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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AP

Pope Francis has nominated twenty new cardinals as part of moves to diversify the voices within the Vatican.

Many of the new cardinals are from the global south, and some of the appointees represent countries that have never had a voice in the Vatican before.

Father George Heyman is the President of Saint Bernard's School of Theology and Ministry in Pittsford. He says Pope Francis appears to be trying to reflect the growing diversity of the Catholic Church.

RPD

The Rochester Police Department Reorganization Plan splits the city into five different sections, as opposed to the current two-section model, with each section under the jurisdiction of its own captain.

Despite a snowstorm and temperatures in the single digits, residents came out to the Northeast Service Center to meet the new section captain of the Clinton Section.

Tina MacIntyre-Yee / DandC

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of a school bus crash on Hudson Ave, including the health of the driver.

Driver Edwin Rivera DeJesus was pronounced dead on scene at the sight of the crash. He was 30-years-old.

A spokesman from DeJesus' bus company says the accident appears to have been caused by a sudden health incident, like a major heart attack. But according to the company, DeJesus didn't have any pre-existing conditions.

Oklahoma Mesonet

There's a science behind using observations collected on earth to make forecasts. Brockport Professor Scott Rochette teaches it.

"The forecast process that I talk about with my students is a four-step process and the first process is observations. If you don't have observations and measurements, you don't have anything."

Photo: Lakeworther, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Malt barley is a temperamental little plant. It needs to be brought up in very specific conditions in order to yield a quality beer. Adverse weather can destroy entire harvests, like this past season in Idaho, where heavy rains took 80 percent of their crop.

That’s why Senator Schumer is pushing for insurance for New York malt barley farmers.

“There are just too many obstacles, risk, and cost standing in the way. And our job here will be to get federal crop insurance for malt barley here in New York state, and then malt barley will take off.”

Texas Tech University

After snow buried Buffalo in November, Governor Cuomo said the development of a state-wide weather detection system will lead to better forecasting.

The statewide network of weather monitoring stations is called the mesonet.

Typically, each station’s a thirty-three-foot high tower in the middle of a clearing, equipped with all kinds of weather instruments like temperature gauges and wind vanes. 

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Rochester’s New Year’s Eve downtown celebrations kick off at 5:30 Wednesday night, with indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family.

Kids and families skate free from 5:30-7:30 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Park Ice Rink, and adults can take over the rink at 8:30.

There are also bouncy houses, clowns, photo booths, a family DJ and more at the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Kara Osipovitch organizes special events for the city. She says these kinds of gatherings are essential for a healthy community.

"Having events downtown is incredibly important. We are encouraging people to continue their family traditions downtown and make new ones if they're new to the area. You know, we want to be a part of people's holiday tradition and offering these events is a way for us to ensure that happens."

Veronica Volk / WXXI

A new plan for managing Lake Ontario’s water level makes shore property owners feel threatened.

The International Joint Commission oversees the management of Lake Ontario. For fifty years, a hydro-electric dam has regulated the naturally fluctuating shoreline. Frank Bevacqua of the IJC says scientific advancements show that the existing plan is harmful to the environment.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Rochester Police Officer Daryl Pierson was memorialized Friday during a blood drive at the Locust Club, headquarters for the police union.

Last September, Pierson was fatally shot during a traffic stop. He is survived by his wife, Amy, and two young children.

In his memory, the American Red Cross held a blood drive. Friends of the family and fellow officers dropped by to show their support, donate, and share stories over cookies and apple juice.

Locust Club President Ralph Gagliano was among the first to arrive.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Rochester Police are getting body cameras, according to an announcement by city officials. Mayor Lovely Warren joined Police Chief Michael Ciminelli in stressing the potential safety benefits for both police and citizens.

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