Episode 1: Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in New York State

By: Mikel Scott

Buffalo, NY– Marijuana is fully legal in many states such as, Nevada, California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Colorado. New Jersey is one of the latest states to legalize marijuana, and many lawmakers believe New York State will be the next to approve legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Marijuana has been approved for medical use in 36 states. However there are some around the world that believe marijuana is still unsafe. Garret Ryan is a former youth drug counselor.  He believes if recreational marijuana becomes legal, it could give people a false sense of security that it is safe.  He also believes marijuana can also serve as a gateway, which leads young people to try other drugs. Sheriff Todd Hood of Madison County, NY, is strongly opposed to legalizing recreational marijuana.  He says when it became legal in Colorado, traffic fatalities related to marijuana more than doubled there.

NYS Assemblywoman & Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes has been a supporter of legalizing marijuana since 2013.  She introduced The Marihuana Regulation & Taxation Act (MRTA) in 2013.  Peoples- Stokes wants to see a statute with a precise percentage of tax revenues dedicated to the communities hardest hit by inequities in marijuana prosecutions.

Here are some of the unedited interviews students at Buffalo State did to complete this story.

Full Interview with Buffalo Common Council President, Darius Pridgen
Full interview with Sheriff Todd Hood, Madison County, NY
Branden Rivers reporting

Episode 2: The COVID-19 Vaccine

By: Valerie Ryan

Buffalo, NY- March 14, 2020 New York has their first COVID-19 death. 

More than a year later we still find ourselves wearing masks and social distancing. The difference from then and now is the availability of COVID vaccines. In the beginning of March almost 16 percent of Erie County residents had at least one dose of the vaccine, and almost 10% had both doses. New daily case counts and hospitalizations both fell by more than half since the start of the year. The average positive test rate plunged from almost 9% to less than 2% in that same period. However, not all people are open to a newly developed vaccine. 

Many people are concerned about how fast the vaccine was developed and about the possible long term effects. Others felt COVID-19 was not much worse than the common cold therefore, the vaccine would be unnecessary. Our team held a discussion with people on both sides of the issue.

Student Report Evan DiPasquale has more.
Probation Officer Rob Germann is not ready to take the vaccine yet.
Kathy Krzemien shares her experience with COVID-19
  • For the latest COVID-19 eligibility updates, please click here.
  • For the latest COVID-19 infection rates in Erie County, please click here.

Episode 3: Businesses Vs. New York State

Buffalo, NY- When the COVID-19 pandemic reached New York State, all non-essential businesses were forced to close down on March 20, 2020, per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s orders. Restaurants were only allowed to serve take-out food, and gyms and salons were closed indefinitely. Over the summer, when COVID numbers improved, many non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen at limited capacity. Then, when numbers began to climb again in November, the businesses were once again shut down. As many business owners continued to struggle to stay afloat, due to the regulations, some owners decided to take the State to court in order to reopen. In December, a judge ruled in favor of the business owners, and salons and gyms were able to reopen. Restaurant owners also successfully sued to reopen. Some health experts were disappointed with the court rulings, as they feared spread of COVID-19 would only worsen with the businesses being re-opened. Our student reporters spoke with Robby Dinero, who owns Athletes Unleashed in Orchard Park. Here’s one of two unedited clips from his interview.

Robby Dinero, Part 1
Robby Dinero, Part 2
Dr. Thomas Russo, unedited interview
Angelea Preston, Reporting

Episode 4: Live Entertainment in the Pandemic

Buffalo, NY– When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Western New York in March, 2020, all live entertainment venues were shut down. Weddings and school dances were postponed or canceled, and theatrical productions and concerts also had to cancel. Many artists, and people working in the entertainment industry, have struggled with unemployment for the past year, but are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. As more people get their COVID vaccines, venues are beginning to re-open. This fall, many anticipate being able to attend sporting and live entertainment events, with proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test; using the New York State excelsior pass. Here are some unedited interviews from this week’s show.

Unedited interview with Maria Ta.
Unedited interview with Thembi Duncan.

Episode 5: Sports in the Pandemic

Buffalo, NY– When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, athletes at every level, from little league to professional, were suddenly told they were not allowed to play. College athletes, who had dedicated years to their sport, were told they were being sent home indefinitely. High School seniors, who were hoping to receive sports scholarships, were passed over in favor of college seniors who decided to stay an extra year. The NBA and NHL canceled the rest of their seasons in March, 2020. The Olympics was postponed for the first time in its history. Student reporter Valerie Ryan took a closer look at the impact the pandemic had on sports.

Valerie Ryan reports.
Unedited interview with Canisius College baseball coach, Matt Muzurek.