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Biden Makes New Pledge For U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: A 50% Cut

President Biden opened a global summit on climate change Thursday morning by announcing that the United States will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half, based on 2005 levels, by the end of the decade. That aggressive 2030 goal, which the White House is framing as a "50-52 percent reduction," will be formalized in a document called a "nationally determined contribution," or NDC. The NDC is a public commitment to address climate change made by each country that signed on to the 2015...

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April Franklin / WXXI News

Monroe County will now welcome walk-in visits to all county-run COVID-19 vaccination sites. 

This includes larger sites like Rochester Riverside Convention Center, and the smaller county-sponsored neighborhood pop-up clinics.

On Thursday, during a weekly media briefing, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said the vaccine supply currently outweighs demand throughout the state and region.

 He said it’s a completely different scenario from last month’s predicament. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Families with prospective Rochester City School District students will have the opportunity to register this weekend

The district’s Department of Early Childhood Education and Office of Student Equity and Placement are holding a student registration event on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Freddie Thomas Learning Center at 625 Scio St. Families will need a recent physical, immunization records, and a birth certificate. They’ll also need a photo ID with proof of a city address in order to register. 

James Brown / WXXI News


Several Republican office holders who are interested in running for governor next year made their case to the state’s GOP county leaders at a meeting in Albany this week.

The meeting comes as Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has said he wants to run again, has been weakened by a series of scandals.  

New York has twice as many enrolled Democrats as Republicans, and it’s been almost 20 years since anyone from the GOP won a statewide office. Republicans lost control of the state Senate in 2018.

Is there a gender gap in support for populist politics? Our guests are political science professors who have been studying this question. We talk with them about gender patterns in voting, what the basis is for supporting populist parties, and how and why populist and right-wing parties are reaching out to the female electorate. It's a preview to a virtual lecture hosted by the University of Rochester at 4 p.m. called "A Century of Votes for Women."

Our guests:

  • Christina Wolbrecht, professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame
  • Bonnie Meguid, associate professor of political science at the University of Rochester 

What is a collective impact model when it comes to climate action? A local organization called the Climate Solutions Accelerator has recommendations and goals for how bring different sectors, ideas, and experiences together to combat climate change.

We talk with them about their mission and their work, and what they expect to see in terms of solutions in our region. Our guests:

  • Simeon Banister, co-chair of the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and vice president of community programs of the Rochester Area Community Foundation 
  • Jan Nyrop, co-chair of the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and Goichman Family Director at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva 
  • Kristen Van Hooreweghe, director of collaborative action for the Climate Solutions Accelerator 
  • Andrea McLean, resident consultant for the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and lead resident ambassador for Connected Communities 

Max Schulte/WXXI News

On Earth Day, environmentalists are calling attention to the pollution caused by disposable face masks.

The marine conservation organization Oceans Asia estimates that 1.5 billion of them ended up in the world's oceans in 2020.

Most disposable masks are made from multiple types of plastic.


ESL Federal Credit Union announced it will soon break ground on its first new branch in the city of Rochester since 2010.

The new branch will be located in the city’s Edgerton neighborhood, at 250 Lake Ave. It will serve as a relocation of a current ESL office at 379 State St.

The new branch will be the first of three that ESL plans to build in the city of Rochester; the other two locations are still being determined.

The U.S. House of Representatives has once again voted on a bill to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., and enfranchise more than 712,000 Americans, a cause that enjoys unprecedented support but still faces an uphill battle in the U.S. Senate.


First hour: What is a collective impact model when it comes to climate action? 

Second hour: Is there a gender gap in support for populist politics? 


The Brighton School District has announced that 46 additional members of the school community are now in quarantine at the direction of the Monroe County Department of Public Health because of COVID-19.

A statement released Wednesday by District Superintendent Kevin McGowan says that there have been nine new positive COVID-19 cases since a previous update. All of the new cases are in the hybrid program at Brighton High School.


Check out all the virtual and in-person events on the CITY event calendar you can be a part of!

Across the Universe with Jeff Spevak

Provided by Caroline Losneck and Christoph Gelfand

A handful of framed gold records lined the otherwise mundane hallway of the Rochester Presbyterian Home, and then on to the walls of the one-room apartment of Ethel Gabriel. She was 91 years old then, but she remembered. 

“How could I forget Elvis?” she said. “I made him famous.”

That was eight years ago, before dementia swept away so many memories of Elvis Presley and of the estimated 2,500 albums -- probably more -- that she produced over the course of a career that began in 1940, when the recording industry was a man's world. 

News from NPR

In Columbus, Ohio, where 16-year-old Ma'Kiah Bryant died in a police shooting this week, distrust of the police department runs deep. Protesters chant a long list of local Black people killed by officers. For many, "police protection" is something of an oxymoron; police themselves are a danger. That's led to a major reform push that activists want to accelerate.

Hours after Bryant was killed, protests erupted in the area, with neighbors like Ira Graham III saying her death was further proof of something they've believed for years. It is not safe to call the police.

A controversial election bill was surprisingly voted down in Arizona on Thursday.

A Republican state senator broke ranks and voted against a GOP-backed measure that could remove tens of thousands of voters from the state's early ballot mailing list.

The California State University and University of California systems announced on Thursday that all 33 campuses will require students and staff returning for in-person instruction this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will deliver the Republican response to President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress next week, delivering a message Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said will be directed at "working Americans."

"As Sen. Scott likes to say, he is living his mother's American dream, and he has dedicated his career to creating more opportunity for our fellow citizens who need it most. Nobody is better at communicating why far-left policies fail working Americans," the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.

More news from NPR

Arts & Life

Chris Christopher

Efforts are underway to create a mural of two icons — Constance Mitchell, the first Black woman voted to office in Monroe County and civil rights leader Malcom X. 

Artist Ephraim Gebre will paint the mural. The Rochester native, now a Brooklyn resident, is the lead artist behind the “I am Speaking” mural featuring John Lewis in downtown Rochester.


For the second year in a row, the Corn Hill Arts Festival has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We explored many different options to make the festival viable, but at the end of the day, the safety and well-being of our community takes priority,” said Nick Howell, 2021 Corn Hill Arts Festival Chair. “We would like to thank all of the artists, vendors, sponsors and volunteers who make the festival possible each year.”

The Cinema Theater to show movies again

Apr 13, 2021
David Andreatta / CITY

Not long after the operators of the Cinema Theater announced in February that Rochester's oldest movie house would close for good, the marquee began flashing a mysterious message that suggested a second showing: “The Cinema Theater Will Return.”

Now, new operators, spouses Kristina Dinino-Jeffords and Damon Jeffords, say they are delivering on the marquee’s cryptic promise.

More arts & life stories

From the Inclusion Desk

RIT and its National Technical Institute for the Deaf have been awarded a $470,000 federal grant to help deaf and hard of hearing students learn technical skills to better prepare them for the workforce.

The grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a pilot program called DeafTec Ready, according to Rep. Joe Morelle (NY-25).

Max Schulte/WXXI News file photo

A pop-up clinic Saturday will focus on vaccinating Rochester’s deaf refugee population.

The clinic, hosted by the nonprofit Deaf Refugee Advocacy, will offer first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind new Americans. 

Center for Disability Rights

A two-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic in downtown Rochester is providing Moderna shots for people with disabilities through a partnership with the Center for Disability Rights, AcuteKids pediatric urgent care, and Monroe County. 

The clinic is expected to vaccinate 60 people in a vulnerable population; according to the National Institutes of Health, people with developmental and intellectual disabilities have been harder hit by the pandemic's effects.

When COVID-19 vaccines first became available, a local doctor noticed a gap in access when it came to people with disabilities. Dr. Tiffany Pulcino and her team work with people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions. They set up mobile vaccine clinics throughout Rochester for their patients. So far, they have helped more than 2,000 patients receive vaccines.

This hour, we discuss the challenges the pandemic has presented for people with disabilities – from access to health care and vaccines, issues related to isolation from support systems, and more. Our guests: 

  • Tiffany Pulcino, M.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center, and medical director of the UR Medicine Complex Care Center 
  • Michelle Labossiere-Hall, associate vice president of customized support at Heritage Christian Services 
  • Stephanie Ramos, advocate and patient of Dr. Pulcino

This story is produced by WXXI's Inclusion Desk, focusing on disabilities and inclusion.

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