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

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe recently wrote that ending America's oil addiction will be a lot harder than many people think. Our panel discusses the practical challenges and possible solutions to creating a national infrastructure without oil.

In studio:

A new study from researchers at Harvard estimates that nearly 5,000 people may have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. That's more than 70 times the death toll reported by the government, and more than twice the number of deaths from Hurricane Katrina.

Faculty members and research fellows at the University of Rochester Medical Center were part of the response team in Puerto Rico, helping medical personnel on the island set up mobile medical units. Prior to the hurricane, the URMC team was conducting research projects in Puerto Rico, and came to understand the differences in medical infrastructures between the mainland and the island.

Members of that team join us to discuss cultural competency in medical care, the challenges in bringing aid to devastated areas where caregivers may not speak the patients' language, and how to help resident medical personnel care for their people. Our guests:

  • Dr. Tim Dye, associate chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • José Pérez-Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico and current doctoral student in Translational Biomedical Science at the University of Rochester
  • Hilda Rosario Escher, president of the Ibero American Action League


First hour: An update on the crisis in Puerto Rico, and cultural competency in medical care

Second hour: How can American end its oil addiction?

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 controversy surrounding chronic Lyme disease;
  • How grassroots environmental groups can compete with corporations;
  • The Libertarian Party's stance on guns.

Several nonprofit organizations are teaming up to help provide housing options for people in need, while reducing the number of so-called zombie homes in Rochester. Flower City Habitat for Humanity has launched its Vacant and Abandoned Homes pilot program with the City of Rochester.

According to a report released last summer, there were about 600 vacant and abandoned homes around Monroe County, which contributed to a more than $11 million loss in property values. But the program goes beyond the numbers; it’s giving families a new start.

We talk with two new homeowners who are part of the program, and learn how it is helping to reduce poverty in Rochester. In studio:

The retail giant Toys “R” Us has filed for bankruptcy and is closing its stores across the nation. The move is leaving more than 30,000 employees out of jobs, health insurance, and severance pay. It’s the latest retail chain owned by private equity firms to close its doors. Companies taken over by these firms are often shouldered with the firms’ high debt loads, pushing struggling companies to a faster decline. Progressive groups say the pattern is a reminder of the human cost on working class people, and the cycle needs to stop. But others say private equity firms do bring value to some companies.

Toys “R” Us closing its doors also raises another question: can brick-and-mortar retailers survive and thrive in the age of Amazon? Our guests weigh in on the economics:

Tianna Manon / WXXI News

First hour: Can brick-and-mortar stores survive in the age of Amazon?

Second hour: Rehabbing vacant homes to give families a new start

We discuss the current state of the Green Party. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein raised more than $7 million to pursue a swing state recount from the election. This week, the Daily Beast reported that Stein has been spending that money on herself and her staff. It's a rough headline for a party that was hoping to use the 2016 election to grow its base, but local Greens say they are focused on local elections and the state.

We talk about what could be ahead for the party in 2018 with members of the Green Party: 

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy says the Rochester region has to adopt more of a can-do attitude regarding big projects. Duffy wrote a piece for the Rochester Business Journal outlining his concerns about the region self-sabotaging big efforts. But critics say skepticism is important in determining which projects are the right ones.

Duffy joins us to defend his essay. 


First hour: Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Duffy on regional pride

Second hour: The current state of the Green Party