Around and About Chattanooga

Mondays & Wednesdays at 10 am & 8 pm

Chattanooga is transforming into one of the nation's most progressive, vibrant cities. Guests on the Around and About program discuss the cultural events, art communities, environmental initiatives and other creative forces that are helping continue this transformation.

The concert calendar airs every Thursday with a look at what's happening around town in the music scene.

Comments? Story ideas? You can contact the public affairs desk at (423) 425-2224.

  Jared Bigham joins us to talk about education and the future of Chattanooga.  He’s the coordinator for Chattanooga 2.0, an initiative that's exploring ways to build "the smartest community in the South," according to their Web site.

Alex Friedman is the president of Private Corrections Institute, Inc., which he describes as "a non-profit citizen watchdog organization that works to educate the public and policymakers about the significant downsides associated with the privatization of correctional services."  Recently, the Hamilton County Commission voted in favor of paying up to $460,000 for a study regarding potential privatization of future correctional facility operations in the county.

  The statistics on military veterans suicides are a national tragedy. A group of songwriters in Nashville made the decision several years ago to do whatever they could to help. They started a program called Operation Song in which veterans are encouraged to share their memories are then taught how to turn them into a song. The program has been here in Chattanooga for about a year. Beginning today we are going to be talking to some of the veterans in the program and sharing the songs they have written.

Meg Vogel/NPR

  Today, Bob Boilen is best known as the creator and co-host of the NPR podcast All Songs Considered, but he started his NPR career working with the news reporters and hosts—for 18 years, he directed the flagship show All Things Considered. 

In this interview, he tells us how the small music clips between news stories led to the creation of his music show.  We also talk about his voracious appetite for live music—in 2015, he saw 506 shows.  And we discuss NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest, and he gives some tips for bands who are entering.

This Saturday night, January 23, the Bessie Smith Hall is hosting an evening of the blues with Drew Sterchi and Blues Tribe. The concert will also feature Husky Burnette, Marlow Drive and The Jon Harris Band. Drew Sterchi and Blues Tribe will headline the concert playing a set celebrating the history of the blues from its roots in the early part of the last century through to today. Richard Winham sat down with Drew Sterchi and his niece Virginia Sterchi as they played a couple of the songs from the show.  

CHI Memorial Foundation

The eleventh annual Pink! Gala will be hosted by the CHI Memorial Foundation at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Saturday, January 30th 2016.

Kevin Livinggood

  Chattanooga City Councilman Moses Freeman is one of the people featured on the new M.L. King Mural, and in this interview, he remembers the rich history of the surrounding neighborhood.  He also talks about events coming up on January 18th.  The city is seeking volunteers to participate in service projects that day, and the mural will be officially dedicated.

WUTC

  Artist Meg Saligman is known for creating monumental works of public art, and her Chattanooga mural is her largest ever, at about 40,000 square feet.  It's so large that it wraps around the entire AT&T building.  The photos in this post show all four of the mural's sides.

It will be publicly unveiled on January 18th--Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  The dedication will happen at noon, and Saligman will give a presentation at 1 p.m.

  Last week, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke asked staff at the city’s Youth and Family Development Centers to proactively address hazing and bullying.  Mayor Berke made this directive after an incident involving basketball players from Ooltewah High School.  The rest of Ooltewah’s basketball season has been canceled.  Some parents of team members say the incident was part of a pattern of bullying and harassment.

True to its spirit of music discovery, NPR Music is kicking off 2016 with an invite to unsigned artists of all genres: Show us why you should perform in NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert series. The winner will secure a spot at the iconic performance space and a U.S. tour with NPR Music.

Bands and musicians can submit original video entries to the NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest Jan. 12-Feb. 2, 2016 at npr.org/tinydeskcontest (see rules for entry).

Three Ooltewah High School basketball players have been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and rape after allegedly attacking a 15-year-old teammate.  The student was hospitalized and needed surgery to repair his colon and bladder after being sodomized with a pool cue.  The Hamilton County District Attorney’s Office and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are investigating reports that the attack was part of an ongoing pattern of hazing and bullying perpetrated by upperclassmen on the basketball team.

An estimated 22 veterans of the U.S. military commit suicide every day. That startling statistic was first reported by USA Today in February, 2013. Little has changed in the interim, but a local non-profit is trying to help veterans in the Chattanooga area. Richard Winham talked to Bobbie Allison-Standefer, co-founder of Heartland Therapeutic Programs about an innovative program called Operation Song which is helping veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder cope with life after the military.

Rod Francis, creator of the Grow Young Project, joins us for an extended conversation. The Grow Young Project is a "a free online resource for clear, unbiased fact, opinion and reviews of all things related to winding back the clock." Francis is also a mindfulness coach, and he tells us about connections between mindfulness and aging, among other topics.  

  Chattanooga native Janie Dempsey Watts joins us to discuss her new novel Return to Taylor’s Crossing, which explores the lingering effects of racism and violence during the Civil Rights era in North Georgia.  The novel was published in 2015.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO BY MASS COMMUNICATION SPECIALIST 2ND CLASS JUSTIN WOLPERT

  Five months after the shooting rampage at two military centers here in Chattanooga, the U.S. Navy is announcing it will award Purple Hearts to service members who were wounded or killed.

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