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

Have you ever seen or a heard a local artist and thought, "Why hasn't he or she gone national?"

Local comedian Yolanda Smilez wanted to recognize those artists, especially artists of color who may have a hard time breaking through. She co-created the Roc Awards. The fifth annual event is set for Sunday at the Kodak Center for Performing Arts.

We preview the show and talk about what it means for our community. Our guests:

  • Yolanda Smilez, CEO and co-founder of the Roc Awards
  • Tracie Isaac, executive producer
  • Santos Cruz, Latino advocate and videographer

Last week, there was a meeting at the White House between the president's top economic adviser and a group of prominent Republicans proposing a carbon tax. The group, which includes three former Cabinet secretaries, calls itself the Climate Leadership Council. The members say that with Republicans controlling the White House and Congress, it's time for the party to get serious about climate change. They say their idea for a carbon tax is a way to return all revenue raised to the taxpayer. They think it's a pro-market solution to climate change. We discuss the idea with our guests:

Associated Press

First hour: Prominent Republicans propose a carbon tax

Second hour: Previewing the 5th annual Roc Awards

New rules for youth sports were recently introduced with the goal of mandating rest and reducing injuries.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has approved rules that limit pitch counts for modified, freshman, junior varsity, and varsity athletes. U.S.A. Football, the national governing body for amateur football, created a new format called "modified tackle" that reduces tackling and pileups. This comes after declining participation among young athletes, whose parents think the game is not safe for children.

Are the new rules realistic? Do they go far enough? We discuss these questions with student athletes and members of the medical community. Our guests:

  • Dr. Michael Maloney, M.D., chief of sports medicine and professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at UR Medicine
  • Dr. Gregg Nicandri, M.D., sports medicine physician and associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at UR Medicine
  • Caleb Punter, member of the Webster Schrader baseball team
  • Ashton Fantigrassi, member of the Webster Thomas football team

First hour: NPR's special coverage of President Trump's press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 

Second hour: New rules for youth baseball and football aim to reduce injuries

What is a Sanctuary City? Next week, Rochester City Council will take up legislation related to Rochester's status as a "Sanctuary City." But what, exactly, does that mean?

We explore the impact for refugees, and the possible impact related to federal funding and support. Our guests:

President Trump has given the green light for two major pipeline projects: Keystone and the Dakota Access Pipeline.

At the White House, Trump said he hasn't heard one complaint or received one dissenting phone call. Our guests discuss the challenge of protesting a project when the president claims their voices don't exist. In studio:

First hour: The president green lights two pipeline projects

Second hour: Rochester's status as a Sanctuary City

Betsy DeVos has been confirmed as the new Secretary of Education. What does that mean for our public schools?

We reached out to many local school leaders to join the discussion; most declined. Our panel discusses the issues they see as most in play during the Trump administration. Note: there are school-choice advocates who are not in positions of public school leadership, and we'll be inviting them to join us in the coming days, too. In studio:

  • Steve Uebbing, professor of educational leadership, and director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester
  • Adam Urbanski, president of the Rochester Teachers Association
  • Trina Newton, superintendent of the Geneva Central School District
  • Van White, president of the Rochester City School Board

This coming Friday is Black Lives Matter Day in the Rochester City School District. RCSD says the mission is to create "a day of education, dialogue and action that will actively engage a significant number of educational communities throughout Monroe County in activities that support understanding the affirmation of black lives."

The Rochester Board of Education and the RTA supports this programming, but participation by individual teachers is optional. We discuss it with our panel:

  • LoWan Brown, assistant principal at Joseph C. Wilson Foundation Academy and co-organizer of the event
  • Chris Widmaier, science teacher at World of Inquiry School No. 58 and co-organizer of the event
  • Mahreen Mustafa-George, parent and co-organizer of the event
  • Atim Okung, student activist and co-organizer of the event

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