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Coming up on Connections: Friday, April 29, 2022

Police converge on City Hall on Sept. 16, 2020, in response to demonstrators 'occupying' the exterior of the building.
Max Schulte
Police converge on City Hall on Sept. 16, 2020, in response to demonstrators 'occupying' the exterior of the building.

First hour: Discussing changes to how RPD officers can respond to protests

Second hour: How can trees be used to combat climate change?

The City of Rochester is making major changes to how Rochester police can respond to protests and mass gatherings. Effective immediately, RPD officers are barred from using dogs, tear gas, and concussion grenades. They are also prohibited from taping over their badges to hide their names and they are restricted in their use of pepper balls. The changes come after the civil unrest of 2020, when activists took to the streets to protest the deaths of Daniel Prude and George Floyd. According to CITY Magazine reporter Gino Fanelli, local lawmakers criticized RPD’s response to those demonstrations as “disproportionate.” This hour, we discuss the changes and what they mean for officers, for community members, and for police-community relations. Our guests:

  • Gino Fanelli, reporter for CITY Magazine
  • Linda Kingsley, corporation counsel for the City of Rochester
  • David Smith, Rochester Police Chief
  • Chris Thompson, engineer, comedian, and activist

Then in our second hour, a local environmental group wants to plant at least 2,000 trees in the Rochester area this year. The Rochester Regional Sierra Club is giving away that many trees on Saturday in an effort to help combat climate change. Last year at a climate summit in Scotland, more than 140 countries – including the United States – pledged to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. But according to Scientific American, millions of trees were removed in 2021, releasing extensive amounts of carbon dioxide. Tree-planting initiatives like the local event are gaining popularity. More trees is a good thing, right? The answer is…sometimes. A growing body of research is raising questions about mass planting. In some cases, it has led to degraded ecosystems and dead trees. So what is the answer? Where is the balance? This hour, our guests discuss those questions and we talk about how trees can help us work toward climate goals. Our guests:

  • Bob Beabout, master gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension, and arboreal consultant
  • Ron Garrow, board member for the Rochester Regional Sierra Club, and representative of Indigenous People
  • John Kastner, member of the executive board for the Rochester Regional of the Sierra Club
  • Daryl Odhner, board member for the Rochester Regional Sierra Club, and tree enthusiast
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.