Grant Blankenship

Reporter

Grant came to public media after a career spent in newspaper photojournalism. As an all platform journalist he seeks to wed the values of public radio storytelling and the best of photojournalism online.

Ways to Connect

There has been another death at Georgia’s largest immigration detention facility.

 

Efrain De La Rosa, 40, was the second apparent suicide and the third death overall at the Stewart Immigration Detention Center in Lumpkin in the last 15 months.

 

 

According to a press release from Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, De La Rosa died Thursday night from self strangulation.

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The Macon-Bibb County Commission amended their just passed budget to restore funding to local libraries and other public services Tuesday night. 

The first budget that passed last week just under the wire of the new fiscal year had zeroed out library funding, money for public transit as well as for the local health department,  museums and other "external" services. A hue and cry ensued. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

An unresolved budget fight in Macon-Bibb County means that at least in the short term, local libraries will close.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission was faced with a dilemma this week when trying to find a way to address a projected budget shortfall of about $14 million dollars.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

The long awaited U.S. Supreme Court decision named no clear winner in the decades long dispute between Florida and Georgia over the Chattahoochee/Flint River Basin. 

In a decision handed down Wednesday, the court remanded the dispute back to the Special Master, or investigator, they appointed to get to the bottom of the water issues. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A nod from the National Institutes of Health, and the sizable grant that comes with it, will bolster Mercer University’s efforts at strengthening rural healthcare.

The NIH recognized Mercer’s Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities as one of two “centers of excellence” for rural healthcare. The other center is in Montana.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

You probably saw the photo. 

A woman with her right hand raised in a fist, her left on the autobiography of Malcolm X. That was Mariah Parker. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A little trove of Georgia’s biological treasures once without homes now have them.

 

They were preserved animals, mammals and birds, that instructors and staff in the Science Department at Mercer University found while moving to their new building. Mercer biologist Craig Byron said they needed a better home than a dumpster out back.

 

 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

There’s something people think they know about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as SNAP.

It’s the idea that people who use what we used to call food stamps spend their once monthly benefits on groceries almost immediately after they get them. When you look at averages, that’s true, and for some it can mean some lean and hungry days at the end of the month before the next round of SNAP benefits.

 

 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Chalk it up to the law of unintended consequences.

The Federal tax reform that passed this year was intended to provide tax relief. The perhaps unintended effect was a potentially massive disruption in one of the private solutions to public sector problems often beloved by Republicans and Democrats alike.

 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

The latest in our Macon Conversations series: Meet Charise Stephens and Scott Mitchell. In their conversation, Charise and Scott tackle the challenges of overcoming the prejudice you are raised with.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Plans for a clinic that would provide abortion access drew protest in Macon. 

About 150 anti-abortion protesters sang, prayed and held sometimes medically graphic posters outside the proposed location of a Summit Medical Center clinic in downtown Macon. Summit Medical Center operates a clinic in Atlanta and another in Detroit.

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. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 


 

There’s a little dirt path leading from Pio Nono Avenue to what until not too long ago was a Kroger grocery store. The store’s closed now.

 

One morning before the closure, Shon Williams walked down the path, headed toward her apartment. Like a lot of people in this neighborhood, she can afford groceries, but she can’t afford a car.

You find all kinds of things in drawers when you're getting ready to move. Expired credit cards. Single socks. Concert tickets. Chargers from old phones. Two-foot-long dead squirrels.

Well, maybe not the squirrels - unless you're a scientist moving to a new lab. That's what happened in the Biology Department at Mercer University in Macon, Ga.

The music of Macon based band Mani exists at a nexus of styles.

The vocals are pushed deep into the mix of their first real release, icanthearwhattheyresayingbutithinkigetit, the better to focus on their mix of world music, math rock, noise and psychedelia.

Guitarist Zach Farr said the project started with his composing and recording on his own until a live band, featuring drummer Steve Ledbetter, started to jel sometime around 2013.

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

  

 

The things you find in drawers when you move.

Old credit cards. Single socks. Concert tickets. Phone chargers. Two foot long dead squirrels.

Well, maybe not the squirrels. Unless you’re a scientist moving to a new lab that is. Biologists save all kinds stuff to look at later. Take the science department at Mercer University in Macon for instance.

Grant Blankenship/GPB

Students across Georgia walked out of class today, as part of a nationwide protest against gun violence and to remember the victims of last month’s school shooting in Florida. Some school systems encouraged students to participate, while others said those who take part could face consequences. We begin our look at the protests with GPB’s Maura Currie.

Highlights from schools that participated in the protest around Georgia: 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

Three years ago, a coyote with ice blue eyes lay stock still as scientists took her blood, weighed her, and fixed a GPS collar around her neck on a dirt road next to a field near Augusta.

 

Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday morning Dick's Sporting Goods announced it would no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21. They also would stop selling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines.

GPB's Grant Blankenship asked Dick's Sporting Good shoppers about how they felt on the new policy.

Richard Spencer

On March 1st, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources will open its second annual Coyote Challenge. It invites hunters to present coyotes they’ve killed in exchange for the chance to win some free prizes. The mysterious southern coyote is considered a nuisance to some people and other wildlife. First, we heard a report from GPB’s Grant Blankenship on researchers who catch and release coyotes to give them GPS tags. Then we were joined by Chris Mowry, associate professor of Biology at Berry College and cofounder of the Atlanta Coyote Project, to talk more about the Coyote Challenge.

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