On the Wednesday, Nov. 1 edition of Georgia Today: More jobs in the auto-sector are coming to Georgia courtesy of Hyundai; a year after the closing of the Atlanta Medical Center, the effects are still being felt; and it's been a banner year for Georgia's sea turtles. 

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Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Wednesday, Nov. 1. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, more jobs in the auto sector are coming to Georgia, courtesy of Hyundai. A year after the closing of the Atlanta Medical Center, the effects are still being felt. And it's been a banner year for Georgia sea turtles. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Peter Biello: You can now add the city of Newnan to the list of places in Georgia that will be home to some part of the auto industry. Hyundai Industrial plans to create 100 jobs when it builds a new manufacturing facility there. That brings the total new auto parts supplier jobs to more than 5,300. That's according to the governor's office. And that is in addition to the 8,500 workers expected at the Hyundai Electric Vehicle plant under construction west of Savannah. Hyundai Industrial makes car seats, armrests and headrests for Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Other companies have recently announced projects in the auto parts space. South Korea's Hwashin says it's building a $176 million facility to employ more than 400 workers in Middle Georgia's Laurens County and Ohio-based F&P says it's planning a $22 million expansion of its facility, already one of the largest employers in Northwest Georgia's Floyd County.


Story 2:

Peter Biello: Delta Air Lines says a pilot accused of threatening to shoot a plane's captain during a flight no longer works for the airline. The Atlanta-based airline said today it wouldn't comment further on the incident, which happened on a flight last year. Pilot Jonathan Dunn was indicted two weeks ago and charged with interfering with a flight crew. Federal transportation officials say Dunn was the copilot and threatened to shoot the captain after a disagreement over diverting the flight to care for a passenger with a medical issue. The Transportation Security Administration had authorized him to carry a gun on board under a program created after the Sept. 11 attacks designed to safeguard the cockpit from intruders.


Story 3:

Peter Biello: Georgia's peanut harvest is coming in later than usual. Farmers say it's because of the weather over the last few months. GPB's Sarah Kallis reports a wet spring and a dry summer have taken a toll on the crop, a nearly $800 million Georgia commodity.

Sarah Kallis: The peanut harvest and Joe Boddiford's farm are normally wrapping up by now. The owner of Savannah Peanut Company says he has been farming the crop for half of a century and he calls this year's growing season unusual. He says a cool, wet spring on his east Georgia farm was followed by a hot, dry summer.

Joe Boddiford: The ground temperature was too cold. But after that, it was too cold and too wet. And you know the difference between having a wet shirt on and a dry shirt on in cool weather, you understand how it would affect the seed just like it affects you.

Sarah Kallis: Boddiford says that most of his crop has yet to be dug and harvested and he expects about 20 of his 650 acres of peanuts will stay in the ground. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis.

Story 4:

Peter Biello: For ordinary people, blocking someone on social media is no big deal. For politicians, it can be trouble. A Georgia state lawmaker has settled a lawsuit with a man she blocked on Facebook. Marietta state Rep., Republican Jenny Earhart blocked Thomas Biederman from her office's Facebook page because she said Biederman violated her page's standards. Biederman sued, claiming Earhart violated his constitutional rights to free speech. Under terms of the settlement, Earhart agreed not to block people on her official page. She'll also refrain from using her personal page for government business. She also agreed to pay Biederman's $80,000 legal bill. The question of politicians blocking constituents on social media is up for debate at the highest court in the land. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in two similar cases.


Story 5:

Peter Biello: Today marks the one-year anniversary since the health care giant Wellstar shut down its Atlanta Medical Center. GPB's Orlando Montoya reports the impacts of the hospital's closure are still being felt while questions about the site's future remain.

Orlando Montoya: The closure shocked Atlanta leaders, leaving Grady Hospital as the lone Level 1 trauma center in Georgia's largest city. Atlanta trauma surgeon Mark Walker says the disruption to the city's health care ecosystem has been devastating.

Mark Walker: People have suffered as a consequence of the closure. The time is now for us to begin to address this in a very serious and purposeful way.

Orlando Montoya: Walker and some community leaders want the hulking building restarted as a hospital, but that might take years. Others want a crisis support center. In the meantime, it sits empty in a prime location for development. For GPB News, I'm Orlando Montoya.


Story 6:

Peter Biello: A privately funded effort is underway to find three Camden County men who left on a fishing trip from a Brunswick dock 18 days ago and never returned. The U.S. Coast Guard spent seven days searching an area off the Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Florida before calling off their effort. Brian Thrascher is with the United Cajun Navy, a Louisiana-based nonprofit that helps with search and rescue operations. He says his group is helping raise funds as the family of missing boater Tyler Barlow pays for a plane to search more areas.

Brian Trascher: You know, it's anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 a day for these flights. And I think we've raised enough to keep the planes in the air at least another two or three days at least, and hopefully a little more.

Peter Biello: Also missing are Caleb Wilkinson and Dalton Conway. The United Cajun Navy believes the men's boat may now be drifting as far north as Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.


Story 7:

Peter Biello: Atlanta-based fast casual restaurant chain Chicken Salad Chick has acquired the Atlanta bakery Piece of Cake to bolster its dessert menu. The company did not disclose the terms of the deal in its announcement today. Chicken Salad Chick has more than 240 restaurants in 18 states, while Piece of Cake has 10 locations in the Atlanta area. The deal keeps bakery founder and CEO Melissa Jernigan involved in the company as cake expert and isn't expected to affect Piece of Cake's 120 employees.


Story 8:

Peter Biello: Sea turtle hatching season in Georgia officially ended yesterday. As GPB's Benjamin Payne reports, it was a banner year for the threatened species.

Benjamin Payne: About 160,000 hatchlings emerged across the beaches of Coastal Georgia through October. Georgia Sea Turtle Center research manager Davide Zailo is pleasantly surprised. He had been expecting a lower number since last year was a high point after which many sea turtles take the next few years off.

Davide Zailo: We're seeing about a 3% to 4% increase in nesting each year, and it just shows to me that dedicated long-term conservation management actions can pay off. We're not approaching historic levels yet. We likely won't for another 15 or 20 years, according to some demographic models. But it's a sign that we're on the road to recovery.

Benjamin Payne: On Jekyll Island, where the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is located, three sea turtle moms returned unexpectedly after nesting just last year. Their names? Rogue, Justice and Dos Equis. For GPB News, I'm Benjamin Payne.



Story 9:

Peter Biello: A woman is suing the Atlanta Braves and World Series star Jorge Soler for hitting her with a baseball during the World Series two years ago. In a suit filed in Cobb County Superior Court last week, Mayra Norris says Soler threw the souvenir ball too hard into the crowd at Truist Park, badly injuring her eye. Norris's attorney, Suzanne Shaw, says players need to be more careful and the Braves can't hide behind warnings for fans to pay attention at all times.

Suzanne Shaw: The way that these disclaimers of liability, the way that they're written, protects players from exercising, you know, ordinary diligence.

Peter Biello: Shaw says the lawsuit was filed recently because the two-year statute of limitations had almost run out and her clients and the Braves couldn't resolve the dispute outside court. The Norrises are also demanding unspecified punitive damages. Soler and the Braves have not responded to requests for comment.


Story 10:

Peter Biello: In other sports news, two-time PGA champion Justin Thomas has joined the Atlanta Drive Golf Club. Atlanta Drive is one of six teams in the new TGL League, which was created by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. Thomas is the first player to join one of the six teams in the new league. And in football, the Atlanta Falcons have a new starting quarterback and it's a hometown pick. Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said today that Lawrenceville, Ga., native Taylor Heinicke will start against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. After Sunday, however, his future in the spot is uncertain. He spent two seasons with Washington and he once played at Collins Hills High School in the Atlanta suburbs.

And that is it for this edition of Georgia Today. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, head on over to our website, GPB.org/news, and subscribe to this podcast so we will be there in your podcast feed automatically tomorrow afternoon. If you've got feedback, we would love to hear from you. Email us. 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