Mary Helen Miller

Feature News Producer

Mary Helen Miller was a producer for Around and About from 2012 to 2013.  She now works at the Chattanooga Times-Free Press.

She's also worked in print journalism in New England and Washington, D.C., for few years, and she is a graduate of  Bowdoin College and Girls Preparatory School. She learned to produce radio stories at the Transom Story Workshop in Woods Hole, Mass.

Ways to Connect

Broken sidewalks. Dilapidated houses. Leaky roofs.

Those are some of the things that the city has traditionally been able to help fix with funds from the federal government. But if we go over the fiscal cliff, that could change. In this segment, we take a look at some of the ways that big cuts from the federal government could affect life in Chattanooga.

Mary Helen Miller / WUTC

At Kenton Shoe Shop on Broad Street, shoes are repaired in the back of the store. But up front in the window, Arthur Ballanger puts on the final touches – he scrubs and polishes the repaired shoes. And he works on other shoes that just need a good clean. He says, no matter how dirty a pair of shoes looks, he'll never turn them down.

We asked our listeners a question on our Facebook page recently: Are you planning to shop online for Cyber Monday? One person who responded said: "Yup! Tennessee is still tax free online."

We knew this wasn't quite true. But what exactly is the law in Tennessee about paying taxes for online purchases? Does it matter if you break it? Billy Trout, from Tennessee's Department of Revenue, gives his two cents.

Dan and Amelia Jacobs are newlyweds and co-authors of an unusual children's book. It's called A Brain Is For Eating, and they say it's written "for zombies and their little undead." They've written the book and gotten the first few pictures from the illustrator. Now, they're trying to use Kickstarter to finish the project.

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre is putting on Annie next month and there's one character left to cast – Sandy, the dog. The theater center held auditions this week for the part of Annie's fluffy friend, and the competition was stiff. 

Tom Montague and Trae Moore started the local meat company Link 41 to connect urban Chattanooga with its surrounding farms. The business has been open for about two years now on Main Street. 

This month, the  Pet Placement Center is offering a reduced adoption fee for dogs and cats that are at least 7-years-old.  In this segment, executive director Kerry Moyers-Horton introduces a couple of a the older animals at the no-kill shelter on Dayton Boulevard.

Chattanoogan Stephanie Steiman is originally from Toms River, New Jersey, one of the places devastated by super storm Sandy. She's collecting socks to send to the rescue workers in New Jersey, and she's calling the relief effort "Box of Sox."

Mary Helen Miller / WUTC

Halls of fame tend to be for athletes and performers. Our cultural heroes. But not so in Chattanooga. Here, there's a place that honors a group in a far more practical line of work: tow truck operators. The newest class in the hall of fame was just inducted. 

Mary Helen Miller / WUTC

A non-profit that has branches in five African countries and Washington, D.C., has opened its doors in Chattanooga. Amani chose Chattanooga's Ridgedale neighborhood as the location for its U.S. distribution center.

Chattanooga could be making more money in tax revenue if it concentrated on developing downtown more, says Joe Minicozzi. He's an Asheville-based consultant who looked at Chattanooga's urban design and how much money it makes in tax from different properties. River City Company commissioned the study and has made it available to the public.

Eloise Litz is a 92-year-old motivational speaker. She's also a dedicated volunteer at WUTC' s membership campaigns. While she was at the station during the most recent pledge drive, she stepped back into the studio for a chat.

Once a month, there's an eclectic lineup of performances at Barking Legs Theater. The series is called Wide Open Floor, and almost anything goes -- dancing, poetry, comedy, music. The next show is Friday at 8 p.m.

Mary Helen Miller / WUTC

The Folk School of Chattanooga moved from Forest Avenue to Rossville Avenue over the summer. The new space lends itself to private lessons and impromptu jam sessions.

There are rooms and rooms full of animals at the humane educational society in Chattanooga, but there's one animal who enjoys an especially cushy life. He's Bumper, the office cat, and the staff at the Humane Society says he runs the place.