James Brown


Before coming to WXXI News, James spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for Rochester City Newspaper. While at City, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.

James cut his teeth in journalism as an associate producer and weekend assignment editor at WHEC-TV.

A Rochester native and an East High School graduate, James earned a Bachelor of Communications degree from Niagara University where he won awards for his poetry and resurrected the school’s radio station.

James Brown WXXI

A town hall discussion on gun violence hosted by Congressman Joe Morelle in Irondequoit Monday night brought out differing views on how that issue should be dealt with.

Gun advocates came from Syracuse, Buffalo and the Southern Tier --- to express their displeasure with certain gun regulations. 

Greg Waddams of Phelps is a member of gun rights group SCOPE (Shooters Committee On Political Education.) Waddams said that the key to slowing gun violence isn’t in regulation, he wants kids exposed to the power of guns early like he was.

Spectrum News

Monroe County employees are headed to 2,500 restaurants to visually inspect grease traps over the next several days.

The action comes after a 3-year-old boy fell through a plastic replacement lid of a trap at the Tim Hortons on University Avenue last week and died. 

A proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture could stop thousands of people in Monroe County from receiving SNAP funds to buy food. 

Monroe County receives about $15 million in SNAP money per month to help feed needy families. By federal law, SNAP benefits go to people who make 130% of the poverty line or less. For a family of four, the poverty rate is about $25,000. 

But New York and 39 other states have eased those rules, allowing people who make in some cases twice the poverty rate to receive the money. 

James Brown WXXI

New parking rates for city garages means monthly permit holders in downtown Rochester will pay $5 more per month, with a few exceptions. There will be slightly larger increases for the High Falls, Sister Cities, Washington Square, and East End garages, along with the Kodak Surface lot -- those increases will range between $7 and $10 per month for residential parkers.

Towing fees are also increasing. The maximum fee for a towed car is increasing $10 to $140 for most vehicles, and the city will charge $40 per day to hold your vehicle, an increase of $15.


Landlords and tenants are dealing with the ripple effects of New York state’s updated rent laws. 

Housing attorney Nicholas Miraglia, from Burgess & Miraglia, specializes in evictions. He said that he handled more than 3,000 evictions in Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse last year and noted three key changes for renters.

James Brown WXXI

Monroe County Executive candidate Adam Bello announced on Thursday a plan for the county to change how it handles special education for young children.

Preschool special education services help young children between 3 and 5 years old who are diagnosed with autism and other developmental delays.

Spectrum News

The questions surrounding the death of a 3-year-old boy behind a Tim Hortons on Monday mount.

The Rochester Police Department said the boy fell through a lid on a grease trap while his mother was working at the restaurant. Grease traps collect oil and other wastes to prevent them from leaking into sewers. 

Feld Entertainment

Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, and Sesame Street Live won’t be coming back to Rochester soon.

Feld Entertainment manages those shows, and spokesperson Lisa Taylor said they’re at a stalemate with the Blue Cross Arena’s new management company, Pegula Sports and Entertainment. 

“We do not have plans to bring those shows back because we haven’t been able to reach a viable agreement with PSE,” said Taylor. 

Karen DeWitt

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia is leaving that job at the end of August.

Elia, who was appointed to the post in 2015, released a letter to the NYS Board of Regents on Monday saying that it “has been my great pleasure and honor to serve the students and teachers of New York over the last four years as we work to advance equity and excellence in our education system.”

Elia says she will be leaving for a position with a national firm, supporting districts in their efforts to turn around schools.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment

The City of Rochester says that the Blue Cross Arena’s loss of a large Jehovah’s Witness convention this year is unfortunate. Visit Rochester said the annual convention brought nearly 9,000 people to Downtown Rochester and filled over 5,000 hotel rooms last year.