WXXI AM News

Veronica Volk

Enterprise Reporter/Producer

Veronica Volk is the Enterprise Reporter for WXXI News, investigating and exploring issues impacting different communities in Rochester, Monroe County, and beyond. Previously, she reported on environmental and economic issues facing the people and wildlife of Lake Ontario for Great Lakes Today.

She is also the producer of Exited, a podcast about young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities transitioning into life after public school, and producer and co-host of the true-crime podcast Finding Tammy Jo along with Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle.

Veronica got her start as a reporter in the Bronx for WFUV Public Radio, and later rose to senior producer of their weekly public affairs show Cityscape. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University and is originally from the Jersey Shore, which is nothing like how it is portrayed on MTV.

Ways to Connect

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

You may have seen pictures of two local men go viral: a barber giving a man a haircut on the sidewalk because the shop wasn’t accessible by wheelchair.

But since the story went national, it’s raised questions about how people with disabilities are covered in the media.

Devin Hamilton is 30 years old. He's an engineer working in Webster, and he has cerebral palsy. He says one day, he decided to get a haircut at Joe's Upscale Barbershop, a few blocks from where he works. But when he rode his wheelchair over there, he didn't see a ramp.

GLISA Website

A Great Lakes conference hopes to bridge gaps between different people working in climate adaptation.

Dr. Daniel Wildcat is a professor at Haskall Indian Nations University, who recently wrote a book about the importance of including the knowledge of indigenous peoples in the fight against climate change.

"Before any of us in this room thought in boxes, before any of working in silos, before any of us did research that was prescribed, and detailed in our disciplines and methodologies of choice we employ, our ancestors learned, worked, thought, researched out of doors."

Six local school districts are partnering with the University of Rochester's Warner School to bring classrooms into the digital future.

The National Science Foundation had awarded the partners $3 million for a project to help train teachers to provide digitally-rich instruction. That means teaching in a classroom where students use mainly laptops and tablets to learn material and complete assignments.

greatlakesadopt.org

Across the Great Lakes, thousands of people are expected to descend on beaches this weekend -- but not to swim.

Jennifer Caddick is a spokesperson for the Great Lakes Alliance. She says every year, in September, they help organize hundreds of beach clean ups across the Great Lakes. Volunteers collect, and categorize the trash they find, more than 85 percent of which is plastic.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Just hours after the owner of the Rochester Knighthawks lacrosse team announced he was moving the team to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the owners of the Buffalo Sabres are stepping in to keep a team here in Rochester.

Terry and Kim Pegula have announced they have been awarded a franchise in the National Lacrosse League. Their company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment, is also making a significant investment in the arena, which will help pay for a new center-hung electronic score board that is currently being installed.

People are catching record-breaking salmon in Lake Ontario this year. A report from the Department of Environmental Conservation says veteran anglers are reporting some of the best fishing in decades.

Steve LePan is a section head with the DEC for Great Lakes Fisheries.

"It's not just chinook salmon. There are a number of salmon species in the lake that we stock, and so fishing overall for all trout and salmon is also at a record-high level."

LePan credits favorable conditions for the high catch rates.

www.greenquinte.com

According to the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, nine people drowned in the Great Lakes over Labor Day weekend, including one unidentified man found in Lake Ontario near Wilson, NY.

Dave Benjamin is the co-founder of the GLSRP. They’ve been tracking drowning deaths since 2010, and he says this was the deadliest Labor Day Weekend they’ve recorded.

"People don’t look at drowning as a public health issue," he said. "They look at it as a recreational issue."

U.S. military veterans are a vulnerable population, susceptible to high rates of disease and injury, mental health issues – and addiction.

At the VA Medical Center in Canandaigua, some veterans are turning to music to help them through recovery. Last year, a group of veterans in a music therapy program decided to take their jam sessions to the next level. They formed the deFenders.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Two Rochester Police Department officers accused of excessive force have been suspended without pay, according to city officials.

The Monroe County District Attorney's office is also looking into possible criminal charges.

Mayor Lovely Warren says she was angered by the incident.

The City of Rochester has adopted new, accessible construction guidelines.

Stephanie Woodward is the Director of Advocacy at the Center for Disability Rights in Rochester.

"It was certainly a windy road to get here, but the point is that we got here."

Woodward says the CDR has been working tirelessly with the city in order to make sure people with disabilities have access to accessible, affordable, and integrated housing in Rochester.

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