Ear Shot

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Longtime local film critic Jack Garner has died. The Democrat & Chronicle, where Garner worked for decades, says he died Sunday at the age of 75.

Garner’s wife, Bonnie, was quoted in the D&C saying they would have celebrated their 50th anniversary next month and they were planning to take international trips after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, Garner was elected an Honorary Trustee of WXXI and The Little Theatre (which is operated by WXXI).

When Allison Roberts lost her job at the Jewish Community Center on March 16, she tried applying for unemployment benefits, but she couldn't get through by phone or online.

After weeks of this, the human resources representative from the JCC started helping her with some assistance from the office of a local member of Congress

James Brown / WXXI News

The Nathaniel Rochester statue on South Avenue was defaced about a week ago, and a group in the South Wedge neighborhood is grappling with what to do next. 

The statue was tagged with Black Lives Matter, its hands were painted red and the word "shame" was written on its forehead. Rochester, who the city is named after, owned slaves.

City spokesperson Patrick Flanigan said the statue will be cleaned as soon as possible, “in a manner that will not damage it.” The city has a program called the Defacer Eraser that removes graffiti around the community.

Beth Adams / WXXI News

On a warm spring morning, Allison Roberts walked with bare feet to the art box she installed in front of her South Wedge home.

It looks like a little library, with glass panels on the door and a handle in the shape of a red bird.

"I finally had to put a little note up because people kept putting books it in. No! Only art supplies!” she said with a laugh.                          

Inside are colorful ribbons, paper, and other things people can use to create something.

Amy Rivera is a paraprofessional. For the past two years, she worked one-on-one with special education students in the Rochester City School District.

"I loved it," she said. "I have two kids of my own, and I have a child with special needs, so I know how to deal with kids like this."

But Rivera's position with the staffing company that employed her ended in mid-March when schools across Monroe County were closed to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

"It's been hard," she admitted.

In the latest WXXI Business Report, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns talks about the lack of Black executives at Fortune 500 companies, and why the Federal Government needs to step up.

Plus, L3Harris Technologies is marking the one-year anniversary of their big merger by looking at the affect it's had on Rochester. 

James Brown / WXXI News

Professional baseball’s roots in Rochester go back to the 1800s. The precursors to the Red Wings began play in 1877, and the franchise started in 1899. They’re one of the longest-running pro baseball teams in the world.

Through two world wars, the Great Depression, baseball strikes and many more ups and downs, every Rochester summer has had professional baseball. 

Until now.

James Brown / WXXI News

In response to the Black Lives Matter protests locally, leaders from Monroe County and the City of Rochester announced a new commission Thursday to address structural racism on a government level.

County Executive Adam Bello and Mayor Lovely Warren said they’ve been in constant contact since the COVID-19 pandemic began. After the death of George Floyd, they say their conversations shifted to creating the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE). 

Mary O'Brien

On March 12, just as the novel coronavirus starting showing up in local communities, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to keep visitors out of nursing homes.

It was clear, even at that early stage, that senior citizens were at the greatest risk of serious illness and death if they contracted the virus.

As of this week, between 42% and 47% of the 250 people who have died from COVID-19 in Monroe County have been nursing home residents.

Gino Fanelli/CITY Newspaper

Organizers of the local Black Lives Matter movement are calling for the Rochester Police Department budget to be cut by 50 percent next fiscal year. Members of the City Council said Monday that it was not going to happen.

The call to “defund the police,” as advocates here and elsewhere refer to it, predates the protests that have erupted across the country in the weeks since the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. But his death has given it new traction.