Category: Environment

Jay’s Story

Jay Shin, 20, is from Cleveland, Tennessee. Even with Cerebral Palsy, he lives a normal
life with an amazing support system. He was raised by his mom, Soonja Shin, and two sisters, Yoori Shin and Meeri Shin. He attends Cleveland State Community College where he studies Mechatronics. He also attends Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Collegedale where he has a great community around him. Cerebral Palsy affects Jay physically and some mentally, but he doesn’t let his disability define him.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.

Collecting Stories of Chattanooga

Story Corps preserves human history through the oral storytelling of its participants. With a travel trailer converted into a recording studio, Story Corps road trips to 10 cities around the country to record and broadcast the stories of local residents. This year, Story Corps has partnered with WUTC to showcase the untold histories of Chattanooga. Participants can tell anystory they want, and it can be told alone or with a partner.

Jacqueline Van Meter, Story Corps mobile tour manager, is the only staff member who travelswith the trailer full time. Van Meter facilitates the interview process with participants, and she also supervises the other staff members who come on and off the road to work with participants, she said.

“We’re kind of creating this democratized oral history collection,” Van Meter said. “We’re putting the documentation of the people’s history into the hands of the people themselves talking about it in the way that means the most to them.”

Participants can come up with their own questions to ask their partner or they can utilize the question cards provided by Story Corps. The recording sessions last for 40 uninterrupted minutes. Once the session ends, participants can choose to keep their recordings private or they can allow them to be aired on WUTC. The public recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.

“We think that listening is an act of love,” Van Meter said. “The experience of being asked
questions about your own life can be a really empowering experience especially for people who have walked through life feeling like their stories didn’t matter or they didn’t have a story to tell.”

Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC, prompted Story Corps to partner with the station knowing the impact it could have on the community. Story Corps was immediately interested in coming to Chattanooga when Davis contacted them, he said.

“I was really prepared to be like okay, these are the hundred reasons why you should come
here, but it never came to that,” Davis said.

Around 100 to 150 interviews will be recorded and shared with the station for broadcast, Davis said.

“That’s a ton of content,” Davis said. “Professionally recorded, professionally facilitated. That’s huge for the station, so it’s great PR, but it’s also a lot of content. That’s the reason I wanted to do it.”

The travel trailer is parked beside Miller Park on E MLK Blvd. The recording process will take place from March 19 to April 17. Those who wish to sign-up can do so through the Story Corps website. There is currently a waitlist, but participants can still secure a spot by signing up for it.

WUTC Brings StoryCorps to Chattanooga

As the outreach manager for WUTC, Will Davis, has worked the past eighteen months
since moving here to bring StoryCorps to Chattanooga. He was surprised to find out that they had never been to his new home and immediately knew he wanted to make it happen.

StoryCorps will do over 150 stories while in town which are available to WUTC to use
for future projects. Many of the stories the people of Chattanooga have told share common themes of the city changing and the celebration of it.

All of the slots to sit down and talk have been filled and there is a waiting list that Davis
encourages others to sign up for, but he says that he hasn’t decided if he will sit down himself. He has put months of work into this project and has numerous ideas of what he will use the stories for in the future. Even if he decides not to sit down in the airstream for a recorded talk his impression on Chattanooga through WUTC and StoryCorps coming together will last forever.

Meet the Storytellers

Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

Justin Metcalf

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.

McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos. She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Skater Dad

Since his freshman year at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Trent Comeaux, a junior Exercise Science major from Red Bank, has been pouring into young boys’ lives at the Chattanooga Skate Park.

The Chattanooga skate community “has got a bad rep,” according to Comeaux. “It’s looked at as this vandalizing, rebellious, careless community of people who just don’t care about anything else but themselves, and it’s really the exact opposite.”

From his involvement with the university as a member of the BYX fraternity to time spent with a community of Young Life leaders, Comeaux’s days are always busy. However, he always takes time out of his day to skate with his “lil homies” or the younger kids that hang at the skatepark.

One fourteen year old boy in particular, Camden Parcell, has become an extremely close friend of Comeaux’s. “When I first met Camden, my only goal was to just love him,” he said.

From the skate competition that started the relationship to a daily outing to the nearby Wendy’s, their friendship grew into a much closer bond.

“I see Trent as almost like a father figure to me. He does so much for me and will probably always be there for me,” shared Camden.

Even though, according to Comeaux, the skate park in Chattanooga portrays a negative idea of what this community is like, the relationships between Comeaux and his “lil homies” shows the complete opposite. Instead, this community allows life giving and meaningful relationships to grow through something as simple as a skateboard.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Cassie Whittaker

Cassie Whittaker is a graduating senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She plans on pursuing a social marketing career in the private sector and is experienced in writing and presenting marketing plans. Her interests include volunteering and hiking around the city of Chattanooga which drives her toward a career that helps other people. Contact me for opportunity in these fields at qss692@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Abigail Frazier

Abigail Frazier is a senior majoring in Communication and Sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is passionate about journalism and works as the news editor for The University Echo. Frazier can be contacted at twg146@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Blake Davis

Blake Davis is a Senior Communication Major at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is passionate about creating and telling stories through a video camera. For over 6 years, he has been improving his craft in videography. He also loves playing Spikeball and is a collegiate National Champion. He can be reached at rlp233@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Bailey Frizzell

Bailey Frizzell is a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and plans to graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about telling stories through photography, and hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism after graduation. She can be contacted at kdv822@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

The Read House: Preserving Chattanooga History

The Read House Hotel has been a place for not only travelers to stay but for the Chattanooga community to come together since the 1920s. A $25 million-dollar renovation has taken place over the past year and will finally come to an end over the next few months. This remodel is restoring the building to its historic form. Gatsby inspired décor and the feel of the roaring 20s bounds the hotel from the gold leaf ceilings to the antique mirrors hung across the walls.

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Sunrise over the Read House Hotel on Monday, February 18, 2019. (Photo by Elian Richter)

The hotel has endured floods, war, epidemics, the great depression, and an ever-changing city surrounding it.

Hotel Historian Tyler Hogue shares the story of the hotel’s past and his passion to preserve the history of each and every room. It is home to Bridgeman’s Chophouse, a Starbucks, bar & billiards room, and over a dozen meeting rooms for private dining, parties and business meetings.

“The owner was reading some newspapers,” Hogue said, “and one of the newspapers for the hotel was from around the 1920s and 30s. There were pictures of people sitting on the terraces, dressed in hats, dressed to the nines like it was shot straight out of the Great Gatsby. He thought wow, the Great Gatsby, that’s a great theme for this hotel.”

The feel of elegance and class radiates throughout the building as jazz is played over the loudspeakers through the lobby.

The Read House is not only home to people passing through for a night’s rest, but it is open to the community as well. Hogue wants to stay true to the way the original owners Samuel and Thomas Read ran the hotel by welcoming Chattanooga natives to engage with each other and embrace the rich history found in the middle of their very own city. Thomas’s wife Cynthia would even take girls at risk of being in prostitution or orphaned in and find a home for them.

“We wanted to bring that community feel back,” Hogue said, “so people can come in here, come to our library, get a book and sit down with a cocktail or a drink from Starbucks and enjoy the hotel.”

They left a legacy of compassion and hospitality that The Read House stays true to today and shares with every person that enters its doors.

 

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Meet the Storytellers

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Justin Metcalf 

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

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McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos.  She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

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Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.

Abomination to Advocation

Reverend Alaina Cobb has experienced hate from a young age due to her identity. After seeing what the culture she was raised in looked like, she knew she had to do something. Her activism grows from her experiences growing up, but mostly from her children, fueling her to fight for others and their ability to be “fully human.”  As a mother, as a reverend, and as a fighter, Alaina Cobb is changing the world around her.

Meet the Storytellers

Allie Schrenker

Allie Schrenker is a committed athlete majoring in Communication and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with plans to graduate in May 2019. She is an international rugby player and an editor for UTC’s literary journal. She is currently pursuing a career in photojournalism and can be reached at kcb325@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Samantha Sargent

Samantha Sargent is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Originally from Memphis, TN, she came to Chattanooga to study Communication and Sociology. Sargent wishes to use this degree to pursue a career in digital media. Contact her at xcq518@mocs.utc.edu.

Princess Petrus

Princess Petrus is a junior at UT Chattanooga studying Communication and Spanish. She enjoys photojournalism and uses her skill to convey social problems through visual images. Petrus has a passion for learning other people’s stories and aims to connect with those around her. Contact her at rkt446@mocs.utc.

 

Katie Raabe

Katie Raabe is a Communication major and International Studies minor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga planning to graduate in May 2019. With a focus in Creative Writing, Katie is passionate about people and telling their stories in expressive and visual forms. Contact her at hfr546@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

To Continue the Mission

The 33rd anniversary of the Challenger Shuttle accident was January 28th. Wife of the late Commander Dick Scobee, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, and their daughter Kathie Scobee Fulgham, remember this day with peace and find power in making huge efforts to further the mission of the Challenger. It’s about keeping the fallen astronauts memory’s alive.

Kathie Scobee Fulgam (left) and June Scobee Rogers (right) pose for a portrait on February 10, 2019. (photo by Jessica Boggs)

For Dr. Rodgers, living during the age of space exploration has shaped her views on the importance of NASA. She remembers the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon and waking her children up in their South Carolina home that night so that they, too, could witness history.

“That was the most marvelous thing that could have happened in our country with the space program”, she said. “It became a wonderful part of history”.

Kathie Scobee Fulgam shows golden Apollo 11 coin on February 10, 2019. (photo by Jessica Boggs)

Fulgham is a board member of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, a foundation that, among many things, recognized two major space exploration events with customized coins. The first coin manufactured was in remembrance of the Apollo 11 landing. It is a completely unique style.

 “It’s concave and has two sides. On one side the helmet of an astronaut looking out and seeing the American Flag is pictured, the way the astronauts saw it. On the other side is the very first footprint on the moon” Fulgham describes.

The coin has a larger purpose than to just be a collector’s item. Each time a coin is purchased, the funds are split into three areas: the Smithsonian receives half, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation receives a quarter, and the Astronauts Scholarship Foundation receives a quarter. The first day the Apollo 11 coin was released, it raised $31 million in funds.

 There will soon be a second coin, this time in honor of the Challenger crew.

 “It’s a celebration of everything mankind has done to get here”, said Fulgham.

The day of the Challenger accident is one that most people will never forget. For the families of the crew, this is an especially daunting day.

“Numbness. Numb. Just quiet. We just wept”, said Dr. Rodgers about witnessing the event. “It was tragic to our family. It was tragic to the nation. All the world knew.”

After losing their beloved husband and father, Commander Dick Scobee, these two women took it upon themselves to do something about it rather than dwell on the sadness.

“My priority was to continue education and further the mission NASA had begun”, said Rodgers. “We wanted people to remember how they lived. What they were willing to risk their lives for. Not just how they died.”

25 years and 25 centers later the Challenger Center at UT-Chattanooga was built as the first to be built on a college campus. Chattanooga is also the first home of the Micronaut program for children.

Leader of the mission, Cary Garrett, helps the team successfully run their simulated mission in space. (Photo by Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel)

“There’s a lot to be said about this University of Tennessee”, Rodgers said. Dr. Perry Storey is the director of UTC’s very own Challenger Center. He hopes the efforts of the Challenger Center help students gain an interest in space exploration. By hosting children’s field trips, private tours, and allowing UTC students to come and go, Dr. Storey and his colleagues keep the memory of the Challenger alive.

The control room where teams work together to have a successful mission in space. (Photo by Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel)

Dr. Storey said, “A new generation means a new generation of technology. The students of today will be the ones to do more exploration in space.”

The Challenger Centers promote interest in space exploration, in hopes to raise the next generation of people interested in science.

“I’m so proud of the students and educators for being inspired by our centers” Dr. Rodgers said.

We have Dr. Rodgers, Mrs. Fulgham, and directors of Challenger Centers like Dr. Storey to thank for bringing the Challenger Center program to life.

Meet the Storytellers

Jessica Boggs

Jessica Boggs, Senior at UTC, is graduating this May with a degree in Communication and a minor in International Relations. Jessica is an experienced photojournalist and graphic designer. She is passionate about speaking for those without a voice through the lens of a camera. Contact Jessica at xjh111@mocs.utc.edu.

Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel

Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel is an artistic photographer who focuses on weddings, elopements, and portraits. She loves the 1970s and country music and incorporates those styles into her photographs. Johnny Cash is among her favorites. Her work is displayed on vintagekaitlynphoto.com and she can be contacted at dzm674@mocs.utc.edu.

Lauren Justice

Lauren Justice is a senior at UTC, majoring in Communication. She is experienced in marketing, journalistic writing, public relations, and design. After graduation, she wants to continue working for her current company, Red Bull, by transferring to the culture department. Contact her at nsf433@mocs.utc.edu.

Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.

Climbing in Chattanooga

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Caleb Timmerman attempts “Rustoleum” (V6) at the Upper Middle Creek boulders on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Climbing has been a part of Chattanooga since the 80’s, but Rob Robinson’s discovery of the Tennessee Wall put the city on the radar of climbers around the nation. In the past five years, the climbing scene in Chattanooga has experienced a surge in its popularity.

Outdoor hobby magazines such as Outside Magazine and Climbing Magazine recognized this boom in attention.  In 2015, Climbing magazine coined Chattanooga, “America’s new climbing capitol.”

Climbers nationally have noticed the endless amounts of climbing that Chattanooga offers and are moving here to pursue it.

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Matthew Waits attempts to climb a route named “Jahreusalem” (5.13b) at Deep Creek. Waits was accompanied by his belayer Ethan Ibach and his friend Erin Flettrich on Saturday, September 8, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

According to Chattanooga Climbing Impact Report, climbers had a total economic impact of $694,055 in Hamilton County. Additionally, 16,565 non-resident climbers visited Chattanooga in the 2015-2016 season.

“The influx of climbers is constantly outweighing the exodus of climbers in Chattanooga,” said Mike O’mara, a sales representative at High Point Climbing and experienced traditional style climber. O’mara previously lived in Illinois and would drive eight hours with the sole intent of climbing in Chattanooga. After frequent weekend excursions, he decided to make the leap to move.

“The climbing here was definitely a big factor in why I moved because it’s just that great,” said O’mara.

There are two main contributors to a great climbing environment, the rock composition and accessibility, and Chattanooga checks both of those boxes.

In this region the rock is sandstone, which has a soft but gritty texture like a fine grain sandpaper, and lends itself to better climbing.

“Chattanooga is a great place for climbing for several reasons, the sheer abundance of rock here which allows for new routes and cliff lines to be developed constantly,”said O’Mara. “The rock quality and composition is some of the best in country as far as density and hardness.”

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Matthew Waits attempts to climb a route named “Jahreusalem” (5.13b) at Deep Creek. Waits made it to the end of the climb but took a few falls along the way on Saturday, September 8, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Although rock composition is a major factor for a climbing, accessibility is just as important.

Phil Purney, rock climber of 20 years and local climber of 10,  shed some light on what makes Chattanooga rock climbing unique to anywhere else. “It’s a fun small city, where in just a few minutes, I can be outside, out in the woods,” said Purney. “The access is not common. It’s world class convenient climbing.” Purney specializes in sport climbing, a style that emphasizes moderate to tall climbs ranging from 30ft to 120ft with a few pre-placed bolts in the wall to attach a rope to in case of a fall.

Drew Mayo is a local climber that is recognized for developing much of the Upper Middle Creek bouldering area, located on Signal Mountain. When asked about what makes Chattanooga a great climbing city Mayo said, “It’s the proximity to some of the greatest quality stone and some of the most loved stone.”

Mayo said that when he originally began developing the area, he didn’t intend on telling anyone else about his discovery, but later changed his mind and began spreading the word of this new spot.

“At first it was a selfish pursuit and then it turned into “I want to enjoy this with my friends,” said Mayo. “Only for so long can you sit there in the woods and be alone and enjoy something. Nature’s really enjoyable, but when you don’t have anyone to share it with it kinda feels a little empty.”

Although the future of Chattanooga is uncertain, the climbing community will continue to grow and evolve.

 

Climber Profile-Drew Mayo

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Drew Mayo begins a workout on gymnastic rings in the upstairs training area of a climbing gym on Sunday, September 16, 2018. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Drew Mayo is a local rock climber and dedicated developer of climbing areas in Chattanooga. The Upper Middle Creek boulders on Signal Mountain are one of the most notable areas he has helped to establish.

There are several steps that go into the process of developing a rock climbing area; his first step is to look at and examine the rock.

    “I’d usually just sit there maybe five minutes in front of the rock by myself, just looking and wondering, ‘Can I use that?’, ‘Can I grab on to that?” said Mayo. “If I did end up finding something that was usable, I would take my brush and I would try to clean off any of the lichen or moss.”

Mayo said that since the Cumberland Plateau is home to the world’s largest hardwood plateau forest, the leaf and branch buildup on these rocks can be extremely dense and take extensive amounts of time to clean.

“Usually it was like a two, three day process because once you clean all the leaves and dirt off the top, you throw that to the side, you throw that away, and usually it’s wet,” said Mayo. “So you get all the moss off and the holds that you saw, the incuts and such, they’d be soaking wet; and if you know climbing, you’re not supposed climb on wet sandstone because that’s when it becomes fragile and can break really easily.”

Mayo said at that point, he would have to wait a day, or sometimes several, until the rock was dry enough to be able to try the climb he’d worked so hard to clean.

There are still many undiscovered places around Chattanooga for climbing, said Mayo, and he already has a new location in mind to start developing this fall.

 

 

About the Storytellers

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Abby Ray

Abby Ray, a senior at UTC studying Communications and Business Administration, is from Memphis, Tennessee. She currently works as an intern at Delegator, which is a digital advertising agency in Chattanooga. A few of Ray’s passions are working out, watching the Memphis Grizzlies and scrolling through twitter.

 

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter is an climbing instructor and action photographer. Elian works at High Point Climbing gym as a certified instructor and as a backup photographer. He now combines the skills learned from climbing with the skills he’s acquired in photography to do photo shoots for climbers and outdoors enthusiasts.

 

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Ayriel Ayers

Ayriel Ayers is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She’s skilled in photography, human development, and public relations. As the NAACP President, Resident Assistant for UTC housing, and a Community Service and Membership Development Chairwoman for her sorority, her leadership and positivity characteristics continually pointed her to success.

 

 

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