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On this edition of Political Rewind: Georgia political leaders are examining the results of the Alabama senate race to determine whether there are lessons for how to run in 2018 races here. Our panel will look at what Alabama may teach us about elections next year.

Emily Jones / GPB News

On February 1, Savannah and Chatham County will no longer share a police force. Local leaders voted earlier this year to end the merger, and create a separate Chatham County Police Department for the unincorporated areas. Jeff Hadley was sworn in as chief of that department last week.

A spokesman for Savannah Chief Jack Lumpkin deferred any questions on the demerger to elected officials.

"He's going to do well, and we'll be partners," Lumpkin told GPB at Hadley's swearing in.

Some interview highlights:

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On today's episode of “Two Way Street,” we talk to Sugarland artist Kristian Bush. He and his musical partner, Jennifer Nettles, have been on hiatus since 2013 but recently announced that they will be getting back together for a 2018 tour. We talk to him about Sugarland’s long-anticipated reunion, but since this is a holiday show, we start by talking to Kristian about his passion for Christmas music.

Wormsloe State Historic Site on Facebook

The holidays are upon us, and Clinton Edminster of Starlandia Supply and Spacecat Books and Molly Swagler of SCAD have a few ways to celebrate this weekend.

On this edition of "Political Rewind," as the 2018 Georgia legislative session approaches, we’re joined by Speaker of the House of Representatives David Ralston. What does he see as the most compelling issues legislators will face? What about a plan to deal with sexual harassment under the Gold Dome? Will the speaker once again look to tamp down efforts to pass a religious liberty bill? And, what about the calls for the legislature to relinquish control over the fate of Confederate markers in local communities?

Panelists:

A record number of guns were confiscated this year at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Though that follows a national trend, the Atlanta airport led the nation in the number of guns found for another year. We discuss this with Kelly Yamanouchi, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who focuses on airport-related stories. Tom Barton, a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, also joins us. 

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service issued a stern warning to states: address climate change or risk a credit downgrade. That report says Georgia is one of a handful of coastal states facing the highest risk from climate change. We talk with climate change reporter Christopher Flavelle of Bloomberg News and Jennette Gayer of Environment Georgia.

Georgia Commission May Vote Next Week On Vogtle Reactors

Dec 12, 2017
AP Photo / John Bazemore

The state agency that regulates utilities could decide next week whether to complete two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle or cancel the project that's been plagued by delays and escalating costs.

Georgia Power estimates the reactors will cost $12.2 billion and won't be finished until 2021 and 2022. The new reactors on the Savannah River near Waynesboro were initially expected to cost the company about $6 billion and be completed this year.

Brynn Anderson / AP Photo/File

On this edition of Political Rewind, as the Alabama Senate race heads to the finish line, President Trump rallies voters to turn out for Roy Moore, while former President Obama, along with other key African-American leaders, rally in support of Doug Jones. Meanwhile, Alabama business leaders worry the election results could be yet another setback for the state’s efforts to compete with Georgia.

The Trump Administration’s immigration crackdown has led to an uptick in arrests nationwide. New federal data show arrests in Georgia and the Carolinas are also up from the last fiscal year. The president’s push to be tough on illegal immigration also includes policies to build a massive wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Historian Kenneth C. Davis explains that anti-immigrant sentiment is older than America itself.

Savannah’s City Council chambers were full Thursday afternoon for the first 2018 budget hearing. I sat down to review the city's proposals with Susan Catron, executive editor of Savannah Morning News. She says one issue is undermining the work of council and City Manager Rob Hernandez. 

I also asked Catron about Savannah Morning News' decision to file suit this week against the parent corporation of Memorial University Medical Center and the hospital over open records requested by the newspaper. 

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, two prominent Georgians push back against President Trump: FBI Director Chris Wray defends the honor of his agency in response to Trump's Twitter attacks, and Congressman John Lewis says he won't attend the opening of a Mississippi civil rights museum if Donald Trump shows up. Plus, will Al Franken's resignation from the U.S. Senate put more pressure on Republicans to speak out against those in their own party accused of sexual harassment? Georgia's own Newt Gingrich says no way.

We’re commemorating the 76th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor this week by revisiting our conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Twomey. His book “Countdown to Pearl Harbor: The Twelve Days to the Attack” is out now in paperback.

Georgia State Railroad Museum on Facebook

There are plenty of ways to get into the holiday spirit this weekend. Jessica Leigh Lebos of Connect Savannah and Claire Sandow of the Tourism Leadership Council have a few suggestions.

Claire's picks:

John Bazemore / AP Photo

On this edition of Political Rewind, Keisha Lance Bottoms declares victory in a mayor’s race decided by fewer than 800 votes, but Mary Norwood wants a recount. Could the results be overturned? We’ll also look at whether the results of special legislative elections suggest a shifting balance of power under the Gold Dome. Plus, our panel weighs in on President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that may throw any chance for peace in the Middle East into chaos.

Georgia’s Secretary of State is in charge of its voting system. And it’s an elected office. So the person who oversees fair elections, also runs as a candidate. Is this an inherent conflict of interest? Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been accused by some of using his position to help Republicans win elections. Now, Kemp is running in the Republican primary for governor. We talk with Robert Howard, Executive Director of the Southern Political Science Association.

New FBI data show an uptick in reported hate crimes. Nationwide, 2016 saw more than 6,100 incidents, up by more than 270 from  the year before. Georgia reported a drop in hate crimes during that period. But a recent ProPublica investigation finds many police departments, including those in Georgia, aren’t trained to identify and investigate hate crimes. This could lead to underreporting. We talk with ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson.

Lewis Levine / AP Photo

A five-year-old girl has died and 21 other children were injured after a bus carrying elementary school students crashed in Liberty County Tuesday morning. The deceased is Cambria Shuman, age 5, from Hinesville, Georgia.

Bus driver Evelyn Rodriguez, 62, was injured as well and transported to Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah. 

Authorities have not released the names of any of the other injured students. 

AP Photos (David Goldman)

On this edition of "Political Rewind," did President Donald Trump admit to obstructing justice on Twitter?  Also, the controversial Republican tax reform bill passes the Senate, but it does not include a measure that would have benefited Georgia-based Delta Air Lines. The Supreme Court gets set to hear the so-called “wedding cake” case. How will the ruling impact Georgia, a state that continues to flirt with passing a religious liberty statute and one that has a large LGBT community?

Emily Jones / GPB News

Chatham County's new police chief took his oath of office Monday. Chief Jeffrey Hadley will oversee a major change in policing the Savannah area.

Hadley will lead the county police department as it separates from the City of Savannah. After years of disputes over funding and jurisdictions, local leaders voted earlier this year to end the merged police force.

Churches in the United States are barred from endorsing political candidates, or contributing to campaigns. This part of our tax code is known as the Johnson Amendment. It includes all non-profit organizations. But Republicans, including President Trump, want to repeal the amendment as part of a federal tax overhaul happening now. We talk about politics from the pulpit with researcher Matthew Boedy, an assistant professor at the University of North Georgia. And we discuss how taxes change behavior with Susan Anderson,  an accounting professor at Elon University in North Carolina.

Susa / AP Photo

On this edition of "Political Rewind," we address the fallout from Michael Flynn’s guilty plea in the Russia probe and his cooperation with the special counsel’s investigation. He’s already pointing fingers at the White House transition team and, according to some, President Trump directly. Also, vulnerable Georgians may soon lose health care benefits that the federal government has long funded to help children, rural hospitals and major trauma centers like Grady. Will Congress act quickly to restore these programs?

Sometimes the best way to make sense of what’s happening in the world is through comedy. And for that, “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central has you covered. We chat with comedian Roy Wood, Jr., who’s a correspondent for “The Daily Show.” He’s in Atlanta this weekend with performances at the Punchline Comedy Club.

Jeff Chiu / AP Photo/File

Maybe there’s a voice-activated speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home on your holiday shopping list. They’re handy for listening to music or setting alarms. The state of Georgia is connecting its website to the Echo’s Alexa operating system.

Tybee for the Holidays on Facebook

Have some fun - and get in the holiday spirit - this weekend, with the help of Do Savannah's Heather Henley and Visit Savannah's Summer Bozeman.

Ann Marsden / The Splendid Table

Today on “Two Way Street,” we’re talking to “The Splendid Table” host Lynne Rossetto Kasper ahead of her retirement. For more than two decades, Kasper has been unpacking the stories behind the food we eat for a weekly audience of about 725,000 listeners.

An investigative report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds about 12 percent of cops in Georgia schools were forced out of a previous job. The officers were terminated or investigated for a wide range of reasons, including chronically poor performance, lying to superiors, sexual misconduct and inappropriate use of force. But for some, jobs in the school system means a second chance for these troubled cops. We talk with Brad Schrade, reporter for the AJC.

Emily Jones / GPB News

Thirty Savannah residents face federal charges following an investigation of two rival gangs, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

 

The gangs operate in a small neighborhood southwest of downtown, known as Cuyler-Brownsville.

 

US Attorney Bobby Christine said since January, there have been more than 600 reports of shots fired in that neighborhood - and residents have said they’re scared.

Ken Lund / Creative Commons

On this edition of Political Rewind, does Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have aspirations to run for president? Plus, if religious liberty is a key to winning the GOP gubernatorial primary, why is Brian Kemp backing away from a proposal that would allow adoptions to be denied on the basis of the sexual orientation of prospective parents? And, Atlanta mayoral candidates Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood square off in the GPB debate on the eve of new polling that shows the race is a dead heat.

In January, an ongoing water dispute goes to Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Georgia’s water rights battle with Florida. Earlier this year, Georgia scored a major victory in this decades-long squabble. A special master appointed by SCOTUS said the high court should refuse Florida's request to cap Georgia’s water use. We discuss this case with E&E News reporter Amanda Reilly, who has been following it from Capitol Hill.

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