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Connections

Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370 or WRUR-FM 88.5 in Rochester and WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

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Ways to Connect

What is a real CSA? Some local farmers feel that once the local food movement became popular, a lot of businesses have started calling themselves a CSA without really following the original ideas, putting actual CSA farms at risk of losing customers. In other words, your CSA might not really be a CSA, and smaller farms could be hurt by this.

We talk to several local farmers, including a woman who has created a charter to define what a CSA is -- just in time for CSA Day on Friday. Our guests:

Heroin has exploded as a problem in the United States, and it doesn't discriminate: rural communities, city neighborhoods. WROC-TV's Adam Chodak recently reported on several aspects of the problem in Rochester, along with the debate over solutions. Drop-off treatment centers? Needle exchange? Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

We discuss the various approaches with our guests:

  • Adam Chodak, WROC-TV anchor
  • Matt Woodring, advocate and former addict
  • Miguel Melendez, special projects director for Ibero-American Development Corporation

First hour: Debating how to handle the heroin epidemic

Second hour: Defining what a CSA is -- and is not

The annual push to "End the R-Word" is back on. Is it working? Last year, a comedian in a Showtime special delivered a deeply insulting rant about people with mental disabilities. The term still comes up on occasion in pop culture.

We check in with our guests:

The story of what the late Assemblyman Bill Nojay did -- his scams, his lies, his theft -- is only known because of the work of reporters Steve Orr and Gary Craig. They pushed to have records unsealed, and they chased down many threads to a strange and sad tale of deception.

Steve and Gary join us to explain how they pulled the entire, complex story together, and what questions they still would like to answer.

First hour: D&C reporters explain how they cracked the story of Bill Nojay's scandal

Second hour: Ending the R-word

Bob Duffy recently called the state to make permanent its economic development council framework. "It works," Duffy wrote in the D&C. He says states have to adopt some business principles, like fostering competition, to be successful.

So we sit down with leaders of the Rochester Finger Lakes Council to discuss jobs, growth, and why they believe it's worth the investment. They respond to critics, and we get an update on what to expect from photonics. Our guests from the council:

Students in the wealthiest school districts in New York State enjoy the highest per-pupil funding -- sometimes as high as $70,000 per pupil. Poorer districts can operate with roughly $15,000 per pupil. This disparity is part of the debate over school aid funding.

New York spends 87% more than the national average on education, but it's wildly imbalanced. Governor Cuomo's team defends the formula but agrees that it should be updated; critics across the state want changes. We discuss it with a panel of educational leaders:

  • Kimberle Ward, superintendent of Gates Chili Central School District
  • Mark Linton, superintendent of East Rochester Union Free Central School District
  • Dave Green, assistant superintendent for finance and operations at East Rochester Union Free Central School District

First hour: Examining the state's school funding plan

Second hour: Danny Wegman, Anne Kress, and Vincent Esposito from the Regional Economic Development Council

It's a small business success story -- an African-American-owned restaurant that has become a quiet magnet in the city of Rochester. The Arnett Cafe relies on word of mouth, and four years after opening, there are plenty of words being passed around town about it.

We sit down with co-owner Norman Brown, who grew up nearby in the 19th Ward. But Brown moved away after school, following a business path, and never expected to come home to Rochester. We explore why he did, and how he views the changes in both his city and his old neighborhood.

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