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

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Three hours. 

That's about how long it takes to get from Macon's airport to Union Station in Washington, D.C. 

How? Contour Airlines is the latest air carrier to take a shot at using Macon's status as a recipient of Federal Essential Air Service subsidies as a cornerstone of their business plan. That program is under considerable threat by the Trump administration, but Contour's application was processed just before the election last November. It amounts to $4.7 million dollars in subsidies. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

In Macon, people came to the most ancient spot in town to watch the 2017 eclipse, the Temple Mound at the Ocmulgee National Monument. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

Continuing disputes between the United States and Canada over lumber imports will not get in the way of a new factory announced Wednesday in Bibb County.  

 

Canada based Irving Consumer Products announced their intent to build a $400 million, 700,000 square foot plant  which will turn softwood lumber into toilet tissue in Macon. That will create 200 permanent jobs.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 


Allison Goldey says there’s one big question that makes her job hard.

“How do we even think about solving this problem without knowing what we have?” she asks.

As the head of the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank, Goldey is on the front lines of the $15 million blight remediation effort in the city. The Land Bank buys blighted houses, which the county then demolishes. The thing is, Macon-Bibb County can’t really say where its blighted housing is.

 

 

Georgia Congressman Austin Scott (R GA-08) wants to end a program that offers subsidized, low cost cell phones.

Scott introduced the End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act in late July. It would end an Obama era program which provides basic smart phone service to people with low incomes for $9.25 a month.

A Nashville great at the Cox Capitol Theatre, experimental pop at the Fresh Produce Music Hall a

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

When students don’t come to open house, why not take open house on the road?

That’s what teachers at Hartley Elementary in Macon did the day before the first day of school this week when they piled onto a bus and toured the Hartley school zone.

Why do this? Principal Carmalita Dillard said, sure, a lot of kids missed open house, but there were other reasons.

“I want the teachers to be able to experience where our kids come from,” Dillard said.

 

 

When she was a kid, SaVana Cameron says she loved to sing.

“But I never did voice lessons or anything like that,” she said.

She didn’t get serious until her senior year of high school when she landed a solo in the musical "Annie."

“After I did the solo that night a lot of people came up to me and said ‘You have a really pretty voice,’” she said.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

On average, scores released in the 2017 Georgia Milestones end of year test show incremental but positive improvement for schools across the state. Look past the big picture, though, and schools still have ground to make up. 

Take third grade literacy, largely held as one of the best predictors of future academic achievement. Third grade literacy ranged from being almost universal in some suburban schools to being largely absent elsewhere.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Mike Mantione said he gets to live out his teenage fantasy, right around the halfway mark of the song "Palace Estates."

“It's got the best guitar solo I've ever done,” Mantione said.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

    

When Hollywood comes to your town, it can be exciting. It can also mean a lot of work.

 

The crew for the upcoming film "Best of Enemies" was in Macon recently. Filmmakers used the County Commission Chambers downtown as a stand in for City Hall in 1960s-era Durham, NC. For that to happen, there was a lot of 21st century stuff that had to move. That was Justin Crum’s job.

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Georgia will partially comply with a request for voter data made by President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The commission recently asked all 50 states for everything from party affiliation to Social Security numbers for registered voters.

 Candice Broce is spokeswoman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp. She says Georgia can’t share party affiliation, because the state doesn’t record it.

 

Homeless Pets are everywhere in Georgia. The issue has been labeled the biggest challenge facing shelter and rescue operations in our state. We spoke with Gloria Dorsey, vice president of Community Education at the Atlanta Humane Society. We also heard from Jessica Rock, a founding partner at Animal Law Source.  

A new café in Atlanta caters to cats and their humans. At Java Cats Café, you can order coffee and hang out with adoptable cats. GPB’s Sean Powers stopped by to learn more about this purrfectly feline coffee shop. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

The numbers are in after four months of a six month experiment in promoting coyote hunting in Georgia. The results are mixed.

 

Trappers have turned in 176 coyotes to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources since March in what DNR is calling the Coyote Challenge. Jennifer Wisniewski, communications manager for the DNR Wildlife Resources Division, says that may sound like a lot until you consider what deer hunters do every fall.

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

They say you can’t go home again. So maybe you should take a good long look before you leave?

That’s what seniors from Northside High School in Warner Robins did recently when they took a field trip to their old elementary and middle schools.

At Westside Elementary, students lined the halls to see the graduates. When Northside students walked in wearing their blue caps and gowns, students and teachers erupted.  At the head of the line is Alexis Monroy. This was her school.

If you live north of Macon, Columbus or Augusta and you think you’ve been seeing more gnats this year, you could be right. Even so, Jeff Burne says it could be worse.

“I've been some places in the tropics where I literally had to wear a respirator because they'd clog up your nose,” he said during a recent interview in his office.

“That’s a lot of gnats.”

 

Megan Jean and the Klay Family Band are all too happy to rock your town. For almost 10 years, the wife and husband duo has made their living as constantly touring troubadours bringing their unique songwriting and electrified banjo sound to places off the beaten path and into the nooks and crannies of the touring circuit. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Governor Nathan Deal has signed three new criminal justice reform bills into law.

 

Deal picked an audience of corrections, parole and non-profit workers at a convention called the Reentry Summit in Macon to sign the bills. The first of the three laws will affect funding for alternatives to prison time like the state’s drug courts, a place Deal says he tells his pastor friends to visit for sermon material.

Kipp Jones / Flickr/CC

There’s mixed reaction on college campuses after Governor Nathan Deal’s signing of a bill allowing concealed weapons on some parts of public college and university campuses.

Carey Harrison / GPB

The simplest way to describe Sequoyah Murray’s music is to say he sings.

“He sings” only starts to scratch the surface of what Atlanta native Murray does with his voice over the top of the jazz inflected grooves in his music.

Murray purposely swings his voice through its whole range from falsettos to a baritone rumble.

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