Matt Richmond

Former Reporter & News Director

Matt started with WSKG in 2011, when he left his stint as a freelance print and radio reporter in Juba, South Sudan. Matt spent two years as the Southern Tier reporter for The Innovation Trail, before shifting to the WSKG newsroom in 2013. Matt’s work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Voice of America, Radio France International, NPR, and PRI. He was awarded the New York State AP Broadcasters Association award for stories on immigrant labor in Upstate New York this year.  When Matt’s not cursing at faulty software or double-checking his writing for inconsistent tenses, he enjoys backpacking, bicycle riding and Werner Herzog movies. He left WSKG in 2015.

brewbooks / flickr

New York State has a new energy plan. State officials released it this week to serve as a guide for energy policy long after Governor Andrew Cuomo leaves office and it includes three main goals.

Greg Goebel / Flickr

Ithaca-area Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton is calling for the closure of New York’s coal-fired power plants, including one in her own district. Lifton wrote a recent letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for the closures. The letter was co-signed by 70 legislators.

A recent article published by Capital New York examines ties between New York’s top energy regulator and companies doing business with the state. The regulator is Public Service Commission Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman. The companies include one she co-founded and others to which she has connections. WSKG spoke with the story’s author, Scott Waldman, about Zibelman and the companies in question.

Corning, Inc.

Corning has a pollution problem: both the city and the company that has its headquarters there. Corning, Inc. dumped glass pieces and ash for decades in the 1900s in a plot of land near downtown. Since then, a neighborhood, a park, ball fields and part of the high school have been built on top of the waste.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Starting as early as the end of the summer, all officers in the City of Ithaca Police Department are going to wear body cameras. City of Ithaca Police Chief John Barber presented the department’s camera policy to common council members on Wednesday. The policy includes rules for operating the cameras, storing the videos and releasing them to the public.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Work on the Ithaca Commons appears on track for a summer completion, more than two years after construction began. Project manager Michael Kuo gave an update to the city’s Common Council during last night’s meeting.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Binghamton lawyer Stephen Cornwell will challenge incumbent Democrat Gerald Mollen in this year’s race for Broome County District Attorney.

Gas Free Seneca

Federal regulators have denied opponents’ arguments against a proposed natural gas storage facility near Watkins Glen.

Arlington Storage Company wants to build two natural gas storage facilities next to Seneca Lake. Arlington is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners. One of the storage facilities will hold natural gas and the other is for liquefied petroleum gas or LPG. The federal government is reviewing the natural gas project.

Skitterphoto /

New York’s Public Service Commission is considering a price increase request by the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation.
The average customer’s natural gas bill would increase by 10 dollars a month and their electricity bill would increase 8 dollars a month under NYSEG’s request.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The US Department of Justice will review a December police standoff in Tompkins County after county officials requested their help. The DoJ’s review is to provide technical advice and is not an investigation. The justice department informed Tompkins County officials on Monday that their request will be accepted.

Binghamton Police Department / Facebook

A series of reforms to the Binghamton Police Department were in front of a city council committee again last night. The original legislation, proposed by the Binghamton Human Rights Commission in March, included a law against racial profiling. The reform’s supporters have dropped that piece. They are still calling for increased diversity in the department, better tracking of race in police stops and diversity training.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

After about seven years of research, public hearings, rallies, elections and rumors that a decision was imminent, the final environmental impact statement on hydrofracking was released on Wednesday. Its findings aren’t a surprise.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation / flickr

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation released the long-awaited final version of its environmental review of high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The final report includes the Department of Health's review of health risks. There’s also studies of spills and other incidents in Pennsylvania and the atmospheric effects of emissions from drilling operations.

Constitution Pipeline Company

Developers of a proposed natural gas pipeline that would pass through the Southern Tier plan to start work this summer. May 14 is the last day to submit public comments to environmental regulators in New York on one of the permits still under review.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

May 2, 2014                      LISTEN HERE

Rural populations in the United States are more likely to live without health insurance than their urban counterparts. That disparity, combined with the difficulty of bringing doctors to rural areas, has led to many programs that aim to bring health care to the countryside.

The Ovid Health Center is in a refurbished church on Main Street in the middle of the village, about half way between Ithaca and Geneva on Route 96.

February 17, 2014, LISTEN NOW

Anthropologist Janet Fitchen taught at Ithaca College in the 1970s and 80s. Before her death in 1995, Fitchen focused on life in the economically distressed villages of Upstate New York. Many of the factors contributing to rural poverty she found 30 to 40 years ago remain true today.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Tomorrow is the last day of the Broome County Public Library’s book sale. This is also the final local sale of books from Penguin’s recently closed Broome County warehouse, site of a hugely popular, twice-a-year book sale.

WSKG News visited volunteers as they made final preparations for tomorrow’s sale.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Often when a private drinking well near a natural gas well becomes contaminated, it’s difficult to make a definitive link between the contamination and the drilling. In a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers used a more sophisticated technology than what’s used by regulators to look for fracking chemicals in water wells. WSKG’s Matt Richmond spoke with the study’s lead author, Garth Llewellyn. He says they used industry technology to conduct the study.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Heather Gowe is not sure where exactly where the proposed manure storage lagoon will be built. It’ll be somewhere in a small stand of trees, up a hill from the intersection where she lives.
Beck Farms is a dairy producer who will build the lagoon. They have about 2000 cows in Freeville in Tompkins County. They want to store 3.2 million gallons of manure on this hill, and build a pipeline to transport the manure. Gowe and her husband Tim are not happy about it.

via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Salmon was 18-years-old in 1868 when he traveled to Ithaca to go to college. Today the college of veterinary medicine at Cornell is a sprawling maze of labs, barns and hospitals. Back then it was much simpler.
“There was just one academic building in the very beginning,” says Donald Smith, former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Cascadilla Hall was there for students and faculty as a residence and there was very little else except a farm, a working farm.”

Salmon’s doctorate from Cornell University was the first awarded in the US. The bacteria salmonella was named after him, though his assistant Theobald Smith actually discovered it. And Salmon helped found veterinary colleges in Washington, DC, and Uruguay along with the first federal meat inspection system in the US.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

The NBA playoffs begin this weekend. And while big city teams like Oakland, Cleveland and Atlanta are the favorites, sixty years ago the league looked much different. In 1955, the Syracuse Nationals took home the title, beating the Fort Wayne Pistons in seven games. One of the guards on that team was Binghamton resident Bill Kenville, known during his playing days as Billy the Kid, and Kenville followed a surprising path to the NBA.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

For more than 10 years, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation and IBM have been working to clean up chemical spills in the groundwater under Endicott. They’ve made progress on the part of the spill known as the “toxic plume.” According to a recent report issued by the DEC, 80 percent of the spill under homes south of the old IBM campus has been cleaned up. In that report, the DEC said it plans to continue using a method known as “pump and treat.”
Larry Siegel works at the Center for Public Environmental Oversight. He advocates for cleanup of areas contaminated by microprocessor manufacturers in California. WSKG’s Matt Richmond spoke with Siegel about the state of cleanup in Endicott and the next steps.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Gov. Cuomo’s proposed budget had many legislators and Albany watchers raising their eyebrows because of the number of policy proposals that were included in it. Some of the items were dropped altogether. Others were pushed off until later in the legislative season.

Paul Sableman / flickr

Much of the talk this budget season has focused on the items dropped from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal.

courtesy of Gov. Tom Wolf / via Facebook

According to a Franklin and Marshall College poll conducted the week of March 17, Wolf has a 38 percent job approval rating three months after taking office.

Binghamton Police Department / Facebook

Mayor Rich David announced today that Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski will be on paid leave until further notice. In a statement, David said the decision is not disciplinary and does not imply that the allegations against the police chief are credible.

AB Tetra Pak / flickr

Forestland owners and industry representatives will be in the halls of the capitol today, pushing for changes to taxation and regulation in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office / via Facebook

In an open letter sent out today by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, the Cuomo administration pushed back against criticism that the Upstate Revitalization Initiative would unfairly leave out parts of upstate.

The proposal would award $500 million each over five years to three regions. Seven regions would be eligible, though downstate and Western New York would be left out altogether.

Broome County

Among the issues up for discussion in budget talks this year is an overhaul of New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. It offers tax breaks for the development of contaminated industrial sites.

In last year’s budget proposal, Governor Cuomo sought reforms to the brownfields program. That attempt died in the legislature. Cuomo is seeking a similar overhaul this year, with a goal of focus to areas where help is most needed.

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

Months after a police standoff in Tompkins County that ended in the suspect’s suicide, the sheriff’s office is defending the tactics used during the encounter. During a public safety committee meeting Monday night, the sheriff presented a detailed summary of the incident.