On the Thursday Dec. 15 edition of Georgia Today: Georgia Power is raising rates, TikTok has been banned for some Georgians, Atlanta protesters face terrorism charges, and students rally against guns

GA Today Podcast


Peter Biello: Welcome to the new Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Thursday, Dec. 15. I'm Peter Biello. Coming up on today's episode, your power bill is going up, but not as much as you may have thought. Five people have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection with protests happening in Atlanta. And students are planning a rally against gun violence tonight. These stories and more are coming up on Georgia Today.

Georgia Power headquarters in Atlanta

Story 1

Peter Biello: Georgia Power officials have signed off on an agreement that would lower the utilities' rate hike request by nearly 40%. For the average residential customer, this new agreement would raise costs $3.60 a month, a whole lot less than the $14.90 in the original request. The company agreed on a rate hike that would raise $1.8 billion from its customers over the next three years. A 2.6% increase starts in January. Then it'll be four and a half percent increases in the second and third years. The proposal will be presented to the PSC's Energy Committee today.


Story 2

Peter Biello: Five activists have been charged with domestic terrorism in connection with protests against Atlanta's new public safety and training center. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the arrests yesterday, a day after police and protesters once again clashed at the site. Protesters have set up camps at the forested location to try to stop the center, which they oppose for environmental and other reasons. Authorities said yesterday several people threw rocks at police cars and attacked EMTs outside fire stations.


A person holds a smartphone as Tik Tok logo is displayed behind in this picture illustration taken November 7, 2019. Picture taken November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Story 3

Peter Biello: Georgia state government officials are cracking down on the use of the social media app TikTok. Recent efforts to ban the popular app have popped up in states across the country. Lawmakers leading the charge cite the app's connection to China. GPB's Riley Bunch has more on the governor's new mandate.

Riley Bunch: An unusual memo went out to state agency heads from the office of Gov. Brian Kemp Thursday morning. Kemp ordered an immediate stop to the use of TikTok and other affiliated apps on all state devices, including state-issued laptops and phones. The memo says that the app poses a threat to government cybersecurity because of the China-based company's access to user data. Georgia officials aren't the only ones worried about the risks. FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress in November that he had concerns about China potentially, quote, "weaponizing data against the U.S." For GPB News, I'm Riley Bunch.


Story 4

Peter Biello: Atlanta Public Schools and the Atlanta Board of Education Student Advisory Council are planning a rally against gun violence tonight. The "Stand With Me" rally takes place at City Hall and is in response to the fatal shootings of 12-year-old Zyion Charles and 15-year-old Cameron Jackson in Midtown over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Keith Glass with the Atlanta Board of Education is the lead adviser to the district's student advisory board. He says the students want to send a message that addressing gun violence is a community effort that includes them.

Keith Glass: Saying "hey, stand with me in this fight. Stand with me to address this issue. Stand with me as we mourn. Stand with me as we love. Stand with me as we're hopeful." It's just the students saying, "hey, everyone in leadership roles, our elected officials, you know, take a minute from from behind your desk and from doing the work that you're doing and come and stand with me in the streets."

Peter Biello: Local officials are expected to attend the rally. Three teens have been arrested in connection with the shooting.


Story 5

Peter Biello: Researchers from Georgia Tech are using funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to reimagine Atlanta's electric power infrastructure. GPB's Amanda Andrews explains part of the project includes educating communities about energy planning.

Amanda Andrews: The DOE plans to take a more regional approach to energy planning in order to meet the needs of communities. Over the next three years, the Georgia Energy Shed Project will examine methods of distributing electricity associated costs and energy usage through tests and models. Georgia Tech's Richard Simmons says many communities don't understand how energy planning affects them.

Richard Simmons: Very few people understand their utility bill, and it turns out that there is a very good, high-level public process that will determine things like your customer charge and your energy charge.

Amanda Andrews: Simmons says the project will include public outreach to help people better advocate for themselves. Their research will be used to inform policy in Atlanta and surrounding communities moving forward. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.


Plaza Theater

Story 6

Peter Biello: We are quickly approaching the time of year when the 1983 classic movie A Christmas Story plays on televisions across the country on a 24-hour loop.

A Christmas Story: Fra-gee-lee, it must be Italian.

Peter Biello: But if you are near Atlanta and can't wait until Christmas Eve, find your way to the Plaza Theatre this weekend to experience the film the way it was meant to be seen: on the silver screen.

A Christmas Story: I triple-dog dare ya! Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat.

Peter Biello: The Plaza has two showings of A Christmas Story this weekend Saturday, Dec. 17 at 3:30 and Sunday, Dec. 18 at noon.

A Christmas Story: I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model air rifle. No, you'll shoot your eye out.  You'll shoot your eye out! You'll shoot your eye out!

Peter Biello: And if you're looking for a Christmas movie that is a little less traditional than A Christmas Story, there is a movie out now starring David Harbour, who you may know as Hopper from Stranger Things. It's called Violent Night and is described on IMDb thusly: "When a group of mercenaries attack the estate of a wealthy family, Santa Claus must step in to save the day and Christmas."

Violent Night: Santa Claus is coming to town. Time for some season's beatings.

Peter Biello: So, yeah, a little action, a little comedy. May be best to leave the kids at home for that one, though.

And that is it for today's edition of Georgia Today. Thank you so much for tuning in. Tell us what you think about what you've been hearing so far. We would love to hear from you. Send us a note by email. The address is GeorgiaToday@gpb.org. I'm Peter Biello. We'll be back tomorrow.