Ways to Connect

Obama Vows To Step Up Fight Against Opioid Abuse

Mar 29, 2016
Public Domain

President Obama visited Atlanta Tuesday to lay out his administration's plans to step up its fight against what it calls the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic.

Trevor Young / GPB

The fight over religious liberty legislation is far from over.

Today a coalition of nine religious groups spoke out at the State Capitol against Governor Nathan Deal’s decision to veto a ‘religious freedom’ bill. The groups called on conservative Georgians to join the fight for religious liberty.

Georgia Playlist: Musician Chuck Leavell

Mar 28, 2016
Bob Nichols / U.S. Department of Agriculture

Last week's trip to Cuba was historic for Barack Obama.  He's the first American president to visit the country in almost a hundred years, and another American racked up a first in Cuba over the weekend.  Georgia musician Chuck Leavell performed with the Rolling Stones in Havana on Friday.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Communities in Georgia often spend public dollars on sports facilities with economic development in mind. Think a new major league baseball stadium in Cobb County. But not every sports-centric development is that large. In Macon, for example, money was poured into a new tennis complex.

Macon-Bibb County has taken the adage spend money to make money to the tennis court. About $1 million  from a 1 cent sales tax increase for special project went to renovate the county’s John Drew Tennis Center.

For high school students from low-income households, the road to graduation can be filled with obstacles – and where they live is one of them.  The Brookings Institute has found a new link between states with high income inequality and dropout rates among low-income youths. According to the report, the perceived lack of social mobility is a big issue for low income students in states like Georgia.

Taylor Gantt

Healthy food options are often limited for low-income residents. The commute to the closest grocery store can take hours if you don't own a car. So, corner stores are often the place where people in these neighborhoods buy their food. But many of these stores don't offer fresh fruits and vegetables, and that can have deadly health consequences for those who depend on them. We speak with Rodney Lyn, who serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor in Georgia State University’s School of Public Health, about a project that aims to change that. 

Gov. Deal Vetoes 'Religious Freedom' Bill HB 757

Mar 28, 2016
David Goldman / AP

Governor Nathan Deal has vetoed the so-called Religious Freedom bill, saying that he wants to keep Georgia "a welcoming state."

Wikimedia Commons

The 2016 Georgia legislative session is over. State House Speaker David Ralston (R- Blue Ridge) yelled out Sine Die! and pounded the gavel from his perch in the House chamber, officially ending the General Assembly session around 12:30 early Friday morning.

Sine Die Another Day

Mar 25, 2016
Branden Camp / AP

On this Sine Die edition of “Political Rewind,” our panel of insiders takes a look at what happened during the final frantic hours of the legislative session.

Jamelle Bouie / Flickr/CC

Georgia's controversial religious liberty bill is now in the hands of Gov. Nathan Deal and he’s under enormous pressure from both sides of the hot-button issue.

A last ditch effort to draft new legislation and revise parts of House Bill 757 during the final hours of the session Thursday night failed.

#OSTinSAV: Live From Savannah, Day 1

Mar 25, 2016
Linda Chen / On Second Thought

On Second Thought takes the show on the road! For two days, we join the thousands of visitors to Savannah for the opening days of the annual Savannah Music Festival.  A live audience was invited to watch the show, which included a debrief about the GPB News series Crime, Cops & Community, which was co-reported by Gabrielle Ware of GPB Savannah.

Crime Crackdown Gets Fugitives Off The Streets

Mar 24, 2016
Office of Public Affairs


More than 140 people are in custody after a multi-agency crackdown on violent crime in Savannah.

Savannah was among a dozen cities targeted.

The U.S. Marshals service along with Savannah police, and the Chatham County Sheriff's Office arrested 144 suspects including 14 wanted for murder.


Savannah was among the government's so-called 12 "focus cities." It had 53 murders last year, the highest since 1991.


Atlanta's Most Unusual Breakfast

Mar 24, 2016
Andrew Thomas Lee

As business manager and shellfish director of Kimball House, Bryan Rackley's mornings often begin with him opening multiple boxes of oysters. Some come via freight shipping, some via couriers. They're packed in ice or surrounded by special gel coolants. The mussels come from places like Skunk Island, Washington and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Offerings from Virginia, California, and South Carolina are often in the mix as well.

Pat Sullivan / AP

UPDATE: A short time ago, The House passed Rep. Scott Holcomb’s Pursuing Justice for Rape Victims Act. The chamber gutted a Senate bill, SB 304, and attached Holcomb’s measure to it. It passed on a unanimous vote. It now needs to go back to the Senate for approval.

“I am a rape survivor,” Lisa Anderson stated as she stood at a podium inside a crowded room at the Georgia Capitol.

John Abbott /

Jessica Leigh Lebos, community editor of Connect Savannah, and Amy Condon, interim editor of Savannah Magazine, offer up some ways to have fun in Savannah this weekend.



Amy’s picks:

2016 Georgia Legislative Session Comes To An End

Mar 23, 2016
Branden Camp / AP Photo

This year’s Georgia legislative session has ended. Thursday’s Sine Die concluded with both chambers working just past midnight followed by the traditional tossing of confetti-like paper into the air, an energetic spectacle that climaxes with state officials leaving behind a literal mess for someone else to clean up.  



Religious Liberty

Atlanta is home to some of the best restaurants found in the Southeast. But to get your hands on some of that great food, you have to put up with an awful lot of noise. Restaurants around the city are getting increasingly noisier, but is it just high volume of patrons or conscious decisions made by owners?

We talk to Atlanta Magazine deputy food editor Evan Mah and interior designer Vivian Bencich to find out who or what is responsible for all the noise. 

Mercer University

Macon poet Anya Silver says her poetry has helped her come to terms with mortality. Silver’s life could have taken a much different turn. She was first diagnosed with an aggressive and lethal form of breast cancer when she was 35 years old and pregnant. It didn’t stop her. She continues to teach English at Mercer University, and she's a writer. Her poetry earned her a spot as one of last  year's Georgia Author of the Year award recipients.

Chatham County

Chatham County elections officials are clarifying the rules ahead of next week's special elections.

There will be two elections on March 29. The first is the runoff for Sheriff, between Roy Harris and John Wilcher. Voters countywide can cast ballots in that race as long as they were registered by February 1.

The second vote is a special election to fill the seat of Garden City Representative Bob Bryant, who died last month. Only residents of the 19 precincts in Bryant's House district - the 162nd district - can vote in that election. Those precincts are listed below.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

When it comes to guns, Marciarea Torney-Daramanu is sure of one thing.

“With my kids now? When they get of age to own a gun I will make sure they are trained to use a gun,” she said.

She didn’t always feel this way. On a rainy day she shows me into her kitchen in her home in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Macon. She points to a magnet on her refrigerator.

“This is my son right here,” Marciarea said.

The photo is Stacy K. Johnson, Jr., Marciarea’s son. He’s holding his children.

“He’s the one that got killed right there,” she said.

What The Heck Is Sine Die, Anyway?

Mar 22, 2016
Branden Camp / AP Photo



March 24 is the final day of the 2016 Georgia legislative session, Day 40, Sine Die.

Sine Die comes from a Latin phrase that means, roughly, “without picking a day for meeting again.” Both chambers of the state legislature are required by law to finish their business by the end of the legislative day on Sine Die.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines says it will do its best to accommodate customers traveling to Brussels in the wake of Tuesday's terror attacks. 

Matt Odom Photography

Chris Nylund writes the blog "Field Note Stenographers" from Macon, Georgia. He contributes his nominations for our Georgia Playlist with songs by Macon and Johnny Jenkins.


Why We Need Y'all

Mar 22, 2016

Where did y’all come from? Okay, we’re not specifically talking to you. But, what does that signature Southern word really mean? We can trace the use of the word “y’all” all the way back to our colonial ancestors. Cameron Hunt McNabb, an English professor at Southeastern University, gives us a history and dialect lesson. 

The three-man music production team from Atlanta, known as Organized Noize, is credited with building the foundation of Southern hip-hop. Producers Rico Wade, Ray Murray, and Sleepy Brown were behind some of the biggest hits in hip-hop, including songs by Outkast, TLC, and Goodie Mob. Now, the trio is the subject of a new documentary called, “The Art of Organized Noize” on Netflix.

We listen back to our conversation with Organized Noize’s Ray Murray. What's your favorite song produced by Organized Noize?

Crime, Cops & Community: Residents Take Action

Mar 21, 2016
Gabrielle Ware / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Savannah has a lot to boast about. Georgia’s first city attracts millions of tourists each year.

But those who live in Savannah know it has a darker side. With 53 murders last year, the city saw its highest number of homicides since the early 1990s.

Sam Whitehead / GPB

A coalition of religious leaders is protesting against campus carry legislation in Georgia. The anti-gun violence group Outcry held a rally on the steps of Atlanta’s Central Presbyterian Church on Monday.

AP Photo/David Goldman

State House speaker David Ralston says there will be no changes to a bill allowing licensed gun owners to carry their weapons at public colleges.

Gov. Nathan Deal had concerns about guns showing up at faculty meetings and on-campus daycares. But Ralston says the General Assembly dealt with those issues when the bill was in committee.

In an interview with GPB's Lawmakers, he compared the process to a jury’s verdict in a trial

Sam Whitehead / GPB

Five members of the state House Democratic Caucus, including Georgia's three openly gay legislators, called on Gov. Nathan Deal Monday to veto HB 757.

 The bill, which currently awaits his signature, would allow faith-based organizations to deny services to same-sex couples.

Bombchel Factory

The 2014 Ebola epidemic, the deadliest outbreak on record, killed more than 13,000 people. The World Health Organization has declared the epidemic over, but new cases are still being diagnosed. Georgia Tech alum Archel Bernard opened a clothing factory  in post-Ebola Liberia with two goals in mind: 1) Give hope and a source of income for Ebola survivors and 2) create a profitable business.