LISTEN: On the Monday, Sept. 18 edition of Georgia Today: FEMA opens a disaster center in Valdosta to help those affected by Hurricane Idalia; Cobb County students fight back against book bans; and new signs on Savannah streets promote making donations to charities to help the unhoused.

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Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, Sept. 18. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, FEMA opens a disaster center in Valdosta to help those affected by Hurricane Idalia; Cobb County students fight back against book bans; And new signs on Savannah streets promote making donations to charities to help the unhoused. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.

Georgia Sen. Shawn Still

Georgia Sen. Shawn Still is one of 16 Georgians who signed a certificate falsely declaring former President Donald Trump's victory in Georgia in the 2020 presidential election.


Story 1:

Peter Biello: A Georgia state senator who is one of 19 indicted on charges that he sought to illegally overturn the results of Georgia's 2020 presidential election will not be suspended from office. A spokesperson for Gov. Brian Kemp said Friday that a three-person panel did not recommend that State Sen. Shawn Still be temporarily removed from office while his cases pending. The three-person panel was required by the state constitution.


Story 2:

Peter Biello: The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a disaster recovery center in Valdosta yesterday. The city was among the hardest hit when Hurricane Idalia cut through South Georgia late last month. The agency says staff members will be there to help residents with disaster assistance face-to-face, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lowndes County Civic Center.

Story 3:

Peter Biello: Cobb County student organizers are working to recruit more of their peers to speak out against the school board's recent bans on certain books in classroom discussions. GPB's Amanda Andrews reports on a contentious recent school board meeting.

Amanda Andrews: On Friday, public comment escalated to physical altercations after the board made last-minute changes to public comment access. Cobb County students with the Georgia Youth Justice Coalition were there to speak in opposition to Georgia's divisive concept law. GYJC representative Haya Fatmi says restricting content has had the opposite effect on students' learning.

Haya Fatmi: No matter how much you try to ban books or try to limit our education, that's what's going to get us to go out and seek for that and to go out and read about it and to learn about it and to explore ourselves more in that identity.

Amanda Andrews: Last month, the Cobb County Board of Education fired a teacher for reading a book to students about gender identity. She has since appealed her dismissal. The Cobb Board of Education meets again Oct. 19. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.


Story 4:

Peter Biello: Visitors to Savannah might notice a new kind of street sign downtown, but they're not for directing traffic. GPB's Benjamin Payne reports, they promote making donations to charities that help the unhoused.

Benjamin Payne: "Panhandling will stop when you give change that counts." That's the wording on more than 100 signs being installed by the city. Each one sports a QR code allowing visitors to donate from their smartphones to four local day centers which serve people experiencing homelessness. Savannah City Manager Jay Melder says the new signage campaign...

Jay Melder: people the ability who may not want to give for whatever reason to somebody asking for money, but know that in their heart they want to help. Here's a place that you can donate some funds to that. You know what's going to be going to support services that are going to make a difference in people's lives.

Benjamin Payne: Officials in Augusta have expressed interest in putting up similar signs to help fund their homeless services. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne in Savannah.

Emergency sign on hospital
Credit: Pexels

Story 5:

Peter Biello: The state's injury prevention program is working with community and academic partners to lower deaths by injury. GPB's Ellen Eldridge has more.

Ellen Eldridge: The Georgia Department of Public Health has nine programs addressing various causes of injuries over a person's life, including suicide, homicide and workplace accidents. Lisa Dawson is the director of the Injury Prevention Program. She says the state had some of the highest rates of death from injury.

Lisa Dawson: In the five-year period between 2005 and 2009, before we really had a substantial and funded collaboration with the Injury Prevention Research Center at Emory, Georgia had the 23rd highest age-adjusted injury death rate among all 50 states.

Ellen Eldridge: She says Georgia dropped 14 places and now has the 37th highest death rate. For GPB News, I'm Ellen Eldridge.


Story 6:

Peter Biello: Cobb County officials have identified a suspect in a 51-year-old murder case. 9-year-old Debbie Lynn Randall was abducted, raped and killed in Marietta when she was walking home in 1972. The county's district attorney said this morning that they believe William B. Rose of Mableton committed the crime. He died by suicide in 1974.


Story 7:

Peter Biello: The city of Savannah will contribute a half million dollars to renovate a house that once hosted an African-American art museum. The city council voted last week to put the money toward the estimated $1.2 million restoration of the Kiah House. The house operated as a museum for more than 40 years until owner Virginia Kiah died in 2001. The house fell into disrepair, leading the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation to name it as an endangered site. The Galvan Foundation will fund the remainder of the project.


Story 8:

Peter Biello: Federal workplace safety officials are fining a South Georgia farm $41,000 for violations that resulted in the death of a worker in a grain silo. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration said on Friday that the worker died by suffocation in April while attempting to unclog a grain bin. The agency said Cedar Head Farm in Miller County could have prevented the death.


Story 9:

Peter Biello: In sports: In baseball, Kyle Wright takes the mound tonight as the Braves return home to Truist Park to take on the Philadelphia Phillies, a team they could face again as the Phillies currently have the lead in the wild card spot. The Braves are coming off losing all three games of the series against the Miami Marlins, having lost yesterday 16 to 2. Ronald Acuña Jr. has missed the last few games due to tightness in his right calf.

The Atlanta Braves' 2023 'City Connect' jersey by Nike is an homage to baseball legend Hank Aaron.

The Atlanta Braves' 2023 'City Connect' jersey by Nike is an homage to baseball legend Hank Aaron.

Credit: MLB

Peter Biello: And that's it for this edition of Georgia Today. Thank you so much for tuning in. And if you haven't subscribed yet, please do it now. We will be back and your podcast feed tomorrow afternoon. And if you want to learn more about any of the stories you heard on the podcast today, there's always our website. Check it out. It's And if you've got feedback or maybe a story you'd like us to report on, let us know about it. Our email address is I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


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Read the latest updates on the Georgia indictments here.