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

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First hour: Addressing racism toward Native Americans

Second hour: Screen time recommendations for children and teens

We hear the story of a local Holocaust survivor. Helen Levinson was born in Poland and was sent to a concentration camp during the war. She escaped with the help of a Nazi guard, but lost her parents and siblings.

Her remarkable story is part of a new play called "Survivors" at the Jewish Community Center. We hear Levinson's story in her own words. Our guests:

  • Helen Levinson, Holocaust survivor
  • Alexa Scott-Flaherty, actor who portrays Helen in the play, “Survivors”
  • Freyda Schneider, co-producer of "Survivors," and director of TYKEs at the Jewish Community Center

The Democrat and Chronicle is launching a new project aiming at the inequity in our public school system. What have they found, and what might change it?

Our guests discuss those questions and more:

  • Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle

www.rochesterholocaustsurvivors.org

First hour: Examining the inequities in the local public education system

Second hour: Holocaust survivor Helen Levinson and the play, "Survivors" 

Two British newspapers expressed their shock over “thin-skinned, liberal foot-stomping millennials” sympathizing with the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The newspapers say these “snowflakes” claiming the monster was a misunderstood victim shows how idealistic today’s students can be. It’s just one example in a list of classic works that the newspapers say millennials are misinterpreting. The other titles include “Animal Farm,” “Lolita,” “Lord of the Flies,” and more.

What do you think? Do you agree with the newspapers that these millennials are just “too touchy?” Or are they right, and do their perceptions serve as a Rorschach test for how they view criminal justice, the #MeToo movement, and more? Our guests discuss these questions and the role of classic literature. In studio:

  • Lester Friedman, retired professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and co-author of “Monstrous Progeny”
  • Karen van Meenen, senior lecturer in the Department of English at RIT, and coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books
  • Jamie Rudd, AmericaCorps volunteer for the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Katherine Varga, playwright and SummerWrite coordinator for Writers & Books

The story of a Rochester police officer advising a man to break into the home of his estranged girlfriend has raised a number of questions about women’s safety, gun rights, and allegations of domestic violence. The boyfriend showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s house, looking for some of his possessions. When she refused to let him in and the police arrived, an officer told the boyfriend that if he had lived there – which he had – it was his legal right to break in. That’s when the girlfriend pointed a firearm out the window. She said she had been a victim of domestic violence, and was afraid of the boyfriend.

This hour, our panel discusses the bigger picture issues raised by this case:  the safety of women and their right to use firearms to protect themselves in their own homes, plus, how to respond to women who are making allegations that they have been victims of physical altercations. Our guests:

First hour: Discussing women's safety, their right to use firearms, and allegations of domestic violence

Second hour: How today's students interpret classic literature

An expert in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia says there are a number of misconceptions about the conditions, and he wants families to understand that people can live well with those diagnoses. One method proven to be effective in engaging people with dementia is personalized music. It's the subject of a remarkable documentary called "Alive Inside," part of the Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series

The film follows a social worker who brings iPods to people living with dementia at nursing homes; once many of the patients hear music from their past, it sparks memories in ways human interaction could not. We'll discuss the role music has in opening pathways in the brain, and the latest in Alzheimer's and dementia research with our guests: 

  • Dr. Al Power, M.D., Schlegel Chair in aging and dementia innovation at the Schlegel--U. Waterloo Research Institute for Aging
  • Brian LeBlanc, Alzheimer's advocate who is living well with Alzheimer's disease
  • Robin Lombardo, northeast regional director for Music & Memory

We're joined by legendary actor, writer, and comedian John Cleese. He'll be in Rochester next month for a screening of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" at the Kodak Theatre.

Cleese joins us to discuss his career and the impact Monty Python has had on the development of modern comedy. We also discuss the role of comedy and satire in today's political climate. Our guests:

  • John Cleese
  • Chris Thompson, comedian, engineer, and activist
  • Allison Roberts, founder of Estrofest comedy troupe and co-founder of Impact Interactive
  • Dr. Terry Browne, professor emeritus of theatre at SUNY Geneseo, and author of "Playwright’s Theatre: The English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre"

First hour: Comedian John Cleese

Second hour: Understanding dementia, and the impact of music on memory

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