LISTEN: On the Wednesday, May 15 edition of Georgia Today: President Joe Biden and rival former President Donald Trump make plans to debate in Atlanta next month; Georgia State University announces plans for a new baseball stadium; and the Cobb County School district is accused of discriminatory censorship.

New Georgia Today Podcast Logo

Peter Biello: Welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Wednesday, May 15. I'm Peter Biello. On today's episode, President Joe Biden and rival former President Donald Trump make plans to debate in Atlanta next month. Georgia State University announces plans for a new baseball stadium, and the Cobb County School District is accused of discriminatory censorship. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Peter Biello: President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have agreed to meet in Atlanta for a televised debate on June 27. CNN said today it will host a face-off between the two presidential candidates without an audience present. The two campaigns also agreed to a debate hosted by ABC on Sept. 10. Still, the two sides appeared to hold some differences on key questions on how the debates will proceed. This morning, Trump expressed his desire for a large live audience for his debates with Biden. Trump's campaign also challenged the Biden campaign today to agree to at least two other debates. The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The selection of Georgia as a debate location highlights the state's battleground status.


Story 2:

Peter Biello: The Cobb County School District is the target of an official complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. The complaint states that the district has practiced, quote, "discriminatory censorship" in its book banning practices. The National Women's Law Center filed the complaint Monday stating that Cobb, along with a Florida district, have targeted reading materials that pertain to and are written by LGBTQ+ and minority authors. Cobb County Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said in April that he doesn't see the process as book banning.


Story 3:

Peter Biello: The Georgia Supreme Court heard final arguments today in a challenge to a law that was used to arrest two state lawmakers. GPB's Sarah Kallis reports.

Sarah Kallis: The law allows police at the state Capitol to arrest anyone causing disruptions while the Legislature is in session. Plaintiffs argue the law hinders free speech. But lawyers for the state say it is necessary for safety. Gerry Weber represents the plaintiffs in the case.

Gerry Weber: And we think that the state Capitol is the heart of state government, where free speech should be at its maximum.

Sarah Kallis: State Rep. Park Cannon was arrested in 2021 after knocking on Gov. Brian Kemp's door as he signed a controversial voting bill. U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams, another plaintiff, was arrested in 2018 following the midterms during a protest to count all ballots at the Capitol. The charges were dropped against both lawmakers. The state Supreme Court says it will issue a decision soon. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis at the state Supreme Court.

Story 4:

Peter Biello: Georgia State University plans to build a baseball stadium at the site where the Braves first played in Atlanta, and Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home run record in 1974. The University System Board of Regents approved the $15 million project yesterday. GSU plans to build a 1,000-seat ballpark for its Panthers baseball program near its downtown athletic village. The site is currently a parking lot where Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, home of the Braves for 30 years ending in 1996, once stood. The Panthers currently play about 12 miles away in DeKalb County.


Story 5:

Peter Biello: Sad news for lovers of Red Lobster's cheese biscuits. The restaurant chain says it's closing nearly 50 of its restaurants in the U.S. Three in Georgia have been listed online as temporarily closed. Those are in Roswell, Dublin and Athens. Red Lobster has been struggling for some time as lease and labor costs have piled up in recent years.


Story 6:

Peter Biello: Walmart has announced layoffs affecting several hundred jobs at the retail giant's campus offices. The company also said it will be requiring most remote workers and personnel in its Atlanta, Dallas and Toronto offices to relocate to office hubs in Arkansas, New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay area. The news, conveyed via a Walmart staff memo provided to The Associated Press, said the relocations will serve the goal of, quote, "bringing more of us together more often."


Story 7:

Peter Biello: USPS is pausing a few major network changes until next year amid delivery delays. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy made the announcement in a letter to lawmakers. The pause primarily focuses on about 60 mail processing facilities around the country. Those facilities have been undergoing reviews. Last month, DeJoy faced withering scrutiny by Georgia's Sen. Jon Ossoff and other lawmakers whose constituents were upset over the mail delays.


Story 8:

Peter Biello: A former warehouse assistant at Augusta National Golf Club has pleaded guilty to transporting millions of dollars worth of stolen Masters Tournament memorabilia and historic items. Richard Globensky entered the plea today at his initial appearance in a federal court in Chicago. Prosecutors say the 39-year-old took items from the warehouse to another party in Florida to sell online. They say the scheme went on for nearly a decade, and Globensky made about $5 million from the sales. One of Arnold Palmer's green jackets was among the items stolen.

Story 9:

Peter Biello: As the weather warms up and Georgians head out onto the water, several partner groups are teaming up to teach boating safety skills. Low-cost kayaking lessons are available this weekend at five Georgia locations. Andrea White of the Georgia River Network says it's all about the basics: wear a life jacket, make a float plan, and don't be lulled into complacency by "easy water."

Andrea White: What we've seen in the statistics is that the incidents of fatalities happening on what we might call easy water — things that that people take for granted — are now outnumbering those in more difficult conditions, which means that every one of those incidents of fatalities is highly preventable.

Peter Biello: The American Canoe Association and its partners will offer 43 simultaneous kayaking 101 classes across seven states to kick off Safe Boating Week on Saturday. The Georgia locations include three on Lake Allatoona and one each on Lake Oconee and on Getaway Island. There's also a South Carolina location at Aiken State Park east of Augusta.


Story 10:

Peter Biello: The Macon Housing Authority is planning its first affordable housing development outside of Georgia. One of the authority's subsidiary corporations, Infill Housing, wants to build a 64-unit apartment complex in South Carolina. The project manager says this is an opportunity to, quote, "cast their net further." In Georgia, the housing authority and its subsidiaries have developments in cities like Forsyth, Rome and Columbus.



Story 11:

Peter Biello: The Atlanta Braves are partnering with state health officials to create awareness of the 988 crisis line. GPB's Ellen Eldridge reports, on May 29 the first pitch of the Braves game will be thrown by Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kevin Tanner.

Ellen Eldridge: Tanner says his chance at a perfect pitch is the perfect opportunity to let people know about the crisis line. Two years after its launch, more people from rural Georgia are calling 988. Statewide, 12% of callers are under 18, but DBHDD estimates only 16% of Georgians know about the suicide line. So the Atlanta Braves reached out to Tanner.

Kevin Tanner: So they made the offer and asked me if I was interested in doing it. And I — how often do you get the opportunity to go out and throw the first pitch at a Braves game? So I jumped on that.

Ellen Eldridge: Tanner says 988 call response time is down to 12 seconds, but they are still struggling with how long it takes mobile crisis teams to arrive. For GPB News, I'm Ellen Eldridge.


Story 13:

Peter Biello: In sports, the Braves are aiming for a series sweep tonight as they face the Chicago Cubs at Truist Park. The Braves have so far shut out the Cubs twice in a row, winning last night's game 7 to nothing. Starter Chris Sale allowed only two hits over seven innings of work and directed his praise toward the team.

Chris Sale: I can't stress enough. Like, what this clubhouse is like: The energy that's in there, the — and just the group of guys that's in there and, like, what everyone brings to the table and just how laid back it is. Honestly, it's, it's just — it's a lot of fun. It's like playing college summer baseball, just with brighter lights.

Peter Biello: Both Matt Olson and Michael Harris II homered in a six-run fourth inning. And still no word on when third baseman Austin Riley will rejoin the lineup after leaving the game on Sunday with left side inflammation. In the meantime, Zach Short, who the Braves just picked up from the Red Sox less than a week ago, has been holding his own at the hot corner. He went 1 for 3 last night with a single and a walk, and hit an RBI double on Monday.


Peter Biello: And that is it for this edition of Georgia Today. If you want to learn more about any of these stories, visit And if you haven't subscribed to the podcast, do it now. We'll be back in your podcast feed tomorrow with the latest Georgia headlines. And if you've got feedback, send it our way by email. The address is I'm Peter Biello. Thanks for listening. We'll see you tomorrow.


For more on these stories and more, go to

Tags: Atlanta  Georgia  podcast  news