WXXI AM News

Sasha-Ann Simons

Arts InFocus Host/Reporter/Producer

Sasha-Ann Simons joined the team at WXXI News in 2015 as a Multimedia Reporter/Producer. She tells stories about the innovation economy and technology in upstate New York and also does general assignment reporting. Sasha-Ann is the host of Arts InFocus, WXXI-TV's weekly arts and culture program. She is also a fill-in host and regular contributor to Need To Know.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Sasha-Ann comes to Rochester after spending her formative years growing up in Toronto, Canada. She studied broadcasting at Ryerson University, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism. Sasha-Ann earned her first news gig as a chase producer at CityTV, while still a college freshman. She subsequently took on various roles in other Toronto newsrooms as a videographer, host, and producer, and was part of the award-winning Global Television Network news team.

Sasha-Ann has covered and produced stories in the Canadian national spotlight, including Occupy Toronto, the Eaton Centre mall shooting, the Toronto Argos CFL championship win, and the Mayor Rob Ford crack scandal.

Sasha-Ann is fun-loving and sassy. She is also passionate about education issues. When she's not on the air, Sasha-Ann spends her time with family and exploring new recipes in the kitchen.

Ways to Connect

Save Our Youth

Some parts of Rochester’s northeast side are viewed as the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. They’re plagued with low income and high rates of unemployment and violent crime. But they’re also home to families, local businesses, a number of churches and a rich, deep history. It’s a part of Rochester that people are working to turn around. Need to Know’s Sasha-Ann Simons has more on one of the city’s latest anti-violence efforts on the northeast side with a bit of a twist.

CBP

I used to cross the US-Canada border so often, it felt like “Anything to declare, ma’am?” was playing on repeat in my mind.

My all-time favorite encounter was on a bus trip with my sister from Toronto to Cleveland, when one of the Customs guys in blue noticed my Jamaican heritage listed in my Canadian passport and asked, “Are you bringing over any ackees?”

No, I most certainly was not travelling from Canada to the Midwestern United States, with Jamaica’s national fruit in my suitcase. And at the time I thought, “Why would I be?” I exchanged glances with my sister then asked him to repeat the question - just to be sure I heard his ignorance correctly.

CBP

With the four international bridges in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Lewiston, New York handling 18 million cars and trucks a year, it’s no wonder the front-line officers have stepped up their security game.

Since the beginning of May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the Port of Buffalo say they’ve already seized 18 illegal firearms from Americans and foreigners who are attempting to bring guns into the United States from Canada. This week, the officers made five seizures of narcotics and a firearm in a 24-hour period.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

At 63 years old, Mt. Morris Dam isn’t getting any younger. And for a piece of infrastructure that was built only to last 50 years, the dam has well surpassed its life expectancy.

Situated deep in the Genesee River gorge, the picturesque structure is made up of over 750,000 cubic yards of concrete. Its one and only job is to control river flows that may flood and cause property damage to Rochester and surrounding cities.

Since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) built it in 1952, the dam has prevented over $2 billion worth of flood damages. The most recent event happened just a few weeks ago.

THIRD EYE DESIGN INC.

It’s amazing how many drivers out there can tell stories of instances where they were completely blindsided by a nearby motorbike. And the statistics back up the anecdotes.

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, motorcyclists accounted for 14 per cent of the total highway fatalities in the country, despite motorcycle registrations representing only three per cent of all vehicles in the United States in 2013.

Healing of Magic

One man is on a mission to heal, and he’s doing it by empowering physical therapists with the unique tool of magic.

After a serious car crash years ago, illusionist Kevin Spencer ended up in neurological intensive care with brain and spinal cord injuries. He spent nearly a year in physical therapy and grew tired of the repetitive process that wasn’t working quickly enough. It was then that Spencer realized the movements required to do the simple magic tricks he learned as a child, were the same kinds of movements that he was doing in traditional forms of therapy. He soon after developed the Healing of Magic program, and has been teaching the skills to occupational therapists across the globe.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

The message rang loud and clear throughout the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood Friday:

Clara Barton School No. 2 students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade marching and chanting, "We want peace!"

Darlene Sullivan is one of the staffers who organizes the yearly march. She believes that students can be the force of positive change in Rochester.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Many families with children with autism describe leaving high school as a ‘falling off a cliff’ - because of the lack of services when they become adults. Add to that, a complicated and intimidating job hunt. Despite the obstacles that people with autism face trying to find work, a new, dedicated job fair in Rochester, New York may be the first step to help that community find employment.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

  

Gary McHale of Buffalo is one of two Dental Fix RX franchisees in Western New York.  McHale rides around from dentist to dentist in a state-of-the-art white van, making daily stops in Rochester, and fixing  hand pieces, chairs, compressors, and X-Ray systems among other things. Dental Fix RX is a national mobile dental repair company and its slogan “The Faster Fix” is splashed in paint across the side of the van.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Public speaking, for many, can make palms sweat and hearts race. Now, researchers from the Human-Computer Interaction group at the University of Rochester have developed a new real-time feedback system using Google’s smart glasses, to help guide your performance as you speak in front of an audience.

The system, called Rhema, was developed last month and designed for people who need a bit of help addressing crowds.

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