WXXI AM News

Evan Dawson

Connections Host

Evan Dawson joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.

Evan is also the author of Summer in a Glass: The Coming Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes and is the managing editor/Finger Lakes editor for the New York Cork Report, a web site that offers independent news, reviews, and commentary about the New York wine industry.

He has written freelance articles on topics including politics, wine, travel, and Major League Baseball.

Ways to Connect

The recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have sparked concern among mental health advocates, who note that celebrity suicides can have a copycat impact on the general population.

Our guests discuss suicide from a range of angles, including the impact of loss on surviving family. In studio:

  • Bill Perun, suicide attempt survivor, past president of NAMI Rochester, vice president of NAMI NYS, member of the NAMI National Peer Council, and certified Peer Specialist for the New York Office of Mental Health
  • Carrie Andrews, survivor of suicide loss
  • Dr. Joe Vasile, M.D., psychiatrist, and president and CEO of the Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association (GRIPA)
  • Megan Clifford, LCSW-R, certified Mental Health First Aid instructor

The Hilton Central School District is considering arming retired law enforcement officers to work security. It's a proposal that has caused debate among parents; some argue that bringing more guns in to schools is inherently unsafe, while others feel that trained former officers are capable of handling firearms in a secure manner.

We discuss the proposal with people on different sides of the issue. Our guests:

  • Casey Kosiorek, superintendent of the Hilton Central School District
  • Dave Inzana, director of safety and security for the Hilton Central School District
  • Stephanie Bedenbaugh, parent and leader with the Rochester chapter of Moms Demand Action
  • Kelly Lincoln, parent, member of Progressive Parents of Hilton, and licensed clinical social worker

First hour: Should security guards in schools be armed?

Second hour: Discussing suicide prevention and loss

It's a preview of this year’s Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival. We discuss this year’s lineup, and we hear from English singer Gwyneth Herbert who returns to the festival for a third time. We talk to her about her music, her career, and what’s new on the jazz scene.

Our guests:

  • Jeff Spevak, longtime Rochester arts and culture reporter
  • John Nugent, co-founder, producer, and artistic director of the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
  • Glenn Tilley, audio producer and member of the production team for the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
  • Gwyneth Herbert, singer and musician

In her book, “I Married a Sociopath,” writer and epidemiologist Sabrina Brown details decades of physical, verbal, and financial abuse by her ex-husband. Brown began blogging about being a domestic violence survivor in 2012 as a way to spark conversations about intimate partner violence, which often isn’t reported or acknowledged.

Brown is in Rochester as the keynote speaker for RESTORE Sexual Assault Service’s first-ever regional conference, but first, she joins us on Connections to share her story and to discuss how to help victims of domestic violence. Our guests:

  • Sabrina Brown, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Kentucky, and author of “I Married a Sociopath”
  • Lauren Berger, outreach and education specialist for RESTORE

First hour: Domestic violence survivor Sabrina Brown

Second hour: Previewing the 2018 Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival

What should we do when artists misbehave? In other words, when an author, actor, director, or artist does something offensive, acts inappropriately, or steps over the line in some way, should we stop consuming their art? When do we give them a pass?

The founder of Writers & Books, Joe Flaherty, dealt with this question when he was arranging for Philip Roth to visit Rochester. The late writer was considered a misogynist by many readers. But, as Flaherty wrote in an essay on the incident, “you have to separate the writer from his characters.”

What do you think? Should we consume and share the work of Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Harvey Weinstein, Philip Roth, and others? Should the work of artists in question stand on its own? Where do we draw the line? Our panel discusses those questions. Our guests:

  • Joe Flaherty, founder of Writers & Books
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, senior assistant director of student success and outreach in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

In the last six weeks, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the southern border without proper documentation. While their parents are sent to immigration detention centers or to jail, the children are sent to government facilities or foster care. The move is part of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.

Activists across the country are protesting that policy, and many of those activists are immigrants themselves. This hour, we hear their stories and discuss the challenges they face. They also discuss what they’d like to see in terms of a national policy on immigration. Our guests:

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

First hour: Activists protest the separation of immigrant families

Second hour: What should we do when artists misbehave?

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:

  • Freedom of speech, and if speech can be violent;
  • If urbanists have become too smug;
  • Where the line is -- or should be -- in comedy.

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