Veronica Volk

Enterprise Reporter/Producer

Veronica Volk is the Enterprise Reporter for WXXI News, investigating and exploring issues impacting different communities in Rochester, Monroe County, and beyond. Previously, she reported on environmental and economic issues facing the people and wildlife of Lake Ontario for Great Lakes Today.

She is also the producer of Exited, a podcast about young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities transitioning into life after public school, and producer and co-host of the true-crime podcast Finding Tammy Jo along with Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle.

Veronica got her start as a reporter in the Bronx for WFUV Public Radio, and later rose to senior producer of their weekly public affairs show Cityscape. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University and is originally from the Jersey Shore, which is nothing like how it is portrayed on MTV.

Ways to Connect

Randy Gorbman / WXXI

Despite heavy snowfall, many people were out and about in Downtown Rochester this morning. Whether they were running errands or headed to work, all of the brave folks were bundled up and braced for severe weather.

Claude Toppi says he's used to it by now.

"I'm a courier so I'm out here all the time so it's -- it doesn't bother me at all. I think it's fine."

Claude doesn't really understand what all the fuss is about.

"You know, when you live here almost your whole life, what's the difference? It's a little bit of snow."

Eugene Kowaluk / University of Rochester

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter announced that a Rochester-based consortium is a finalist in a nation-wide photonics grant competition. The $110 million federal dollars, matched with non-federal grants, would go toward establishing an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute.

Slaughter says the group, headed by RIT, University of Rochester, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute is a shoo-in for the money because of Rochester's history of success in manufacturing and engineering.

Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra held their annual meeting Thursday night where they reflected on the fiscal year and looked toward the future.

The RPO is still not breaking even, despite recent budget cuts and their employee's voluntary salary freeze. According to fiscal reports released at the meeting, revenues were up thanks to their first trip to Carnegie Hall in 30 years, but ticket sales were down. They measured an operational deficit of over $250,000. They are able to operate at a loss, temporarily, thanks to endowments.

Democrat and Chronicle

A Facebook video showing people fighting outside the RTS Transit Center has sparked new interest in an old issue. Rochester Police Chief Ciminelli says they're doing all they can to keep the transit center safe, but thinks more can be done.

"This is a phenomenon that's been going on for some time. We think the basic problem is this transportation plan."

Ciminelli says bussing large numbers of students to a central location creates an opportunity for these incidences to occur, and that providing more security only "puts a band-aid" on the problem.

A study by the Genesee Transportation Council shows a bike share in Rochester would be feasible.

RJ Eldridge is the Director of Planning for Toole Design Group and he worked on the study. He says bike shares have benefits beyond economic, environmental and health impacts. 

"I think when you're in a car you tend to be closed in -- especially, all cars today have air conditioning and great stereo -- so you're kind of shut off from your environment. And when you're on a bicycle you are part of that environment and you're talking to folks and you're interacting with people."

J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Porches on older homes can be a significant source of lead dust, according to a recent study.

Katrina Korfmacher is the Director of Community Outreach and Engagement at University of Rochester's Environmental Health Science Center. She participated in the study, in which samples were taken from 79 houses across Rochester.

Authorities have identified the body of a teenager found in a Caledonia cornfield in 1979 as Tammy Jo Alexander of Florida.

Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty says a missing persons report filed by a former classmate came in just this past summer. That, along with DNA and tips through social media, helped authorities identify the girl.

Dougherty says they still have an open investigation in front of them, but he hopes this new information could lead to the killer.

Captain America is coming to Rochester. As part of an outreach initiative with the state health department, experts are partnering with costumed heroes at Marketplace Mall.

Captain America - the superhero - may not be the guy most people associate with health insurance, but Sherry Tomasky of New York State of Health says he can still help their cause by catching the attention of people of all ages.

"They remember these from when they were kids and now their own children are enjoying a resurgence of these characters."

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Cheryl Dinolfo is running for County Executive. She was formally endorsed by the Monroe County Republican Committee at their headquarters on Thursday. Dinolfo says she's already shown fiscal responsibility through her work as a county clerk.

"Through hard work and innovation, I have returned over 30 million dollars to county tax payers - a record surplus - to help keep property taxes stable."

Dinolfo says she would carry those values with her to the County Executive Office.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

City planners are thinking outside the box when it comes to Downtown Rochester's parking issues. The city held a public meeting to discuss urban planning strategies for transportation infrastructure. Officials presented their ideas, and members of the community were invited to give their suggestions.

Kevin Kelley is the Senior Community Housing Planner. He says though Rochester has plenty of parking spaces available, they may not be convenient or appealing to residents. He's looking at progressive ways to address transportation issues.