Sasha-Ann Simons

Arts InFocus Host/Reporter/Producer

Sasha-Ann Simons joined the team at WXXI News in 2015 as a Multimedia Reporter/Producer. She tells stories about the innovation economy and technology in upstate New York and also does general assignment reporting. Sasha-Ann is the host of Arts InFocus, WXXI-TV's weekly arts and culture program. She is also a fill-in host and regular contributor to Need To Know.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Sasha-Ann comes to Rochester after spending her formative years growing up in Toronto, Canada. She studied broadcasting at Ryerson University, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism. Sasha-Ann earned her first news gig as a chase producer at CityTV, while still a college freshman. She subsequently took on various roles in other Toronto newsrooms as a videographer, host, and producer, and was part of the award-winning Global Television Network news team.

Sasha-Ann has covered and produced stories in the Canadian national spotlight, including Occupy Toronto, the Eaton Centre mall shooting, the Toronto Argos CFL championship win, and the Mayor Rob Ford crack scandal.

Sasha-Ann is fun-loving and sassy. She is also passionate about education issues. When she's not on the air, Sasha-Ann spends her time with family and exploring new recipes in the kitchen.

Ways to Connect

Leaders of the opt-out movement say they're still not pleased with New York state's Common Core-based tests and the pressures they place on students and teachers.

Last year, there were about 250,000 students across the state who opted out of the exams. As officials prepare to administer the English language arts exams this week to students in grades 3 through 8, some are expecting similar refusal numbers this year. 


Mayor Lovely Warren has named former Rochester Police Chief Cedric Alexander as the city's new deputy mayor.

“He's a natural communicator, has a way of getting people to all focus on a common goal and work together to achieve that goal,” said Warren. “Now he's going to bring those skills to the deputy mayor's office to help us advance our goals of creating more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities for all of our citizens."

Officials at Monroe Community College hosted a day-long seminar Wednesday to discuss how colleges can educate students and help stop sexual assault before it happens.

The event kicked off with a morning keynote address from Michele Jawando, vice president at the Center for American Progress, who previously served as general counsel and senior advisor to New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.


Reports indicate at least five Jewish Community Centers around the United States received bomb threats between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon.

A Brighton JCC employee received a threat around 6 a.m. Tuesday in their company email account, forcing staff members to evacuate the building with nearly 80 patrons inside.


Keeping up with a rigid workout plan was like second nature to Bill Brewer, a human anatomy and exercise physiology professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He calls himself a “fit guy” and often speaks of how he considers his health and fitness top priorities.

His outlook began to change when a routine colon screening detected that he had been living with stage three cancerous tumors.

“I had no symptoms, no bad feelings, no issues, and I thought, ‘Me? I wouldn’t have that!’”


Rochester businessman, Alex White, has officially put his hat in the ring for the mayoral race.

The annual campaign to end the R Word in Rochester is underway.

"The R word, retarded, is an ugly and demeaning word, and has no place at City Hall or elsewhere for that matter," said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, shortly before reading a proclamation that Wednesday, March 1st is the day to spread the word to end the word in the city of Rochester.

"It not only hurts those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, it hurts families and friends, as well," she said.

The 2016 crime statistics in Rochester show Part 1 crimes, those deemed most serious by the FBI,  such as homicides, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, fell to the lowest point in 30 years.

At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said city crime continues to decline and the Rochester Police Department’s efforts to reduce shootings are working.

“Shootings fell by 20 percent. But, sadly, homicides were up,” Warren said. 

Rochester Public Library

Mayor Lovely Warren announced Monday that the Rochester Public Library was named one of 10 Top Innovators during the 2016 Urban Libraries Council Annual Forum Awards Ceremony.

The event took place last fall in Kansas City, when the Library was selected from nearly 300 submissions in 10 categories that show the value and impact of public library service. 


Congresswoman Louise Slaughter toured the ongoing progress of the Rochester Intermodal Station Thursday, as work on its interior kicks into high gear.

Construction on the project, which is expected to bring together trains, buses, improved station parking, and bicycle and pedestrian access, Slaughter said, is on track to be completed by August.

“I can’t wait to cut the ribbon this new station later this year,” she said.