finger lakes

Residents in the Finger Lakes have been frustrated this summer by harmful blue-green algal blooms in the area's lakes. Beaches have been closed for swimming as scientists study the chemistry of the algae, which may cause toxins to be released into the water. It has been a problem in the Finger Lakes for many years, and with the impact of climate change, it could get worse.

This hour, our guests discuss the science behind the algae, the types of regulations and watershed plans they'd like to see developed to minimize the issue, and what the blooms mean for people living in the area. In studio:

  • Jim Howe, director of the Nature Conservancy in Central and Western New York
  • Tim Sellers, Ph.D., associate provost for academic innovation, professor of biology and environmental science, and director of the Center for Aquatic Research at Keuka College

A long-running battle over the environment is over at the southern end of Seneca Lake -- at least that’s how it appears, with the New York DEC deciding against allowing a big gas project in old salt caverns. The storage project would have a been a big one, and there was a lot of grassroots opposition on a number of grounds.

This hour, we examine what the DEC decided and why. It’s not just a question of safety; there’s more to it. We’re talking about community character and why this decision might impact future decisions and how grassroots organizers do their work. Our guests:

Incinerator company sues Finger Lakes resident, town boards

Jun 13, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

A Rochester company is suing the town of Romulus for the way it changed its zoning rules to ban trash incinerators. The lawsuit names the town council, the zoning board and one resident.


The company, Circular enerG, wants to build a trash incinerator near Seneca Lake in Romulus. They say the town violated state law when it made changes to its zoning code to prohibit incinerators like theirs.

Greg Cotterill / Finger Lakes Public Radio

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Geneva Wednesday to help debut the new Finger Lakes Welcome Center.

New York Kitchen, formerly the New York Wine and Culinary Center, will operate the Welcome Center.

Cuomo said it’s a perfect addition to the revitalization of Geneva. The center will provide tourists with information about local activities, sites and products.

One of 11 new welcome centers around the state, the Finger Lakes location is the first to sell New York-made wine, cider and beer. 

Our Take A Number series is exploring problems around the world through the lens of a single number.

It's about 7 p.m. on a chilly night, and Sirene Garcia is standing outside an apartment building about an hour's drive from Rochester, N.Y.

Even though Garcia has had a cold for the past few days, she has her laptop perched on the hood of her car, trying to test out the new telehealth program. Once the program kicks off, Finger Lakes Community Health's doctors and nurse practitioners will be able to see patients at their homes through video calls.

Is a trash incinerator in the Finger Lakes a good idea for economic reasons or is it a bad idea to keep more garbage in a tourism-centered place? The debate focuses on a proposed project that some say is a necessary jobs creator, while others call it a potential disaster for a region focused on agriculture and tourism.

Our guests debate the project.

  • Michael Warren Thomas, talk show host and advocate for the Finger Lakes region
  • Alan Knauf, lawyer representing Circular enerG

Keuka Spring Vineyards

The wildfires that are ravaging parts of Northern California are also impacting the large wine industry in that region. News of that devastation is on the mind of a Finger Lakes winemaker.

We're broadcasting from WEOS, Finger Lakes Public Radio, and we're talking about efforts to revitalize the music scene in downtown Geneva.

The Smith Center for the Arts recently brought in a new director and she has big plans for the performing arts venue. We talk with Susie Monagan about her vision. We also hear from the owner and the musical director of FLX Live, a music bar in downtown Geneva that's bringing new life to the scene. Our guests:

  • Susie Monagan, director of the Smith Center for the Arts
  • Ian Pattison, owner of FLX Live
  • Matthew Elkin, music director and talent buyer for FLX Live

We kick off our annual Summer of Food series with a conversation about women in the wine industry. We’re joined by organizers of an upcoming symposium hosted by the Finger Lakes chapter of Women for WineSense. The organization’s Grand Event later this month will cover a number of subjects, including the science of food and wine, how wine factors into a healthy lifestyle, how dessert wines fit into the craft cocktail scene, and more.

Our guests discuss current issues in the wine industry, and the origins of the Women for WineSense group: why it was formed, how it has evolved, and its goals for the future. Our guests:

  • Donna Schlosser Long, president of the Women for WineSense Finger Lakes Chapter
  • Katie Roller, co-chair for the Women for WineSense Grand Event
  • Michaela Rodeno, co-founder of Women for WineSense
  • Julie Johnson, co-founder of Women for WineSense

Why do so many of us have a negative perception about the town we grew up in? What could make that change? Studies show that negative self-image is a risk to our health. That extends to our view of our hometown or home region.

So for a moment, let's appreciate the work of Chris Clemens, who created Exploring Upstate in 2014. It's a website that highlights the beautiful, the interesting, the downright good around us. We've asked Chris to share his journey on creating the site and his view of upstate New York, warts and all.