Max Schulte/WXXI News & CITY Newspaper

Some businesses in Monroe County and the Finger Lakes region could reopen starting at the end of this week, when Governor Andrew Cuomo’s latest shutdown order expires.

During his Monday COVID-19 briefing, which he delivered at Rochester Regional Health’s Riedman Campus Training Center in Irondequoit, Cuomo said that Monroe County and its neighboring eight counties had met seven key metrics indicating they had slowed the spread of the virus and will be able to begin reopening certain kinds of businesses by Friday.

“We start a new chapter today in many ways, a new phase,” Cuomo said to an audience of reporters and elected officials, including County Executive Adam Bello, spread out to maintain physical distancing guidelines.

Photo provided by Baber African Methodist Episcopal Church

Faith leaders in Monroe County issued letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislators this week urging them to continue upholding bail reform. 

Rev. James Simmons is one of seven clergy who signed the letter addressed to Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Attorney General Letitia James calling on them to support bail reform despite backlash from some legislators and police who claim the new law will leave dangerous criminals on the streets.

We continue our conversations about Governor Cuomo’s proposed plan to end the state’s tip credit. Cuomo says the tipped wage system inhibits workers who earn tips from coming forward with concerns about exploitation and harassment, and it disproportionately affects women and people of color.

Some people in the Fight for 15 movement think the restaurant business needs an overhaul; they say we need to change our expectations about what workers are paid. 

Our guests in studio explain why they think that a business which cannot pay workers a living wage should not open in the first place. Our guests:

Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to banish tips. The governor has argued workers who rely on tips have a harder time coming forward with concerns, and consequently are more vulnerable to exploitation and harassment. But restaurant, car wash, and nail salon trade groups say the tipped credit is critical to their survival. 

We discuss it with our guests:

  • Art Rogers, James Beard-nominated chef and owner of Lento
  • Christina DiPilato, server at Rocco
  • Samantha Pompili, general manager of a local tavern

Mike Groll / AP

As part of his budget plan, Governor Cuomo wants to raise the minimum wage to $10.50 across the state and $11.50 in New York City. He says raising the minimum wage doesn't just help workers on a personal level, it will also immediately impact the economy.

"You know, when you raise the minimum wage, the workers who receive the raise spend it. Why? Because they need it. They're literally living paycheck to paycheck. So you raise the wage, and it will be an economic stimulus because three billion dollars is a significant amount in the state economy."

Governor Cuomo joined Mayor Lovely Warren and Gary Bonadonna of the Rochester Joint Board to push his minimum wage increase agenda at Workers United.

The governor says the economy is on the upswing, and the state is producing more millionaires and billionaires than ever before. But, he says, that doesn't mean everyone is benefiting.

"It's not success when just those at the top do well because we define success as shared success. We want people all along that economic spectrum to do well."


Governor Cuomo visited the SUNY Brockport REOC in Downtown Rochester Tuesday morning to outline his 2015 Opportunity Agenda.

The agenda is part-budget and part-State of the State address, covering a multitude of issues including Rochester's Anti-Poverty Task force, "historic" property tax cuts, and investments in broadband infrastructure, among many others.

In the first part of the show, we talk with Scott Waldman of Capital about his story on a fracking study commissioned by the Cuomo Administration. The study was meant to find the impact fracking had on the state's drinking water, but the spotlight is now on how administration officials had a hand in editing and delaying the study. 

Then we talk with Peter King of CBS News and WXXI's Scott Fybush.  King, or rather Peter King Steinhaus, may be familiar with some as he spent some time on the airwaves of Rochester and Syracuse. He and his brother, Rick Sommers Steinhaus, have written a book on this history of Ithaca Radio, where some of the most influential leaders of the broadcast industry, including Peter and Rick, got their start. Both are Ithaca College alumns and will sign copies of his books on Thursday at the Bill Gray's on Penfield Road from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Dunkirk Power Plant to Switch to Natural Gas

Dec 19, 2013
Kate O'Connell

Many of New York’s power stations are reaching the end of their operating lives, with coal-fired plants becoming less viable from both a business and environmental standpoint.

This week, Gov. Cuomo announced a $150 million deal that will see the coal-fired power plant in Dunkirk converted to burn natural gas.