Georgia Today: Another inmate dies at Fulton jail; New CDC director; Macon bars closing earlier
LISTEN: On the Thursday, Sept. 7 edition of Georgia Today: Another incarcerated man has died at the Fulton County Jail; the CDC has a new boss; and Officials in Macon-Bibb County are shutting down bars an hour earlier in an effort to reduce late-night crime.
Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Thursday, Sept. 7. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, another incarcerated man has died at the Fulton County Jail. The CDC has a new boss, and officials in Macon-Bibb County, are shutting down bars an hour earlier in an effort to reduce late night crime. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.
Peter Biello: Another incarcerated man has died at the Fulton County Jail. A spokesperson confirms 24-year-old DeShawndre Delmore is the sixth death since the end of July and the 10th since the beginning of the year. As GPB's Donna Lowry reports, the family of one incarcerated man wants something done about conditions at the facility.
Donna Lowry: By the time a deputy found 34-year-old Samuel Lawrence unresponsive in a jail cell on Aug. 26, he had been in the facility for eight months on a $30,000 bond for second degree arson. Days before, he sent a 16-page complaint to federal courts complaining about conditions. At a press conference outside Waltham Superior Court, his father said:
Samuel Lawrence's father: When he was crying out, they turned a deaf ear.
Donna Lowry: The family's attorney. Kenneth Muhammad, gave results of an independent investigation of the preliminary findings.
Kenneth Muhammad: And the autopsy reports show a bite mark that he complained about, where he said that inmates entered his cell and fought him and they — one of them bit him, like an animal.
Donna Lowry: Sheriff Pat Labat recently admitted the violence at the jail is, quote, not surprising, considering the longstanding dangerous overcrowding and the crumbling walls of the facility. For GPB News, I'm Donna Lowry in Atlanta.
Peter Biello: The new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to help restore trust in the department. GPB's Ellen Eldridge reports on one of her first public appearances since taking over the Atlanta-based agency in July.
Ellen Eldridge: Many people, including policymakers, got to know the CDC through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mandy Cohen spoke to the Atlanta Press Club Tuesday. She says she has several goals, including helping members of Congress understand more about what they do, including international malaria prevention and fighting the opioid epidemic.
Dr. Mandy Cohen: When we asked Americans what is their No. 1 health concern, actually, it is fentanyl. Right? And so, as a threat to their health. And so CDC obviously needs to respond to those kinds of threats.
Ellen Eldridge: Cohen says other things they're working to address are a shortage of public health workers across the state and country. For GPB News, I'm Ellen Eldridge.
Peter Biello: A handful of Republican lawmakers continue to push for a special legislative session to punish the Fulton County District Attorney's Office for indicting former President Donald Trump and 18 others, as GPB's Stephen Fowler reports, that's despite top Republican officials calling the move impossible and likely illegal.
Stephen Fowler: After Fulton DA Fani Willis indicted Trump and 18 others on racketeering charges, some pro-Trump lawmakers and supporters launched an effort to use a special session for everything from stripping funding from the DA's office to impeachment. Gov. Brian Kemp, House Speaker John Burns and others threw cold water on that request, noting it would infringe upon the judicial branch and potentially harm efforts to stop crime. That hasn't deterred Northwest Georgia Senator Colton Moore from renewing his ill-fated push.
Colton Moore: You see, this governor wants to elaborate that we have a separation of powers. Well, we do. But any high school kid coming out of government class understands that we also have a thing called checks and balances.
Stephen Fowler: One example of checks and balances in action is math. It takes two-thirds of Georgia's 180 House members and 56 senators to call for a special session, including Democratic support. So far, three lawmakers have signed on to the efforts. For GPB News, I'm Stephen Fowler at the Capitol.
Peter Biello: Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College, both in Statesboro, have signed an agreement with Hyundai to address workforce needs at the company's massive electric vehicle plant under construction in nearby Bryan County. The university's vice president for research and economic development, Chris Curtis, says the deal signed yesterday commits the schools to providing training programs in the company to providing job opportunities.
Chris Curtis: The Savannah region is growing and is growing quickly, and so as a public university, we're very privileged to feel like we're a partner in helping that growth.
Peter Biello: Hyundai plans to hire more than 8,000 employees by the time it starts producing vehicles at the new plant in 2025. Thousands more workers will be needed to staff manufacturing facilities that other companies are building to supply parts for Hyundai.
Peter Biello: A federal judge has upheld claims in a lawsuit seeking about $98 million from the owners of a cargo ship that capsized in St. Simons Sound in 2019. Coastal Glynn County sued the owners of the Golden Ray for environmental and economic damages caused by the wreck's oil spills and fires. In a 72-page order, U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood upheld two damage claims and dismissed one in a case that could provide the county relief.
Peter Biello: Atlanta cinema entrepreneur George Lefont has died. Lefont operated independent cinemas, including the Tara Theater and Plaza Theater for 40 years before retiring in 2017. He opened his first theater, the silver screen, in Buckhead, in 1976. Lefont Theaters brought foreign, independent and documentary films to the city's cinema lovers. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Lafont died from complications related to Parkinson's disease, according to his family. George Lafont was 85 years old.
Peter Biello: Officials in Macon-Bibb County are shutting down bars an hour earlier in an effort to reduce late-night crime. A closely divided county commission voted Tuesday to mandate bars close at 2 a.m. Bars in Macon already were required to stop serving alcohol at 2, but were allowed to stay open an hour later. Macon Mayor Lester Miller says the extra hour encourages non-customers to loiter at bars. Bar owners say the plan will cut into their revenue.
Peter Biello: In sports, the Atlanta Dream earned their first WNBA playoff spot since 2018 with a 79-68 victory over the Seattle Storm last night. Alicia Gray scored 18 points and Monique Billings set season highs with 15 points and 14 rebounds in a match that sent Atlanta to No. 6, tied with the Washington Mystics in league standings. The dream hosts the Mystics on Friday before closing the season against the fourth-place Dallas Wings on Sunday. And in baseball, Georgia native Adam Wainwright makes his start for the Saint Louis Cardinals tonight at Truist Park against the Atlanta Braves. Now, a resident of St. Simons Island, Wainwright has pitched for the Cardinals since 2005. Braves manager Brian Snitker managed Wainwright 20 years ago when they were with the Greenville Braves. Wainwright, now 42, plans to retire after this season. Snitker says he's proud of him.
Brian Snitker: I said, "You know, you're going to have a statue at Busch Stadium." It's just an unbelievable career. He's a wonderful person, giving, professional. What he's done for the game, I'm sure the city of St Louis, and his community — he just he's just a great, great person.
Peter Biello: The Braves have lost twice to the Cardinals this week. Max Fried is on the mound for the Braves tonight.
Peter Biello: And that's it for this edition of Georgia Today. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, visit GPB.org/news. If you haven't yet hit subscribe on this podcast, do it now. We'll be back in your podcast feed tomorrow afternoon. And if you've got feedback, we'd love to hear it. Send us an email. The address is GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.
For more on these stories and more, go to GPB.org/news.
Read the latest updates on the Georgia indictments here.