Around and About Chattanooga

Wednesdays at 10 am & 8 pm

Around and About is a Chattanooga, Tennessee public radio show featuring news, interviews, and arts coverage. The show's host and reporters cover human-interest stories, Southern literature and current events & issues affecting the Tennessee Valley. 

Many guests are Chattanooga residents; others are national authors, experts and celebrities speaking on topics relevant to our community. The show is broadcast Wednesdays on WUTC NPR 88.1 FM, and the podcast is available here.

You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Comments? Story ideas? Email us.

In Chattanooga and the surrounding counties, one in four children, and one in six adults, are hungry. They rely on the Chattanooga Area Food Bank to provide at least some of the food they eat every day. The Food Bank was established in 1972, and while they are making a difference, the need for their services in the 20 counties they serve remains acute. Richard Winham talked to Scott Bruce and Jordan Lyle. They have both been working with the Food Bank for about a year. For both of them, it has been an eye opening experience.

Wacker's chemical plant in East Tennessee announced it's going to be closed for what may be months, while officials investigate an explosion that happened September 7.  The blast released trace amounts of hydrochloric acid into the air and hospitalized several people. Workers quickly contained the leak.

The county sheriff said seven people who live nearby sought treatment for symptoms related to the incident. But the company maintains the leak posed no threat to the community. 

 Officials now say production may not resume for months at the $2.5 billion plant, which employs about 650 people. During the downtime, some of those workers will assist in repairs.  Back in August, a different leak injured five employees. Wacker says the two incidents were unrelated.  

The Bowen Education Theory Center was established in Chattanooga in 2008 to teach the family systems theory known as the Bowen Theory. Their symposium is coming up 9/21/17 at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. 

At this year’s symposium, Dr. Roberta Gilbert is the featured speaker, and she's talking about the Bowen Theory with WUTC's Will Davis.

Mark A Herndon

In 2009, photographs of Wayne White's art were collected in a 400-page hardcover book, Maybe Now I'll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve. White had worked for years behind the scenes at children's shows such as Pee Wee's Playhouse, designing puppets and sets. He was also the art director for music videos such as Peter Gabriel's "Big Time."

His artistic sensibilities influenced many young viewers. But few knew his name.

UTC

Speaking at a celebration of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's 131st birthday, UTC Chancellor Dr. Steve Angle outlined UTC's future as the institution fulfills its strategic plan's goals.

One of those goals--increased student involvement in internships--could impact businesses in the region. In coming years, every student in every major may be required to work an internship or have a similar real-world experience to round out of his or her education.

Delivering his annual State of the University Address, he touted "active, collaborative learning" as being at "the heart" of the UTC experience. In other words, bridges beyond the classroom.

Nathan Kilpatrick creates custom frames for customers’ paintings at Reflections Gallery on Lee Highway. He’s also a painter and sculptor. He likes to work with found objects—pieces of wood that have washed up on the shore or that he finds discarded in trash piles.

He has an exhibition of his work opening at Reflections Gallery this Friday, September 15th. Richard Winham stopped by the gallery to look at some of his work and to talk to him about his unusual approach to framing and sculpture. 

Tuesday evening, Chattanooga City Council members voted a second and final time to approve the Fiscal Year 2018 budget for the city

During the first vote, all members except District 1's Chip Henderson had voted to approve it.

It was the same situation with the second vote. Henderson, on behalf of his constituents, opposed the property tax hike many Chattanooga homeowners now face.

An explosion at an East Tennessee chemical plant released trace amounts of hydrochloric acid into the air, and eight people with symptoms related to the incident were treated at a nearby hospital.

On Thursday, Charleston, Tennessee residents reported hearing an earth-shaking explosion and seeing a white plume of vapor coming from the Wacker Polysilicon plant, which produces raw materials for solar cells and electronics. Bradley County officials initially described the situation as extreme—an extraordinary threat to life and property.

"A maker," Chatt*lab President Jeff Johnson says, "is anybody that wants to tinker, invent, create... watch people make stuff, learn how to make stuff, [or] teach people how to make stuff."

Will Davis

Next week is National Drive Electric Week, and one local group is educating the Tennessee Valley about the importance and feasibility of electric vehicles. Jim Dillard and Barbara Kelly of Drive Electric Chattanooga join us for a chat. Drive Electric Chattanooga will be at the Second Saturdays On Station Street Concert Festival this Saturday from 3pm to 8pm. The event is free to the public.

Chattanooga’s new city budget includes a record-setting $5 million to improve roads, pay raises for police officers, and a property tax freeze for senior citizens. During a roll call vote Tuesday evening, every City Council representative voted for it—except one.

Councilman Chip Henderson, chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, said people in his district (District 1, which includes Hixson, Mountain Creek and Lookout Valley) were concerned the 2018 city budget would raise their property tax bills.

On September 9th and 10th, Chattanooga will host the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. The organizers of the Ironman contests expected more than 185,000 athletes to race in over 100 Ironman 70.3 races around the world this year. From those races more than 4000 athletes will be coming to Chattanooga to compete in the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. 

From the City of Chattanooga's Web site:

City of Chattanooga

The new Chattanooga Police Chief says it was a humbling experience, being sworn in while a packed auditorium at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga watched. He felt honored. But it's only the beginning.

"For me, this just lights the fuse," Chief David Roddy said.  "I'm excited about getting to work."

Roddy expects to continue the police department’s commitment to developing community partnerships, because "officers can’t keep the city safe working alone. We need your help. We must build trust in order to maintain public safety and effective policing."

Prairie Home Productions

Although he's retired from hosting the radio version of A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor is bringing his live (non-broadcast) Prairie Home "Love and Comedy" Tour to Chattanooga's Tivoli Theatre on Saturday, September 9, 2017. This live performance features musicians Richard Dworsky and The Road Hounds and Heather Masse, and sound-effects wizard Fred Newman.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was reportedly Tennessee Williams’s favorite of all his plays. The Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s production of the play opens this Friday evening at 7:30. Richard Winham talked to the director, Garry Posey, who told him it’s a play about mendacity.

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