Weekdays Noon-2:00 p.m. on WXXI-AM 1370, FM 107.5, and WRUR 88.5 FM in Rochester, WEOS 89.5 FM in Geneva

Evan Dawson talks about what matters to you on ConnectionsEvery weekday from Noon-2 p.m. Be part of the program with questions or comments by phone - 1-844-295-TALK (8255), email, Facebook or Twitter

Weekend Connections is a collection of some of the most noteworthy moments from the week on Connections with Evan Dawson. This episode includes conversations about:

  • Pain management and the opioid epidemic;
  • First-year teachers' experiences in the classroom;
  • Challenges faced by members of the transgender community.

When the University of Rochester signed on to serve as the Educational Partnership Organization (EPO) for struggling East High School, UR representatives acknowledged they did not enter the partnership lightly. In 2015, New York State labeled East an "out of time" school. It would have closed, if not for the EPO.

This hour, we sit down with representatives from the partnership to discuss the EPO’s three-year progress report. They share the challenges East has faced, the successes they’ve seen, and what they hope for the next phase of the collaboration. In studio:

  • Shaun Nelms, superintendent of the East EPO, and associate professor and William & Sheila Konar Director of the Center for Urban Education Success at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education
  • Marlene Blocker, principal of East Upper School
  • Tanya Wilson Thevanesan, principal of East Lower School
  • Lorna Washington, assistant superintendent of Strategic Planning for the East EPO
  • Kyle Crandall, representative of the Rochester Teachers Association (RTA) for East, and president of the Beechwood Neighborhood Coalition

We’re joined by Governor Andrew Cuomo for a conversation about efforts to remediate flooding on Lake Ontario. Last month, the governor announced $300 million in funding to improve infrastructure along the shoreline. The pledge is part of the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission – a multi-agency effort that will implement legislative changes, aid packages, and executive actions to address the flooding.

Cuomo has been critical of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and its efforts to alleviate the flooding. The IJC has defended its plan to address the issue and says this year’s severe flooding was caused by excessive rain and inflows from the upper Great Lakes.

We hear from Cuomo, and then, we’re joined by Jane Corwin, U.S. commissioner and chair of the IJC. Our guests:

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

First hour: Governor Andrew Cuomo on Lake Ontario flooding

Second hour: Discussing the University of Rochester EPO's progress report for East High School

Our Summer of Food Series continues with a conversation about meatless meat. The popularity of the Impossible Burger continues to rise – so much so that some establishments can’t keep it in stock. It’s one of a number of new meatless burgers that’s winning over many skeptical customers.

This hour, we talk about the trend and if meatless burgers will become a mainstay.  Are they healthier than red meat? Could they help combat climate change by reducing animal agriculture? Do they taste good? Our guests discuss those questions and more:

We’re joined by Richard Rothstein, author of the book, “The Color of Law.”  The book investigates how local, state, and national governments deliberately and systematically imposed racial segregation across the U.S.

Rothstein will be in Rochester this Friday for a presentation with PathStone Corporation, but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss his research and how the racial zoning and public housing policies of the twentieth century created segregated communities we live in today. Our guests:

  • Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law,” distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, and emeritus senior fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Simeon Banister, vice president of community programs at the Rochester Area Community Foundation
  • Stuart Mitchell, president and CEO of PathStone Corporation

First hour: Richard Rothstein, author of "The Color of Law"

Second hour: Summer of Food - The rise in popularity of meatless meat

According to new data, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses in Monroe County decreased for the first time since 2015. Nearly 200 people died from overdoses in 2018. Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza says the use of overdose reversal drugs like naloxone is a primary reason for the decline, but he also says long-term solutions are needed to combat the epidemic.

Several Democratic presidential candidates have released their plans for addressing the crisis. This hour, we explore the state of the opioid epidemic both at the local and national levels, and our guests discuss if they think the proposed policies could be effective. In studio:

  • Dr. Michael Mendoza, M.D., Monroe County Public Health Commissioner
  • Dr. Michael Apostolakos, M.D., chief medical officer for the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Laura Garrison, vice president for development WXXI and The Little Theatre, who has experienced long-term chronic pain

With the 2018-2019 school year in the books, we sit down with teachers who just finished their first year in the classroom. We talk to them about the state of the teaching profession, the challenges and bright spots of working in the field, and what they learned during their first year on the job.

In studio:


First hour: First-year teachers on their experiences in the classroom and the state of the teaching profession

Second hour: Discussing the state of the opioid epidemic at the local and national levels