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.

People are catching record-breaking salmon in Lake Ontario this year. A report from the Department of Environmental Conservation says veteran anglers are reporting some of the best fishing in decades.

Steve LePan is a section head with the DEC for Great Lakes Fisheries.

"It's not just chinook salmon. There are a number of salmon species in the lake that we stock, and so fishing overall for all trout and salmon is also at a record-high level."

LePan credits favorable conditions for the high catch rates.

With increasing threats to the health of Seneca Lake, Senator Pam Helming today announced funding for a new position – the Seneca Lake Watershed Manager.

Joseph Campbell is the president of the Seneca Lake Guardian. He says Seneca Lake has had a lot of stress lately.

"With the flooding we just had, the wastewater treatment plants were overwhelmed, we had raw sewage going into the lake – this is a drinking water resource for over a hundred thousand people."

Across the state, migrant farm workers and advocates are drawing attention to an important issue they say could help them: driving privileges regardless of immigration status. 


At Fifth Frame Brewing on St. Paul Street in downtown Rochester, Carolyn Stiles starts talking to me about her favorite beer.

"I really enjoy a good pilsner, like, a well brewed pilsner," she tells me.

Stiles is part of an ever-growing group of craft beer enthusiasts across the country.

Rochester alone has over a dozen breweries experimenting with different malts, hops, and yeasts to make hundreds of local beers. With this rapid growth, Stiles saw an opportunity to start a beer education and appreciation group – just for women.

Residents of Seneca County are still reeling from the flash floods that downed trees, destroyed roadways, and flooded homes.

“It was flooding over, it was going over the banks, it was going over the road over here which has already gone down.”


Luticha Doucette always knew she wanted to be a scientist, even if no one else thought she could do it.

"I was very much discouraged from going into the sciences. People would be like, 'Well, don’t you want to be a teacher?' And I would be like, yeah, teachers are great, but that’s not what my heart was in."

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.

Pages