Georgia Today: Kemp tours storm damage; Fulton DA must respond to Trump; mayors making history
On the Monday, March 27 edition of Georgia Today: Gov. Brian Kemp visits storm-damaged areas; Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis is ordered to respond to Trump's motion; and two Georgia mayors are making history.
Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, March 27. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode: Gov. Kemp gets a firsthand look at this weekend's storm damage in Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney has been ordered to respond to a motion filed by Donald Trump. And two new mayors are making history today. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.
Peter Biello: Gov. Brian Kemp and other officials are surveying the damage around LaGrange and Milledgeville today after strong storms tore through those communities yesterday. The National Weather Service confirmed at least one tornado. The main concern today is flooding with watches and warnings still in effect. Georgia Power reports about 7,000 customers without power.
Peter Biello: The National Weather Service is telling residents near a dam in Spalding County, south of Atlanta, to evacuate because the dam is in danger of, quote, "imminent failure." The warning for Heads Creek Reservoir Dam comes after heavy rains and storms damaged homes, closed roads and injured at least five people yesterday. Willie Edmondson, who was scheduled to be sworn in as mayor of Lagrange today, spoke about the damage to the area.
Willie Edmondson: One of our streets has been totally collapsed where there is a creek that's beneath it and evidently the water just washed out the road.
Peter Biello: The Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning until tomorrow for a swath of Georgia where the storms hit, including Macon.
Peter Biello: When Mayor-elect Willie Edmondson is sworn in, he will become the first Black mayor in the history of LaGrange. Edmondson is also the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church. He says he plans to take his oath of office on Lafayette Square to show the young people of the community that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. And in Jonesboro, another first. Following a special election last week, Donya Sartor becomes the first Black mayor of Jonesboro. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly three-quarters of people who live in Clayton County are Black. Sartor says at a 2005 city council meeting, she noticed that there were no people of color serving in office. So she ran for city council and won. In an interview with media recently after the win in the mayor's race, she said representation matters.
Peter Biello: Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney says DA Fani Willis has until May to respond to a motion filed by former President Donald Trump. The motion seeks to throw out a report by a special grand jury that investigated attempts to interfere in the state's 2020 presidential election. Trump's legal team also wants tossed out all testimony from the inquiry. The special grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses before issuing a report that includes recommendations on criminal charges. McBurney released the report's introduction and conclusion, as well as a section in which the grand jurors expressed concerns that some witnesses may have lied under oath. The rest of the report has remained under wraps so far. Willis said in a January hearing that decisions on indictments were, quote, "imminent."
Peter Biello: The state prosecuting attorney's counsel has issued a long awaited report on sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Georgia. The agency's investigation took four years and details accusations against about 70 priests, deacons and religious orders. It did not, however, find any active allegations or recommend any prosecutions. That disappoints Michael Corbett of Savannah. He was 17 years old in Boston when he says he became the target of abuse by a priest.
Michael Corbett: The more disappointing part of it is this attitude that this is all stuff that happened in the past and we can just move on for it — from it and forget that it ever happened. And I understand the temptation to think about it that way, but I think it's a very dangerous temptation because there's a lot that we have to learn from this to prevent it from happening again, whether it's within the Catholic Church or within other organizations.
Peter Biello: Statements from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah say the church is fully committed to protecting children.
Peter Biello: Georgia ranks in the highest tier for public health emergency preparedness. That's according to a new report from Trust for America's Health. GPB's Ellen Eldridge has more.
Ellen Eldridge: The annual report helps state officials make decisions about preparing for emergencies. Rhea Farberman is with trust for America's health. She says they considered 10 readiness factors like public health and emergency management accreditation.
Rhea Farberman: Is the state accredited for public health and for emergency management? Do residents have access to safe water — drinking water in the home? Do you have surge capacity — health care surge capacity and laboratory surge capacity — that can be increased during an emergency?
Ellen Eldridge: Georgia's 2% increase in funding is also heavily weighted in the report. For GPB News, I'm Ellen Eldridge.
Peter Biello: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has restored some of the bends in Southeast. Georgia's Satilla River. Agency officials celebrated on Friday the closing of two cuts made in the river nearly a century ago to make it faster to ship timber. Project manager Jeff Schwindaman says though well-intentioned, the cuts interfered with the river's tides.
Jeff Schwindaman: That kind of action is super important for the fish and animals that live in that — in that area. It affects their migratory nature. It affects their spawning nature.
Peter Biello: Communities near the cuts have been calling for the restoration since the 1980s. The $3 million project was made possible in part by the bipartisan infrastructure law.
Peter Biello: Atlanta's Orpheus Brewing Taproom and facility is closing next month. Brewmaster Jason Pellett says in order to move forward as a business, Orpheus will close the taproom near Piedmont Park on April 23 and search for a new, smaller space. Pellett says Orpheus is partnering with a North Carolina company that can brew and distribute Orpheus beers. Pellett spoke in a video posted to social media.
Jason Pellett: So you will see a lot more beer of ours in the market soon. But as far as those who support us here, I really —I can't tell you how much that's meant to me.
Peter Biello: Pellet did not respond to a request for comment. He said on social media he'll be moving to Amsterdam this summer to start a new brewery.
Peter Biello: In sports. In the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Atlanta Hawks 123 to 119 this weekend. Also this weekend in soccer, Atlanta United lost to Columbus, 6 to 1. The Atlanta Braves announced today that they'll be honoring the legendary Hank Aaron with a jersey inspired by the iconic 1974 jersey design. That's the year Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record by hitting his 715th. The classic Jersey is reimagined with the "A" emblazoned across the chest. The team says it is a visual representation of Atlanta as the home of the Braves, the team's rallying cry "For the 'A'," and a celebration of the culture that makes the city unique. This new Nike Citi Connect uniform will debut on Saturday, April 8, as the Braves face the San Diego Padres at home in Truist Park. It'll be the Braves' jersey every Saturday home game this season.
That's all we've got for today's edition of Georgia Today. But we do appreciate you tuning in. Thank you so much. Hope you had a great weekend and hope you were able to dry off today. We got a lot of rain over the weekend and some hail as well. I don't know if you got hail. I got hail the size of a pea. It was bouncing off the windows of my apartment, landing on my deck. And I will say some of the seedlings I had been germinating and put outside didn't make it. Some did, some didn't. But, you know, that's the way it goes. The strong will survive and make it to something edible later this summer. At least that's my hope. Remember, for all the latest Georgia news, you can subscribe to this podcast. And I'll also throw in some updates on my plants, if you are curious. How do you give us feedback? Well, the best way to do it is to send us an email. The address is GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. If you like this podcast, don't forget to leave a review; that'll help other folks find it. I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.
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