Sasha-Ann Simons, WXXI

@SashaAnnSimons

Sasha-Ann Simons joined the team at WXXI News as a Multimedia Reporter/Producer. She most often tells stories about the innovation economy and technology in upstate New York as part of a journalism collaborative, and is a fill-in host and regular contributor to WXXI-TV's weekly news magazine program, Need To Know.

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Sasha-Ann comes to Rochester after spending her formative years growing up in Toronto, Canada. She studied broadcasting at Ryerson University, where she received a Bachelor of Journalism. Sasha-Ann earned her first news gig as a chase producer at CityTV, while still a college freshman. She subsequently took on various roles in other Toronto newsrooms as a videographer, host, and producer, and was part of the award-winning Global Television Network news team.

Sasha-Ann has covered and produced stories in the Canadian national spotlight, including Occupy Toronto, the Eaton Centre mall shooting, the Toronto Argos CFL championship win, and the Mayor Rob Ford crack scandal.

Sasha-Ann is fun-loving and sassy. She is also passionate about education issues. When she's not on the air, Sasha-Ann spends her time with family and exploring new recipes in the kitchen.

Zombie homes are abandoned properties left unmaintained during foreclosure proceedings. Whether intentional or not, the home has been left vacant by the homeowner; in other cases, banks have foreclosed on the homes but haven’t done anything with the property.

Zombie homes can be found across the country, and can have a lasting effect on the homeowner and the entire neighborhood.

As of May, states with the most vacant zombie foreclosures were New Jersey (4,003), New York (3,352), and Florida (2,467), according to RealtyTrac, a company that monitors foreclosures nationwide.

In an effort to tighten the middle-skills gap and change the way people think about manufacturing jobs, Kodak's Eastman Business Park opened its doors to hundreds of high school students for a show and tell Thursday.

People who work in the field and hiring managers from local manufacturing companies spoke to the students about taking advantage of future job openings in the area. Through videos and panel discussions, the teens got a glimpse of daily work duties, which classes and programs will help them to prepare, and compensation and benefits.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

With millions in federal and state funding, Rochester is poised to become a photonics research and manufacturing hub.

And with thousands of new jobs possible, local colleges are preparing their students now to build their careers in the industry.

At Monroe Community College, many more students are enrolling in the optics program.

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