Need to Know

Thursday 8:00 p.m. & Sunday 11:30 a.m. on WXXI-TV & on City 12

The race for Rochester’s next mayor kicks off as the first official contender enters the ring. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn what James Sheppard will bring to the table that he says Mayor Lovely Warren hasn’t.

John Geer

Roadside billboards are going up around the country this month featuring the face of a Rochester child. Her name is Brook Stagles. Police say the 3-year-old who died late last year was the victim of a homicide. Her father and his girlfriend have been charged in her death. It’s the grandfather of Brook Stagles who is putting the billboards up to raise awareness around child abuse. He has told local media outlets that Child Protective Services was notified about Brook’s situation weeks before her death. But it’s no secret that CPS workers have more cases than they can handle and the numbers are only going up.

On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn why is this happening, how is this happening, and realistically what can be done to help fix it.


Rochester’s East High School is part of a select group chosen to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. It’s a program that sends the hard work of high school students on a real mission to outer space. On this edition of Need to Know, WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons takes us inside East High to meet the trio responsible for sending a local microgravity experiment to NASA.

To describe 2016 as a political roller coaster ride is an understatement. Now that it’s a new year and a time for reflection while making plans for the weeks and months ahead Need to Know is taking a look at our local political environment. National leaders from both sides of the aisle have called for “unity” over the past several weeks, but what does that mean and how does that apply to our region? Jamie Romeo, Chairwoman of the Monroe County Democratic Committee and Bill Reilich, Chairman of the Monroe County Republican Committee weigh in on this edition of Need to Know.

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell/ Creative Commons License / U.S. Navy

Before the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, we’ll hear from local political leaders on Need to Know as they share what our country and our region must do to move forward in 2017.

Also on the show - they’re the young, the innocent, and the vulnerable. And there’s an endless struggle to maintain or increase funding for the programs intended to help them. We’ll examine what’s happening with Child Protective Services in our region and what needs to change to keep young people safe.

And a group of high school students are giving a new meaning to the well-known phrase “Out of this world.”  We’ll learn about a local school experiment en route to NASA.

Watch Need to Know with host Hélène Biandudi Hofer Thursdays at 8pm on WXXI-TV, Channel 21.1 and Cable 11 or 1221.

University of Rochester Mindful Practice

There’s a problem in our country that some are calling a public health crisis. It’s physician burnout and according to reports, the issue is only getting worse. But something called mindfulness, which is the effort to continuously remain present and aware, has proven to be a game-changer for clinicians.

Need to Know host & producer, Hélène Biandudi Hofer, recently spoke with doctors Ron Epstein and Mick Krasner of the University of Rochester’s Mindful Practice. They, along with their colleagues, have been leading research and training programs for health professionals to help enhance their self-awareness, improve relationships with patients, and even advance the quality of care they offer.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has been tracking disparities in health care across the country. And as WXXI’s Sasha-Ann Simons reports on this edition of Need to Know, local health professionals are trying to fill in some of the gaps. Watch the story about the Saratoga Pharmacy working to support low-income residents and refugees living in the City of Rochester.


Americans continue to speculate about the forthcoming changes with the presidential transition. One of those big question marks pertains to healthcare in particular the Affordable Care Act. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn what’s in store for President Obama’s signature healthcare law and how it could potentially impact you.