Ear Shot

Get up to speed on the stories you may have missed by subscribing to Ear Shot, the podcast that brings you on-demand stories, interviews, and other tidbits of what's happening around Rochester and the Finger Lakes, all from the WXXI News team.

Steven Hess

A local Holocaust survivor says he has shared his story 50 or 60 times over the years, and he will do so again this week. 

Stephen Hess and his twin sister, Marion, were just five years old when they and their family were taken by the Nazis in 1943. He said he didn't fully comprehend what was happening, but he does remember some aspects of the trauma.


With recreational marijuana on the horizon, how could New Yorkers expect the culture to change?

The push for cannabis regulation and prohibition began in the early 1900s, and really took off in the 1930s.

Nick Robertson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Rochester Institute of Technology, said this was due in large part to propaganda like the film “Reefer Madness.”

"If you smoke marijuana, you were gonna go crazy," he said. "You were going to do horrible things, it would destroy your life, and ever since then, there’s been a stigma attached."

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature indicate they’re moving closer to legalizing recreational marijuana, users and prescribers of medical cannabis – particularly in rural areas – have been wondering what the change will mean for them.

New York state keeps a list of medical marijuana practitioners in each county who agree to be named publicly.

James Brown WXXI

When you walk into Optimax, you instantly hear the buzz of people at work on millions of dollars’ worth of machinery.  

The Victor company is an optical manufacturer known for creating the lenses for the 2020 Mars rover. It’s tough to imagine people using these machines while high. But with legal recreational marijuana a real possibility in New York state, that’s something the folks at Optimax are thinking about now.

File photo

When state lawmakers return later this month for a post-budget session, they hope to tackle several issues, including trying to curb the number of robocalls that New Yorkers receive.              

The call are annoying and becoming more frequent. According to the company You Mail, which makes call-blocking software, New York reported the third-highest volume of robocalls in the nation for the month of March.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Seneca Falls Town Board on Tuesday night rejected a resolution to end funding for the Women's Hall of Fame if it inducts Jane Fonda.

But that was only after over an hour of passionate debate between Hall supporters and Vietnam veterans on Fonda's actions in the 1970s.

In the latest WXXI Business Report, find out what an economist and an executive with JPMorgan Chase think about the prospects for the national and the regional economy this year. Plus, some senior living facilites in the region are getting a new owner.

The New York State Legislature completed work on the state budget around 7:30 a.m. Monday, after pulling an all-night session to complete  the  budget relatively on time. The spending plan represents a compromise where not everyone is completely happy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pleased with the results of the spending plan.

“This is probably the broadest, most sweeping state plan that we have done,” Cuomo said. “There are a number of national firsts.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, in remarks early Monday, had a diffrent asessment.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

This February, Boy Scouts of America made a major change and started allowing girls to join the club. And while some young girls flocked to meetings with dreams of hiking and shooting guns, Girl Scouts of America thinks there is some misinformation about what being a member of their club really means.

A Fairport teen has been working for the last several years to end the stigma around mental illness.

Maeve Reed lost her best friend to suicide when they were both freshmen in high school. At the time, Maeve said there was a silence about it, like people were sweeping her friend's death under the rug.