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.



Wed June 20, 2012
Flying With The WASP

You And God And The Sky, All In One Piece

Beverly Sanders prepares for a recent plane ride in Hixson. Sanders was one of a small number of women who served as pilots in World War II.


As World War II got underway, and the US became increasingly desperate for more men to send to the front, the Air Force did something it had never done before: It accepted women. Beverly Sanders was one of the women who volunteered with the Women Airforce Service Pilots – or just, the WASP.

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Mon June 18, 2012

Ending Homelessness Starts With Philanthropy, Says Miskey

Anne Miskey is the executive director of Funders Together To End Homelessness.

Is it possible to end homelessness? Really end it?

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Fri June 15, 2012
Citizen Science

Ivy Academy Students Measure Tree Growth for Smithsonian

Ivy Academy student Conner Phillips reads instructions for placing a dendrometer on a tree as Trent Walker looks on.
Mary Helen Miller WUTC

The Smithsonian Institution is collecting data from around the globe to see how climate change affects tree growth, and students at Ivy Academy in Soddy-Daisy are helping. 

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Fri June 15, 2012
Extreme Makeover: Camp Edition

The TV Show May Be Over, But 'Extreme Team' Builds On In Chattanooga

Members of the "Extreme Build Team" work at their project headquarters in the mess hall at Camp Joy in Harrison. They're preparing for a blitz build in July.
Mary Helen Miller WUTC

A tornado hit Camp Joy in Harrison, Tennessee, in March and damaged some of its buildings.  Now, the camp is rebuilding, and it has enlisted some unusual help: a famous team of super-fast builders.

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Fri June 15, 2012
Summer Vacation

For Some Kids, Summer Schedule Can Be A Struggle

School's out! Good news, right?

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Wed June 13, 2012
Glass Half Full

Glass House Gets $300,000 Grant For Art in East Chattanooga

Glass Street in East Chattanooga is the home of Glass House Collective, an organization with plans to bring art and commerce to the area.
Courtesy of Glass House Collective

Glass House Collective, which opened up on East Chattanooga's Glass Street at the beginning of the year, just got news of a $300,000 ArtPlace grant. The collective plans to use the money to commission art projects in its neighborhood. Director of Glass House Katherine Currin and local artist Kevin Bate talk about the grant.


Thu June 7, 2012
Raising Canine

The Class Menagerie

Amy Boortz feeds rescue dogs in the old Wallaceville School in Chickamauga, GA, where she lives with them.
Mary Helen Miller WUTC

Wallaceville School was built in 1952 as an elementary school for African-American kids in Chickamauga, Georgia. Eventually, it was shut down and auctioned off as private property. Amy Boortz bought the place a few years ago to fix it up a little. Now, it's filled with life again. But this time, the little ones have tails.


Wed June 6, 2012
Riding Around

Out Of The Wheelchair, And Into The Saddle

Mason Plott rides a horse at Eagles Rest Ranch.
Courtesy of Ginger Brown

Usually, Mason Plott is in a wheelchair. But about once a week, he rides a horse at Eagle's Rest Ranch in Flintstone, Georgia, which has a horseback program for kids with disabilities. Riding helps Mason build muscle strength. And it gives him a chance to walk around, way up high. 



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Mon June 4, 2012
A Vein Attempt No More

Blood Assurance Turns 40, But Transfusions Have Longer, Stranger Past

This image shows an early attempt at a blood transfusion. Starting in the 17th century, some doctors would use animal blood to treat human patients.
The National Library of Medicine

Blood Assurance opened in the early 1970s by providing blood for four hospitals in Chattanooga. Now it serves more than 50 healthcare facilities.

The first-ever blood donation involved a pope, three gold coins, and an unusual method for transfusion. Let's just say blood transfusions have come a long way, too.

In honor of Blood Assurance's 40th birthday, we look back at the history of blood donation in Chattanooga, and the long, storied past of blood donation itself.





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Tue May 29, 2012
Setting the Stage

A Ride In The Wheelhouse: Docking the Riverbend Stage with Capt. Wayne Sampley

Captain Wayne Sampley steers Riverbend's Coca-Cola stage into place at Ross's Landing.
Mary Helen Miller WUTC

About this time every year, Riverbend's Coca-Cola stage makes the trip down the river from Haletown, Tennessee, to Ross's Landing. The stage is built on a barge, but it's trickier to move than most barges.

WUTC's Mary Helen Miller rides along with Captain Wayne Sampley as he takes the stage on the final leg of its trip to Ross's Landing and secures it in place for the music festival.



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Tue May 29, 2012
Ultra High Speed

Chattanooga's Got 'the Gig'... But Now, What?

Chattanooga is one of  a handful of places in the country where everyone has access to "ultra-high-speed" broadband.  EPB offers internet that can download and upload data at a rate of one gigabit-per-second, which is up to 200 times faster than what most American's use.

The service, which EPB has offered for about a year and a half, is a source of pride for many Chattanoogans. Still, there isn't a whole lot people can do with all that bandwidth... at least for now.

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Tue May 22, 2012
On Pins and Needles

Acupuncture for Your Dog. Yes, Your Dog.

Dr. Smith treats Merlin, a rottweiler, with acupuncture.
Mary Helen Miller

Dr. Colleen Smith practices holistic medicine. That is,  she uses chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, and other alternative practices along with traditional medicine. And she treats unusual patients: dogs and cats. Sometimes even goats.  But how can you ask an animal if these treatments actually work?

Editor's note: Until recently, Dr. Smith worked at Animal Hospital of Signal Mountain. But since this story was produced, she left to open her own practice on Main Street, Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute.

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Mon May 21, 2012
That Entrepreneurial Spirit

Glass House and Launch to Teach Business Planning in East Chattanooga

Glass Street in East Chattanooga has the bones of a commercial area, but there are very few businesses still open there. There's a community group trying to give economic breath back to the street. The Glass House Neighborhood Collective opened up shop a few months ago and is offering a business planning course that starts at the end of the month.

 Teal Thibaud, from Glass House, and Hal Bowling, who runs the business planning group Launch, talk about the upcoming class for entrepreneurs.

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Wed May 16, 2012
Charity Begins At Home

Origin Story: The Northside Neighborhood House

This is part of our Charity Begins At Home series, where we explore the history behind some of Chattanooga's oldest and most prominent non-profit organizations.

One day during the Great Depression in Chattanooga, Rose Longgley, Emily Page Schlessinger and their friends went for a walk to the North Chattanooga post office, and they saw families in need camped out near the river.  That moment sparked nearly ninety years' worth of helping local residents at the Northside Neighborhood House.


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Tue May 15, 2012
Spare Some Time for a Kid?

Looking for Big Brothers (and Bowlers)

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chattanooga will host its biggest fundraiser of the year on May 19,  "Bowl for Kids' Sake." It will take place at Holiday Bowl Brainerd.

Go here to register for the event.

Ansley Kellermann, from Big Brothers Big Sisters, talks about the organization, and Oscar Parks, a long-time big brother, shares some insight from volunteering.

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