WXXI AM News

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

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Former Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard is making the transition to public office.

"Our county is facing some tremendous problems, more then they have in the past 10 years."

Sheppard announced he's running as a Democrat for Monroe County Legislature. He says he was approached to replace Paul Haney, who is term limited, in the 23rd legislative district. Originally, Sheppard says he was opposed to the idea since he has no experience in politics.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

The Ad Council of Rochester and the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network have a plan to get more New Yorkers to sign on as organ donors.

Rob Kochik is executive director of the Finger Lakes Donor Recovery Network. He says there are over 122,000 people on the organ waiting list.

"And when I think about them -- each of them woke up this morning, and are wondering if today's going to be the day."

Richard Perez waited 10 months for his liver. He doesn't know anything about his deceased donor, but he has a message for them and their family:

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was celebrated and remembered in different ways across Rochester.

The Eastman Theater held it's 30th annual MLK Celebration. People came together in Kodak Hall to reflect on the life of Dr King, and the importance of his message at a time when racial tension across the country seems so high. Local and state officials, residents, and performers gathered to celebrate by listening, speaking, and singing.

Mayor Lovely Warren began with her favorite King quote.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Some land and business owners in the Finger Lakes region are speaking out about a proposed liquefied gas storage facility.

Representatives from some Finger Lakes wineries say they have worked hard to turn the region into an area that supports eco-friendly tourism and culture. Joseph Campbell is President of Gas Free Seneca.

"The finger lakes region has positioned itself as an economically sustainable, world-class tourist destination with a vision for continued development that does not include dirty industry."

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says she's working to help families pay for child care.

Gillibrand says the cost of childcare in Rochester is up to $10,000 a year, while the average income is $30,000. The senator says this forces families to make choices between child care and professional development.

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Sandra Doorley announces she will run for reelection of Monroe County District Attorney as a Republican.

Doorley says she made the party switch for personal reasons, and that her values are more closely aligned with the Republican Party of Monroe County.

"I believe that this change allows me to focus on really what is truly important, and what is important is keeping your families safe, keeping your streets safe, in an environment where my work is valued and supported."

Veronica Volk / WXXI

Governor Cuomo invites Upstate New York regions to compete for $1.5 billion  in grants. As part of the Economic Revitalization Competition, three winning regions will be granted $500 million each.

Cuomo says the competition is an important aspect of the project.

"If I just gave you the money, you wouldn't do all the hard things you have to do to actually get the money. And the competition amongst yourselves -- I'm telling you -- brings up the performance of everybody."

With a month and a half left in the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, the New York Health Exchange is finding ways to encourage young adults to sign up.

Donna Frescatore of the New York Health Exchange says in the final stretch of enrollment, they've really been pushing their message to young people using YouTube videos.

"One really more focused at the young adult and about the milestones you reach in your life and as an adult how important it is that you get your own insurance and carry your own ID card as a primary insured."

Valentina Cala

Since the shootings in Paris, many are wondering whether an attack on US soil will follow. According to experts, many complex cultural and societal factors shape the likelihood of similar events.

Th. Emil Homerin is a professor of Religion at the University of Rochester. He says that in the wake of the terrorist attacks in France, people should resist the urge to draw immediate parallels here.

Chris Campbell

As the temperature dips, utility bills are on the rise, and more and more people are unable to pay their heating costs.

Let's say you're behind on your utilities bill. First of all, you're not alone - according to figures from the Public Service Commission, more than one million New York households were late on their bills this past November. Gas and electric cutoffs by utilities companies in 2014 were up fourteen percent from 2013.

David Irwin of AARP attributes this increase to high heating costs.

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