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 federal government’s congressional watchdog agency is taking a look at a controversial plan that helps adjust water levels on Lake Ontario.

George Eastman Museum

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would commit to a lunar landing by 1970 before a special joint session of Congress.

That ambitious goal set off a scramble that required an enormous effort by scientists, engineers, astronauts, and many others as the U.S. tried to respond to the Soviet Union’s early accomplishments in the so-called "space race."

There is word that the board of the International Joint Commission, the U.S. – Canadian agency that manages the waters shared by the two countries, may hold an emergency board meeting on Wednesday, to look at issues involving recent shoreline flooding.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a number of state agency officials were in Rochester on Monday to kick off a new commission which will work to toughen the infrastructure along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

The Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, or REDI, commission is part of the state’s response to the flooding that has hit the south shore of the lake this year, just two years after the last wave of floods that damages homes and other properties.

Cuomo said a number of state agencies will be involved.

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a letter to the International Joint Commission on Saturday demanding immediate action in response to the ongoing flooding issues along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

The IJC is the U.S. – Canadian body that can help regulate lake levels by affecting the amount of water flowing out of Lake Ontario through a dam on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

WRVO News (file photo)

Officials who help regulate the level of Lake Ontario are pointing to some hopeful signs in the effort to deal with the ongoing flooding issues along the lake shore.

The level of Lake Ontario is still at a record, hovering at around 249 feet. But officials with the International Lake Ontario-Saint Lawrence River Board say that water levels have started to stabilize.

Keith Koralewski, an official with the board and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said that less rain has helped, and with the forecast for drier, warmer weather later this week, it should help even more.

Jason Smith / WRVO News

People who live along the south shore of Lake Ontario are still contending with flooding threats, particularly when the wind comes from a northerly direction, but experts say there may be some hopeful signs as we head into the summer.

As of Monday, the Lake Ontario level was at 249.02 feet, exceeding the record of 248.95 feet that was set in 2017.

Water levels in Lake Ontario keep rising.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board said on Monday that water levels have reached 248.85 feet, and will likely reach or exceed the 2017 record high of 248.95 feet within the next few days.

Forecasts show that Lake Ontario levels are expected to crest within the next one to three weeks, mostly within an inch or so of the record high, but officials say that potentially higher levels are possible should wet weather continue.

The siting of large trash incinerators in the Finger Lakes region is prohibited under legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

Cuomo announced on Friday that the law is intended to protect farmers and wineries in the Finger Lakes from adverse environmental effects and preserve the region's $3 billion wine and tourism economy. 

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.

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