Ear Shot

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According to one doctor, medical staff at local hospitals are exhausted as they care for the latest wave of COVID-19 patients -- more than twice the number who were hospitalized in the peak surge last spring.

Dr. Damanpaul Sondhi, a pulmonologist at Rochester Regional Health, said there are enough beds, thanks to the opening of additional floors at the new Sands Constellation Center for Critical Care.

But he said they're running out of nurses and respiratory therapists to meet the current patient caseload.

John Magnus Champlin

Like clockwork, tens of thousands of crows, also known as a murder, come together this time of year for their own safety. They’re noticeable in downtown Rochester.

Genesee Valley Audubon Society President June Summers said it's a way to protect themselves from predators, like owls. She said the crows are often distant relatives.

“Crows come together in a winter roost, in numbers because it's safer,” said Summers. “In the spring and the summer they disperse and go out and nest, and take up territories in the rest of the county.”


A local turkey farmer and Alfred University have combined forces to make Thanksgiving a little brighter for staff at that Southern Tier college.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of us in different ways, and for Travis Mattison, who owns Ridgecrest Turkey Farm in Brockport, it has put a deep dent in what would normally be one of the busiest times of the year.

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An expansive, diverse exhibit at the Rochester Museum & Science Center is an homage to the contributions of generations of pioneering local women.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Ephraim Gebre and Jared Diaz are on vacation. In a Rochester parking lot.

By day, they work for a boutique New York City ad firm. But since the spring, when they're not working, they and two other colleagues have been making statements through building-sized art projects. Diaz says it's the latest part of their "I AM" series, featuring pictures taken by Danny Lyon, a famed photographer of the civil rights movement.

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Just after noon on a Thursday, eight students are seated at desks spaced out around a large room at the Phillis Wheatley Community Library in Corn Hill.

They range in age from 5 to 12.  Most of them are working on their laptops as several teaching assistants walk around to see if anyone needs help.

"Before this whole program started, I was really doing terrible," said Xavier Johnson, "but since I started coming here, my grades have been getting back up."

Max Schulte/WXXI News

With an increasing COVID-19 infection rate, Monroe County's commissioner of public health says it's time to consider how to enforce health guidelines such as mask wearing and social distancing.

Dr. Michael Mendoza tells WXXI  News that County Executive Adam Bello and his team have been  talking with law enforcement leaders about how to do that.

Up until now, Mendoza and Bello have favored education over enforcement.

photo provided

The Rochester Fireworks Company on Whitney Road in Perinton, like many factories during World War II, had been converted to manufacture war products - in this case, military flares.

On November 6, 1942, at 4:30 p.m., a half hour after the start of the second shift, there was an explosion in one of the dozens of buildings at the plant.

"And that small explosion broke out into a fire and the fire spread quickly through a building where many people were working," said Perinton town historian Bill Poray.

Brett Dahlberg/WXXI News

Monroe County's first director of addiction services is working on ways to reach people who she says are traditionally under-served, forgotten, and missing out on treatment.

Tisha Smith was recently appointed to the new position by County Executive Adam Bello.

She's been on the job for about three weeks but Smith is no newcomer to the field of addiction treatment.

She was most recently director of inmate drug and alcohol programs for the county sheriff's office.  Before that, she was an addiction therapist supervisor at Unity Hospital.

photo provided

A Rochester musician says he was inspired to do something to lift people's spirits during a time of distress and separation.

Billy Goodness, drummer and vocalist for the band "The Klick," says the idea came to him in a dream.

"I literally woke up one night ... I guess, one morning at about 3 a.m.," he says, "and this whole thing was playing it my head, but I heard it with this choir, this chorus."