WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

James Brown

Before coming to WXXI News, James spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for Rochester City Newspaper. While at City, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.

James cut his teeth in journalism as an associate producer and weekend assignment editor at WHEC-TV.

A Rochester native and an East High School graduate, James earned a Bachelor of Communications degree from Niagara University where he won awards for his poetry and resurrected the school’s radio station.

After a year's hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rochester Lilac Festival will be back this May, but it will be a quite different experience. 

Organizer Jeff Springut said Thursday that social distancing and mask wearing are expected to be enforced for the 123-year-old festival. Those aren’t the only changes coming.


U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer stopped by Bug Jar on Monroe Avenue on Wednesday to talk about the federal government’s efforts to save performance spaces, specifically the $16 billion in Save our Stages grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The grants come from the latest COVID-19 stimulus package, also known as the American Rescue Plan. 


U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that the Rochester-Finger Lakes region will receive $391 million for K-12 education. The money comes from the recent COVID-19 federal stimulus package.

In February, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the legalization of marijuana sales is overdue and needs to get done as part of the state’s budget process, largely because the state needs the revenue in order to bridge its budget gap. 

The Cuomo administration projects that legalizing sales would create more than 60,000 new jobs, $3.5 billion in economic activity and add about $350 million in tax revenue.

“It is a controversial topic,” said Cuomo. “It's controversial and a difficult vote. I believe that if we don’t get it done by the budget, then we’re not gonna get it done.”

You could hear the bells, bouncing off the brick buildings and the frozen Genesee River. Students from the University of Rochester Carillon Society rang them from high atop the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library. Twelve rings a minute, 500 in total, to honor the half-million Americans who died of COVID-19 so far.

Sophomores Valerie Battista and Kayla Gunderson and senior Claire Janezic played them. 

Joe Prude said he’s still in shock over a grand jury’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against the Rochester Police officers involved in his brother Daniel’s death.

Joe called 911 nearly a year ago with concerns about Daniel's mental health. Officers found Daniel naked in 30-degree weather on Jefferson Avenue. He was restrained in the middle of the street and suffocated. He died a week later.

During her visit to Rochester Tuesday, State Attorney General Tish James said she intends to push for a law changing how communities respond to mental health calls. The measure, Daniel’s Law, was authored by Assemblyman Harry Bronson and State Sen. Samra Brouk. 

Brouk said the measure was inspired by a series of community conversations and discussions with Bronson about Daniel Prude’s death. 

Immigrants in detention centers around the country are being targeted and harassed, according to a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Tish James, the attorneys general from Virginia and Massachusetts and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The Rochester Red Wings announced their intention Thursday to field a 142-game schedule with the home opener scheduled for April 13 - 589 days after their last game at Frontier Field.

Naomi Silver, president and COO of Rochester Community Baseball, said the decision was made by Major League Baseball in concert with other teams in the International League. She’s anxious to get the team back on the field.

“It's very exciting we haven’t had this much optimism for some time, so this is great news,” said Silver.


Jazz festival will happen but will move to RIT

Feb 12, 2021

After being canceled last year due to the pandemic, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival is on track for this summer -- but will be held for the first time outside the city and later than usual, festival organizers announced Thursday.

The festival’s co-producers, Marc Iacona and John Nugent, said they were moving the popular nine-day concert series to the Rochester Institute of Technology campus in Henrietta to better adhere to state health guidelines. The festival is scheduled for July 30 to Aug. 7.

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