Full Episode May 29: Upstate Wineries, Junior Achievement NY, New Yorker Cartoonist Bob Mankoff

May 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

On this edition of MetroFocus, Albany Public TV’s Innovation Trail reporter Jenna Flanagan travels to the Finger Lakes where this past winter’s “Polar Vortex” took a harsh toll on the region’s wineries. The federal government declared 19 counties in upstate New York to be disaster areas and now vineyard owners are struggling to save this year’s harvest.

Niasia Greenidge-James, a high school senior from Canarsie, is heading off to college with big dreams thanks to Junior Achievement of New York. As Junior Achievement of New York’s 2013 Student of the Year, Greenidge-James is the winner of a $10,000 college scholarship which she plans to use towards an International Business and Culinary Arts and Food Management degree.

Junior Achievement of New York connects K-12 students with business leaders and mentors to teach them financial literacy and entrepreneurship and prepare them for the work force. Greenidge-James says when she started at the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism High School she wanted to be a chef. But with encouragement from teachers and mentors, she is now setting her sights on a business career. She tells MetroFocus host Rafael Pi Roman, “My ultimate dream is to own a chain of restaurants, worldwide.”

What makes a New Yorker cartoon funny? The magazine’s cartoon editor Bob Mankoff says “Most New Yorker cartoons I don’t think are belly laughs, they’re sort of smiles of the mind.” Mankoff shares stories from his almost forty-year career at The New Yorker in his new memoir and history of the magazine’s cartoons called How About Never? Is Never Good For You? My Life in Cartoons. Mankoff shares his secret to a good cartoon and has some tips for winning The New Yorker’s very popular weekly cartoon caption contest.

And NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute graduate student Yamiche Alcindor has the story of a New Yorker who found his voice in an unusual way – through puppets. Nigel Dunkley struggled for years with stuttering and speech problems, but then he found a solution in ventriloquism. Alcindor rides the subways with Dunkley and one of his puppets named Cindy Hot Chocolate. “It means a lot for me to do this ventriloquism…even though I may not be able to talk clear, I can have Cindy Hot Chocolate speak for me.”