LISTEN: On the Monday, May 20 edition of Georgia Today: President Joe Biden delivered the commencement speech at Atlanta's Morehouse College over the weekend; MARTA reopens a rail station at Hartfield-Jackson International Airport after six weeks of renovations. We'll tell you what's new. And GPB's Peach Jam returns for a third season, showcasing outstanding musical acts from around Georgia.

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Orlando Montoya: Hello and welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Monday, May 20. I'm Orlando Montoya. On today's episode, President Joe Biden delivers the commencement speech in Atlanta's Morehouse College over the weekend. MARTA reopens a rail station at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport after six weeks of renovations. We'll tell you what's new. And GPB's Peach Jam returns for a third season showcasing outstanding musical acts from around Georgia. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Orlando Montoya: President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address at Morehouse College in Atlanta yesterday, Despite concerns of protests over the U.S. support for Israel in the war on Gaza, Morehouse's graduation proceeded without interruption. Biden made a rare comment about the situation in Gaza during his commencement speech.

Joe Biden: It's a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. That's why I call for an immediate ceasefire — an immediate ceasefire, to stop the fighting. Bring the hostages home. I've been working on a deal as we speak.

Orlando Montoya: Demonstrators held a peaceful protest near the building where Biden gave the address. Biden also received an honorary degree from Morehouse and spoke about the college's role in the fight for racial equality.

Story 2:

Orlando Montoya: At neighboring Spelman College, actor and director Angela Bassett delivered the commencement address. She told graduates the university is a, quote, "higher education equivalent of Wakanda," the fictional country from one of the most popular movies she starred in. And that Spelman has, quote, "prepared them for greatness." Bassett also received an honorary degree and Doctor of Fine Arts from the University and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson received an honorary degree in Doctor of Laws.


Story 3:

Orlando Montoya: Gov. Brian Kemp says he's spending more than a half million dollars from his political committee to help a state Supreme Court justice he appointed when election abortion is at the center of the race. Former Democratic Congressman John Barrow is challenging incumbent Justice Andrew Pinson and appointed to the state supreme Court by Kemp in 2022. Barrow is promising that he will protect the right to abortion if he is elected. Justice Pinson has declined to comment on the issue since he's currently on the court. Kemp encouraged Georgians to vote for Pinson in a recent television ad and on social media.

Brian Kemp: The true conservative in this race, he will keep Georgia strong. It is no time to put a career politician on our Supreme Court.

Orlando Montoya: Barrow served in Congress from 2005 to January 2015, representing Georgia's 12th District. Reproductive rights groups have publicly supported him. Barrow's spokesperson says ultimately, the race will hinge on turnout at the polls. The race will appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballots tomorrow, since the race is nonpartisan.


Story 4:

Orlando Montoya: Today marks two years since Korean automaker Hyundai announced plans to build a $5 billion electric vehicle manufacturing facility just west of Savannah in Bryan County. Since then, officials from the region have jumpstarted workforce development initiatives. Last week, school superintendents, development Authority leaders and industry representatives from four counties met to discuss aligning education and workforce needs during a first-of-its-kind meeting. Anna Chaffin brought them together. She heads the newly formed regional Industry Support enterprise.

Anna Chaffin: What was extremely encouraging is that everybody in the room unanimously said that they want to continue the conversation. And when I asked about the frequency, they want to meet quarterly.

Orlando Montoya: Hyundai says it plans to start production at the Bryant County plant later this year.


Story 5:

Orlando Montoya: In other business news, the number of newly listed homes for sale in the Atlanta area was up nearly 31% in April compared to April the year before. Real estate giant Remax said Thursday that's the largest increase in any southeastern market except Miami and fifth nationally. The numbers come ahead of what are traditionally the busiest months for home sales.

Story 6:

Orlando Montoya: After six weeks of construction, metro Atlanta's public transit agency, MARTA, has reopened its rail station at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. GPB's Amanda Andrews explains what changes travelers can expect to see.

Amanda Andrews: The two major renovations include updates to the Airport station platform and new flooring on the concourse level. The shuttle from College Park to the airport was moving roughly 9,000 passengers a day while the station was closed. MARTA Chief Capital Officer Carrie Rocha says the airport platform has been completely redone from the paint to new signage.

Carrie Rocha: We now have these bright yellow strips on the edge to show you where the edge of the platform is. We were able to get a lot of flashing work done and ceiling, so that all the leaks that had been going into the building, those are now controlled.

Amanda Andrews: Work will continue on the airport station to install new public art and a canopy. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.


Story 7:

Orlando Montoya: State transportation officials are moving forward with plans to expand a network of toll lanes in metro Atlanta. A state transportation board voted Thursday to work with the State Road and Tollway Authority to add toll lanes to the top half of I-85, and along Georgia 400 to the North Springs MARTA station.


Story 8:

Orlando Montoya: Metro Atlanta Congressman David Scott says he doubts the current draft of the farm bill will pass the U.S. House. The House Agriculture Committee on Friday released a draft of the long awaited $1.5 trillion legislation that sets the nation's farm, nutrition, commodity and conservation policies for the next five years. Scott is the top Democrat on the Republican-controlled committee. He says proposed cuts to the federal Nutrition Assistance Program SNAP make the bill unlikely to pass a narrowly divided House.


Story 9:

Orlando Montoya: Savannah-based aircraft manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace says its new G700 aircraft has received certification from the European Union's Aviation Safety agency. The certification, announced on Wednesday of last week, paves the way for more customer deliveries of the company's largest and fastest aircraft. Gulfstream, owned by General Dynamics, is Chatham County's largest employer, with 12,000 workers in the Savannah area.


Story 10:

Orlando Montoya: The Braves dropped the first game of a doubleheader today as the Padres rallied for a four-run eighth inning. The final score was 6 to 5. Marcell Ozuna and Matt Olson hit back-to-back home runs in the third inning, and starter Reynaldo Lopez gave up only two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. But reliever Joe Jimenez gave up three hits, two walks and four runs in the eighth, putting the Braves behind for good. Manager Brian Snitker says this is part of the game.

Brian Snitker: I don't know that I've ever been involved in baseball, ever, that everything went right and you didn't have stretches like this, and there's really nothing you can do but handle it. Just keep working, keep grinding, keep — just handle it. Because on the back end there's always something really good.

Orlando Montoya: Georgia native Dylan Cease started the game for the Padres, throwing four innings and striking out five in the second game of the doubleheader is scheduled for 6:20 p.m.

Peach Jam: show-mezzanine16x9

Story 11:

Orlando Montoya: GPB's Peach Jam is back for a third season, showcasing musicians with ties to Georgia. The podcast's host Jeremy Powell joined GPB's Peter Biello in the studio for a preview of the new season.

Peter Biello: Jeremy, thanks for coming on.

Jeremy Powell: Well, I'm glad to be here.

Peter Biello: And congrats on Season No. 3 of Peach Jam.

Jeremy Powell: Thank you.

Peter Biello: For those that are not familiar with Peach Jam, tell us a little more about it.

Jeremy Powell: So Peach Jam is GPB's music show. It's a TV show and a podcast. This is the third season of the podcast, that just debuted last Friday, and I'm so excited to get to do this because I get to discover musicians and artists from all over the state, bring them here to GPB, and we record in our big TV studios we have downstairs. And it's — it's so fun.

Peter Biello: It's fun too, because we get to discover along with you. Tell us who we should be discovering this season.

Jeremy Powell: Well, the — the band that was first, that just released last Friday is HeyDreamer. They're from Atlanta, and they are so good.

MUSIC: Hay Trimmers

Peter Biello: So that one's called "Blood on Dirt." Wow. Starting — hard-charging rock right out the gate.

Jeremy Powell: I know right? Straightforward rock n roll from HeyDreamer. And what's interesting is Melody, who's the lead singer of the band, tells me about how she's working on her master's in music business. She has an undergrad from Berkeley School of Music, and then is working on a master's from Berkeley School of Music. She's very methodical with how she works her band. It's very businesslike. It's such an interesting conversation. You can hear all of that on the podcast.

Peter Biello: Fascinating, fascinating. I understand you also have Pine Box Dwellers coming up this season.

Jeremy Powell: They are from Waycross, Ga., and they play like swampy, acoustic country rock. It is so fun.

MUSIC: Pine Box Dwellers

Peter Biello: So that's "Something in the Water" by Pine Box Dwellers. You described them as "swampy" and that is correct.

Jeremy Powell: Yes, right? It sounds like South Georgia. It really does. So they are — they're two guys. And what it is, is, one of them is — is older. He's in his 40s and he's got this band with his buddy's kid and now his buddy's kid's in his 30s or something, or 20s. But it's this interesting dynamic between the two of them. They're quiet, they're reserved, they're super nice. But then when they play, like they have so much personality in the music and it's it's so good.

Peter Biello: All right. Who else is coming up this season?

Jeremy Powell: Timothy Leon drove up from Camilla, Ga. Now Peter, do you know where Camilla, Ga. is?

Peter Biello: I have no idea where that is.

Jeremy Powell: South of Albany.

Peter Biello: Okay.

Jeremy Powell: It's almost to Tallahassee, Fla. And he drove up to be a part of Peach Jam and we partied. It was so fun.

MUSIC: Timothy Leon

Peter Biello: So that song is called "You." And, you can feel that bassline in your chest, basically.

Jeremy Powell: Right? Right? It is — he's so talented. So Timothy Leon is a graduate of SCAD there in Savannah. And so he's from Camilla. He's a preacher's kid. He tells me all about that. But he's got this poppy, boppy, soulful pop music. It was — it was a lot of fun to have him in the studio.

Peter Biello: You've also got Kyla Simone on this season of Peach Jam, which I think is pretty exciting. She's got a jazzy sound to her.

Jeremy Powell: She does. So it's it's a little like R&B singer songwriter-y. She's from Covington. She moved here from outside of D.C. to come down to the Atlanta area to be closer to our music scene. And it's unique, but not different.

MUSIC: Kyla Simone

Peter Biello: That's Kyla Simone, "Being With You." And I always love a song that you think you know, what the next notes are going to be, and then they hit you with something different and better than what you expected. That — that's what that sounded like.

Jeremy Powell: To me right in it. So yeah, it's very unique. It's not strange. It's not weird, but it is very unique. Also, she's a great — she's a great interview because as a woman of color, she really encourages other women of color to play the guitar. And she has a — she tells me all about her foundation that she has doing that. It's really fascinating. And I love to talk to somebody who's passionate about something, and to get to sit down and talk to her about that is just great. So she's coming up later on in Season 3 of Peach Jam.

Peter Biello: And finally you've got, the band Run Katy Run.

Jeremy Powell: Run Katy Run is — they're another party. They are a lot of fun.

MUSIC: Run Katy Run

Peter Biello: So that's "Stay or Leave" by Run Katy Run. They sound to me like if the band Cookin On 3 Burners got an excellent vocalist.

Jeremy Powell: OK! So what's interesting about them is, to me, it sounds like country rock. They call it roots rock. She's very twangy. She's very country sounding. But they're from Buffalo, N.Y.

Peter Biello: Oh, okay.

Jeremy Powell: And then came down to Atlanta in like 2012. But what I find very interesting and very brilliant about them is that they reach out to cities. You know, how cities have like First Friday concerts and they have these, you know, concerts, free concerts. They reach out to those cities because they have built-in crowds and they go and they play those and they play all over the state of Georgia. They will build tours and go up back to Buffalo doing that, playing those free shows. And then you can also find them at Dollywood every year at their fall festival in Dollywood. They'll be there for a week or two. And they're just — they're a lot of fun. They're really smart. And they know, like, they don't have to take themselves quite too seriously. And so they're a group — a group of five having a good time. And you can hear that in the conversation that we have.

Peter Biello: Well, fantastic. New season of Peach Jam podcast is out. You can find the podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And Jeremy, where can we watch?

Jeremy Powell: You can watch on YouTube, or you can watch wherever you find Georgia Public Broadcasting or just go to, search "Peach Jam": You can find the first two seasons of the TV show, and you can find out how you can contact me if you know a band. Are you a band or an artist that wants to be on it? You can find that information there. It's

Peter Biello: Jeremy Powell is the host of Peach Jam. Thanks very much for coming into the studio.

Jeremy Powell: Thanks for having me.


Story 12:

Orlando Montoya: And there you go. Another season of Peach Jam is on the way. I'm certainly looking forward to it. I hope you are as well. And of course, I'd like you to subscribe to this podcast, Georgia Today. Hit the subscribe button so you always stay current with us in your feed. If you have feedback, send that to us at GeorgiaToday@ and find all the latest news from our GPB reporters at I'm Orlando Montoya sitting in for Peter Biello. He'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for listening.


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