Georgia Today: Gullah Geechee settlement rezoning; Professor dissatisfaction; Acuna Jr. near history
LISTEN: On the Friday, Sept. 8 edition of Georgia Today: A proposal to rezone a historic Gullah Geechee settlement in Georgia meets fierce opposition; a new study shows growing dissatisfaction among university professors at Georgia colleges; and Ronald Acuña Jr. closes in on a benchmark only reached four times in baseball history.
Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Friday, Sept. 8. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, a proposal to rezone a historic Gullah Geechee settlement in Georgia meets fierce opposition. A new study shows growing dissatisfaction among university professors at Georgia colleges. And Ronald Acuña Jr. closes in on a benchmark only reached four times in baseball history. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.
Peter Biello: A proposal to rezone a historic Gullah Geechee settlement on Coastal Georgia's Sapelo Island was met with fierce opposition last night. As GPB's Benjamin Payne reports, the McIntosh county Zoning Board heard over 2 hours of public comment.
Benjamin Payne: GPB was prohibited by law enforcement from recording the public meeting, a violation of the Open Meetings Act, where 30 citizens spoke against the measure and no one in favor of it. If passed, the rezoning could open up the historic settlement of Hogg Hummock to commercial developers and drive out Gullah Geechee homeowners from their ancestral land. We spoke with Hogg Hummock resident Reginald Hall outside.
Reginald Hall: There is a scheme afoot. The scheme says one thing: How do we get the Black descendants of the enslaved people off of this island so that we can control their land, control what's built on their land, control how they operate on this land?
Benjamin Payne: The Hogg Hummock zoning amendment now heads to the McIntosh County Commission for a possible vote on Tuesday. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne in Darian.
Peter Biello: President Joe Biden has declared a major disaster in Georgia's Cook, Glynn and Lowndes County in the wake of Hurricane Idalia. With the declaration, federal funding is available to affected individuals in those counties. People can apply for grants for temporary housing, home repairs, as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. Federal funding also will be available to state and local governments, as well as some nonprofits for debris removal and emergency protective measures. Residents and business owners in Cook, Glynn and Lowndes counties can begin applying for assistance at DisasterAssistance.gov or through the FEMA app.
Peter Biello: The final report of a special investigative grand jury that spent nearly eight months examining efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election was released today. The panel recommended prosecutors seek charges against former President Donald Trump and 38 other people, including former Georgia's Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, as well as current South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. But those senators and many others were not among the 19 charged by Fulton County DA Fani Willis last month. That's because the special jury could only investigate and make recommendations. Willis had to ask a regular grand jury to issue the indictments and decide if those recommendations were able to be prosecuted.
Peter Biello: The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia approved today two major construction projects at Kennesaw State University: a new residence hall and a renovation of the school's baseball stadium. The new residence hall is designed to house 600 students, bringing the school's total capacity to 6,500 beds across the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses. The school says demand for on campus housing has grown along with enrollment. The baseball stadium improvements, funded primarily through private donations, will include a new turf playing surface, better lighting, new dugouts and an expansion of the seating capacity.
Peter Biello: A new study from the American Association of University Professors shows more than a quarter of public university professors in some states, including Georgia, are considering leaving their jobs. GPB's Sarah Kallis has more.
Sarah Kallis: The study surveyed over 1,500 university system of Georgia professors. Professors at public colleges in North Carolina, Florida and Texas were also surveyed. 27% of those asked said they planned to leave for teaching jobs outside of Georgia this year. Dr. Matthew Boedy helped conduct the study. He's also a University of North Georgia professor. He says salary was the most common reason given for job dissatisfaction. But political climate, changes to tenure and academic freedom were also common complaints.
Dr. Matthew Boedy: There was a chilling effect on their teaching, both from perhaps attacks on DEI, the divisive concepts bill — that only affects a certain number of us. But generally they thought that they were being stifled in what is that they could say and teach.
Sarah Kallis: About 65% of professors surveyed said they would not recommend the state to colleagues elsewhere. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis.
Peter Biello: The grocery chains Kroger and Albertsons will sell more than 400 stores and other assets for about $1.9 billion as they seek to clear a path for a merger. Antitrust regulators are currently reviewing the deal. The 413 stores are being sold to CNS Wholesale grocers. Kroger and Albertsons agreed to merge in October. Kroger would also assume nearly $5 billion in Albertsons debt. The deal is targeted to close early next year.
Peter Biello: Smack dab in the middle of Georgia, Macon posts its history to anyone that will listen. Now people can experience that history in Spanish with the city's launch of its first translated tour, which premieres today. GPB's Sofi Gratas has more.
Sofi Gratas: Part-time tour guide Jenny Howell is the first to lead a translated version of Macon's "Soul Sights" tour.
Jenny Howell: As with every beginner, you know, we — practice is going to make the master.
Sofi Gratas: With this tour, she's on a mission to get more Latinos to check out Macon.
Jenny Howell: There's so much to to do here. There's so much to do. And the Hispanic culture, they love culture.
Sofi Gratas: During the hourlong van tour, Howell points out the Tubman Museum, which holds such items as-
Jenny Howell: Los zapatos de James Brown y el piano del Little Richard...
Sofi Gratas: Shoes that belonged to James Brown and one of Little Richard's pianos. There's stories about City Hall, the Grand Opera House, and mansions with a quirky history like this one on College Street.
Jenny Howell: El inventor de Crisco. Esta casa del inventor de Crisco esta aqui en Macon.
Sofi Gratas: The inventor of Crisco, lived here. There's something for everyone.
Jenny Howell: Como se dice "serial killer" en espanol?
Sofi Gratas: Because, yes, Macon even has its own notorious serial killer. Macon's first Spanish language tour is running twice a month or for groups who book an advance through the city's visitor Center for GPB News, Sofi Gratas in Macon.
Peter Biello: In sports, former Atlantan Coco Gauff has made it to her first U.S. Open final by defeating Karolina Muchova yesterday. The 19-year-old is the youngest American to make it to the title match in New York since Serena Williams in 2001. She will meet Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus for the championship tomorrow. Meanwhile, Ben Shelton, who is from Georgia, will face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals today. In baseball, the Braves face the Pittsburgh Pirates at home tonight to open the three-game series. The Braves beat the Cardinals last night. As the Braves approach the postseason, a few players are closing in on records. First baseman Matt Olson is just four homers away from tying the franchise record of homers in a single season of 51, set by Andrew Jones in 2005. Max Fried, the winning pitcher in last night's game, says if you throw Olson the wrong pitch, he's going to hit it 20 rows back.
Max Freed: He's an extremely dangerous hitter, but just his work ethic and his more of his passion of hitting and playing baseball has been really, really fun to watch.
Peter Biello: Olson was named the Atlanta Braves nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Capital One. It's an annual recognition of a major league player who best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field. Also chasing records: Ronald Acuña Jr, who hit two home runs last night, bringing his season total up to 34. He's already stolen a major league-leading 63 bases and could make it to a 40 homer, 40 stolen base season, a marker of excellence achieved by only four players in MLB history: Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Alfonso Soriano. Speaking through an interpreter, Acuña says it was never the goal to reach 40.
Interpreter of Ronald Acuna Jr: But now that it's within sight. Obviously, you know, would be nice. But with the season sort of being at the end and the numbers being where they are, it's feels like it's getting tight. We're running out of time. But the main most important thing, as you know, has been the main objective is to stay healthy.
Peter Biello: None of those other players to reach the 40-40 mark came anywhere close to Acuña's stolen base total. The closest, A-Rod, reached 46. One could say this was facilitated by the bigger bases that MLB started using this year, which was meant to encourage more stolen bases. But you have to get on base before you can steal one and Acuna leads the majors in hits this season with 187 so far. In football, the Atlanta Falcons host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to open the regular NFL season. And the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs will face Ball State at home tomorrow. Coming off a 48 to 7 victory over FCS opponent Tennessee Martin in the season opener, Georgia is a 43-and-a-half-point favorite against Ball State. That's according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
And that's it for this edition of Georgia Today. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, head on over to our web site, GPB.org/news. If you haven't subscribed to this podcast, we encourage you to do it now. We'll be back in your podcast feed on Monday. And if you have feedback or perhaps a story idea for us, we would love to hear from you. 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.