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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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:

  • How charter schools are funded and managed;
  • Ethics questions in Monroe County government;
  • Mental health and relationships, following the double-murder suicide in Geneseo;
  • A new documentary about a local program that uses literacy to reconnect children with their incarcerated parents;
  • The book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, by Pamela Newkirk;
  • 70s music and the artists we've recently lost.

We talk about the recent losses to popular music: David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Paul Kantner, and now Maurice White. Our guest, John Covach, is the Director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester. We listen to some of the classics and John will explain why each artist connected with such a large audience. We also preview a weekend Pop Institute show that will focus on 70's prog rock.

Geva's new production of To Kill a Mockingbird hits the stage February 16, and the theatre is tying threads throughout the local arts community. Students from School of the Arts (SOTA) are shadowing their professional counterparts, culminating in their own chance to perform the show. The George Eastman Museum will screen the Oscar-winning film version of To Kill a Mockingbird next week. And Writers & Books will host a class called "Re-Imagining To Kill a Mockingbird," allowing the public to get closer to the story before the production opens on stage. Our guests:

  • Mark Cuddy, artistic director, Geva Theatre Center
  • Skip Greer, playing Atticus Finch on the Geva stage
  • Catherine Yeager, member of the Moving Image Team, George Eastman Museum
  • Lorie Dengler Dewey, director of SOTA’s To Kill A Mockingbird and SOTA drama faculty member
  • Bill McDonough, student actor

Libraries say the state is short-changing them, and the fight is on. We talk about how libraries use public funding -- often to provide internet access to people who don't otherwise have it. We also discuss the future of libraries. How are they adapting to technology? Our guests:

First hour: The future of libraries

Second hour: To Kill a Mockingbird on the Geva stage; remembering 70s music and the recent pop music losses

In 1906, the Bronx Zoo opened a new exhibition in its Monkey House. Thousands of visitors flocked to see the highly controversial “attraction” – a 103-pound, four-foot, eleven-inch Congolese man named Ota Benga, who was caged with an orangutan. His story, and society’s response, is told in a new book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, by journalist Pamela Newkirk.

Newkirk is in Rochester this week to talk about the book and the media’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter Movement. She will give two lectures at the University of Rochester. She joins us in studio for a preview.

In the United States, more than two million Americans are in prison, and 50 percent of those inmates have children under the age of 18. That means more than 1 in 28 children have a parent in prison, up from 1 in 125 children 25 years ago.

In Ontario County, volunteers have teamed up to help re-connect families through literacy: the Storybook Program offers imprisoned parents the opportunity to record audiocassettes or CDs of themselves reading to their children. The program is the subject of a new documentary called Turn the Page, which has been submitted for the Unite Rochester Challenge. It will be screened at The Little Theatre on February 11.

We discuss the Storybook Program, the documentary, and the prison system in America. Our guests:

  • Linda Moroney, filmmaker and director of Turn the Page
  • Claire Kremer, founder of the Storybook Project
Harper Collins

First hour: Reconnecting imprisoned parents with their children through literacy

Second hour: Journalist Pamela Newkirk and her book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga

First Fridays in Rochester are expanding to several new venues. We talk about the local arts scene and preview this month's First Friday with a look at how the scene is growing. Our guests:

We talk about mental health, relationships, breaking up, and the recent tragedy at Geneseo. Our panel discusses the broader issue of what happens when someone in a relationship -- typically a woman, but not always -- is in potential danger. We talk about culture and notions of ownership. Our guests:

  • Pamela Graham, prevention education and training coordinator, Willow Domestic Violence Center of Rochester
  • Michael Scharf, M.D., director of psychiatry residency and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship training; and chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Sara Shipley, wellness education programmer, St. John Fisher College

*At the end of the hour, Dr. Scharf mentions a report about mental health care for children. That story was by written WXXI's Beth Adams, and is available here.