Connections with Evan Dawson

By Evan Dawson

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WXXI's Evan Dawson talks about what matters to Rochester and the Finger Lakes on Connections, Every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, WRUR FM 88.5, and online at WXXINews.org.

Episode Date
Connections: Discussing reopening with superintendents of the Brighton and Hilton School Districts
3120
We continue our series of conversations with local superintendents about their districts' reopening plans. We're joined by the superintendents of the Brighton and Hilton Central School Districts, who discuss their learning models and policies related to testing, masking, and more for the fall. Our guests: Kevin McGowan , superintendent of Brighton Central School District Casey Kosiorek , superintendent of Hilton Central School District
Aug 11, 2020
Connections: Examining immigration and tourism issues caused by closing U.S. land borders
3069
On Monday, the New York Times reported on a new immigration rule proposed by the Trump administration: the President is considering allowing border officials to temporarily block American citizens or permanent legal residents from returning to the country if there's reason to believe they have been exposed to or have contracted the coronavirus. Meanwhile, land borders between the U.S. and Mexico and the U.S. and Canada remain closed to nonessential travel. While the administration says the move was made to curb the spread of COVID-19, immigration advocates say the closure of the border with Mexico seemed designed to curb migration to the U.S. This hour, we examine these issues from a legal perspective and also in regard to travel, tourism, and the economy. Our guests: Danielle Rizzo , immigration law attorney with Harris Beach John Percy , president and CEO of Destination Niagara USA Corey Fram , director of tourism for the Thousand Islands International Tourism Council Josiah Brown ,
Aug 11, 2020
Connections: How has family planning been affected by the pandemic?
3109
The pandemic has led many people who want to start or grow their families to ask if they should put those goals on hold. There are concerns about health, about finances, and about when the threat of COVID-19 will end. The Wall Street Journal analyzed data from the Guttmacher Institute and found that 45 percent of 18 to 34-year-old women surveyed said they were changing their plans due to COVID-19. The pandemic has also affected birth rates in different ways around the world. This hour, we talk with local doctors about this issue, and we hear what they'd been discussing with their patients. Our guests: Dr. Rebecca Alicandro , M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist at Rochester Regional Health Dr. Courtney Olson-Chen , M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at URMC, and a specialist in maternal fetal medicine Dr. Wendy Vitek , M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at URMC, and a reproductive endocrinologist at Strong Fertility Center
Aug 10, 2020
Connections: Discussing reopening with superintendents from West Irondequoit and Honeoye Falls Lima
3063
We continue our series of conversations about reopening schools. This hour, we're joined by the superintendents of West Irondequoit Central School District and Honeoye Falls Lima Central School District. They share their districts' plans for reopening, including their policies for testing, masking, and more. Our guests: Aaron Johnson , superintendent of West Irondequoit Central School District Gene Mancuso , superintendent of Honeoye Falls Lima Central School District
Aug 10, 2020
Connections: Was summer a missed opportunity for transforming outdoor spaces during the pandemic?
3091
Despite a lot of hype leading into the summer, we haven't seen many streets closed down to car traffic during the pandemic. Many businesses have been allowed to expand their outdoor seating, but there hasn't been a transformation of outdoor spaces like some advocates wanted. Was it a missed opportunity? Or was that unrealistic all along? We discuss it with our guests: Nate Polselli , advocate of new urbanism John Urlaub, co-owner of Rohrbach Brewing Company Michael Mills , director of the Geneva Business Improvement District Mitch Gruber , member of Rochester City Council
Aug 07, 2020
Connections: Greece Central School District Superintendent Kathleen Graupman on reopening
3097
This fall, Greece Central School District will operate under a hybrid model. Under the plan, most students will be in schools two days a week and then do remote learning for three days, but students also have the option to learn at home 100 percent of the time. Superintendent Kathleen Graupman says the model was selected after the district heard from thousands of parents and students. She joins us this hour to discuss Greece's plan. Our guest: Kathleen Graupman , superintendent of Greece Central School District, and head of the Monroe County Association of Superintendents
Aug 07, 2020
Connections: How reopening schools would impact essential support staff
3053
There's a lot of debate about whether it's safe for teachers to be back in classrooms this fall. But they aren't the only ones who could potentially be at risk in this pandemic. We talk to local cleaning staff members, food service workers, security officers, and bus drivers about their concerns. Our guests: Dan DiClemente, president of BENTE/AFSCME Local 2419 Wilbert Navedo, bus driver for the RCSD Joe Jackson, lead school safety officer at Edison Career ad Technology High School Victor Wilson, custodian at Franklin Bonnie Ferrari, cook manager for food services at the RCSD Jessica Rinebold, lead secretary for the RCSD
Aug 06, 2020
Connections: Discussing the looming eviction crisis
3073
There are a number of factors that could lead to a possible eviction crisis. The pandemic has put many people out of work, and now additional federal support for unemployment has run out. Advocates say something has to be done very soon or the crisis will hit Western New York. Our guests discuss it: Alex Turner, eviction prevention representative to the Homeless Services Network , and community resource services program director at Catholic Family Center Mark Muoio , program director of the Housing and Consumer Law Unit and the Legal Aid Society of Rochester, NY Tina Foster, executive director of the Volunteer Legal Services Project of Monroe County, Inc. Emily Benfer , Wake Forest University School of Law
Aug 06, 2020
Connections: Discussing the state of diversity in television in 2020
3110
21 years ago this month, the NAACP was advocating a boycott of the major television networks. That's because the networks had just released their fall schedules. 26 new shows would be hitting the airwaves that year, and not a single one of them featured a star or prominent character of color. For African American leaders in particular, enough was enough. The networks promised to change. In some ways, they have: there are more African American and Latino leads than ever before. But in many other ways, the industry has not changed much at all. As the LA Times reports, there are very few executives of color at the networks, and while the networks are pledging support of the Black Lives Matter movement, African American actors have their doubts. This hour, we explore representation in media. Our guests: Calvin Brown, Jr. , executive producer of "The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder" Tina Chapman , director of diversity theater at RIT Chris Thompson , engineer, writer, comedian, and
Aug 05, 2020
Connections: Local college and university presidents on their reopening plans, part 2
3094
Most colleges and universities are planning to welcome students back to campus in just a few weeks. The schools bring a range of approaches – from testing to quarantines to allowing for remote learning. There is no single handbook for running higher education during a pandemic, but most universities in the Rochester/Finger Lakes region believe they can do it with sufficient safety and planning. So what are those plans? We hear the approach from four different institutions. Our guests: Beth Paul , president of Nazareth College Deana Porterfield , president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary Katherine Douglas , interim president of Monroe Community College Mark Zupan , president of Alfred University
Aug 05, 2020
Connections: Todd Moss on how Kodak received its $765 million government loan
2974
Kodak has won a $765 million government loan to make generic drugs. How did this happen? The answer is stranger than you might think, and it has a local connection. Todd Moss worked for the State Department under President George W. Bush, is an author, and is doing global affairs work that helped bring a bipartisan solution to a question about the federal government: how can the U.S. invest overseas appropriately? They found a situation, but how did the money get back to Kodak? Was it the right thing to do? Todd Moss explains it. Our guest: Todd Moss , senior fellow at the Center for Global Development
Aug 04, 2020
Connections: Exploring the future of working from home, post-pandemic
3049
The CEO of Nationwide Insurance says the company is moving to a permanent work-from-home model. Nationwide found that since March, when everyone went home to work, things have gone so well that they don’t need to open their five regional offices. It’s a permanent change. The CEO told NPR that people are thanking him in droves; he says it’s the right decision, it’s cheaper for the company, and it’s more efficient for the workers. Is that the future for more companies? Post-pandemic, how many employers and employees expect to go to this kind of model? And how many workers would choose it? We talk to employees about what they’ve learned working from home since March, and what lessons they’ll take, post-pandemic. Our guests: Amorette Miller , co-owner of ShiftDiff.com, and workers’ rights advocate Kristen Seversky , product owner at Paychex Stephanie Woodward , attorney with Disability Details Jackie McGriff , program assistant in the Office of Alumni Relations at the University of
Aug 04, 2020
Connections: Author Melanie Conroy-Goldman on her debut novel, "The Likely World"
3098
Local author Melanie Conroy-Goldman says there’s always a bit of darkness in a true friendship. That’s certainly true of the characters featured in her debut novel, “The Likely World.” It’s the story of a single mom named Mellie who’s in the early days of her recovery from a fictional drug called cloud. The substance causes short term memory loss in users, and when Mellie first tries it at age 16, the consequences of her addiction 20 years later are unimaginable. As an adult, her past upends her newfound society, and she’s faced with life-threatening choices. In previous summers on this program, we’ve devoted a week to discussing books. The summer is a bit different this year, and we’re doing things a bit differently, but we still want to have conversations about literature. This hour, I’m joined by Hobart and William Smith professor Melanie Conroy-Goldman to talk about “The Likely World.” It’s a gritty story of addiction, of family, of loyalty, and of feeling, and we spend the hour
Jul 31, 2020
Connections: College graduates discuss the pandemic job market
3022
This is not turning out to be the summer that many college graduates anticipated. For those who expected to jump right into the workforce, many doors have closed due to the pandemic. Internships have dried up. Career fairs are canceled. Phone calls are not returned. The unemployment rate for 20-somethings is significantly higher than the general population. So what can new graduates do? How long is this going to last? Research shows that graduates in some fields are already ditching their career plans to find something else. This hour, our guests tell the story of the delayed launch of some of their career plans, how they’re adapting, and what comes next. Our guests: Deprina Godboldo , M.A. in television-radio-film from Syracuse University Devin Hott, B.A. in bioethics from the University of Rochester Gabrielle Franks, B.A. in music technology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Lizzy Beach , B.S. in media management from St. John Fisher College
Jul 31, 2020
Connections: Dating and relationships during the pandemic
3121
Author Alyssa Shelasky recently wrote for the New York Times about the drying up of her libido during the pandemic. No one, she writes, is having "COVID sex." And while her piece carried a humorous edge, sex therapists say there are serious questions about sex and dating during the pandemic. What's the right approach? What's safe? Our guests offer a new roadmap to sex and dating for the foreseeable future. Our guests: Dr. Pebble Kranz , M.D., sexual medicine specialist at the Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness Dan Rosen , psychotherapist and certified sex therapist at the Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness Stephanie Dobbin , relational and group psychotherapist Summer Kogut, Rochester resident
Jul 30, 2020
Connections: Discussing mask etiquette
3097
Two weeks ago, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sued the city of Atlanta to prevent it from enforcing a mask-wearing requirement. This comes as an increasing number of cities and states are mandating people wear face coverings in public. Stores and businesses across the country have such requirements, but how many are effectively enforcing those policies? When should masks be required indoors and outdoors? Who is eligible for an exemption? Our guests this hour discuss mask etiquette: Dr. Marielena Velez de Brown , M.D., Monroe County Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Mical Raz , M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and professor of history and health policy at the University of Rochester Molly Hartley, co-owner of Scratch Bakeshop
Jul 30, 2020
Connections: Local parents discuss their expectations and concerns about school reopening models
3105
Friday is the deadline for school districts across New York State to submit plans for reopening in September. We've heard from superintendents and doctors; this hour we talk to parents about their expectations, hopes, and concerns. Districts have to solve complex challenges: how to bus students while physical distancing? How to have lunch differently? How much remote learning to engage with? What kind of sick policy is appropriate? Our guests debate it from the parent perspective: Chad Barbe Millie Sefranek Kara Austin David Baumgartner
Jul 29, 2020
Connections: Why filling out your census form matters
3076
Have you filled out your 2020 census form? According to records, just 48 percent of Rochester residents and 64 percent of Monroe County residents have responded to the survey. The Democrat and Chronicle reports that Rochester has the nation’s fourth worst response rate of any medium or large-sized city. Why does it matter? Community leaders are urging households to complete the form because the data collected determines congressional representation, the allocation of federal dollars, decisions related to local development projects, and more. This hour, our guests discuss how the digital divide and the pandemic have affected census response rates, and the short and long-term impacts of not having accurate information. Our guests: Jeff Behler , New York regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau Ana Liss , director of the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development, and executive director of the Monroe County IDA and IDC Miguel Meléndez , chief community engagement officer for
Jul 29, 2020
Connections: Discussing injustices in America's court system
3076
We're joined by Amy Bach, author of “Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court.” Bach is the CEO of Measures for Justice, which gathers and analyzes criminal justice data from across the country. The organization’s work has influenced policy in the court system. Bach will host a virtual presentation for the National Women’s Hall of Fame next week, but first, she and fellow panelists from the event join us on Connections to discuss injustices in the courts and the role of women in criminal justice reform. Our guests: Amy Bach , CEO of Measures for Justice , and author of “Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court” Shani Curry Mitchell, Esq., municipal attorney with the City of Rochester Sharon Stiller , J.D., partner and director of the employment law practice at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP; and board member for the National Women’s Hall of Fame
Jul 28, 2020
Connections: Members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board
3099
We sit down with members of the Rochester Police Accountability Board . Rochestarians approved the PAB referendum in November with 75 percent of the vote. In January, City Council approved the board’s nine members. The PAB is tasked with investigating complaints of misconduct made against Rochester police officers. Board members aren’t meeting in person during the pandemic, but they are working on independent research – this, amid conversations about police-community relations and defunding the police. This hour, we talk to board members about their roles and work, about legal issues surrounding the PAB, and more. Our guests: Shani Wilson , chair of the PAB, activist, and physician assistant who specializes in internal medicine Celia McIntosh , DNP, RN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, vice chair of the PAB, and nurse practitioner Ida Pérez , member of the PAB, chair of the Scrantom Street Block Club, and director of of Ibero early childhood services Rabbi Drorah Setel , J.D., member of the PAB, and
Jul 28, 2020
Connections: Discussing pandemic weddings, etiquette, and internet outrage
3113
Would you be offended if you were uninvited to a wedding during the pandemic? Thousands of couples have had to decide whether to postpone their weddings or scale them down dramatically. One couple's reformatted invitation went viral, touching off a debate about pandemic etiquette and the new normal. Our guests discuss everything from pandemic weddings to internet outrage and public shaming. Our guests: Chris Grocki, owner of the Historic German House Brandon Warmke , philosopher at Bowling Green State University, and author of the new book, "Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk" Rose DiGennaro, planning a wedding
Jul 27, 2020
Connections: Author Bruce Jacobs and his book, "Race Manners"
3085
We're joined by Bruce Jacobs, author of the book "Race Manners." His work explores how to have civilized, candid, and meaningful dialogues about race. He'll be giving a presentation for the Harley School this week, but first, he joins us to discuss antiracism in today's political climate and during the coronavirus. Our guest: Bruce Jacobs, author of "Race Manners"
Jul 27, 2020
Connections: Should the City of Rochester change its name?
3111
The Democrat and Chronicle's Justin Murphy wrote a detailed story about the history of the founders of Rochester and surrounding towns. As Murphy reports, historians have used historical documents to confirm that Nathaniel Rochester enslaved people and was not the abolitionist that some of the city's lore has suggested. As a result, activists have debated whether to strip the name of Rochester and other racist founders off of parks, buildings, and even the city itself. Our guests discuss it: Justin Murphy , education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle Bill Johnson, former mayor of the City of Rochester Justin Behrend , professor and department chair of history at SUNY Geneseo Victoria Schmitt, local historian
Jul 24, 2020
Connections: Discussing challenges faced by people with autism during the pandemic
2478
As we've explored in recent conversations, the pandemic has posed unique challenges for people with disabilities. For adults and children with autism, stay-at-home orders and the closure of schools and support programs has led to isolation and gaps in social support. This hour, our guests explore how caregivers and parents can help bridge those gaps, especially with the uncertainty over whether schools will reopen in the fall. Our guests: Jacob Collier, self advocate Rachel Rosner, director of education and support services for AutismUp Alison Steixner, parent and educator This story is part of Move to Include , an initiative that uses the power of public media to inform and transform attitudes and behaviors about inclusion. Move to Include was founded by WXXI and the Golisano Foundation and expanded with a grant by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.
Jul 24, 2020
Connections: Strategies for coping with grief during the pandemic
3106
We have a conversation about grief. The pandemic has brought different layers of loss into the lives of many people. Whether mourning the loss of a loved one, mourning the loss of time spent with family or friends, or mourning the suffering around the world, our guests discuss coping strategies: Rev. Matthew Martin Nickoloff , pastor at the South Wedge Mission Pamela Dayton , pastoral intern at Open Arms Metropolitan Community Church, fundraising coordinator for the ImageOut LGBT Film Festival, and co-foudner of the Rochester Spiritual Care Response Team and Free Hugs ROC Melanie Funchess , director of communitiy engagement and family support services for the Mental Health Association Sara Moore , licensed social worker, certified hynotherapist, and owner of HypnoHelp Counseling Services
Jul 23, 2020
Connections: How the pandemic is affecting people with disabilities
828
WXXI News covers Governor Cuomo’s press briefing from Albany. Following that, we have a discussion about issues affecting people with disabilities – especially those pertaining to the pandemic. This week, the WXXI News team has presented a series of pieces about disparities and inclusion. It’s part of the Move to Include project, a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation. This hour, our colleagues highlight different issues affecting people with disabilities in our community. Our guests: Erin McCormack, executive producer for WXXI Public Media James Brown , reporter for WXXI News
Jul 23, 2020
Connections: Debating the extra $600 in federal weekly unemployment benefits
3092
The extra $600 in federal weekly unemployment benefits received by millions of Americans is set to expire on July 31. In a survey by FiveThirtyEight, more than half of the economists who participated said either keeping the payment steady or increasing it "would be most beneficial to the economy." But some employers say that the benefit has made it difficult to hire new workers; they say good job are left unfilled since workers prefer to take the extra support. Many workers say the benefit has allowed them to stay afloat during the pandemic, and has provided security when future forms of income are uncertain. This hour, our guests discuss the short and long term impacts of the benefit and what it means for the job market. Our guests: Kevin Schulte , CEO of GreenSpark Solar John Love , president of Bob Johnson Chevrolet Crescenzo Scipione, secretary of council for Metro Justice Zahyia Rolle , local artist and performer
Jul 22, 2020
Connections: What have doctors learned about treating COVID-19?
3068
What have doctors learned about how to treat COVID-19 patients over the course of the pandemic? Doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center say inpatient care has evolved from essentially flying blind in March to using specific treatments, starting clinical trials, and more. We're joined by clinicians and researchers who share what they've learned and what being on the front lines of the virus looks like today. Our guests: Paritosh Prasad , M.D., director of URMC’s Highly-Infectious Disease Unit Christopher Palma , M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology at URMC, and co-chair of the URMC COVID-19 Interventional Trials Working Group Martin Zand , M.D., Ph.D., senior associate dean for clinical research, and co-director of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute at URMC
Jul 22, 2020
Connections: How to provide and regulate internet access during the pandemic
3102
Many schools are deciding to keep students online – some exclusively, others for part of the fall. The New York Times argues that consistent internet access is now a civil right, and many students will be denied quality education based on their household’s income or where they live. And now, Charter Communications is asking the government for the right to impose data caps and charge families more for using their services. Our guests discuss the impact of such a move, along with ways to handle internet access during the ongoing crisis: Phil Dampier, founder of Stop the Cap Rachel Barnhart , Monroe County Legislator
Jul 21, 2020
Connections: New York State Comptroller DiNapoli and youth climate leaders discuss climate action
3104
New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joins us to discuss his latest actions regarding climate, and where the state invests its money. DiNapoli recently defended New York State as being among the most responsible governments in the world when it comes to investing or divesting from fossil fuels. Youth climate leaders have called for aggressive action in making sure the state is not investing or propping up fossil fuels in any way. How do they view DiNapoli’s performance? We discuss it with our guests: Thomas DiNapoli , New York State Comptroller Hridesh Singh, board secretary for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, co-founder of the Brighton High School Climate Club, member of the leadership team for the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders, and executive director of the New York Youth Climate Leaders Liam Smith, co-director of governmental affairs for the New York Youth Climate Leaders
Jul 21, 2020
Connections: Has the pandemic changed the way Americans view climate action?
3069
Back in March at the outset of the pandemic, we heard predictions that this crisis would change the way Americans view climate action. Months later, we're getting some real research into whether that's true. The Nature Conservancy wanted to find out what New Yorkers think about making parks and open space more accessible and permanent. They wanted to know what New Yorkers think about how we travel, what we build, and how many resources we use. On Connections, they reveal what they've found, and what it means for climate action. Our guest: Jim Howe , director of the Nature Conservancy in Central and Western New York
Jul 20, 2020
Connections: Debating Rochester's curfew and how to address recent violence in the city
3077
Last week, Mayor Lovely Warren banned public gatherings of five or more people between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. in the City of Rochester. The move, made in coordination with RPD, is aimed at curbing recent violence. Protesters took to the streets Wednesday night; organizers say the curfew is anti-Black and discriminatory. This hour, our guests debate the curfew and discuss their ideas for how to address violence in Rochester. Our guests: Stanley Martin, co-leader of Free the People Roc Iman Abid , director of the Genesee Valley chapter of the ACLU Reverend Lewis Stewart , president of United Christian Leadership Ministry Kerry Coleman, chair of community police relations of United Christian Leadership Ministry
Jul 20, 2020
Connections: Toby Merrill on the plight of student loan debt and predatory lending
3093
Brighton graduate Toby Merrill was named to Time Magazine's list of the "100 Next." That's because Merrill has been a leader in the fight against predatory for-profit colleges and institutions. As student debt piled past one trillion dollars, Merrill launched a plan to combat what she calls the "worst-of-the-worst student debt." Merrill is the founder and director of Harvard Law School's Project on Predatory Student Lending. Her team represents thousands of former students who have been fleeced and lied to, often ending up with piles of debt and worthless degrees. One of her most recent cases named Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as a defendant. We discuss the plight of student loan debt, the worst offenders, and why the industry is still so profitable. Our guest: Toby Merrill , founder and director of Harvard Law School's Project on Predatory Student Lending
Jul 17, 2020
Connections: Dr. Michael Mendoza on coping with pandemic fatigue
3086
So you're fatigued with the pandemic. How tired do you think Dr. Michael Mendoza is? The Monroe County Public Health Commissioner has become a leading voice in the effort to reduce cases and increase safety. Dr. Mendoza joins us to discuss how we can cope with pandemic fatigue while still making good decisions. We look ahead to the fall and beyond, and we discuss what the public needs to do to keep local numbers among the soundest in the country. Our guest: Dr. Michael Mendoza , M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner
Jul 17, 2020
Connections: Is this the time for a national UBI program?
3111
Wednesday on Connections, Congressman Joe Morelle made some strong remarks in favor of a universal basic income, or UBI. This was a significant change for the Congressman, who has previously been lukewarm about UBI. Congress returns later this month to work on the next round of help for struggling Americans during the pandemic. Is this the time for a national UBI program? Our guests discuss the possible impact of, well, just giving people cash and letting them decide what to do with it. Our guests: Pete Nabozny , director of policy for The Children's Agenda Alex Turner, community resource services program director at Catholic Family Center, and eviction prevention representative to the Homeless Services Network
Jul 16, 2020
Connections: Should police live in the cities they serve?
3026
Most police officers do not live in the cities they serve. That's not necessarily the case in smaller towns, but it's true in cities like Rochester and most larger cities. Is there a harm in allowing police officers to live outside the city they serve? Now, with the national focus on improving policing, there is growing momentum for new requirements on where police live. What are the benefits to this change? Is it fair? Our guests discuss it: Simeon Banister , vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation Danielle Ponder , diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office Kellie McNair , co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project Shane Wiegand , co-lead of the Pathstone Foundation's antiracism curriculum project
Jul 16, 2020
Connections: Comedy in the time of COVID-19
3111
Can the coronavirus be the source of comedy? Should comedians joke about it? Some comedians say we need levity now more than ever, and comedy can be a way to cope with the uncertainty and fear that may come with the pandemic. This hour, we hear from comedians about their perspectives on comedy in the time of COVID-19. Our guests: Abby Feldman Todd Youngman Shirelle "Gator" Kinder Sara Shipley
Jul 15, 2020
Connections: Congressman Joe Morelle on updates regarding the federal response to the pandemic
3086
We're joined by Congressman Joe Morelle for the hour. He discusses the latest on the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic and what to expect regarding support and direction for individuals and businesses moving into the next few months. The Congressman also answers our questions and yours. Our guest: Congressman Joe Morelle
Jul 15, 2020
Connections: Local businesses in Phase 4 share their concerns about reopening guidelines
3105
We talk with local business owners in Phase 4 about their frustrations, concerns, and questions surrounding reopening. Many say they are confused by New York’s guidelines, and attempts to clarify what’s expected have been unsuccessful. Our guests discuss how the pandemic has affected their businesses and how the uncertainty regarding reopening could impact them moving forward. Our guests: Imani Olear, founder of Yoga 4 a Good Hood , and co-owner of TRU Yoga Nicole deViere, founder of Yoga DrishTi Community Wellness Danielle Raymo, owner of the Rochester Brainery
Jul 14, 2020
Connections: Discussing the possible impact of Trump's directive regarding student visas
3051
The Trump administration announced last week it will strip international college students of their U.S. visas if their classes are online. The move, which could force many students to leave the U.S., is now the subject of a legal battle. 17 states and the District of Columbia have filed a lawsuit against the administration. New York is not one of the states, but locally, the University of Rochester has filed an amicus brief supporting Harvard and MIT’s lawsuit to block the directive. This hour, we’re joined by local college leaders and international students who discuss the impact of the policy. Our guests: Joyce Jacobsen , president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges Jane Gatewood , vice provost for global engagement at the University of Rochester, and co-chair of the university’s Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) Sreyan Kanungo, Hobart and William Smith student (Class of 2023) from Bangladesh Sakhile Ntshangase, University of Rochester student (Class of 2021) from South
Jul 14, 2020
Connections: Discussing the impact of a possible federal bailout of industries during the pandemic
1625
The state of Minnesota has joined a growing list that is banning indoor bar service. Andy Slavitt, a former Obama administration official, says it’s a good move, but it must be accompanied by a federal bailout of the entire bar industry. Our guests have experience in small business ownership and in teaching business. They debate the possible impact of a federal bailout of targeted industries. Our guests: David Kunsch , associate professor of strategy in the School of Business at St. John Fisher College Pouya Seifzadeh , assistant professor of strategic management in the School of Business at SUNY Geneseo
Jul 13, 2020
Connections: RCSD Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small on plans for a possible reopening of schools
2371
We continue our series of conversations about how local school districts are planning for a possible reopening in the fall. Governor Cuomo announced today that schools will reopen based on data: "Schools will reopen if a region is in Phase 4 and [the] daily infection rate remains below 5 percent (14-day avg). Schools close if [the] regional infection rate is greater than 9 percent (7-day avg) after August 1." Also today, the State Department of Health announced a framework for guidelines for a possible reopening. This hour, we're joined by Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small who shares what the RCSD is doing to prepare for the fall. Our guest: Lesli Myers-Small , Rochester City School District Superintendent
Jul 13, 2020
Connections: Re-imagining the University of Rochester
3090
"Why not take a blank piece of paper and think about how best to conduct education?” That question comes from a new team at the University of Rochester charged with re-imagining the university. Project Imagine is considering changes to the academic calendar, a reorganization from traditional departments and colleges to interdisciplinary centers, and other big ideas. Project Imagine co-leader Dr. Ray Dorsey says now is a good time to go back to square one and explore if there are better ways to operate beyond the pandemic. The committee is looking for community feedback and ideas . We explore some of them and invite listeners to weigh in with our guests: Dr. Ray Dorsey , M.D., David M. Levy Professor of Neurology and director of the Center for Health and Technology at the University of Rochester Medical Center Julia Maddox , director of the Barbara J. Burger iZone at the University of Rochester Libraries
Jul 10, 2020
Connections: Demond Meeks and Sarah Clark on their Democratic primary victories
3054
When Monroe County’s primary election results became official this week, two first-time candidates emerged with wins. Demond Meeks and Sarah Clark both upended party establishment in their Assembly races. This hour, we talk with them about their races, and what their victories mean in the broader context of party politics and what voters want. Our guests: Demond Meeks , Democratic candidate for the 137th Assembly District Sarah Clark , Democratic candidate for the 136th Assembly District
Jul 10, 2020
Connections: The struggles faced by working mothers during the pandemic
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The Washington Post is highlighting the struggles of mothers during the pandemic. United Nations data shows not only a disparity in household duties, but also in income and opportunity for women in the workplace. The Washington Post's Monica Hesse argues that the pandemic is threatening to undo even modest gains that women have made. We talk to four working mothers about their experiences: April Franklin Amanda Tucker Linda Hasman Kathleen Schreier Rudgers
Jul 09, 2020
Connections: Discussing sensitivity and over sensitivity when it comes to entertainment
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Hulu has removed an episode of "The Golden Girls" from its platform over concerns about blackface. In the episode, "Mixed Blessings" from 1988, Dorothy's son announces his engagement to an older African American woman. In a scene where the two families meet, roommates Blanche and Rose enter the room wearing mud masks, prompting Rose to say, "This is mud on our faces. We're not really black." Critics of Hulu's decision called it an over correction. This hour, we discuss sensitivity and over sensitivity when it comes to entertainment. Our guests: Vanessa Cheeks , organizer of the Anomaly Film Festival Norma Holland , director of community development at Digital Hyve Dan Howell , personal trainer Chris Fanning , director of communications for Writers & Books
Jul 09, 2020
Connections: How camps are getting creative during the pandemic summer
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Camps across our area have taken creative steps to bring programming to kids and families this summer. From day camps, to virtual experiences, to “camp-in-a-box,” we talk about opportunities during this pandemic summer. Our guests: Jason Gottfried, associate executive director for the YMCA of Greater Rochester Kim Ferris-Church, humane education manager for Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester Laura Kriegel, executive director of Camp Stomping Ground Reenah Golden, founder and artistic director of the Avenue BlackBox Theatre Melinda Merante, CEO of Gilda’s Club Rochester Calin Lawrence, board member for Camp Vick Simona Benenati, communications coordinator at Flower City Arts Center Sally Bittner Bonn, director of youth education at Writers & Books
Jul 08, 2020
Connections: An update on delivery services and personal shopping during the pandemic
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Companies like Instacart and DoorDash have seen their values jump by billions of dollars during the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been controversy. This spring, workers demanded safer conditions, and now some restaurants and bars are saying these services undercut their revenue. We talk to local workers in what has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. Our guests: Sarah Polito, personal shopper Mike Kite, Grubhub driver Gavin Tremblay, Grubhub driver
Jul 08, 2020
Connections: Remembering Jack Garner
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The passing of Jack Garner rocked the Rochester community this past weekend. Jack died at the age of 75, having built a storied career in movie criticism and Hollywood profiles. He never fully retired, and he was a constant contributor to countless programs and organizations, including WXXI and Connections. Our guests were friends and colleagues, and they remember a man known first and foremost for his kindness: Tom Proietti , resident scholar in media at St. John Fisher College Gary Craig , public safety watchdog reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle Linda Moroney , filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Film Festival Adam Lubitow , film critic for CITY Newspaper Jeff Spevak , arts and life editor for WXXI News
Jul 07, 2020
Connections: What do pediatricians think about kids going back to school in the fall?
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What do pediatricians think about kids going back to school in the fall? The American Academy of Pediatrics made headlines last week with a call to put kids back in physical classrooms, if at all possible. Dr. Sean O'Leary helped write the guidelines, and he told the New York Times that we've learned enough since March to make adjustments to school environments: "Schools can do a lot of things to really make the environment as safe as possible." We talk to local doctors about how best to support kids this fall, no matter what decisions the state or districts make. Dr. Stephen Cook , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and medical director at the New York State Department of Health Dr. Elizabeth Murray , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Dr. David Topa , M.D., pediatrician at Pittsford Pediatric Associates
Jul 07, 2020
Connections: Local bar owners on the state of business during the pandemic
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Last week during a Senate Committee hearing, Dr. Anthony Fauci told committee members that going to bars is “bad news.” With coronavirus cases rising in many parts of the nation, Fauci and other public health officials are warning against congregating inside spaces, especially in bars. This hour, we talk with local bar owners about the state of business during the pandemic, the measures they have been taking to keep business going, and if there’s another shut down, what kind of support they’d like to see from government. Our guests: Evvy Fanning, owner of Cheshire Marc Taranto, owner of The Old Stone Tavern Rachel McKibbens, co-owner of The Spirit Room
Jul 06, 2020
Connections: Local superintendents on possible plans for schools if they reopen in the fall
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Students and parents across the country are asking whether K-12 schools will reopen in the fall. Governor Andrew Cuomo hasn’t made a decision about New York State yet, but local districts are already planning what classrooms might look like if they get the green light. This hour, we’re joined by three local superintendents who discuss their possible plans and the conversations they are having. Our guests: Casey Kosiorek , superintendent of Hilton Central School District Gene Mancuso , superintendent of Honeoye Falls-Lima Central School District Aaron Johnson , superintendent of West Irondequoit Central School District
Jul 06, 2020
Connections: Author Sejal Shah on her book, "This Is One Way to Dance"
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We're joined by local writer Sejal Shah. Her debut book, "This Is One Way to Dance," is a collection of essays, stories, and poems that explore being Indian in America. Her book weaves together personal stories, cultural perspectives, and an exploration of identity over a 20 year period. We talk to Shah about the themes of her work. Our guests: Sejal Shah , author of "This Is One Way to Dance" Bill Ferguson, acting executive director of Garth Fagan Dance
Jul 02, 2020
Connections: An update on COVID-19 vaccine research and treatment
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Scientists across the globe are racing to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine, and local researchers are at the forefront of that effort. Rochester is one of four sites in the nation selected to test a coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The trial began last month, and the vaccine is one of few in the world to have advanced to clinical trials. A separate vaccine study is set to launch in Rochester in August. We talk with scientists leading these studies at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Rochester Regional Health. They discuss the state and timeline of vaccine development, the latest research on the drug Remdesivir, and what it means for controlling the virus. Our guests: Dr. Ann Falsey , M.D., infectious disease specialist with Rochester Regional Health, professor in the Department of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and co-director of the URMC Vaccine Trials and Evaluation Unit Dr. Angela Branche , M.D
Jul 02, 2020
Connections: How have farmers markets changed due to the pandemic?
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How has the role of farmers markets changed due to the coronavirus? The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has issued safety guidelines for vendors and customers during the pandemic. Many customers say they feel safer buying food at outdoor markets rather than inside grocery stores. This hour, we talk with market managers and vendors about how their operations have changed, and how customers are responding. Our guests: Sue Gardner Smith, manager of the Brighton Farmers Market Jackie Farrell, manager of Westside Farmers Market Jim Farr, manager of the Rochester Public Market Eric Houppert, farmer and owner of Deep Root Farm
Jul 01, 2020
Connections: Discussing racism and sexism in sports blogging
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Sports Illustrated's Pete Smith is calling on prominent athletes - and their fans - to hold Barstool Sports and founder Dave Portnoy accountable for racist and misogynistic comments. Portnoy has a history of ugly statements, but argues that he's only trying to be funny. He blames critics for trying to "cancel" him. Smith writes that this isn't about so-called "cancel culture;" instead, he says it's about drawing a line against racism and sexism at a time when social movements are showing progress. Our guests discuss it: Pete Smith , editor of Sports Illustrated's Browns Digest Chris Thompson , engineer, writer, comedian, and activist Brittany Mollis , freelance writer and co-host of the all-female sports podcast "That's What B Said"
Jul 01, 2020
Connections: Discussing police reform with members of United Christian Leadership Ministry
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We’re joined by members of the United Christian Leadership Ministry to discuss police reform in America. The ministry was founded in 2010; since then, members have advocated for police accountability and policies regarding body worn cameras. Our guests share their perspectives on Rochester City Council’s recent budget vote as it relates to defunding police, and their priorities and recommendations for police reform both locally and nationally. Our guests: Reverend Lewis Stewart , president of United Christian Leadership Ministry Alex White, co-chair of the United Christian Leadership Ministry Community Justice Advisory Board Kerry Coleman, chair of community police relations of United Christian Leadership Ministry
Jun 30, 2020
Connections: Local 20-somethings on young people's responses to the coronavirus
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Monroe County’s daily COVID-19 update for Monday indicated that 17 of the 29 new confirmed cases of the virus are people between the ages of 20 and 30. The data is in line with a national trend in which, according to the New York Times, people in their 20s and 30s “are making up a growing percentage of new coronavirus cases in cities and states where the virus is now surging.” The Times goes on to report that the increases could be due to young people getting together in reopened bars and restaurants and other social settings. Are they disregarding physical distancing guidelines? Is there a lack of guidance? This hour, our panel of 20-somethings discuss their perspective on the pandemic and how people in their demographic have reacted to it. Our guests: MaKaila Heath , intern with LaLew Public Relations Jace Meyer-Crosby, theatre professional Danielle Oakes, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher Tanner Schmidt, government affairs associate
Jun 30, 2020
Connections: Does de-escalation training work?
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Does de-escalation training work? More police departments are engaging in this kind of training, which can help officers defuse volatile situations. It’s also billed as the kind of training that helps officers avoid becoming overheated themselves. So what is de-escalation all about? Our guest is Brendan King, the CEO and founder of the Crisis Consultant Group. His organization trains companies, individuals, and police departments. He joins us for the hour. Our guest: Brendan King , the CEO and founder of the Crisis Consultant Group
Jun 29, 2020
Connections: Local college presidents discuss their reopening plans for the fall
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A number of area colleges and universities have announced they plan to reopen in the fall. Their plans come with modifications to the academic calendar, online courses, and policies that address physical distancing and safety guidelines. Meanwhile, students, faculty, and parents have questions and concerns about what to anticipate. We talk with the presidents of three local colleges about what they’re expecting for their institutions. Our guests: Deana L. Porterfield , president of Roberts Wesleyan College and Northeastern Seminary Gerard J. Rooney , president of St. John Fisher College Katherine P. Douglas , interim president of Monroe Community College
Jun 29, 2020
Connections: Will capitalism survive the pandemic?
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Will capitalism survive the pandemic? We talk with Raj Sisodia, author of "The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscious of Business to Help Save the World." Sisodia is a founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement. We talk about his work and his thoughts on the current and future state of capitalism during the pandemic. Our guests: Raj Sisodia , author of "The Healing Organization," and founding member of the Conscious Capitalism movement Andrew Brady , co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Conscious Capitalism, and president and chief evolutionary officer for the XLR8 Team
Jun 26, 2020
Connections: Rochester City Council members discuss police reform
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Last week, Rochester City Council passed the city budget, and the subject of defunding police was a hot button issue. We're joined by members of Council who discuss their votes and their perspectives on the best ways to address police reform from a government level. Our guests: Jackie Ortiz , member of Rochester City Council Willie Lightfoot , vice president of Rochester City Council Mary Lupien , member of Rochester City Council Stanley Martin, member of Free the People Roc
Jun 26, 2020
Connections: The future of choirs and singing during the pandemic
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When will it be safe to sing together again? It’s a question the New York Times asked earlier this month when reporting on how choirs have been slinked to several coronavirus outbreaks. Scientific research shows that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through respiratory droplets. When singers project in performance settings, they may unwittingly spread the virus, if infected. There have been conflicting messages across the globe about the risk of singing during the pandemic. This hour, we discuss what the data shows and how local and national groups are adapting, both in the short and long term. Our guests: Lee Wright , director of music ministry at Downtown United Presbyterian Church, and founder artistic director of First Inversion choral ensemble Janet Galván , professor of performance studies, and director of choral activities and conducting at Ithaca College Dr. Scott Stratton-Smith , family medicine specialist with Rochester Regional Health Brenda Tremblay , host for WXXI's
Jun 25, 2020
Connections: Why New Zealand has been so effective in crushing the coronavirus
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Why have some countries been so effective at crushing the coronavirus, while the United States has plateaued? We get perspective from guests with roots in New Zealand, which has been perhaps the most successful country in the world during the pandemic. They discuss cultural differences that have played into responses to COVID-19. Our guests: Mike Johansson , New Zealand native, social media strategist, and senior lecturer of communication at RIT Chris Thomas , partner with Nixon Peabody whose family has roots in New Zealand
Jun 25, 2020
Connections: Local servers on the scene at restaurants that have reopened
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We talk with local servers about their experiences with restaurants reopening. Many establishments opened for outdoor seating in Phase 2, and now, in Phase 3, customers are also back to dining indoors. What are the safety guidelines for customers and for staff? Are people following those rules? Our guests share their experiences and observations: Ian Criticos, server and wine director at AVVINO Aimee Rock, manager of Union Tavern
Jun 24, 2020
Connections: Discussing issues at the polls on Primary Day
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During Tuesday's primary, WXXI News heard from voters across Monroe County about issues at the polls: they expressed confusion over polling locations changing, multiple ballots, challenges with technology, and more. Some candidates have shared concerns about possible voter suppression. So what happened? This hour, our guests talk about what they saw on Primary Day, and what needs to change heading into November's election. We hear from local voters as well. Our guests: Dana Cieslinski, site chair Anthony Plonczynski , co-founder of La Cumbre Assemblymember Harry Bronson , candidate seeking re-election for the 138th Assembly District seat
Jun 24, 2020
Connections: Discussing voting rights and voter suppression in America, past and present
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Long lines and malfunctioning voting machines in Georgia's primary election renewed conversations about voting rights, especially those for disenfranchised voters. The New York Times called the issues a "full-scale meltdown of new voting systems." Those systems were put in place after claims of voter suppression in 2018. Discussions about voter suppression are happening throughout the country, with concerns about what could happen in November. This hour, we're joined by RIT professor Donathan Brown to discuss voting rights and policies. His research focuses on race and public policy, and he's the co-author of "Voting Rights Under Fire: The Continuing Struggle for People of Color." He helps us understand voting issues throughout the country, both past and present. Our guest: Donathan Brown , assistant provost and assistant vice president for faculty diversity and recruitment, and professor in the School of Communication at RIT
Jun 23, 2020
Connections: Author Alex Sanchez and his new graphic novel, "You Brought Me the Ocean"
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Local author Alex Sanchez has a new graphic novel for young adults. "You Brought Me the Ocean" is the story of a teenager struggling to come out as gay...and as a superhero. The book was published by DC Comics and is part of the DC universe. We talk with Sanchez about the book, what he hopes readers take from the story, and about broader issues affecting the LGBTQ community. Our guest: Alex Sanchez , author of "You Brought Me the Ocean"
Jun 23, 2020
Connections: How companies can have conversations about race
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We continue our series of conversations about how to discuss race and racism. Companies across the country are grappling with how to have those conversations internally. Some have coordinated dialogue circles, town halls, and listening sessions, where employees share their experiences with racism, white privilege, and discrimination. WXXI staff members recently participated in listening sessions. We've invited members from one of the breakout groups on Connections to share what they discussed, their responses to recent events, and their thoughts on the value of having uncomfortable conversations. Our guests: Mona Isler, executive assistant and staff liaison to the board at WXXI Tashanda Thomas, director of human resources for WXXI Laura Garrison, vice president for development at WXXI and the Little Theatre
Jun 22, 2020
Connections: Previewing the documentary, "Opioids from Inside: First Responders"
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As of earlier this month, Monroe County has seen an increase in opioid overdoses -- both fatal and non-fatal --compared to this time last year. The work of first responders who arrive at the scene can be the difference between life and death. A new documentary called "Opioids from Inside: First Responders" explores the epidemic from the perspective of firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics who are on the front lines. The film airs on WXXI-TV on Tuesday, but first, we get a preview with the men and women featured in it. They discuss their work and how the crisis has affected them personally. Our guests: David Marshall, director and co-producer of "Opioids from Inside: First Responders" Lt. John Vagg, Rochester Fire Department Dr. Scott Dent, M.D., family medicine specialist at Rochester Regional Health Krista Lattuca, Rochester resident in recovery, and recovery coach at Rochester Regional Health
Jun 22, 2020
Connections: Eddie Moore, Jr. on anti-racism training
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We’re joined by Eddie Moore, Jr., a speaker and educator who provides diversity and cultural competency trainings around the world. One of his key programs is the White Privilege Conference, which brings together people from different backgrounds to discuss issues of privilege, including race, gender, sexuality, and more. Moore joins us this hour to talk about his teaching methods, and his 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge. Our guest: Eddie Moore, Jr. , Ph.D., speaker, educator, and director of the Privilege Institute and the National White Privilege Conference
Jun 19, 2020
Connections: Discussing "Last at Bat," and how the pandemic has affected baseball
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24 years ago this summer, the Rochester Red Wings played their last regular season game at Silver Stadium. The ball park on Norton Street had been the Red Wings’ home for nearly 70 years. On Sunday – Father’s Day – WXXI-TV will re-air the broadcast of that last game. It's called "Last at Bat: A Silver Stadium Farewell." This hour on Connections, our guests discuss the impact of Silver Stadium and the Wings, and how baseball has been affected by the pandemic. Our guests: Naomi Silver , president and CEO of the Rochester Red Wings Scott Pitoniak , longtime Rochester sports columnist and author Pete Weber , broadcaster Curt Smith , author, media host, and columnist
Jun 19, 2020
Connections: Candidates for the 61st Senate District Democratic primary
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We're joined by two of the three candidates running in the Democratic primary for the 61st Senate District seat. We hear from Kim Smith and Jacqui Berger about why they are running and what they hope to accomplish if elected. Our guests: Jacqui Berger Kim Smith *Note: Joan Seamans, the third candidate in the race, was invited to join this discussion, but declined.
Jun 18, 2020
Connections: Ann Lewis, candidate for the 137th Assembly District Democratic primary
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We talk with Ann Lewis, who is running for the 137th District Assembly seat. Long-time Assembly member David Gantt is retiring, and there are four candidates running in the primary. We've heard from the three other Democrats, and in this segment of the program, we offer Ann Lewis equal time to discuss her platform and priorities. Our guest: Ann Lewis
Jun 18, 2020
Connections: Rochester Fringe Festival producer Erica Fee on the festival and the pandemic
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The Rochester Fringe Festival revealed its modified 2020 schedule. Festival producer Erica Fee has been in contact with many people in the arts community, and there has been some debate and confusion about safety. We discuss the decision-making process in a major festival during a pandemic, and we explore the questions that some in the arts community are expressing. Our guest: Erica Fee, producer of the Rochester Fringe Festival
Jun 18, 2020
Connections: Nate McMurray, Democratic candidate in the 27th Congressional District special election
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Republican Chris Jacobs is running against Democrat Nate McMurray in the special election for New York’s 27th Congressional district. That seat had been held by Chris Collins, who resigned his seat after pleading guilty to a variety of charges related to insider trading and corruption. WXXI was not able to schedule a televised debate between the candidates, so we’re offering radio time. McMurray has agreed to join us to discuss the issues. Our guest: Nate McMurray
Jun 17, 2020
Connections: Robin Wilt, candidate for the 25th Congressional District Democratic primary
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The Democratic primary is less than one week away, and voters in the 25th Congressional District will have a choice between two candidates in that race: current Congressman Joe Morelle, and Brighton Town Board member Robin Wilt. This is Wilt's second run for Congress; Morelle won the seat in 2018 after the passing for long-time Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. This hour, we talk with Wilt about her platform and priorities for the district. Our guest: Robin Wilt *Note: Congressman Morelle was offered equal time on the program, but was unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts.
Jun 17, 2020
Connections: Dr. Tim Wiegand on the state of opioid prescriptions
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We continue our conversation with Dr. Tim Wiegand from UR Medicine about the opioid crisis. This hour, Dr. Wiegand discusses an opioid prescription "opt-in" program for patients post-surgery. He says that program has led to a significant reduction in opioid prescriptions. We discuss the impact of the program and the broader opioid crisis. Our guest: Tim Wiegand , M.D., director of toxicology at URMC, and associate director of the UR Medicine Combined Addiction Fellowship Training Program
Jun 16, 2020
Connections: Discussing the YMCA of Greater Rochester's reopening plan
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The YMCA of Greater Rochester has announced a reopening plan that will go into effect next week, assuming our region moves into Phase 4. That plan includes reopening some of the more modern, suburban facilities like Penfield and Pittsford, while keeping most city facilities closed. We discuss how the plan will impact membership and how it fits within in the YMCA's mission. Our guests: Kevin Fitzpatrick , COO of the YMCA of Greater Rochester Pam Cowan , chief marketing and experience officer for the YMCA of Greater Rochester Chris Widmaier , YMCA member
Jun 16, 2020
Connections: Discussing the history and importance of Juneteenth
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How much do you know about Juneteenth? Our guests say it’s likely the answer is “not enough.” Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, and there have been calls to make June 19th a federal holiday. This hour, we discuss the history of Juneteenth, its importance – especially during this current moment in our country – and the Black Lives Matter movement. Our guests: Gloria Johnson-Hovey, race director for the Roc Juneteenth 5K Run/Walk Rev. Myra Brown , pastor of Spiritus Christi Church, and founder of the Spiritus Christi Anti-Racism Coalition Elizabeth Osta, co-chair of the First Universalist Initiative for Racial Equity Mary Heveron-Smith, member of Spiritus Christi Church, and member of the Spiritus Christi Anti-Racism Coalition
Jun 15, 2020
Connections: How to have conversations about race
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This hour, we talk with three local friends who share some of the difficult and productive conversations they’ve had about race. A white local racial justice advocate says she’s had humbling discussions with African American friends about the impact of social media posts made by white allies like herself. She says she didn’t realize how certain images or content can be traumatizing, and it’s important for white people to listen and not shy away from uncomfortable conversations. We dive into those conversations with our guests: Johnita Anthony, Brighton resident Norman Simmons, Rochester resident Megan Clifford, Brighton resident
Jun 15, 2020
Connections: Discussing racism in the suburbs
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We continue our series of conversations about combating racism. This hour, we focus on efforts in local suburbs. Our guests say racism in the suburbs is often not discussed or is overlooked. Earlier this week, two men in Fairport destroyed an art gallery supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the men was an employee of Fairport Brewing Company who has since been removed from his position. The village denounced racism, and beer enthusiasts planned an anti-racism rally in Fairport on Saturday. It's one of several protests set for the weekend. This hour, our guests discuss the efforts they are organizing in local suburbs and what they hope to accomplish: Craig Carson , Rochester resident Cherriese Marie, Hilton resident Rashana Greene, Hilton resident Julie Domaratz , mayor of the Village of Fairport Megan Clifford, Brighton resident
Jun 12, 2020
Connections: Candidates for the Democratic primary for Monroe County Clerk
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The Democratic primary is less than two weeks away. This hour, we talk with the candidates for Monroe County Clerk: former Assembly member Jamie Romeo, who was appointed to the position in February after former clerk Adam Bello took office as Monroe County Executive; and Jennifer Boutte, the current director of development and community engagement for CDS Life Transitions. We talk with the candidates about the office, their goals and priorities, and they answer our questions and yours. Our guests: Jennifer Boutte Jamie Romeo
Jun 12, 2020
Connections: Discussing if streets should open for outdoor dining
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Last week, dozens of restaurants in the area opened for outdoor dining. The move comes with restrictions: tables spaced for physical distancing, limited seating, and staff wearing face coverings. Some restaurant owners and diners have called for additional seating in the streets outside those establishments, and local leaders have looked at what would be required for shutting down traffic and opening those streets for businesses. What would that mean for diners? For drivers? For pedestrians? Our guests this hour explore the issue: Mary Lupien , member of Rochester City Council Mitch Gruber , member of Rochester City Council Kelly Bush, president of the New York State Restaurant Association's Rochester chapter , and owner of Marshall Street Bar and Grill Roger Brown, creative consultant for the Community Design Center Rochester
Jun 11, 2020
Connections: Rochester City Council member Malik Evans
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We talk with Rochester City Council member Malik Evans about a number of issues: the city's budget; the impact of the pandemic on the region; and how to support local businesses during the reopening process. Our guest: Malik Evans , member of Rochester City Council
Jun 11, 2020
Connections: Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, candidate for the 137th Assembly District Democratic primary
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We talk with County Legislator Ernest Flagler-Mitchell, who is running in the upcoming Democratic primary for the 137th Assembly District seat, following the retirement of longtime Assemblyman David Gantt. Flagler-Mitchell was unable to join a conversation with his opponents during a previous broadcast, so this conversation offers him equal time to discuss his platform and priorities for the district. Our guest: Ernest Flagler-Mitchell , candidate for the 137th Assembly District Democratic primary *Note: A fourth candidate in the primary, Ann Lewis, has not responded the multiple invitations to join the program.
Jun 11, 2020
Connections: Discussing racism as a public health crisis
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We’re joined by members of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group. Late last month, they issued a proclamation declaring racism a public health crisis. Research shows racial health disparities are prevalent and growing. This hour, we discuss the data, the impact of the disparities in the short and long term, and the steps the group says need to be taken to achieve health equity. Our guests: Melanie Funchess , member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, and director of community engagement at the Mental Health Association Jackie Dozier , member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group Jerome Underwood , member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, president and CEO of Action for a Better Community, and co-chair or RMAPI Michael Campbell , member of the Greater Rochester Black Agenda Group, independent consultant, and co-owner of North Star Rites of Passage, LLC
Jun 10, 2020
Connections: How the pandemic has impacted the opioid crisis
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We check in on the opioid crisis and how the pandemic has impacted it. Harvard’s Julia Marcus has compared the pandemic to the opioid crisis and the AIDS crisis when it comes to harm reduction strategies. We discuss what works and what the experts are learning. Our guests: Tim Wiegand , M.D., director of toxicology at URMC, and associate director of the UR Medicine Combined Addiction Fellowship Training Program Julie Stampler, harm reductionist and board member of the National Harm Reduction Coalition
Jun 10, 2020
Connections: Discussing criminal justice reform and the BLM movement with local public defenders
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On Monday, local public defenders marched in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. As reported by WXXI's Noelle Evans, it was one of many public defender-led protests across the nation that called attention to systemic racism and police violence. This hour, we're joined by four local African American public defenders who discuss the systemic racism they say they see in the justice system, and the reforms for which they are advocating. Our guests: Danielle Ponder , diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office Natalie Knott, assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office Katherine Ejimadu, assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office Rob Turner, senior assistant public defender with the Monroe County Public Defender's Office
Jun 09, 2020
Connections: How to plan and design a "just city"
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What does a "just city" look like when it comes to urban design? It's a question Toni Griffin of the Harvard Graduate School of Design explores in her work. She leads the Just City Lab, which "examines how design and planning contribute to conditions of justice and injustice in cities." She joins us this hour to discuss her work. It's a preview of her upcoming presentation for the Community Design Center Rochester's Reshaping Rochester series . Our guests: Toni Griffin , professor in practice of urban planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, leader of the Just City Lab, and founder of Urban Planning and Design for the American City Nana-Yaw Andoh , board member for the Community Design Center Rochester Maria Furgiuele , executive director of the Community Design Center Rochester
Jun 09, 2020
Connections: Discussing the future of youth sports in America, part 2
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We continue our conversation about the future of youth sports in America. According to the Wall Street Journal, 20 to 40 percent of all youth sports programs could be lost due to insolvency caused by the pandemic. That could limit opportunities for young athletes with limited financial means who look to club and recreational leagues to play on teams. Meanwhile, experts in the youth sports movement say this moment of pause is an opportunity to reevaluate the youth sports model. This hour, our guests explore the issues and discuss what an inclusive model would look like in all communities both during the pandemic and in the future. Our guests: Tom Farrey , executive director of the Sports and Society Program at The Aspen Institute John O'Sullivan, founder of the Changing the Game Project , and host of the "Way of Champions" podcast
Jun 08, 2020
Connections: How should corporate America and brands respond to social movements?
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How should corporate America react to social movements? In the days after the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed, brands both big and small launched ads and social media posts in response. In a recent piece for the Atlantic Monthly, writer Amanda Mull argues that most of those messages used vague phrasing, were awkwardly executed, and followed a template that has become standard in recent years. How can a company strike the right balance between authenticity and social responsibility? Is it possible? Our guests explore those questions and more: Rashad Smith , creative strategist for WLGZ The Beat, visionary of Power Hour, and project manager for "Shaping Our Stories" with Causewave Community Partners Andrea Holland , owner of Holland Communications, and public speaking and communications coach Jeff Knauss , co-founder and CEO of Digital Hyve
Jun 08, 2020
Connections: Irshad Altheimer on criminal justice research and police reform
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Irshad Altheimer is a professor of criminal justice who has been directly affected by gun violence. In 1997, a gang member opened fire on a car he was riding in with friends. Altheimer was struck by three bullets, and one of this friends was killed. Altheimer has dedicated his career to researching and addressing the roots of urban violence, and to reducing gun violence in Rochester. He joins us to discuss his work with local law enforcement, his perspectives on police reform, and the recent BLM protests. Our guest: Irshad Altheimer , associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice, and director of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives at RIT
Jun 05, 2020
Connections: Candidates for the 137th Assembly District Democratic primary
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Longtime Assemblyman David Gantt has decided not to seek re-election. Gantt has held the 137th District seat for nearly 40 years. Now, four Democrats are vying for the office. This hour, we hear from two of the candidates running in the upcoming primary: Demond Meeks Silvano Orsi Note: The two additional candidates in this primary race are Ernest Flagler-Mitchell and Ann Lewis. Flagler-Mitchell is unable to participate in the conversation due to an emergency; Lewis did not respond to multiple invitations.
Jun 05, 2020
Connections: Monroe County Legislators discuss the situation at the Board of Elections
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Monroe County Democrats are split over the situation at the Board of Elections. Most Democrats favor a typical democratic process to elect a new commissioner. Some Democrats have joined with Republicans to call for an immediate installation of a new leader, along with the creation of six new positions to help the office prepare for the June 23 primary and special elections. It sounds a bit like inside baseball, but both sides argue that it's about the core of our community. Our guests try to sort out their differences: Vince Felder , minority leader of the Monroe County Legislature Rachel Barnhart , Monroe County Legislator John Baynes , Monroe County Legislator
Jun 04, 2020
Connections: Marvin Stepherson on police reform
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Marvin Stepherson spent 25 years in policing, retiring as a police sergeant. He has become a prominent black voice in the Greater Rochester community, teaching, organizing, getting involved in politics. Stepherson sees the challenge in recruiting more black officers to policing; he also knows that police demographics won't solve all of the existing problems. He joins us to discuss how policing could change to meet this moment of crisis. Our guest: Marvin Stepherson , retired police sergeant, and adjunct professor for criminal justice administration at Roberts Wesleyan College
Jun 04, 2020
Connections: Discussing creative ways businesses have stayed open during the pandemic
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We continue our series of conversations about the creative ways local businesses have adapted to the pandemic. This hour, we talk to local restaurant and coffee shop owners about their strategies, and what they anticipate for reopening in Phase 3. Our guests: Jonathan Leach, co-owner of JonJohn's Bakery John Keltos, co-owner of JonJohn's Bakery Rory Van Grol, founder of Ugly Duck Coffee Kevin McCann, owner of McCann's Local Meats Shoshana Weissamnn , senior manager of digital media and fellow at the R Street Institute
Jun 03, 2020
Connections: Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo
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We're joined by the president of the Rochester Police Locust Club, who discusses the events of the weekend, and his thoughts on proposed changes for policing. Our guest: Mike Mazzeo, president of the Rochester Police Locust Club
Jun 03, 2020
Connections: How to move into the summer season during a pandemic
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If you had fallen asleep in early February and woke up now, in June, would you know by looking around you that you'd be living in a global pandemic? The warm weather has shown people are eager to be outside. There have been big parties, backyard gatherings, and people congregating in public spaces -- with many people not wearing masks or face coverings. How do we move into the summer season, keep re-opening, and adjust our behavior appropriately? And now should we be having conversations about that? Our guests weigh in: Willie J. Lightfoot , president of the United Professional Barbers and Cosmetologists Association (UPBCA), Inc., and vice president of Rochester City Council Jane Dodds, former medical practice manager Brenden Drew, vice president of business development for Abbott's Frozen Custard
Jun 02, 2020
Connections: Organizers of the local BLM rally discuss their goals for the movement
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Saturday's peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Rochester included hundreds of people who gathered to march in solidarity with the BLM movement nationwide. Local organizers are calling for several reforms: a divestment from police, the removal of police from Rochester City Schools, an end to mass incarceration, and more. This hour, we talk to two of the organizers about the events of the weekend and their goals for the movement in the weeks and months ahead. Our guests: Stanley Martin, civil rights organizer Ashley Gantt, civil rights organizer Stevie Vargas , civil rights organizer Iman Abid , civil rights organizer
Jun 02, 2020
Connections: Discussing the Black Lives Matter protests, part 2
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We continue our conversation about the events of the weekend, about the Black Lives Matter movement, and about broader issues of race and police-community relations across the country. Our guests: Danielle Ponder , diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office, and lead singer for Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People Jonathan Ntheketha , actor, performance educator with Impact Interactive, and adjunct professor Anthony Hall, dean at Vertus Charter High School for Young Men, and executive director of BOOKBAGS Express Justin Morris, community activist
Jun 01, 2020
Connections: Discussing the Black Lives Matter protests, part 1
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The events in American cities over the last several days, including Rochester, have revealed the depth of decades of pain. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says the protests have been important and peaceful, but the looting shows that the community can fall into a trap set by people outside of the movement. This hour, our guests discuss those issues and more: Danielle Ponder , diversity and inclusion officer for the Monroe County Public Defender's Office, and lead singer for Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People Jonathan Ntheketha , actor, performance educator with Impact Interactive, and adjunct professor Lavelle Lewis, self-employed real estate investor, and volunteer organizer for Rochester's weekend cleanup efforts
Jun 01, 2020
Connections: Discussing the possible impacts of Trump's executive order aimed at social media
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On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at limiting liability protections for some social media companies. The move comes just days after Twitter fact-checked and labeled two of his tweets as inaccurate. According to NPR, legal experts say it's unlikely that the order will have any practical effect on tech giants like Twitter. Meanwhile, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called out Twitter for its fact-checking, saying Facebook won't be "arbiters of truth." What does all of this mean for the platforms, for users, for free speech, and for democracy? Our guests explore the issues. They also discuss how social media and journalism have changed as a result of the pandemic. Our guests: Mike Johansson , social media strategist, and lecturer of communication at RIT Hélène Biandudi-Hofer , manager of Complicating the Narratives for Solutions Journalism Network Christian Dawson , executive director of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition David Andreatta , editor of CITY
May 29, 2020
Connections: Discussing the history of African Americans being falsely reported to police
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The story of a white woman in New York City who called police and falsely accused an African American man of threatening her has gone viral. Amy Cooper was walking her dog in an area of Central Park where leashes are required. Christian Cooper (no relation), an avid bird watcher who was in the park for that purpose, approached her and asked her to leash the dog. When she didn't, the situation escalated and led to the woman calling police and claiming the man was threatening her and her dog. Christian Cooper recorded a video of the incident. When police responded, both people had left and no charges were filed, but the video has been shared widely and sparked discussions of the history of black people being falsely reported to police. This hour, our guests discuss that history, the impact of the incident in Central Park, and more. Our guests: Chris Thompson , writer, engineer, comedian, and activist Amanda Chestnut , local artist and educator
May 28, 2020
Connections: The Gandhi Institute's "Nonviolence Now" campaign
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The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated social inequalities, and at times, led to frustration, stress, and even fights in the community. The Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence has launched a new campaign called "Nonviolence Now" to help people communicate peacefully and resolve conflicts without causing harm. We talk to representatives from the Institute about the project and what they hope to accomplish, especially during the pandemic. Our guests: Kit Miller , director of the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence Chyna Moorehead , youth educator at the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence Alex Hubbell , youth educator at the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence Jamie Rudd , marketing and special projects coordinator and garden manager at the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
May 28, 2020
Connections: Updates from the Libertarian Party
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How is the nominating process changing for political parties as a result of the pandemic? This hour, we discuss that question with local members of the Libertarian Party. The party moved its presidential nominating convention and a convention to elect party officers to Zoom and YouTube. Our guests talk about the process, and share additional updates from the party, including their selection for a presidential candidate. Our guests: Tony D'Orazio , chair of the Libertarian Party of New York Kevin Wilson , chair of the Monroe County Libertarian Party
May 27, 2020
Connections: Candidates for the 136th Assembly District Democratic primary
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Assembly member Jamie Romeo has decided not to seek re-election for her 136th District seat; instead, she will seek the Monroe County Clerk position, which she has held since it was vacated by Adam Bello. Three Democrats are vying for the Assembly seat in the upcoming primary. This hour, we hear from Sarah Clark, Nelson Lopatin, and Justin Wilcox. They share their platforms and priorities, and answer our questions and yours. Our guests: Sarah Clark Nelson Lopatin Justin Wilcox
May 26, 2020
Connections: Local World War II veterans share their experiences
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75 years ago this month, the Allies celebrated V-E Day. As time marches on, the voices of those who fought in the war or who were part of the war effort on the home front become fewer. This hour, we hear from two local veterans who share their experiences. Our guests: Jack Foy, machine gunner in the Army 87th Infantry Division, World War II Corporal John Woods, Army Air Corps, World War II
May 26, 2020
Connections: How has the pandemic impacted bed and breakfasts?
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We continue our series of conversations about the impact the pandemic has had on businesses. Bed and breakfasts owners are working to adapt to the current situation, while also preparing for the months ahead. This hour, we talk with innkeepers in different parts of our area about how the pandemic has affected their businesses, and how they think the industry could change in the longer term. Our guests: Richard Trayford, co-owner of Letchworth Farm Bed and Breakfast Susan Alvarez, co-owner of the Edward Harris House Bed and Breakfast Rosemary Janofsky, innkeeper and proprietor of the Ellwanger Estate Robert St. John, innkeeper at Sutherland House Bed and Breakfast
May 22, 2020
Connections: Guidance for employers preparing to reopen their facilities
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As the regional continues its Phase 1 reopening process, what do employers need to do to prepare their workplaces and their staffs? We’re joined by two local labor attorneys who share guidance regarding reopening facilities: how to ensure employees’ safety; how to stay compliant with state and federal regulations; and how to adapt to the pandemic. Our guests answer our questions and yours: Dan Moore , partner at Harris Beach , and leader of the Harris Beach Labor and Employment Practice Group Matt Emens , vice president of HB Cornerstone
May 22, 2020
Connections: Candidates for the 56th Senate District primary
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Longtime Republican state Senator Joe Robach is not seeking reelection. Three Democrats are vying for the seat in the upcoming primary. This hour, we sit down with Jeremy Cooney, Hilda Rosario Escher, and Sherita Traywick to discuss their platforms and priorities for the 56th District. Our guests: Jeremy Cooney Hilda Rosario Escher Sherita Traywick
May 21, 2020
Connections: Discussing creative solutions for reopening local businesses
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As the Rochester and Finger Lakes region begins to reopen, business owners in many different industries are brainstorming how to safely attract and retain customers during the pandemic. Curbside service, outdoor seating, and drive-in performances are all being discussed and -- in some cases -- offered. This hour, we hear from local business owners about their creative solutions. Our guests: Mark Ippolito, co-founder of Comedy @ the Carlson Jenna and Pete Morgante, owners of the Tree Town Cafe Suzanne Hunt , co-owner of Hunt Country Vineyards Gino Fanelli , reporter for CITY Newspaper
May 21, 2020
Connections: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is our guest. In recent weeks, Gillibrand has been outspoken in her defense of SNAP, USPS, and in her ideas for how to rebuild the American workforce. We talk with her about the federal government's response to the pandemic. We're also joined by Nazareth College professor Tim Kneeland, whose new book explores bipartisanship during a crisis. Our guests: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Tim Kneeland , chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College
May 20, 2020
Connections: What the pandemic has taught us about food systems
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From millions of pints of milk being dumped down drains in Britain, to strawberries meant for markets in India being fed to cattle, the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the international food trade. The global food system is built around countries specializing in specific products -- think cocoa in Ghana and potatoes in Belgium. But when borders close and demand drops, the system goes awry. People go hungry while food rots. So what's the solution? Experts point to the surprise boom experienced by small local farms and regional food hubs. They argue that an increase in diverse local food production creates more sustainable systems. This hour, we're joined by the team at Headwater Food Hub to discuss its work building a sustainable food system in Rochester, and what that looks like during a pandemic. Our guests: Chris Hartman, founder and president of Headwater Food Hub TC Washington, farm to school program manager, and emergency food assistance program manager at Headwater Food Hub
May 20, 2020
Connections: New Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small
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The Rochester City School District has a new superintendent. On Monday, the district named Lesli Myers-Small its new leader. Her appointment follows the unexpected and abrupt resignation of Terry Dade. Myers-Small was the superintendent of Brockport Central Schools for seven years, and most recently served as assistant commissioner of school reform and innovation for the New York State Department of Education. She's the first woman of color to lead the RCSD outside of an interim role. This hour, Myers-Small joins us to discuss her priorities, her goals for implementing the new budget, and how she plans to mitigate the district's challenges while best serving its students. Our guest: Lesli Myers-Small , superintendent of the Rochester City School District
May 19, 2020
Connections: Previewing NOVA's new special, "Decoding COVID-19"
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A new NOVA special, "Decoding COVID-19," takes viewers inside hospitals and scientific research labs around the world during the height of the outbreak. The film follows the work of scientists as they race to develop treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19, and it shares the personal stories of families who have navigated illness and loss. We preview the special with its producer, and with an infectious disease physician and an infectious disease researcher featured in the film. NOVA's "Decoding COVID-19" airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on WXXI-WORLD. Our guests: Sarah Holt, writer, director, and producer of NOVA's "Decoding COVID-19" Dr. Nahid Bhadelia , M.D., infectious diseases physician and medical director of the Special Pathogens Unit at Boston University School of Medicine Galit Alter , Ph.D., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and group leader at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT, and Harvard
May 18, 2020
Connections: How to build public trust and prepare Americans for our "pandemic summer"
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In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, writer Charlie Warzel says, "Heading into our pandemic summer, my biggest worry is that in the effort to get Americans to flatten the coronavirus curve, nobody prepared the country for what comes next." He makes a case for how to build public trust and prepare Americans for the months ahead as parts of the country reopen. Our guest: Charlie Warzel , New York Times opinion writer at large
May 18, 2020
Connections: "Plandemic," and how to have conversations with people who believe conspiracy theories
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“Plandemic” – the debunked film about COVID-19, featuring a discredited researcher – went viral before platforms did their best to remove it. More than eight million people watched the movie, which pushes conspiracy theories and misinformation about the origins of and treatments for COVD-19. While news sources have reported on the hoax, many people have shared points and clips from the film, saying they believe the information that has been proven false. How do you have conversations with people who promote narratives that don’t rely on facts or evidence? This hour, we have a conversation about epistemology and media literacy as they relate to “Plandemic” and beyond. Our guests: Zeynep Soysal , assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester Richard Feldman , professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester Jeremy Sarachan , chair of the Media and Communication Department; and associate professor and program director of interactive media, video, and game design
May 15, 2020
Connections: How is the pandemic impacting the local housing market?
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Local realtors say Rochester’s housing market is still hot, despite the pandemic. While the number of newly listed homes has decreased sharply, buyers are taking tours over Zoom, waiving inspections, and putting in offers well over asking price. This hour, we’re joined by four real estate brokers who give us an inside look at the housing market during this unprecedented time. They also discuss how they anticipate the pandemic could change the market and the buying/selling process in the future. Our guests: Andy Kachaylo , president of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Susan Glenz , real estate associate broker with the Susan Glenz Team at Keller Williams Realty Kristin Vanden Brul , associate broker with RE/MAX Plus Silvia Deutsch , associate real estate broker with the Silvia Deutsch Team at RE/MAX Realty Group
May 15, 2020
Connections: What has the pandemic taught us about remote learning?
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Governor Andrew Cuomo recently said that the pandemic should change the way we approach schools. He said that with technology, and our new experience with remote learning, some things should not go back to the way they were before. The governor is not suggesting that all learning happen remotely; he wants to take the good aspects of remote learning and apply them going forward. But many parents and teachers are apprehensive about that; they are struggling to find much good to take from this experience. We discuss what the pandemic has taught us about remote learning, engaging with students, the use of technology, and more. Our guests: John Baynes , English teacher at Our Lady of Mercy, and Monroe County Legislator Fiona Connolly, 12th grade student at Our Lady of Mercy Beth Larter , school librarian at Walt Disney Elementary School in Gates Chili Susan Kavanagh, parent
May 14, 2020
Connections: The stories of local women who became single moms by choice
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Many parents across the country have had to make major adjustments to their home and work lives in order to balance child care and their careers during the pandemic. Some single parents in particular say they’ve struggled. The New York Times recently profiled four women who decided to become single mothers on their own. The women describe why they chose their paths, the joys of motherhood, and the unexpected challenges they’ve come to face -- especially during the pandemic. One of those women is a Rochester resident who adopted eight children from the foster care system and has care for 20 more. She joins us to share her story, along with another local single mom by choice. Our guests: Trelawney McCoy , single mom by choice, and project counselor at the University of Rochester Andrea Holland , single mom by choice, and public speaking coach
May 14, 2020
Connections: Local residents express concerns about exercising in public as African American men
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Authorities in Georgia say there were no burglaries, no reported thefts in the two months before the stalking and killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in February. Two white men, a father and son, tracked and then killed Arbery in the residential street of their mostly white neighborhood. Our guests discuss what it's like to be an African American man just wanting to go for a jog in public or to exercise without provoking fear. We also discuss what it might take to build a society in which the Arbery story is the last of such killings. Our guests: Anthony Hall, dean at Vertus Charter High School for Young Men, and executive director of BOOKBAGS Express, a non-profit that addresses disparities in the black and brown community Kemani Howard, Rochester resident Justin Morris, community activist
May 13, 2020
Connections: Discussing quarantine fatigue
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Quarantine fatigue is real, says Julia Marcus of the Harvard Medical School. Writing for The Atlantic, she argues that shaming people for disobeying guidelines is a bad idea. She writes, "Public-health experts have known for decades that an abstinence-only message doesn’t work for sex. It doesn’t work for substance use, either. Likewise, asking Americans to abstain from nearly all in-person social contact will not hold the coronavirus at bay—at least not forever." So what should we do about it? How can we settle into a routine that is sustainable until a vaccine is on the horizon? And how sick are you of staying home? Our guests: Julia Marcus , Ph.D., MPH, professor of population medicine at Harvard Medical School Dr. Eric Caine , M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
May 13, 2020
Connections: A conversation with three women who recovered from COVID-19
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We welcome three guests who have had COVID-19. They share their experiences: the symptoms, the hospitalization, the lingering effects. They come from different age brackets, with different backgrounds. Our guests: Sara Matteson Anita Spoor Madelein Smith
May 12, 2020
Connections: How can we hold reliable elections during a pandemic?
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Can we hold reliable elections during a pandemic? In June, New York State will hold primary and special elections. November is, of course, the general election. The pandemic means there will be voting from home, voting by mail, and new ways of trying to get out the vote. But will voting be truly accessible to all? Our guests discuss this vital issue: Susan Lerner , executive director of Common Cause New York Dustin Czarny, commissioner of the Onondaga County Board of Elections Jesse Lenney , state committee member of the Working Families Party
May 11, 2020
Connections: Discussing emergency food aid during the pandemic
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A recent op-ed for the New York Times criticized the federal government’s approach to emergency food aid during the pandemic. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program includes $3 billion for purchasing fresh food for food banks and other organizations serving people in need, but the piece argues that those organizations don’t have the infrastructure to handle the volume currently required. Instead, the article’s authors say the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)’s existing structure is equip to handle the situation. This hour, our guests explore current emergency food aid, what the situation looks like locally, and what experts say the federal government should do to serve as many people as efficiently possible. Our guests: Mitch Gruber , chief strategy officer for Foodlink , and member of Rochester City Council Carmen Allen, president of Beyond the Sanctuary food pantry Belinda Knight, director of community operations for ACCORD, the Community Action Program in Allegheny
May 11, 2020
Connections: Local nursing home leaders discuss precautions they're taking to protect residents
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According to state data reported earlier this week, more than 4,800 New Yorkers in nursing homes and care facilities have died from the coronavirus since March 1. This hour, we talk with leaders of local nursing homes who discuss the precautions they're taking to protect their vulnerable residents. Our guests are from the Alliance for Senior Care, which includes five local facilities: St. Ann's Community, St. John's Home, Friendly Senior Living, Jewish Senior Life, and Episcopal SeniorLife. Our guests: Dr. Kim Petrone, M.D., medical director for St. Ann’s Community Dr. Brian Heppard, M.D., medical director for Episcopal SeniorLife Loren Ranaletta, CEO of Episcopal SeniorLife
May 08, 2020
Connections: Discussing the mental health "epidemic" on college campuses
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Psychiatrists and mental health counselors across the country say college students are facing a campus mental health "epidemic." NPR reported on the issue last year, and now, with the pandemic shutting down campuses and pushing students to online learning at home, many may face additional challenges. The SUNY system has created a task force to enhance mental health support and services for students. This hour, we discuss the work of that group, and how the pandemic is impacting students' mental health. Our guests: Kate Wolfe-Lyga , director of the Counseling Services Center at SUNY College at Oswego B. Janet Hibbs , family and couples psychotherapist, and co-author of "The Stressed Years of Their Lives" Brigid Cahill , director of the University Counseling Center at the University of Rochester Stephanie Guilin, student at Monroe Community College, and mental health advocate
May 08, 2020
Connections: Discussing food culture during the pandemic
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The Atlantic Monthly has boldly proclaimed, "Foodie culture as we know it is over." The pandemic is "no time for snobbery," the magazine asserts, perhaps missing the entire point of so-called foodie culture in the first place. So what are we learning about ourselves during this pandemic, as it pertains to cooking? And dining, and food, and our expectation? Our guests this hour are local chefs who debate it, and they offer their own recipes for dishes you can probably cook at home during a quarantine. Our guests: Andrew Bush, head chef at Union Tavern Candace Doell, executive chef for Owl House Catering , aka the "Soup Queen" Sean Wolf, executive chef at Big Tree Inn in Geneseo Scott Riesenberger, executive chef at The Lake House in Canandaigua
May 07, 2020
Connections: How high school seniors are handling their graduation year
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High school seniors would have been preparing for in-person graduation ceremonies and big celebrations this month. Instead, they're figuring out new ways to take finals, and watching graduation ceremonies via Zoom. How are the students handling the change? Our guests are graduating seniors: Natalie Faas, senior at Churchville-Chili Senior High School Maggie Nagar, senior at Webster Schroeder High School Alecia Scott, senior at School Without Walls Will Cypher, senior at Pittsford Sutherland High School
May 07, 2020
Connections: Should colleges and universities reopen in the fall?
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In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, Brown University president Christina Paxson wrote that it won't be easy, but college campuses must reopen in the fall. She points to the financial, practical, and psychological barriers students would face learning remotely -- especially low income students who lack sufficient access to technology -- and what could be a catastrophic financial toll on the universities themselves. Meanwhile, some students and professors who say reopening would pose too much of a health risk on campus communities. So what's the plan? Our guests share updates from their institutions: Mark Zupan , president of Alfred University Robb Flowers , vice president for campus life at Hobart and William Smith Colleges Meaghan Arena, vice president for enrollment and student experience at Nazareth College
May 06, 2020
Connections: Discussing how the digital divide is affecting local students during the pandemic
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When schools closed in March and teachers and students were pushed to online learning settings, the transition proved difficult for students who lack internet access and technology. The digital divide continues to be a concern, and the team at ROC the Future has analyzed where the gaps are and the impact they're having on students. The Rochester Area Community Foundation has created a special funding opportunity -- the COVID Education Fund -- for school districts and other educational organizations in the region to support the purchase of technology and internet access for students who don't have it. This hour, we discuss the digital divide and how it's affecting local students. Our guests: Simeon Banister , vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation Stephanie Townsend , director of research and analytics for ROC the Future
May 06, 2020
Connections: Chris Arnade and his book, "Dignity"
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Chris Arnade is a writer whose work focuses on the American communities most likely to be ignored by political leaders and big media. He travels to the most impoverished neighborhoods, and he gets to know people who live there. His work culminated in a book called "Dignity". Before the pandemic, we intended to speak with him about this remarkable book. Now his work is even more urgent, with the pandemic threatening to tear through the most vulnerable parts of society. Arnade asks us to reflect on our own advantages and the ways we judge others. He's our guest for the hour: Chris Arnade , author of "Dignity"
May 05, 2020
Connections: How Sweden is handling the pandemic
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If there's one country getting the most attention for going against the pandemic grain, it's Sweden. The Swedish leadership has decided to allow most of its society to remain open -- schools, businesses, public spaces. That doesn't mean that life in Sweden is entirely the same as it was before the pandemic. But it is clearly different than in many other countries. As a result, the death toll is far higher, but the public feels prepared for a long pandemic in ways some other countries might not. Our guests are a Swedish expat and a Swedish citizen who can evaluate the different approaches, and why Swedish people have been more comfortable going it alone. Our guests: Oskar Bynke, co-owner of Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard on Seneca Lake Bruno Bosco, engineer living in Stockholm
May 05, 2020
Connections: How the pandemic is affecting vaccination rates for children
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With all of the talk about a coronavirus vaccine, a concerning trend has taken hold in the United States and around the world: children are missing their routine visits for vaccination. The rates of vaccination are dropping sharply, but the experts hope that's a short-term trend that will soon be reversed. Doctors say a large factor is parents' fear of leaving the house with their kids, and in particular, fear of going to the hospital or doctors’ offices. But the medical community is sending an urgent signal: don't miss vaccination. Our guests discuss the issues, and answer your questions about medical visits for children during the pandemic. Our guests: Dr. Stephen Cook , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and medical director at the New York State Department of Health Dr. Elizabeth Murray , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Dr. Laura Jean
May 04, 2020
Connections: How to build a garden for pollinators
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If you're spending most of your time at home these days, you're probably among the many people who are looking to improve their landscaping, yard, or garden. We've had a great deal of interest from listeners about planting and growing during quarantine. This hour, we revisit that theme, and we take a particularly close look at building native gardens for pollinators. The experts answer our questions and yours about the role of pollinators, the dos and don’ts of creating a garden that supports them, and we talk about the recent buzz surrounding the Asian giant hornet (that’s the only bee pun for the hour, we promise). Our guests: Matt Kelly , independent journalist, and creator and editor of The Bee Report Molly Jacobson , graduate student in conservation biology at SUNY ESF Laurie Broccolo, CEO of Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care
May 04, 2020
Connections: Discussing the state of the economy during this stage of the pandemic
3030
Why is the stock market booming when the economy is crashing? Our guests explore the seeming disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. We also look at what's working, and maybe what's not, when it comes to helping people who are out of work. And we discuss the price gouging that can happen during a crisis. Our guests: Amit Batabyal , Arthur J. Gosnell Professor of Economics at RIT Kent Gardner , chief economist with the Center for Governmental Research
May 01, 2020
Connections: What should professional sports do during the pandemic?
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What should professional sports do during the pandemic? Major League Baseball is close to a plan that would include home games with minimal fans in attendance, and divisions based on geographic proximity. The season would start in July. Professional football has discussed a season in which the players stay in hotels and don't see anyone outside of league employees. Basketball stars like LeBron James are saying they think they can finish the current season, even without fans. How much should we expect? What's reasonable? A somewhat serious, somewhat fun discussion that includes: James Brown , WXXI reporter Toby Motyka , former 13WHAM sports anchor Dan Mason, general manager of the Rochester Red Wings Alexa Ross , WROC-TV sports reporter
May 01, 2020
Connections: Doctors and nurses treating COVID-19 patients discuss their work on the front lines
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We’re joined by doctors and nurses who are treating patients diagnosed with COVID-19. These remarkable individuals share what they’ve learned about what the disease, and what it’s like being on the front lines each day. Our guests: Dr. Paritosh Prasad , M.D., associate professor of medicine, and chief of highly infectious diseases and surgical intensive care at the University of Rochester Medical Center Ann Shanders, nurse at Rochester General Hospital Sheri Tooley, respiratory therapist at Rochester General Hospital Elizabeth Willome, ICU nurse at Strong Memorial Hospital
Apr 30, 2020
Connections: How will summer camps operate during a pandemic?
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Families across the country are thinking ahead to the summer months, and many have questions about summer camps for kids. Will programs be available? If camps open, how will they operate during the pandemic? Camp directors have difficult decisions to make. This hour, we talk to the leaders of local camps about how they are gearing up for the summer of 2020. Our guests: John Quinlivan, executive director of Camp Stella Maris Mike Stevens, chief strategy officer for YMCA of Greater Rochester Gary Mervis, founder of Camp Good Days and Special Times
Apr 30, 2020
Connections: Discussing the need for better scientific literacy in America
3059
Pittsford Town Board member Stephanie Townsend is speaking out about the need for scientific literacy. She says the pandemic has underscored the erosion of this kind of literacy, and "understanding the scope, limits, and process of science is critical to an informed citizenry and electorate. No one study 'proves' anything." This hour, we discuss scientific literacy in America and how improving it could impact responses to the pandemic. Our guests: Stephanie Townsend , director of research and analytics at ROC the Future, and member of the Pittsford Town Board Barney Ricca , professor in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics at St. John Fisher College Dr. Mario Elia , M.D., physician based in Ontario, Canada
Apr 29, 2020
Connections: Can lifestyle medicine protect you from the worst consequences of having COVID-19?
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Can lifestyle medicine, including a plant-based diet, protect you from the worst consequences of having COVID-19? That's a pretty significant promise to make. Practitioners of lifestyle medicine have pointed to the health benefits of plant-based eating, while pointing to the growing evidence of who is most seriously impacted by the coronavirus. Our guest explores the possible benefits in short, medium, and long-term lifestyle change: Dr. Ted Barnett , M.D., founder and CEO of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Group , founding president of Rochester Lifestyle Medicine Institute , partner with Borg and Ide Imaging, and board member for the American College of Lifestyle Medicine
Apr 29, 2020
Connections: Can restaurants truly "reopen" during a pandemic?
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Can restaurants truly "reopen" during a pandemic? Would you go out to eat? In the next phase of reopening, restaurant owners assume they will have to limit seating capacity and have the staff wear masks. As a result, the already-thin margins will be stretched to the limit. Some restaurant managers say it will be more profitable to remain closed to sit-down service, while offering takeout only. Others want to offer seating, even in limited capacity. What will the public support? Our guests address reopening from the restaurant perspective: Chris Grocki, restaurant consultant, and owner of the Historic German House Janine Caschette, owner of Avvino Jonathan Swan, owner of the Swan family of restaurants, including Ox and Stone ; Swan Dive ; Daily Refresher ; Dorado ; Roux ; and Vern's
Apr 28, 2020
Connections: How the work of local artists is changing due to the pandemic
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A number of local artists have said they've seen changes and setbacks in their work as a result of the pandemic. This hour, we talk with members of Rochester's arts community about how they are adapting during the crisis, and how a possible reopening will impact their work. This episode will primarily feature visual artists. It's one in a series of similar conversations we'll have on the program. Our guests: Shawn Dunwoody , local artist Jess Kamens , creator of the Quarantine Porch Portrait Project Documentary Larry Moss , founder of Airigami Todd Stahl , local artist and teacher Amanda Chestnut , local artist and teacher Max Wilkins , local illustrator Heather Swenson , local artist Chris Mannelli, executive director of Geva Theatre Center
Apr 27, 2020
Connections: Local conservatives discuss the current and future state of the GOP
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We've had many conversations with progressives about the direction they want Democrats to go in 2020. Today, we talk to conservatives about their views on a range of issues: President Trump's overall performance; his handling of the pandemic; conservatism as an ideological movement, and more. Our guests: Don Riley, former vice president of Mark IV Enterprises Anna Garvey, former member of the University of Rochester Young Republicans Tim Schieffen, small business owner
Apr 27, 2020
Connections: Discussing telepsychiatry and virtual mental health support during the pandemic
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Local medical professionals say the number of telepsychiatry visits has increased significantly during the pandemic. This hour, we discuss the value of telepsychiatry and mental health support offered through virtual platforms, both during the pandemic and beyond. Our guests: Michael Hasselberg , Ph.D., chief of technology and innovation in the URMC Department of Psychiatry Laura Jowly, outpatient behavioral health manager at Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic Vicki Spurr, family program volunteer cooordinator for NAMI Rochester
Apr 24, 2020
Connections: Exploring civil liberties during the pandemic
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New research finds that most Americans agree about how far they are willing to let the government go to protect the public during the pandemic. We have a conversation about civil liberties, and where the line should be when it comes to government restrictions. Our guests weigh in: Kevin Cope , associate professor of law, and director of the Immigration Law Program at the University of Virginia School of Law Lauren Hall , associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts at RIT
Apr 24, 2020
Connections: How small business owners can access federal coronavirus relief funding
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The Senate has approved a second coronavirus relief bill, which if passed, would revive the previous package's small business loan program that quickly ran out of funding. Local small business owners have expressed their anger and frustration over what they say is a complicated application process and lack of support by the government. This hour, we discuss the new relief package and what small business owners need to know. Our guest answers questions from listeners who need help with the application process. Our guest: Emily Cohen , attorney with Harter, Secrest & Emery
Apr 23, 2020
Connections: Discussing scams targeting consumers during the pandemic
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Experts in the legal field are warning consumers about scams and fraudulent online tools that target vulnerable populations and essential workers during the pandemic. From tip scamming, to meal price inflation by delivery services, to charity and phishing scams, attorneys say there's a lot to look out for. The New York State Attorney General has launched an effort to combat such scams. This hour, our guests share what they think consumers need to know. Our guests: Scott Malouf , local attorney whose practice is focused on the intersection of social media and the law Mike Johansson , senior lecturer of communication at RIT, and social media consultant at Fixitology Letitia James , New York State Attorney General
Apr 23, 2020
Connections: Congressman Tom Reed on strategies for reopening the economy
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Congressman Tom Reed joins us to discuss his ideas for reopening the economy during the pandemic. He also offers feedback to listeners who are looking for financial relief during the crisis. Congress is close to passing a new half-trillion-dollar relief package after many small businesses and workers were left out of the last one. Congressman Reed answers questions about how to apply and what might be available. Our guest: Congressman Tom Reed (R, NY-23)
Apr 22, 2020
Connections: Dr. Mario Elia on eliminating misinformation about the pandemic
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Toronto physician Dr. Mario Elia is on a mission to eliminate misinformation, misunderstanding, and conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus. Dr. Elia writes for the Medical Post, and he's hosting a Facebook forum on Wednesday evening to discuss the latest information on the pandemic. He joins us to explore denialism; vaccines; herd immunity; developments in other countries; evidence for current treatments; and more. Our guest: Dr. Mario Elia , M.D., Toronto-based physician, peer leader with Ontario EMRs, and writer for the Medical Post
Apr 22, 2020
Connections: Local small business owners on the economic response to the crisis
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Small business owners and out-of-work Americans feel largely left behind in a sinking economy. The federal relief bill offered instant help to larger companies, but actual small businesses struggled to get approved, and then watched the money run out. On the state level, thousands of New Yorkers have had to make hundreds of phone calls just to get through, and many are still waiting for unemployment assistance. Rent and mortgages are increasingly unpaid, with no plan to suspend or address this part of the crisis. How could the economic response have gone better? What could give more Americans a chance? Our guests explain their own challenges while offering ideas for the path forward: Kevin McCann, owner of McCann's Local Meats Colin Coffey, owner of Renewing Massage Michele Ashlee , self-employed hair stylist at Jill's Boutique, and independent photographer
Apr 21, 2020
Connections: Tom Nichols on media coverage of President Trump's briefings
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Journalists have debated whether to carry President Trump's daily coronavirus briefings live, or to cover them later in the day only after vetting his comments for accuracy. Conservative author Tom Nichols has decided that someone must chronicle every presidential briefing, and so that's what he does. He writes, in the Atlantic, that the practice of consuming these news conferences is "spiritually corrosive," but he says they must be viewed, in full, to get a complete picture of what the country is experiencing. And Nichols criticizes networks that cut away from the president during the Q&A sessions. Nichols has become one of the most respected national voices on the subject of understanding expertise. He joins us to discuss journalists' dilemma and why he's taken on this task. Our guest: Tom Nichols , author of "The Death of Expertise"
Apr 21, 2020
Connections: How the pandemic is impacting millennials' economic future
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The pandemic has hit the millennial generation with its second economic crisis. Even before the pandemic, 62 percent of millennials report living paycheck to paycheck. Two-thirds have nothing saved for retirement. So how can a generation in its prime earning years plan a future? How can it find hope, or trust the systems that have repeatedly penalized them? Our guests include: Rainesford Stauffer , freelance writer, and author of the forthcoming book, “An Ordinary Age” Brittany Mollis, freelance writer Holden Miller, operations coordinator at an appliance store
Apr 20, 2020
Connections: Christopher Albrecht on his new book, "Unconventionally Successful"
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A former New York State Teacher of the Year joins us to discuss the challenge of teaching during a pandemic. Christopher Albrecht teaches fourth grade at the Fred W. Hill School in Brockport, and he has written a new book called “Unconventionally Successful.” During the pandemic, everything is unconventional. Albrecht talks about the lessons he hopes readers learn from his book, and about ways to cope with these challenging times for students, parents, and teachers. Our guests: Christopher Albrecht , teacher at the Fred W. Hill School in Brockport, former New York State Teacher of the Year, and author of “Unconventionally Successful” Caurie Putnam , local writer, and mother of two students who attend Brockport Central School District
Apr 20, 2020
Connections: Local lawmakers discuss the New York State budget
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We're joined by local lawmakers who discuss the New York State budget. The $177 billion budget deal was passed on April 3, with most lawmakers voting remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our guests discuss a number of budget items, including bail reform, paid sick leave, and more. Our guests: Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D, District 138) Assemblyman Mark Johns (R, District 135) *State Senators Rich Funke and Joe Robach and Assemblyman David Gantt were invited to join this conversation, but did not respond to multiple invitations.
Apr 17, 2020
Connections: How climate change affects the health of at-risk communities
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The Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club has postponed its Earth Day Environmental Forum, but its members are pushing forward with their work. We’re joined by several of the forum’s presenters who discuss how climate change impacts at-risk communities, specifically in terms of health. It’s a conversation about environmental justice with our guests: Peter Debes, vice chair of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club Kim Smith , community organizer, and candidate for NYS Senate, 61st District Ron Garrow, Akwasasne Mohawk, Bear Clan, and cultural advisor for SURJ ROC Dorian Hall , leader of the PLEX Neighborhood Association Terry Chaka, executive director of the Baobab Center Pastor Jonathan McReynolds , Aenon Baptist Church
Apr 16, 2020
Connections: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting local colleges and universities
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The coronavirus pandemic has led to a number of challenges for institutions of higher education. Students are learning remotely, and faculty are doing their best to provide virtual lessons. Some colleges and universities are also facing unexpected financial issues. The University of Rochester, for example, has announced that it is taking financial belt tightening measures. This hour, we talk with the leaders of local colleges and universities about their concerns, their priorities, and how they see their institutions adapting in the short and long term. Our guests: Sarah Mangelsdorf , president of the University of Rochester Joyce Jacobsen , president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges Denise Battles , president of SUNY Geneseo Joel Frater , executive dean of MCC’s Downtown Campus
Apr 16, 2020
Connections: Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade on his latest draft budget
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Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade joins us to discuss the cuts that he says are necessary. We talk teaching positions, buildings, social and emotional support, East High, and more. The superintendent says it has been a devastating process, but he will make the hard decisions that must be made. Our guest: Terry Dade , Rochester City School District Superintendent
Apr 15, 2020
Connections: Could the pandemic permanently change youth sports culture?
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The pandemic could permanently change youth sports in America. And according to CITY Newspaper editor Dave Andreatta, that might not be a bad thing. Andreatta writes that the quarantine has led many parents to realize just how out of control the youth sports schedules have become. Now that the kids can't play on travel teams, they're able to just... play, at home or in the yard. So when the pandemic ends, should the manic youth sports schedule end with it? Can we throttle back? Our guests weigh in: Dave Andreatta , editor of CITY Newspaper Dr. Katie Rizzone , M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedics and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center Craig Cypher , sport psychologist and clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center Lafayette Eaton, president of East Rochester Youth Soccer, and parent of three children who play multiple competitive sports
Apr 15, 2020
Connections: Discussing the role of local parks and green spaces during the pandemic
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Should parks across the nation be shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19? In a piece for the Atlantic Monthly, UNC professor Zeynep Tufekci makes a case for keeping them open. While some parks have experienced overcrowding and minimal social distancing between users, Tufekci says with rationing and policies that promote physical distancing, parks and open green spaces will be good for the immune system and the mind. This hour, we discuss the state of local parks and trails with area leaders and nature enthusiasts. Our guests: Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Brighton Town Supervisor Bill Moehle Gay Mills , executive director of the Genesee Land Trust Chris Clemens , creator of the Exploring Upstate blog
Apr 14, 2020
Connections: How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting marriages, relationships, and dating?
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Has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your marriage, relationship, or dating life? We've heard from a number of people who say this temporary "new normal" has caused some changes in their love lives. Our guests share their perspectives: Sejal Shah , writer, writing teacher, and author of "This Is One Way to Dance" Raj Singaravelu, middle school history teacher at The Harley School Nicole Rahn , Rochester native Dennis O'Brien , Rochester native
Apr 14, 2020
Connections: Will the pandemic convince Americans to move away from big cities?
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Will the pandemic convince more Americans to live in the countryside, away from denser cities where the virus has spread more quickly? In the past week there has been a lot of discussion about COVID-19 and population density. New research finds that the disease is spreading through rural areas with significant speed, but of course the biggest caseloads are in cities like New York. So will this change the movement toward cities? Our guests weigh in: David Riley , planner and senior research associate for the Center for Governmental Research Dr. Andy Aligne , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong Howard Decker , architect and board member for the Community Design Center of Rochester
Apr 13, 2020
Connections: Discussing the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden
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Tara Reade, a former staff member for then-Senator Joe Biden, has filed a police report alleging that Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993. Biden denies the allegation. Some progressives are challenging Biden to exit the presidential campaign; others are pushing back, challenging the veracity of Reade's account. Our guests weigh in: Mary Whittier , interim CEO of RESOLVE of Greater Rochester Jerri Lynn Sparks, author and advocate for survivors of domestic violence Stevie Vargas , community organizer for Citizen Action of NY Vince Felder , minority leader of the Monroe County Legislature, and delegate for Joe Biden
Apr 13, 2020
Connections: Discussing WXXI's new digital series, "I Can Be What?!"
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WXXI has launched a new digital series for kids called "I Can Be What?!" With two-and-a-half million students across the state learning from home during the pandemic, the series is the latest programming initiative in WXXI's efforts to educate young people. "I Can Be What?!" explores STEAM career opportunities -- from dance to zoo keeping to welding -- and gives viewers a sneak peek into what it's like to work in those friends. This hour, we talk to the team behind the series. Our guests: Erin McCormack, executive producer of WXXI Public Broadcasting Karen Heller, producer of "I Can Be What?!" Cara Rager , manager of education training and family engagement at WXXI Jen Indovina , host of "I Can Be What?!" Ashley Campbell , africologist, and co-founder of Ballet Afrikana: Dance Prep Academy Nick Carson, welder
Apr 10, 2020
Connections: Retired state assemblyman Rolland Kidder on COVID-19, treatment, and ethics
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Retired New York State Assemblyman Rolland Kidder wrote a powerful op-ed , describing his feelings about possibly getting COVID-19. Kidder writes that he's nearly 80 years old, and should not be placed on a ventilator if it could go to a younger patient. Kidder writes that he's had a good life, and is prepared for the possibility that a ventilator might not be available when he needs one. It's a powerful piece that evokes personal responsibility, ethics, and preparation. He joins us to talk about this difficult subject. Our guest: Rolland Kidder , retired New York State Assemblyman
Apr 10, 2020
Connections: Discussing the ethics of takeout and delivery services during the pandemic
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Since social distancing orders went into effect, many people throughout the country have turned to take-out dining and grocery delivery services to support restaurants and access the food and supplies they need. For certain groups, these services are necessary to protect their health and safety during the pandemic. Others who are less at risk have asked if their use of services like Instacart unfairly places all the risk on a small group of workers who need the income. They say they want to support people and businesses, but wonder what the moral choice is. Our guests discuss the issue: Andrew Brady , co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Conscious Capitalism Sarah Polito, Instacart worker Rory Van Grol, founder of Ugly Duck Coffee
Apr 09, 2020
Connections: Rochester City School Board Commissioners discuss the state of the district's budget
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There's a heated debate happening regarding what to cut, and what to keep, in Rochester city schools. We recently spoke to Superintendent Terry Dade; this hour we hear from board members about teacher cuts, emotional support cuts, building usage, and more. Our guests: Van White , president of the Rochester City School Board Beatriz LeBron , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board Willa Powell , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board Eamonn Scanlon , education and policy analyst for The Children's Agenda
Apr 09, 2020
Connections: How faith leaders are helping people make spiritual connections during the pandemic
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Local churches are taking precautions to protect congregants during the pandemic. Masses are streamed online, and a number of services are being offered to help people stay connected spiritually, while practicing physical distancing. This hour, we're joined by local faith leaders to discuss their efforts and how they are providing spiritual care during a time of grief, fear, and unease. Our guests: Pastor Matthew Martin Nickoloff , South Wedge Mission Pastor Imani Olear , Reformation Lutheran Church Reverend Shari Halliday-Quan , First Unitarian Church of Rochester
Apr 08, 2020
Connections: Discussing local climate action efforts
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Earth Day is coming, and even during the pandemic, there's a lot going on. We talk with guests who are engaged in the following efforts: Developing a "Go All Electric" campaign to promote beneficial electrification; working on a framework to support the formation of citizen action teams in local municipalities; partnering with the City Wide Tenant Union to engage renters in advocating for healthy, efficient, affordable housing; intervening in RG&E's rate case; and convening a formal, climate-focused collective impact initiative for the Finger Lakes region. Our guests: Katie Rygg, co-lead for the Rochester chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby Hridesh Singh, senior at Brighton High School, board secretary for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, co-founder of the Brighton High School Climate Club, and member of the leadership team for the New York Youth Climate Leaders Calvin Eaton, executive director of 540WMain Communiversity Abby McHugh-Grifa, executive director of Rochester
Apr 08, 2020
Connections: What is the ethical thing to do with your stimulus check?
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A recent column by CITY Newspaper editor David Andreatta has led to discussions throughout the community about the ethics of using the stimulus checks many people are set to receive from the government. Andreatta writes, “For the millions of workers who have lost their jobs, that extra money will hopefully be put to good use paying rent, mortgages, utility bills, and day-to-day living expenses. But what of the millions of taxpayers like my wife and me who still have our jobs and for whom this aid is found money? How should we use our share? What is the right thing to do? What is the ethical thing to do?” He joins us to discuss those questions. We’re also joined by local philosophy professors. Our guests: David Andreatta , editor of CITY Newspaper Randy Curren , professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Rochester Rosa Terlazzo , associate professor of philosophy at the University of Rochester
Apr 07, 2020
Connections: Discussing the film "Tommy Boy" and what it said about the manufacturing industry
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This week marks 25 years since the film “Tommy Boy” was released. The movie tells the story of a son’s (Chris Farley) efforts to save his father’s auto parts manufacturing plant and the jobs of its workers. While a comedy, people in the manufacturing industry say the 1995 movie was prescient and reflects what’s happening in their field today. We explore the issues with our guests: Ana Liss , acting director of the Monroe County Department of Planning and Development Matthew Sydor, program manager for Sydor Optics Adam Lubitow , film critic for CITY Newspaper
Apr 07, 2020
Connections: Honoring the music of John Prine
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Fans around the world are pulling for songwriter John Prine, who is stricken with COVID-19. His wife has offered updates, saying that the legendary musician remains on a ventilator and has been in critical condition. We've asked local songwriters to offer their favorite renditions of John Prine songs, and we've put together a very musical hour to honor Prine and all those suffering during the pandemic. You can hear the full songs here . Our guests: John Dady, performing "Hello In There" Ryan Sutherland, performing "Souvenirs" Maria Gillard, performing "Chain of Sorrow" Scott Austin, performing "Angel from Montgomery" Roxy Elahi, performing "Summer's End" Steve Piper, performing "Fish and Whistle" Fran Broderick, performing "All the Best" Sarah Eide, performing "Angel from Montgomery"
Apr 06, 2020
Connections: Congressman Joe Morelle on the coronavirus relief bill
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Congressman Joe Morelle joins us to discuss the coronavirus relief bill that passed both houses and was signed by the president. We also discuss how Rep. Morelle sees the ongoing crisis, and how to eventually reignite the economy. Our guest: Congressman Joe Morelle
Apr 03, 2020
Connections: Discussing how people affected by COVID-19 can access assistance through the CARES Act
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The Rochester Area Community Foundation is offering a webinar to help people and organizations affected by the pandemic better understand the CARES Act. This hour, we’re joined by experts who will be leading to webinar. They discuss how organizations can access the federally-backed forgivable loans available through the program and how they work. They also answer listener questions about individual and small business relief. Our guests: Simeon Banister , vice president of community programs at Rochester Area Community Foundation Martin Birmingham, CEO of Five Star Bank Emily Cohen , attorney with Harter, Secrest & Emery Todd Butler , president and CEO of Causewave Community Partners
Apr 03, 2020
Connections: Discussing next steps for the Democratic Party
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Democrats have elevated Joe Biden to a nearly insurmountable delegate lead in the nomination process. But supporters of Bernie Sanders argue that Biden has largely been in the background during the pandemic, and they want Sanders to keep pushing. Biden has said he sees no point in debating anymore, and his camp wants Sanders to exit the race. Meanwhile, some Democrats are publicly wondering if there's an opening for New York governor Andrew Cuomo. We talk about next steps during an unprecedented modern crisis. Our guests: Chris Amato, member of Rochester Democratic Socialists of America Konnie Collins, administrator for the Rochester for Bernie Sanders Facebook page Jay Levin, Democratic organizer and volunteer
Apr 02, 2020
Connections: Pregnancy during the pandemic
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Expectant mothers are expressing concerns about a number of issues surrounding pregnancy during the pandemic. Many are exploring the option of home births in an effort to avoid the hospital setting. Others who plan to deliver in hospitals have questions about safety and precautions for themselves and their babies. Our guests discuss those concerns and what families need to know: Dr. Daniel Grace , M.D., division chief of maternal and fetal medicine, and associate chair of obstetrics at Rochester Regional Health Dr. Courtney Olson-Chen , M.D., assistant professor of OBGYN at UR Medicine Kathy Kingsley , expectant mother and freelance writer for CITY Newspaper Lucia Petito, expectant mother
Apr 02, 2020
Connections: Dr. Ray Dorsey on his new book, "Ending Parkinson's Disease"
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Dr. Ray Dorsey at the University of Rochester Medical Center has written a new book on Parkinson’s disease. The disease is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world. Dorsey’s book is a “prescription for action.” He outlines the causes for the disease – many of them environmental – and directives for how to prevent the condition. He joins us this hour to discuss his research. We also hear from a local woman living with Parkinson’s disease. Our guests: Dr. Ray Dorsey , M.D., David M. Levy Professor of Neurology, director of the Center for Health and Technology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and author of "Ending Parkinson's Disease" Yvonne Hylton, woman living with Parkinson’s disease
Apr 01, 2020
Connections: Astrophysicist Adam Frank on how the pandemic is a fire drill for climate change
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Astrophysicist Adam Frank says this pandemic is a fire drill for climate change. Writing for NBC News, Frank says we're re-learning just how fragile life is. We have not conquered risk and uncertainty, much to our horror. But we are also learning how quickly we can mobilize to confront an emergency. We discuss the painful lessons that can shape how our civilization deals with threats going forward. Our guest: Adam Frank , astrophysicist at the University of Rochester
Mar 31, 2020
Connections: Update on the state of COVID-19 and PPE in Monroe County
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WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg joins Connections to share an update on the state of COVID-19 and personal protective equipment in Monroe County.
Mar 31, 2020
Connections: RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade on his draft budget
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Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade joins us to talk about his draft budget. He discusses the challenging decisions facing the district, including cuts to teaching positions, services, and more. Our guest: Terry Dade , superintendent of the Rochester City School District
Mar 30, 2020
Connections: Discussing recommendations for colon cancer screenings
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According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 22 men and 1 in 24 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer during their lifetimes. There are multiple screening tools available for this type of cancer; doctors say those tools can help them find the cancer early, and in some cases, help prevent it. This hour, we discuss colon cancer screenings with local medical professionals who tell us what we need to know. We also hear from two GI patients about their experiences. Our guests: Dr. Danielle Marino , M.D., gastroenterologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Patrick Okolo , M.D., gastroenterologist at Rochester Regional Health Mike Tedesco, manager of health systems at the American Cancer Society, Northeast Region Tina Cottone, GI patient at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and director of Strollin for the Colon 5K Run/Walk Katie Papas, colon cancer survivor *For more information about screenings for colorectal, breast, and cervical cancers, click
Mar 27, 2020
Connections: How to disagree better politically
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*This broadcast includes an update on the state of COVD-19 in Monroe County with WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg . Social scientist and author Arthur Brooks says Americans need to “Love Your Enemies.” That’s the title of his most recent book. In it, he argues that agreement across the political spectrum isn’t necessary, but better disagreement is needed. Professor David Primo at the University of Rochester has been teaching a course on the role of disagreement in a democratic society. He and several of his students join us to discuss issues related to political polarization, academic freedom, and diversity on college campuses. We also discuss how political disagreement has impacted responses to the coronavirus pandemic. Our guests: David Primo , professor of political science and business administration, and Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor at the University of Rochester Madelyn Candela, sophomore at the University of Rochester Jonah Ricanati, senior at the University of Rochester
Mar 27, 2020
Connections: Is it possible to live a life without single-use plastics?
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A year ago, Marielle Jensen Battaglia gave up plastic for Lent. She decided that she wanted to live differently. She wanted to find ways to eliminate plastic use -- and it turns out, there's plastic just about everywhere. Her story received some of the most feedback from any show in 2019, so we've invited her back to discuss whether she's been able to sustain a mostly-plastic-free lifestyle. Our guest: Marielle Jensen Battaglia, local resident
Mar 26, 2020
Connections: An update on the state of COVID-19 in Monroe County
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WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg joins Connections to provide an update on the state of COVID-19 in Monroe County.
Mar 26, 2020
Connections: Anthony Magnabosco on street epistemology
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When's the last time you convinced someone to change their mind? Most of us are not very effective when it comes to debate. We dig in on our positions, and we expend a lot of emotional energy, and nothing changes. Our guest is a man who is helping build an entirely new way of talking to people with vastly different beliefs. He's published hundreds of videos of calm, careful exploration of beliefs. And he does most of it in a public park, when strangers are willing to stop and chat. We get a new way of thinking, talking, and examining beliefs. Our guest: Anthony Magnabosco , executive director of Street Epistemology International
Mar 25, 2020
Connections: Discussing tips for planting and gardening during the pandemic
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One of the few activities that remains entirely appropriate during the pandemic is time outdoors, and for many people, that includes planting / gardening / growing. As the weather slowly warms, our guests explore all the things we can do to grow our own food; improve our landscape; and more. But first, WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg joins us for an update on the state of COVID-19. Our guests: Brett Dahlberg , WXXI health reporter Petra Page-Mann, co-founder of Fruition Seeds Nathaniel Mich, urban farming and edible education specialist at Foodlink Pamela Reese Smith, community garden coordinator for the City of Rochester
Mar 25, 2020
Connections: Infectious disease physicians discuss what we should know about COVID-19
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We continue our series of conversations about the impact of the coronavirus. This hour, we’re joined by two local infectious disease doctors who help us gain a better understanding COVID-19. We discuss how it’s transmitted, its symptoms, when to seek care, and questions related to immunity. We’re also joined by Nazareth College professor Tim Kneeland – an expert in studying pandemics. He discusses what we can learn about COVID-19 by studying the 1918 Spanish Flu. Our guests: Dr. Ghinwa Dumyati , M.D., professor and physician of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Anja Bottler , M.D., infections disease physician at Unity Hospital Tim Kneeland , chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College
Mar 24, 2020
Connections: What local millennials and members of Gen Z are doing to promote social distancing
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Reports of young people crowding Florida beaches for spring break have been a source of frustration for doctors and political leaders who are ordering social distancing. Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue last week, telling young people who think they are immune, “You’re not superman and you’re not superwoman, you can get this virus and you can transfer the virus and you can wind up hurting someone who you love or hurting someone wholly inadvertently.” According to the Business Insider, millennials say they’re frustrated for being called out; they say it’s Gen Z that’s not staying inside. This hour, we talk to members of both generations about what they are doing to promote social distancing and to help community members in need. They join…from a distance. Our guests: Emmarae Stein , student at Nazareth College and Connections intern Ilhan Ali, local comedian and intersectional feminist Kim Morse, editor and Rochester native Bryce Spadafora, Rochester native
Mar 24, 2020
Connections: Discussing new guidelines for autism screenings
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New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend specific autism screenings during well visits when children are 18 month and 24 months of age. Experts say doctors can gauge social milestones during those visits; those milestones could provide early signs of autism. This hour, we discuss the new guidelines, and we talk about how to support children and young adults with developmental disabilities who are now at home and unable to access programs during the pandemic. Our guests: Dr. Susan Hyman , M.D., professor of pediatrics, and division chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong Sarah Milko, executive director of AutismUp Rachel Rosner, director of education and support services for AutismUp This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .
Mar 23, 2020
Connections: How physical distancing is affecting victims of family violence
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The coronavirus pandemic is having an effect on the number of calls made to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Hotline staff report that a growing number of callers say abusers are using COVID-19 as a reason to further isolate victims. Locally, calls to Willow Domestic Violence Center have increased, with victims looking for advice for how to adapt their safety plans. The center has ramped up phone counseling services and is working to address a possible increase for shelter services. Advocates for children are also expressing concerns about how physical distancing could impact children who live in abusive homes. This hour, our guests discuss how to help victims of all ages. Our guests: Meaghan de Chateauvieux , president and CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center Mary Whittier , interim CEO of RESOLVE of Greater Rochester Deb Rosen , executive director of Bivona Child Advocacy Center Jerri Lynn Sparks, survivor of domestic violence
Mar 23, 2020
Connections: Author Linda Sue Park on her new book, "Prairie Lotus"
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*This hour includes an update on the coronavirus pandemic from WXXI's health reporter, Brett Dahlberg. Author Linda Sue Park’s new novel, “Prairie Lotus,” tells the story of a half-Chinese girl and her white father as they make a home in Dakota Territory in 1880. In the story, Hanna and her father face racial prejudice as they try to adapt to their new surroundings. The book was released earlier this month to critical acclaim; some critics compare the historical fiction to “Little House on the Prairie.” Park won the Newbery Medal in 2002, becoming the first Korean American author to do so. She joins us this hour to talk about “Prairie Lotus,” its themes, and trends in children’s literature today. Our guest: Linda Sue Park , author of “Prairie Lotus”
Mar 20, 2020
Connections: Discussing the value of doing work that will outlive us
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*This hour includes an update on the coronavirus pandemic from WXXI's health reporter, Brett Dahlberg. The great Dolly Parton recently said on her podcast that she is recording music intended to be released after her passing. She's in good health! But she's thinking beyond her living years. Our guests discuss the value of doing work that will outlive all of us, whether it's related to climate change, art, culture, or something else. Let's get a little weird and existential. Our guests: Jake Wojtowicz , ethics and philosophy writer, and professor of ethics at Brockport Hannah Davis , visiting lecturer at RIT Susan Levin, coordinator of the Rochester Women's Bike Festival
Mar 19, 2020
Connections: What would it take to create a municipal internet network in Monroe County?
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*This hour was interrupted by NPR's coverage of a White House press conference, which led to an abbreviated discussion. We look at the digital divide -- a serious problem on any day in America, and especially so during a pandemic. But what can be done? County legislators are looking at ways to bring more connectivity to everyone. They're looking at what it would take to do a municipal internet network. It's not simple, but it's important, and some lawmakers have come to look at the problem as a civil rights issue. Our guests are Monroe County legislators: Rachel Barnhart Howard Maffucci
Mar 19, 2020
Connections: Discussing how to educate students at home during the coronavirus pandemic
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Teachers and parents across Monroe County had to act quickly last week when the county ordered all schools to close. They’ve developed lessons and curricula that can be taught remotely. This hour, we talk with teachers and parents about the work they are doing, the buy-in from students so far, and their recommendations for families who will be educating kids from home for the foreseeable future. We also discuss WXXI’s new Learn at Home programming – a special education television block in support of families, educators, and students. Our guests: Marion French , vice president of education and interactive services at WXXI Cara Rager , manager of education training and family engagement at WXXI Erica Davis, music teacher at Williamson Central School District, and parent of three children Kristin Loftus , math coach at Renaissance Academy Charter School of the Arts, and parent of two children
Mar 18, 2020
Connections: Discussing National Safe Place Week
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We discuss National Safe Place Week . Safe Place programs across the country help teens in crisis find a place to stay and connects them with resources in a variety of areas. Rochester’s Center for Youth is a Safe Place partner, and it works with entities across the community to help teens in need. This hour, we’re joined by leaders from the program and its partners to discuss how it works and its impact. We also address how it is responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Our guests: Elaine Spaull, executive director of the Center for Youth Bill Carpenter , CEO of the Regional Transit Authority Sparkle Wells, program manager for Safe Outreach and Safe Place
Mar 17, 2020
Connections: How the coronavirus pandemic is affecting small businesses
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We continue our series of conversations about the impact of the coronavirus. This hour, we talk to local small business owners about their concerns. Some have temporarily shut down their operations, others are cancelling their events and weighing their options. They’re expressing frustrations and fear about economic pain and the path going forward. We talk with them about the difficult decisions they have to make, and what they’d like to see in terms of policies and relief from different levels of government. Our guests: Danielle Ponder , local musician Danielle Raymo, owner of the Rochester Brainery Brian Van Etten, owner of The Playhouse//Swillburger Ellen Brenner, owner, CFO, and vice president of Fleet Feet Rochester and Buffalo, and YellowJacket Racing
Mar 16, 2020
Connections: Discussing what it takes for musicians of color to break into Rochester's music scene
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Local musicians from underrepresented communities say it can be difficult to make their mark on Rochester’s music scene, particularly because there are so many cover bands in town. They argue that original music doesn’t get the love and attention it deserves, especially if it comes from marginalized communities. We discuss the issue from a number of angles with local musicians. Our guests: Charles Emanuel Avis Reese Zahyia Rolle Danielle Ponder *This episode of Connections begins with an update on the coronavirus pandemic from WXXI health reporter, Brett Dahlberg.
Mar 16, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of March 9
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: A local refugee's experience growing up in Afghanistan under the Taliban; Elitism, with journalist and author Joel Stein; How public schools teach climate change. Connections intern Emmarae Stein assisted with the production of this episode.
Mar 14, 2020
Connections: How to support people who may be isolated during the pandemic
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With experts recommending social distancing as an effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many people, including the elderly and immunocompromised, might be staying in their homes for extended periods of time. What can we do to prevent loneliness and help them stay connected and included in society? We're joined by experts who answer your questions. Our guests: Dr. Eric Caine , M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center Sara Hopkins, licensed clinical social worker and program manager at Rochester Regional Health Ann Marie Cook, president and CEO of Lifespan of Greater Rochester Dr. Yeates Conwell , M.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Mar 13, 2020
Connections: Discussing the impact of the coronavirus on low-income families
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Low-income families are in a particularly vulnerable spot as the coronavirus spreads. If schools close, where can kids get meals? What happens for families that are already deeply struggling? Our guests explore what’s already happening, and what could come next. In studio: Pete Nabozny , policy director at The Children’s Agenda Julia Tedesco , president and CEO of Foodlink
Mar 13, 2020
Connections: How three local villages made the switch to solar energy
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Three local villages made the switch to solar energy in 2019. We talk with leaders from Brockport, Lima, and Sodus Point about their decisions and what switching to solar means for their residents. In studio: Kevin Schulte , CEO of GreenSpark Solar John Wadach , trustee for the Village of Lima and professor of engineering science and physics at MCC Maxine Appleby , trustee and energy commissioner for the Village of Sodus Point Margaret Blackman , mayor of the Village of Brockport
Mar 12, 2020
Connections: Author Joel Stein on his book, "In Defense of Elitism"
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Joel Stein is a journalist, author, and political pundit. His new book, "In Defense of Elitism," is a look at why President Trump won the 2016 election. Using wry humor, Stein argues that economic anxiety and racism were not the cause of the 2016 results. He says Americans voted for Trump because he attacked elitism. Stein joins us to discuss his work. Joel Stein, author of “In Defense of Elitism”
Mar 12, 2020
Connections: Discussing Elizabeth Warren's exit from the presidential race
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Senator Elizabeth Warren’s loss in the presidential primary stings for many voters who have long hoped to see a woman in the White House. There has been heated debate about sexism and misogyny in the campaign, and in the results. Our guests discuss their reaction to another woman’s exit from the race: Jen Lunsford , attorney with Segar & Sciortino, and current candidate for the 135th Assembly District Tianna Mañón , political analyst and media specialist Laurel Elder , professor of political science, co-chair of the Department of Sociology, and coordinator of legal studies at Hartwick College
Mar 11, 2020
Connections: What protections should there be for workers during the coronavirus outbreak?
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The coronavirus is already putting workers at risk – of infection, but also of losing their paychecks and their livelihoods. Some workers can stay home and do their jobs. Many can not. What protections are there for workers? What protections should there be? Our guests discuss it: Mike Durand, co-founder of Duet Studio Jon Itkin, strategy director at Article Group Nick Coulter, co-founder of Person Centered Housing Options Jacquie Billings, owner of The Hole in the Wall restaurant and Ration Wine Bar in Perry, NY
Mar 11, 2020
Connections: How well do public schools teach climate change?
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How well do public schools teach climate change? A new book aims to educate the educators who are doing the work of teaching climate change to students in Kindergarten and beyond. The authors have some serious criticisms of what is, and is not, being taught in most schools. They also examine the inconsistencies and the cultural forces involved in teaching climate change. They’re part of an event focusing on public education in climate change adaptation. In studio: Joseph Henderson , lecturer in the environment and society department at Paul Smith’s College, and co-editor of "Teaching Climate Change in the United States" Don Duggan-Haas , director of teacher programs at PRI's Museum of the Earth, and president of the NAGT Celia Darling, senior at Webster Thomas High School, and director of finance for the New York Youth Climate Leaders Anna Cerosaletti, sophomore at Penfield High School, and Rochester youth director for the New York Youth Climate Leaders
Mar 10, 2020
Connections: A local refugee discusses her work to advance women's rights in Afghanistan
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Nabila Qadiri Kohistani is an Afghanistan native who came to the United States last year on a Special Immigrant Visa, or SIV. SIVs are awarded to Iraqis and Afghans who assisted U.S. armed forces and now face threats from the Taliban. Kohistani's work is dedicated to creating gender equality and empowering women throughout Afghanistan, and she has achieved success through USAID-funded projects. This hour, she joins us to share her story and to describe the challenges facing women in Afghanistan. We're also joined by Ellen Smith from Keeping Our Promise, who shares the latest updates on the SIV program. In studio: Nabila Qadiri Kohistani, Afghanistan native, and senior program focal point for the women's leadership program at Tetra Tech ARD in Kabul Ellen Smith, director of Keeping Our Promise , a program of Refugees Helping Refugees
Mar 10, 2020
Connections: Penfield residents discuss their Community Choice Aggregation Plan
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A group of community members in Penfield are working to bring Community Choice Aggregation, or CCA, to their town. With CCA, a town or a group of towns choose an electricity supplier on behalf of residents and then negotiate the rates. CCA was first implemented in Massachusetts more than two decades ago; since then, it has been implemented in communities across the country, including in Monroe County. The Penfield Town Board has drafted a CCA-enabling law, and for nearly 18 months, the PenfieldCCA Residents' Committee has advocated for the inclusion of 100 percent renewable electricity as the default option for the plan, along with an "opt-up" community solar option. Committee members say their CCA plan will save residents money on their energy bills and allow for a switch to clean and renewable electricity. This hour, we discuss how CCA works and what Penfield residents hope to see in their town. In studio: Allen Hibner, lead for the PenfieldCCA Residents’ Committee Megan Meyer, co
Mar 09, 2020
Connections: Examining the state of the electric vehicle market
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Sales of electric vehicles have slowed a bit, as the number of available rebates has decreased. We examine the state of the EV market: what are the most affordable options for drivers who need a new car? We also discuss charging options at home and on the road, and we explore what might spark a new surge in EV interest. Our guests: John Love , president of Bob Johnson Chevrolet Christina Ficicchia, FLO electric vehicle charger manufacturer Bob Kanauer, New York State Electric Auto Association Callie Babbitt , new electric vehicle owner
Mar 09, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of March 2
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: Sepsis, and a local woman's story about how she says medical professionals saved her life; Bike culture and sharing the road in Rochester; Expectations for African American youth, with local artist Britton Bradford. This episode of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern Emmarae Stein.
Mar 06, 2020
Connections: Debating New York State's proposed sexual education legislation
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Proposed state legislation related to sexual education in schools has led to debate among different community groups. Mayor Lovely Warren, for instance, opposes the legislation. We explore the issue. In studio: Revered Richard Gilbert, president of Interfaith Impact of New York State Debora McDell-Hernandez, senior director of public and community affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York *Note: Mayor Lovely Warren and members of the City of Rochester were invited to join this conversation, but did not respond to our invitation.
Mar 06, 2020
Connections: Discussing gerrymandering and the film, "Slay the Dragon"
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A documentary called “Slay the Dragon” takes on the issue of gerrymandering and its impact on elections and social issues. From the Flint water crisis, the bathroom bills, and more, the film explores how elected officials can control political outcomes by redrawing district maps. The film tells the story of citizen groups in two different states that challenge the issue and their fight to protect democratic principles. The film will be screened at the Little Theatre next week as part of the One Take Documentary Series, but first, we preview it on Connections. Our guests: Tim Kneeland , chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Nazareth College Linda Moroney , filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Documentary Film Series Katie Fahey , founder of the citizen action group, Voters Not Politicians Chris Durrance, co-director of “Slay the Dragon”
Mar 06, 2020
Connections: Discussing the Super Tuesday results with local Democrats
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Billionaire Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the presidential race after falling short on Super Tuesday. He’s now supporting former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads the Democratic candidates in delegates. Bernie Sanders finished second in the delegate count; Elizabeth Warren did not win any states and announced Thursday morning she was suspending her campaign. Our guests this hour share their reactions to the Super Tuesday results and discuss what’s next for the Democratic Party. Our guests: Mary Lupien , delegate for Bernie Sanders, and member of Rochester City Council Marvin Stepherson , delegate for Senator Elizabeth Warren Devin McAndrew-Greiner , Joe Biden supporter, and graduate student
Mar 05, 2020
Connections: RTS CEO Bill Carpenter on what to expect from Reimagine RTS
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What’s new with RTS? This hour, we sit down with RTS CEO Bill Carpenter who shares a number of updates. Reimagine RTS is a redesign of Monroe County’s public transit system that’s set to launch on June 29th. RTS is also launching new mobile technology and adding electric buses. Carpenter joins us in studio to discuss the work underway with these projects and what customers can expect both now and by the end of June. In studio: Bill Carpenter , CEO of RTS
Mar 05, 2020
Connections: Luis Quiñones on social justice for Chicano students
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Luis Quiñones is a scholar and activist about Chicana/Chicano matters. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Quiñones is in Rochester as a guest of the Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA) , but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss his social justice work related to bi-lingual/bi-cultural education for Chicano students. In studio: Luis Quiñones, scholar and activist Dr. Arnold Matlin, M.D., secretary for ROCLA
Mar 04, 2020
Connections: Britton Bradford and Christopher Washington on their journeys to creative professions
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Britton Bradford is a local artist and a talented basketball player. Growing up as an African American youth, he thought his only options for career success were as a rapper or as a professional athlete. But now, he's a successful artist and says he wishes he had known there were other opportunities available to him. Christopher Washington is a local designer with a similar story. He found success in the fashion scene after thinking basketball was his only path to the professional world. Both men join us to share their stories and to discuss how to change the culture of expectations for African American youth. In studio: Britton Bradford , artist Christopher Washington , designer, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker
Mar 04, 2020
Connections: Understanding sepsis
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A local woman says the staff at Highland Hospital saved her life after they recognized she had sepsis. Lynn Lubecki says she was feeling fine after a night out with friends, but then started experiencing symptoms she and her family didn't understand. Doctors at Highland recognized immediately that she had sepsis. Lubecki says without their training and expertise, she would not be alive today. This hour, she joins us to share her story, and the medical staff who treated her help us understand the characteristics of sepsis. In studio: Lynn Lubecki, early care and education strategies director at the Children’s Institute Dr. Timothy Lum , M.D., chief of the Emergency Department at Highland Hospital Diane Martin, registered nurse and nurse educator at Highland Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit
Mar 03, 2020
Connections: Discussing bike culture and sharing the road in Rochester
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Local cyclist Bryan Agnello was hit by a car in early January, and now the driver of that car is suing him for damaging the vehicle. As reported by CITY Newspaper , the driver, Jovonte Cook, struck Agnello from behind and propelled him onto the car's hood. Agnello was taken to the hospital, but did not have serious injuries. Now, Cook is suing Agnello and seeking $700 in damages. He says Agnello was riding his bike on 490 at around 60 miles per hour. According to CITY reporter Jeremy Moule, the top speed recorded at the 2019 Tour de France was 63 miles per hour during a descent in the Alps. This hour, we discuss Agnello's story, and broader bike culture in Rochester. Our guests discuss the changes they'd like to see when it comes to sharing the road, policy, and more. In studio: Bryan Agnello, cyclist and senior broadcast engineer for WXXI Brett Dahlberg , reporter for WXXI News Kecia McCullough, founder of the Rochester chapter of Black Girls Do Bike Jesse Peers, cycling coordinator
Mar 03, 2020
Connections: How political leaders should address the needs of Black voters
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Joe Biden dominated in South Carolina based on the strength of his support with African American voters. Can that translate nationally? Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race after failing to build a diverse coalition of voters. Our guests discuss the need for political leaders to address the needs of Black voters: Bill Johnson, former mayor of the city of Rochester Vince Felder , minority leader of the Monroe County legislature Natalie Sheppard , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board, and candidate for New York State Assembly Samra Brouk , former nonprofit worker, and canidadate for New York State Senate Robert Hoggard , former candidate for the Rochester City School Board, and doctoral student at the Warner School of Education
Mar 02, 2020
Connections: Discussing zoning principles outlined in Rochester's Comprehensive Plan
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The City of Rochester’s Comprehensive Plan, “ Rochester 2034 ,” provides an extensive outline of principles that could shape the city’s growth over the next 15 years. A key piece of the plan is zoning laws. This hour, we get into the weeds with zoning experts to address how to update zoning and land use regulations to create a more equitable city. Our guests: Matthew Denker, developer with LBLD Living Amber Powers, co-founder of Taproot Collective , and zoning enthusiast Jason Haremza , planner and urbanist *The City of Rochester was invited to join this conversation, but declined the opportunity to participate.
Mar 02, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of February 24
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: The gift of anger, with Arun Gandhi; The Harvey Weinstein verdict and what it means for the #MeToo movement; Intersectionality; Are radio waves coming from deep space being sent by aliens?
Feb 28, 2020
Connections: Patricia Wright on conservation and her work with lemurs
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We sit down with Patricia Wright, a woman sometimes described as the Jane Goodall of lemurs. Wright’s work in Madagascar has led to a massive change in public understanding, conservation, and preservation. She’s had a long partnership with the Seneca Park Zoo, and this week she’s back in Rochester. We discuss how much has changed since the 1980s, and what the world can do next to preserve habitats, understand the impact of climate change, and more. In studio: Patricia Wright , American primatologist, anthropologist, and conservationist Marissa Krouse , Polar Bears International Jeff Wyatt, chair of the AZA Accreditation Commission, former veterinarian at the Seneca Park Zoo, and board member for Health in Harmony Pamela Reed Sanchez , president and CEO of the Seneca Park Zoo Society
Feb 28, 2020
Connections: Discussing the rise in non-denominational Christians
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There’s been a rise in Americans who identify as atheist – or non-religious. But there’s also a rise in non-denominational Christians – many in their 20s and 30s. If you’re building a music playlist, you can now find curated lists under the title “Hipster Coffee Christians.” So what does that mean? What does it mean for denominational Christianity? Gallup finds that the number of Christians who identify as “nondenominational” has doubled since 2000. We explore the trends in our first hour. In studio: Davis Craig , operations manager for Spiritus Christi Church Josiah Ball, pastor at New Hope Community Church Steve Carter , member of Grace Road Church Abbey Sitterley, member of Grace Road Church , freelance writer, and local singer-songwriter
Feb 28, 2020
Connections: Previewing the first-ever Festival of Inclusion
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The first-ever Festival of Inclusion kicks off on Sunday. The community-based event organized by the Golisano Foundation, Best Buddies, and Special Olympics will promote equality and respect, and include activities accessible to people of all different abilities. Our guests this hour preview the festival and discuss their ideas for how to create a more inclusive community. Our guests: Jacob Booher-Babcock, Athlete Congress member for Special Olympics Nic Daemen, Best Buddies participant and ambassador Lt. Rich Waldo, member of the Rochester Police Department, and Best Buddies volunteer Dennis Fries, coordinator for Section V Unified Sports This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .
Feb 27, 2020
Connections: Discussing the rise in composting
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Do you compost? According to the EPA, nearly 30 percent of what we throw away is made up of food scraps and yard waste. Nationally, composting is on the rise, and the practice is becoming more accessible to people who live in different settings – from apartments to houses, from cities to suburbs. This hour, we continue our ongoing discussions about composting with local composters who share their methods. In studio: Robert Putney, co-founder of Impact Earth Brent Arnold, co-founder of Community Composting Emmett Wilson, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rochester, and adjunct lecturer at Nazareth College Tom Moore, teacher at Ellwanger-Barry Nursery School and Kindergarten
Feb 27, 2020
Connections: Could fast radio bursts from space be coming from...aliens?
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Scientists say they don’t know what to make of a pattern of fast radio bursts that’s coming from space every 16 days. While it’s known that the signal is coming from a spiral galaxy 500 million light-years away, the exact source is a mystery. Some researchers speculate that the bursts could be sent by aliens. Meanwhile, a massive asteroid that could have caused planet-wide devastation came close to Earth earlier this month. While scientists say there was no danger and that they know the asteroid’s orbit well, the news stands as a reminder of our precarious place in the universe. This hour, we sit down with two physicists who discuss all of this and more. In studio: Brian Koberlein , astrophysicist and science writer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Roger Dube , experimental physicist, and professor emeritus at RIT
Feb 26, 2020
Connections: Assessing the strength of the MeToo movement through the Weinstein trial
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The Harvey Weinstein trial offered a chance to assess the strength of the MeToo movement. “It’s a perfect test case of what happens when a culture begins to shift,” said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern, to the New York Times. Is this the beginning of a permanent shift, with the powerful being held to account? Or was the verdict not strong enough? Our guests discuss it. In studio: Meaghan de Chateauvieux , CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center Lauren Berger, training coordinator for RESTORE
Feb 26, 2020
Connections: Previewing the third annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues
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How does LGBTQ history relate to social justice issues for the community today? Speakers at the third annual Anthony Mascioli Rainbow Dialogues will discuss that question this Saturday during a series of community conversations. This year’s event will focus on intersectionality in LGBTQ activism, transgender rights issues, and responses to the AIDS crisis. Our guests preview the event. In studio: Evelyn Bailey, chair of the Rainbow Dialogues, and executive producer of the “Shoulders to Stand On” documentary Milo Obourn , associate professor and chair of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at SUNY Brockport Tamara Leigh, director of operations and public relations for the Out Alliance
Feb 25, 2020
Connections: Democrats discuss the delegate system and the best way to choose a candidate
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The Democratic candidates for president are split on what to do if none of them win enough delegates to clinch the nomination. By party rules, the nominee must secure at least 50 percent of delegates; absent that, campaigns are discussing how to trade support and leverage delegates at a convention. Is that the best way to choose a candidate? Supporters of Bernie Sanders argue that it would destroy the party, particularly if Sanders has a plurality, but not a majority. Our guests debate it. In studio: Marvin Stepherson , delegate for Senator Elizabeth Warren Robin Wilt , delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders Nicholas Wilt , delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders
Feb 25, 2020
Connections: Garth Fagan, RCSD & the city's Black Heritage Committee team up
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Garth Fagan Dance, the Rochester City School District, and the City of Rochester’s Black Heritage Committee are all teaming up to offer a Black History Month celebration on Saturday, February 29. The artistic program will give students an opportunity to experience live cultural performances and engage with artists. This hour, our guests preview the event and discuss the value of culturally-relevant entertainment and experiences for youth. In studio: Garth Fagan, founder of Garth Fagan Dance William Ferguson, executive artistic liaison for Garth Fagan Dance, and personal assistant to Garth Fagan Jason Willis, director of African American Studies at the Rochester City School District Dominic Pickard, director of arts at the Rochester City School District Caroline Thomas, member of the Black Heritage Committee, and legislative aide to Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott.
Feb 24, 2020
Connections: Arun Gandhi on how nonviolence can solve problems and seek justice
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Arun Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, says a lesson about anger his grandmother taught his grandfather helped shape the family’s philosophy of nonviolence. In a recent talk entitled “The Gift of Anger,” Arun Gandhi discussed the principles of truth, love, and peace, and how nonviolence can solve problems and seek justice. This year marks what would have been Mahatma Gandhi’s 150 th birthday. To honor his life and work, several community partners have come together to offer celebratory events, including an exhibit called “Gandhi@150” at the Central Library of Rochester. Arun Gandhi and his colleagues join us to discuss his philosophy. In studio: Arun Gandhi, author and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi Jonathan Jones, trainer with the Alternatives to Violence Project, and nonviolent communication trainer at the Gandhi Institute Ashwin Shah, peace volunteer and organizer of the Gandhi@150 exhibit at the Central Library of Rochester
Feb 24, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of February 17
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: Socialism, capitalism, and the 2020 presidential race, with Paychex founder Tom Golisano; Disability pride, with Irish Tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan; Perceptions of Black masculinity and gender identity. This edition of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern, Emmarae Stein.
Feb 21, 2020
Connections: Discussing how to measure authenticity online
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How do you measure authenticity online? In this hour, we explore how we present ourselves in various online spaces. What’s real? What’s the true measure of self? What’s performative? The New Yorker recently explored the rise in “getting real” posts on Instagram, in which so-called “influencers” write self-flagellating posts about the lies they’ve been living, or the inauthentic and forced posts about happy travels and sunsets. But even the “getting real” posts can be inauthentic; they’ve become so popular that there is demand for ostensible authenticity. Who can tell what’s real anymore? Our guests debate it: Elise Miklich , social media specialist, and owner of Light Within Candle Company Emily Hessney Lynch , digital strategist, and founder of Serve Me the Sky Digital Rashad Smith, creative strategist for WLGZ The Beat, and visionary of Power Hour Kate Meyers Emery , manager for digital engagement at the George Eastman Museum, and Finger Lakes wine educator
Feb 21, 2020
Connections: Nate McMurray on his second run for the 27th Congressional District seat
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Nate McMurray is running once again for the 27th Congressional District seat previously held by Chris Collins. He’s running against State Senator Chris Jacobs, a Republican recently endorsed by President Trump.McMurray is a Democrat who has not stopped campaigning his since his narrow 2018 defeat. Connections has offered equal time; this is McMurray’s first appearance this year, and we expect to be joined soon by Jacobs.
Feb 21, 2020
Connections: Discussing perceptions of Black masculinity and gender identity
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An exhibit set to open Friday at the Visual Studies Workshop is exploring perceptions of Black masculinity and gender identity. We talk with artist Joshua Rashaad McFadden about “Evidence,” and our guests discuss what it means to be a Black man in America today. In studio: Joshua Rashaad McFadden , visual artist Gatekeeper Adrian, artist, activist, photographer, filmmaker, organizer, and founder and chair of Rochester Black Pride Jonathan Ntheketha, performance educator with Impact Interactive Brandon Stroud , yoga instructor, and residence coordinator at RIT
Feb 20, 2020
Connections: Tom Golisano on his new book, "Built, Not Born"
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We're joined by philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano . He's written a new book, titled “Built, Not Born.” It's about the mechanics of building a successful business. We talk to him about his strategies and what he thinks current and aspiring business owners can learn from his story and experiences. Tom Golisano, philanthropist, and founder of Paychex
Feb 20, 2020
Connections: Reshaping Rochester - Discussing multi-model transportation in urban areas
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The Community Design Center's (CDC) Reshaping Rochester series continues with a conversation about multi-modal transportation in urban areas. Shin-pei Tsay is the director of policy, cities, and transportation at Uber. Previously, she was a commissioner of public design in New York City. She'll be in Rochester next week for the CDC's series, but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss how we can reasonably assess public demand for different forms of transportation in cities, what kind of buy-in is necessary to achieve significant change, and how transportation can be a key component in creating a sustainable urban future. Our guests: Shin-pei Tsay , director of policy, cities, and transportation at Uber Maria Furgiuele , executive director of the Community Design Center Rochester Jason Partyka , member of Reconnect Rochester Julie Boasi, director of service planning at RTS
Feb 19, 2020
Connections: Local farmers react to Bloomberg's comments about farmers and American workers
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Michael Bloomberg is taking criticism for his comments about farmers and American workers. His campaign says he was taken out of context. Farmers respond that their work is not as simple as Bloomberg described. We discuss the dignity of work and the challenge of farming with our guests: Christopher Missick, owner and winemaker for Bellangelo winery Ruth Blackwell, owner of Mud Creek Farm Matt Kelly , Finger Lakes farmer
Feb 19, 2020
Connections: Discussing possible changes to the state's Medicaid program
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The New York State Medicaid Redesign Team II is holding a public forum Tuesday afternoon to take questions and comments about possible changes to the state’s Medicaid program. This hour, we discuss the program, possible upcoming changes, and more. In studio: Wade Norwood , CEO of Common Ground Health who serves on the Medicaid Redesign Team II Dr. Deborah Pierce , M.D., clinical associate professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Feb 18, 2020
Connections: Irish tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan
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Acclaimed Irish tenor and Paralympian Ronan Tynan is coming to Rochester to speak and sing at two events. Tynan was born with phocomelia, a lower limb disability that caused both of his legs to be underdeveloped. At the age of 20, both of Tynan’s legs were amputated after a car accident. Since that time, he has used prosthetic legs and won Paralympic medals in track and field. He’s also a physician specializing in orthopedic sports injuries and has worked in the prosthetics industry. This hour, Tynan joins us to discuss his life and work, his career with the Irish Tenors, and more. We also talk with local being recognized for their work promoting inclusion. Our guests: Ronan Tynan , Irish tenor, Paralympian, and physician Lori VanAuken, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services Kathy Termine, director of developmental disabilities at Catholic Charities Community Services Royce Rogers, brother of Alice Rogers, one of the first residents of Catholic Charities Community
Feb 18, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of February 10
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: The debate over Governor Cuomo's paid sick leave proposal; The rise of anti-Semitism; The proposed Equal Rights Amendment. Connections intern Emmarae Stein assisted with the production of this podcast.
Feb 14, 2020
Connections: Lessons from "Blues for Mister Charlie"
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A powerful play at the Multi-Use Community Cultural Center is generating conversations about race. “Blues for Mister Charlie” is an award-winning work by James Baldwin that’s loosely based on the assassination of Emmett Till. 14-year-old Till was lynched in Mississippi after being accused of offending a white woman in a store. In the play, Richard Henry returns to the deep South from New York City to find his segregated home town embroiled in racism and hate. Heated encounters with a local white store owner lead to his murder and his family’s quest for justice. The play explores brutal moments of truth. This hour, we’re joined by the director and members of the cast to discuss Baldwin’s work and their goals for the production. In studio: Gary DeWitt Marshall, director of “Blues for Mister Charlie” Almeta Whitis, actor who plays Mother Henry Richard Kendrick, actor who plays Parnell James
Feb 14, 2020
Connections: Discussing the success and outcomes of the Bridges to Success adult mentoring program
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Representatives from the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative say the project’s adult mentoring programs are showing signs of success. The Democrat and Chronicle reports that one of the programs showed an average increase in employment of 110 percent, and that the average earned household income increase by 118 percent. Program leaders say the mentoring model is helping families find their way out of poverty. This hour, we sit down with one of the mentoring pairs who share their story. We also hear about the program’s broader impact and the lessons project directors have learned. In studio: Francy A. Gonzalez, participant in the Bridges 2 Success Program Leslie Mosman, mentor with the Bridges 2 Success Program Shawn Futch, Bridges 2 Success program director Marlene Bessette, CEO and president of Catholic Family Center
Feb 14, 2020
Connections: Discussing Amy Klobuchar's candidacy
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We sit down with supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar. Klobuchar finished third in the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night, earning 20 percent of the vote. While experts say primaries in Nevada and South Carolina may be tough for her, Klobuchar’s supporters hope her recent success will lead to more strong showings. This hour, we discuss her candidacy, her platform, and more. In studio: Patty Kaptein, Klobuchar supporter Gail Seigel, Klobuchar supporter, SUNY Buffalo research lab director, and founding member of the Rochester March for Science Jacquie Billings, Klobuchar supporter, restaurant entrepreneur, and trustee of the village of Perry
Feb 13, 2020
Connections: Debating Governor Cuomo's paid sick leave proposal
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A new proposal from Governor Cuomo has led to debate among workers and the business community. Cuomo’s plan would require businesses with at least five employees to provide a certain number of paid sick days, depending on the number of workers. According to the state, a lack of paid sick days leads to staff showing up to work ill because they fear they may otherwise lose their jobs. But small business owners say the plan would be an additional burden on employers who are already struggling to operate with small staffs. This hour, our guests debate the proposal and what policies they would like to see in New York State. In studio: Larry Knox, political and community coordinator for 1199 SEIU Andrew Brady , CEO of the XLR8 Team , and co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Conscious Capitalism Jennifer Posey, owner of Hedonist Artisan Chocolates and Ice Cream
Feb 13, 2020
Connections: How to counter the rise of anti-Semitism and hate crimes
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Data shows anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes are rising across the country. Why? The news has left community members wondering how to address and counter these issues, both in conversation and in legal terms. This hour, we discuss hate crimes and hate speech from a number of angles. In studio: Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, executive director of the Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies at Nazareth College Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester Don Thompson , partner at Easton Thompson Kasperek Shiffrin LLP Hillel Deutsch, assistant attorney general and president of Congregation Beth Sholom Aidan, high school senior
Feb 12, 2020
Connections: Discussing Michael Bloomberg's candidacy
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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won big in Tuesday night’s primary in New Hampshire. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg – who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on ads – skipped the event, but continues to rise in the polls. A Quinnipiac poll released Monday shows him in third, behind Sanders and Joe Biden, respectively. This hour, we’re joined by Bloomberg supporters who discuss his candidacy, his platform, and his chances for securing the nomination. We also hear from a Sanders supporter about the contest. Our guests: Steven Barber, Bloomberg supporter Jeffrey Clark, Bloomberg supporter Karen Vitale, Sanders supporter, and co-founder of the Rochester Democratic Socialists of America
Feb 12, 2020
Connections: Discussing how to positively motivate children to pursue their interests
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A book authored by Eastman School of Music graduate Lauren Haley provides tips for how to develop motivation and talent in children through music. “Kids Aren’t Lazy” provides strategies for fostering self-direction, critical thinking, and creativity in children who are learning musical instruments. Haley is in Rochester to give a talk at the University of Rochester , but first, she joins us on Connections to discuss her research. We’re also joined by a professional trumpeter and a child psychiatrist who discuss how to positively motivate kids to pursue and practice any hobby or interest they have, while also balancing other life priorities. In studio: Lauren Haley , violinist and author of “Kids Aren’t Lazy” Herb Smith , trumpeter with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Dr. Kathleen Baynes , M.D., child and adolescent psychiatrist, and director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Feb 11, 2020
Connections: What's next for the proposed Equal Rights Amendment?
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How much do you know about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)? The proposed amendment would guarantee equal legal rights for Americans regardless of sex. It was first proposed in 1923, and was reintroduced in the early 1970s. It’s back in the news because after nearly a century of debate, the amendment has now been passed in 38 states, qualifying it for ratification. But there’s a catch: the deadline was 1982. So what happens next? This hour, our guests help us understand what the ERA is, its history, and what’s next in terms of the law. Our guests: Beth Cordello , chair of the labor and employment practice group at Pullano & Farrow Amy Stephens , co-host of the Transformation Thursday podcast Kate Kelly , human rights attorney with Equality Now
Feb 11, 2020
Connections: RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade on decisions related to the district's fiscal crisis
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Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade returns to Connections to address what he says are misconceptions circulating about the district's budget cuts. We discuss issues related to community-based organizations, pre-K options, and more. In studio: Terry Dade , superintendent of the Rochester City School District
Feb 10, 2020
Connections: Cephas Archie, former chief diversity officer for SUNY Brockport
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Cephas Archie was fired from his position as the chief diversity officer for the SUNY Brockport last month. The college has not disclosed why, despite outcry from the public, including Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. For the first time, Archie sits down at length to discuss his work and what he understands about his dismissal. We're also joined by Shaun Nelms, superintendent of East High School, who addresses the value of diversity work. In studio: Cephas Archie, former chief diversity officer at SUNY Brockport Shaun Nelms , superintendent of the East EPO, and associate professor and William & Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education SUNY Brockport declined an invitation to join this discusson.
Feb 10, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of February 3
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: The Rochester City School District's finances, with Superintendent Terry Dade; How boys' thoughts on women, sex, and consent are shaped; Ethics, inspired by the NBC sitcom, "The Good Place." Connections intern Emmarae Stein assisted with the production of this podcast.
Feb 07, 2020
Connections: Previewing the 2020 Academy Awards
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Who and what will win at the Oscars on Sunday? Some critics have this year’s awards season as “bizarre,” “disappointing,” or “suspect,” but both they and their fans still have favorites. From 1917 to Parasite to Little Women , our guests share their predictions for who will win, their thoughts on who should win, and their takes on the art of movie making. Our guests: Jack Garner, longtime Gannett film critic Adam Lubitow , film critic for CITY Newspaper Linda Moroney , filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Film Festival Jackie McGriff , film fan, and owner of Jackie Photography
Feb 07, 2020
Connections: Discussing midlife career shifts
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Have you ever considered a midlife career shift? According to the Atlantic Monthly, switching careers in your 40s, 50s, or 60s can be beneficial for cognition, well-being, and even longevity. But, it may also come with challenges: how to enter a new industry; how to adapt to unfamiliar technology or resources; or how to get out of your comfort zone. This hour, we sit down with two people who had had successful career reboots. They share their stories, and we hear from a career coach who shares her expertise. In studio: Mike Johansson , former journalist who began a new career as a lecturer at the Rochester Institute of Technology Norma Holland , former journalist who began a new career at a digital marketing company called Digital Hyve Kathleen Pringle , premier career management strategist and coach at the Kathleen Pringle Group
Feb 07, 2020
Connections: Safe sleep recommendations for infants and babies
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An article recently published in the New York Post has generated controversy. In a piece about parenting, Raquel Laneri writes that “some so-called parenting musts are just American nonsense.” She points to anthropologists who’ve conducted research about parenting around the world. Among other things, their findings show co-sleeping is the norm for the vast majority of parents across the globe. But, the article didn’t consult medical experts. The American Academy of Pediatrics says infants should sleep separately from their parents to decrease the risk of sleep-related deaths. This hour, we’re joined by experts who share what the research says about co-sleeping and their recommendations for safe sleep for infants and babies. Our guests: Dr. Elizabeth Murray , M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital Dr. Steven Schulz , M.D., medical director and pediatrician at Rochester Regional Health’s Finger Lakes Medical Associates in Geneva, and
Feb 06, 2020
Connections: Analyzing the state of affairs in Venezuela
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Last night, President Trump welcomed Juan Guaido of Venezuela as a guest during the State of the Union address. Republicans and Democrats applauded when Trump described Guiado as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, which has been rocked by scandals and a humanitarian crisis. The Rochester Committee on Latin America is turning its attention to Venezuela this week, along with their concerns about the impact of US foreign policy. We discuss the state of affairs for one of Latin America’s most precarious states. Our guests: Donald Kingsbury , lecturer in political science and Latin American studies, and interim director of the Munk One Program at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto Vic Vinkey, member of ROCLA Noelle Evans , reporter for WXXI News
Feb 05, 2020
Connections: Discussing progress with the "Let's Get REAL" initiative
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The City of Rochester is reporting progress on its “Let’s Get REAL: Race, Equity, and Leadership” initiative . The project provides direction for improving equity in Rochester and other participating communities. Over the last year, the initiative’s team hosted workshops, seminars, and training sessions for City of Rochester employees, who joined open discussions about race. In a survey, some participants shared that they were confused about the differences between race, racial equity, diversity, and inclusion; that they sometimes or rarely set aside their own discomfort to discuss race; and that more engagement with the Hispanic and Latino community is needed at City Hall. This hour, we discuss what the REAL team has learned after its first year of work, and how the findings will be applied to action plans for 2020. In studio: Willie Joe Lightfoot , vice president of Rochester City Council Tina Foster , executive director of Volunteer Legal Services of Monroe County Hank Rubin ,
Feb 05, 2020
Connections: Blogger Chris Thompson on the legacy of Kobe Bryant
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A local writer and activist has generated some buzz with a piece he’s written about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. Writing as a guest blogger for 540 West Main Communiversity, Chris Thompson explores what he calls Bryant’s complicated legacy and his own mixed feelings about the late basketball superstar. Thompson says the amount of vitriol aimed at Bryant days after his death seems disproportionate, adding “any praise for his life is not an attack on his accuser, and sympathy for his accuser is not an attack on his legacy.” This hour, Thompson joins us in studio to discuss his piece, his thoughts on teaching consent and sexuality to men, Bryant’s legacy, and more. In studio: Chris Thompson , writer, engineer, comedian, and activist
Feb 04, 2020
Connections: What's next for the Democratic Party?
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Democrats are trying to move on from the mess in Iowa, while Trump gloats about the dysfunction. What should the party do from here? Is this the end of Iowa’s first-in-line status? We discuss those questions with our guests: Jen Lunsford , attorney with Segar & Sciortino, and current candidate for the 135th Assembly District Jeremy Cooney , former chief of staff for the City of Rochester, and Democratic candidate for the 56th Senate District Patrick Coyle , field director for Citizen Action of New York
Feb 04, 2020
Connections: How the community is supporting teachers laid off by the RCSD
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Last month the Rochester City School District laid off more than 100 teachers. What happens to them? The RCSD is working with community leaders and local school districts to find jobs for the teachers who were cut in the middle of the school year. We discuss how they’re doing that. We also talk to the RCSD’s superintendent about the current state of affairs. In studio: Terry Dade , superintendent of the Rochester City School District Doug Lauf , assistant superintendent of human resources at Fairport Central School District Bob Duffy , CEO of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Feb 03, 2020
Connections: Analyzing NBC's "The Good Place" and its take on heaven and hell
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What if there’s a heaven, but it’s kind of… boring? That’s just one of the many questions explored by the recently departed NBC series, “The Good Place,” which aired its finale last week. The show takes a humorous look at the afterlife, with some not-so-humorous ideas sprinkled in. What kind of standards would be realistic to determine who gets into heaven, and who gets into hell? Are they the same for all people? Should there be a sliding point scale? Our guests explore it: Deanna Spiotta , non-profit sector employee, songwriter, and worship leader at a local church Jake Wojtowicz , ethics and philosophy writer, and professor of ethics at Brockport
Feb 03, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of January 27
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: The impact of the earthquakes that have hit Puerto Rico; Whether or not newspapers should endorse political candidates; What Brits think about the so-called "Megxit" news; The legal rights and experiences of adoptees in New York State. This edition of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern, Emmarae Stein.
Jan 31, 2020
Connections: RCSD Board members respond to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on audit of district
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New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joins us to discuss his office’s ongoing audit of the Rochester City School District. DiNapoli released a letter last week, warning that the audit has uncovered some deeper concerns about the district’s fiscal health. DiNapoli explains his role, and when he expects to wrap up the audit. Then, we welcome members of the Rochester City School Board to discuss DiNapoli’s comments. In studio: Van White , president of the Rochester City School Board Beatriz LeBron , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board Willa Powell , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board Thomas DiNapoli , New York State Comptroller
Jan 31, 2020
Connections: Discussing the state of women's rights in 2020
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This year, the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. 2020 also marks suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday and the 75th anniversary of the museum. To mark these historic occasions, the museum has invited music producer, author, and civil rights activist Tena Clark as this year’s keynote speaker for its birthday dinner celebration. Clark has worked with music legends including Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, and many more. We talk with her about her career and the impact of women in music, and we have a broader discussion about the state of women’s rights in 2020. Our guests: Deborah Hughes , executive director of the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House Tena Clark , music producer, author, and civil rights activist
Jan 31, 2020
Connections: An update on the state of the coronavirus
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The World Health Organization will decide Thursday whether the coronavirus epidemic should be declared a global public health emergency. China reports 170 people have now died from the virus in that country, and diagnoses have now been made in at least 18 other countries, including the U.S. The CDC maintains the risk level is low in the U.S., with only five coronavirus patients identified. This hour, we’re joined by local physicians and researchers who discuss the state of the coronavirus and what we need to know. Our guests: Dr. Michael Mendoza , M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Angela Branche , M.D., infectious disease physician at the University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Paul Graman , M.D., epidemiologist for Strong Memorial Hospital and Golisano Children’s Hospital Dr. Emil Lesho , D.O., infectious disease physician and epidemiologist at Rochester Regional Health
Jan 30, 2020
Connections: Local adoptees weigh in on new state law allowing them to access birth certificates
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For the first time in nearly 85 years, adoptees born in New York State are able to access their original birth certificates. Legislation making that possible went into effect earlier this month. WXXI’s Beth Adams reported on the law and what it means for local adoptees; they say the day the law was passed was monumental. This hour, we’re joined by local adoptees who share their stories, and we hear from a lawyer who says she thinks the legislation doesn’t go far enough. Our guests: Beth Adams , host of Morning Edition on WXXI News Jenny Thomas, adoptee who runs the Rochester Adoptee Support Group Andie Thompson, adoptee Cathi Swett, attorney and downstate coordinator for New York State Adoptee Equality
Jan 30, 2020
Connections: How to have conversations with young people about climate anxiety
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NPR recently reported that clinical anxiety affects a small, but growing number of children and teens. One source of anxiety is climate change. This hour, we sit down with a pediatrician and a clinical psychiatrist to discuss how to have conversations about climate change with young people. We also hear from a local parent and climate change activist who shares her techniques and experience with this issue. In studio: Dr. Michael Scharf , M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Sandra Jee , M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and general pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital Dr. Annalyn Gibson , M.D., child and adolescent psychiatry fellow Sue Hughes-Smith, parent, and member of the leadership team for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition
Jan 29, 2020
Connections: Debating the value of newspaper endorsements
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The New York Times took some heat for its recent presidential endorsement process. Critics say it played out like an online reality show; others argued that the endorsement was puffed up into an inflated sense of self-importance. The Times responded that its editorial board wanted to take the process seriously, and with transparency. We ask our guests how they’ve come to view newspaper endorsements, and whether they choose to offer them. (CITY News does not, for example.) In studio: David Andreatta , editor of CITY Newspaper Michael Kilian , executive editor for the Democrat and Chronicle
Jan 29, 2020
Connections: Discussing the impact of Wegmans' ban on most single-use plastic bags
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At midnight on Monday, Wegmans enacted its ban on most single-use plastic bags. That means customers can now use reusable bags or pay five cents for each paper bag. Community members are reacting to the change, with some complaining about what they call an inconvenience and added expense, while others are lauding the company for going more green. The move comes in advance of a state ban on plastic bags that begins March 1. This hour, we discuss the impact of the change on customers and the environment, if and how other entities will follow suit, and how to have effective conversations about sustainability and recycling. Our guests: Kimie Romeo, climate change activist Harshita Sood , assistant director for campus sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology James Gilbert , meteorologist and reporter for WROC-TV Assemblymember Jamie Romeo , District 136
Jan 28, 2020
Connections: An update on Puerto Rico and how Rochesterians are providing support
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A 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Saturday. It's the latest in a series of earthquakes and aftershocks that have shaken the island over the past several weeks. Puerto Ricans in Rochester are coming together to offer relief and support. Our guests discuss their efforts and the broader response from the mainland. In studio: Glory Harris, director of stability, education, and employment services at Ibero American Action League Miguel Meléndez, chief community engagement officer for Ibero American Action League Jeremias Maneiro, volunteer with Ibero American Action League , and founding member of Puertorriquenos en La Distancia RoseMary Villarubbia-Izzo, Rochesterian who lives part-time in Puerto Rico
Jan 28, 2020
Connections: Analyzing Joe Biden's candidacy
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We have a conversation about former vice president Joe Biden' candidacy. He remains at or near the top of national polling, with voting set to begin next week. Biden is often described by voters as a safe choice. We’ve tried to bring together a panel of enthusiastic Biden supporters to make the case that the “safe” choice is the best choice. Our guests: Sandy Frankel, former Brighton town supervisor Devin McAndrew-Greiner, grad student and Biden supporter
Jan 27, 2020
Connections: Discussing "Megxit" and the modern monarchy with local Brits
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What do you think about the so-called Megxit news? Earlier this month, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their plans to step back from royal duties and work toward living financially independent from the family. The couple cited the British tabloids’ treatment of Markle as one of the main reasons the two are seeking distance from the royals. This hour, we’re joined by local Brits who weigh in on the news and its possible impact. They discuss shifts in the modern monarchy, questions surrounding racist treatment of Markle by the press, and more. In studio: Colin Coffey, small business owner Mark Brummitt, professor of Hebrew bible interpretation and assistant dean of students at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School Isobel Davies, Brit living in Rochester Saratu Ishaya-Audu, Brit living in London
Jan 27, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of January 20
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: How so-called rust-belt cities like Rochester can use their histories to fuel revitalization; The state of early intervention services in Monroe County, and how they benefit families; The value of respite programs for caregivers and people with disabilities. Several of these stories are reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk . This edition of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern, Emmarae Stein.
Jan 24, 2020
Connections: Dialogue on Disability - Sports, media, and inclusion
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We wrap up our annual Dialogue on Disability Week with a conversation about sports, media, and inclusion. Special Olympics New York is celebrating 50 years. We’re joined by an athlete who has been part of the program for 40 years, as well as RIT photojournalism students who have covered athletes’ stories . We discuss how sports can help people discover new abilities and strengths, and how effective media coverage can help create a more inclusive society. In studio: Patty VanSavage, athlete and member of the Great Tigers Club John VanSavage, Patty’s brother and coach with the Great Tigers Club Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York Jenn Poggi, assistant professor of photojournalism at RIT Josh Meltzer, assistant professor of photojournalism at RIT Jackie Diller, photojournalism major at RIT Ashley Crichton, advertising photography major at RIT This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .
Jan 24, 2020
Connections: Reshaping Rochester - Jennifer Vey on transformative placemaking
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How can so-called rust belt cities take advantage of the digital economy to revitalize their urban centers? It’s a question planner and developer Jennifer Vey at the Brookings Institution has explored in depth. Her work in transformative placemaking focuses on inclusion, innovation, and job creation. She’ll be in Rochester next week as a guest of the Community Design Center for its 2020 Reshaping Rochester Series , but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests: Jennifer Vey , senior fellow and director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institution Maria Furgiuele , executive director of the Community Design Center Rochester André Primus , planner with Highland Planning LLC
Jan 23, 2020
Connections: Dialogue on Disability - The value of respite programs
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As part of Dialogue on Disability Week, we continue our series of conversations about inclusion and disability rights. This hour, we discuss the value of respite programs for caregivers and people with disabilities. Respite programs provide a variety of short-term, temporary services that allow family members to take a break from the day-to-day schedule. Research shows respite programs can improve family stability, but many people who participate in them – or would like to – say the system is difficult to navigate. Our guests discuss their experience with respite programs, and we talk about how to make them more easily accessible for families. In studio: Stephanie Woodward , disability rights advocate with DisabilityDetails.com Patsy, mother of a teenager who attends Epilepsy-Pralid’s after school respite and recreational respite programs Joe Abbott, vice president of operations and COO at Epilepsy-Pralid Dayna Wells, community services supervisor at Epilepsy-Pralid Tia Guthrie,
Jan 22, 2020
Connections: Dialogue on Disability - Cooper's story, and the value of speech therapy
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It’s Dialogue on Disability Week at WXXI. Throughout the week on Connections, we’ll host a series of conversations about inclusion and disability rights. This hour, we discuss speech therapy with a local mother whose young son has benefited from services provided by a number of community agencies, including the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center . Cooper was diagnosed with several conditions, including Global Body Dyspraxia, Apraxia of Speech, and Sensory Processing Disorder. His mother, Meghan, joins us to share his story and how his communication skills have developed as a result of different therapies. We also discuss the impact of early intervention services and more. In studio: Meghan, Cooper’s mother Sara Calus, physical therapist, and lead PT/OT clinician at the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center Debra L. Cecere, licensed speech language pathologist at the at the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center Valorie Stotz, licensed speech language pathologist, and preschool
Jan 20, 2020
Connections: How President Trump's proposed tariffs could impact the wine industry
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The Trump administration is considering 100 percent tariffs for European wine and other goods. That could effectively double the price of many wines in stores and restaurants, while also doubling the price of olive oil and other goods. The administration says this is a retaliatory move. Thousands of jobs could be at stake. We examine the possible impact with our guests: Kent Gardner , chief economist with the Center for Governmental Research Dan George, wine and spirits representative for T. Edward Wines Dewi Rainey, owner of Red Feet Wine Market in Ithaca
Jan 20, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of January 13
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: How the death of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani could affect the relationship between the United States and Iran; The future of high-speed rail in New York State; How Measures for Justice is using data to enforce countywide standards for criminal court cases. This edition of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern, Emmarae Stein.
Jan 17, 2020
Connections: How will the new housing section of Rochester City Court work?
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Rochester City Court has a new housing section . Now, tenants can bring small claims actions against landlords to be heard by a judge. We talk about how the system will work, and we hear from a local tenant and a local landlord who share their perspectives and concerns. In studio: Mark Muoio , program director of the housing unit at the Legal Aid Society of Rochester Ryan Acuff , member of the City Wide Tenant Union of Rochester Pam Owens Dade, member of the City Wide Tenant Union of Rochester , and president of the Manhattan Savannah Tenant Association Matthew Drouin, managing partner of OakGrove Development
Jan 17, 2020
Connections: University of Rochester students discuss controversies on campus related to China
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We sit down with students from the University of Rochester who discuss recent controversies on campus related to China. The Hong Kong protests, the status of Taiwan and Tibet, democracy, and human rights were all at the subject of debates among different student groups. We explore the issues. In studio: Efua Agyare-Kumi, third-year student at the University of Rochester and contributing writer to CITY Newspaper Sampson Hao, president of the Chinese Students’ Association at the University of Rochester Selina Xu, president of the Hong Kong Students Association at the University of Rochester Matthew Burns , dean of students at the University of Rochester
Jan 17, 2020
Connections: How a shortage of child care services is impacting local families
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The Children’s Agenda recently released a new report that shows there’s a growing shortage of affordable and available child care services, both locally and nationally. According to the report, Rochester has seen improvements in the availability of child care for children in pre-K, but options for infants and toddlers are increasingly difficult to find. The Children’s Agenda is calling on local, state, and federal partners to invest more in the child care system and in providers. This hour, we discuss the report and The Children’s Agenda’s priorities. We also hear from providers and from parents who share the challenges they’ve faced finding child care. In studio: Pete Nabozny , director of policy for The Children’s Agenda Bridget Shumway, president of Generations Child Care Rosa Marie Curtis, mother of two, and president of Marvelous Mind Academy Sarah Espe, mother of a toddler Katie Gootee, mother of two
Jan 16, 2020
Connections: Discussing updates in criminal justice reform with Amy Bach from Measures for Justice
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Amy Bach, president and executive director of Measures for Justice , returns to Connections. Bach is a Rochester native whose work is aimed at facilitating fairness in the criminal justice system through data-driven initiatives. She’ll be giving a public presentation at the Harley School, but first, she joins us to discuss updates with Measures for Justice, legislative action in various states, and her thoughts on bail reform in New York. In studio: Amy Bach, president and executive director of Measures for Justice
Jan 16, 2020
Connections: Exploring the role of chief diversity officers on college and university campuses
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Inside Higher Ed reports that more institutions now have chief diversity officers than ever before. But what do those positions entail? How do colleges and universities make decisions about the roles and responsibilities of diversity offices, and how do they measure results when it comes to creating more diverse and inclusive campus communities? This hour, we’re joined by local chief diversity officers who share how their institutions are providing structural responses to cultural issues. In studio: Cephas Archie , chief diversity officer at the College at Brockport Calvin Gantt , chief diversity officer at Monroe Community College Keith Jenkins , vice president and associate provost for diversity and inclusion at RIT Diane Ariza , vice president for community and belonging at Nazareth College
Jan 14, 2020
Connections: Author Sarah Burns on her book, "The Politics of War Powers"
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We're joined by RIT professor Sarah Burns, who has written a new book called "The Politics of War Powers." She argues that the U.S. Constitution creates an invitation to struggle between the legislative and executive branches of government, but the president has little checks and balances when it comes to how he uses the U.S. military. She joins us to discuss her research, and how it relates to recent events in Iran. In studio: Sarah Burns , associate professor in the Department of Political Science at RIT, and author of “The Politics of War Powers: The Theory and History of Presidential Unilateralism”
Jan 14, 2020
Connections: Cast of "This Old House" celebrates 40 seasons and discusses home improvement trends
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The team from “This Old House” is coming to Rochester. The show is celebrating its 40th season with a special event at the Hochstein School Monday night. We talk to host Kevin O’Connor and carpenter Nathan Gilbert about the show’s success, trends in the home improvement industry, and more. Then, we sit down with local contractors and architects who answer our questions and yours. Our guests: Kevin O’Connor , host of "This Old House" and "Ask This Old House TV" Nathan Gilbert , carpenter on "Ask This Old House TV" Adam Frank, owner of A. Frank & Co LLC Christopher Brandt, architect with Bero Architecture PLLC
Jan 13, 2020
Connections: Can New York State support high-speed rail service?
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CITY Newspaper editor David Andreatta’s recent op-ed, “ New York’s high-speed rail fail ,” has reignited the local debate over high-speed rail in the state. Last week during his State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his proposal to develop a strategy to build high-speed rail in New York. The plan will include a panel of outside experts that will re-examine previous designs for the Empire Corridor. Cuomo has argued that high-speed rail service can transform economies. In his piece, Andreatta asks if the state can support it. He points to academic studies that show mixed results, and a lack of foot traffic at Rochester’s train station, which can’t support a coffee shop or other retail options. But local urbanists are pushing back, saying the issue is more nuanced and the region has the potential to transform mass transit. Our guests debate the future of high-speed rail in New York. In studio: David Andreatta , editor of CITY Newspaper Arian Horbovetz , creator of the
Jan 13, 2020
Weekend Connections: Week of January 6
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: How members of the United Methodist Church are responding to the proposed denominational split over LGBTQ-related issues; How the local faith community is addressing systemic racism; Ricky Gervais' monologue at the Golden Globes. This edition of Weekend Connections was produced by Connections intern, Emmarae Stein.
Jan 10, 2020
Connections: Exploring the state of housing for older LGBTQ adults
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Finding housing can be a challenge for many older Americans, but older adults who identify as LGBTQ say it can be particularly daunting due to issues related to possible discrimination. An organization called Senior Action in a Gay Environment is teaming up with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation to assess how long-term care facilities are treating residents who are part of the LGBTQ community. This hour, we discuss the state of housing options for LGBTQ adults, fair-housing practices, and what inclusive and welcoming housing looks like. In studio: Nate Sweeney, vice president of skilled services at St. John’s Home , and member of the LGBTQ community Saundra Ehman, resident of St. John's Meadows , and member of the LGBTQ community Steve Jarose, executive director of the National Coalition Building Institute in Rochester , and member of the LGBTQ community
Jan 10, 2020
Connections: Discussing the impact of the book, "Prozac Nation"
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Elizabeth Wurtzel, the author of “Prozac Nation,” died Tuesday at the age of 52 from cancer. Wurtzel’s memoir chronicling her experiences with depression was a best-seller, and has been praised for how it helped open dialogue about mental illness. It also sparked conversations about treatment for depression and other mental health challenges, specifically, the use of psychiatric medication. This hour, our guests discuss the impact of the book, stigma related the mental illness, and how treatment methods have evolved. In studio: Eric Caine , M.D., former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center Melanie Funchess , director of community engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester Jeremy Moule , news editor for CITY Newspaper Jerome Stiller, owner of Thrive Health and Wellness LLC, and In Our Own Voices presenter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Jan 10, 2020
Connections: Can AI help us become more fair as a society?
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Can artificial intelligence -- or AI -- help us become more fair as a society? Proponents of AI point to success stories, such as a case in which AI is helping find resources for homeless youth; another example includes AI helping diagnosis cancer more effectively. Meanwhile, the Pentagon is hiring an ethicist to oversee military-based AI. But there are also warning signs that AI can be limited and can exacerbate inequality. How can we make sure the technology we create does not simply serve the most powerful in society? Our guests explore it: Matt Kelly , independent journalist Ehsan Hoque , Asaro-Biggar Family Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Rochester Jonathan Herington , lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, and assistant director of graduate education in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering at the University of Rochester Hadi Hosseini , assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at RIT
Jan 09, 2020
Connections: Discussing world events with University of Rochester professor Randy Stone
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The world seems to be on a knife's edge in so many regions, and American relationships are vital. We welcome a semi-regular guest to discuss his latest work in understanding world events and geopolitics in Russia, China, and more. We also discuss the Iran crisis. In studio: Randy Stone , director of the Skalny Center for Polish and Central European Studies at the University of Rochester
Jan 09, 2020
Connections: An update on the state of bail reform in New York State
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One week after new bail reform laws went into effect in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for changes. The reforms ended cash bail for many lower-level alleged offenses, but a rash of anti-Semitic incidents and other alleged crimes have led critics of the legislation to push for adjustments or an overhaul. Our guests discuss the state of bail reform and possible unintended consequences. In studio: Chief Deputy Michael Fowler, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Mark Foti , attorney with the Foti Law Firm Iman Abid , director of the Genesee Valley Chapter of the NYCLU Ashley Gantt, organizer with the NYCLU
Jan 08, 2020
Connections: Analyzing the Gervais Golden Globes monologue, and if Hollywood is headed for change
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Actor Ricky Gervais’ monologue during Sunday’s Golden Globes has led to buzz and backlash. While hosting the awards show, Gervais delivered a series of jokes, which viewers and media outlets have described as ranging from provocative to mean to speaking truth to power. He sparked controversy with comments about the #metoo movement in Hollywood, about actors making political statements during acceptance speeches, about what it means to be “woke” in the industry, and more. Those comments have led to broader discussions about Hollywood as a whole, and if it’s time for the industry to take a look in the mirror when it comes to its practices. Our guests discuss that question and if Hollywood is – or should be – headed toward a more progressive era. In studio: Jack Garner, longtime Gannett film critic Adam Lubitow , film critic for CITY Newspaper Linda Moroney , filmmaker, and director and programmer for the One Take Film Festival Jackie McGriff , film fan, and owner of Jackie Photography
Jan 07, 2020
Connections: Exploring Bernie Sanders' candidacy, platform, and goals
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The newest polling from early voting states brings good news for Senator Bernie Sanders. He's hoping for early momentum to carry him to the Democratic nomination. We've discussed the platforms of many other candidates; today we explore the goals of Sanders and his supporters. We also discuss general election viability. In studio: Mary Lupien , Sanders supporter and member of Rochester City Council Karen Vitale, co-chair of the Rochester chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America Donald Martell , Sanders delegate
Jan 07, 2020
Connections: Local leaders in the United Methodist Church discuss the church's proposed split
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The United Methodist Church announced last Friday that it plans to split the denomination over “fundamental differences” in beliefs about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ ordination. Church leaders have debated those issues for nearly 50 years. If passed in May, the proposal will allow a “traditionalist” denomination to separate from the United Methodist Church, clearing the way for the UMC to repeal the current church’s ban on same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. A group of 16 bishops and church leaders voted for the proposed split, saying it was “the best means to resolve our differences, allowing each part of the Church to remain true to its theological understanding, while recognizing the dignity, equality, integrity, and respect of every person.” We sit down with local Methodist leaders who have different perspectives on the issues. In studio: Reverend Dr. Stephen Cady , senior minister for Asbury First United Methodist Church Cory Tylenda, member of Asbury First United Methodist Church
Jan 06, 2020
Connections: How local faith communities are addressing systemic racism
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Two local leaders in the faith community are coming together to offer anti-racism workshops. During their trainings, Reverend William Wilkinson and Reverend Alan Dailey discuss white privilege, white supremacy, and the impact of systemic racism. Their work is part of the Greater Rochester Community of Churches Faith in Action Network . We sit down with Reverend Wilkinson and Reverend Dailey to talk about their methods and how they approach difficult conversations. This discussion comes in advance of their next workshop . In studio: Reverend Dr. William Wilkinson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Medina , and former board president of the Greater Rochester Community of Churches Reverend Alan Dailey, interim pastor of John Knox Presbyterian Church in Greece , and interim executive director of the Greater Rochester Community of Churches
Jan 06, 2020
Connections: If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song 2020
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What if a number of musicians throughout the Rochester area all wrote their own versions of a song with the same title? An annual event is back to help answer that question. This year’s If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song will feature local artists’ takes on the title, “No One Will Ever Know.” This hour, we preview the event with performers who discuss their music, the art of song writing, and more. In studio: Sarah Long Hendershot , co-creator of If All Rochester Wrote the Same Song Steve Piper, performer Sarah Eide , performer Jeff Riales , performer Kelly Izzo Shapiro , performer
Jan 03, 2020
Connections: Discussing dating culture in 2020
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Author and social commentator Phoebe Maltz Bovy offered a stinging critique of dating culture in 2020, and it has sparked debate about the new norms of dating. Maltz Bovy is particularly troubled by the shaming that can go viral on social media. But her concerns opened up conversation about other changing norms, including questions about when it's appropriate to ask someone out in person; taking no for an answer; and more. Our guests discuss it. In studio: Allison O’Malley, domestic violence prevention advocate and educator Megan Barrett , certified sex therapist with the Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness Jessica Lewis , creator of Single Dope Black Chick Aliza Leit, junior at the College of the Atlantic in Maine Regan Wagner , senior at Nazareth College
Jan 03, 2020
Connections: The year in podcasts
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New research shows that in 2019, the number of podcasts grew by more than 50 percent. That means that listeners can choose from nearly one million different podcasts in 2020. How to find the best podcasts, the most interesting, the most useful? Our guests bring their knowledge of the podcast scene to offer recommendations, and we sample clips from some of their favorites. In studio: Veronica Volk , producer and editor for news, arts, and life at WXXI News Calvin Eaton, founding director and chief content officer of 540 West Main Communiversity Matt Austin , host of the Anomaly Presents podcast Beth Larter , school librarian in Gates Chili
Jan 02, 2020
Connections: Why is housing so expensive in some American cities?
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The New York Times asks a provocative question: why are people so unhappy in some of the most ostensibly booming American places? For example, California has a strong economy and low relative unemployment. But the high cost of housing has increased commute times, and traffic is a nightmare. The state is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. What can be done? These are complicated questions, but we focus on one particular aspect: housing and commutes. Why is housing so expensive in some places, but not others? What are the lessons for New York State? Our guests sort it out: Matthew Denker, developer with LBLD Living Andrew Brady , co-founder of the Rochester chapter of Conscious Capitalism Robert Frank , author, economics columnist, and professor at Cornell University
Jan 02, 2020
Connections: Rochester and Western New York's favorite books of 2019, part 2
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We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to community leaders about their favorite books of the year. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why. Our guests: Natalie Sheppard , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board (“Free To Be Me: I Am Not My Issues” by Dante Worth) Andrew Brady , CEO of the Xcelerate Team and co-founder and chair of Conscious Capitalism Rochester (“The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World” by Michael J. Gelb and Rajendra Sisodia) Amanda Chestnut , artist, curator, educator, and administrator (“Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris) Michael Galban , curator and historian at the Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan (“There There: A Novel” by Tommy Orange) Rebecca Rafferty , arts and entertainment editor at CITY Newspaper (“Mr. Splitfoot” by Samantha Hunt) Pete Nabozny , director of policy for the Chilren’s Agenda (“Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of
Dec 31, 2019
Connections: Rochester and Western New York's favorite books of 2019, part 1
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We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to community leaders about their favorite books of the year. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why. Our guests: Jeff Spevak , arts and living editor at WXXI News (“Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson) Krystle Ellis , director of communications at the Ronald McDonald House, influencer, and culture shifter (“The Power of One Thing: How to Intentionally Change Your Life” by Dr. Randy Carlson) Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva , author and assistant professor of history at the University of Rochester (“The Book of Chameleons: A Novel” by Jose Eduardo Agualusa) Reverend Dr. Stephen Cady , senior minister at Asbury First United Methodist Church (“Marley: A Novel” by Jon Clinch) Adam Frank , author and professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester (“The Crowded Hour: Theodore Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the Dawn of the American Century” by Clay Risen) Allison O’Malley , chief
Dec 31, 2019
Connections: Lesli Myers-Small on her new role in the State Education Department
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The superintendent of the Brockport Central School District is taking on a new role. Lesli Myers-Small will join the State Education Department in early January as an assistant commissioner of school reform and innovation. Her responsibilities will include overseeing turnaround efforts at low-performing schools, including those in the Rochester City School District. Myers-Small joins us in studio this hour to discuss her achievements in Brockport and her goals for her new role. Our guest: Lesli Myers-Small , outgoing superintendent of the Brockport Central School District, and incoming assistant commissioner of school reform and innovation at the New York State Department of Education
Dec 30, 2019
Connections: Discussing "ungrading" in college classrooms
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A growing number of American college professors are changing the way they grade students. In particular, some are engaging an evaluation method referred to as "ungrading." We sit down with a local professor who decided to stop scoring papers this year and instead, write lengthy comments and meet individually with students. He's trying to change the power dynamics and the grading methods that he has come to believe are ineffective. We discuss this new approach with our guests: Michael Leroy Oberg , distinguished professor of history at SUNY Geneseo Cate Denial , director of the Bright Institute at Knox College
Dec 30, 2019
Connections: Discussing Rochester's food scene with the team from RochesterFoodNet
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A team of journalists, chefs, and food lovers have united to launch a new online publication called RochesterFoodNet . It's intended to be a source for all things food: reviews, photos, blogs, videos, and podcasts. We welcome guests from the new project to discuss their work, their goals, and the food scene in Rochester. In studio: Adam Wilcox Karin Cross-Smith Chris Clemens Vince Press
Dec 27, 2019
Connections: Meeting several of CITY Newspaper’s "Rochester 10"
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CITY Newspaper has announced its 2019 "Rochester 10" . It's an annual list of people making significant contributions to the community, who don't receive significant media coverage. We sit down with several of the Rochester 10 to discuss the recognition and their work. Our guests: J. Simmons , actor Jenn Beideman , advocacy manager for Common Ground Health Leslie Danks Burke , founder of the Trailblazers PAC
Dec 27, 2019
Connections: The year in climate
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As 2019 draws to a close, we sit down with local climate activists to discuss the year in climate. How would they “grade” climate action in 2019? We discuss progress or lack of progress made in different fields, the impact certain changes will have on our long-term climate future, and what types of action we’ll need to see in 2020 to create sustainable change. In studio: Abby McHugh-Grifa, executive director of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition Kate Kressmann Kehoe, volunteer with Citizens' Climate Lobby , and documentary filmmaker Hridesh Singh, senior at Brighton High School, co-founder of the Brighton High School Climate Club, member of the leadership team for the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders , and member of the New York Youth Climate Leaders Helen Frank, junior at Brighton High School, and member of the Brighton High School Climate Club and the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders
Dec 23, 2019
Weekend Connections: Week of December 16
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: How the University of Rochester campus is moving forward after the events of last year, with UR President Sarah Mangelsdorf; The stigma surrounding HIV; Cryptocurrency in 2019; Food waste and food sustainability efforts at the University of Rochester.
Dec 20, 2019
Connections: "Can Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker" stick the landing of the saga?
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It's all things Star Wars ! Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker opened in theaters Thursday night, and we're joined by fans of the franchise to discuss their expectations for the newest and final film in the saga (don't worry, there won't be spoilers!). We talk about a range of issues, including how to balance critical and artistic choices while keeping fans' interests in mind, the use of archival footage to bring back characters played by deceased actors, and our guests' thoughts on what it would take to stick the landing for the saga. In studio: Adam Lubitow , film critic at CITY Newspaper Vanessa Cheeks , organizer of the Anomaly Film Festival Tiffany Staropoli , broadcast producer and director Dan Howell , personal trainer
Dec 20, 2019
Connections: Discussing the Rochester City School Board's vote to approve teacher cuts
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After hearing hours of feedback from teachers, students, parents, and other community members Thursday night, members of the Rochester City School Board voted on Superintendent Terry Dade's proposed staff cuts. Those recommendations would have initially impacted more than 150 teachers, but a last-minute change reduced the number of proposed lay-offs to 109 positions. More then 90 people signed up to speak about the impact of those possible mid-year cuts. The testimonies ranged from emotional pleas to matter-of-fact discussions about budgeting and numbers. And after a break, the board approved the plan in a split vote. This hour, we're joined by members of the Rochester City School Board to discuss their individual votes, the testimonies they heard for the school communities, and what's next for the district. In studio: Van White, president of the Rochester City School Board Rev. Judith Davis , commissioner for the Rochester City School Board Natalie Sheppard , commissioner for the
Dec 20, 2019
Connections: Discussing new words added to the dictionary in 2019
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It's one of our favorite annual traditions: a look at the way language is changing. The various dictionaries have officially added hundreds of new words this year. We like to take that list of words and offer a quiz to our guests and to our listeners. Do you think you can explain the meaning of the new words and phrases in the dictionary? Give it a try – we think it will be a short, inspo sesh. We also talk about trends in language, how we communicate with one another, and why some communication styles are changing. In studio: Maya Abtahian , assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Rochester Amanda Chestnut , artist, curator, educator, and administrator Chris Fanning , director of communications for Writers & Books
Dec 19, 2019
Connections: Addressing the stigma younger generations have toward HIV
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How much do you understand about HIV – about what the virus is and how it’s transmitted? While the number of new HIV cases in New York State continues to fall, stigma against the virus is growing among younger generations. That’s according to a new survey from the pharmaceutical company, Merck. It found that more than a quarter of HIV-negative millennials surveyed have avoided hugging, talking to, or being friends with someone with HIV. People in HIV education and treatment say that’s not surprising, and they’re calling for better messaging that meets the needs of younger generations. WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg analyzed the Merck survey, and he joins us to share his reporting. We also talk to experts from Trillium Health about how to address the stigma surrounding HIV. In studio: Brett Dahlberg , health reporter for WXXI News Dr. Bill Valenti , M.D., chief of innovation, and staff physician at Trillium Health Sam Jett, prevention navigator at Trillium Health Matteo Ragusa,
Dec 19, 2019
Connections: The Seneca Park Zoo Society's 2019 Environmental Innovation Awards
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The Seneca Park Zoo Society's 2019 Environmental Innovation Awards had at least one common theme: food sustainability. Human beings waste a tremendous amount of food, and food production contributes to climate change. So how can we do it better? Our guests discuss their work, and why it might inspire others to do the same. Gael Orr, communications manager for Once Again Nut Butter Cam Schauf , director of campus dining services for the University of Rochester, and co-chair of the University Council on Sustainability Suzanne Hunt , board member for the Seneca Park Zoo Society
Dec 17, 2019
Connections: Is Bitcoin dying?
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Is Bitcoin dying? Depends on whom you ask. Some analysts say yes: the first major cryptocurrency has lost half its value since July. Others say no: in the past year, Bitcoin’s value has essentially doubled, despite some volatile swings. But most Americans still don’t own or use cryptocurrency. So where is it going? Our guests debate it: Mike Komaransky , head of Grapefruit Trading , and long-time Bitcoin supporter George Conboy , chairman of Brighton Securities Gary Palmer, Jr. , founder of MintingCoins.com and Bitcoin NYS
Dec 17, 2019
Connections: Rochester Teacher's Association President Adam Urbanski on the RCSD's proposed cuts
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We continue our series of conversations about the proposed cuts in the Rochester City School District. Last week, former RCSD teacher and current doctoral candidate at the Warner School of Education, Robert Hoggard, told the Connections audience that he thinks it’s time for new leadership in the Rochester Teacher’s Association. Adam Urbanski was elected president of the RTA in 1981 and has held the position since. Hoggard says Urbanski “has been wielding too much power in the school district and hiding behind organized labor.” Urbanski joins us in studio today to share his perspective on the proposed cuts and to address the criticism from Hoggard. In studio: Adam Urbanski , president of the Rochester Teacher’s Association
Dec 16, 2019
Connections: University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf
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On July 1, 2019, Sarah Mangelsdorf became the new president of the University of Rochester. She was selected for the role following the resignation of Joel Seligman, and is the university’s first female president. Mangelsdorf comes to Rochester from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she served as provost. She’s also a professor of psychology whose research focuses on the social and emotional development of infants and young children. We sit down with Mangelsdorf to discuss her background, her goals for the university, her views on the university’s role in terms of economic development, and how she thinks the campus is moving forward after the events of last year. In studio: Sarah Mangelsdorf , president of the University of Rochester
Dec 16, 2019
Weekend Connections: Week of December 9
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: The debate over cancel culture; Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter's perspective on the county's anti-harassment law; Urbanism during Rochester winters; How student journalists suggest professional journalists reach their generation.
Dec 14, 2019
Connections: Does urbanism die in the winter?
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Does urbanism die in the winter? After the first major snowstorm of the season, a social media thread about a man who walked through the middle of the street went viral. Some community members said the man was trying to make a point about the sidewalks not being plowed. The thread lead to conversations about urbanism in the cold months. We sit down with local urbanists who discuss how to develop urban areas that remain multi-modal year round. Our guests: Justin Young, member of the advocacy team at the Center for Disability Rights Matthew Denker, developer with LBLD Living Jason Haremza, planner, urbanist, citizen Jesse Peers, cycling coordinator for the Rochester Cycling Alliance at Reconnect Rochester This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk .
Dec 13, 2019
Connections: How people in the suburbs can support RCSD teachers and students
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Community conversations about the financial crisis in the Rochester City School District have taken many different forms. We've heard from people living in the suburbs who say they care about RCSD teachers and students, and have ideas and questions for how to offer their support. This hour, we're joined by several community members from the suburbs who share their ideas. In studio: Ginny Maier , community activist in Fairport Jessie Keating, community organizer and activist in Pittsford Robert Hoggard , former RCSD teacher, and doctoral student at the Warner School of Education Howard Maffucci , former superintendent of the East Rochester School District
Dec 13, 2019
Connections: Discussing Monroe County's "anti-annoyance" law
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Last week, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo signed an anti-annoyance bill into law, despite opposition from law enforcement. The law prohibits harassment of a police officer, peace officer, or first responder in Monroe County, and criminalizes behavior that “that “intends to annoy, alarm or threaten the personal safety” of those individuals as they perform official duties. Law enforcement agencies across the county have stated they will not enforce the law; Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter has said it is a solution to a problem that does not exist. Additional critics say the law is unconstitutional and will erode police-community relations. But Dinolfo’s administration says the County Executive spoke with law enforcement officials and felt the law had their support. We’re joined by members of law enforcement and local government officials who share their perspectives on the law and its future. In studio: Chief Richard Tantalo , Irondequoit Police Department Dave Seeley ,
Dec 11, 2019
Connections: Debating cancel culture
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Is “cancel culture” a thing? And if so, is it eroding our trust in one another? Author and social commentator Kat Rosenfield says yes. She writes, “ While celebrities, successful artists, and other too-big-to-fail types can survive a cancellation (or even seek one out as a means of drumming up publicity), the rest of us are trapped in an increasingly deranged surveillance state fueled by the disappearance of our most essential resource: trust.” But critics argue that so-called “cancellations” are actually a form of progress and accountability. We discuss it: Kat Rosenfield , author and social commentator Irene Kannyo , award-winning technical writer, cultural writer, editor, audio producer, and host of No Labels, Included on WAYO 104.3 FM
Dec 11, 2019
Connections: Discussing the proposed Rochester City School District cuts
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The Rochester City School District has sent letters informing dozens of teachers that they will lose their jobs, or be shifted to different positions. Board president Van White has said that cuts have to be made, but they must be made as far from students as possible. This week, hundreds of students and parents have protested the proposed cuts, which would take effect in January. Our guests discuss next steps: Willa Powell, longest-tenured member of the Rochester City School Board Stevie Vargas, community organizer for Citizen Action of NY
Dec 10, 2019
Connections: As newspapers disappear, student publications fill the void
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A growing number of American cities are losing their newspapers. One result, as noted by the New York Times, is that some cities only have student journalists offering print coverage. It puts pressure on students who are supposed to be learning the craft, but who might not have established professionals to guide them. The Times reports, "Student journalists across the country have stepped in to help fill a void after more than 2,000 newspapers have closed or merged, leaving more than 1,300 communities without any local news coverage. And several young reporters have broken consequential stories that have prodded powerful institutions into changing policies." Our guests discuss it: Wil Aiken, editor-in-chief of the Campus Times at the University of Rochester Cayla Keiser, editor-in-chief of the Reporter at RIT Kasey Mathews, print managing editor of the Reporter at RIT Mike Johansson , former print journalist
Dec 10, 2019
Weekend Connections: Weeks of November 25 and December 2
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? How to handle holiday greetings; The goals of local youth climate activists; The legacy and impact of LGBTQ rights icon Edie Windsor; The debate over the risk and reward of sharing nude photos.
Dec 06, 2019
Connections: Discussing the growth and impact of International Baccalaureate programs
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We discuss the growth and impact of International Baccalaureate (IB) programs in schools. The programs aim to develop students’ intellectual, emotional, personal, and social skills for a globalizing world. We talk with local program coordinators and students about their experiences and what an IB education looks like. In studio: Barbara M. Surash, assistant superintendent for instruction at Hilton Central School District Robert Chaffee, junior in the IB program at Hilton Central School District Asad Muhamed, 2014 graduate of the IB program at Wilson Magnet High School, and 2018 graduate of the University of Rochester Jason Cao, senior in the IB program at Wilson Magnet High School Dwayne Hall, junior in the IB program at Wilson Magnet High School
Dec 06, 2019
Connections: The debate over bail reform legislation in New York State
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Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter recently wrote an op-ed for the Democrat and Chronicle in which he called for the state to reverse its bail reform measure. Baxter says the legislation could lead to unintended consequences when it comes to issues related to safety, addiction, and more. But public defenders and activists disagree, and say bail reform is a necessary part of criminal justice reform. Our guests debate the issue. In studio: Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter Don Thompson , managing partner at Easton, Thompson, Kasperek, and Shiffrin Ashley Gantt, regional organizer for the Genesee Valley chapter of NYCLU
Dec 06, 2019
Connections: Discussing the impact of civil rights icon Edie Windsor
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LGBTQ activist Edie Windsor was in the process of writing her memoir, "A Wild and Precious Life," when she died at the age of 88. Windsor's landmark 2013 Supreme Court case -- which took on the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 -- expanded the definition of "spouse" to include some-sex partners, and made them eligible for federal benefits previously limited to heterosexuals. In her book, Windsor shares her journey from hiding her sexual identity to becoming an outspoken LGBTQ activist. Her widow, Judith Kasen-Windsor is in Rochester to discuss Windsor's book and her impact on history. She joins us in studio, along with local activists. In studio: Judith Kasen-Windsor, LGBTQ activist and Edie Windsor's surviving spouse Assemblymember Harry Bronson (D), District 138 Evelyn Bailey, executive producer of the Shoulders to Stand On Documentary
Dec 05, 2019
Connections: The New York Youth Climate Leaders
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On Friday, students around the world will once against walk out of class to go on strike for climate action. Locally, a growing group of students is organizing in a new way. The group is launching a coalition of youth climate activist groups based in New York State; it will be called the New York Youth Climate Leaders or NY2CL for short. We discuss the goals and agenda of this new coalition. Our guests: Hridesh Singh, Liam Smith, and Celia Darling from NY2CL
Dec 05, 2019
Connections: Discussing non-smoking-related lung cancer
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According to the American Cancer Society, as many as 20 percent of people who die from lung cancer have never smoked or used any other form of tobacco. The rates of non-smoking-related lung cancer are on the rise. We're joined by medical professionals who discuss symptoms, the latest research, cancer prevention, and more. We also hear from a non-smoking-related lung cancer survivor who shares her story. In studio: Dr. Deborah Mulford , M.D., oncologist at UR Medicine's Wilmot Cancer Institute Susan Jackson, physician assistant in the lung cancer screening program at Rochester Regional Health Colleen Conner Ziegler , lung cancer survivor and patient advocate
Dec 03, 2019
Connections: Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith on the future of Pittsford
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Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith easily won re-election last month. His Democratic opponent called the campaign a referendum on the future of Rochester's wealthiest suburb. Smith talks about the issues raised during the campaign, and the ways he would like to see Pittsford grow. In studio: Bill Smith , Pittsford Town Supervisor
Dec 03, 2019
Connections: Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?
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Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? Our panel takes an interfaith look at the holiday season, and the ways we communicate with each other. Panelists representing Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths will present their own religious traditions during an upcoming event , but first they discuss those traditions on Connections. We explore how faiths differ and what they have in common. We also discuss the often-invoked "War on Christmas" and the like. Our guests: Muhammad Shafiq , director of the Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, executive director of the Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies at Nazareth College Jimmy Reader , minister with the United Church of Pittsford
Dec 02, 2019
Connections: Discussing the Katie Hill story and the debate over intimate photos
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The resignation of Congresswoman Katie Hill has sparked debate over intimate photos -- who takes them, who shares them, and whether it's good advice to warn people against having them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly warned younger staff against having nude photos, considering the possible damage. But some activists contend that this is a form of victim blaming; they also see a generational divide. One writer on Twitter said, "I don't know any woman under the age of 40 who hasn't taken nude pics." So what are the lessons from the Hill story? In studio: Dr. Pebble Kranz , M.D., medical director of the Rochester Center for Sexual Wellness Megan Peterson, bar manager and women's studies major
Dec 02, 2019
Connections: What are local students learning about Thanksgiving?
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What are local students learning about Thanksgiving? What’s often published in textbooks and taught in schools is a Euro-centric narrative that oversimplifies or omits the historical record, especially when it comes to atrocities endured by Native American people. WXXI reporter Noelle Evans talked with local Native Americans and school staff members about Thanksgiving education. This hour, we talk about what she learned, and our guests discuss how to decolonize the Thanksgiving narrative. In studio: Noelle Evans , reporter for WXXI News Peter Jemison, historic site manager for Ganondagan Amerique Wilson, library media specialist at Roberto Clemente School 8 Stephen LaMorte, executive director of social studies and community service learning at the Rochester City School District
Nov 27, 2019
Connections: Discussing the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg
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Fresh polling from Iowa and New Hampshire shows South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg surging to the top of contenders. Can he win the nomination? We haven’t discussed his candidacy much on the show, so this is a chance to examine Buttigieg’s positions on the issues. We also discuss why some progressives to the left of Buttigieg are suspicious of his candidacy. Our guests: Alex Yudelson , volunteer organizer for the Buttigieg campaign in Western New York Alfred Vitale, co-founder of the Association of Working Class Academics
Nov 27, 2019
Connections: Discussing the value of interfaith gatherings
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Community members from different faith-based groups are teaming up for an interfaith Thanksgiving service . The goal is to create partnerships going forward. The theme is "planting seeds for a peaceful election year." The event's organizers join us to discuss the value of interfaith gatherings. In studio: Rev. Lane Campbell , First Universalist Church of Rochester Deacon Brian McNulty , St. Monica Roman Catholic Church Rabbi Peter Stein , Temple B’rith Kodesh Abdur Rauf Bawany , Islamic Center of Rochester
Nov 26, 2019
Connections: ROC the Future's 2019 report card
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ROC the Future has released its annual "State of Our Children" report card, which tracks key measures of wellbeing of children and youth in the Rochester area. This year's report identifies continued challenges, including chronic absences from schools, low literacy rates in third grade, and issues related to equity. It also lists areas that are improving, including parent engagement, high-quality pre-K services, and graduation rates. Our guests break down the report and the group's action items. In studio: Jackie Campbell , director of ROC the Future at The Children’s Agenda Shaun Nelms , chair of ROC the Future conveners Ajamu Kitwana , immediate past chair of ROC the Future Stephanie Townsend , director of research and analytics for ROC the Future
Nov 26, 2019
Connections: How to have productive conversations about climate change around the Thanksgiving table
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With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, we discuss how to have productive conversations with family members about climate change and climate action. Data shows the proportion of Americans that have initiated conversations about the subject is significantly lower than the share of people who report being concerned about climate change. What’s the best way to approach the topic, especially among people who may be skeptics or express ambivalence? Our guests discuss it: Kevin Schulte , CEO of GreenSpark Solar Rob Levine, member of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby Fred Dewey , facilitator for LifeResults
Nov 25, 2019
Connections: Members of the Rochester City School Board discuss the district's financial problems
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The Rochester City School Board is responding to some new ideas offered by Superintendent Terry Dade. Those ideas are designed to create a long-term solution for the district’s financial problems. Dade says there is no way to shore up the financial mess without cutting some teaching positions, even if it’s painful. The board has been split on these proposals. We sit down with several board members to discuss what needs to happen next. Our guests: Van White , Rochester City School Board President Beatriz LeBron , Rochester City School Board Commissioner Natalie Sheppard , Rochester City School Board Commissioner
Nov 25, 2019
Weekend Connections: Weeks of November 11 and 18
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Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about: Issues related to poverty and addiction in Monroe County, with Monroe County Executive-elect, Adam Bello; The origins of hate, with a former white supremacist; Challenges faced by refugees who have served the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan; The value of yoga classes for people of color, taught by people of color.
Nov 22, 2019
Connections: Dr. Gina Cuyler on her book, "Insider's Guide to Leading Your Medical Care"
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Dr. Gina Cuyler has more than 25 years of clinical experience, and throughout her career, she says she has seen a breakdown in communication, miscommunication, or misunderstandings between patients and providers. In her new book, “Insider’s Guide to Leading Your Medical Care,” she provides information and resources aimed at helping patients advocate for their medical needs. She joins us in studio to discuss the impact of physician burnout, electronic medical records, and the healthcare process on patients. In studio: Dr. Gina Cuyler , M.D., author of “Insider’s Guide to Leading Your Medical Care,” and founder of Comprehension Internal Medicine PLLC
Nov 22, 2019
Connections: Discussing "The Point!" and how its themes apply to issues in 2019
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In the early 1970s, musician and composer Harry Nilsson got high on acid and conceived a show called "The Point!" It’s a rather blunt story about the ways our society excludes and judges people who are different. A group of local musicians has revived the show for a modern edition, and they talk about the themes that they find prevalent in 2019. Our guests: Katie Morey, musician who plays the king Ben Morey, musician who plays the narrator Kat Schwarz, musician who plays the mom
Nov 22, 2019
Connections: How to make opportunities in the wellness industry more accessible to people of color
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We discuss how to make opportunities in the health and wellness industries more accessible to people of all backgrounds. The group Yoga 4 A Good Hood works to “create a space of healing for people of color and individuals with low socioeconomic status through yoga and more.” Members are bringing their practices to locations throughout Rochester in order to make yoga more inclusive. We also discuss health disparities among different communities, how to create an accessible food culture (especially in areas where there are food deserts), and the value of culturally-sensitive nutrition advice. In studio: Imani Olear , founder of Yoga 4 A Good Hood Ashley Cowart, yoga teacher trainer with Yoga 4 A Good Hood Danielle Ponder , criminal defense attorney, board member for Yoga 4 A Good Hood, and lead singer of Danielle Ponder and the Tomorrow People Kameron Rowe, registered dietitian
Nov 18, 2019
Connections: Adam Bello, Monroe County Executive-elect
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On Election Night, Adam Bello became the first Democrat to be elected Monroe County Executive in nearly 30 years. His victory spurred immediate reaction from the Republican-controlled County Legislature, which introduced a measure that sought to limit his authority. That measure has since been withdrawn. Bello joins us in studio to discuss his victory, the recent controversy, how he plans to work with the Republican Party, and how he will approach his first year in office. In studio: Adam Bello , Monroe County Executive-elect
Nov 18, 2019
Connections: RCSD Superintendent Terry Dade on proposed strategies to address the financial crisis
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We’re joined by Rochester City School District Superintendent Terry Dade. On Tuesday evening, Dade shared his strategies for fixing the district's finance problems going forward. He told the Rochester City School Board's Finance Committee that the district needs to take major steps to address the kinds of problems that have caused uncertainty about revenue and budget gaps. One of his proposals is to cut nearly 290 staff positions, including dozens of teaching positions. Dade says he has stayed true to his commitment not to immediately slash teaching positions to cover for the previous year's budget gap, but difficult decisions must be made to address long term planning. We talk to Dade about the district’s finances, his proposed strategies, and how those strategies will impact students. In studio: Terry Dade , superintendent of the Rochester City School District
Nov 14, 2019
Connections: Discussing the question, "Why do we hate?"
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“Why do we hate?” It’s a question we explore with two men whose paths have crossed after coming from very different perspectives. Pardeep Kaleka lost his father in 2012, when a white supremacist opened fire on a Sikh temple. Arno Michaelis helped form the gang that produced the mass shooter – that gang was the largest racist skinhead organization in the world. Now, Michaelis speaks out against racism and has written a book called “My Life After Hate.” He and Kaleka met for the first time in 2013, and since then, they’ve formed an educational organization and written a book, “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.” They’ll be in Rochester later this month as guests of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s Levine Center to End Hate , but first, they share their stories and their message on Connections. Our guests: Pardeep Kaleka , co-author of “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”
Nov 14, 2019
Connections: Discussing New York's Red Flag gun law
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How is New York’s new “Red Flag” gun law supposed to work? The law is intended to stop gun violence before it happens. Can the law properly balance the rights of individuals with the desire for public safety? Who can legally remove firearms from individuals? What are the criteria? Who decides? An upcoming panel will pull together members of law enforcement, school leadership, attorneys, and more. But first, they discuss the Red Flag law on Connections. Our guests: Richard Dollinger , supervising justice, Matrimonial Part, 7th Judicial District; and supervising judge, Town & Village Courts, 7th Judicial District Mark Concordia , associate professor of criminal justice, and director of the Homeland Security and Applied Intelligence Program at Roberts Wesleyan College Paul Ciminelli , Second Amendment expert, attorney at Ciminelli & Ciminelli, and counsel to Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter
Nov 12, 2019
Connections: Scholar Robert May on his book, "Yuletide in Dixie"