Archive for November, 2011

AIDS Epidemic Still Spreading In Rural, Southern United States

November 30, 2011


Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial and the AIDS Epidemic in the South by Andrew J. Skerritt


In this segment, we’re examining why HIV/AIDS continues to spread in the United States, particularly among African Americans who live in the rural South.

African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS in Chattanooga.  “In the Hamilton County area and the southeast Tennessee Region, we do have a large portion who are African Americans who are infected,” Jerry Evans said.  He’s the Assistant Executive Director for Chattanooga CARES, a local organization focusing on education, prevention and support for all people affected by HIV.  “Of our patients at Chattanooga CARES, about 37 percent are African American.”

It’s a high percentage considering that, according to the most recent Census data, only about 20% of Hamilton County’s population is African American.  But it’s similar to the situation across the South.

“The South has less than half the overall population [of the United States], but almost half the number of AIDS cases,” Andrew J. Skerritt says.  He’s the author of a new book, Ashamed to Die: Silence, Denial and the AIDS Epidemic in the South.  “In many cases, where you see a decline in new infections, the South has been going in the opposite direction.  The South also suffers because the South has a higher percentage of African Americans, and African American men and women have been bearing a strong burden as far as infection goes.”

December first is World AIDS Day.  For more about how HIV/AIDS specifically affects the South, visit the Southern AIDS Coalition.



Muralist Seeks Input

November 29, 2011

Reporting: Bobby Sullivan

Chattanooga is about to have a huge mural painted in downtown Chattanooga. Meg Saligman is a nationally recognized muralist and is seeking insight and ideas from Chattanooga residents for the mural. The input session is free and open to all ages on Tues. at 5 p.m. at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

Listen to the story.


Gnome Valley and the Enchanted Garden of Lights

November 29, 2011

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke

Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights is an annual holiday celebration at the top of Lookout Mountain.  The gardens are lit up by hundreds of thousands of LEDs formed into light sculptures and scenes of winter delight.  This year the area that was once home to the White Fallow Deer has been transformed into Gnome Valley.  Rock City has a long history with gnomes including the Fairyland Caverns and other garden gnomes.  Artist Matthew Dutton has been sculpting new gnomes to populate Gnome Valley and made sure these little people were just as filled with the holiday spirit as the rest of the gardens.

Each weekend at Rock City during December there will be music and entertainment at the pavilion.  You can schedule a reservation to have dinner with Santa and spend the entire evening at Rock City.

Be on the lookout for Jack Frost.  Rumor has it he is hiding in the Fairyland Caverns and keeps moving around to avoid detection.  You can help out by locating him and posting his picture on facebook.

The Enchanted Garden of Lights is open every evening from 6:00 to 9:00 pm until December 31st.  They are closed Christmas Eve.

Listen to the story.

Sharing Time, Talent And Treasure (And A Special Tree) At Creative Discovery Museum

November 28, 2011



The Helping Hands exhibit kicked off with the unveiling of the warmth tree.

In this segment, we go on tour of Helping Hands, an exhibit that opened last weekend at Chattanooga’s Creative Discovery Museum and is designed to teach children about philanthropy.  The exhibit opened with the unveiling of a very special holiday tree.



Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and Major Algerome Newsome, Area Commander of the Salvation Army, pose with children in front of the warmth tree.

Mayor Littlefield was the first person to decorate the warmth tree.

Annual Cornhole Tournament at MAINx24

November 28, 2011

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke

Carol tossing a  bagThe annual Cornhole tournament hosted by the Southside Cowart Place Neighborhood Association will start at 2:00 pm at MAINx24 Saturday, December 3rd.  The game is a popular sport in Ohio and is gaining interest in the Chattanooga region.  This year the tournament organizers hope to increase the number of teams participating.  All proceeds from the tournament benefit Battle Academy.

Cornhole is played by two teams, each with 2 players and 4 bags of corn or beans.  There are slanted boards set up with a hole that is the target.  Points are scored by either tossing the bag through the hole or when the bag lCornhole practiceands and stays on the slanted board.   Strategies involve knocking your opponent’s bag off of the board.  You score three points for a bag going through the hole and one point for any bag that stays on the board without hitting the ground.  The first team to score 21 points wins the game.

The tournament at MAINx24 will be held in the parking lot at Chuck’s II at 27 West Main Street.  No previous experience necessary and anyone can form a team.  Contact Carol Huckaby at 423-313-7139 to register your team.

Listen to the story.

Cornhole Board

“Have A Seat” Gives Voice to Chattanooga Homelessness

November 28, 2011

ETC "Have a Seat"

Have a Seat is an original theatre piece created by the actors and co-directors, Christy Gallo and John Thomas Cecil.    Gallo gives a description of the 5 characters in Have a Seat which are based on the, “Top five reasons why people identify that they are homeless.”

Martha Jean – been on the streets most of her life and is now old enough to receive government housing
Leo – has aspergers, has been on the streets 7 years after suffering the loss of his wife
Arthur – new to homelessness after his father kicked him out of the house for being gay, is/was a student, struggles with drugs
Jinx – she ran away from her abusive father and has been riding the rails, and finally looking for a way to get her life back
Amy – lived beyond her means, lost her job, was evicted and her father wouldn’t help, been homeless about 4 months

Gallo and Cecil based this play on research from the Homeless Coalitions 2009 Blueprint and from statistics from the most recent Census.    One character in Have a Seat is based on an actual person as seen through the eyes of her social worker.    Here’s more from the ETC press release:

By the Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga

Directed by John Thomas Cecil and Christy Gallo

Dec 2- Dec 18 (Fridays 7:30, Saturdays 2:00, Sundays 3:00 AND/OR 6:30)

Description: We close out the season with an introspective look from the bottom up. The idea was presented about structuring a piece of theatre based on the concept of “if these chairs could talk.” We took that idea a step further by addressing the idea that a seat looks at the world from below everyone and couple that with the idea communities across country are slowly becoming inundated with homeless populations, who also see society from the bottom up. So HAVE A SEAT is going to focus of the homeless community in Chattanooga, spotlighting where they sit, where they hang out and who they are.

Listen to the Story with Co-Directors and Cast Members:


National Day of Listening 2011

November 23, 2011

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke



The National Day of Listening is the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This year it is November 25th and National Public Radio’s Story Corps is inviting everyone to take a moment during their busy day and thank a teacher.  People are encouraged to contact a favorite teacher and record an interview.  If you are unable to interview a teacher that influenced your life you can still participate in National Day of Listening by posting a memory to facebook (@storycorps) or twitter (@storycorps, #thankateacher).

There are several ways to document your interview on the National Day of Listening.  Any recording device will work such as a cellphone, video recorder, digital recorder or computer.  Story Corps provides tutorials and additional information to help you prepare for your interview or perhaps you just plan to record your conversation.  Even if you do not make a recording of the moment you can still post your participation on the Wall of Listening at the National Day of Listening website.  No matter what you have planned for Friday, take a moment or two to thank a teacher for the influence they have had on your life.

Listen to the story.


Saintsgiving Pub To Pub

November 23, 2011

Reporting: Bobby Sullivan

Do you know that Chattanooga has a Double Decker bus? If you haven’t got a chance to take a ride on it, then ‘Saintsgiving’ on the 23rd may be your chance. Chattanooga Friends has planned a Thanksgiving event that will start at the Crash Pad with great music and end with people riding the Double Decker downtown from pub to pub.

Listen to the story.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

November 22, 2011

Reporting:  Rabbit Zielke

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a book about a young boy in Malawi Africa learning about science and changing lives in his rural village with his quest to build a windmill.  The book was chosen by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as the literary piece in the First Year Reading Experience or FYRE.  Faculty and staff at UTC were encouraged to read the book and incorporate topics found in Kamkwamba’s true story for freshmen courses. The incoming 2011 freshmen were required to read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind prior to the beginning of the fall semester.  In August William Kamkwamba visited the campus.  This piece features excerpts from an interview with Kamkwamba and information about a reference and research page provided by the Lupton Library at UTC.

Listen to the story.

Related stories:

William Kamkwamba Visits UTC

FYRE at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Interview with Textile Artist Kaffe Fassett and his Niece, Painter Erin Gafill

November 21, 2011

Renowned textile designer and teacher Kaffe Fassett visited Chattanooga for the first time in October of this year.    His niece, award winning artist and teacher Erin Gafill and her husband, photographer Tom Birmingham accompanied Fassett here giving lectures and workshops around town that focused on color and design.    Erin Gafill and Kaffe Fassett stopped by WUTC for an interview while here.

Fassett has lived in London, England for the last 45 years.    He has traveled the world with exhibitions showing his masterpieces of textile including quilts, needlepoint and mosaic tile.    In 1988, Fassett’s work was displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.    In 1998, his Mosaic Tile Garden was the winner of a Gold Medal in the Chelsea Flower Show.    Has has authored several books and is currently working on a memoir.

Listen to the story:

"Oak Tree at Nepenthe" by Erin Gafill

Here’s more about artist, teacher and writer Erin Gafill from her website:

In 2009 Erin and her husband Tom Birmingham were honored by the Arts Council for Monterey County as 2009 Luminaries, “Champions of the Arts.”

In 2010 Erin and Tom took their “Championing The Arts Tour” on the road, visiting 17 cities over 9 weeks.  They staged art shows, art salons, interviewed arts professionals, held workshops, and taught free art programs to children and their families.

Erin credits her deep familial roots in the arts for her on-going work today.  Her maternal grandparents  Lolly and Bill Fassett built Big Sur’s famed Nepenthe Restaurant,  a mecca for artist, poets, writers, and bohemians since it opened in 1949.  And Lolly’s maternal grandmother was Jane Gallatin Powers, a Modernist painter who had the first artist’s studio in Carmel and traveled to Paris in the 1920′s to study with Andre L’hote, a student of Cezanne’s.

Erin is on the creative arts faculty for both Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California ( and Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico, ( as well as Studio One – Big Sur (

Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil