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

Artist Laural Hartman recently invited WXXI into her studio. As we know with art, there’s generally a deeper meaning behind a painting, drawing or sculpture. With Hartman’s work, we’re awakened to a life experience with several layers - some of which resonate with many of us and others we’ve never encountered until now.

Hartman, also a faculty member at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf joins Tabitha Jacques, Director of the Joseph F. and Helen C. Dyer Arts Center at RIT to explain what mainstream museums may not understand about the specialty of deaf art.

While the American Health Care Act is being considered by Congress, local disability rights advocates are taking action. They’re calling on President Trump to support the Disability Integration Act (DIA). They’re also calling for people with disabilities to have a voice in the health care reform debate. One of those advocates who recently traveled to Washington is Ericka Jones of the Center for Disability Rights.

Jones joined a demonstration outside the White House which led to more than 80 arrests according to the disability rights group ADAPT. She explains the potential impact of the DIA on all sectors of the community.

School districts throughout Rochester are battling a storm of unknowns. The federal health care bill which is a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is calling for $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the next ten years. Why does that matter to public school districts? It ultimately affects services delivered to some of their most vulnerable students - those in special education.

Susan Hetherington – director of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Rochester - explains some of the potential implications of the health care bill for students.

This story is from WXXI's  Inclusion Desk, part of our Move to Include partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

The repeal of the Affordable Care Act could have some unintended consequences on the most vulnerable: children with disabilities. On this special Move to Include edition of Need to Know we’ll learn how special education in our public schools may see unbearable funding cuts.

Also on the show, some local disability rights advocates were recently detained outside the White House. We’ll discuss what they’re calling on President Trump to do and if he’s responded.

And a complex journey for a local artist unfolds on canvas. How local talent is awakening our understanding of deaf culture through art.

Move to Include and the Inclusion Desk is a partnership between WXXI and the Golisano Foundation designed to promote inclusion for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

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.

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