Sasha-Ann Simons, WXXI


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.


Cosmetic products containing small plastic beads are now banned from being sold in Erie County.

The measure was signed into law this week, following a unanimous vote by that county's legislature in July.

Microbeads are found in products such as facial scrubs and lotions and even toothpaste. On an ingredient label they are listed as polyethylene, polypropylene, or acrylates co-polymer.

(Video after the jump.)


The Rochester City School District plans to shake things up in the classroom with some new math moves this September.  The Math & Movement program pairs physical activity with crunching numbers, and is designed to help kids learn more, retain more and gain valuable basic math skills while exercising their bodies as well as their minds.


In a move expected to drive down costs to the industry, Natcore Technology says it has developed  a way to swap silver for aluminum in its solar cells.

Silver is a highly conductive metal, and that efficiency is one reason it has been used in solar cells for nearly 60 years.

When sunlight hits a silicon cell, it generates electrons, and silver has been used to collect these electrons in order to form a useful electric current.


Business owner, Richard Deys, and his roughly 20-person staff are breathing easier these days.

Deys is the founder and co-owner of Sandman’s Sandblasting and Coatings. The Manchester, New York company specializes in blasting, spray coating, and fabrication. Blasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at a high speed to clean or etch a surface.

And it’s dirty work. Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since that causes the incurable lung disease silicosis, blasters like the Sandman’s team are now using other materials in its place.

(Video after the jump.)


Watch as EPA Regional Administrator, Judith Enck, sits down with Innovation Trail to discuss the Clean Power Plan. Enck talks about:

  • How is New York state positioned to address emission reduction?
  • Will the Plan result in additional costs for consumers?
  • Will the Plan reduce grid reliability?
  • What will the role of renewables be in the new energy mix?
  • What should communities  close to coal-fired power plants do?

(Full video after the jump.)