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.

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.

Saying the COVID-19 infection rate in New York has begun declining, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is lifting some restrictions in nearly all orange and yellow microcluster zones that were aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus. He’s also developing a plan to allow limited indoor dining in New York City.

Raising money is never easy for nonprofits, said Nick Coulter, the co-founder of Person Centered Housing Options, which offers support and housing to the homeless. 

And a recent Siena poll said it's getting harder. Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers -- 63% -- said they will donate money, food, or gifts to charitable organizations that focus on the needy during the holiday season. That's down from 68% in 2018, and a high of 81% in 2007. Economic and pandemic-based pressures are to blame. 

Like clockwork, tens of thousands of crows, also known as a murder, come together this time of year for their own safety. They’re noticeable in downtown Rochester.

Genesee Valley Audubon Society President June Summers said it's a way to protect themselves from predators, like owls. She said the crows are often distant relatives.

“Crows come together in a winter roost, in numbers because it's safer,” said Summers. “In the spring and the summer they disperse and go out and nest, and take up territories in the rest of the county.”

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.