Dave Rosenthal

Great Lakes Today Managing Editor

Dave Rosenthal is Managing Editor of Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of public media stations that is led by WBFO, ideastream in Cleveland and WXXI in Rochester, and includes other stations in the region.

Dave comes to Buffalo from Baltimore, where he was the investigations/enterprise editor for The Sun. He led projects that won a number of honors, including the Clark Mollenhoff Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism's Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award and the Investigative Reporters & Editors’ breaking news award. The newsroom’s work on the death of Freddie Gray was recognized by The American Society of News Editors, the Online News Association and the National Headliners Awards, in addition to being named a finalist for a 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

He began his journalism career as a reporter for the Roanoke Times and World-News, where he covered local government, the Virginia General Assembly and business. In Roanoke and Baltimore, he has reported on a wide range of topics and people, including a zoo architect in Seattle, the recovery of a Civil War ironclad off the Atlantic coast and the emerging market economy in the Soviet Union.

A native of New Britain, Conn., Dave has degrees from Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Law.

In his spare time, he can be found biking the roads and trails around Buffalo – and cheering on various sports teams, including the UConn Huskies.

On Tuesday, environmental advocates will be watching closely as a Congressional spending committee considers a $300 million restoration program for the Great Lakes.

Update: Committee vote is good news for the Great Lakes.

President Trump's 2018 budget plan eliminated the money, which has gone to a wide range of projects -- from cleaning up pollution to battling the Asian carp. Now, Congress has a chance to restore funding to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

​As scientists forecast a significant algae bloom in Lake Erie this summer, environmental groups are calling for tougher government policies to reduce pollution from farms.


There's some good news from Illinois, where an Asian Carp was recently caught just nine miles from Lake Michigan.

In two weeks of intensive, follow-up monitoring, no bighead or silver Asian carp were found, a regional monitoring group says.  

Upset by continued flooding on the Lake Ontario shoreline, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to shake up the bi-national group that helps to regulate the Great Lakes.

New York Congressmen who represent the southern shore of Lake Ontario say a U.S.-Canada regulatory body should pay for damages caused by weeks of flooding.

Rep. Chris Collins said the International Joint Commission's new management plan for the lake is "a disaster." Rep. John Katko said the plan has "wreaked havoc."

Michigan officials have terminated a contract with a firm analyzing a controversial petroleum pipeline that runs through the Great Lakes, due to an employee's alleged conflict of interest.

The war of words between N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the International Joint Commission is continuing,  as residents along Lake Ontario deal with weeks of flooding.

In a letter to Cuomo, the IJC says flooding was triggered by heavy spring rains. And it rejects his suggestion that preventive counter-measures -- like releasing more water through a downstream dam -- should have been made.

Mayors from the Great Lakes region said Thursday that they will continue to fight against climate change -- despite President Trump's withdrawal from an international agreement.

"While the president of the United States has bowed out of the Paris Agreement, we are stepping up as cities to lead the charge against climate change," Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Mayor Paul Dyster said in a statement. He is the new chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative.

The Paris Climate Accord is designed to have a worldwide reach -- all the way to Paris Township, Mich., near the shore of Lake Huron.

And now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, we offer a summary of some climate-related issues in the Great Lakes region.

Updated Friday, May 26, at 4:45 p.m.

The region braced for a long stretch of rain and showers -- weather that could contribute to more flooding.

The National Weather Service forecast calls for rain or a chance or showers every day through Thursday. 

And the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River board, which controls outflows from a big dam, says it be "several weeks" before the lake is significantly lower.

Finally, some good news for towns that been flooded for weeks by high waters in Lake Ontario.

The lake-wide average water level has remained at 75.85 m for two days in a row, says the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which controls a huge dam downstream.


President Trump's budget priorities have put funding for the Great Lakes in danger.

His 2018 budget outline eliminated $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has backed hundreds of projects on pollution, invasive species and other topics. For a while, it looked like he might also grab $50 million in initiative funds in the current budget.

But at least the $50 million is safe.


States surrounding the Great Lakes have a recurring nightmare about proposals to siphon off water for parched areas in U.S. or other countries.

So they might be staggered by suggestions from NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti, who said a water pipeline from the lakes to cities like Phoenix was "part of our future.”  

A new report sums up the crazy winter that brought unusually warm temperatures to the Great Lakes region -- as well as some brutal Lake Effect snowstorms.

Toronto recorded its highest February temperature -- 66 degrees -- on Feb. 23, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. The following day, more records were set in Syracuse (71), Binghamton, N.Y. (70), and Erie, Pa., (77).

A budget proposal to slash federal funds for the Great Lakes cleanup is being skewered in the opinion pages of the region's newspapers.

In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, editorials have called the draft proposal "foolish," "unacceptable" and a "job-killer."

A new book by Michigan poet Cindy Hunter Morgan breathes life into shipwrecks that dot the floor of the Great Lakes.

"Harborless" is her re-imagining of tragic moments when the Philadelphia, Chicora and other ships were lost. 

President Donald Trump took aim Tuesday at a rule that outlines the reach of the Clean Water Act, saying the rule was a "massive power grab" by federal regulators. But six attorneys general vowed to fight the rollback -- with lawsuits if necessary.

Add this to the unexpected news coming out of the Great Lakes region: a huge fireball tearing across the midwest skies early Monday, headed for Lake Michigan.

Remarkable video from several sources, including a police dashboard camera, shows a blue-green fireball searing the night sky.

Areas along the Great Lakes are bracing for big lake effect snows this weekend -- and there probably will be more this winter.

The reason: Water temperatures on all five lakes are higher than normal, so little ice has formed.

The U.S. government is seeking public comment on plans to protect historic shipwrecks by creating a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan.

On Monday, Jan. 9, NOAA began taking comments on its plan to protect 1,075 square miles of the lake. 

After seeing Donald Trump's appointees for agencies such as the EPA, Rep. Brian Higgins is concerned that the new administration will roll back environmental protections.

The Western New York Democrat is a longtime leader in revitalizing Buffalo's waterfront. In an interview Monday with WBFO, he noted that there have been have been many successes, including the revival of the once-dead Buffalo River.

"People have become complacent. ... " he added. "Now they're going to get blind-sided."

New heat maps from NOAA show the startling change in water temperatures across the Great Lakes this year.

Back in 2014, the heat map shows a bluish scene, illustrating cool temperatures. But this year, the map in late November temps is all yellows and oranges.

The National Weather Service says the season's first lake effect snow is likely this weekend. That could be a harsh beginning to winter.

In the Great Lakes region, the effect kicks in when dry arctic air speeds over large expanses of warm water.

Donald Trump's election victory came with plenty of support from the Great Lakes region -- unofficial returns show him winning five of the eight states.

But in the aftermath of the election, environmental advocates were trying to determine how his presidency will affect the region, especially in light of his pledge to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.

A $500,000 fine in a federal consent decree is the latest environmental penalty for a Pennsylvania coke company based on the Lake Erie shoreline.

And the fine -- which mirrors penalties at a sister plant near Buffalo -- is the latest reminder of the toxic industrial legacy of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its "freeze-up outlook."

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the "Black Friday Storm," a swirl of rain, wind and waves that left about 50 people dead on Lake Erie.

Each summer, many beaches along the Great Lakes are shut down because the waters have high bacteria levels.  But figuring out exactly when to close a beach is difficult, and scientists are trying out a new test that could lead to safer swimming.


The U.S. and Canada announced Wednesday that they have finalized a plan for restoring and protecting Lake Superior's water quality.

A 96-page document from the Lake Superior Partnership outlines major threats such as invasive species and climate change. It also lists priorities for preserving the relatively clean waters, including ending the release of nine toxic substances.

Ken Merryman

An eerie video takes you deep into Lake Superior, where a century-old shipwreck lies, with masts and rigging nearly intact. Explorers Ken Merryman, Jerry Eliason and Kraig Smith recently used a remote camera to photograph their find: the 187-foot Antelope. The coal-hauling freighter sank in rough waters in October, 1897.

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