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: What should legalizing cannabis look like in New York State?

New York State is on a path to legalizing recreational marijuana. Governor Cuomo says the time has come to allow adult use, regulated by New York State, and benefiting communities that have been disproportionately affected by the so-called "War on Drugs." So what would legal cannabis look like in this state? And what should it look like? Our guests: Jawanza James Williams , director of organizing at VOCAL-NY , and member of the StartSMART NY campaigns Meaghan Feenan , member of the statewide...


Connections: Local landlords discuss their struggles during the pandemic

We talk to landlords about the struggles they are experiencing during the pandemic. Large corporations that own properties are doing quite well, but many properties are owned by local individuals who are struggling to pay their mortgages. They're concerned that landlords are being stereotyped. We discuss it with our guests, who are landlords: Pastor Fritz Longabaugh Pat Gallagher Karl Weekes


Connections: What you need to know when it's your turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccine

What do you need to know when it's your turn to receive a COVID-19 vaccine? We've talked with local vaccine recipients who have shared their experiences with us. Some have said the language used in the vaccine fact sheets and disclosure forms is confusing. The vaccines are safe and have been vetted, but what's the difference between Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and FDA approval ? How long will we have to wear masks and practice physical distancing? Our guests answer your questions, and...


Connections: Discussing workplace debates about COVID-19 vaccines

What can employers do if workers refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19? What can employees do if they don't want a vaccine, but are being told they must get one? Where are the lines drawn? Who is protected by the law? These workplace debates about vaccines are already popping up. Our guests are attorneys who try to help us navigate these questions: Karlee Bolaños , attorney with Bolaños Lowe Jack Tuckner, founding partner of Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser Elizabeth Cordello , chair of...


Connections: Reactions to Governor Cuomo's 2021 state budget address

We hear reaction to Governor Cuomo's 2021 state budget address from our guests: Assemblymember Jen Lunsford , District 135 Karen DeWitt , Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio


Connections: Should Marvel Comics retire The Punisher?

Marvel Comics is facing pressure to stop using one of its most popular symbols and characters. During the riot at the U.S. Capitol, multiple extremists were wearing the signature skull symbol worn by Marvel's Frank Castle, also known as The Punisher. The character is a kind of anti-hero, and employs torture and violence to achieve his goals. Some Marvel fans are asking the comic book publisher to consider a different set of options: instead of retiring The Punisher, or at least the logo,...


Connections: Congressman Joe Morelle on impeachment and pandemic relief

Congressman Joe Morelle joins us. We talk to him about impeachment, the riot at the Capitol, and the incoming administration. We also discuss the next round of pandemic stimulus – what’s in it, what’s not in it, and what struggling Americans need to know. Our guest: Congressman Joe Morelle


Connections: Medical experts from Rochester Regional Health on the state of the pandemic

We continue our conversations with local doctors and nurses on the frontlines of treating COVID-19. Last week, we heard from a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and this hour, we hear from their colleagues at Rochester Regional Health. They discuss the state of the virus in the community, what they are seeing in hospitals, and what they’d like the community to know about how to get through the next months as we wait for vaccines. Our guests: Chris Reynolds , M.D.,...


Connections: Understanding impeachment and the 25th Amendment

We talk with local legal and political science experts about national conversations surrounding impeachment and the possible use of the 25th Amendment. On Monday, House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump. A vote is scheduled for Wednesday to charge Trump with “inciting violence against the government of the United States.” Our guests explain what we need to know about impeachment, the 25th Amendment, and what could happen next. Our guests: Aaron Herold ,...


Connections: Discussing UCLM's police reform proposals

The United Christian Leadership Ministry has announced its proposals related to changes to policing in Monroe County. The proposals come in response to Governor Cuomo’s executive order on police reform. UCLM’s recommendations include a citizen review panel, additional training for officers, and racial justice education. We discuss the proposals with our guests: Reverend Lewis Stewart , president of United Christian Leadership Ministry Reverend Wanda Wilson, team leader for the UCLM police...


Connections: Previewing ABC's conference, "Racism as a Public Health Crisis"

Leaders at Action for a Better Community are gearing up to host a conference on racism, health, and the pandemic. It's called "Racism as a Public Health Crisis - Attacking the Two Pandemics." The multi-day virtual event kicks off this week. Speakers will address how to heal communities, how to boost hurting economies, and how to help families thrive during a global pandemic that is widening disparities in health, wealth, and justice. We preview the conference this hour with our guests:...


Connections: Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart on the State of the State

Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart listened to Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State on Monday. During the briefing, he addressed access to broadband. It's an issue Barnhart has been working on throughout her term. She joins us to weigh in on the governor's comments and the state of broadband access in Monroe County. Our guest: Rachel Barnhart , Monroe County Legislator, 21st District


Connections: Local emergency room staff on medical systems nearing disaster conditions

Local emergency room doctors and nurses reached out to Connections because they have been disturbed by what they are seeing. They fear the community is still not taking this phase of the pandemic seriously enough. They say the region's medical systems are nearing disaster conditions, which could translate to significant mortality. We're joined by four members of the University of Rochester Medical Center's team, who share their first-hand experiences and perspectives. Our guests: Justin...


Connections: Dr. Robert Biernbaum of Trillium Health on vaccines; Erica Fee, trial participant

We talk with Dr. Robert Biernbaum, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Trillium Health. Dr. Biernbaum discusses vaccine distribution and responds to Governor Cuomo's criticism of local health leaders. Then, we hear from a local vaccine trial participant who learned this week when her study was unblinded that she received the Pfizer vaccine. Erica Fee is the producer of the Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival. We talk to her about her experience and how the pandemic has affected...


Connections: How New Zealand is handling the pandemic

We talk with a former Rochester resident who recently moved back to his native New Zealand -- a country where there has been no community transmission of COVID-19 since November 18th. Mike Johansson left the U.S. on December 29th and has been quarantining in a barricaded hotel in Christchurch since he arrived. The country has strict protocol for travelers, and Johansson has been documenting his experience in isolation. He joins us to discuss how it's going, how New Zealand is handling the...


Connections: Discussing Wednesday's events at the U.S. Capitol

We discuss the extraordinary and horrific events that unfolded in Washington, D.C. Wednesday. We're joined by people who have worked in the U.S. Capitol. Our guests: Sarah Clark , New York State Assemblymember, 136th District, who formerly worked for Senator Hillary Clinton and served as Deputy State Director for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Alex Yudelson , former Obama White House Aide


Connections: Is Rochester becoming a hub for the field of textual science?

Students at RIT are making international news for a discovery they made related to medieval manuscripts. The students developed a system that uses ultraviolet-florescence imaging to read text that's invisible to the naked eye. In their process, they discovered lost text on a 15th-century manuscript, revealing it was a palimpsest -- a manuscript on parchment with multiple layers of writing. The discovery and the system the students created will help libraries around the world learn more about...


Connections: Discussing the impact of the Georgia Senate runoff elections

We discuss the results of the Georgia Senate runoff elections and the impact they will have on the U.S. Senate. Democrat Raphael Warnock, an Atlanta pastor, defeated Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler. Warnock becomes Georgia's first Black senator, and the eleventh in U.S. history. The second runoff contest between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican incumbent David Perdue has not yet been decided, but Ossoff is leading. If he is victorious, the Senate will be in a 50-50 tie, making Vice...


Connections: How are local school districts heading into the start of 2021?

How are local school districts heading into the start of 2021? We talk with the superintendents of Brighton, Greece, and West Irondequoit Central School Districts about their plans for the pandemic winter. Parts of each of those towns were designated as Orange Zones before Thanksgiving. Under the state’s rules, school buildings within Orange Zones must close to in-person learning for at least four calendar days and cannot reopen until testing criteria is met. During his press briefing...


Connections: Examining the state of arts funding in Monroe County

“If Rochester is a 'City of the Arts,' why don't we fund the arts?” That’s the central question and the title of CITY Magazine’s January cover story . In a deep dive on the state of local arts funding, CITY editor David Andreatta and arts editor Rebecca Rafferty report that “Although dozens of organizations make up Rochester’s arts and cultural scene, Monroe County legislators did what they have done for decades and allocated most of the largesse to a handful of stalwart groups.” The formula...