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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 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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Episode
August 16, 2016 at 5:21 am

Tonight, late last year, Brazil saw unusually high numbers of a birth defects called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads. The phenomenon was soon linked to a mosquito-borne illness known as the Zika virus. The epidemic soon spread beyond Brazil to most of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. In February, the World Health Organization declared Zika a public health emergency, and now the virus has reached New York State, with over 530 people infected; 444 of those cases in New York City. Don’t panic, though. Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Dr. Mary Bassett joins us tonight to put your worries at ease and tell you about the real threat Zika poses, plus the city’s plan to deal with it. In addition, Commissioner Bassett will address how to stay safe during the ongoing heat wave hitting the metro area.

Next, ever wonder why New York City seems to feel the heat more than the rest of the area? Turns out, it’s not all in your head. New York Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder joins us to explain the “Urban Heat Island” effect and how New York City plans to battle it.

Finally, tonight, we continue our conversation on the Presidents with Tim Naftali, former director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. This time, we take a look at the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. This election year, the PBS documentary series American Experience is taking us inside the oval office with its special presentation The Presidents, which looks at the critical moments of consequential modern presidents. The series continues this week with episodes featuring Jimmy Carter on August 15th, Ronald Reagan on August 16th and 17th, and George H.W. Bush on August 18th.

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Episode
August 06, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, climate change has New York City at the mercy of Mother Nature. With rising sea levels wreaking havoc around the globe, our city appeared on a list of 10 cities that are most vulnerable. Find out from climate scientist Dr. Radley Horton just how significant the flooding could become and what steps could possibly be taken to minimize the flooding.

Then, imagine walking up and down every single block in New York City. Sociology professor at the City College of New York William Helmreich did just that. It took him four years to comb through all five boroughs of the city– that’s roughly 6,000 miles– and he went through about ten pairs of shoes and spoke with hundreds of people who crossed his path. What did he find? It’s all in his new book The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City. Tonight, Helmreich joins us to give us insights into his adventure and talk about how he got a better understanding of our city’s crime, poverty, and gentrification issues.

Next, New York Harbor may become home to billions of oysters, but no, they’re not for you to have on the half shell. About 120 years ago, New York Harbor was the site of one of the richest oyster grounds in the world. Those mollusks acted as natural water filters and protected the city against rising sea levels and superstorms. But between all the pollution and over-eating over the past century, that important part of New York’s natural protection have all but disappeared. New York Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder stops by to tell us how New York could once again become the “Oyster Capital of the World.”

Finally, guitar legend Warren Haynes might be best known for his role in rock band the Allman Brothers, but these days, he’s up to something slightly different. Still playing and touring, Haynes takes the time to sit down with MetroFocus’ Noah Eckstein to talk about preserving and expanding music and music education as his tour with the Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration prepares for its last performance in Central Park.

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Clip
August 05, 2016 at 6:27 pm

New York Harbor may become home to billions of oysters, but no, they’re not for you to have on the half shell. About 120 years ago, New York Harbor was the site of one of the richest oyster grounds in the world. Those mollusks acted as natural water filters and protected the city against rising sea levels and superstorms. But between all the pollution and over-eating over the past century, that important part of New York’s natural protection have all but disappeared. New York Executive Director of the Nature Conservancy Bill Ulfelder stops by to tell us how New York could once again become the “Oyster Capital of the World.”

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Episode
July 29, 2016 at 5:30 am

Tonight, today is the last day of the Democratic National Convention, and after a long week of speeches and American pride, Hillary Clinton is finally due to take the stage. We speak with Congressman Frank Pallone about the latest, and what we can expect from Hillary during the final moments of the DNC.

Next, ow safe are we online? We Listen In to the sixth annual International Conference on Cyber Security at New York’s Fordham University, as FBI Director James Comey speaks on current cyber threats to the nation, and the FBI’s multi-faceted plan to address these threats.

Then, author, activist, and journalist Marc Lamont Hill joins us again to talk about his book titled Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond. The book, which delves into recent current events such as the protests in Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown, and the water crisis in Flint, analyzes these events through the lens of race and class. Are there forces within our society that target the vulnerable and exploit them? Marc Lamont Hill talks about that, shine light on the bigger picture in the undercurrent our current events.

Finally, The Whitney Museum of American Art opened a new education center this year. See what went into the planning of this space dedicated to engaging participants of all ages in art education. Board of Trustees Co-Chair Laurie M. Tisch and Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education Kathryn Potts join us to share how the museum’s new space is inspiring children, families and artists.

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Episode
July 26, 2016 at 5:39 am

Tonight, with the Republican convention in the rear view, Democrats are now gathering in Philadelphia to begin their own convention and anoint Hillary Clinton for President. But while the anticipation is building, party leader Debbie Wasserman Schultz was met with heckling and disruption as she gave a speech this morning. She will be stepping down as soon as the convention wraps, amid pressure from the WikiLeaks emails release, one of which show staffers discussing how to weaken Sanders’ support by referencing his faith, as well as Hillary’s campaign saying the Russian government may have orchestrated the debacle. Is this an omen for what is to come, or will the Democratic party pull it together? How will Bernie Sanders react when he takes the stage tonight? We speak to New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski, who was the chair of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in that state, about the tumultuous first day of the Democratic convention.

Next, America has the largest prison population in the world, and in New York City, 4000 people are locked up in jail, although they haven’t been convicted of any crime. They remain there, awaiting trial, not because their crime demands it, but because they simply cannot afford to pay their bail. In a new documentary titled Limbo, three prisoners tell their story and the high price they are forced to pay as a result of our country’s bail system. Filmmaker Razan Ghalayini and senior planner at Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Sentencing and Corrections Insha Rahman join us to talk about the broken criminal justice system in America and whether it discriminates against the poor while costing us $9 billion a year.

Then finally, who said STEM skills were best learned in a classroom? Mohonk Preserve is breaking the status quo for STEM kids and taking their lessons outside, using the natural environment to reinforce science, math, technology and engineering programs. MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan takes us to the preserve and shows you how the program is taking kids from areas like Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, making them comfortable with the outdoors, and melding it with their interests in STEM.

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Clip
July 25, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Who said STEM skills were best learned in a classroom? Mohonk Preserve is breaking the status quo for STEM kids and taking their lessons outside, using the natural environment to reinforce science, math, technology and engineering programs. MetroFocus’ Jenna Flanagan takes us to the preserve and shows you how the program is taking kids from areas like Kingston, Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, making them comfortable with the outdoors, and melding it with their interests in STEM.

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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, 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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