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.

The Rochester region is poised to become the photonics hub of the nation, thanks to $600 million in public and private investments that will establish a national photonics institute in the city's downtown.

But those without a science background are at a disadvantage when it comes to understanding not only what photonics is, but also how an industry built up around it will affect the local, regional and national economy.

Time to settle this once and for all: What is photonics?

Hundreds of jobs are coming to the Rochester area as a result of the recent push into photonics, which involves the use of light in robotics, medical imaging and other fields. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was among the officials making the announcement today at the Eastman Business Park, telling the crowd that two companies, Photonica and Avogy, will be coming to Canal Ponds and the Eastman Business Park.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Barry Culhane is counting the days until he can finally walk unassisted again.

“I walked into a herniated disc surgery and woke up paralyzed, never expecting that,” says Culhane, who has gained back only some feeling in his legs since then.

Given his positive outlook over the last three years adjusting to life mostly in a wheelchair and decades-long involvement with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, it comes as no surprise to his peers that Culhane has handled the physical setback so well.

SHUTTERSTOCK

Just one minute into the first round of a sparring match at Aquinas Institute, and Michael Robertson has already thrown and ducked dozens of punches. The young boxer has been hit a number of times, too. In the second round, his opponent takes control at times, backing Robertson into a corner and landing continuous jabs. Coach Dominic Arioli stands inside the ring, pacing quickly.   

“Don’t rush, don’t rush.”

“Bend over like this. Get down like this,” says Arioli.

It's hard to describe just how massive this pile of potatoes in the Marquart Farms storage facility is. The mountain of spuds towers over Adam Marquart, the operations manager.

"What we're looking at in this building is about 24 million potatoes. That represents about 200 acres of crop, and we harvested them in September. These potatoes are conditioned now, and actually ready to go make chips now."

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