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September 20, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Wyandanch in the town of Babylon has earned a reputation for being one of the poorest communities on Long Island. Surrounded by some of the most well-to-do areas in the United States, this working class hamlet has struggled with poverty and crime. But that’s all changing. Wyandanch is currently is the middle of a $500 million redevelopment plan, which calls for affordable housing, commercial businesses, infrastructure and transportation improvements. In our continuing series, Chasing the Dream, Long Island Business Report anchor Jim Paymar takes us to this little corner of Suffolk County to tell us what the plan could mean for other struggling communities across our area and across the country.

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September 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

It’s the war on our southern border that few seem to want to talk about except, perhaps, for political gain. It’s a level of violence that according to the Mexican government has left over 164,000 dead and 23,000 missing since 2007. The new POV documentary “Kingdom of Shadows” explores this vicious struggle involving drug cartels, corrupt law enforcement officials and […]

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Episode
September 17, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the debates this election season have been unprecedented in modern politics, but imagine if they looked a little different, and the candidates actually discussed the issues on Americans’ minds rather than scream over each other and hurl insults. Intelligence Squared U.S. is an organization that seeks to restore civility and constructive public discourse to today’s media landscape, with their ultimate goal being to provide a new forum for intelligent debates of opposing viewpoints. Now they’ve set their sights on this election with a Change.org petition called “Fix America’s Presidential Debates!” to implement their style of informed debate for the current nominees. Intelligence Squared U.S. moderator and ABC News Correspondent John Donvan joins us to discuss intelligence squared and how their model may influence future presidential debates.

Next, PBS’ Spotlight Education Week nears it’s close, just in time for tomorrow’s American Graduate Day! We’ll have a preview of the public television project that aims to help local communities find ways to keep students on the path to graduation. What can you expect from the program and how does WNET hope to revolutionize learning? WNET’s Vice President of Education Carole Wacey joins us to answer those questions and offer more insight into American Graduate Day.

Then, what started as a Connecticut family’s birthday tradition evolved into a non-profit that’s given thousands of children the chance to make another kid smile. Growing up, Maya and Layla Wofsy made teddy bears on their birthdays to donate to children in need. Now teenagers, the girls and their parents host community and school events where children make stuffed animals and care packages through their organization Kidz Give Back. MetroFocus’ Andrea Vasquez was there for one of the “Stuffed With Love” events at a Harlem school, and shows us what a difference these toys make for the kids who get them, as well as those who make them.

Finally, this week in history, a young, black woman was able to run from the shackles of 19th century slavery to freedom and forever changed the world. Known as “The Moses of Her People,” Harriet Tubman continued to travel into the southern states and liberated more than 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad over the course of 11 years. Tonight, in honor of this American legend, we’ll take you to her home in Upstate New York, which has become a historic site run by the National Park Service.

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September 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

What started as a Connecticut family’s birthday tradition evolved into a nonprofit that’s given thousands of children the chance to make another kid smile. Growing up, Maya and Layla Wofsy made teddy bears on their birthdays to donate to children in need. Now teenagers, the girls and their parents host community and school events where children make stuffed animals and care packages through their organization Kidz Give Back. MetroFocus’ Andrea Vasquez was there for one of the “Stuffed With Love” events at a Harlem school, and shows us what a difference these toys make for the kids who get them, as well as those who make them.

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Episode
September 15, 2016 at 5:31 am

Tonight, results from yesterday’s primary may have disappointed some New York incumbents, but it turns out a dead man can still pull in votes. We let you know where the votes fell and who will be taking over political office. With what is sure to be an exciting general election quickly approaching in November, how do the results from yesterday shift power in New York?

Next, all studies point to one thing that has a positive effect on not only the success of an individual but the national economy they live in: a quality education. That simple fact doesn’t change that America, once known as one of the top countries in educational achievement, has fallen behind, especially in topics such as math and science. So what is keeping our nation’s students back and how can we become top achievers again in a global market that becomes more competitive with each day? A new Nova documentary, School of the Future, explores those questions and the challenges facing today’s students. Dr. Pamela Cantor is one of the subjects in this film and she will join us to discuss the issues our kids deal with in and out of the classroom.

Then, as America’s youth heads back to school, high school seniors are facing the daunting task of applying to college. Between taking the SATs, writing admissions essays, and completing scholarship applications, the payoff has increasingly been a rejection letter from some of the most elite schools in the world. It’s a hard blow for many students and their parents, but does the university you attend really determine how bright your future could be? The New York Times columnist Frank Bruni joins us to discuss the stressful time students have applying for college and whether picking the right school is as important as we think it is.

Finally, what makes the world round, the sky blue, or gives every snowflake a unique shape? Those seemingly unanswerable questions are explored in a new PBS series called Forces of Nature. This four-part series will show how we experience the natural forces that shape our world and the fundamental laws governing all life and matter on Earth. Tonight, PBS’ Vice President of Programming Bill Gardner will join us to discuss the making of Forces of Nature and what you can expect from the program before it premieres tonight.

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September 14, 2016 at 6:28 pm

All studies point to one thing that has a positive effect on not only the success of an individual but the national economy they live in: a quality education. That simple fact doesn’t change that America, once known as one of the top countries in educational achievement, has fallen behind, especially in topics such as math and science. So what is keeping our nation’s students back and how can we become top achievers again in a global market that becomes more competitive with each day? A new Nova documentary, School of the Future, explores those questions and the challenges facing today’s students. Dr. Pamela Cantor is one of the subjects in this film and she will join us to discuss the issues our kids deal with in and out of the classroom.

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Episode
September 14, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is seen by some as one of the most contentious political races of our time. But what does it take to run for the most powerful office in the world? The Contenders: 16 for ’16 is a new PBS series that looks at the most compelling and influential presidential campaigns of the past fifty years using first-hand accounts from many former presidential hopefuls, from Jesse Jackson and Howard Dean to Gary Hart and Pat Buchanan. Carlos Watson, host of The Contenders: 16 for ’16 and editor of OZY Media, previews the series and its first episode, which explores the campaigns of Senator John McCain and Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.

Next, for many Americans, the progression of education is evident: finish high school, go to college, start your career. But what happens when you graduate and learn that the education you received is inadequate for the working world? Or worse, what if your school shuts down before you’ve even had a chance to complete your degree? Those are just some of the horrors faced by numerous students who attended a number of for-profit colleges across the country. Martin Smith, the correspondent in a new FRONTLINE documentary, A Subprime Education, discusses the film and the controversies behind these for-profit institutions.

Then finally, six years ago, Nadia Lopez launched the Mott Hall Bridges Academy with the message, “Open a school to close a prison.” At the time the academy opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the most violent in neighborhoods in the city, every single enrolled student lived below the poverty line. Lopez admitted that she considered quitting after not having luck recruiting teachers to engage with the students. Her spirits were lifted when one of her students was featured on the beloved blog Humans of New York, and called Lopez his hero. The post was shared millions of times and the response was remarkable, garnering a million dollar fundraising campaign for the school and a chance to meet with President Barack Obama. Tonight, we tell you more about her amazing story and share her TED Talk, “Education Revolution,” in which she explains how her school transformed struggling NYC students into driven, hopeful scholars.

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September 13, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Six years ago, Nadia Lopez launched the Mott Hall Bridges Academy with the message, “Open a school to close a prison.” At the time the academy opened in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the most violent in neighborhoods in the city, every single enrolled student lived below the poverty line. Lopez admitted that she considered quitting after not having luck recruiting teachers to engage with the students. Her spirits were lifted when one of her students was featured on the beloved blog Humans of New York, and called Lopez his hero. The post was shared millions of times and the response was remarkable, garnering a million dollar fundraising campaign for the school and a chance to meet with President Barack Obama. Tonight, we tell you more about her amazing story and share her TED Talk, “Education Revolution,” in which she explains how her school transformed struggling NYC students into driven, hopeful scholars.

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Episode
September 09, 2016 at 5:36 am

Tonight, this November, voters in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will all decide whether to join ranks with states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington and legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Meanwhile, Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and Missouri will decide whether to legalize the prescription use of the drug for medical purposes. New York passed marijuana-use legislation in 2014 with the Compassionate Care Act, which legalized medical marijuana. One activist at the forefront of marijuana legislation is the former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura. He joins us to discuss his book, Marijuana Manifesto, and makes the case for legalizing cannabis.

Next, as the 15th anniversary of the terrible attack on the World Trade Center quickly approaches, we take a look at the 9/11 Memorial, a steadfast tribute to those killed and the brave men and women who served the city that day. Today, a Freedom Tower now stands as a testament to the resiliency of the city, boasting an expansive view of the island, exhibits that educate attendees about the city as well as the building itself and several options for dining. But one of the building’s most engaging attractions may be one of the city’s least known and most amazing features: an elevator that offers a time lapse view of New York City. Starting at the very beginning of New York’s history in the year 1500, the elevator ride takes us through hundreds of years to the present. Visitors can watch the skyline appear and change as the city grows before their eyes. We discuss the inside story of the elevator with Michael Arad, designer of the 9/11 Memorial, “Reflecting Absence,” and New York Times reporter David Dunlap, who covered this amazing ride through New York’s history.

Then, Gucci is one of the top names in fashion, synonymous with wealth, prestige, and class. Although Gucci won’t be holding a show here in New York during this Fashion Week, we take a moment to remember the visionary who transformed his father’s small Florentine luggage company into a globally known symbol for high fashion. Aldo Gucci, despite his business success, harbored a secret in his personal life: his mistress Bruna Palombo and their love child, Patricia. Patricia Gucci joins us to discuss her book, In the Name of Gucci, a Memoir, where she chronicles the untold love story between her parents and details her own personal relationship with her father.

Finally, where would you go if you wanted to find the greenest block in Brooklyn? Every year the Brooklyn Botanic Garden sets out to settle that question with its “Greenest Block in Brooklyn” competition. This year, out of over 150 entrants, the winner for 2016 is the 300 East 25th Street Block Association in Flatbush. We went to see for ourselves just how green it was and discovered far more than what we expected for this NYC borough.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross.

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