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 Blue Ridge Public Radio.   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

CDC

Health officials have confirmed two cases of vaping-related lung illness in Buncombe County.  Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Stacey Wood told BPR News few details are known about the cases at this time and it is unclear if the two are among the five North Carolina cases highlighted  in a September  report by the Centers for Disease Control.  

BPR News

Students in Western North Carolina joined their peers from around the world and skipped school to walk the picket line in what they are calling  a Global Climate Strike.

Hundreds of young activists marched through downtown Asheville holding signs and chanting “Hey hey!  Ho ho!  Climate change has got to go!”

The group gathered in Pack Square where speakers from local high schools rallied the crowd.  Protestors then marched to the Buncombe County Courthouse steps where they held a climate 'die-in'.

BPR News

An Asheville business program created to support women and communities of color who want to do business with the city  just got a makeover.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

Checking the weather today is as easy as checking your cell phone.  But did you know you can also monitor soil conditions and even levels of solar radiation plants use to grow?  It’s all thanks to a state network of climate stations.  BPR’s Helen Chickering takes us to the newest station in Asheville  that also doubles as a college classroom.

North Carolina is stepping up efforts to combat e-cigarette addiction.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

BPR

Volunteers working to raise awareness about sex trafficking here in Western North Carolina are using bars of soap as part of a new strategy to reach out to victims. BPR’s Helen Chickering explains.  

Diane Hendrix

Have you been missing a voice on the air at BPR?  So have we.   Last month, Barbara Sayer signed off after nearly four decades in public radio here in Western North Carolina.   If you know Barbara, you know she’s the kind of person who quietly slips out the back door.  Fanfare is not her calling card.  We wanted to honor that while still giving her a proper goodbye and a thank you and thought this would be a great opportunity to take a look back at BPR's (and Barbara Sayer's) incredible history here in Western North Carolina. 

www.e2.org

A new report finds North Carolina’s clean energy jobs grew 3.5% last year, nearly double the statewide employment growth of 1.9%.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

Pisgah View Ranch

A dude ranch outside of Asheville has become North Carolina’s 40th state park.     On July 19, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 535 into law, creating Pisgah State View Park.    The 16-hundred acre parcel  in Candler is home to Pisgah View Ranch.    Senator Chuck Edwards  (R-Henderson)  introduced the bill in April and notes that the land  has been owned by the same family since 1790.

2018 was the wettest year on record in North Carolina. Now a new report finds during that very wet year, a spot in Western North Carolina broke a rainfall record.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

By Nancy Pierce provided courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

An update on a story we’ve been following since the spring of 2017 when four New York artists purchased Nina Simone’s childhood home in Tryon.    Last summer the property was designated a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This week, the organization is launching a crowdfunding campaign to boost efforts to restore the house. BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

North Carolina has a lot of work to do when it comes to addressing women’s health and wellness.  That's the finding of a state commissioned report released in Asheville this week at Mountain Area Health Education Center. BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

City of Asheville

The city of Asheville has released a new resource guide to help residents prepare for the effects of climate change.  BPR’s Helen Chickering reports.

After a national search with input from the community,  Asheville has named Chris Bailey as the city's new Police Chief.  

BPR News

This story is developing.

Just shy of her two year anniversary on the job, Asheville City Schools Superintendent Denise Patterson has resigned effective immediately.    In her letter of resignation  Patterson cited medical reasons.  In January 2018 she spoke with BPR's Matt Bush.  You can find that story here.

creative commons

North Carolinians who want the  legislature to expand Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of additional adults are gathering across the state this evening.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.   

BPR

After more than three decades of entertaining and educating listeners, Blue Ridge Public Radio classical music host Chip Kaufmann is retiring.   We've compiled a few highlights of his wonderful career here. 

North Carolina health officials are keeping an eye on the measles as it hovers nearby. The latest count by the Centers for Disease Control shows 880 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 24 states, including nearby Tennessee and Georgia.  The CDC says this is the greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1994 and since measles was declared eliminated in 2000.    State and local health officials have been spreading the “get vaccinated” message with a focus on children.  But what about adults?  BPR’s Helen Chickering checked in with a local health expert.

BPR News

An update on a story we’ve been following since the spring of 2017.   That’s when four artists from New York bought the Tryon childhood home of legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone.  Restoration work is underway, BPR's Helen Chickering traveled to Tryon to check it out.   

cdc

This week, US Health officials announced there are just over 700 reported measles cases across the country.  That’s the most cases in 25 years and a major source of frustration for public health officials since measles was declared eliminated in this country back in 2000.  Twenty-two states have reported cases, North Carolina has not yet made the list –but state health officials, especially here in Buncombe County, are on alert. BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

BPR

President Trump this week renewed his pledge to battle the country’s opioid epidemic. Trump spoke at a national drug abuse conference in Atlanta.  Here in Western North Carolina, students are working to raise awareness about the epidemic. BPR’s Helen Chickering reports from  A.C. Reynolds High School, where students organized an opioid education summit. 

“This is something that just doesn’t happen. It is being deliberately mischaracterized to shame women and to make a court case to overturn Roe V. Wade.” - Buncombe County Democratic state senator Terry Van Duyn during Senate Judiciary Committee's heated debate over SB 359

Matt Bush / Blue Ridge Public Radio

With no discussion and little opposition the North Carolina Senate quickly passed S.B 154 that would allow sports and off-track betting at the Cherokee and Murphy casinos owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.  

Asheville is hosting North Carolina’s tenth annual communicable disease conference this week. Public health professionals are learning about the latest infectious disease trends and the tools they need to prevent, detect and treat them.   This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Public Health Nurses in North Carolina.     

NC health officials say the meeting provides an opportunity to share evidence-based information and best practices for addressing public health problems and and communicable disease investigations. 

Executives, entrepreneurs, climate scientists, and students from across the country are converging on Asheville to tackle the business of Climate Change.  BPR’s Helen Chickering has details.

countyhealthrankings.org

When it comes to the health of its counties Western North Carolina gets mixed reviews. BPR’s Helen Chickering has the latest results from the annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report.

BPR News

Local faith communities gathered outside of the Islamic Center of Asheville Friday afternoon to show their support for the Muslim community in the wake of the mass shootings at mosques in New Zealand.   BPR's Helen Chickering spoke with supporters and members. 

wfae.org

Last Fall Governor Roy Cooper issued an executive order directing North Carolina to step up its efforts to combat and adapt to Climate Change. This week, state officials are in Asheville gathering public input as they shape a plan to meet those goals.  BPR’s Helen Chickering talks with Department of Environmental Quality Public Information Officer Sharon Martin about the upcoming meeting.

governor.nc.gov

 Asheville’s Brandi Hillman, co-owner of Hillman’s Beer and Josh Dorfman, CEO of the nonprofit climate business incubator The Collider are among the sixteen members of governor Roy Cooper’s new entrepreneurial council.  The group is charged with helping design policies that encourage entrepreneurship, foster economic development and support sustainable high quality jobs.                             Josh Dorfman says an important part of the council’s mission is helping shape the state’s entrepreunial bra

BPR

Last month Asheville City Council members and school officials gathered to address  the growing  gap in discipline rates and academic achievement between  black and white students in the district.

High school students have had a lot to say about racial disparity on campus.

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