WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Veronica Volk

Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Reporter/Producer for WXXI News, exploring environmental and economic issues, water, and wildlife throughout the region for radio, television, and the web.

Previously, she worked general assignment for the newsroom, covering everything from medical marijuana dispensaries to the photonics industry. She is currently producing and co-hosting a true-crime podcast called Finding Tammy Jo with Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle.

Veronica got her start as an enterprise reporter in the Bronx for WFUV Public Radio, and later became the senior producer of their weekly public affairs show Cityscape. She holds a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from Fordham University and is originally from the Jersey Shore, which is nothing like how it is portrayed on MTV.

Last summer, businesses and property owners across Lake Ontario did not expect to have a booming tourism season.

After months of flooding, many people were working to repair their property well in to the summer.

In spite of this, a new report shows tourism increased across the state last year, including those lakeside regions. Monroe and Ontario County each saw about a three percent increase in traveler spending.

Traveler spending is a broad category that includes everything from lodging to food service to retail to recreation.

Whether you call it a lightning bug or a firefly or perhaps by its scientific name, Lampyridae, chances are you’ve had some experience with the tiny flying insect that flashes and blinks its way through summer evenings.

And if you've been noticing more fireflies in your backyard this summer, you're not alone.

“A lot of people are enjoying it and I’m thrilled that people are enjoying it," says Sara Lewis, an evolutionary biologist at Tufts University in Boston, and writer of the book Silent Sparks: The Wondrous World of Fireflies.

Researchers predict less algae on Lake Erie this year compared to last, but that doesn’t mean no algae.

On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the most severe, Lake Erie’s algae blooms are predicted to be at a six this summer. That’s an improvement from last summer, when they were categorized at an eight.

Richard Stumpf is an oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He says, there’s a real simple reason they’re predicting fewer and smaller algae blooms.

Protesters at Congressman Tom Reed’s office in Geneva called on the representative to take action against an immigration policy that is separating children from their families at the southern border.

Gabriella Quintanilla was 13 years old when she and her younger sisters left El Salvador to meet their mother in the U.S.

“We crossed the border on foot," she said, adding that it took nearly a month to complete the journey.

It looks like Lake Ontario may have already reached its peak high for the season, which is good news for lakefront home owners and business owners.

The search continues for 14-month old Owen Hidalgo-Calderon in Sodus after his mother was found dead last week. His mother’s boyfriend appeared in court today.

Joy Road is quiet, nothing but the wind rolling through orchards and the occasional roar of a distant car on a country road.

You wouldn’t know it, but behind the neat rows of peach trees and some dense woods, dozens of police officers are fanned out across acres and acres of farm land, looking for Owen

Julie Cataldo is strapped into a harness as she sits in her wheelchair just a few feet from the edge of the Erie Canal. A hydraulic lift hoists her from the chair and swings her out over the water.

The lift lowers her into a kayak, and its operator adjusts her seat.


Last year, 72 dams across the US were demolished; hundreds more were removed in the past ten. Most dam removals are part of an effort to restore rivers and the animals that live there. But when a dam across the St. Regis River in Upstate New York was removed late last year, the Mohawk people that live there saw it as an opportunity to reclaim the land and use it to express their culture and heritage.