Helen Chickering

All Things Considered Host, Reporter

Helen Chickering is a reporter and host of All Things Considered on Blue Ridge Public Radio.  She joined the station in November 2014.

Helen grew up in Texas.  Her broadcast career began in television news in 1985 at WLBT, the NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.  There she did everything from news to weather and found her niche in medical reporting.  Over the next 20 years she covered health and science news on both local and national levels, including 5 years in Charlotte at the CBS affiliate, WBTV.   In 1998, Helen helped launch the health and science desk at NBC News Channel, the network's affiliate news service.  She became the first journalist to serve as president of the National Association of Medical Communicators and was on the founding board of the Science Communicators of North Carolina.  

In 2012, Helen and her family moved to Asheville from Chapel Hill and she started working as a freelance producer and as a Montessori teaching assistant.  A longtime NPR listener, she was thrilled to land a job at WCQS.   Helen is an active member of the Asheville Science Tavern and a guest lecturer and an advisory board member at the University of North Carolina's Medical and Science Journalism Program.

Ways to Connect

Full Sun Farm

As an applied environmental economist, UNCA’s Leah Mathews is interested in the value of things you can’t buy on the store shelves like scenic quality, cultural heritage and social interaction.  Much of her research focuses the local food system in Western North Carolina, looking at the benefits that residents and visitors receive from farmland, the value of social interactions at farmers markets, and the veracity of the Appalachian Grown local food label.    

US Forest Service

The Disaster Recovery Act passed by North Carolina Lawmakers in the special session will help with wildfire relief efforts here in Western North Carolina.

Just over 25 million dollars will go to the North Carolina Forest Service for wildfire response expenses and timber restoration.  Arson is suspected in most of the fires.

A steady buzz of conversation fills the concourse at UNCA’s Sherrill Center. 

The scene is the standard long line of students in front of poster presentations during the Undergraduate Research and Community Engagement Symposium.  The conversation, however, is anything but standard.

ncwater.org

  

The ongoing drought has led to water restrictions being in some communities in North Carolina.  According to NC Division of Water Resources, a total of 43 public water systems, or 8% of those tracked across the state, have instituted voluntary conservation measures while 12 systems, including Woodfin, are under mandatory conservation because of the drought.

An Icy Assignment

Nov 29, 2016
WCQS

The sound of chainsaws echoed through the AB Tech Asheville campus. It wasn’t a construction crew, but a culinary arts class, learning how to sculpt ice.  Fourteen students paired in teams of two were scattered across the porch of the Magnolia building. Instructor Chef John Hofland was overseeing the students as they sawed and chopped their way through blocks of ice.

WCQS

It’s Saturday morning, a small crew of staff and volunteers are in the lobby of historic Assembly Inn, the main lodging house at the Montreat Conference Center, just outside of Black Mountain. 

They’re preparing for tonight’s guests, who unlike most visitors, are not here to attend a retreat or a conference.  They are here to fight the wildfires.

The Party Rock Fire has continued to grow since doubling in size since last week. The fire footprint is now 4,480 acres and 19 percent contained, according to North Carolina Forest Services.

Firefighters are continuing their efforts in protecting structures while constructing containment lines around the fire, however, fire managers are concerned about predicted strong winds.

North Carolina Forest Services says the managers are preparing for the winds later this week and say they may increase the size of the fire.

U.S. Forest Service

Firefighters battling several wildfires throughout western North Carolina report progress in getting those fires contained.  But air quality in the region remains poor, especially the further west you go from Asheville.  Buncombe and surrounding counties have air quality labeled "unhealthy."  The four westernmost counties - Macon, Cherokee, Clay, and Graham - have air quality labeled "very unhealthy."

WCQS

On a blustery post election afternoon winds were loud and strong, much like the opinions among folks braving the breezy day in downtown Asheville.

“I was not surprised,” says Lisa Allen who was visiting from South Carolina,   “I really was happy about it, I think the other choice was not the best one,” said Allen.  “I don’t think he was the greatest, but I think he’s a better choice than her.”

wcqs

The political science taught in textbooks has always been a bit removed from the politics practiced in the real world.

But this year’s out-of-the-ordinary presidential election has presented a particular challenge for teachers who are trying to square lessons with the 2016 campaign as it’s unfolded.

WCQS's Helen Chickering has been spending time in the classroom in Henderson County, where students have been learning about the election process.

Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines at Western Carolina University

Rob Young: We definitely incentivize rebuilding at the moment.

soconsports.com

            Associated Press — The Southern Conference will keep four league championships in North Carolina despite the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference withdrawing championships because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people.

The league said it will honor commitments for these tournaments: men's soccer in Greensboro, men's and women's basketball in Asheville and men's golf in Pinehurst.

Fall is officially here, marking the end of a very hot summer here in Western North Carolina and across the country.  July went into the record books as the hottest month.  Along with the scorching temperatures came floods in Louisiana, and the threat of Zika in Florida.  Extreme climate events in the Southeast that not only impacted the environment – but human health.    

Recent reports of mosquito spraying for Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in other states have led to many N.C. residents asking what can they do to protect commercial and hobby beehives across the state. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services encourages bee owners to use the BeeCheck mapping software to alert farmers and pesticide applicators to the location of their hives.

Painting bathrooms, building fences and clearing vines may not seem like a vacation – but it’s how some North Carolina high school students chose to spend most of their summer. 

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