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

Invoking the idea of beating swords into plowshares, two men have written a book calling for us to beat guns into garden tools. The book, simply called "Beating Guns," is a layered approach to understanding gun violence. From the history of American gun enthusiasm, to the intertwining of gun culture with Christianity, the authors explore how we arrived as the most armed country.

In Rochester, they’ll host an event in which citizens can turn in guns that will be melted down and turned into tools. First, they join us on Connections:

  • Shane Claiborne, founder of The Simple Way and president of Red Letter Christians
  • Michael Martin, founder and executive director of RAWtools Inc.

As the world watches France attempt to rebuild Notre Dame, experts tell us that there are historical parallels. Katherine Clark Walter, from the College at Brockport, says, “The major Gothic cathedrals of Europe were often born of renovations necessitated by devastating fires just such as this one and their renovation often foregrounded the relics these churches held as key to their spirituality and identity, so there is a fascinating meeting of past and present as the whole world now watches to see what survived from Notre Dame.”

We talk about the meaning of those relics, the process of rebuilding, and more. Our guests:

  • Katherine Clark Walter, associate professor in the Department of History at The College at Brockport
  • Jean Pedersen, associate professor in the Department of Humanities at the Eastman School
  • Sarah Thompson, associate professor of art history at RIT

First hour: Understanding the history and cultural significance of Notre Dame

Second hour: Previewing the "Beating Guns" tour

How would cities look different if there were more diverse voices involved in their design? Ashleigh Walton is an architect and a project manager at Urban Design Associates in Pittsburgh. She’ll be in Rochester next week to give a presentation about social equity and design as part of the Community Design Center’s Reshaping Rochester Series.

Walton joins us for a preview of that presentation, and we discuss the value of mentorship in the field. Our guests:

  • Ashleigh Walton, project manager at Urban Design Associates
  • Nana-Yaw Andoh, assistant professor of architecture at RIT, and board member for the Community Design Center Rochester

We sit down with Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at MIT who says Rochester is set to become one of America's growth engines. He’s in Rochester to discuss his book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.” We talk to him about the promise he sees in Rochester.

Gruber is also one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act and the 2006 Massachusetts healthcare reform – Romneycare. We discuss healthcare and healthcare policy in the U.S. In studio:

  • Jonathan Gruber, professor of economics at MIT
  • Jim Senall, president of NextCorps, Inc., and managing director of the Rochester Angel Network


First hour: Jonathan Gruber on Rochester as an economic growth engine

Second hour: Reshaping Rochester - How would cities look different if more diverse voices were involved in their design?

We sit down with organizers and winners of the Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards. The awards recognize men of color who have made outstanding commitments to the local community.

In studio:

  • Jermayne Myers, president of the Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards
  • Jamarr Myers, vice president of Rochester Black Men Achieve
  • Ty Kelly, director of work scholarship at Wegmans,  inductee in the Black Men Achieve Hall of Fame, and nominee for Distinguished Executive of the Year
  • Donald Starver, talent producer for the Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear about cities like Attica, Auburn, or Albion? For some people, it's the prisons located in those towns.

Researchers at the University of Rochester are studying perspectives of prison towns, and how the presence of correctional facilities shapes socio-cultural, political, and economic life in the area. We hear about their work and what they've learned. In studio:

  • Joshua Dubler, assistant professor of religion at the University of Rochester
  • Kristin Doughty, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Rochester

University of Rochester

First hour: Discussing the cultural politics of prison towns

Second hour: The Rochester Black Men Achieve Awards

We discuss the future of grocery stores with writer Jon Steinman. His book – "Grocery Story: The Promise of Food Co-Ops in the Age of Grocery Giants" – focuses on how consumer-owned food cooperatives can impact food systems and economies.

Steinman is in Rochester as a guest of Abundance Food Co-op, but first, he joins us on Connections.