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

Local supporters are reacting to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to step forward and assist child sex abuse victims.

Cuomo unveiled his 2017 policy initiatives in a book, which included a plan for the Child Victims Act. The proposal would do away with the statute of limitation on prosecutions of those who abused children.  Further, it would allow victims to bring civil lawsuits for 50 years from when their attacks took place.


About a dozen low-wage workers rallied in front of the Rochester Federal Building Thursday to demand President-elect Donald Trump drop his pick for U.S. Secretary of Labor: minimum wage critic and Carls Jr. and Hardee's boss, Andy Puzder.

“I think what we can expect from him is an all-out assault on worker’s rights and the livelihood of wageworkers in this country,” said Colin O’Malley of Metro Justice, who organized the local protest that was part of a nation-wide movement.


Vaccination skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he would chair a panel to review vaccine safety, at President-elect Donald Trump's request.

The claim, however, is drawing criticism from vaccine experts at the University of Rochester School of Medicine who fear the panel would influence people to believe debunked theories.

“I would fear not. The currently licensed and sold vaccines are excellent,” said Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg, a professor of pediatrics who specializes in studying infectious diseases.

Mary Cariola Children's Center has helped thousands of developmentally and medically challenged children and their families since opening its doors in 1949.

Now, according to Karen Zandi, the agency’s president, a new therapeutic respite program will allow the center to better serve youth with severe behavioral issues and their families.

“It's a very innovative program where we go into a family's home for a period of time, engage with them, and help assess what's the most challenging circumstance for them,” Zandi said.

The City plans to start a bike share system this spring, but it's up to the community to fund the initiative.

Reconnect Rochester, a local nonprofit, has launched a new crowdfunding campaign to pay for at least five of the bike stations.

The group is targeting its efforts toward neighborhoods which might not otherwise be funded by a corporate sponsor, along the northern edge of downtown and the Public Market areas.

RIT has won a competition by the federal government to lead the REMADE (Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions in Materials Manufacturing) Institute, a new clean energy manufacturing facility.

The initiative will help further technologies designed to conserve energy and reduce emissions. 


In Rochester’s refugee community, the lack of English language skills becomes even more prevalent when it comes to health issues.

Sarah Miner is a community health nurse who has been doing home care for the last six years.

About four years ago, she connected with Refugees Helping Refugees – an all-volunteer group of refugees and Americans working with refugees from many countries.

A new set of state laws have taken effect this year, one of them authorizing 16 and 17 year olds to make organ donations upon their death.

Previous law stated that the minimum age to make an anatomical gift was 18. As such, teens who applied through the Department of Motor Vehicles for a learner's permit could not register for the New York State Donate Life Registry.

Allowing young adults to register will subsequently increase donation rates, according to Nancy Ryan, the director of marketing and community relations for the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has been tracking disparities in health care across the country. And as WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons reports on this edition of Need to Know, local health professionals are trying to fill in some of the gaps. Watch the story about the Saratoga Pharmacy working to support low-income residents and refugees living in the City of Rochester.


After news that the current President and CEO was stepping down from the role, the Center for Dispute Settlement in Rochester has announced its replacement. Frank Liberti had been working with the Center since 2009 when he was offered the job.

The Center attributes Liberti's proven track record to what helped set him apart from other candidates. Liberti said as the incoming President and CEO, he aims to increase the Center's presence within the community.