Michael Edward Miller

Around & About Executive Producer/News Director

A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Michael Edward Miller is WUTC's News Director and the Executive Producer of Around and About Chattanooga. His favorite radio programs and podcasts include This American Life, Radiolab and Everything Is Stories. During WUTC fund drives, he looks forward to cats clawing out another Pet Wars Day victory.

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The National Transportation Safety Board has completed the first phase of its investigation into a the Woodmore Elementary school bus crash that killed six children, but the driver wouldn’t answer the NTSB’s questions.

The crash happened November 21st. Johnthony Walker veered off a neighborhood road, hitting a telephone pole and a tree. It’s unclear why. His attorney advised him to not speak with the NTSB. He’s been charged with six counts of vehicular homicide in a separate, criminal investigation.

Chattanooga residents are being asked to stay on the lookout for a shooting suspect who targeted a Chattanooga police officer. A reward of $6,000 is being offered for information leading to the suspect's arrest. The shooting happened at 9:24 Thursday morning in the Glendwood/Mission area and sparked a manhunt. 

Englewood, Tennessee Fire Chief Billy Roach says one of his crews had worked about 20 hours fighting wildfires in Gatlinburg that killed at least seven people. Then when deadly winds blew in from Alabama, the Englewood firefighters rushed home to McMinn county, to help storm-related rescue operations.

“They’re wore out,” Roach said at a press conference. “They’ve had very little sleep. I know I’ve had two hours since Monday morning. We’re just to the limits.”

WUOT's Brandon Hollingsworth reports for NPR on the devastating wildfires that have killed 3, injured more than a dozen more, and destroyed hundreds of buildings in East Tennessee.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Facebook

Three people in Sevier County, Tennessee are dead as a result of unpredictable, devastating wildfires exacerbated by strong winds and drought. Officials are not yet releasing the victims' identities, and emergency responders continue going door-to-door, checking for people who need help.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Facebook

Though devastating wildfires in the Gatlinburg/Sevier County area of Tennessee have scorched more than 100 buildings, downtown Gatlinburg is mostly intact, officials said at a press conference this morning.

"The worst is definitely over with," according to Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller. "We're dealing with 15 mile-an-hour winds today, where we were dealing with 87 mile-an-hour winds last night."

More than 2,000 people have checked into emergency shelters. Hundreds of firefighters from around the region arrived help extinguish blazes.

Chattanooga Fire Department

Shortly before a fatal school bus crash in Chattanooga, students were complaining about the driver, according to records the Hamilton County Department of Education released to local media.

Another child has passed away as a result of injuries sustained in the Woodmore Elementary school bus crash, Chattanooga Police announced Wednesday evening.

The child's passing is the sixth fatality since the incident, which happened Monday afternoon on Talley Road. The driver, 24 year-old Johnthony Walker, already faces five counts of vehicular homicide and other offenses, and police say they will add another vehicular homicide charge.

In the aftermath of a fatal school bus crash, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam is asking for a review of bus safety policies in the state. Gov. Haslam stood in front of a makeshift memorial—teddy bears and flowers—at Woodmore Elementary in Chattanooga. 

On Monday, a school bus carrying more than thirty Woodmore students veered off a road and hit a tree, and the driver is now charged with five counts of vehicular homicide.

NTSB

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher described the bus crash that killed five Chattanooga elementary school students as "every public safety professional’s worst nightmare." Police arrested the driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, and charged him with five counts of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and other offenses.

Authorities say one kindergartner, one first-grader, and three fourth-graders from Woodmore Elementary died.

Kahmesha Herring, a volunteer with the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee, joins us to talk about their fundraiser coming up Saturday, which includes a chance for kids of all ages to dress up in animal costumes and walk through Warner Park.

More information is here:

http://www.epilepsy-setn.org/events/fun-walk-to-fight-epilepsy/

Governor Bill Haslam created Insure Tennessee to help 280,000 low-income residents in the state get health insurance. But a small group of Republican lawmakers in the state Senate Health Committee killed the plan before it got off the ground, which inspired the creation of Women for Tennessee's Future, an organization opposing Republicans by grooming female Democratic candidates to run for office.

Wearing a "Make American Great Again" hat and dancing at the Hamilton County GOP election night party, local resident Matthew Huckabee described Donald Trump by using an odd but affectionate phrase:

"He is what he is," Huckabee said, musing about Trump's sometimes-abrasive personality. "He's a monster of his own. But a monster for the American people."

U.S. Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican incumbent from Tennessee who won re-election on the same night Donald Trump won the electoral college, also cheered Trump's surprise victory.

WUTC has been interviewing Hamilton County major party candidates ahead of Tuesday's vote. On this episode of Around and About Chattanooga, we hear excerpts from our conversations with Melody Shekari, Chuck Fleischmann, Khristy Wilkinson, and Todd Gardenhire. Extended interviews, transcripts, and conversations with more candidates are here.

The 2016 Head of the Hooch Regatta will bring thousands of competitors and spectators to the downtown Chattanooga riverfront, and is expected to have a 5 million dollar economic impact on the city. Organizer Paul Gaigelas joins us to preview the boat race.

WUTC SPECIAL BROADCAST: Tune in on Saturday, November 5th at 1 to 2 pm for a live remote from the waterfront.

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