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Georgia Department of Corrections via AP

Lawyers for a Georgia inmate scheduled for execution next week are asking the state parole board to spare his life, citing a rough childhood, substance abuse from an early age and his intellectual disability.

J.W. Ledford Jr., 45, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday. He was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of his neighbor, 73-year-old Dr. Harry Johnston, near his home in Murray County, in northwest Georgia.

A lawsuit filed this month claims Georgia’s system for drawing voting districts purposefully excludes black voters. This brings redistricting, also known as gerrymandering, back into the news. The dictionary definition of gerrymander hardly explains what it really is and a lot of people don’t really understand the incredible impact it has on the nation. So, we'll break it down with Kennesaw State University professor of Political Science, Kerwin Swint

Phil Provencio / flickr

Some comedians let nothing keep them from the stage. Ali Wong was in her third trimester when she performed for her Netflix comedy special, “Baby Cobra.” We talked with Ali Wong ahead of her performance at The Tabernacle in Atlanta on Friday, May 12.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The Shaky Knees Music Festival begins this weekend in Atlanta. All week, we’ve heard from artists on the festival’s line-up. We top off the series with a very distinct Southern voice: Tennessee-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Amythyst Kiah. She performs at the festival on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Georgia Power spent $50 million dollars in April to keep construction moving at Plant Vogtle.

That was the word from company officials Thursday at a hearing before Georgia utility regulators, a day before a deadline to decide the fate of two half-built nuclear reactors at the site.

SCAD

Whether you're celebrating mom or just enjoying the summery weather, Molly Swagler of the Tourism Leadership Council and Clinton Edminster of Art Rise Savannah have plenty of ways for you to have fun on the Georgia coast this weekend.

Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

The stocks of the two biggest private prison companies in the nation saw a big boost shortly after President Trump took office. One of those companies is the GEO Group, which currently operates detention facilities in Georgia.

Penguin Random House

Heck, everyone loves tacos -- or so says the new children’s book, “Dragons Love Tacos Two.” In this sequel, the unthinkable occurs: every taco in the world disappears. And it’s up to dragons -- the biggest taco fans -- to remedy this catastrophe and save the tacos. We hear from the duo behind the book series: writer Adam Rubin and illustrator Daniel Salmieri.

Vimeo

Tupac Shakur is one of the most famous rappers in history. Until his murder in 1996 at the age of 25, Shakur was a figurehead of the West Coast rap scene. 

So Tupac Shakur’s connection to Georgia might surprise you.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey late yesterday and the reaction has been loud and partisan. Some have gone as far as to suggest Trump has committed treason, while others say the firing is completely understandable, inevitable, and not connected the Russia investigation. Our panel digs in on the hottest topic in the country today.

Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Expansion On Final Day

May 10, 2017
David Goldman / AP Photo

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal approved an expansion of the state's medical marijuana program on Tuesday, allowing people being treated for six additional medical conditions to possess cannabis oil.

The new qualifying conditions include autism, AIDS, Tourette's syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease. Patients must register with the state to be eligible and have a doctor's permission.

Matthew Hashiguchi

Asian-Americans are America’s fastest growing ethnic group. Many Asians and Pacific Islanders are settling in Georgia. But in filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi’s experience, people don't always welcome them to the South. We talked with him about his documentary, "Good Luck Soup," which is airing on ​GPB’s Knowledge channel Sunday, May 14 at 5 p.m.

Mike Dunn / flickr

Retail stores are disappearing, but the economy is not the bad guy. Rising pressure from online shopping is causing brick and mortar stores to file for bankruptcy at a record pace in 2017. We talked about how this retail downturn is affecting Georgia with Atlanta Business Chronicle reporter Amy Wenk and Georgia Southern University professor John Brown.

Flickr / weaverphoto

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed the campus carry law. Starting July 1, anyone with a weapons license can carry a concealed gun on a state school’s campus. The Chief of Police for Valdosta, home of Valdosta State University, says this is bad news for public safety. Here’s Chief Brian Childress, in his own words.

Crews Working To Box In Wildfire Near Georgia-Florida Line

May 10, 2017
Ben Palm / USFWS Fire SE

Ground crews with plows and bulldozers are working to box in a wildfire threatening small communities at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia.

Fire officials said in a news release Wednesday the vast fire near the Georgia-Florida state line has charred more than 220 square miles since April 6. Most of that acreage is on public land within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge.

David Goldman / AP Photo

Six weeks after a bridge collapsed that crippled a crucial piece of the interstate system in Atlanta, Georgia officials say they'll be ready to reopen I-85 by May 15 — more than five weeks ahead of schedule. The road normally carries nearly 250,000 vehicles a day.

Riverdale Avenue Books

If romance novels aren’t appealing to you, try adding some Southern love and death. That’s the premise behind the new romance anthology, “Gone with the Dead.” It’s inspired by two Atlanta classics: “Gone with the Wind” and “The Walking Dead.” We talked with the anthology's editor Lori Perkins, who is the founder of Riverdale Avenue Books.

Marion Fregeac

Fantastic Negrito is best known to the world as the first-ever winner of NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest. But the blues musician has been working for years to get wide recognition. The next step will be a performance at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta this Saturday. We talk with Fantastic Negrito about his rise from the ground up.

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.

WALLY GOBETZ / Flickr/CC

Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed a bill that would have made changes to the state’s adoption laws.

It’s one of the nine bills he blocked Tuesday, the deadline for the governor to take action on legislation passed by the General Assembly this year.

TIDAL

Beyoncé’s "Lemonade" album took the nation by storm last year. The album sparked a massive conversation about race issues in this country and last month "Lemonade" was recognized with a Peabody Award from the University of Georgia.

Carter Fears Global Effect Of US Approach To Human Rights

May 9, 2017
Lauren Gerson / FLICKr/CC

Jimmy Carter says he's concerned that the Trump administration's approach to foreign policy will hasten declining support for human rights in other countries.

The former U.S president spoke with The Associated Press on Tuesday as dozens of human rights activists gathered at The Carter Center in Atlanta to discuss the rise of populist and authoritarian leaders around the globe.

Carter specifically cited a portion of President Donald Trump's inaugural address promising that the U.S. would not "impose our way of life" but instead act as an example.

Morton Theatre

In honor of National Historic Preservation Month, we are visiting historic theaters across the state. Our first visit takes us to the Morton Theatre in Athens. It opened in 1910, and it's one of the oldest surviving African-American built, owned, and operated vaudeville theaters in the United States. Theater director Lynn Green shares her memories of the Morton Theatre.

UPDATE: Giant Air Tanker To Attack Vast Georgia Wildfire

May 9, 2017
Russ Bynum / AP Photo

The latest on a vast wildfire threatening communities near the Georgia-Florida state line.

Photo Courtesy Of Ron Gallo

Ron Gallo doesn't care if you like him. The Nashville musician has bigger things to worry about, such as the absurdity of human nature and the question of greater purpose in the universe. He channels those thoughts with quick, punky energy on-stage. Ron will bring his philosophically driven jams to the Shaky Knees Festival this Sunday, so we caught up with him in the studio.

David Zalubowski / AP Photo

Today on “Political Rewind,” the House GOP puts out a plan for healthcare and the response is definitely mixed. Need some guidance on what it means and where it's going? That's why we're glad to have Andy Miller at the table today! He'll give us "GOP Healthcare for Dummies." Hint: States, like Georgia, may regret not expanding Medicaid when they had the chance.

MarkCiz / flickr

Do you get enough sleep? A good night’s rest can depend on lot of things: your dinner, your kids, where you live, and even your race. A new book by Emory University professor Ben Reiss explores how we got so sleep-obsessed, yet sleep-deprived.

When you think of bullies, you might think of kids at school. But bullying doesn’t stop with school. A recent study shows women and minorities are most likely to be targeted in the workplace. We spoke with study authors Brandon Attell from the Health Policy Center at Georgia State University and Linda Treiber, a professor of Sociology at Kennesaw State University.

 

leebyrne68 / flickr

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola recently announced it would lay-off 1,200 workers. This comes after similar downturns in recent years.

Josh Telles

Korean-American indie rock band Run River North will perform at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta this weekend. The band is currently touring to promote their latest album, "Drinking From A Salt Pond." We catch up with lead vocalist Alex Hwang and guitarist Daniel Chae ahead of their Shaky Knees show this Saturday.

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