Congressman Joe Morelle joins us. We talk to him about impeachment, the riot at the Capitol, and the incoming administration. We also discuss the next round of pandemic stimulus – what’s in it, what’s not in it, and what struggling Americans need to know.

Our guest:


Rock royalty has played the tiny room known simply as the Bug Jar.

There was The White Stripes, before the duo became indie-rock favorites. The Black Keys, before returning to town a few years later for gigs at Blue Cross Arena and Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center. Vampire Weekend. The 1975, sharing a bill with Rochester’s Joywave. 

Fred SanFilipo

For most of 2020, I’ve been working from a second-floor room at my house in Charlotte. Typing, doing phone interviews, waiting for a neighbor to finish mowing his lawn so I can record something for broadcast. October came and went quietly. For the first time ever, no trick-or-treaters showed up at our door on Halloween. 

October also marked my first anniversary of working full-time at WXXI. And doing the math on my fingers, I see that I have actually spent more days working from this room, rather than at my desk at 280 State St. -- because of the coronavirus pandemic, of course. 

A Finger Lakes winery has landed on the coveted Top 100 Wines of the Year list from "Wine Spectator" magazine. It’s an honor for Forge Cellars, and it’s a nice ending to what has been a difficult year. Wine store sales are up, but not everyone benefits equally.

We talk about the business of wine and the effects of the pandemic on the Finger Lakes industry with Rick Rainey, co-owner of Forge cellars. Our guest:

What can we do to socialize safely during the pandemic winter? We explore local outdoor adventures and excursions for people of all ages. Our guests provide a tour guide, of sorts. We talk about a range of activities in the Rochester/Finger Lakes Region -- from public art, to parks, winter sports, outdoor dining and markets, and more.

Our guests:

Max Schulte/WXXI News

Local restaurant owners are responding to a new round of restrictions in the wake of increasing coronavirus infection rates.

New York state designated most of Monroe County as a yellow zone on Monday. Among other things, this limits restaurant seating to four people per table.

Kelly Bush, president of the Rochester Chapter of the New York State Restaurant Association, said this will be especially difficult for small venues.

Governor Cuomo's office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to take issue with comments by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said over the weekend that the federal government does not plan to get control of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Meadows said on CNN Sunday that the federal government instead will focus on getting out a vaccine and prescribing therapeutic remedies for those who do get sick. 

A new book explores the history of pandemics from 1900 through the current coronavirus. Dr. Rae-Ellen Kavey is a public health practitioner and Dr. Allison Kavey is a medical historian. Their book, "Viral Pandemics: From Smallpox to COVID-19," explores what we know about viral biology and how global interconnectedness has contributed to worldwide pandemics.

They join us to discuss their research. Our guests:

  • Rae-Ellen Kavey, M.D., retired pediatric cardiologist, and co-author of "Viral Pandemics: From Smallpox to COVID-19"
  • Allison Kavey, M.D., MPH, professor of history at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Centre, and co-author of "Viral   Pandemics: From Smallpox to COVID-19"

We’ve been here before.

That’s according to Dan Cody, who works in the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County and wrote his Master’s thesis on Rochester and the 1918 influenza epidemic.

Cody says there are striking parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 1918 influenza “spread like a spider web across America,” he said, arriving in Rochester in late September by train. Officials weren’t sure what the illness was, but they knew it was extremely infectious.

The Rochester Fringe Festival revealed its modified 2020 schedule. Festival producer Erica Fee has been in contact with many people in the arts community, and there has been some debate and confusion about safety.

We discuss the decision-making process in a major festival during a pandemic, and we explore the questions that some in the arts community are expressing. Our guest:

  • Erica Fee, producer of the Rochester Fringe Festival