On the Friday June 9th edition of Georgia Today: Donald Trump is expected to speak at the state GOP convention in Columbus despite his federal indictment; a unique new art exhibit focuses on Georgia's history of segregation; and GPB Sports' Jon Nelson breaks down a big week in soccer news.

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Orlando Montoya: Hello and welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Friday, June 9th. I'm Orlando Montoya. On today's episode, all eyes will be on Columbus this weekend as former President Donald Trump is expected to speak at the state GOP convention despite his federal indictment. A unique new art exhibit focuses on Georgia's history of segregation and GPB sports. Jon Nelson joins me to talk about a big weekend soccer news. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S., April 27, 2023. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Story 1:

Orlando Montoya: Georgia State Republican Convention gets underway in Columbus today, with Donald Trump still expected on Saturday. Trump could feed an air of vengeance at the meeting after he announced yesterday that he's being indicted on federal charges of mishandling classified documents. The news could overshadow other party business, including an effort by a right wing faction to punish GOP officials that it considers ideological traitors by banning them from future primary elections. Amidst all the political storylines, the event promises to provide a big economic boost to the city. Uptown, Columbus President Ed Wolverton says he expects the convention to draw about 3500 people. A number of the city could not even lodge until recently.

Ed Wolverton: Over the last two and a half years, we have been able to add significant hotel investment. So because of the added number of rooms, we are now able to attract and bring some of these larger groups like this to Columbus.

Orlando Montoya: While some streets around the Convention center will be closed on Saturday for some of the more high profile visitors, Wolverton says businesses will be open and ready for delegates and their guests. The last time Columbus held the state GOP convention was 2012.

Story 2:

Orlando Montoya: The Georgia Professional Standards Commission voted unanimously today to remove the words diversity and equity from teacher training curriculum. As GPB's Sarah Kallis reports, that's despite opposition from many educators.

Sarah Kallis: The words will be replaced with others like different, unique and fair. Commission chair Brian Sermons says this will, quote, minimize confusion. Georgia teacher Ogechi Oparah was one of several educators who spoke out against the plan at a public meeting.

Ogechi Oparah I have to ask myself, what precedent does this set when the winds of political change come blowing? We bend to them. It says we are ruthless. And in a time in which so much has been revealed in this country about the work yet to be done to make things just. I hope that we're not tools of injustice.

Sarah Kallis: Other teachers told the commission diversity training has helped them better support students. The new curriculum goes into effect in July. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis.


Story 3:

Orlando Montoya: A new philanthropy announced in Atlanta today will support nonprofit groups campaigning for reparations for black Americans. The Decolonizing Wealth Project is committing $20 million over five years to boost campaigns nationwide. It also will study what arguments most influence people to support reparations, an idea most Americans overall do not currently support. Project founder Edgar Villanueva unveiled the plans at a national conference on Reparations.


Story 4:

Orlando Montoya: Across two abandoned public pools in East Point. A local Atlanta artist hopes others will see reflections of Georgia's history of segregation. GPB's Sarah Rose has that story.

Sarah Rose: Hannah Palmer's Ghost Pools exhibit is focused on the forgotten history of Atlanta's public pools. The East Point pools that are the focus of her exhibit, the Randall Street Pool and the Spring Avenue Pool were segregated for black and white Americans when integration became law. The pools were instead abandoned. She says the history remains raw for many Atlantans.

Hannah Palmer: I imagine sometimes when I talk to old folks who remember this history, that they're a bit dismayed and this feels like bringing up old wounds, bringing up sad stuff in the past, but I feel like it's never healed.

Sarah Rose: Ghost Pools opened earlier this month on the site of the former pools in East Point. The temporary installation will be up through the summer. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Rose.



Story 6:

Orlando Montoya: There is a code orange air quality alert for the greater Atlanta area today. The National Weather Service says sensitive groups, including children and people with heart or lung diseases, should limit prolonged outdoor exertion. Meteorologists said that the alert was related to ozone, not wildfire smoke.


Story 7:

Orlando Montoya: The Georgia Public Service Commission has withdrawn a proposal to allow biomass plants to burn scrap tires for electricity. The move comes after environmental groups asked commissioners to reconsider its April decision, granting the biomass industry's request to use junk tires as fuel. The five member board voted unanimously yesterday to reverse the April decision. Industry representatives still can request a public hearing on the matter in the hopes of regaining commissioners support.

Story 8:

Orlando Montoya: An unexpected cold snap this year wreaked havoc on Georgia's peach crop. And while growers here say they have enough peaches to sell in Georgia this summer, other places that celebrate the fruit haven't been so lucky. GPB's Sofi Gratas explains.

Sofi Gratas: At Georgia's annual Peach Festival, Ray Abney fills a brown bag with locally grown peaches.

Ray Abney: I'ma make a cobbler and some tarts.

Sofi Gratas: The peaches sell at $5 a bag. They were grown here in Peach County. They're the same peaches normally enjoyed thousands of miles away at the South Dakota Peach Festival in Sioux Falls. But not this year, says volunteer Irina Klinesausser.

Irina Klinesausser: Yeah, it's been quite the disappointment.

Sofi Gratas: With over 90% of Georgia's crop lost, the festival was canceled. Klinesausser says they typically order 40,000 boxes of peaches from Georgia farms.

Irina Klinesausser: We love a Georgia peach because it has a deep flavor and it's a sweet peach. Yeah, and everybody loves peaches in the summertime.

Sofi Gratas: She hopes next year, Georgia has enough to share. For GPB News, I'm Sofi Gratas in Macon.


Story 9:

Orlando Montoya: One of the world's biggest soccer stars is headed to Major League Soccer. And even though Argentine striker Lionel Messi will play for Inter Miami, Atlanta United fans are cheering. Here to talk about this and other soccer news in Georgia is Jon Nelson of GPB Sports. Jon, it's great to talk with you again.

Jon Nelson: Any time, Orlando, you know how to get in touch.

Orlando Montoya: Jon, just how much is this a shock around the soccer world?

Jon Nelson: Oh, it's seismic. Absolutely seismic. When you have one of the greatest players in the history of the game who is trying to determine if his suitor is going to come from Saudi Arabia for the tune of a contract of $1.2 billion. Barcelona, where he's had all of his past such past successes being a part of the Academy ever since he was young. But they can't afford to pay your salary or mine right now. But then Inter Miami comes in from lane number three and it's like, Yeah, we'd like for you to be the new part of of our growth and Major League Soccer. This is huge. And I can't put that in larger letters, more bold or italic font or face this is that big.

Orlando Montoya: And will soccer ticket prices get huge too?

Jon Nelson: Yes, they already are. If you wanted to say travel to to see Lionel Messi, perhaps play in Fort Lauderdale at a home game, you had ticket prices expand by at least four times, if not that much. And any market that is anticipating a Lionel Messi appearance, you can go on secondary markets and the prices have just gone absolutely through the roof. Atlanta is no exception.

Argentine soccer play Lionel Messi is shown on a soccer field wearing a blue and white jersey.

Lionel Messi playing for Argentina at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Credit: Hossein Zohrevand / Wikimedia Commons

Orlando Montoya: When will soccer fans in Atlanta be able to see Messi?

Jon Nelson: September 16th is the date that you need to circle on your calendar. Reserve the entire weekend to celebrate it. Atlanta United Inter, Miami, Mercedes-Benz Stadium. And they have opened up the entire building. 71,000 anticipated for this one.

Orlando Montoya: I'd like to ask you about some other good news for soccer fans here. If I could, changing subject just a little bit. The World Cup decided to play more games in 2026. What are the details on that and how will that affect Atlanta?

Jon Nelson: When FIFA decided to expand the field. Naturally, the one of the byproducts is, is that you're going to have more nations and therefore you're going to have more matches. And so it's a byproduct of allowing more teams the chance to participate in the world championship tournament. And, you know, when you're when you're talking about Atlanta, Atlanta is one of the venues you can follow along to the World Cup 2026, Atlanta feed on Instagram or on social media. And you get all the pretty pictures and the logos and everything. Don't quite know how many matches Atlanta is going to get yet. You're going to get grass at Mercedes-Benz Stadium because of it as a byproduct for player safety and such, and they're going to figure out how to grow it inside. So it'll be interesting to see there as well. In the next coming years, we'll know just how the layout is. But Atlanta is a part of the mix.

Orlando Montoya: And Atlanta united itself. What's happening with some of the team star players? We lost Josef Martinez to Inter Miami and now I hear others might be going.

Jon Nelson: Yeah, Luis Trujillo has been determined that when the transfer window opens, he is going home. He is going to play in Flamingo in Brazil. And the transfer fee was eight figures to the left of the decimal place and it gives the Leafs a chance to go home and be there in a comfortable environment where hopefully he can flourish. For a team in Flamingo. Keep an eye on Tiago Almada. No, a lot of folks are looking at Tiago being transferred to play his next round of matches. In Europe, 35 to $40 million is what's being thought of as a transfer fee. But it will be interesting to see when this first transfer window happens just how many players are being looked at around the world, how many go, how many stay, what's the negotiations? What's the price tag? And where Atlanta United goes from here should be a very exciting summer on a bunch of different levels.

Orlando Montoya: Jon Nelson of GPB Sports, thanks for all the soccer.

Jon Nelson: Any time, my friend.


Story 10:

Orlando Montoya: The Atlanta Braves start a three game home series against the Washington Nationals. Tonight, fresh off yet another come from behind victory over the New York Mets. Last night, Ozzie Albies hit a walk off home run in the 10th inning to finish off their NL East rivals 13 to 10 and complete a sweep of the Mets. Travis Dano, Marcell Ozuna, Austin, Riley and Orlando Arcia also homered for the Braves. Braves pitcher Spencer Strider gave up eight runs in the first four innings, but he says the team never quit.

Spencer Strider: You know, the attitude in the dugout was never that we were we were out of it. So it's a long season and you know, you're going to win a lot of different ways. And the more ways we can find a win, the better suitor will be. Once games really matter at the end.

Orlando Montoya: The Braves have the best record in the National League heading into the weekend series.

And that's it for today's episode of Georgia Today. If you'd like to learn more about these stories, visit our Web site, GPB.org/news. Hit subscribe on this podcast. So you always will stay current with us in your feed and send us feedback. We'd love to hear that at GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. I'm Orlando Montoya here filling in for Peter Biello today. He'll be back on Monday. Until then, have a great weekend.


For more on these stories and more go to GPB.org/news.

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