LISTEN: On the Wednesday March 22 edition of Georgia Today: Adult day cares are receiving failing grades; Atlanta home prices are too high; and the government may need your help with cold cases.

New Georgia Today Podcast Logo

Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Wednesday, March 22. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode: Adult day cares across the state have received failing grades; according to new figures, home prices in Atlanta are still too high; and the government needs your help in solving more than two dozen cold cases. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.



Story 1

Peter Biello: Federal inspections of 20 adult day care facilities in Georgia found that all 20 of them failed to comply with federal and state requirements. The Department of Health and Human Services Audit says vulnerable residents face risks including toxic chemical exposure and unclean conditions. The commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health, which oversees the facilities, says her agency takes the findings seriously but does not believe they represent all adult day care centers in Georgia.


Story 2

Peter Biello: Atlanta-area home prices continue to cool, but are still the nation's most overpriced by more than 50%. That is according to an index developed by two researchers at Florida Atlantic University. The index compared the region's $357,000 average home price with expected prices based on statistical modeling. Of the top 100 markets. Washington, D.C.'s current home prices are the most closely aligned with expected prices.



Story 3

Peter Biello: A task force looking into unsolved cases in DeKalb County will use federal funding to identify remains in 27 cases. And, as GPB's Amanda Andrews reports, they're asking for help from the public.

Amanda Andrews: The DeKalb County District Attorney and Medical Examiner's Office are two of the five agencies collaborating on the cold case task force. The group is one of six nationally to receive a $500,000 federal grant to identify unknown bodies. District Attorney Sherry Boston says the funds will be used to further their work.

Sherry Boston: We are the only prosecutor's office to receive this award. The task force will use these funds to catalog, report, test, identify and return to the families the unidentified remains of 27 individuals.

Amanda Andrews: The task force will also host a missing persons DNA drive to collect samples from possible families of missing persons with unidentified remains. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.



Story 4

Peter Biello: A bill to restrict gender-affirming care for transgender youth is headed to the governor's desk. GPB's Sarah Kallis reports.

Sarah Kallis: Senate Bill 140 prohibits doctors from prescribing hormone replacement therapies and performing gender-affirming surgery for transgender people under age 18. Matèo Penado, a 22-year-old transgender man, spoke about the grief transgender communities are facing and its impacts on mental health.

Mateo Penado: In regards to genuine lives being lost due to suicide, but also the lives that people could potentially live and how they had access to hormone replacement therapy.

Sarah Kallis: Senate Bill 140 passed the Senate 31 to 21. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis at the state Capitol.


Story 5

Peter Biello: Advocates for Northwest Georgia waterways have secured funding to begin multiyear testing to determine the extent of contamination by so-called "forever chemicals." The compounds are used in the region's carpet industry. They've been linked to numerous health issues and stay in the environment for long periods of time. Jesse Demonbreun Chapman of the Coosa River Basin Initiative says the funding comes from settlements of class action lawsuits against several area companies.

Jesse Demonbreun Chapman: The long-term goal is for us to have a better understanding of where all of these things are coming from, so that as federal funding in the future does open up to mitigate problem areas, we already have a good idea of where those problem sites are.

Peter Biello: The Biden administration last week announced the first-ever federal limits on those forever chemicals in drinking water. The city of Rome plans to build a $100 million facility to filter the chemicals from drinking water.



Story 6

Peter Biello: The federal government cited Fort Valley State University's veterinary science department for six violations during an annual inspection. That is the third time in three years the school has been hit with multiple citations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's inspection noted the veterinary school failed to consider alternatives to painful surgeries on animals. The USDA also said the school didn't justify the number of animals they were using in experiments. Previous inspections came with a warning from the USDA threatening legal action if violations continued. Some of the violations in this new inspection were repeats from past inspections. Fort Valley State University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Story 7

Peter Biello: Georgia lawmakers gave final passage yesterday to a bill that would restrict vaping in public spaces. Senate Bill 47 regulates vaping in the same way the state already regulates smoking. The State Department of Public Health is supporting the measure.


Story 8

Peter Biello: Concerns surrounding the safety and security of the banking industry have swirled following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank in California and Signature Bank in New York. Lawmakers met with officials to discuss the current state of Georgia's banks. GPB's Devon Zwald has the story.

Devon Zwald: A Georgia Department of Banking and Finance official is reassuring state lawmakers that Georgia banks remain healthy. The agency's legal director, Oscar Fears, says this month's failure of Silicon Valley and Signature Bank was fueled in part by cryptocurrency and other risky business.

Oscar Fears: We don't have those in our Georgia state-chartered banks, and so I'm very confident in the safety and the strength of the banking system in the state of Georgia.

Devon Zwald: Fears spoke yesterday at a state Senate Banking Committee. For GPB News, I'm Devon Zwald.


President Joe Biden presents the 2021 National Medal of the Arts to Gladys Knight at White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

President Joe Biden presents the 2021 National Medal of the Arts to Gladys Knight at White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2023.

Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Story 9

Peter Biello: Georgia-born singer Gladys Knight was among 22 people honored with medals at the White House yesterday. Presenting Knight with a National Medal of the Arts, President Joe Biden recalled the Atlanta native's White House performance last year.

Joe Biden: What better way to show who we are as a nation than to give Gladys Knight an opportunity to sing for the nation? Gladys, as I said before, you're truly one of the best things to ever happen in terms of music.

Peter Biello: Knight's Atlanta roots include singing in church choirs and downtown nightclubs. Among those who also received medals, singer Bruce Springsteen and author Amy Tan.


Thanks very much for listening to Georgia Today. That's all we've got. But tomorrow on the program: More news coming your way and a conversation with the directors of the documentary film Refuge. It was filmed right here in Georgia. I'll be speaking with Aaron Bernard and Din Blankenship about the work they've done. It's a film all about how empathy, the power of empathy and how it can erase the hatred caused by racism. That's coming up tomorrow on the podcast. You'll also hear it on All Things Considered. All Things Considered, of course, from 4 to 6 every weekday on GPB.

Subscribe to this podcast, so we will pop up in your podcast feed tomorrow. And if you're a big fan of Georgia Today, please do leave a review; that'll help other folks find us. And if you've got some feedback for the show, maybe you've got a story idea that you'd like us to know about — you know what? I even have some time to try out a new recipe this weekend. If you've got a recipe, send it my way. I really would love that on a personal level. But story, ideas, feedback for the podcast, that's — that's useful too. Send it to I'm Peter Biello. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


GPB's Georgia Today newsletter hits your inbox on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with top stories from around the state featuring news, politics and more. Subscribe here.