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: How to help children understand their emotions during the pandemic

The holidays will look different this year for many families. How are children handling that and all of the changes that have come with the pandemic? What can caregivers and educators do to recognize when kids may be struggling? We talk with the experts about how to help children understand their emotions during this difficult time. Our guests: JoAnne Pedro-Carroll , Ph.D., clinical psychologist, author, and speaker Melanie Funchess , director of community engagement and family support at...


Connections: Are food delivery apps hurting restaurants?

Are food delivery apps hurting restaurants? Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart has announced legislation that would cap how much third-party vendors, like Grubhub and Uber Eats and DoorDash, can charge businesses. Under the measure, delivery fees would be limited to 15 percent, and fees associated with customers using their apps for takeout services would be limited to 5 percent. The companies would also be prohibited from garnishing driver’s wages to make up any difference in profit....


Connections: Is it time to abolish the Electoral College?

Is it time to abolish the Electoral College? The question gained traction after the 2016 election, and has been the subject of heated debate in this election cycle. Some critics say the Electoral College is an antiquated, undemocratic process that promotes minority rule. Some supporting it say it counteracts human impulses and protects the nation from dangers inherent in democracy. We discuss the issue from several angles with our guests: Allen Guelzo , director of the Initiative on Politics...


Connections: Understanding the Orange Zone restrictions for parts of Monroe County

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that parts of Monroe County have reached Orange Zone status. The designation comes with restrictions that go into effect on Wednesday. Businesses deemed high-risk and non-essential -- such as personal care salons, barber shops, and gyms -- must close. Restaurants will be limited to outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout. Schools will close to in-person instruction until they meet testing requirements. This hour, our guests help us understand the new...


Connections: Discussing arts education with leaders from the Memorial Art Gallery

The Memorial Art Gallery has a new director of academic programs. Dr. Nile Blunt brings his national and international experience in museum and arts education to Rochester's students. He began his position in late September. We talk to him about his goals for art education in Rochester. We also discuss how the MAG has adapted to the pandemic with director Jonathan Binstock. Our guests: Jonathan Binstock , Ph.D., Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery Nile Blunt ,...


Connections: How is remote learning going for local students and teachers?

How is remote learning going for local students and teachers? This hour, we hear from parents and a teacher about how their children and students are adapting to the virtual learning environment this fall. What's working? What are the challenges? What can be done to help keep students engaged and socialized over these virtual platforms? Our guests address these questions are more: Christina Knauf, parent of a pre-K student at CP Rochester, and ELA teacher-leader at East Lower School in the...


Connections: Discussing the state of transgender rights in 2020

Today marks the 2020 Transgender Day of Remembrance, and we're joined by transgender lawmakers and activists to discuss the state of trans rights. The ACLU reports that "in 2020, a record number of anti-trans bills are making their way through state legislatures." Our guests discuss what has changed in recent years, and the role they think lawmakers and citizens have in helping to create a more equitable society. Our guests: Danica Roem , delegate in the Virginia House of Delegates, who was...


Connections: The debate over wiping out student loan debt

The incoming Biden administration is considering an executive order that could wipe out a significant amount of student loan debt. Our guests discuss their perspectives on how such a move would impact Americans. Our guests: Carlton Galbreath , professor and director of the Business Management Program at Missoula College Rynn Reed , local political activist


Connections: Jen Lunsford, assemblymember-elect in the 135th District

The 135th Assembly District race was called Tuesday night, and Democrat Jen Lunsford won by a narrow margin. Incumbent Mark Johns, who was seeking a fifth term, led with 55% of the vote after Election Day. But after counting absentee ballots, Lunsford pulled ahead by 684 votes. She joins a group of young Democrats headed to Albany for their first term. We talk to Lunsford about the state of the party and her priorities for the district. Our guest: Jen Lunsford , assemblymember-elect in the...


Connections: Discussing ideas for how to gather - or not gather - for Thanksgiving

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? As the COVID-19 infection rate rises both locally and across the country, families are weighing how to handle the holiday. Some families are starting new traditions with food drop offs and virtual gatherings. Others are scaling down their get-togethers to adhere to Governor Cuomo's mandate that limits indoor gatherings to 10 people. The decisions can come with stress, or even conflict, when families disagree about approaches. WXXI reporters Noelle Evans...


Connections: How to have - or avoid - difficult conversations during Thanksgiving

It's a question we ask each year before the Thanksgiving: how can we have - or avoid - difficult conversations about politics or race-related issues around the Thanksgiving dinner table? A heated election season, political polarization, and tensions surrounding national news events have many families wondering how to handle disagreements or uncomfortable discussions during the holiday. Our guests share tips for how to have productive conversations about difficult subjects or how to redirect...


Connections: Dr. Michael Mendoza on the state of COVID-19 in Monroe County

We're joined by Dr. Michael Mendoza, Monroe County Public Health Commissioner. He discusses the rising number of local coronavirus cases, the impact on the local medical system, and what comes next. Our conversation includes a focus on schools, businesses, and holiday travel. We take your questions as well. Our guest: Michael Mendoza , M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner


Connections: Paul Hypolite on reshaping the field of American lobbying

Rochester native Paul Hypolite is trying to change the way America thinks about lobbyists. His recent op-ed for the Gotham Gazette is titled, "I am a Black Lobbyist. My Profession Must Change." He writes, "By dedicating themselves to work for the public good, lobbyists can save democracy and restore the American dream." Hypolite's goal is nothing less than reshaping the entire field of American lobbying - and he has very specific ideas of how to do it. Our guest: Paul Hypolite , founder of...


Connections: Local restaurant and bar staff on the latest pandemic rules and challenges

Restaurants, bars, and other establishments with state-issued liquor licenses are adapting to the latest pandemic rules from Albany. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that beginning last Friday, restaurants and bars throughout the state must close at 10 p.m. to indoor dining. The restriction was one of a new series of rules meant to curb the spread of the virus as the infection rate continues to rise. The New York State Restaurant Association slammed the decision, with president...


Connections: The Landmark Society's 2020 "Five to Revive"

We discuss the Landmark Society's annual Five to Revive – a list of local spaces and places they've pinned for historic preservation and revitalization. We talk about this year's list. Our guests: Wayne Goodman, executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York Brad Huber, member of the Five to Revive Committee George Fontenette, member of the Clarissa St. Reunion Committee Briana Williams, Teen Empowerment youth history ambassador Kim Brumber, 67-89 Canal Street David...


Connections: How small business owners are adapting to recent pandemic challenges

COVID-19 transmission is up across the country and hospitalizations for people suffering from the virus are at an all-time high. Could we see a second economic shutdown? How are local small businesses adapting to the rise in cases and the winter months? We talk with three local small business owners. Our guests: Tanvi Asher, owner of Peppermint Boutique Erica Walther Schlaefer, owner of Juniper Gifts and Local Art Charles Moreland, co-owner of the Rochester Parkour Gym


Connections: Celebrating 50 years of Garth Fagan Dance

Sunday, November 15 marks the 50th anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance . We talk with members of the critically acclaimed company about its history, its remarkable work, and its future. Our guests: Garth Fagan, founder for Garth Fagan Dance William Ferguson, acting executive director of Garth Fagan Dance, and personal assistant to Garth Fagan Natalie Rogers-Cropper, school director and assistant rehearsal director for Garth Fagan Dance Norwood Pennewell, rehearsal director at Garth Fagan Dance,...


Connections: Conor Dwyer Reynolds, executive director of Rochester's Police Accountability Board

On Tuesday evening, City Council unanimously approved Conor Dwyer Reynolds as the first executive director of Rochester's Police Accountability Board (PAB) . That decision came after a tense confirmation hearing and questions about the board's independence. We talk to Dwyer Reynolds and PAB Board Chair Shani Wilson about their goals for the PAB, and the state of police-community relations in Rochester. Our guests: Conor Dwyer Reynolds, executive director of the Rochester Police...


Connections: Understanding the role of the Office of Renewable Energy Siting

We have a conversation about the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting . The office streamlines and expedites the siting of large-scale renewable energy projects in the state. We talk about the office's goals with local climate leaders. Our guests: Neely Kelly, renewable energy advocate and community organizer David Alicea, NY lead organizing representative for the Sierra Club Dominique LePoutre, Caledonia resident


Connections: Abraham Foxman on a path to eliminating bigotry in America

Abe Foxman, the past president of the Anti-Defamation League, said that Donald Trump pulled the lid off the sewer of American bigotry. Foxman is participating virtually in an event sponsored by Nazareth College . The question now is, what is the best path to eliminating bigotry in this country? Our guests: Abraham Foxman , director and chairman of the Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, executive director of the...