Georgia Today: Gun violence claims more teen lives, holiday travel human trafficking, more jobs
LISTEN: On the Monday Dec. 19 edition of Georgia Today: Gun violence claims more teen lives over the weekend in Atlanta, holiday travelers should be on the lookout for human trafficking victims, and more jobs are coming to Georgia.
Peter Biello: Welcome to the new Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, Dec. 19. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, airport officials are asking holiday travelers to be on the lookout for human trafficking victims. Gun violence claims more teen lives over the weekend in Atlanta. And a cosmetics company is bringing hundreds of jobs to Georgia. These stories and more are coming up on Georgia Today.
Peter Biello: After recently reclaiming its title as the busiest airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta is expecting a crush of holiday travelers. Airport officials are asking all those passengers to help spot safety concerns. GPB's Riley Bunch has more.
Riley Bunch: 5.2 million passengers are expected to travel through the airport from Dec. 16 to Jan. 3. With that many people moving in and out of corridors and concourses, airport officials are also on the lookout for an increased risk of human trafficking. Andy Gobeil, director of communications for the airport, says they've been preparing for the possibility.
Andy Gobeil: We inform all of our employees about the danger signs to look for. We make sure that all of our passengers are well aware of what's going on as well. We have signage throughout the airport telling people what to do, what to look out for, how to engage.
Riley Bunch: Gobeil says if travelers see warning signs of trafficking, they should call 911 and adhere to the mantra, quote, "See something, say something." For GPB News, I'm Riley Bunch.
Peter Biello: Police in Atlanta say two teenage boys were fatally shot and three minors wounded Saturday in a shootout at an apartment complex. Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr. says two victims, ages 14 and 16, were pronounced dead at the scene and three others were hospitalized.
Deputy Chief Charles Hampton Jr: Too many guns in the hands of our youth. And as I said several weeks ago, you know, this should be a time that we are getting ready for the holidays, but we have at least two families that will be planning for funerals.
Peter Biello: Hampton says the incident stemmed from a, quote, "dispute on social media that escalated to gunfire." Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said in a statement, quote, "While we avoided youth violence over the summer and early fall, these last few weeks have shown all too clearly that Atlanta is not immune from this unacceptable trend." Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, 12-year-old Zyion Charles and 15-year-old Cameron Jackson were fatally shot in midtown.
Peter Biello: Researchers responsible for steering state policy to improve maternal health outcomes have released their latest data on pregnancy related deaths. GPB's Sofi Gratas has more on the findings of the state's Maternal Mortality Review Committee.
Sofi Gratas: The new report tracks deaths during and up to a year after pregnancy between 2018 and 2020. Georgia ranks near the bottom in the nation by those metrics. Since the committee's last report, the rate of pregnancy related deaths has gone up. Hemorrhage was the leading cause of death in the new report, followed by mental health. Meanwhile, Black mothers in Georgia are still twice as likely to die than white mothers. Further inequities in care show that Medicaid recipients, more likely to be low income, died after delivery at double the rate than those with non-Medicaid insurance. The new report cites a need for postpartum care during and up to one year after pregnancy and recommends prenatal care coordination between health care providers. Missing in this year's report is how many deaths of new mothers were potentially preventable. For GPB News, Sofi Gratas.
Peter Biello: A global cosmetics company plans to expand in southeast Georgia's Bryan County, creating about 400 jobs. GPB's Benjamin Payne has the story.
Benjamin Payne: Kiss Products Inc. says it will invest about $120 million in a shared 300-acre facility. The New York-based company is among the largest manufacturers and distributors of beauty supplies, including artificial nails and eyelashes. Their operations in Bryan County are expected to get underway in March of next year. The county has seen a deluge of economic development projects, the biggest being a $5.5 billion electric vehicle factory planned by Hyundai. Kiss Products will set up shop close to the Hyundai site along Interstate 16, about 20 miles northwest of Savannah. Gov. Brian Kemp pointed to Bryan County's close proximity to the Port of Savannah as a major driver behind the region's explosive growth. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne.
Peter Biello: Rome commissioners will consider the city's first-ever cryptocurrency mining operation tonight. As GPB's Orlando Montoya reports, an investor is seeking a zoning change before bringing in millions of dollars in equipment.
Orlando Montoya: Through her lawyer, the investor, Olivia Wang declined to answer questions about the mine. Rome City Manager Sammy Rich says the city has been getting a lot of questions about it.
Sammy Rich: We've had the range of curiosity from cryptocurrency mining, you know, literally thinking it's a mining operation — folks removing minerals from the earth.
Orlando Montoya: Crypto mines are essentially huge computers that require lots of energy and loud fans to cool them. Georgia is getting more of them because our energy is relatively cheap. The local planning board has recommended denying the rezoning in an industrial area, but if they don't, the board recommends sound dampeners and trees to reduce the noise. For GPB News, I'm Orlando Montoya.
Peter Biello: Shortstop Dansby Swanson will not be returning to the Atlanta Braves next year. Swanson agreed to a $177 million, seven-year contract with the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. The popular shortstop was a key part of a young core that led the Braves back to the top of the National League East last year and helped Atlanta to a World Series championship in 2021, its first since 1995.
And that is it for today's edition of Georgia Today. For more news from GPB, check out our Georgia Today newsletter at GPB.org/newsletters and visit our website GPB.org/news, anytime. Your feedback is appreciated, you can send it to us by email. The address: GeorgiaToday@gpb.org. I'm Peter Biello. Thanks so much for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.