Randy Gorbman

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online. 

Randy has over 30 years of broadcast news experience, and was recently news director at WHAM-AM in Rochester. Randy has also been news director, writer, announcer, and producer at radio stations in several cities in New York and Connecticut, as well as working as an editor at the NBC Radio Network. He served as past president of the New York State Associated Press Broadcasters' Association, and is currently a member of its Board of Directors.

Randy has also taught journalism to local students, serving as adjunct instructor at SUNY Geneseo and Monroe Community College.

Randy received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and his Master's degree in Liberal Arts from SUNY Empire State College.

The International Joint Commission, the joint U.S.-Canadian body that helps determine regulatory decisions about the Great Lakes, has a quorum again. That’s something the agency has not had due to vacancies since late last year.

Senator Chuck Schumer says that the U.S. Senate has voted to confirm three new members of the International Joint Commission. That is the joint U.S.- Canadian regulating body that can have some impact on Lake Ontario levels.

Schumer, a New York Democrat and the Senate Minority Leader, says that the Senate has confirmed former Republican Assembly member Jane Corwin, who will be the U.S. chairwoman of the IJC, as well as nominees Robert Sisson and Lance Yohe.

This remains an anxious time for people who live near the Lake Ontario shoreline. There will be a lot of watchful eyes on water levels in the coming weeks.

While there hasn’t been any widespread flooding yet, like residents saw two years ago, the level of Lake Ontario has been rising, due to a number of factors.

Wayne County has declared a State of Emergency on Sodus Bay, East Bay, Port Bay and Blind Sodus Bay due to high water levels on Lake Ontario.

As of early Saturday morning, motor boats must operate at these speeds:

Sodus Bay– idle speed only causing no wake within 1000 feet of shore.

Port Bay, East Bay and Blind Sodus Bay – idle speed only causing no wake.

Authorities say that although recent boat traffic has been minimal, increased boat traffic would create a hazardous situation, property damage and shore line erosion. 

The threat of high water along the Lake Ontario shoreline is often felt first in low-lying places like Sodus Point.

Village Mayor Dave McDowell said that right now, Sodus Point is about as prepared as it can be.

"We have 40,000 sandbags, give or take, deployed around the low spots of the village, they’re holding; we’ve got National Guard back shoring up a couple of spots on the south side with this heavy south wind, but our streets are all dry, the businesses are all open and thriving," McDowell said.

Payne Horning / WRVO News (file photo)

People who live along the Lake Ontario shoreline are nervously watching lake levels.

The level of Lake Ontario currently is more than a foot above its long term historic average, and while high, it’s not all that unusual.

That’s according to Bryce Carmichael, he is the U.S. Secretary of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which helps manage lake levels.

With concerns about rising levels on Lake Ontario, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lakeshore.

He notes that following severe flooding in Canada, the International Joint Commission has continued to reduce outflows of water from the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River in an effort to minimize impacts, and the lake's water level currently sits at more than one foot above average.

Robyn Lee / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed the legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags starting in March of next year, but Wegmans has also announced that it will eliminate the use of the plastic grocery bags in its New York stores by the end of this year.

Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans' packaging and sustainability manager, said the supermarket chain wants to get ahead of the curve because of the transition that will be needed to get customers accustomed to using the reusable shopping bags.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislative leaders have announced an agreement on the new state budget, which is due April 1,

They sent out a statement early Sunday morning saying that the $175 billion budget holds spending growth at two percent.

It includes:

-a permanent 2% property tax cap.

-an additional $1 billion for school aid for aid that will total $27.9 billion.

-criminal justice reforms, including reforming the cash bail system.

A Wayne County farm worker is now facing charges of murder in the deaths of his girlfriend and her 14 month old son.

The Sheriff’s Department says that 26 Alberto Eberardo Gutierre-Reyes, also known by the name Everardo Donoteo-Reyes,  was indicted on two counts of murder in the second degree and one count of tampering with physical evidence.

He is accused of killing his girlfriend, Selena Hidalgo-Calderon and her son Owen.

Selena and her toddler were reported missing last May. She and Gutierre-Reyes had lived in a house in Sodus near the farm where they worked.

New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Tuesday announced a record $174 million consumer fraud settlement with Charter Communications, the corporate name for Spectrum, which provides cable, internet and phone services across the state.

According to the AG, the agreement settles a consumer fraud action alleging that the state’s largest internet service provider, which operated initially as Time Warner Cable and later under the Charter Spectrum name, denied customers the reliable and fast internet service it had promised.

UPDATE: 12:40pm Tuesday: The Amber Alert for 14 year old Joanna Coates has been canceled.  Rochester Police say that Coates and Robert Gonzalez have been located. RPD is working on getting them back to Rochester.

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Rochester Police have issued an Amber Alert for a missing 14-year-old girl.

They say that Joanna Coates, who is from Rochester, has been missing since Saturday, and is believed to be with 41-year-old Robert Gonazalez of Rochester.

Black Friday marks the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, but it's not the retail force it used to be, and it hasn't been for years.

Ted Potrikus, president of the New York State Retail Council, said that single day - the Friday after Thanksgiving - isn't unimportant.

"It's still busy, it's still important, it's still a bit of a pace-setter,” he said, “but I think it's a bit of a misnomer to go out there and say, 'oh, it's the biggest shopping day of the year,' because that's reserved for December 21 and 22."

Some Spectrum customers may be paying more for their cable and internet service soon.

Among the charges being increased for some customers, a broadcast TV surcharge will go up  just over $1 to $9.95 a month, and the cost for a Spectrum receiver is rising about 50-cents to $7.50.

Some internet prices are going up as well. The cost for people who subscribe to Spectrum TV is rising $5 to $59.99, and for customers who don’t subscribe to Spectrum TV, the internet price is going up $1 to $65.99.

Authorities in Wayne County say that they have found skeletal remains they believe belong to the toddler who has been missing in the Sodus area since May.

At an afternoon news conference on Tuesday, Sheriff Barry Virts said that the investigation has never stopped since last May, after the body of 18 year old Selena Hidalgo-Calderon was discovered on a farm in Sodus.

Virts says that last week, searchers found skeletal remains about a quarter mile away from where Hidalgo-Calderon’s body had been found.

The New York State Board of Elections is warning the public to be aware that scammers are contacting people via phone calls and text messages in an attempt to get personal information.

Elections’ officials say that so far, the scam calls and texts have originated from the 607 area code and have been reported in Chemung and Stueben Counties:

The New York State Board of Elections offers the following tips:

• Do not respond to any phone call or text message offering to register you over the phone;

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News (file photo)

New York dairy farmers should see some advantage from a revamped trade deal with Canada. 

Canada is linked again with the U.S. and Mexico in a revamped North American free trade deal after weeks of negotiations. The new deal, replaces NAFTA, which President Trump had called a job killing disaster.

A new poll gives Republican Congressman John Katko a 15-point lead in the 24th Congressional District. The Spectrum News/Siena College poll released Monday night shows Katko leading Democratic challenge Dana Balter 54-39 percent.

Pollster Steve Greenberg says that Katko, the first person to win consecutive terms in the district in a decade, has a strong lead in a district closely divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Heavy rains caused heavy damage in parts of the Finger Lakes on Tuesday, particularly Seneca County.

By mid-morning, Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo issued a state of emergency.

She said that was due to flooding and localized road closures in the town of Perinton and other surrounding areas.

The state of emergency in Monroe County was lifted late Tuesday night.

New York State is taking tough action against Charter Communications, the parent company for Spectrum cable and internet services.

On Friday, the New York State Public Service Commission revoked its approval of the 2016 merger agreement between Charter and Time Warner Cable. The PSC contends that Charter failed to deliver the benefits to state residents that were part of the merger approval.

The PSC listed several issues:

Kenneth Londono

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is rejecting a proposal to put a controversial gas storage facility on the shore of Seneca Lake.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos is denying the proposal by Crestwood Midstream Partners to build an underground liquefied petroleum gas (propane) storage facility in abandoned salt mines in Watkins Glen.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon brought her campaign to Rochester on Sunday, specifically to focus on the needs of the disability community.

Nixon met with a variety of supporters, including those active in the disability community locally during her campaign stop at Ontario Beach Park.

The actress and activist who is hoping to face Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in a September primary keyed in on several points important to those with disabilities, including low wages for home health care aides.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon brought her campaign to Rochester on Sunday, specifically to focus on the needs of the disability community.

Nixon met with a variety of  supporters, including those active in the disability community locally during her campaign stop at Ontario Beach Park.

The actress and activist who is hoping to face Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo in a September primary keyed in on several points important to those with disabilities, including low wages for home health care aides.

The search for a missing 14-month-old boy in Wayne County has been suspended, but the investigation will continue.

That’s what Sheriff Barry Virts told reporters on Sunday afternoon, after 12 days of searching for Owen Hidalgo-Calderon.

Hundreds of searchers from several agencies have combed through an area around the farm where the toddler’s mother, Selena Hidalgo-Calderon lived with her boyfriend, Everado Donateo-Reyes.

An intensive search continued in the area of a Sodus farm on Sunday with no sign yet of 14 month old Owen Hidalgo Calderon.

Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts says that 200 searchers from several area police and fire departments, ENCON Police and other agencies again combed through areas around the 350 acre farm on Joy Road.

Authorities had recovered the body of Owen’s mother, 18 year old Selena Hidalgo-Calderon, from a wooded area of the farm on Wednesday.

Wegmans is responding to Governor  Andrew Cuomo’s proposal this week to ban single-use plastic bags.

The supermarket chain has some concerns with that concept. Cuomo says that a ban on single-use plastic carryout bags will significantly reduce waste and environmental impacts. 

But Wegmans officials say it’s important to fully understand the impact that the various bagging options would have on the environment. 

Water levels on Lake Ontario are well below the record peak they hit last May, but they are relatively high for this time of year. That’s according to the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board which can help regulate the lake level to some extent via the Moses Saunders dam.

As of January 30th, Lake Ontario was a foot above average.

Arun Heer is U.S. Secretary for the board. He says the board continues to maximize the outflow of water from Lake Ontario.

The Erie Canal has a very big economic impact on New York State, but more needs to be done to make people aware of its importance and how they can enjoy it.

That was the gist of an economic forum on the canal held Friday. The meeting at the Strong Museum featured presentations and experts on various aspects of the canal; and one thing they wanted to get across is that while the canal is great for tourism, it has a positive impact on the state’s economy in a number of ways.

Randy Gorbman / WXXI News File Photo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo went to the town of Greece on the the southern shoreline of Lake Ontario -- one of the areas that has been hardest hit by the recent flooding.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

With Lake Ontario's waters continuing to rise. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to assist communities for possible flooding. 

More than 130,000 sandbags have been deployed to the region, as residents prepare for flooding in low-elevation areas.

In some areas, sandbags have been positioned in locations that experienced flooding in the past few days and weeks. Other state assets have been staged at the regional stockpile in Monroe County.

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