Josephine Bennett

Station/Community Engagement manager GPB Macon

Josephine Bennett is the  Station and Community Engagement Manager at Georgia Public Broadcasting Macon. Prior to that she served as the station’s Bureau Chief from 2006 to 2012.

While a journalist she specialized in covering Georgia’s agriculture industry and in 2011 was named the Georgia Peanut Commission’s “Media Person of the Year.” Josephine has also won numerous Associated Press awards and has appeared on NPR and the BBC.

Josephine was born in New York City and raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended college at Brigham Young University where she majored in Broadcasting and worked at KBYU, the campus public radio and television station. After college she secured her first job at KDYL, an all-news radio station in Salt Lake City where she covered city and county government. After leaving Salt Lake City she returned to the Northeast where she worked in television production.

She moved to Macon in 1991, baby daughter Grace in tow, when her husband Gordon came back to his hometown to work in a family business. After adding a son, Gordon V, to the family she spent many years volunteering in her community, restoring three older homes, and working as a freelance writer for Nickelodeon and TV Land.

In 2006, she returned to radio as a reporter for GPB covering all of Middle Georgia. Her loves include her family, writing, the beach, and volunteering in animal rescue.

 

Ways to Connect

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Phillip Tutt talks about okra and collards with his neighbors. He’s lived in the same home on Macon, Georgia’s Bowden Street for close to 50 years. Most of that time he’s had a garden.

“Now for my turnips and things like that I don’t want to plant them before Labor Day,” he said. “But if I can get them in on Labor Day I’ll be happy. But collards I believe I set them out in August if I’m not mistaken.”

Over the years the rows of vegetables in his garden have thrived while the neighborhood around them has withered. There was a time when he would walk next door to share his peppers with neighbors and return with a basket of tomatoes.

Tony Webster / Flickr/CC

Amazon is opening its fifth fulfillment center in Georgia. Five hundred people will work at the facility in Macon. And Amazon will hire another 500 for the busy holiday shopping season

The deal, dubbed “Project Unicorn,” was rumored for months. But Macon Mayor Robert Reichert said it took a $1.5 million grant from the governor’s office for road improvements to seal it. He says Macon is a popular spot for distribution centers.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Earlier this month President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA), a program that allows undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain here. The changes impact 24,000 DACA recipients here in Georgia. But the action also includes a grace period as long as people apply by October 5.

When DACA was rescinded applicants whose status was set to expire in the next 6 months were given one last chance to apply. But the October 5 deadline is fast approaching for DACA recipients like Maria Meraz from Eatonton.

GPB News

As the world comes to grips with the unprecedented damage of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, millions of Americans in the southeastern United States are working to rebuild their lives. Irma crossed into Georgia in the early morning hours of Monday, September 11, 2017. Over the next 24 hours, water inundated island and beach communities over 100 miles of coastline. Winds topping 69 miles per hour toppled trees and power lines. 1.1 million Georgians lost power and three lost their lives.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Power is slowly being restored in Macon following high winds from Hurricane Irma that knocked down trees and power poles. Many businesses opened up Wednesday for the first time.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Two of Macon's five Red Cross Shelters closed Tuesday. By the afternoon there were less than 400 people staying in them. Chelsea McKinley and her family have been in Macon nearly a week. She said their home in Homestead, Florida is in good shape but she's worried about people in the Keys where she grew up.

"I have a lot of friends in the Keys. I grew up there. My mom, she has an apartment there too. So, it's a lot of trees knocked down," she said. "There's actually a restaurant called Snappers and it's completely torn down from what I see on the news."

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

Vineville Methodist Church in Macon has opened its doors to first responders. Soldiers with the Georgia Department of Defense's 5th Brigade are staying there to help out during Hurricane Irma.

They are here assisting in shelters, distributing supplies and staffing the Emergency Operations Center. Lieutenant Colonel Jim Moore came to Macon from Norcross. He said, "Central Georgia is on the 'dirty' side of the storm and could see extreme winds, flooding and tornados. We are not used to weather like this."

Josephine Bennett

Macon opened a fourth Red Cross shelter as people continued to arrive from Florida and the Georgia coast. As of Saturday afternoon, 350 people were registered with the Red Cross but more are expected. A special shelter designated for pets also continued to receive cats and dogs.

Cheryl Cardinal's home sits 30 feet from the beach on Key Largo. She left her home on Wednesday and arrived in Macon 24 hours later. She came with her family including her daughter who is eight months pregnant. She said they brought their two cats but not much else.

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

In the last two days close to 200 people have shown up for Red Cross volunteer training classes. The organization asked for help manning the four shelters that have opened in Macon to house Hurricane Irma evacuees. 

The three hour abbreviated training was developed during the response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Normally the classes take several days to complete. 

Gaines Harman with the Red Cross is conducting the classes. He said once certified, the volunteers will be deployed to local shelters. 

Josephine Bennett / GPB News

In advance of Hurricane Irma 45 babies from Savannah Memorial Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit evacuated to several Georgia hospitals. Fifteen of the babies were transported via ambulance and helicopter to Navicent Health in Macon.

Dr. Mitch Rodriguez is the Medical Director of the NICU. He said, "Some of our patients that came were relatively stable, just completing their hospitalization. Some of them were relatively critical in the sense that they were either post-surgical and or still on the ventilator or on a significant amount of support."

Jessica Gurell / GPB

Every day in the United States 91 people die of opioid overdose. That includes prescription opiates and heroin. Over a year, that’s more than ten times the number of people who died on 9/11. On today’s “On Second Thought,” we’re going to hear from some of the people struggling with addiction, those who offer help, and communities caught in the middle.

Jessica Gurell / GPB

New Jersey police detective Eric Price came in contact with fentanyl while doing his job.

“I felt like my body was shutting down,” Price said. “People around me said that I looked really white and lost color, and it just really felt like, I thought I was dying.”

Katie Atkinson

Over the last two days hospitals in Central Georgia have seen a sharp increase in suspected opiate overdoses. At least 12 people have been brought in for treatment and four have died.

Ethiel Garlington, executive director of Historic Macon, talks with Josephine Bennett of GPB Macon about what projects the preservation group will take on in 2017.