Claire Heddles

Morning Edition Host/Reporter

From Tucson, Arizona, Claire has a master’s from the University of Southern California’s prestigious Annenberg School of Journalism. Most recently, Claire worked at NPR West in Culver City, California, assisting NPR’s western correspondents with research and production. Claire’s own work has been featured nationally on NPR’s All Things Considered. Her specialties include data journalism and investigative reporting. 

Isabella Escolar

New Projections Point to Social Distancing Working

Governor Bill Lee said he is hopeful that social distancing is working after looking at the latest projection models from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which now projects less than 600 deaths due to COVID-19 by August in Tennessee.

Claire Heddles

From the national down to the local level, officials say support is coming to workers who have been hurt by the economic fallout of COVID-19. But that money isn’t in people’s pockets yet, and some Knoxvillians are taking it upon themselves to help fill the gaps.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

It’s been more than two weeks since President Trump toured the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and said, “Anybody that needs a test gets a test.” But people across the country, and in East Tennessee, still haven't seen widespread testing. 

Centers for Disease Control

Scientists have long been testing vaccines for coronaviruses in animals, but they have been largely ineffective. At least one vaccine actually made symptoms worse. WUOT's Claire Heddles spoke with immunologist Barry Rouse about how COVID-19 differs from other coronaviruses, and why he is wary of putting too much hope into a vaccine. He says there are many fundamental facts about the disease that still need to be discovered, including whether those who recover are immune to reinfection. 

Nathan C. Fortner, Creative Commons

Governor Bill Lee advised all schools districts in Tennessee to close by the end of the week, and remain closed at least until March 31st. Some districts in East Tennessee, including Knox County Schools, will be offering free lunches for students. See more details about meals for students, and a list of services for other residents below. 

Claire Heddles / WUOT

During WUOT's Spring Fund Drive, we are giving listeners who donate our 70th-anniversary mug designed by local artist, Neranza Noel Blount. WUOT's Claire Heddles spoke with her about the inspiration behind the mug design, her signature encaustic wax paintings and her love for honeybees. 

Andrew Mandemaker / Creative Commons

In a recent report by a United Nations panel, scientists warned ocean levels could rise by several feet this century. WUOT’s Claire Heddles spoke with one of the contributors who says there are factors that could make this number even higher.

Dr. Richard Alley, a geologist and leading climate scientist, discusses human impact on sea level rise, how this could affect Tennesseeans and where he's sees hope for the future. 

City of Knoxville, by BarberMcMurry Architects

Immediately east of downtown Knoxville, the Civic Coliseum went up in 1961. That was followed by the police headquarters and the James White Parkway in the following decades. And, in the next few years, a state-of-the-art science museum will be built there. City leaders have praised philanthropist Jim Clayton for funding the $150 million dollar project. But some residents are questioning why there wasn’t more public input or consultation with the surrounding neighborhood. This is an especially thorny question because of the legacy of urban renewal on that very land.

Ryan Kaldari, public domain

Governor Bill Lee recently signed a bill ensuring adoption agencies can continue receiving state funds even if they exclude people for religious reasons. Opponents of the new state law say it essentially allows state-funded agencies to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Data show LGBTQ families are at least four times more likely to adopt children than straight, cisgender couples.

Van Vechten Collection at the Library of Congress

This month, a flurry of attention is falling on the world-renowned abstract expressionist painter, Beauford Delaney. The Knoxville native was a beloved figure among his contemporaries in New York and Paris, including James Baldwin. On Dialogue, Wednesday at noon on WUOT, we take a look at Beauford Delaney's early years in East Tennessee and talk with guests who've been working to honor his legacy in his hometown.