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U.S. House to vote on two articles of impeachment; $1.4 trillion in planned oil & gas development called a "red level crisis" for climate change; anti-protest laws moving forward in Ohio; "forest farming" moving forward in Appalachia; and someone is putting cowboy hats on pigeons in Nevada.

2020Talks - December 10, 2019 

Today's human rights day, and candidates this cycle talk a lot about what constitutes a human right. Some say gun violence and access to reproductive health care and abortions are human rights issues.

Final Act for NY State Theater Institute?

November 1, 2010

TROY, N.Y. - For more than 30 years, students and families in the Capitol District have been entertained - and educated - by the internationally-recognized New York State Theater Institute, known as NYSTI ("Nisty"). And its high school internships have spawned many a career in the theater arts. State funds to the institute have been slashed, however. Unless at least $200,000 can be raised in two months by its staff, who are not used to the role of fundraisers, the curtain could come down for good.

John Romeo, a teacher, actor and director, says there won't likely be an encore.

"Once the program goes away, Dec. 31, I don't think it will come back. As many arts programs do, once they go away, they disappear forever."

Romeo is the NYSTI chapter president of United University Professions (UUP), the union representing many of the Troy-based theater company's employees. UUP has donated nearly $8,000 to help cover printing and postage costs for NYSTI's fundraising campaign. All concerned are hoping a corporation or a foundation will play the hero with a donation that gives this drama a happy ending.

Among those who've come through NYSTI is Ashton Holmes, who played Viggo Mortensen's son in "A History of Violence" and landed roles in HBO's "The Pacific" and the USA Network show "Nikita." John Romeo says the state legislature has left NYSTI in a tough spot...

"They've used the financial situation with the state as a reason to cut our program, but they haven't cut any other program 60 percent. Nor have they told any other program that by April 1 they must be self-sufficient and not be dependent on state funds."

United University Professions President Phil Smith says the Theater Institute has helped many young people straighten out their lives by discovering the theater arts.

"They bring kids in who are basically at-risk kids and give them a purpose, show them there's something more than maybe gang activity. They really turn people's lives around."

NYSTI's supporters hope that if they can raise enough money to keep going through next March, a new administration in Albany might restore their funding.

Mark Scheerer/Diane Ronayne, Public News Service - NY