2019 Year in Review

Every day between December 23 and January 4, WXXI News looks back at the important stories of 2019. You can also listen to these stories each day by subscribing to the Ear Shot podcast

There’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

But Rochester has its own hall for the many other games people play.

This week, WXXI is looking back at the events and people that made news in 2019. Today, Alex Crichton has a look at another year for the National Toy Hall of Fame.

By traditional political terms, 2019 was an "off year" - no national or even statewide races on the ballot. But it really wasn't an off year, there was a lot that happened politically in 2019 as Scott Fybush and Randy Gorbman review the year in politics. 

A decades-long struggle for an independent police accountability board took center stage in Rochester last year.

This year brought a significant shift in New York state policy around vaccines.

The state eliminated religious exemptions to vaccines, and children are now required to be vaccinated to attend school unless they have a medical exemption form signed by a doctor.

The move came on the heels of some of the largest measles outbreaks in the state since record keeping began, including a cluster in Monroe County that sickened seven children.

Brett Dahlberg reported throughout the year on local cases of vaccine-preventable diseases and the efforts to increase immunization rates in the Rochester area and around the Finger Lakes.

As WXXI looks back at the events and people that made news in 2019, there were some notable citizens that we lost. WXXI's Juan Vazquez remembers some of those who left us this year.

Governor Andrew Cuomo started the year 2019 with a strong message to legalize recreational marijuana. While the state did not pass legalization measures, certain amounts of marijuana have been decriminalized. WXXI’s Noelle Evans and Juan Vazquez look back at changes to state laws around marijuana possession this past year, and what those changes means going forward.

The arts & life scene was full of news in 2019. As we look back at the news of the year, we bring the spotlight to the arts. Producer Veronica Volk talks with WXXI Arts & Life editor and reporter Jeff Spevak.

The Child Victims Act expands the statute of limitations on reporting crimes of childhood sexual abuse for both criminal and civil lawsuits. It also opened a one-year window in August, for survivors to file claims, no matter how long ago they say their abuse happened. WXXI's Beth Adams looks back on the effect the law has had, as hundreds of lawsuits were filed on the first day alone.

This year saw a surge in both youth use of e-cigarettes and a slew of not-quite-explained injuries from the products that sent dozens of people to hospitals in and around Monroe County.

Local researchers have been at the forefront of a national effort to figure out precisely how some vape products are injuring their users.

WXXI health reporter Brett Dahlberg has been following the trends this year and brings us an update on the science and the legislation around vaping.

Lake Ontario experienced record-high flooding in 2019, and government officials are trying to learn how to deal with the changing reality of life on the lakeshore. Veronica Volk has been covering lake issues, and sat down with Megan Mack to talk about what’s happened.