LISTEN: On the Tuesday, March 5 edition of Georgia Today: A former South Georgia superintendent has been arrested; a Georgia commission to discipline and remove prosecutors is one step closer to reality; and the district attorney in Columbus has taken to social media to address rumors that he is dead.

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Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Tuesday, March 5. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, a former South Georgia superintendent has been arrested. A Georgia commission to discipline and remove prosecutors is one step closer to reality. And the district attorney in Columbus has taken to social media to address rumors that he is dead. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Peter Biello: Authorities have arrested the former school superintendent in Valdosta's Lowndes County on 22 felony counts. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said yesterday. Shawn Harolson filled up his pickup trucks with school-owned fuel and used it for his personal travel outside the county on multiple occasions. Haralson led Lowndes County Schools from July 2022 until he resigned a year later over the allegations. His charges of theft and unauthorized use of a financial card will be tried in the Southern Judicial District.


Story 2:

Peter Biello: The district attorney in Columbus is denying rumors that he's dead. Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit DA Stacey Jackson posted on social media yesterday that rumors of his death are untrue. He's been on medical leave since November for an undisclosed illness. The post asks for respect for Jackson, his office and his family. Jackson became district attorney in May 2022 after former DA Mark Jones pleaded guilty to misconduct in office and resigned.

Joe Biden speaks to a crowd.

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Morehouse College in this photo from November 2015.

Credit: David Goldman/AP

Story 3:

Peter Biello: Some Georgia liberals are hoping to send President Joe Biden a message in next week's presidential primary. They're asking Democratic voters to leave their ballot blank in protest of his policies toward Israel and its war in Gaza. Georgia attorney Edward Mitchell of the Council on American-Islamic relations is part of the coalition that announced the effort at a news conference at the state Capitol today.

Edward Mitchell: We are really trying to see President Biden prove himself by trying to let him understand that if he continues on this path, there is a very good chance he is going to face headwinds come November 2024.

Peter Biello: Mitchell says he'll consider the effort a success if, quote, "several thousand voters" leave their ballots blank.


Story 4:

Peter Biello: The first confirmed baby right whale of the year has been found dead from a collision with a ship. GPB's Devon Zwald reports on the devastating blow for the vanishing species.

Devon Zwald: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was notified of a dead right whale stranded on Cumberland Island on Sunday. They identified the whale as the injured calf of right whale Juneau. The calf was first seen in early January with serious injuries to its head, mouth and lip from a vessel strike. Endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction, according to NOAA. Juno's calf is the 39th death since 2017, but only about a third of right whale deaths are documented, the agency believes. There are about 360 whales remaining. The primary causes of death are entanglements and fishing gear and vessel strikes. For GPB News, I'm Devon Zwald.

Story 5:

Peter Biello: Georgia House budget writers approved a $36 billion fiscal 2025 state budget today. The spending plan includes pay raises for teachers, state and university system employees, and judges. The House Appropriations Committee signed off on most of the spending recommendations Gov. Brian Kemp presented to state lawmakers in January.


Story 6:

Peter Biello: A Georgia commission to discipline and remove prosecutors now only needs Gov. Brian Kemp's signature before it can begin operations. The state House voted 97 to 73 today for Senate Bill 332, sending it to Kemp, who says he will sign it. Democrats warn it's a partisan weapon aimed at disrupting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis's prosecution of former President Donald Trump. Dallas state representative Republican Joseph Gullett says he has another DA in mind.

Joseph Gullett: This is to address Athens-Clarke County. When you have a district attorney writing a Day 1 memo saying, "I'm not going to prosecute these cases," posting it on the wall to the members of the community, that's a problem. That's rogue.

Peter Biello: Kemp signed the prosecuting attorney's Qualifications Commission into law last year, but the Georgia Supreme Court blocked its operations. The new measure doesn't require the court's approval.


Story 7:

Peter Biello: The Georgia company that identified exactly how President Joe Biden's voice was faked in a robocall ahead of the New Hampshire primary in January, has launched a new technology aimed at protecting businesses from fraud. Atlanta-based tech startup PinDrop identified the text to speech engine used in the first-of-its-kind attack, a wakeup call for the possibility of deep fakes in politics and media. Company vice president Amit Gupta says the technology, PinDrop Pulse, is aimed at call centers, phone carriers, software developers and eventually consumers.

Amit Gupta: The bad actors don't like to follow rules, and from that perspective, you know, there's — they can use good technology for bad purposes as well. And that's why you need technology to detect the nefarious use of these bad actors.

Peter Biello: PinDrop counts a number of banks, insurers and retailers among its clients. State lawmakers are considering a bill that would criminalize using deep fakes for election interference.

Current and former CNN employees gather in front of the iconic red letters on June 1, 2023 to mark the network's 43 years. The sign will be moved to the company's Techwood location this year.

Current and former CNN employees gather in front of the iconic red letters at CNN Center on June 1, 2023, to mark the network's 43rd anniversary. The sign will be moved to the company's Techwood Drive location later this year.

Credit: Matt Sloane / Sky Fire Drone

Story 8:

Peter Biello: Crews have removed the iconic CNN sign that stood outside the CNN Center overlooking Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Photos posted on social media showed a large crane hauling off the sign, with its large red letters that many people would take pictures of when they visited Atlanta. The symbol is set to be renovated and moved to CNN's new campus in Atlanta, near the Warner Brothers Studios in Midtown. Warner Media announced it was selling the CNN Center in 2020.


Story 9:

Peter Biello: The Atlanta Braves have unveiled $10 million in new amenities at Truist Park for the 2024 season. Team officials said today the upgrades include new group seating, hospitality areas, concessions and retail spaces described as the first step of multiphase improvements to the park. The Braves' home opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks is set for April 5.

Peter Biello: And that is it for this edition of Georgia Today. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, visit our website,, and remember to subscribe to this podcast. It's the best way to make sure we automatically pop up in your podcast feed tomorrow afternoon. And if you've got feedback or a story idea, send it our way by email. The address is Georgia I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


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