Category: community

Rolling Pages

By Cassandra Castillo

A Little Bookish is a portable library truck that’s promoting the benefits of reading to people around the Chattanooga area. Once an elementary school teacher from Michigan, owner Miranda Atkins, is now making a difference in her own unique way—one page at a time.

Often sitting in the driver seat of her white step van, Miranda Atkins flips through the pages of her latest novel, waiting for a customer to walk onto her teal steps in search of a new read. 

Atkins, the owner of A Little Bookish, thrives on selling books simply out of her love for reading.

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A Family Thing

By Hannah Blair Hurt

Joe “Dixie” Fuller prepares his peach cobbler for his family restaurant Zarzour’s. Sunday, November 20, 2022. (Photo by Hannah Blair Hurt)

Walking through the door of Zarzour’s Cafe on Chattanooga’s Southside feels a bit like walking into a time capsule containing four generations of Zarzour family history, owners of the small brick building for over 100 years. The shelves and walls are adorned with an array of heirlooms and memorabilia, from family photos, celebrity autographs and newspaper clippings to Charles Zarzour’s naturalization papers from 1946, signed in Arabic.

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The Race to Zero Waste

By Kylee Boone

Sadie McElrath fills her jar of beans while holding her baby Zion as her two daughters Jubilee and Shalom help her collect groceries in the process. Thursday, November 10, 2022. (Photo by Kylee Boone).

The average American throws out approximately 4.9 pounds of trash per day, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency. For nearly half a decade, married couple Sadie and Zach McElrath have striven to defy this statistic through a journey toward producing zero waste within their family of five.

The journey began when the two were listening to the radio and heard of someone who was working toward that same goal.

“I heard this college student can fit all her trash for our whole year into a single jar,” Sadie McElrath said. 

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Birds of Prey

By Haley Bayer

Alix Parks engages with Telly, a non-releasable Black vulture, in their usual handshake. Saturday, November 25, 2022. (Photo by Haley Bayer) 

Past the bustling noise and city lights of Chattanooga lies a home on Signal Mountain for all types of birds of prey on their way to recovery.

That home belongs to Alix Parks, the owner of Happinest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Raptor Rescue, 501c3 non-profit That used to accept everything from squirrels to rabbits, raptors and even songbirds. But after training a few other rehabilitators on other species, Happinest has become strictly a raptor rehabilitation center. 

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Sight & Hope Restored

By Anna Truss

Kathleen Stephens stands on a hill in front of the dock in the Chickamauga Dam Day Use Area. Wednesday, November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anna Truss).

While many people plan to retire fully by 65, that dream is not always a reality for everyone. Kathleen Stephens, a resident of Hamilton County, TN, is still a full time certified nursing assistant at the age of 79.

“I still work full time and I thank God for that because I can see what I’m doing, because before I wouldn’t have been able to see,” Stephens said.

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Dedicated to Dance

By Madison Van Horn

Pierceton Mazell stretches in the studio at Chattanooga Ballet. Thursday, December 3, 2022. (Photo By Madison Van Horn).

The world of ballet is more than just sugar plum fairies and pirouettes. With years of training and a deep passion for artistry, professional dancers like Pierceton Mazell revolve their lives around dance.

“A lot of people haven’t been exposed to this type of lifestyle,” Mazell said. “Dancers are professional athletes without the benefits of professional athletes. You know, it’s a passion project and it’s a lifestyle job.”

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Miss Nola’s Gumbo

Written By Hannah Blair Hurt

Video By Cassandra Castillo.

If you happen to be rolling down Brainerd Road on a Saturday afternoon, you may find multiple generations of the Taylor family packed into their food truck, stirring up some authentic cajun cuisine. 

Tacia Taylor, affectionately called ‘Miss Nola’ by some in the community, runs Nola Girls Gumbo while also working a nine-to-five and running a nonprofit organization. Taylor is no stranger to the food industry; her parents opened their restaurant in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans when she was just thirteen years old. 

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Movements Of The Mill

By Jules Jackson

Video By Jules Jackson. Cover Photo By Alexis McMurtry.

The skeletal remains of the Standard-Coosa-Thatcher mill complex glow as if they were on fire. Inside, the Pop-up Project is going through the final rehearsal for If These Walls Could Talk, an immersive dance performance that seeks to tell the history of the mill before it is lost to the collective memory of Chattanooga.

“It’s just such a beautiful space,” says Jules Downum, director and co-founder of the Pop-up Project. “It didn’t take a lot of work on our part to make the space impactful. And the stories were already here.”

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Row As You Grow

Written by Anna Truss

Filmed by Jake Redfern and Madison Van Horn. Edited by Jake Redfern.

“Shoulders, ready, up,” calls the coxswain as the team of rowers lifts the boat onto their shoulders.

Kay Hughes and her team were moving their boat to a different dock to prepare for the Head of the Hooch regatta in early November. Even after 10 years of rowing, the thrill has not died for Hughes.

“We had so much fun and people started posting pictures and the camaraderie and the group coming together, it really is truly a team sport,” Hughes mused.

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Life on the Ramp

Written By Niah Davis

Dani Harris catches some air while rollerskating on her backyard ramp. Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (Photo by McKenna Pegrim).

Dani Harris, a Colorado native, has been roller skating practically since birth. Nowadays, the 27-year-old loves nothing more than to grab her skates and pull off some of her favorite tricks on her home ramp. 

“I grew up skating, not at the park, but just with my parents outside of the house or to the grocery store and at the rink,” she says. 

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