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Updated: 15 min 23 sec ago

Geva’s Mark Cuddy to retire next year

53 min 53 sec ago
Longtime Geva Theatre Center Artistic Director Mark Cuddy announced Thursday that he will be leaving the regional theater in July 2022, after its 49th season. “It felt like the right time to kind of turn the page,” he said. “I want to get everything open. I want to get season 49 produced, well, and get our audiences back.” Cuddy said three factors played heavily into his decision: the pandemic, the theater closing in on its 50th, and his age. Cuddy is 66 and said retirement was on the horizon. “The sort of combination of, gosh, this year was hard, and thinking of the 50th anniversary season,” Cuddy said. “And thinking of how to make the best transition. “I think everyone’s thinking of something new.” Something new is what Cuddy brought to Geva when he arrived there in 1995. The Boston native had previously headed the Sacramento Theatre Company in California, and recalled being recruited to Rochester with the explicit instructions to resurrect a company that was in the midst of mediocre

The U.S. Will Relocate Thousands of Afghan Citizens Who Worked With U.S. Troops

1 hour 15 min ago
The United States will relocate thousands of Afghan citizens who worked for the American government before U.S. troops exit the country in the next few months. The plan is to relocate between 20,000 and 100,000 Afghan citizens, a senior White House official tells NPR. The White House is in the process of informing both the U.S. Congress and the Afghan government, the official said. Most of the Afghan applicants for Special Immigrant Visas, or SIVs, are translators and interpreters. Their family members will also be relocated. For weeks, the U.S. military has been planning on moving those who are applicants for the special visas to a third country for processing as the security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate. U.S. forces are expected to leave Afghanistan sometime in July, ahead of President Biden's deadline of Sept. 11. Most of the relocation flights will likely leave in August from Kabul Airport, which will be secured by Turkish troops, according to the senior White

Here's What's Included In The Infrastructure Deal That Biden Struck With Senators

1 hour 17 min ago
After weeks of negotiations, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators have announced a deal on infrastructure spending. The agreement focuses on investments in roads, railways, bridges and broadband internet, but it does not include investments Biden has referred to as "human infrastructure," including money allocated for child care and tax credits for families. According to the White House, the price tag comes in at $1.2 trillion over eight years, with more than $500 billion in new spending. How the measure would be paid for was a central point in negotiations, with Republicans opposed to undoing any of the 2017 tax cuts. The plan "makes transformational and historic investments in clean transportation infrastructure, clean water infrastructure, universal broadband infrastructure, clean power infrastructure, remediation of legacy pollution, and resilience to the changing climate," said a White House fact sheet on the plan released Thursday. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., touted

Cuomo signs gender recognition law

1 hour 20 min ago
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday signed into a law the Gender Recognition Act, which is aimed at reducing discrimination against transgender and nonbinary New Yorkers. The New York State Legislature approved the measure earlier this month. Under the law, a New Yorker who wants to change their gender listed on an official identification document or in a court proceeding no longer needs a doctor’s permission or have to present medical evidence to obtain those changes. Parents named on a child’s birth certificate no longer have to choose between father or mother -- they will also have the option of identifying as a “parent” -- and New Yorkers will also be given the option of choosing a gender-neutral “X” on documents, instead of being limited to choosing between male or female, a practice already allowed in New York City. Cuomo, who signed the measure at a ceremony with LGBTQ+ community leaders, said it will eliminate barriers that undermine the health and safety of people because of their

Cops Say Low Morale And Department Scrutiny Are Driving Them Away From The Job

1 hour 36 min ago
The historic calls for police accountability, reform and attempts at racial reckoning have left police departments nationwide struggling to keep the officers they have and attract new ones to the force. The crisis comes as many cities continue to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic and sharp increases in shootings and murders. In many places, police morale has plunged and retirements and resignations have soared. A June survey of nearly 200 departments by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), a nonprofit think tank, shows a startling 45% increase in the retirement rate and a nearly 20% increase in resignations in 2020-21 compared to the previous year. "We are in uncharted territory right now," PERF's Executive Director Chuck Wexler says. "Policing is being challenged in ways I haven't seen, ever." The exodus is affecting departments large, small and in between. The research group's survey shows that in the largest departments with 500 hundred or more officers, the

Patterns Of Sexual Abuse Show Gaps In Police Disciplinary System

1 hour 49 min ago
By the end of her discussion with the California Highway Patrol sergeants, the woman was scared — worried the department would only protect the officer who had just propositioned her for sex during what should have been a routine vehicle inspection appointment. She had walked directly into the CHP's West Valley office in Los Angeles after the 2016 encounter with officer Morgan McGrew and asked to meet with a Spanish-speaking officer. She wanted authorities to fully understand what she had to say — that McGrew had just asked her three times, in front of her young son, if she wanted to get a hotel room. The sergeants turned on an audio recorder and started to interview the woman; her son can be heard playing in the background. Is it possible she had misunderstood, one of them asked. "No, I understand everything," she said, according to transcripts and audio recordings of the conversation. Her claim was highly unusual, the other sergeant noted. "I don't lie," she told them. McGrew would

Connections: Summer Book Week - Author Sasha Issenberg discusses his new book, "The Engagement"

2 hours 1 min ago
Summer Book Week continues. In this hour, we have a deep conversation with journalist and author Sasha Issenberg about his new book, "The Engagement," telling the story of how same-sex marriage went from a legal impossibility to a legal reality for all Americans over just a quarter of a century. Our guest: Sasha Issenberg , author of "The Engagement" This hour also includes a conversation with Dr. Bill Valenti about his summer reading and his new book, "AIDS: A Matter of Urgency."

Connections: Can stress be a "good" thing?

2 hours 1 min ago
Especially over this past year, we've all experienced incredible levels of stress. It's bad for you, right? Not necessarily. A local professor says in some ways, stress can be a good thing, pushing us forward to do things we wouldn't otherwise be able to accomplish. Our guest: Jeremy Jamieson , associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester

Historical marker honors one of Irondequoit’s first Black settlers

2 hours 12 min ago
The town of Irondequoit honored Asa Dunbar Thursday, who officials say was the first Black man to settle in the area more than 200 years ago. The sign recognizing Dunbar was unveiled on the corner Traymore Street and North Winton Avenue. Deeds from the 1790s say he owned about 100 acres of land in Irondequoit and the city of Rochester, spanning from the North Winton Neighborhood to Irondequoit Bay. Dunbar moved to Irondequoit from Massachusetts, before eventually moving to Canada where he died. Irondequoit Town Supervisor Dave Seeley called the sign a simple gesture to honor a missing piece of the area’s history. “Sometimes small things that we do are important,” said Seeley. “They may seem insignificant but they really are large in the grand scheme of things.” Historians say Dunbar was a volunteer member of government in the old town of Tryon which sat near where Ellison Park is today. Robert Dunbar, Asa’s great-grandson, lives in the 19th Ward Neighborhood today as do several other

N.Y. State Court Suspends Giuliani From Practicing Law Over 2020 Vote Fraud Claims

2 hours 31 min ago
Updated June 24, 2021 at 3:16 PM ET A New York state court has suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law after concluding that he made false statements alleging rampant fraud to try to overturn Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential election. In a 33-page decision released Thursday, a New York state appellate court said there was "uncontroverted evidence" that Giuliani "communicated demonstrably false and misleading statement to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump's failed effort at reelection in 2020." Giuliani was a leading voice — on TV, in court, before state lawmakers and once even in front of a Philadelphia landscaping company — pushing Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen. The New York court ruling says Giuliani's statements were made to fuel the false narrative that the election was rigged and that Trump was the rightful winner. "We

Local community leader gets recognized by New York State for lifetime of service

2 hours 34 min ago
Long time community leader Florence Pearl Rugless-O’Mealley is the 2021 recipient of the New York State Senate Commendation Award. The award recognizes exceptional people who have made a lasting contribution to their community through volunteerism, leadership, and charitable work. State Sen. Jeremy Cooney presented the award Wednesday to the 95-year-old at her Gates home. In front of a small gathering of family friends and neighbors, he told the crowd the board selected Rugless-O’Mealley for her decades of volunteerism, entrepreneurship and mentorship. “When we were looking and thinking about who are the voices? Who are the people in our community that have gone above and beyond and consistently, how can we recognize and uplift those voices that make our community so much better? So much stronger? We couldn't think of anyone else other than Mrs. Rugless,” said Cooney. Rugless-O’Mealley’s record of community service dates back more than 60 years. She has held positions in organizations

A Senator Seeks To Reverse Trump-Era Policies For Deported Military Veterans

2 hours 36 min ago
Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth is unveiling a legislative package Thursday that would protect from deportation military servicemembers and veterans who don't have U.S. citizenship, as part of a new effort to reverse Trump-era policies. Duckworth is introducing three new bills that would ban the deportation of foreign-born veterans who are not violent offenders; create a new tracking system for noncitizens who currently or previously served; and allow deported veterans who are nonviolent offenders to temporarily re-enter the country for medical care. "Far too many men and women willing to wear our uniform have been deported by the same nation they risked their lives to defend due the unnecessary and complex barriers," said Duckworth, a veteran combat Army pilot who lost both her legs in a helicopter crash in Iraq nearly 20 years ago. Earlier this week, she issued a report on immigrant military veterans and testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the issue. At least

Tinnitus Bothers Millions Of Americans. Here's How To Turn Down The Noise

2 hours 40 min ago
Imagine a sound that travels with you no matter where you go. Whether it's a ring, a whoosh or a crickets-like buzz, you can't escape it. "Mine was like this high-pitched sonic sound," says Elizabeth Fraser, who developed tinnitus last fall. It came on suddenly at a time when many people delayed doctor visits due to the coronavirus pandemic. "It just felt like an invasion in my head, so I was really distressed," Fraser recalls. Tinnitus is the perception of ringing when, in fact, no external sound is being produced. "You can equate it to a phantom sound," explains Sarah Sydlowski , a doctor of audiology at Cleveland Clinic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20 million Americans have chronic tinnitus. And studies show the pandemic ushered in both new cases and a worsening of the condition among people who already had it. The British Tinnitus Association reported a surge in the number of people accessing its services , including a 256% increase in the number

Read Britney Spears' Statement To The Court In Her Conservatorship Hearing

2 hours 54 min ago
Britney Spears is asking a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to end her 13-year conservatorship , saying she is being exploited, bullied and feeling "left out and alone." Below is a transcript from a leaked audio recording of part of Spears' court statement Wednesday posted on YouTube and verified by NPR. Britney Spears: I will be honest with you, I haven't been back to court in a long time because I don't think I was heard on any level when I came to court the last time. I brought four sheets of paper in my hands and wrote in length what I had been through the last four months before I came there. The people who did that to me should not be able to walk away so easily. I'll recap: I was on tour in 2018; I was forced to do. My management said if I don't do this tour I will have to find an attorney. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Brenda Penny: Ms. Spears, Ms. Spears. I hate to interrupt you, but my court reporter is taking down what you're saying. Spears: OK. Penny: And so you have to

Record Label Chief, Theater Director Among Biden's National Council On The Arts Picks

5 hours 12 min ago
From a uke-picker to a former politician, President Biden's planned nominees for the National Council on the Arts are wildly diverse in their experiences and artistic disciplines. As president of the independent record label Oh Boy Records, Fiona Whelan Prine is known as a champion of American roots music and keeper of her late husband John Prine's legacy. Kamilah Forbes is the executive producer of the Apollo Theater and a TV and theater director whose next project is the Broadway premiere of Soul Train alongside producer Questlove. International touring artist and " Hendrix of the ukulele ," Jake Shimabukuro "thinks the world would be a better place if everyone played the ukulele," according to a White House statement. There isn't much of a hip factor in the volunteer job title. The National Council of the Arts "advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs." But if this group were to throw a party, the words

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Launches Select Committee To Probe Jan. 6 Insurrection

5 hours 13 min ago
Nearly a month after Senate Republicans blocked a move to vote on an outside commission to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she'll move forward with plans to launch a select committee to take over the probe. Pelosi shared the news in a press conference on Thursday at which she blasted Republicans for preventing a bipartisan commission from moving forward. "This morning, with great solemnity and sadness, I am announcing that the House will be establishing a select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection," Pelosi said. "Jan. 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation's history ... it is imperative that we establish the truth of that day and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen and that we root out the causes of it all." Last month, the Senate fell a few votes short to move forward on a floor debate to take up bipartisan legislation to establish an independent commission to investigate the insurrection. It marked Senate Republicans' first

CDC Extends Eviction Moratorium Through July

5 hours 14 min ago
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended a moratorium on evictions until the end of July. The ban had been set to expire next week, raising concerns that there could be a flood of evictions with some seven million tenants currently behind on their rent. The Biden administration says the extension is for "one final month" and will allow time for it to take other steps to stabilize housing for those facing eviction and foreclosure. The White House says it is encouraging state and local courts to adopt anti-eviction diversion programs to help delinquent tenants stay housed and avoid legal action. The federal government will also try to speed up distribution of tens of billions of dollars in emergency rental assistance that's available but has yet to be spent. In addition, a moratorium on foreclosures involving federally backed mortgages has been extended for "a final month," until July 31. In announcing the extension of the eviction moratorium, the CDC said that the

Coming up on Connections: Thursday, June 24

6 hours 58 min ago
First Hour: Can stress be a "good" thing? Second Hour: Summer Book Week - Author Sasha Issenberg discusses his new book, "The Engagement"

Florida Mayor Comments On Partial Building Collapse, Biden Meeting

8 hours 24 min ago
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: We're following important developments in South Florida, where a building collapsed overnight. A search and rescue effort is now underway after at least one woman was found dead. This building collapsed just north of Miami, and the mayor of Miami-Dade County is on the line to talk about that and much more. Daniella Levine Cava, welcome to the program. DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA: Thank you so much. What a terrible tragedy for everyone. INSKEEP: What have you learned about what kind of building it is or was and what happened? LEVINE CAVA: Well, this is a 12-story building located right on the beach in Surfside, which is just north of Miami Beach in Miami-Dade County. It's the Champlain Towers South. There are investigators on the scene - fire, police, engineers. The municipality of Surfside is responsible for the police response but coordinating with multiple agencies, and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is responsible for the emergency

Africa Is Running Out Of Oxygen

8 hours 48 min ago
Hospital wards across Uganda are filling with COVID-19 patients as the country faces an aggressive surge in cases. One of the biggest issues have: a serious shortage of oxygen. Over the last month, the number of daily reported infections has increased tenfold, showing no signs of letting up. Cases have jumped from less than 100 a day in mid-May to 1,584 on June 18 th . "ICU bed capacity is now full, almost at 100%," says Willy Tabu, a physician based in Kampala who helps coordinate Mercy Corps response to the pandemic. And it's not only beds that are a concern.Tabu says severely ill COVID patients need oxygen, but the supply just isn't there. Oxygen is being produced. Uganda's 14 largest federal hospitals each have oxygen generating plants and they provide cylinders to smaller hospitals and clinics. But they are struggling to meet the increased demand. There's also a shortage of cylinders to go around, says Tabu — meaning the oxygen plants have to ship the ones they have back and forth