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.

Rochester City Council has issued subpoenas in connection with its independent investigation into the death of Daniel Prude.

During a visit to Rochester’s Aenon Baptist Church on Sunday, New York State Attorney General Letitia James said her office will announce when it is investigating deaths of unarmed individuals after encounters with law enforcement. She also said her office will release police body camera footage of these incidents as soon as possible.

“I commit that we will notify the public,” said James, "when we arrive at a decision, to assert our jurisdiction in investigations of police officers involved deaths of unarmed civilians, to avoid the situation that occured here in Rochester.”

Melvin Chapman said he’s lived near the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Dr. Samuel McCree Way for about 10 years. When police arrested Daniel Prude in March, he said it was the talk of the neighborhood.

“As soon as it happened, everybody was talking about it. 'What happened? What happened to him? How’d this happen?' ” said Chapman. “No answers. Until yesterday.”

Leaders from communities large and small in the Finger Lakes are banding together to help each other open schools a little more than a month from now. 

The goal of the task force, which was convened by Common Ground Health, is to help ensure the health and safety of students, staff and the larger community by sharing approaches, experiences, and when possible, resources.

More than 40 leaders from public health, health care, education, government and nonprofits are involved in the group.

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.

Pages