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

BPR News

The home of Tryon’s most celebrated native now has new owners. Four artists from New York recently bought the house where legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone was born.  BPR news’ Helen Chickering has details.

Perched on a hill in the crook of a windy road in the town of Tryon, sits a small wooden house, three rooms, a fireplace and a porch, unremarkable expect for the plaque near the front door that designates the home as the birthplace of legendary singer songwriter Nina Simone, born Eunice Waymon, in 1933.  

Tornado Detectives

Feb 23, 2017
UNC Asheville Chris Godfrey

Tornadoes aren’t common here western North Carolina, but they are in the southeast and when they strike, they tend to be deadlier and more destructive than in other parts of the country.    

A research team at  UNC Asheville is working to figure out why southeastern storms are so lethal by retracing the footprints of twisters the way detectives investigate a crime scene. 

WCQS's Helen Chickering reports. 

                     

It was just minutes into the NFC championship game.

Death on the Menu

Feb 14, 2017
Death Cafe

Death, it’s a  subject that is often hard to think about, let alone talk about.   A movement, called The Death Café is working to change the dialogue around the inevitable event.   It’s a social gathering of sorts that started in Europe in 2011, spread quickly to the U.S. including Western North Carolina. WCQS’s Helen Chickering attended a recent Death Cafe at UNC-Asheville.

WCQS

Mountain views, hiking trails an exploding food scene and more breweries per capita than anywhere else in U.S.   It’s easy to see why the Asheville area is spilling over with tourists and newcomers.   The boom is a boost for the economy but often makes for a busier and sometimes more challenging day for police and other first responders whose job it is to care for both tourists and the people who live  here.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering reports.

WCQS

Asheville has been dubbed Beer City,  Bee City and even Climate City.  In the future, Dog City may be added to that title.  A local dog behavior specialist is on a mission to make the area the most dog friendly place in the country. 

But this isn’t a campaign to encourage more water bowls and dog biscuits, it’s about retraining people.  WCQS’s Helen Chickering explains.

Kim Brophey, “I’ve got the Elmo voice down,   Look at the little puppy!”

HC: That’s what I do                                                                                                       

WCQS

“Plum Print, This is Keely, can I help you?”

When the phone rings at Plum Print in Asheville, Graphic Designer Keely Knopp, who also mans the customer support desk, is usually the first to answer.

Keely Knopp, Plum Print, “I just got off the phone with a gentleman who told me how excited he was about the inauguration and how he can’t wait to go.”

makezine

There's the pile of old electronics that got replaced with the newest version over the holidays.  The  toaster that no longer works, and the dead computer that's been collecting dust for years.  Random items that shouldn’t go in the trash, and can’t go into the recycling bin.  Items Eric Bradford says fall into the hard to recycle category.

City of Asheville

The Waze travel app gives directions and also allows users to report traffic conditions and road hazards that alert other drivers.  But unless that information is updated, and most drivers have no idea how long a roadblock will be in place, it eventually goes away.  Cities and counties however, do know, and now the city of Asheville is integrating its road closure information into the app through the Waze Connected Citizens program.  Christen McNamara is a GIS programmer analyst with the city.

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.

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