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Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed legislation Thursday to impose a penalty of life in prison without parole for acts of domestic terrorism, including mass shootings.

Cuomo said his bill is the first in the nation to define a mass shooting as a hate crime if the shooter acted against a group of people based on their race, national origin, religion, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

The governor, in a speech before the New York City Bar Association, said punishment could include a life sentence in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Karen DeWitt/WXXI News

It was an emotional day Wednesday as hundreds of childhood sexual abuse survivors filed lawsuits in New York courts on the first day of a one-year window of opportunity for victims to seek civil action against their abusers. 

Susanne Robertson and her two sisters were orphans at St. Colman's Home in Watervliet, near Albany, where she said they were routinely abused by the nuns and other staff there. When one of the girls reported the sexual abuse to a nun at the home, she was transferred to an orphanage for mentally disabled children. 

freeimages.com/James Chan

Kevin Higley can't remember if it was the summer of 1987 or the summer of 1988, but he does know he was 14 years old and serving as an altar boy at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Scottsville.

He said a parish priest, Father Paul Cloonan, asked him to go with him to visit a nearby monastery.

"And in the car on the way back from the monastery, he asked me if I could help him with a medical issue," Higley said.

New York’s senior U.S. senator said that he will push for legislation in the upcoming federal budget to provide funds for local boards of elections to harden their security against potential threats by foreign governments. 

Finger Lakes Opera brings relatable characters to stage

Aug 9, 2019
Dave Jones, Empire West Photo

The characters in Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Bohème start out as broad archetypes:  the moody poet, a fun-loving musician, a lonely young woman dreaming of love, a flirtatious party girl...it’s easy for everyone to see something of themselves – or their friends – in this group of characters.

But as the cast of this summer’s Finger Lakes Opera production of La Bohème discussed – the opera’s true power lies in how all these characters change, as you can hear with musical selections drawn from classic recordings of the opera.

Seneca Pure Waters Association

With harmful algal blooms posing an increasing risk to freshwater sources across the country, one group is looking for better ways to track them.

The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit that looks at environmental factors affecting public health.


File photo

In the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, there's been renewed discussion about states and even the federal government adopting what are known as red flag laws to get guns out of the hands of potential killers.

New York's red flag law was approved last winter and takes effect later this month. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is continuing to offer his views in the national debate about gun control. He's asking Democratic presidential candidates to endorse four gun control measures previously adopted in New York. 

Spectrum News

In the wake of two mass shootings this past weekend, President Donald Trump said it was mental illness and hatred that pulled the trigger, not the gun. An official with Rochester's Mental Health Association says this misses the point. 

After a total of 31 people were killed by gunmen in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Trump said law reforms are needed to prevent people with mental illness from accessing guns. He also suggested involuntary confinement “as needed.”

Beth Adams/WXXI News

On a warm, sunny July morning in Parma Town Park, Connor Stevely is playing fetch with Ella Mae, a big, panting chocolate Lab.  Despite the increasingly intense sun, the dog never seems to tire of the game.

The Stevely family loves its pets – three dogs, a cat, and a hamster. But Ella Mae is special: She saved Connor's life on Dec. 2, 2017.

That's what Connor's mom, Diane Stevely, believes.

She and Connor’s younger sister, Morgan, had gone into town for a community Christmas party that night. Connor’s father, Greg, was at work.

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