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.

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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.

Is it possible to end homelessness? Really end it?

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. 

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.

School's out! Good news, right?

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.

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.

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. 



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.





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.



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.

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.

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.

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.


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.