Connections with Evan Dawson-logo

Connections with Evan Dawson


WXXI's Evan Dawson talks about what matters to Rochester and the Finger Lakes on Connections, Every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, WRUR FM 88.5, and online at

WXXI's Evan Dawson talks about what matters to Rochester and the Finger Lakes on Connections, Every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, WRUR FM 88.5, and online at


Rochester, NY




WXXI's Evan Dawson talks about what matters to Rochester and the Finger Lakes on Connections, Every weekday from Noon-2 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, WRUR FM 88.5, and online at




Connections: Discussing how to talk to people who choose not to get vaccinated

Author Tom Nichols says the time has come to start shaming Americans who are declining to be vaccinated. Nichols says the prime targets of his frustration are white conservatives, and he should know something about that group, being a white conservative himself. But many health care providers caution against shaming and mocking, saying that patience and understanding are still required to increase the ranks of the vaccinated. Our guests debate it: Tom Nichols , contributing writer at The...


Connections: Understanding IUDs

The writer Olga Khazan recently sparked discussion when she mused about how painful an IUD can be. Women responded with their own stories, often frustrated that they weren't warned about how rough it could be. On the other hand, IUDs have helped drive down the rates of unwanted pregnancy and even abortion in some states. So how should we view IUDs? What should we know? Our guests: Dr. Rebecca Alicandro , obstetrics and gynecology specialist with Rochester Regional Health Audrey Sample...


Connections: A look at this summer's live music scene

In a recent piece for CITY Magazine , WXXI’s Jeff Spevak says this summer’s blossoming of events has caught him by surprise. He joins us to discuss the local live music scene, which includes events postponed from last year, new shows, and hybrid and virtual events. We also talk about how venues are handling pandemic safety measures. Our guests: Jeff Spevak , arts and life editor for WXXI News Danny Deutsch, owner of Abilene Bar and Lounge John Parkhurst, COO for the Rochester Broadway...


Connections: Should ShotSpotter be used to analyze cases?

Technology reporter Todd Feathers wrote an extensive piece for Vice's Motherboard about the police tool known as ShotSpotter. It's a piece of technology that supposedly offers accurate analysis of where and when gunshots were fired. It's been used countless times across the country. But Feathers reports that there is essentially no verification that it works, and police have sought to manipulate its findings -- including a case in Rochester. We discuss what we know about the technology and...


Connections: A fresh look at approaches to growing

Have you noticed colorful mushrooms in your yard or in local parks? It has been a very rainy July, and experts say fungi fruit under such wet conditions. It's a reminder of how much is happening underground, and perhaps, how little we think about that -- or how little control we have -- when it comes to caring for our lawns or green spaces. Are more people considering monoculture or should biodiversity be the goal? This hour, we take a fresh look at approaches to growing with our guests:...


Connections: Is political polling a dying enterprise?

Is American political polling a dying enterprise? Polls in 2016 were excellent at forecasting the final vote totals nationwide, but not nearly as good at forecasting outcomes in individual states. In 2020, polls under-counted support for Donald Trump even more than they did in 2016. Why is that? And if polling is in trouble, why are polls for other political races much more consistent and effective? What accounts for the differences? Our guests discuss it: Anthony Plonczynski Figueroa ,...


Connections: What kind of ethics reform is needed in Monroe County?

This week, ethics reform crashed and burned before it could take off in Monroe County. Republicans pulled back from a bill that could have forced Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza to resign. But what, exactly, is the kind of ethics reform that the county needs? Recently one legislator was accused of various kinds of harassment and sexual misconduct by roughly a dozen women, and there is no ethics standard that could trigger his removal. So, what's next? We discuss it with...


Connections: Discussing the benefits of nature with the team from Inclusive Woods & Us

How can nature play a role in fostering physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing? Lucienne Nicholson says the outdoors offer remarkable benefits in those areas. She founded an organization called Inclusive Woods & Us in 2019. The goal is to provide people from all backgrounds a chance to experience nature. Nicholson says race and income are the two most significant factors blocking equitable access to the outdoors. This hour, we talk about the mission of her organization, and about how...


Connections: Previewing the Young Entrepreneur Marketplace

The Young Entrepreneur Marketplace is gearing up for its sixth event. All of the products at this “buy local” experience are made by Rochester-area kids and teens. It’s an opportunity for them to start or continue their entrepreneur journey. We talk with the young business owners and the program’s founder about their work. Our guests: Julius Davis, co-CEO of Kid Drip LLC Jayell Davis, co-CEO of Kid Drip LLC Jair Bell, co-CEO of Kid Drip LLC Silas Alvarez, CEO and creator of @Socially Silas...


Connections: How children's immune systems could be affected by pandemic policies

From lockdowns to remote learning to wearing masks in public, experts say COVID-19 policies and procedures were effective in limiting exposure to the virus. But, more than a year later, those experts say that there’s a reason to be concerned about children’s immunological development being compromised. Writing for The Conversation, viral immunologist Byram Bridle says, “Raising children during the pandemic has largely occurred in isolated/sanitized environments that are unprecedented in...


Connections: What you need to know about composting

The City of Rochester has a new composting pilot program. We talk about what it entails, and our guests answer your questions about home composting. Our guests: Robert Putney , co-founder and CEO of Impact Earth Emily Pacifico , operations manager at Impact Earth John Hicks, president of Organix Green Industries


Connections: What we have learned about education during the pandemic, part 2

We continue our series of conversations with local teachers about what they've learned during the pandemic and how they think the education system should change in the long term. Our guests this hour share the challenges they’ve faced, the successes they’ve had, and how they could see their profession changing as a result of the pandemic. Our guests: Evvy Fanning, local high school English teacher Meagan Harris, special education teacher at the Rochester City School District Olivia Nieboer,...


Connections: Rochester's Puerto Rican Festival 2021

The Puerto Rican Festival is back. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year’s festivities will be different than in previous years: events will be held over two separate days at two different locations, and admission is free. One of the goals is to bring the festival to different parts of the city. This hour, we preview this year’s events and talk about the festival’s past, present, and future. Our guests: Orlando Ortiz, president of the Puerto Rican Festival Jessica...


Connections: Discussing COVID-19 booster shots

Are COVID-19 vaccine booster shots needed? Government health officials say they aren't necessary right now, but Pfizer and other companies are trying to make the case. How will we know how viable the boosters might be and when we might need them? What are the ethical responsibilities of a country like the U.S. that’s considering boosters when many people in some nations don’t even have their first doses? We're joined by the experts to discuss these questions are more. Our guests: Angela...


Connections: Julia Hoyle and Nova Cadamatre on diversifying the wine industry

There are more women making wine in the Finger Lakes than ever before, and yet the industry remains largely run by men. Efforts to diversify have been slow. Julia Hoyle was a women's studies major at William Smith College when she entered the wine industry; now she's the winemaker at Hosmer, where she's occasionally told she "drives the forklift like a man." Nova Cadamatre is the first woman winemaker to become a Master of Wine in the entire country; previously it was all men. Cadamatre...


Connections: Understanding the federal child tax credit

The Biden administration has launched the biggest anti-poverty program in more than half a century in this country. The money started rolling out last Thursday: checks to households in every state, aimed at helping more than 60 million children. Who gets the money, and how far will it go? Our guests break down what we need to know about this ambitious plan. Our guests: Pete Nabozny , director of policy for The Children's Agenda Yversha Roman , director of CASH (Creating Assets, Savings, and...


Connections: Remembering John Vito

We remember the life and legacy of John Vito, who passed away on July 7. Vito was the owner of O'Bagelo's and Baked & Carved restaurants. Both establishments were well known and well loved in the community. Kidney failure set Vito on a different path, and after he received a kidney transplant, he dedicated his time to writing cookbooks and recipes, creating nutrition plans, and producing a video series aimed at helping people living with chronic kidney disease. This hour, we remember John...


Connections: Discussing the SCOTUS decision on the NCAA and student athlete benefits

Late last month, the Supreme Court ruled that NCAA Division I football and men's basketball programs could provide new educational incentives to athletes. Writing for the Atlantic, Angel Pérez reports that the decision will help compensate athletes in commercially lucrative sports, especially those who come from low-income backgrounds. But, Pérez also writes that the move could widen the inequality gap, with universities offering new benefits to wealthy students. Our guests discuss the...


Connections: The documentary, "Summer of Soul"

The new documentary “Summer of Soul” is generating a lot of buzz. It’s part doc, part music, part historical record about the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. The footage was largely forgotten until now. Our guests discuss the film, the music in the context of a time of unrest, and more. It’s screening at the Little Theatre through this weekend. Our guests: Doug Curry , host of Blacks & Blues on WRUR Scott Wallace, host of Rejuvenation on WRUR Bill Seery, director of preservation services...


Connections: Discussing trends in summer travel

The surge in summer travel has dramatically increased the cost of going on vacation for most people. We examine the trends, and we look for alternatives that aren't quite so expensive for travelers. Our guests: Arian Horbovetz , creator of The Urban Phoenix Richard Trayford, co-owner of Letchworth Farm Bed and Breakfast Nicole Manapol, director of Letchworth Gateway Villages