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

Summer school is sometimes associated with long hours spent wasting away the summer, but the Rochester City School District is trying to paint a different picture.

The district’s summer school program kicked off today with more than 10,000 students enrolled.  Catarina Leone-Mannino is the Director of The Extended Learning and Academic Intervention committee for the district.

The name “Wes Powell” is probably an unfamiliar one to many of you. He’s a recent high school grad and a local jazz pianist heading off to the alma mater of some of this year’s Jazz Festival headliners including Esperanza Spaulding. As WXXI’s Helene Biandudi reports, this future Berklee College of Music grad, is just a small-town kid, with big city dreams.


“I don’t think music’s as great as people think it is,” said Wes Powell.

Local churches are joining forces this summer in an effort to reach out to city school kids.

The Reverend Roosevelt Dixon is the senior pastor of Grace Unity Fellowship Church. He says he’s working with Upper Room Church and Full Gospel for a “Save Our Children” festival later in the summer.

A new charity-based concert series is hoping to revive music programs in the city school district.

NONCERTS Rochester will host a benefit concert this coming weekend. All proceeds raised will be used to purchase musical instruments for three city schools.

High school valedictorians in the city school district received special honors Monday.

Mayor Tom Richards recognized 18 students at City Hall who were selected to represent their school’s graduating class.

Prom season and budget votes often coincide for school districts. But the glitz, glamor and hype of the prom was a far cry from the recent budget vote night at the city school district’s Central Office.

Instead of conversations about corsages, tuxedos and limousine rentals, words like fund balance, reserves, and appropriated funds, were tossed around among school board members. Those terms hold a lot of weight in a district’s budget.

New York State has been granted a flexibility waiver from the Bush era No Child Left Behind law.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced the approval for New York this afternoon during a conference call with reporters, "In exchange for state developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focusing aid on the neediest students and supporting effective teaching and leaderships. This brings the number of states with NCLB waivers to 19."

A new charter school opening this fall is offering a curriculum that addresses the concerns of the business community.

Dennis Francione is the Founder and CEO of the Rochester Career Mentoring Charter School located downtown on Hart Street.

Governor Cuomo is calling on the state Legislature to act on a proposal to create a justice center in the state for people with special needs.

Cuomo says the bill addresses an ongoing problem of abuse by employees in state mental health and special needs facilities.

The Governor says the new center will set up two justice mechanisms, "One, for really serious offenses, a special prosecutor who can bring criminal charges, specializing in justice area dealing with justice population and becoming expert in the challenges that are presented here."

Local teen filmmakers are giving viewers an inside look at the issues that impact youth, and they’re doing it through mini-documentaries.

Teens involved in the Raising 100,000 Voices Project shared their films with the public Wednesday night at a special screening at The Little Theatre.