“Utility conductor” isn’t his real title, but it might as well be. Officially, Stephen Mulligan is assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and music director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra. That means he conducts educational and other community performances, leads the ASYO, studies all the ASO’s main concert repertoire, attends all rehearsals, and stands ready to jump onstage at a moment’s notice if a scheduled conductor falls ill.

Cindy Hill / GPB News

A National Guard C-130 transport plane that crashed and killed nine people on Wednesday was being retired, officials said Thursday.

The flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Vice Wing Commander for the 165th Air Lift Wing of the Air National Guard Col. Pete Boone said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are using DNA technology to try and prevent future E. coli outbreaks.


The method is called genome sequencing and it could eliminate the guessing game when it comes to finding the source of E. coli outbreaks. With it, scientists can determine the exact food and location in which the contaminated produce originated.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

The Atlanta BeltLine is the city’s ambitious urban redevelopment project that, when finished, will encompass more than 22 miles of trails in a ring around Atlanta.

On parts of the BeltLine that are already opened, developers have brought more than four billion dollars of private investment in shopping, dining, office and living spaces.  

Dwayne Vaughn is the BeltLine’s new Vice President of Housing Policy and Development. It’s his job to make sure it stays accessible to Atlantans of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Savannah Professional Firefighters Association

UPDATE:  The Associated Press, citing officials in the Puerto Rican government, says nine people were  aboard the plane. A local official in Savannah who spoke to the AP says there are apparently no survivors.

An official with the 165th Airlift Wing's Public Affairs office in Savannah would not confirm the number of casualties, but referred to an earlier Facebook post from that office saying five people were aboard.


Ellen Eldridge / GPB News

The GBI is investigating after a 36-year-old woman was shot and killed by police in Johns Creek Saturday morning.

Lawyers for the family of Shukri Said said the incident is an example of tragic irony because May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Attorney Ibrahim Awad said he spoke on Saturday with both the sisters of Said and the GBI. His firm is also investigating the shooting to determine what training the officers on the scene had in handling a mental health crisis and whether the woman's civil rights were violated.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A string of 32 arsons that began in January in Macon-Bibb County has almost doubled the pace of firefighting in the county.

There were 11 arsons in April alone. Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins says in a typical month, firefighters here tackle five or six serious, fully involved house fires. 

A 36-year-old woman was shot and killed by police in Johns Creek Saturday morning, officials said.

Police said the family of Shukri Said called 911 after being threatened and a preliminary investigation by the GBI showed Said refused to drop a knife at the intersection of Abbotts Bridge and Sweet Creek roads, GBI spokesman Bahan Rich said in a news release.

Police tried using a Taser and non-lethal weapons, according to the GBI, but when Said wouldn’t drop a knife, two officers fired their service weapons.

Said died Saturday at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

Rodrigo Ferrari / Wikimedia Commons

This week we talked about racist robots, climate change and autism awareness. So, as we do every Friday, we sat down with our Breakroom guests to process the week's biggest news stories.  We were joined in the studio by Georgia State University professors Héctor Fernández, Soumaya Khalifa, executive director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta, Fayette County commissioner Steve Brown and Korea Daily reporter HB Cho. 

Polk County Sheriff's Office

A northwest Georgia man was convicted on Thursday of 214 counts of felony dog fighting and misdemeanor animal cruelty, after officials last August rescued 107 pit bull type dogs from deplorable conditions in a training camp.

All the dogs were tethered to trees or chained to axles driven into the ground on Polk County property, District Attorney Jack Browning told GPB News.

“The dogs were constantly about 2 feet from each other, which kept them in a constant state of agitation,” he said.

Emily Cureton / GPB News

Around 700 law enforcement officers transformed a Georgia town into a militarized zone Saturday, after the city of Newnan approved letting members of a white supremacist group demonstrate at a public park, sparking counter protests.

Emily Cureton / GPB News

A handful of Georgia schools participated in the April 20 walkouts to draw attention to gun violence. As GPB’s Emily Cureton reports, there seemed to be a divide between private and public schools in Southwest Atlanta.

Students who walked out of one of Georgia’s most elite private schools were warned they’ll be punished for it. Anna Kathryn Hodges is a junior at Woodward Academy in College Park. And the prospect of an unexcused absence and detention didn’t deter her.   

J. Cindy Hill

Here are some Coastal Georgia headlines for Friday, April 20:

  • Accused murder of slain Savannah civil rights leader is executed
  • Tybee bans public drinking during this weekend's Orange Crush
  • South Carolina revises beach building rules

Spring has arrived in Georgia. Are you ready to relax outside with a good book? We asked Literary Atlanta podcast host Alison Law and Decatur-based author Nicki Salcedo to tell us about the best new books by Southern writers. We also talked with the Breakroom gang about the most discussed news items of the week.

Emily Cureton / GPB News

Georgia Democrats are hoping 2018 is the year Gwinnett County finally turns blue.  Five Republican lawmakers are either retiring or running for other offices. Democrats are working hard to mobilize voters ahead of the May 22 primary and keep them energized into November.

Today's coastal news headlines include:

  • Savannah joins growing number of Georgia municipalities suing opioid makers
  • First stand-alone ER is coming to South Carolina's Lowcountry
  • Hurricane "Cone of Uncertainty" is shrinking

Nationwide, officials are examining the role of syringe exchange programs in the opioid epidemic. While many residents react with a not-in-my-backyard attitude, data supports the success of these programs and legislators are scrambling to catch up with the research.

Jekyll ISland

Making news today on the coast:

  • Jekyll Island Authority studies the island's sustainability as it looks to grow
  • Savannah experiments with green bike lanes
  • Osprey hatching on Skidaway Island's Birdcam

GPB News has been filling some key positions in the newsroom over the last few months.

We announced the hiring of Managing Editor Sara Shahriari, who starts April 30, and we announced our new On Second Thought host, Virginia Prescott, who’s in the process of packing up her life in New Hampshire so she can be onsite by May 14.

The Savannah City Council this week heard arguments about rezoning that could change a current requirement that governs the type of windows allowed in the historic landmark district. Connect Savannah editor in chief, Jim Morekis, attended yesterday's meeting, which included heated debate on the subject. He says this decision is about more than just windows.

Here's more of our conversation, including what stories are coming up in the next issue of Connect Savannah.