WXXI AM News

Hélène Biandudi Hofer

Need to Know Host

Hélène Biandudi Hofer is host and producer of WXXI TV's Need to Know, an award-winning, half-hour weekly news and public affairs program. Hélène joined the station in September 2010 as the host of All Things Considered.

Before moving to Rochester, Hélène worked at the CBS Primetime show 48 Hours Mystery in New York City. While at CBS she contributed to several documentary specials for the network including the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the tribute to news icon Walter Cronkite, the inauguration of Barack Obama and the CBS/VOGUE Fashion’s Night Out program.

Hélène is a graduate of New York University’s Broadcast Journalism program. After graduation, she returned to her hometown, Columbus, Ohio, where she worked as an associate producer for WBNS-TV.

Ways to Connect

There are several unanswered questions about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act - including what it means for special education students. As the new health bill stands right now - it would cut assistance to children in special ed. We’ll break down the potential changes.

Plus, you'll experience a world unfamiliar to many through the lens of deaf artists. Learn how local talent is awakening our understanding of their lives through their work.

The Rochester School Board recently passed a nearly $900 million budget. District spending has a few critics among Rochester’s mayoral candidates who are calling for more accountability and transparency. One person who has spent much time dissecting what’s working and what’s not in city schools is Board President Van White. He joins this edition of Need to Know to talk mayor-school district partnership, the current state of the city school system and more.

On this edition of Need to Know we continue our Top of the Class series. The series introduces viewers to high school students in the Greater Rochester community not only working hard in the classroom, but also trying to make our community and our world a better place. Joining Need to Know host Hélène Biandudi Hofer for this segment is Eman Muthana. The World of Inquiry High School student is a runner-up for the 2017 Princeton Prize in Race Relations – Rochester. Muthana is recognized by World of Inquiry staff and students for having a significant positive effect on race relations in her school and the larger community.

Historically high water levels are still afflicting the shores of Lake Ontario. And change likely won’t come until early June - that’s when lake levels are expected to crest. The flooding has affected hundreds of properties since March. Veronica Volk is the Great Lakes Today reporter and producer for WXXI News. She has been tracking this story for the past two months and she joins this edition of Need to Know to explain what’s going on and what’s to come.

Candidates in the race for Rochester mayor are painting a picture of what city schools might look like under their administration. Now that we’ve heard some of their plans, we hear from the School Board President. On this edition of Need to Know, Van White weighs in on their proposals, the Superintendent and his vision for what’s next in city schools.

Also on the show, our relatively warm forecast this week doesn’t change the fact that Lake Ontario remains at record high levels. Great Lakes reporter/producer Veronica Volk shares the stories of those impacted, mounting fears and next steps.

And we’ll meet a Rochester high school student utilizing her own life experiences for the sake of racial tolerance and understanding. She’s the latest to join WXXI’s “Top of the Class” series on Need to Know.

Our "Top of the Class" special series continues with Eman Muthana from World of Inquiry High School. Eman the Rochester second runner up for the Princeton Prize in Race Relations.

See her on Need to Know on WXXI-TV, Thursday, May 18 at 8 p.m.

There are approximately 7,000 rare diseases that affect 30 million Americans. That means one in ten lives with a rare disease. A condition is considered rare if it affects fewer than 200,000 people. The University of Rochester is one institute  leading clinical research and therapeutic development of rare diseases. Joining this edition of Need to Know is one of the gifted minds involved in that work. Dr. Erika Augustine, Director of the Center of Human Experimental Therapeutics discusses her recent findings and an upcoming event focused on rare diseases sponsored by the University of Rochester.

Anti-Semitic incidents are up 86 percent in the U.S. compared to the same time last year. That’s according to the Anti-Defamation League, a civil rights organization. Some of those acts of hatred against American Jews took place right here in Rochester. A public discussion on these events and how to respond to them to create a more tolerant community is taking place with area leaders and residents. The effort is being led by the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Project out of Monroe Community College. On this edition of Need to Know we discuss the causes of religious bigotry and local work to bring more acceptance to Rochester.

He says Rochester is experiencing “a legacy of failed progressive Democratic philosophies.” So how would Republican mayoral candidate Tony Micciche change that legacy if elected to Rochester’s top spot? His campaign is focused on Rochester City schools, what he calls “wasteful” and “redundant” business regulations and a public safety plan intended to reduce crime and improve police-community relations among other issues. The candidate in the race for Rochester mayor and Monroe County Legislator Tony Micciche joins this edition of Need to Know to make his case.

He’s the only Republican contender in the fight for Rochester’s next mayor. And he calls this election a “battle of philosophies.” Why Monroe County Legislator Tony Micciche believes he’s the only candidate who will bring real change to this city. He makes his case on this edition of Need to Know.

Also on the show, we look into what’s driving hate speech, religious bigotry, and racial violence. How can communities like Rochester respond? We’ll hear about a community effort to bring tolerance to our neighborhoods and our nation.

And we’ll meet one of the brilliant minds in our local medical community researching rare diseases to help find treatment and a cure.

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