Sean Powers

Producer/Reporter - On Second Thought

Sean Powers is a producer and reporter for "On Second Thought.” Powers is a native of the south suburbs of Chicago, and he graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri.  In 2012, he completed a fellowship at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. He moved to Atlanta after working as a reporter for the public radio station in Urbana, Ill. His reporting has earned him about a dozen Associated Press awards, two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, five national PRNDI awards, a first place award for best use of sound from the Atlanta Press Club, and recognition from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. After a long week of public radio, Powers enjoys live jazz and soul food. He also mentors teenage journalists who report for VOX Teen Communications, a magazine in Atlanta. In addition to his work at GPB, he also oversees the development of several podcasts for an audio book company in Atlanta called ListenUp Audiobooks.

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Singer Judy Collins has been making music in many genres for six decades. She’s in Atlanta on Wednesday night for a performance at Atlanta Symphony Hall. She tells us about her creative process, working on duets, and her feelings about song competitions.

 

The Savannah Bananas are back in the playoffs this week. This comes after Savannah’s collegiate team broke the league record for attendance, again. We talk with team president, Jared Orton. Then, we hear from some number one fans.

The personal finance site Nerd Wallet says Atlanta is the nation’s best place for African-American-owned businesses. Savannah and Columbus scored high marks as well. We spoke with Cindy Yang from NerdWallet.

Candace Spates / On Second Thought

Clark Atlanta University this week welcomes its incoming freshman class in a way never done before-- with hacking. A six-hour technical marathon is open to as many as a thousand students. They will collaborate to code and come up with technical innovations that could change the world. The event is being labeled as the largest hackathon at a historically black college and university.

20th Century Fox

For years, we’ve seen gorillas come to life on the screen, in everything from “Planet of the Apes,” to “Congo,” and “The Jungle Book.” However, these cinematic portrayals aren’t all that accurate. University of Georgia anthropology professor Roberta Salmi is on a mission to change Hollywood’s depiction of gorillas. We talked with her about studying their behavior, and working as a consultant on the new film, “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

First, for years, we’ve seen gorillas come to life on the screen, in everything from “Planet of the Apes,” to “Congo,” and “The Jungle Book.” But these cinematic portrayals aren’t all that accurate. University of Georgia anthropology professor Roberta Salmi is on a mission to change Hollywood’s depiction of gorillas. We talk with her about studying their behavior, and working as a consultant on the new film, “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

First, August 7th marks 50 years since Jackson County DA Floyd Hoard was murdered. He was one of the first government prosecutors murdered in the line of the duty in the United States. The event changed the course of law enforcement and politics in Jackson County and led to then-Governor Maddox giving the Georgia Bureau of Investigation jurisdiction in Jackson County. Floyd Hoard's son, Richard Hoard, wrote a book about his father's murder a few years ago.

First, the average cost of college tuition has jumped by 77 percent over the last 10 years. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is collaborating with The Hechinger Report in New York to determine the consequences of rising student debt. The first in a series of investigative articles will roll out this Sunday. We talk to Meredith Kolodner, Staff Writer for The Hechinger Report.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

A week ago, President Donald Trump went to Twitter to announce a ban on transgender troops serving in the U.S. military. Nothing changes yet with U.S. policy, since the Pentagon hasn’t received formal instructions from the White House.

First, as natural predators of insects, bats are extremely important to agriculture. Researchers estimate their value to farmers in the U.S. is roughly $23 billion per year, but these are tough times for bats. A malignant fungus known as "white-nose syndrome" has killed a lot of bats over the past 10 years. We talk about this menace with wildlife pathologist Heather Fenton of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study and Georgia State University microbiologist Chris Cornelison.

First, Sweetwater Mission is Atlanta’s largest food pantry, and it focuses on the city’s undocumented workers. Managers at the mission say they recently turned down $35,000 of funding because it came with the stipulation that it should only be used to serve people who are in the country legally. Joining us is the Director of Operations for Sweetwater Mission, Mark Zangari, and Solveig Cunningham professor at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University.

First, the number of high-poverty neighborhoods in the metro Atlanta area tripled between 2000 and 2015. That’s according to a new Harvard study, which finds poverty is largely moving to the suburbs surrounding the city. We talk about this with Kim Addie, Senior Director of Health for United Way of Atlanta. Michael Rich, a Professor in the Department of Political Science at Emory University, also joins us.

Infrogmation of New Orleans / flickr

A few months ago after much debate, a Civil War monument of Robert E. Lee was removed from downtown New Orleans.

First, 50,000 Fulton County voters received letters saying they may be declared inactive, because they didn’t update the address on their voter registration cards. The Georgia ACLU is threatening legal action against the state, claiming it’s actions are in violation of the Voter Registration Act of 1993. But is this simple housekeeping for an elections system, or part of an effort to make it harder for some people to vote? Joining us is Andra Gillespie, Emory University Political Science Professor.

Don Smith / GPB

Macon, Georgia has a rich heritage, once home to great musicians like The Allman Brothers, Little Richard, and Otis Redding. The Douglass Theatre in Macon helped to launch the career of Redding and countless other musicians of color. In celebration on Bragg Jam, "On Second Thought" taps into that history, joined at the Douglass by local guests making strides in Macon.

Wabe

A debate is going on over the operation of immigration detention centers. Georgia’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin is one of the largest in the country. It is run by a private company. There are many like it. Critics say those private facilities are problematic. Last year, a Homeland Security Advisory Council said they should be phased out. However, a separate subcommittee wants to continue using private immigrant detention facilities, but that committee wants greater oversight. We talk more about this with Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director with Project South.

Pixabay

A recent report puts Georgia 41st in the nation for its quality of senior health. According to America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, that’s two slots lower than last year. We talk about senior health in the state with Kathy Floyd of the Georgia Council on Aging and Glenn Osster of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia.

First, a recent report puts Georgia 41st in the nation for its quality of senior health. According to America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, that’s two slots lower than last year. We talk about senior health in the state with Kathy Floyd of the Georgia Council on Aging and Glenn Osster of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia.

Terrell Sandefur / flickr

This Thursday, July 27, we take our show on the road to the historic Douglass Theatre in downtown Macon. This theater was an important space during the 20th century for African-American artists.

First, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that 30 million Americans -- nearly 10 percent of the population -- have diabetes. The study also shows nearly a quarter of them -- more than seven million -- are undiagnosed. And the South, Georgia included, has the highest concentration of people with the disease. We talk with Sarah Piper, Senior Program Associate for the Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center at Emory University and Andy Miller, President of Georgia Health News.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Dikembe Mutombo is one of the most recognizable players in Atlanta Hawks history. Now retired, the seven-foot-two-inch center spent five seasons in Atlanta, and was a defensive powerhouse in the NBA for 18 seasons.

First, the fate of the police department in the small town of Varnell in Whitfield County is suddenly uncertain. Earlier this month, the city council voted to eliminate the department because of costs, with little warning. The mayor ultimately vetoed that move, but the council could override that veto on Tuesday. We talk with reporter Chris Whitfield, who has been covering this story for The Daily Citizen in Dalton.

Varnell Police Department

The fate of the police department in the small town of Varnell in Whitfield County is suddenly uncertain. Earlier this month, the city council voted to eliminate the department because of costs, with little warning. The mayor ultimately vetoed that move, but the council could override that veto on Tuesday.

Jackson Beals

For nearly a decade, Atlanta filmmaker Amanda Avery was a sex worker. Her experiences culminated into the short film, "Leaving Charlie." Amanda wrote, directed, and starred in the film. She also made a point of bringing on an all-female and gender nonconforming crew.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

Driving through White, Georgia you might come upon what looks like a forest preserve. Look closer and you’ll see it’s actually a graveyard for rare and retired vehicles. What started as a car dealership in 1931 is now the final resting place for more than 4,000 cars. GPB’s Sean Powers buckled up for a trip to the massive junkyard known as Old Car City USA

First, the Atlanta City Council, along with the United Way, has committed $50 million  to help combat homelessness. This comes after news that the city’s largest shelter, Peachtree-Pine, will close by the end of August. Joining us is Rick Westbrook, Executive Director for Lost N Found, and Deirdre Oakley, Professor of Sociology for Georgia State University.

First, another round of allegations have surfaced against musician R. Kelly. Now, parents have claimed their daughters are being held captive by the hip-hop musician, living in homes he rents out in Atlanta and Chicago, with almost every aspect of their lives controlled. R. Kelly publicly denies these allegations. Jim DeRogatis broke the story earlier this week. He’s a Buzzfeed contributor, host of WBEZ’s "Sound Opinions," and our guest.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The early years for the Allman Brothers Band were spent in Macon in The Big House. It was a refuge and safe haven for artists to be creative.

First, one of the first African-American elementary schools in Atlanta was recently slated for destruction. But after outcry a piece of the structure was saved, to become part of a new YMCA center in Vine City. This is just one fight in a perennial battle over historic preservation. A recent National Trust for Historic Preservation study says Atlanta has a  teardown culture -- worse than just about about any other major American city. We talk about this with Sheffield Hale, President of the Atlanta History Center. And with Mtamanika Youngblood, President of Sweet Auburn Works.

Lacey Terrell / HBO

We talk with actor Tony Hale, best known for roles on "Veep" and "Arrested Development." He stars in the movie, "Brave New Jersey." It’s showing at the Macon Film Festival this week, July 20-23. 

We talk with actor Tony Hale, best known for roles on "Veep" and "Arrested Development." He stars in the movie, "Brave New Jersey." It’s showing at this week’s Macon Film Festival, July 20-23.

Then, 21 years have passed since Atlanta became an Olympic city. The games were transformative. For a look back, we re-visit a conversation we had with former NPR correspondent Kathy Lohr and Georgia State University professor Maurice Hobson.

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