Need to Know

Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. & Sundays at 11:00 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

A mass shooting outside the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester that took the lives of three young men continues to haunt our community. Since the tragic events of August 19th, 2015, more area teens are using their voices speak out against violence and injustices directly impacting our neighborhoods and our youth. Some of the young people leading that effort are youth organizers with the Center for Teen Empowerment. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn how their stop the violence events among other outreach campaigns are working to change the story of the city’s west side.

We are living in a time of great tension in our country. Race, gender, religion, politics, and policing are a handful of the issues challenging modern society. They’re also some of the issues being tackled by the group Art Force 5 founded at Alfred University. Armed with passion and paint, these young people are using art to promote equality, inspire creativity, and build community. On this edition of Need to Know, we learn how their most recent work took them to Atlanta for a special Super Bowl community-building project.

They’re helping to curb violence, bridge divided communities, and teach history while sowing seeds of empathy. On this edition of Need to Know, we talk to young people in Rochester with nothing but a deep desire to change our city, our region, and our world.

For twelve years, Elaine Spaull has been a fixture on the Rochester City Council. But it was last month when the political leader announced it was time to hang up her political hat and refocus her energy on a different kind of public service. Spaull is also the Executive Director of The Center For Youth. Her decision to not seek re-election is due to an intense desire to support the needs of young parents facing homelessness at a time when agencies supporting area youth are either closing programs or facing financial hardship. Elaine Spaull joins this edition of Need to Know discuss the critical needs for youth in the community and why time is of the essence to get those needs met.

Some heavyweights in state politics say they support a leadership shake-up in the rochester city school district. If you thought the idea of mayoral control had died down years ago - it’s back. Assemblyman David Gantt is pushing for reform by recently introducing two bills to the state legislature - both would take power away from the school board. Gantt says a change is essential because “we can’t just let kids sit there and die on the vine.” Mayoral control has its share of supporters and opponents - one critic being Rochester School Board President Van White who joins this edition of Need to Know.

The idea of Rochester’s mayor controlling the city school district is in the spotlight yet again. Why do some call mayoral control a game-changer if critics say there’s not enough proof it even works? That story on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, a longtime Rochester City Councilmember is hanging up her political hat to drill down on issues intensifying in the community. A conversation with Elaine Spaull later on the show.

It’s been four years since Need to Know reported on a first of its kind initiative that launched in Rochester with much political fanfare. The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), backed by the Governor’s office, pledged to reduce poverty by 50% in 15 years. WXXI’s Veronica Volk recently dug into the initiative to find out if the goals initially made are being kept and to learn what’s changed since that major announcement in 2015. We discuss her recent reporting on this edition of Need to Know.

If the recent polar vortex has you questioning why you still live in western New York or if the gloomy winter weather in general has you feeling less than upbeat - you are not alone. You may be dealing with a common issue known as seasonal affective disorder. It saps your energy and might be the reason why you’re craving more sleep or why you’re having a hard time focusing on specific tasks. We learn why this happens and how can we combat these symptoms on this edition of Need to Know.

A western New York school district made national headlines when it shared a plan intended to provide heightened security for students. In the aftermath of a record number of school shootings in 2018, US schools are working to be proactive to better protect students. For the Lockport City School District and others throughout the country, facial recognition technology could be a solution. While some say this technology will make schools more secure, critics believe it will negatively influence school climate among other issues. 

An effort to boost safety in schools around the country is now a topic of national debate. Why do some say facial recognition technology won’t work and will lead to consequences for kids? 

Also on the show, if these gloomy winter months are dragging you down mentally and emotionally - you are not alone. Seasonal depression is real. Learn why it happens and how to cope.

Plus, is a major initiative with a goal to end poverty by 50 percent by 2025 backtracking on that goal?