Episode
August 26, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, late last year, an unusually high number of babies were born in Brazil with abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly. The birth defect soon became linked with a mosquito-borne virus called Zika. Since the initial outbreak, the Zika virus has been named a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. But Zika isn’t the first public health emergency in recent memory. In 2014, the world watched in horror as the deadly Ebola virus ripped through West Africa, leaving 10,000 dead. Both viruses are examples of zoonotic diseases, or spillover infections, a term used to define diseases that originate and spread from animals. This is exacerbated by the fact that as our population grows, we are forced to have greater interactions with the wildlife that surrounds us. Veterinarian, epidemiologist, and Associate Vice President of Conservation Medicine at EcoHealth Alliance Dr. Jonathan Epstein joins us to talk about these diseases and his role in a new PBS documentary, Spillover– Zika, Ebola & Beyond.

Then, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then the pictures in this project make up a lifetime story. The New York Times unearthed never before seen images from Black history drawn from old negatives buried in their archives. Once found, editors combed through 5 million photographs and 300,000 negatives to culminate in a project titled “Unpublished Black History.” During Black History Month this year, The New York Times ran pieces of the project with an explanation of their backstories and historical significance. We will speak to two of the editors on the project, New York Times’ photo editor Darcy Eveleigh and reporter Rachel Swarns to learn more about it.

And finally, you know her for her hits like “Jolene,” “I Will Always Love You,” and “9 to 5, and now legendary singer, songwriter and philanthropist Dolly Parton is back on MetroFocus! This time, she is out traveling the country to promote her 43rd studio album Pure and Simple, in her largest North American tour in 25 years. She took some time out of her busy schedule to talk to us about her life, decade-spanning career, and her new music that is selling out shows around the nation.

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August 25, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Late last year, an unusually high number of babies were born in Brazil with abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly. The birth defect soon became linked with a mosquito-borne virus called Zika. Since the initial outbreak, the Zika virus has been named a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. But Zika isn’t the first public health emergency in recent memory. In 2014, the world watched in horror as the deadly Ebola virus ripped through West Africa, leaving 10,000 dead. Both viruses are examples of zoonotic diseases, or spillover infections, a term used to define diseases that originate and spread from animals. This is exacerbated by the fact that as our population grows, we are forced to have greater interactions with the wildlife that surrounds us. Veterinarian, epidemiologist, and Associate Vice President of Conservation Medicine at EcoHealth Alliance Dr. Jonathan Epstein joins us to talk about these diseases and his role in a new PBS documentary, Spillover– Zika, Ebola & Beyond.

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Episode
August 24, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, the Brooklyn Bridge may be getting some major upgrades as city officials explore the idea of expanding the promenade. In recent years, the bridge has earned a reputation for being congested with people. Between tourists, speeding cyclists, and busy commuters, the 133 year-old landmark isn’t that easy to cross. The issue has caught the attention of the city’s Department of Transportation, who are trying to come up with a solution to the problem. Vin Barone, a transportation reporter for amNewYork, has been watching the story and joins us to explain the latest push to fix the Brooklyn Bridge.

Next, an investigation between local and federal authorities led to the take down of a large-scale racketeering conspiracy ranging from Springfield, Massachusetts, to South Florida, and involved members from four of New York’s five Mafia families. And no, we’re not talking the Sopranos. But what does the modern Mafia look like? Author and journalist for ganglandnews.com, Jerry Capeci tells us about the power of the modern day Mafia, a restaurant on Arthur Avenue that served as an alleged hub for criminal activity, and whether or not the authorities have had any success in cutting New York’s Mafia back.

Then, when Rutgers University joined the Big Ten conference, a collection of universities that organizes intercollegiate athletics, perhaps the most important goal was to bring in big bucks to New Jersey’s largest public university. But going big time in intercollegiate sports has actually cost Rutgers millions, and some argue that it has come at the expense of academics. Steve Adubato, co-anchor of New Jersey Capitol Report, weighs in on whether this prestigious university can remain a player in big college sports without compromising its academic reputation.

Finally, is it possible to be lonely in New York City? Surprisingly, even with 8.4 million people surrounding you, the reality is that human connection is not guaranteed. The case of 72 year-old George Bell exemplifies this notion. Bell died alone in his Jackson Heights apartment during the summer last year, but no one knew exactly when. The circumstances of his death were so troubling, they landed on the front of The New York Times. But is loneliness as distressing as we make it out to be? Olivia Liang is the author of a book that delves into that issue, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. She joins us to explain her interest in this subject and share how her thoughts on isolation changed through the course of writing this book.

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Clip
August 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm

The Brooklyn Bridge may be getting some major upgrades as city officials explore the idea of expanding the promenade. In recent years, the bridge has earned a reputation for being congested with people. Between tourists, speeding cyclists, and busy commuters, the 133 year-old landmark isn’t that easy to cross. The issue has caught the attention of the city’s Department of Transportation, who are trying to come up with a solution to the problem. Vin Barone, a transportation reporter for amNewYork, has been watching the story and joins us to explain the latest push to fix the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Clip
August 23, 2016 at 6:26 pm

Is it possible to be lonely in New York City? Surprisingly, even with 8.4 million people surrounding you, the reality is that human connection is not guaranteed. The case of 72 year-old George Bell exemplifies this notion. Bell died alone in his Jackson Heights apartment during the summer last year, but no one knew exactly when. The circumstances of his death were so troubling, they landed on the front of The New York Times. But is loneliness as distressing as we make it out to be? Olivia Liang is the author of a book that delves into that issue, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone. She joins us to explain her interest in this subject and share how her thoughts on isolation changed through the course of writing this book.

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Episode
August 20, 2016 at 5:27 am

Tonight, crime in New York City is at record lows, but not everyone is feeling all that safe. According to a new study from NYC Park Advocates, violent crimes soared 23 percent during a nine-month period compared to the year before. The NYPD responded by saying that crime in parks is rare, and that they are some of the safest places in not only the city, but the entire country. This comes as park safety has been dominating headlines, including the story of Karina Vetrano, the 30-year-old woman whose life was cut short while jogging in a Queens park. Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, stops by to discuss the study and what he thinks the city should be doing to make parks safer.

Next, this month will mark 30 years since Robert Chambers strangled and killed his then 18 year-old friend, Jennifer Levin, in Central Park. The killing and subsequent arrest made headlines as “The Preppy Murder.” CBS’ 48 Hours revisits the case with an exclusive interview with Chambers himself. 48 Hours Senior Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky joins us to discuss the case and the impact it’s had on New York City.

Finally, next Thursday marks 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service. In the time that’s passed, the number of national parks has grown from 35 parks and monuments to now over 400 areas, covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. To commemorate this monumental anniversary, The National Park Service will light up the New York City skyline this Monday in a celebration that features Bill Nye, Questlove, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. The event hopes to inspire new generations to venture out and discover our country’s national parks. Karen Sloat Olsen, Chief of Interpretation and Education of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, will join us to talk about the celebration and The National Park Service’s centennial year.

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August 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Next Thursday marks 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service. In the time that’s passed, the number of national parks has grown from 35 parks and monuments to now over 400 areas, covering more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. To commemorate this monumental anniversary, The National Park Service will light up the New York City skyline this Monday in a celebration that features Bill Nye, Questlove, and U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell. The event hopes to inspire new generations to venture out and discover our country’s national parks. Karen Sloat Olsen, Chief of Interpretation and Education of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, will join us to talk about the celebration and The National Park Service’s centennial year.

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Episode
August 17, 2016 at 5:54 am

Tonight, Oscar Morel of Brooklyn finds himself behind bars today for the alleged murder of a New York Imam and his assistant. Since the murders, New Yorkers and those living in the Queens community where the attack was perpetrated have speculated whether the Imam and his friend were targets of a hate crime or victims of a random act of violence. Police haven’t released Morel’s motive yet, but according to reports, his brother has mentioned that Morel felt hatred towards Muslims post-9/11. Tonight, MetroFocus’ William Jones goes to Ozone Park for reactions from the Queens community that Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin served.

Then, it was the news no New York City straphanger wanted to hear. The L train, one of the busiest subway lines in the world, is shutting down between Manhattan and Brooklyn for 18 months starting in 2019. The MTA reached that decision earlier this summer as it tries to repair a Superstorm Sandy-damaged tunnel that connects the two boroughs. Now, hundreds of thousands of riders will need to find a different way of commuting. Vin Barone, a transportation reporter for amNewYork, has been following the story closely and takes us inside the impending shutdown.

Next, Hoosick Falls, a village in Upstate, New York, received news that their water was contaminated with levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, better known as PFOA. Residents were tested and the results showed high levels of this toxic chemical in men, women, and children alike. Fed up with inaction by the local and state government, the young adults of this community are making noise to get the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials to give solutions to their water crisis.

Finally, with a growing number of states establishing medical marijuana programs, in addition to the four states that have legalized recreational use of the drug, a new sector of unexplored business opportunities is emerging. Entrepreneurs, policy makers, and advocates came together to paint New York City green and make sense of this new money-making opportunity at the third annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition. Is cannabis prohibition coming to an end, or will political forces work to ensure former policies surrounding the drug? MetroFocus contributor Andrea Vasquez has your inside look at the Cannabis Expo held at the Jacob Javits Center.

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Clip
August 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Hoosick Falls, a village in Upstate, New York, received news that their water was contaminated with levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, better known as PFOA. Residents were tested and the results showed high levels of this toxic chemical in men, women, and children alike. Fed up with inaction by the local and state government, the young adults of this community are making noise to get the attention of Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials to give solutions to their water crisis.

Continue Reading

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MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Rosalind P. Walter, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Jody and John Arnhold, the Tiger Baron Foundation, the Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Metropolitan Media Fund, Laura and Jim Ross, the Dorothy Pacella Fund, in memory of Vincent Pacella and Shailaja and Umesh Nagarkatte.

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