LISTEN: On the Tuesday, June 25 edition of Georgia Today: Officials are warning drivers to avoid Midtown Atlanta later this week; delays at the U.S. Postal Service facility in Palmetto are now affecting the court system; and the city of Atlanta has officially entered the race to be the new host of the Sundance Film Festival.

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Orlando Montoya: Hello and welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Tuesday, June 25. I'm Orlando Montoya. Coming up on today's episode: Officials are warning drivers to avoid Midtown Atlanta later this week. Delays at the U.S. Postal Service are now affecting the court system; and the city of Atlanta has officially entered the race to be the new host of the Sundance Film Festival. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Orlando Montoya: The White House says President Biden is expected to arrive at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, north of Atlanta, around 3:30 Thursday afternoon, ahead of that evening's televised debate between him and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at CNN in Atlanta. Road closures have been announced starting late Wednesday around CNN's Midtown headquarters and nearby Georgia Tech, where national and local media covering the event will be based. Traffic disruptions are expected to be multiplied by an on-campus swim meet and the Copa America match between the U.S. and Panama taking place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, just south of the campus around the same time. Tune in for the PBS News simulcast of the CNN presidential debate Thursday evening at 9 p.m. on your GPB-TV station or at



Story 2:

Orlando Montoya: Fulton County Court officials are blaming U.S. Postal Service consolidations and problems at a new sorting facility south of Atlanta for various court-related issues. Fulton Superior and Magistrate Court Clerk Che Alexander said the court received more than 1,000 letters marked "Return to Sender" during the week of June 3. Some of those letters dated back to 2021.

Che Alexander: The impact of jail overcrowding, the impact of people being evicted, the impact of someone missing their trip, it doesn't matter. All of it is just as important. But I believe that these mail delays are causing a lot of issues for us in Fulton County.

Orlando Montoya: The letters were for evictions, court dates and other official documents. Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff says he's asked the U.S. Mail's inspector general to investigate the returns.


Story 3:

Orlando Montoya: One man is dead and another has been hospitalized after apparent opioid overdoses inside a Georgia prison. GPB's Grant Blankenship has more.

Grant Blankenship: According to Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones, 49-year-old Thomas Kiker died from an apparent opioid overdose while incarcerated at Central State Prison in Bibb County sometime last Saturday. Jones says a second man was revived with Narcan before being taken to a local hospital for treatment. While the Georgia Department of Corrections has long struggled to stem the flow of contraband like illicit drugs, it's hard to know how many people die from overdose in Georgia prisons. Overdose was never listed as a cause of death in monthly mortality reports, even before GDC quit reporting any cause of death a few months ago. Kiker's death comes about a week after the governor's office announced outside consultants would soon look into conditions at the state's prison system. GDC says it's still waiting for a cause of death determination from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. For GPB News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Macon.


Story 4:

Orlando Montoya: A Superior Court judge in Atlanta's Fulton County has dismissed a case against the state that puts into question a contract for a new health care provider for the state's prisons. GPB's Sofi Gratas has that story.

Sofi Gratas: The Georgia Department of Corrections' new contract with Centurion Health will go through without interference from the court, according to an order issued Monday. Starting July 1, Centurion will manage physical and mental health care services for roughly 47,000 inmates. Current provider WellPath alleged it wasn't given a fair chance to negotiate new pricing due to what the company says were exorbitant costs from prison violence over its three years with the state. Judge Jane Barwick said during the hearing that WellPath will have to take up its issues with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services that oversees state contracts.

Jane Barwick: You terminated the contract. It all started when. And whatever happens after that, we'll leave to the DOAS.

Sofi Gratas: This is the second time WellPath's lawsuit was dismissed. For GPB News, I'm Sofi Gratas.


Story 5:

Orlando Montoya: One of the co-founders of an Atlanta-based venture capital firm that supports women of color has stepped down as chief operating officer. The departure of Ayana Parsons from the Fearless Fund comes as the company battles a lawsuit that has become emblematic of a conservative backlash against corporate diversity programs. Three weeks ago, a federal appeals court panel ordered the suspension of the organization's grant program for Black women business owners, the target of a conservative group's lawsuit.

Story 6:

Orlando Montoya: Georgia U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is proposing legislation that would designate $20 million for improvements to one metro Atlanta city's water system. GPB's Amanda Andrews has more.

Amanda Andrews: The East Point Water Infrastructure Enhancement Act will allow the Army Corps of Engineers to manage improvements in the city, near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The East Point water system currently serves about 70,000 residents, including some in College Park and Hapeville. Melissa Echevarria is the water resources director for East Point. She says they've got a list of priorities they plan to address first.

Melissa Echevarria: That is, for renovations at the water treatment plant. For us to be able to handle any impeding regulations for drinking water. Of course, a water main replacement and also enhancements for our sewer system to protect our creeks and waterways for our residents.

Amanda Andrews: The bill is part of the Water Resources Development Act, which will be considered by the U.S. Senate later this year. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.


Story 7:

Orlando Montoya: Prominent former elected officials in Georgia from both sides of the aisle are banding together to launch a new group focused on restoring trust in democracy and defending the state election system. Former Georgia U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Republican, and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, a Democrat, are part of the Democracy Defense Project announced today. The new group is a national effort focused on battleground states like Georgia, and described itself as a counterweight to efforts sowing distrust in election integrity.


Story 8:

Orlando Montoya: The home that once belonged to Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell will reopen next month after four years of renovations. The Atlanta History Center, which operates the home, said yesterday the house will reopen on July 10 with a new exhibit. The center says the exhibit will explore how Mitchell's upbringing in her native Atlanta shaped how she viewed history, and how the book and its film adaptations furthered the "Lost Cause" ideology, casting the South's cause in the Civil War as just, heroic and not centered around slavery. After initially shuttering during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Margaret Mitchell House remained closed while the space was reimagined and renovated.

Sundance film festival

Sundance film festival

Story 9:

Orlando Montoya: The city of Atlanta officially has entered the race to be considered as the new host of the Sundance Film Festival beginning in 2027. Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said yesterday the city submitted a formal request for proposal to the Sundance Institute. Two other Georgia cities, Savannah and Athens, also were invited to send RFPs. Sundance hasn't said when it'll announce a new city for its signature festival, a major draw for the film industry, but it could be revealed later this year.


Story 10:

Orlando Montoya: In Georgia sports: the University of Tennessee won the College World Series. Two players on the Vols' roster are from Georgia. Charlie Taylor, a junior at UT, is from Dunwoody, and championship game-winning pitcher Zander Seacrest hails from Buford.


Orlando Montoya: And that's it for today's edition of Georgia Today. Thanks for listening. And of course, if you have questions about this program, send those to us at Don't forget that many of the stories that we air on this program are also on our website, Check out that website 24/7 for all the latest from around Georgia. And if you haven't yet hit subscribe on this podcast, take a moment to do that now and that'll help you keep us current in your feed. I'm Orlando Montoya. I'll talk to you again later.


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