Michael Edward Miller

Around & About Host/News Producer

A graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Michael Edward Miller hosts Around and About.  His favorite radio programs and podcasts include This American Life, Radiolab and The Moth.  He and his wife Rachel are both Chattanooga natives. 

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The United Auto Workers' newest local union is forming in Chattanooga with workers from the same plant where the UAW was rejected earlier this year.  Called UAW Local 42, it's UAW’s latest effort to organize in the South.

In February, the UAW tried to unionize the entire VW Chattanooga auto plant, with cooperation from the company itself.  That bid was rejected in a 712-626 vote.  But UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel says he believes this renewed effort will succeed.

"The main reason," Casteel says, "I think, is because there's no election involved here.  There's no opportunity for third-party interference."

During the UAW’s original bid to unionize the plant, Senator Bob Corker and other conservative politicians had weighed in, urging workers to reject the union.  Formation of this new local union doesn’t require a vote—just signatures from 15 employees.  But it also lacks official recognition from Volkswagen.  If the local union grows to represent the entire VW Chattanooga workforce, it would be the first foreign-owned auto plant to unionize in the South.

Many questions remain: is this new union a step toward a German-style works council at the plant?  What, if anything, does this have to do with the new SUV that may be produced at the plant?  This audio features excerpts from the press conference and analysis from Chloe Morrison, a reporter at our news partner Nooga.com.

UPDATE 7/11/14 at 1:30 p.m.: Senator Bob Corker's office has responded to the UAW annoucement.

“There has been some confusion about what happened yesterday related to the UAW’s announcement that they are opening an office in Chattanooga and its impact on Volkswagen's expansion considerations,” said Todd Womack, Corker’s chief of staff, in a prepared statement. “The fact is, nothing happened. Any union can rent space in any city and open an office. Volkswagen made it very clear in their statement that they have no agreement whatsoever with the UAW."


Tiffany Muff and Landon Steele are working on an ambitious project: they want to record a new version of the famous song "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and release a music video for the song.  Last year, they sought Kickstarter funding for the project.  They met that goal, but need additional support to finish the video editing and music recording. 

Landon Steele joins us to talk about the project.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee's 2014 Pork Report roasts government spending that the center claims is wasteful, including $42 million for a private jetport in Cleveland, Tennessee.

"Apparently," the report says, "Cleveland officials felt our well-to-do comrades should not be relegated to commuting with the common folk from the Chattanooga airport."


The bagpipe players and Scottish drummers in the City of Chattanooga Pipe Band have won all three competitions they've entered this year.  Bagpipe player Diron Cundiff joins us to talk about the band's success and how the band is open to new members as well as experienced musicians.

Former 911 dispatcher Jeff Hewitt writes fiction, humor, horror and more.  He co-wrote an article for Cracked.com, “5 Terrible Things I Learned As A 911 Dispatcher,” which currently has more than one million page views.  Popular horror podcasts Pseudopod dramatized his short story “Face Change,” with actor Anson Mount reading it.

How can athletes take care of their knees and joints and prevent future problems?  Does running cause arthritis?  What can a person do about chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis--is a knee replacement the only option?  Dr. Danielle Mitchell from the Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health joins us to discuss these topics and more.

Chattanooga artists Rondell Crier and Olga de Klein join us to discuss their Urban Heroes project, which brings arts education and training to youth who are housed in the Hamilton County detention center.

An ArtsBuild Community Cultural Connections grant is helping to fund the project.  From an ArtsBuild media release:

Heather Crowe’s migraines began when she was in junior high.  The pain was blinding, and when they happened, she couldn't do anything except stay in bed.  She suffered for years, until she became a nurse and started working for Dr. Jimmy Waldrop at the Erlanger-housed Plastic Surgery Group.

Plenty of apps already exist to collect a health-conscious person’s data.  RunKeeper, FitBit and MapMyFitness can all track how often a person takes a walk, how far he or she runs, how often he or she sleeps, and more.  Some apps can also connect with wearables, such a smart watch that measures someone’s heart rate.

Susan Farmer, Director of the Senior Life Program at Parkridge Valley, joins us with advice on dealing with parents and loved ones who show signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.  Many families never discuss what to do if older relatives can’t remember basic information or become unable to live independently.

Frances McDonald, Executive Director of Mark Making, joins us to discuss how the organization helps underserved populations and creates large-scale public art projects that give a voice to people who are often ignored or marginalized.  Long housed on the North Shore, the organization is now moving to the Glass Street area, which will allow it to grow and further its mission.

Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills is coming to Chattanooga on Tuesday, June 17th to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Southern League All-Star Luncheon.  This year, the Chattanooga Lookouts will host the Southern League All-Star game, with the game itself on the 17th at AT&T Field, and a home run derby happening on July 16th at historic Engel Stadium.

Maury Wills and Lookouts President and General Manager Rich Mozingo appear in this segment to talk about how the all-star game luncheon will benefit the RBI Program of Chattanooga, which brings baseball to inner-city children.

Wills also discusses highlights of his career--a legendary shortstop known for stealing bases, he explains his "perfect practice" philosophy, and reveals his struggle with drug addiction after his baseball career ended, explaining how he got clean and now uses his story to inspire others.

In this interview, Chattanooga authors Becky Wooley and Michael W. Gardner and Chattanooga audiobook narrator George Taylor explain how to get free downloads of their work--available in June only.

From a media release:


Bee populations have declined over the past few years, and as these pollinators die off, our own food supply could dwindle.  Scientists are researching a variety of causes, including controversial pesticides and a

“There’s a lot that happened [in Chattanooga] that people are not aware of,” acclaimed Civil War author Jeff Shaara says of the battles that took place in 1863, when Union forces controlled the city and Confederates cut off supply lines.  Shaara’s new novel The Smoke At Dawn dramatizes what happened, including conflicts such as the Battle of Lookout Mountain and the Battle of Missionary Ridge.