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Coming up on Connections: Thursday, August 4, 2022

Arial shot of Washington Grove
Max Schulte | WXXI News
Arial shot of Washington Grove

First hour: Discussing Justin Murphy's Tree Stories project

Second hour: What is the best way to compensate restaurant workers?

Do you have a favorite tree? Democrat and Chronicle reporter Justin Murphy is asking community members to consider that question as part of a new project called Tree Stories. He writes, “When people talk about their favorite trees, they're usually talking about rootedness. That is, belonging somewhere. Being home in the place where you and your people feel at best. Having a way marker or a commemoration.” The project is part of a series of reporting Murphy has done on trees, including a piece on the need to add tree cover in certain parts of the city. He joins us this hour to discuss his work, and we talk all things trees with our guests:

  • Justin Murphy, education reporter for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Nina Bassuk, world-renown expert in urban forestry, and professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, Horticulture Section, at Cornell University
  • Antonius “TeJay” Chess, natural resources educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension
  • Brian Liberti, director of the Bureau of Buildings and Parks at the City of Rochester

Then in our second hour, a famed restaurant in San Francisco eliminated tipping more than year ago, but now, servers want the old model back. Zuni Café moved away from tipping to a mandatory service charge. The goal was to address pay inequity in the back and front of house. But servers say they are unable to make ends meet with the new system and they are considering walking out or unionizing. They agree back-of-house staff should be paid more, but they argue that wait staff deserve to be compensated even more because they are working directly with customers. This hour, we discuss different models of compensating restaurant staff. Our guests:

  • Peter Jines, owner and founder of Jines Restaurant
  • Mark Potter, longtime restaurant server
  • Kyle Shafer, back-of-house employee at Pizza Wizard
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.