matter for Yates County? With employees working remotely from home becoming a more common industry practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nonnie Flynn, the treasurer and administrator for Yates County reflects on obtaining the full grant award in the amount of $10.3 million from the Re-Connect Program, which is dispersed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Today on the show, a look at that program, and how it will impact one of the most-rural communities in Upstate New York.
May 27, 2020
#106: Northeast Census Director Jeff Behler on Counting in 2020
Today on The Daily Debrief, part of our conversation with Jeff Behler, of the U.S. Census Bureau. He oversees operations in several states - including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. He spoke with Reporter Gabriel Pietrorazio, who co-hosts this show - about the pandemic, and how 2020 is shaping future census counts.
May 25, 2020
#105: Memorial Day History Lesson
On Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo pressured the press corps into an impromptu history pop quiz, asking where the first Memorial Day celebration occurred, but instead met with silence. On today's special holiday edition, we honor the lives and legacies of our nation's fallen heroes by stepping back in time in observance of Memorial Day to learn more about the origins and founding of this national holiday in the Village of Waterloo in 1866 alongside Cyndi Park-Shiels, the executive director for the Waterloo Library and Historical Society.
May 25, 2020
#104: Inside Prison During A Pandemic
What's it like living inside a state prison during a global pandemic? Are incarcerates informed about current events with frequent updates surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Are they rendered invisible, out of sight and out of mind? Are prisons a safe space, especially for health immune compromised inmates inside?  Joyce Smith-Moore, the spouse of Jim Moore, an 85-year-old, is presumably the longest serving inmate in New York State history - serving 58-years and counting. She talks about her husband's lived experiences while being bedridden inside Coxsackie Correctional Facility, which is located just outside of the state's capital in Albany. 
May 22, 2020
#103: The Post-Pandemic Economy With SBA Leader
The Paycheck Protection Program was launched as part of the federal CARES Act, intended to keep people employed as the nation dealt with a devastating pandemic. The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on companies of all sizes - but small businesses - who don't have access to large lines of credit, or the existing capital to survive weeks or months of economic inactivity were particularly devastated. Steve Bulger serves as Regional Administrator for the SBA - the agency tasked with administering hundreds of billions of dollars in loans to small businesses under the CARES Act. It was an undertaking like nothing the SBA or federal government had ever experienced. And as you probably read - there were challenges.  Today on the show: What that economic activity might look like - from one of the Country's leaders in the U.S. Small Business Administration. 
May 20, 2020
#102: Could Union Springs Get A Casino & Hotel?
Is the Cayuga Nation on the brink of reaching an agreement with Cayuga County? In a exclusive, Mayor Bud Shattuck from the Village of Union Springs shares that conversations which points to negotiations being rekindled with the Cayuga Nation after being put on hold since the pandemic began. County officials are planning to reconnect with Cayuga Nation leadership this upcoming Friday via Zoom as they plan ahead for a future meeting, which is set to occur on June 25th, aiming at exploring the prospects of possible economic development projects - including the possibility of opening a new hotel and casino in Union Springs.
May 20, 2020
#101: Keeping The Lights On During Pandemic
Keeping the lights on is tricky business, especially during a pandemic. To get the inside look at the the work, and plans that had been in place to keep NYSEG and RG&E running during the Coronavirus Pandemic, we caught up with President Carl Taylor. He talked about the types of plans a company like his has for various types of events, the changes in energy consumption during lockdown, and how they are keeping employees safe.
May 19, 2020
#100: Courts Go Virtual, But Are They Accountable?
Are virtual courts held accountable? In the absence of watchdogs and public oversight during hearings, can virtual courts amid the COVID-19 pandemic unhinge judges, public defenders or privately retained attorneys. Judith McKinney, a volunteer with the Geneva Court Watch Committee weighs the possibilities of such behavioral changes occurring online as she gets set to publish the latest edition of "Eye on the Court," which tracks the latest findings from mid-December to early-March - just before the courtrooms physically closed their doors for good.
May 18, 2020
#99: Weekend Debrief Welcomes New Face
Josh Durso, Todd Elzey, and Ted Baker break down the week's biggest headlines and answer YOUR questions
May 15, 2020
#98: How Wells College Could Close Forever
Earlier this week we sat down with Dr. Jonathan Gibralter, president of Wells College in Aurora, New York. Last week, he made headlines with a letter plainly stating that if the College cannot welcome back students in the fall that they will be forced to close. The economic fallout and realities brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic have put every organization on alert. Today, part of our conversation with Dr. Gibralter about Wells College, and what's next. 
May 15, 2020
#97: No New Chiropractors in New York?
Students at the New York Chiropractic College were informed last week that they would not be able to take a crucial portion of their licensing exam at the campus in Seneca Falls. It's unclear what options are in front of them, and while the cancellation appears to be COVID-19 related, an already strained relationship between students and administration has complicated things. Today on the Daily Debrief, student perspective, and an president's response.
May 13, 2020
#96: Cayuga Nation Dispute Continues in Seneca County
Today, Gabe Galanda, the managing lawyer at Galanda Broadman stationed out of Seattle, Washington weighs in on the fallout from Seneca County's decision to deny the Cayuga Nation building permits to clear debris - due to owing more than $6 million delinquent taxes, interests, and penalties on total properties. Even though the delinquent tax amount is less than that on the individual properties in question along State Route 89 over the winter - concerns over permitting have bubbled for months. In a exclusive, Lee Alcott, the lead attorney for Bureau of Indian Affairs representative Clint Halftown and the Cayuga Nation responded, "The Cayuga Nation offered to remove debris and clean the property just as it did across the street. The County can work this out amicably or in a court of law where the Nation will prevail as it has for the last 15 years."
May 13, 2020
#95: Communication is Key
Communication is key, especially when combatting a pandemic. How are immigrant farmworkers remaining educated on the facts about COVID-19 here in New York state? Libby Eiholzer, a bilingual dairy specialist at the Cornell Cooperative Extension explains how her staff created resource sheets to keep laborers healthy and safe while working on the farms.
May 12, 2020
#94: Being Nimble During Economic Downturn
Right around the time the Coronavirus Pandemic was gaining steam here in the U.S. two local co-working organizations joined forces. Metro CoWorking, located in Rochester, and Port 100, located in Geneva. Just a few months after the announcement that Port 100 had secured funding through Ontario County to continue operation in downtown Geneva - the partnership would test the skillset of all parties involved. But Maureen Ballatori, who we caught up with for today's episode of The Daily Debrief says coworking and businesses all face the same challenges during a pandemic like this one.
May 10, 2020
#93: Unemployment is a mess, education gets reimagined, and colleges shutting down?
On this edition of The Weekend Debrief - the panel discusses a series of interesting headlines, as the state and region navigates its way toward reopening. Ted Baker and Josh Durso break down the biggest headlines of the week.
May 8, 2020
#92: The High Cost Of Childcare During A Pandemic
Childcare is costly, certainly not a commodity, and yet the City of Geneva is coming together to offer coverage to essential workers through the ConnectGeneva COVID-19 Task Force. Hear from some of the voices who are educating and nurturing the city's children, free of charge and their concerns about the viability of the childcare industry in the aftermath of the pandemic.
May 8, 2020
#91: Public Hearings In Post-Pandemic World
What will public hearings and local meetings look like in the post-pandemic world? Today we talk with Peter Mantius, a local reporter who was at the region's last heavily-attended meeting. It happened in Butler, Wayne County, and points out exactly why state and local leaders will likely have to find alternative solutions. But that likely can't just mean jumping onto a Zoom or WebEx call virtually, because the legality of those sessions is still highly-questionable. 
May 6, 2020
#90: Waiting For Answers
If you were carried away with bruised ribs, a bloodied face and broken nose, you too would be wanting to get answers.  Charles Bowman, a Fayette born and raised resident filed a report on March 1st, after being detained by the Cayuga Nation Police for an hour.  Bowman, who is pressing charges against and seeking an investigation still hasn't heard any updates from Seneca County District Attorney Mark Sinkiewicz after the case was handed-off to him.  Nine weeks after his apprehension and temporary detainment by a suspect tribal nation police, Bowman is still seeking answers about his case.
May 6, 2020
#89: Pandemic Dairy Problem
Cows still need to be milked, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dairy farms across New York state are financially suffering with the unprecedented dropping of milk prices, which has prompted co-ops dump milk - and even considered an early indicator of a looming global recession.  On this edition, Manager Kim Skellie speaks about the financial consequences of the pandemic on El-Vi Farms in Newark, both in the short and long term.
May 5, 2020
#88: Leadership Ontario Looks Forward
Last month Leadership Ontario was announced as a new, innovative way to get the next generation of local leaders on the road to changing the community for the better. Then, the Coronavirus Pandemic turned life upside down. While the academy plans to go forward, today on the show - we catch up with Leadership Ontario Executive Director Katie Panara to talk about what's happened, what's coming, and what to expect in the coming weeks as the program grows from infancy- to it's first full calendar of operation.
May 3, 2020
#87: May Day in the Finger Lakes
This year the Rural & Migrant Ministry is celebrating essential workers on the frontlines, who haven't received the benefits that many of us have enjoyed to date. Today, a conversation about May Day efforts to highlight an important group of the workforce.
May 1, 2020
#86: Subscribers & Newspapers Pandemic Dilemma
What does the future of journalism look like? To Steve Keeler, who leads the school of media and arts at Cayuga Community College - it's going to take quite a bit to save local journalism. While he's optimistic it can happen - he's realistic enough to see the business for what it is now. A place of great uncertainty. Today on the show, part of our full-conversation with Keeler about the future of the business, and how students might feel heading to college this fall.
April 30, 2020
#85: Cayuga County Reports Rash Of Overdoses Amid Pandemic
Over the last two weeks, leaders in Cayuga County have stepped up voicing concern over a rash of overdose deaths. For Sheriff Brian Schenck, the challenge lies in maintaining vital connections between those who are in recovery and the resources that keep them on that road. Throughout the Coronavirus Pandemic the County has stepped up to provide resources for those battling addiction, or simply continuing on their road to recovery. However, it doesn't mean that effort has come without challenges. Today on the Daily Debrief - Schenck sheds some light on the experience from the frontlines.
April 28, 2020
#84: Workforce In Flux
As New York begins the re-launch of the economy-at-large, workforce development professionals are trying to figure out what's next. Specifically, they're trying to serve as assistant to businesses that need information about available resources during the economic shutdown - and helping those employees and workers out of a job. There's opportunity in the market, as was made clear by an announcement from Finger Lakes Community College on Monday. They're expanding short-term workforce development course offerings. It's a workforce in flux, and today on the show insight from some of those professionals.
April 28, 2020
#83 Delayed at the National Women's Hall of Fame
As momentum built following another successfully rally and march in Seneca Falls in January, this year was set to be a landmark occasion for the National Women's Hall of Fame. Then, a pandemic struck, throwing everything in the air. Liza Kiernan, the social media coordinator for the National Women's Hall of Fame talks about how they are handling the delayed grand opening of the Seneca Falls Knitting Mill, which corresponds in observance with this year's 100th anniversary celebration of the 19th amendment.
April 27, 2020
#82: Future of Schools, Economy, and Healthcare
The Weekend Debrief is back with another edition, focusing on the potential outcomes of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Josh Durso and Ted Baker will break down some of the biggest stories of the week with long-term implications.
April 24, 2020
#81: The Smith Center Stands Tall During Pandemic
In this historic region - it's not difficult to find organizations, or even buildings - that have stood through a lot. While the Finger Lakes region is rich with history, the Smith Center embodies that entirely. Standing mightily in historic, downtown Geneva - the Smith has stood through wars, the Influenza Pandemic of the last century, and so much more. Today on the show, a conversation about arts, The Smith, and so much more.
April 24, 2020
#80: Photography During A Pandemic
Documenting these unusual moments in history will be something appreciated - even if not in the moment. It's a strange time we're living in now, and one person is working to help document that locally. Jan Regan is a photographer, and serves as city councilor in Geneva. She has been documenting the city throughout the pandemic with her camera. Today on the show, a conversation with Regan, who talks about the experience of living, and seeing this 'new normal' through her lens. 
April 23, 2020
#79: Rural Schools Are Dealing With Multiple Crisis'
How are schools going to function moving forward? Stephen Parker Zielinski is the superintendent of schools at South Seneca. It's a smaller, rural district, and we wanted to catch up to ask him about potential budget cuts, navigating a pandemic on limited staffing, and what some of his expectations were moving forward. While he said the plans in place right now, to not only educate - but feed students are sustainable - they only stay that way if state and federal aid comes through. And if it doesn't? Zielinski says it will be a very challenging day.
April 22, 2020
#78: From Politics To Pandemic Response
When Mark Pitifer Jr. left his job at Congressman Tom Reed's office, those close to him knew that it had to be the right opportunity. Now serving as Director of Community Relations at BonaDent, which is headquartered in Seneca Falls, he has been part of the response to COVID-19 locally- and beyond. Today on the show, a conversation with Pitifer, as he talks about transition, new job, and the community he continues to serve.
April 21, 2020
#77: Power Plant Uses Subsidies To Enter Block Chain
How did a power plant along the shores of Seneca Lake in rural Upstate New York dramatically change its course of operation? And how has that shift managed to go almost completely unnoticed? Water Front Online Reporter Peter Mantius dug into that question - among several others. He covers the environment in Upstate New York, with a focus on the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. His reporting is regularly featured on Today on the show, we dive into Greenidge Generation; a power plant that's operated in Dresden since the 1930s; and after recent approval to continue operating quietly shifted to providing what's called 'blockchain services'.
April 19, 2020
#76: Respect the Vinyl
Remember vinyl records? There are a couple local radio stations on college campuses in the Finger Lakes, which will be putting those old school tracks on the airwaves this weekend, and again over the summer. Both Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Cayuga Community College - representing Geneva and Auburn respectively - will feature events in the coming months dedicated to vinyl. The first one is happening this weekend in Geneva, as Greg Cotterill explains on this edition of The Daily Debrief. Gabe Pietrorazio is also joined by Jeff Szczesniak from Cayuga Community College discussing their event, which will be delayed due to COVID-19.
April 17, 2020
#75: Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen on COVID-19 Response
Phil Bredesen Jr. was born in 1943 and lived most of his childhood years in the small town of Shortsville in Ontario County. He graduated from Red Jacket in 1961, and served as mayor of Nashville, and governor of Tennessee in the 1990s and 2000s. He recently joined Brendan Harrington on his Across the Hall podcast. The full-interview is available here, but during part of that conversation — Bredesen talked frankly about the challenges that government has accounting for low-probability events — like a global pandemic. He also talked about the things people expect out of leadership, as well as the flaws of rural healthcare.
April 15, 2020
#74: Frontline Workers
Working on the frontlines comes with challenges. Not just for healthcare workers, to which we are grateful, but for those who work in grocery stores. Today on The Daily Debrief an excerpt of a conversation that will be released in-full on Thursday right here on with Matt Miller. He is running for New York State Assembly in the 131st District. He also works at a store that New York State has deemed essential in Canandaigua. That experience, and so much more highlighted in today's Daily Debrief.
April 15, 2020
#73: Sent Home From College in March
Last month college students across New York and the rest of the U.S. experienced something truly unique. They were sent home. Little warning, no time for debate, and often little more than a letter up-front to explain the situation. But that situation was evolving by the moment.  Here in the Finger Lakes and Upstate New York - colleges shut down campuses one-by-one, as they shifted to confront the Coronavirus pandemic.  It was the middle of the spring semester, and for reporter Gabe Pietrorazio - who is a senior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva - the entire situation was as much surreal, as it was life-changing. Today on the Daily Debrief, we talk with Gabe about what students are saying, how the colleges in Geneva responded, and consider how the pandemic might change college campuses moving forward. 
April 13, 2020
#71: Feeding Geneva During A Pandemic (Part II)
How do you feed a city that struggles with food access and insecurity? How do you accomplish that during a pandemic? Today on the show, Reporter Gabriel Pietrorazio talks to a number of individuals on the frontline of the food access fight in Geneva. The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has reminded many how familiar and close to home these issues are.
April 13, 2020
#72: Debating COVID, reopening, and more! (April 10th)
What does the future of the economy look like? This week we look at reopening, and how it all breaks down as COVID response eases.
April 10, 2020
#71: Feeding Geneva During a Pandemic (Part I)
How do you feed a city that struggles with food access and insecurity? How do you accomplish that during a pandemic? Today on the show, Reporter Gabriel Pietrorazio talks to the countless individuals who advocate for a better city, while advocating for those who need to be heard. The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has reminded many how familiar and close to home these issues are.  Check out Part II of this series on Monday, April 13 exclusively on, or where ever you get podcasts.
April 10, 2020
#70: Missing Coronavirus Tests
While Theresa Parker, a Seneca Falls resident has preexisting conditions, she had no idea that the experience she'd have in our local healthcare system would shape her view of the coronavirus pandemic as much as it did. She was directed to a hospital with coronavirus symptoms - only to be turned away without a test, or diagnosis.
April 9, 2020
#69: Campaigning during a pandemic
This year was always supposed to be a significant one. Not only is there a census happening, but a number of high-profile elections. Now, it's all been turned upside down by the Coronavirus. Today we take a look at how the virus has impacted political campaigns, which continue on whether people are isolated or not.
April 8, 2020
#68: Solidarity at 6 gets loud in Geneva
Today, reporter Gabriel Pietrorazio explores something you should know about happening in the city of Geneva. 
April 7, 2020
#67: Local Economics of COVID
At this point it's almost impossible to find an area of life that hasn't been impacted by the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Here across New York, non-essential retail has been shut down for more than two weeks, restaurants and bars have been reduced to take-out only, and even grocery stores, which were deemed essential when it all began -- are enforcing new restrictions on how many can be inside a store at one time. Today, we dive into the local economy and look back at just how quickly it turned.
April 5, 2020
#65: Changes to the podcast & what's coming up as COVID-19 fight progresses
This week on The Debrief Podcast ... a little rebranding, some announcements, and of course, the headlines! Check it out as Josh Durso and Ted Baker broke down the week's biggest stories. Coronavirus, local government, and the future of some communities in the region as major shortfalls loom. Check it out on the YouTube Channel, or listen back on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
April 3, 2020
#64: Answering your questions about Coronavirus coverage across Upstate New York
This week on The Debrief Podcast, a breakdown of the most-asked questions we received in the newsroom since the Novel Coronavirus outbreak began in New York. Josh Durso and Ted Baker discuss, and look forward to a potentially permanently changed region.
March 27, 2020
#63: Breaking down the headlines
This week on The Debrief Podcast the team breaks down the latest headlines including results from Super Tuesday, coverage of the leadership dispute within the Cayuga Nation, possible changes in the city of Geneva, as well as changes that one host believes should come to the town of Seneca Falls.
March 6, 2020
#62: Sludge coming to Wayne, YOUR questions, and MORE
This week it’s all about YOUR questions. We’ve been collecting reader and listener questions for the last two weeks on Facebook and Twitter. Now, those questions are being broken down on Episode #62 of the Debrief Podcast. Josh Durso and Ted Baker discuss.
February 21, 2020
Episode #61: Debriefing Cheribundi, and MORE
What's up with enrollment declines at area community colleges? What about the Wayne County Board of Supervisors' decision to hold a vacancy in the District Attorney's office because of a longtime, and often debated residency requirement? This week on The Debrief Podcast both of those questions will be explored, as well as the future of economic development - as the region was dealt a blow after Cheribundi announced their exit. An official misconduct charge, which will be dismissed if a highway official in Cayuga County pays a little more than $650 in restitution will also be discussed.
January 31, 2020
Debrief #60: Committee on Open Government, Upstate Economy, No Pledge
What were the biggest stories of the week in the Finger Lakes? There are several that have people talking, and this week on Episode #60 of The Debrief Podcast, Ted Baker, Jackie Augustine, and Josh Durso are in-studio breaking it all down. Watch the full episode below... Topics for discussion this week include: - A recent appointment by the Cuomo Administration to the Committee on Open Government, which drew a lot of criticism. - The state of the economy in Upstate New York after a City-Journal piece was published by E.J. McMahon. Recent tweets by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul also drew harsh criticism online, as she touted the Southern Tier's 'soaring' economy. - The town of Enfield's decision to end the practice of reciting the pledge at the start of board meetings. The board voted 4-1 to end that practice with only one dissenting vote. - A pair of stories involving Congressman Tom Reed, who was named to President Donald Trump's New York re-election team, and is openly considering a challenge to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2022. - Former Congressman Chris Collins, who represented the 27th District, will be sentenced on Friday. Letters of support made headlines earlier this week, as several key officials around the region and Western New York backed the embattled rep. - A pair of stories about criminal justice. The first about reforms, and a recent speaker in Geneva, who addressed the changes to bail reform and discovery - calling them necessary. The second about a pair of bills that are being actively considered in Albany, which would effectively end life sentences.
January 17, 2020
#59: Kolb DWI, Illegal Meeting in Seneca County, and Cuomo's Upstate Veto
This week on The Debrief Podcast: Governor Andrew Cuomo produces a list of agenda items for 2020, the latest reaction from Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb’s DWI arrest earlier in the week, and taking a closer look at the future of broadband in rural parts of the Finger Lakes. Josh Durso, Ted Baker, and Jackie Augustine are in-studio debating it all on The Debrief. Watch below, or listen to the podcast on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
January 3, 2020
Criminal Justice Reform Blind Spots, Land Sale in Geneva, and HWS Deal
This week on The Debrief Podcast a full-studio. Josh Durso, Jackie Augustine, Ted Baker, and Gabriel Pietrorazio debate the latest headlines and stories impacting the Finger Lakes as 2019 draws to a close. Topics discussed include criminal justice reforms that take hold in a couple weeks, the land sale along Seneca Lake in Geneva, and the future of a deal inked by City Council, which binds Hobart and William Smith Colleges to the City for 12 more years.
December 13, 2019
Previewing Elections in the Finger Lakes
This week on The Debrief Podcast it's all about elections; and the decisions voters have before them next week. Josh Durso, Jackie Augustine, Ted Baker, and Gabe Pietrorazio are all in-studio for a deep dive into the biggest races, early voting, and the trends seen over the last few weeks.
November 1, 2019
#56: Local Campaign Transparency
This week on The Debrief Podcast host Josh Durso is joined by Ted Baker of Finger Lakes Morning News on Finger Lakes News Radio; and Peter Mantius of The Water Front Online. The trio discussed a number of topics and headlines, including the latest on a race for Schuyler County Court Judge; the future of economic development near Exit 41 in Seneca County; and the future of cashless tolling. They will also discuss a recent survey by City Lab, which showed Ithaca among the best cities in the U.S. to live 'car free'. Watch or listen on your favorite streaming service; and become a subscriber on YouTube, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts today by clicking here!
September 27, 2019
Ep. #55: Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Failures
Summer is nearly over, but that only means that things are getting busier in the FL1 Studio. This week, Jackie Augustine, Ted Baker, and Josh Durso are in-studio breaking down the last two week's biggest headlines. Topics up for discussion on this week's podcast include: - The latest on the Huntington Building in Seneca Falls; - The Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, which officials say will be built in Downtown Rochester; - The new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo requiring that Industrial Development Agency meetings be live-streamed; - Latest on the Red Flag Law and Child Victims Act; - As well as the constant-pitch of 'mixed use' in local development, and the implications of that term.
August 28, 2019
Ep. #54: Musselman Sold, Seneca Army Depot, and Planning in Government
This week on The Debrief Podcast, Josh Durso is joined by Jackie Augustine and Ted Baker to discuss the week's biggest headlines.  The trio will discuss the the future of a galvanizing plant at the former Seneca Army Depot; a recently-filled Geneva City Council seat; Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fight with Con Ed; and the future of the Musselman, which was sold to WTC.
July 17, 2019
Episode #53: DRI, Legislative Session Ends, and Tuition Increases AGAIN
This week on The Debrief Podcast Josh Durso and Ted Baker break down the latest headlines. The two discuss the latest on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative contest; the legislative session, which wrapped up this week; tuition increases at SUNY schools; and the still-controversial Finger Lakes Resort project in Canandaigua.
June 21, 2019
Ep. #52: Affordable Housing, Resistance to Vaccines, Listener Questions, and MORE
This week on The Debrief Podcast - Josh Durso and Ted Baker break down the latest headlines from around the region. The two discuss rent control advocacy across the state, a vacant Geneva City Council seat, access to high speed broadband (and the implications), as well as a veto power proposal that would give new power to voters.
May 18, 2019
Geneva City Council, Rural Schools Decline & More
This week on The Debrief Podcast - Jackie Augustine and Josh Durso debate the future of rural school districts, as a exclusive shows significant declines in student enrollment across the Finger Lakes. The duo also discusses the latest from Geneva City Council's Tuesday session to find a Ward 6 Councilor; and the future of a veto power law, which would put more power in the hands of New York residents than ever before.
May 8, 2019
Discussing the city of Geneva with Jim Meaney
When Jim Meaney, founder of The Geneva Believer announced that he would be seeking the nomination to run for Geneva City Council's Ward 6 seat - there was very little surprise. However, weeks later he ended that campaign, returning to the work that led him to the decision that would be to run for City Council. Reporting on the City of Geneva. This week on The Debrief Podcast we discuss that brief campaign with Meaney, and also address a number of important and timely headlines - like the recently confirmed slate of candidates for city council races this fall. 
April 20, 2019
Discussing Katko's Challenger, SF Resolution, & Geneva City Council Vacancy
Geneva City Council has a vacancy to fill, one Town Supervisor candidate has exited the race in Seneca Falls, and Roger Misso enters the race to challenge Rep. John Katko. All of these stories and more will be discussed on this week’s Debrief Podcast presented by Josh Durso and Jackie Augustine are in-studio breaking it all down – including a controversial resolution, which was defeated by a 4-1 count on Tuesday in Seneca Falls.
April 5, 2019
Ted Baker & Josh Durso debate controversy in Seneca Falls, plastic bags, and more
Ted Baker & Josh Durso debate controversy in Seneca Falls, plastic bags, and more on The Debrief Podcast.
March 29, 2019
Discussing local election results, viability of villages, controversial lagoon in Cayuga County, and college admissions scandal
This week on The Debrief Podcast Jackie Augustine and Josh Durso discussed a variety of issues including the latest on local elections, including the longterm viability of small, rural villages; as well as some controversial environmental issues. The duo also weighed in on the controversy around college admissions and the wealthy in the U.S.
March 20, 2019
Discussing Judges Censured in Wayne County, Seneca Falls Audit, and Midwife in Yates County News Director Josh Durso and Finger Lakes Morning News Host Ted Baker sit down to discuss the latest storylines playing out across the region. The two discuss a pair of censured judges from Wayne County, a familiar contested race in Auburn, legislation to stop supervised injection sites across New York State, and much more.
March 1, 2019
Discussing a new election calendar, fairness of electoral compensation, and outside funding
Josh Durso and Jackie Augustine break down a number of headlines - including the implications of a new election schedule and calendar on races that have started, or will begin in just a couple weeks. The two also discuss how to fairly compensate elected officials, who is left on the outside when considering a run for office, and much more. Watch on YouTube by clicking here
February 13, 2019
Discussing migrant workforce in the Finger Lakes, abrupt restaurant closure, and more
It was a busy week in the Newsroom this week, as the polar vortex provided more issues than simple 'chill'. On the Friday, February 1st edition of The Debrief Podcast - Josh Durso is joined by Ted Baker, host of Finger Lakes Morning News on WGVA, and WAUB to discuss all of the headlines that made their way through the region.  Topics discussed included:  - Red Jacket Orchards talks migrant employees, local workforce; - Stan's restaurant announces abrupt closure citing financial strain; - The failed tractor-trailer ban on state roads; - A devastating fire, which highlights affordable housing needs in the Finger Lakes; - A new program announced between SUNY schools and Amazon; and - A number of resignations in Cayuga County.
February 8, 2019