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.

The Nathaniel Rochester statue on South Avenue was defaced about a week ago, and a group in the South Wedge neighborhood is grappling with what to do next. 

The statue was tagged with Black Lives Matter, its hands were painted red and the word "shame" was written on its forehead. Rochester, who the city is named after, owned slaves.

City spokesperson Patrick Flanigan said the statue will be cleaned as soon as possible, “in a manner that will not damage it.” The city has a program called the Defacer Eraser that removes graffiti around the community.

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren claims the relationship between the police department and city residents is “light-years ahead” of other cities. 

During a news conference Wednesday, Warren was asked about a common chant and request from Black Lives Matter protesters. They say that police departments should be defunded. The Minneapolis City Council plans to do that in their city.

The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has released its first results of a survey looking at what the area's most vulnerable populations are concerned about when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer called the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package “the exact kind of medicine” that the nation and the state needs. 

During a conference call with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday, Schumer said nearly every New Yorker will likely be touched by the aid package.

“We can tell New Yorkers that help is on the way,” said Schumer. “It's quick aid and large aid, big aid.”

The package includes billions for state and county governments, including $128 million for Monroe County, and funding for transit systems like RTS, hospitals, small businesses, nonprofits, Native American reservations, and extended unemployment payments. 


Keeping plastic bags out of landfills and the environment is the goal of New York State’s ban of the bags in grocery stores, but Foodlink’s CEO Julia Tedesco said there could be other consequences.

“We are also acutely aware and have had concerns that it could have a negative impact on low-income households who might not be able to afford these reusable bags,” said Tedesco.

Five years ago, a retired school administrator from Batavia named Loren Penman had a conversation with her neighbor. What she didn’t know then is that talk would inspire the next phase of her life. 

Penman said her neighbor was hoping that her grandson Ali, who lives in Albany, could get back to Letchworth State Park soon. She told Penman that Ali was a different kid inside the park.

The former chief diversity officer at The College at Brockport who was fired Friday issued his first public statement on the matter Monday.

Cephas Archie received a wave of support from people across the community, including East High Superintendent Shaun Nelms and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. Students and community members protested on campus and online using the hashtag #weseeyou, or the phrase: "We stand with Dr. Archie."

State Sen. Rich Funke wants harsher penalties for people who assault sports referees during games. 

As he made the announcement at the Schottland YMCA in Pittsford, numerous Section V referees joined him. They say a growing level of disrespect toward referees is driving people out of the business. That’s why Funke has submitted legislation specifically protecting them.


Federal and state agencies are nearing the end of a project to bring Lake Sturgeon back to the Genesee River. 

Webster Piersall from the State Department of Environmental Conservation says the project started in 2003 after the federal government required the restoration of those fish.


Two board members of the National Women’s Hall of Fame addressed one of their most controversial inductees Tuesday. 

Actress Jane Fonda, along with the late Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, activist Angela Davis and eight other groundbreaking women, will become the newest members of the hall in September.

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