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.

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.”

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.

Police in Chattanooga, Tenn., say toxicology test results released on Wednesday show school bus driver, Johnthony Walker, 24, had no alcohol or drugs in his system.

Police say Walker was not driving his designated route when the bus left the road and crashed into a tree on Monday.

Five children died on Monday and a sixth child, who had been hospitalized, died on Wednesday. Five children remain hospitalized.

Blood Assurance Taking Donations For Bus Victims

Nov 23, 2016

The Woodmore Elementary bus crash has caused an outpouring of support from the community.  The waiting room at Blood Assurance is crammed full of people patiently waiting their turn to donate blood.

O- negative blood is needed the most, Blood Assurance Marketing Coordinator Mindy Quinn explained Tuesday.

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.

Chattanooga is in mourning after a bus crash claimed the lives of five elementary school children. A dozen remain hospitalized; six in critical condition.

The accident happened on Talley Road, less than a mile from Woodmore Elementary, while children were traveling home. Thirty-seven children were on the bus at the time of the crash.

The driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, is in custody and charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, and reckless endangerment. Speeding is being investigated as a factor in the crash but no official findings have been released yet.

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/

You may have noticed that lately Chattanooga looks like a dystopian movie, with plumes of thick smoke looming over the city and people wearing face masks. But it isn’t the end of the world. Just fallout from local wildfires. We spoke Dr. Pamela Sud, a pulmonologist at CHI Memorial, about the nearly 100 patients the hospital has treated for smoke-related breathing problems. Another local hospital, Erlanger, has treated more than a hundred as well.

Dr. Martha Summa-Chadwick nerds out about the power music has to affect the quality of life. She is the Executive Director of Music Therapy Gateway in Communications, Inc. She joins us today to talk about how music is an ancient language that can help patients suffering from autism, PTSD, and Parkinson's disease. MTGIC has a free concert, Quartet for the End of Time, coming up November 18th, and Dr. Summa-Chadwick is also telling us composer Oliver Messiaen had a neurological disorder, synesthesia, and composed the quartet while being held captive as a POW during World War II.

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.

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