WXXI AM News

Top Stories

Local civil rights leader Connie Mitchell has died

An iconic figure in Rochester’s political and civil rights movement has died. Constance Mitchell was 90 years old. She was originally from New Rochelle, downstate, and moved to Rochester with her husband John Mitchell in 1950. “Connie” as she was best known, was the first woman and the first African-American woman elected in Monroe County. She was elected to the Monroe County Board of Supervisors (the predecessor of the County Legislature) in 1961. She advocated for better living and working...

Read More
Nonhuman Rights Project

A judge in Orleans County has indicated she will likely rule that a case brought by an animal rights group seeking legal “personhood” for an elephant at the Bronx Zoo should be heard in Bronx County.

The case is about Happy, a 47-year-old Asian elephant who has been a focus of a group called the NonHuman Rights Project. It contends the elephant is an autonomous being who is suffering because she is isolated from other elephants.  The organization wants to see the elephant moved to an animal sanctuary.

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide, and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019.

Tianna Manon / WXXI News

What’s the future of funding the arts in Rochester? Local artists, officials and event organizers gathered at the Arts and Cultural Council Center Friday evening to discuss ways to fund Rochester arts in the future. 

The meeting, organized by City Councilmember Elaine Spaull, attracted more than three dozen artists or staff members at local major arts organizations, including the Rochester City Ballet and Writers & Books. 

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

President Trump said Friday evening that Mick Mulvaney, his director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be the acting White House chief of staff.

It's unclear how long Mulvaney will serve in the role, succeeding outgoing chief of staff John Kelly. Trump announced on Dec. 8 that Kelly would leave at the end of the year.

provided

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren has appointed a new city court judge.

Melissa Barrett will fill the spot left vacant after Leticia Astacio was removed from the bench in October by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Barrett currently serves as principal court attorney for Rochester City Court. She has also been an assistant public defender for Monroe County and an Assistant District Counsel for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Warren selected Barrett after she was recommended by the city’s Judicial Screening Committee.

New York State Department of Health

This is a busy time of year for Margarita Gonzalez. She’s an insurance navigator at Trillium Health in Rochester, and with the enrollment period for New Yorkers to get health coverage through the state’s marketplace ending Saturday night, she’s been getting a lot of calls.

“I probably touched base with five clients this morning,” Gonzalez said just after noon on Friday, “and I’ll probably have at least five more today.”

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • How parents react when they learn their children are part of the LGBTQ community;
  • A battle between insects: using samurai wasps to kill stink bugs;
  • How atheists feel about the concept of meaning.

What does a truly inclusive sports program look like? We sit down with members of the Unified Sports, an initiative whose teams include players with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their peers.

We hear from a Unified Sports athlete and from program organizers about how to create more inclusive schools and communities. In studio:

  • Nathan Johnson, senior director of the Unified Sports program for Special Olympics New York
  • Kyle Washburn, director of fitness for Special Olympics International
  • Jacob Booher-Babcock, Special Olympics New York athlete and a member of the Athlete Congress (Brockport)
  • Lesli Myers, superintendent of the Brockport Central School District

This story is reported from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk

The mayor of Ithaca has declared the city to be a “free range kids city.” Mayor Svante Myrick says he believes in the power of play, and Ithaca’s proclamation supports parents who give their kids unsupervised, unstructured play time.

This hour, we discuss the free-range parenting movement and how unstructured play can impact child development. We also talk about the barriers to free-range play and how parents can overcome them. Our guests:

The U.S. Department of Education is sending emails to about 15,000 people across the country telling them: You've got money.

Pages

Weather

News from NPR

This week in the Russia investigations: Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison ... Maria Butina pleaded guilty ... but the finish line looks no closer

You're reading NPR's weekly roundup of education news.

The Education Department hatches plan to fix troubled TEACH grant

The Education Department plans to erase debt for thousands of teachers whose TEACH grants were converted to loans, after an almost year-long NPR investigation into the troubled federal program.

A federal judge in Texas issued a ruling Friday declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, apparently setting the stage for another hearing on the health care law by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor invalidates what's commonly referred to as Obamacare nationwide, and casts into doubt the survival of the law on the eve of the deadline for tens of millions of Americans to sign up for health care coverage in 2019.

More than a decade since Mexico first brought its case to the World Trade Organization, the country has lost its argument that U.S. labeling rules unfairly discriminate against its fishing industry.

More news from NPR

From the Inclusion Desk

City of Rochester / Office of Innovation

 

People with disabilities in Rochester face poverty at a level higher than any of the other 75 largest metropolitan areas in the country, according to a report recently released by the city.

Employment rates are almost three times lower among people with disabilities than they are for nondisabled people in Rochester, the report found. People with disabilities are also overrepresented in the city’s lowest-paying industries.

provided

A Rochester area pediatric dentist was honored in New York City on Saturday with the 2018 Golisano Health Leadership Award for New York State.

That award, given to Dr. Abrahim Caroci, is the highest regional honor for Special Olympics health partners.

Ann Costello, the Executive Director for the Golisano Foundation, presented the award at the Jacob Javitz Center to Caroci at the Special Olympics New York Floor Hockey winter Classic.

Pia Stampe is unsure how long she’ll be able to stay in business.

“If we don’t get referrals, then we can’t operate,” Stampe said. “We were better paid in 1995 than we are today.”

Stampe is the owner of Step By Step Pediatric Therapy Center in Rochester. Many of her referrals come through a state program requiring that children who show signs of developmental delays are evaluated and connected with appropriate therapists. The county has 45 days to make those connections.

Public listening sessions are being held over the next few weeks to study accessible ride sharing services for customers with disabilities. The New York State Transportation Company Accessibility Task Force was created as part of the legislation that made ride-sharing legal in Upstate New York. WBFO’s Nick Lippa reports on some of the issues facing riders.


More stories from the Inclusion Desk

A wide-reaching epidemic

WXXI, in partnership with public broadcasting stations across New York state, is airing special programming examining the opioid crisis.

Meet the WXXI News Team

The reporters you hear everyday