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.

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Tianna Mañón/ WXXI news

Nazareth College is building a new state-of-the-art sports facility on campus that will also help promote inclusivity.

Tim Shriver, the chair of the Special Olympics, attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the event. It was a windy day on campus, which Shriver took as a good sign.

“In this country right now, the winds of change are blowing," he said. "They’re blowing here for us to remind us that we have to be the agents of that change.”

Construction has already begun on the Golisano Training Center at Nazareth College, which will host regional Special Olympics events and be used to help athletes.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Special Olympics, and Rochester’s own history with the event goes back almost as long.


Veronica Volk/Great Lakes Today / WXXI News

It looks like Lake Ontario may have already reached its peak high for the season, which is good news for lakefront home owners and business owners.

The Rochester City School Board is considering changing the name of School 12 to honor Frederick Douglass. But the school is already named after a famous Rochesterian – James P.B. Duffy.

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The search continues for 14-month old Owen Hidalgo-Calderon in Sodus after his mother was found dead last week. His mother’s boyfriend appeared in court today.

Joy Road is quiet, nothing but the wind rolling through orchards and the occasional roar of a distant car on a country road.

You wouldn’t know it, but behind the neat rows of peach trees and some dense woods, dozens of police officers are fanned out across acres and acres of farm land, looking for Owen

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Researchers at the University of Rochester are developing ways to improve lie detection, with the hope that it could lead to more accurate airport screenings.

Currently, the way a TSA agent decides who is hiding something is pretty basic: Agents have a set of guidelines, called a behavior detection program, to help them seperate truth from fiction.

The guidelines identify behaviors from wearing certain attire to displaying exaggerated emotions to yawning as possible indicators of deceit.

The program has been called into question.

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Editor's note: Parents are outraged at the apparent mismanagement of special education in the Rochester City School District. In the second of two stories about the district's special education program, the recent budget proposal aims to address some of parents' concerns, but some worry it doesn't go far enough.

In a lot of ways, this year’s school budget is like any other year. Almost $1 billion spread out across 53 schools and almost 30,000 kids. Positions added, positions cut, a deficit that needs balancing.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Editor's note: The tragic death of a Rochester School District special education student who wandered away from his school unnoticed stunned and outraged the community. In the first of two stories about the district's special education program, parents of students with disabilities are calling for changes.

The Rev. Marilyn Cunningham is pastor of Graves Memorial CME Church in Rochester. She’s also a mother and grandmother.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

The New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct recommends that City Court Judge Leticia Astacio is removed from office. The commission says that Astacio has 30 days to accept or appeal the decision.

If Astacio requests an appeal, the Court of Appeals may decide to uphold the commission’s decision, impose a different decision which could include admonition, censure, or removal, or the Court may take no action.  An appeal would take three to five months. If Astacio doesn’t request an appeal, the Court of Appeals will remove her from the bench.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Kenneth Eastwood’s appointment as distinguished educator to the Rochester City School District has been rescinded.

A statement from the New York State Education Department said Eastwood could not come to an agreement with the school board regarding his contract.

But School Board President Van White said he was surprised by the decision.

"We were engaged in negotiations," he said via phone, "and actually had set aside office space [for Eastwood] in central office."

Eastwood's appointment was scheduled to begin April 25.

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