WXXI AM News

Veronica Volk

Great Lakes Reporter/Producer

Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Reporter/Producer for WXXI News, exploring environmental and economic issues, water, and wildlife throughout the region for radio, television, and the web.

Previously, she worked general assignment for the newsroom, covering everything from medical marijuana dispensaries to the photonics industry. She is also producer and co-host of the true-crime podcast Finding Tammy Jo along with Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle.

Veronica got her start as an enterprise reporter in the Bronx for WFUV Public Radio, and later became the senior producer of their weekly public affairs show Cityscape. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University and is originally from the Jersey Shore, which is nothing like how it is portrayed on MTV.

Ways to Connect

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommends that City Court Judge Leticia Astacio is removed from office. The commission says that Astacio has 30 days to accept or appeal the decision.

If Astacio requests an appeal, the Court of Appeals may decide to uphold the commission’s decision, impose a different decision which could include admonition, censure, or removal, or the Court may take no action.  An appeal would take three to five months. If Astacio doesn’t request an appeal, the Court of Appeals will remove her from the bench.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Kenneth Eastwood’s appointment as distinguished educator to the Rochester City School District has been rescinded.

A statement from the New York State Education Department said Eastwood could not come to an agreement with the school board regarding his contract.

But School Board President Van White said he was surprised by the decision.

"We were engaged in negotiations," he said via phone, "and actually had set aside office space [for Eastwood] in central office."

Eastwood's appointment was scheduled to begin April 25.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

As the Rochester City School Board prepares to vote on a budget for the next school year, they are facing criticism for their bilingual and special education programs. A report from the Children's Agenda says even though the school district is proposing investments in these areas, there needs to be more transparency and oversight in the process.

Three years ago, Wailany Olio left her home in Puerto Rico and moved to Rochester. She brought her son, who is 8, and her daughter, who is 6.

David Marshall

Opioids can have devastating consequences for the people who abuse them, affecting their health, safety and freedom – but it doesn’t stop there.

Drug abuse can ruin the lives of people who never touch the substances themselves.

Stephanie Forrester is 37, from Fairport. She has two kids: a son and a daughter. She said they grew up around her addiction.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

After the death of Trevyan Rowe, a lot of people are asking what the Rochester City School District could have done differently. Some parents are saying this is not the first time the special education system has failed its students.

On a cold, rainy afternoon in March, several parents gather outside the central office of the city school board. Anna Kasserly is holding a sign that says, "We need change and we need it now."

"Why did we have to wait for this to happen?" she yells into the microphone. "Why we have to wait for him to lose his life?"

Seneca Pure Waters Association

Several experts from across the state and the country held a summit Monday evening at Monroe Community College to try to come up with solutions to the state's algal bloom problem.

This summit is the last of four; part of a initiative by Governor Andrew Cuomo to combat the issue.

As part of his state of the state last year, the governor said, "Now we have seen a new phenomenon in water quality in many of our upstate lakes and alarming increase in water pollution that is dramatically affecting the quality of our lakes."

Tianna Mañón / WXXI News

Everyone has a Louise Slaughter story. Whether it’s running into her at Wegmans, passing her in the airport, or seeing her at a restaurant in Fairport and then ending up in a conversation about health care, the environment or the latest tax bill.

But Slaughter didn’t just talk about policy. She had a reputation for treating Rochesterians with dignity and respect, and for being both fierce and friendly – a reputation she also carried with her in Washington, D.C.

At Slaughter's funeral, former Sen. Hillary Clinton remembered her fondly.

Water is being let out of Lake Ontario at record rates, but it’s doing little to relieve high water on the south shore, in New York. Last year, flooding caused millions of dollars in damage to residences and businesses, and in some areas drove people from their homes for months.

One neighborhood in Hamlin, New York, was hit particularly hard. Now, residents there say they fear another harsh flood season.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

In the Great Lakes region, toxic algae blooms are a big problem. Every summer, they leave a green sheen on parts of the Great Lakes – and on many smaller lakes. New York State has a new campaign to find solutions. But some question the approach.

In his lab at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Greg Boyer stands beside his mass spectrometer. This machine is analyzing the chemical makeup of algae samples, specifically, those that produce deadly toxins.

Malinda Ruit/WXXI News

People like Jonathan Jackson tend to have an entourage. An entourage can consist of professionals and family members who support someone with disabilities in all kinds of ways.

Often, family members do the bulk of caregiving, and as children grow up, questions arise: What will adulthood look like for them? Who will lead their future entourage? 

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