On the Tuesday, July 9 edition of Georgia Today: Georgia farmers are facing total crop losses due to drought conditions; first lady Jill Biden made an appearance in Columbus last night; and just how well-maintained is the infrastructure across the state? A recent study rated Georgia a C+. 

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Orlando Montoya: Hello and welcome to the Georgia Today podcast from GPB News. Today is Tuesday, July 9. I'm Orlando Montoya. On today's episode, Georgia farmers are facing total crop losses due to drought conditions. First lady Jill Biden made an appearance in Columbus last night. And just how well maintained is the infrastructure across the state? A recent study rated Georgia a C+. These stories and more are coming up on this edition of Georgia Today.


Story 1:

Orlando Montoya: Nearly half of Georgia is under drought conditions, and farmers say some fields are a total loss. Corn producers are especially hard hit since their growing season corresponded with weeks of dry weather. Alex Harrell planted about 3,000 acres of corn in Southwest Georgia's Lee County, which did get some rain yesterday.

Alex Harrell: You know, it'll help out the cotton, the peanut, soybeans in the area, but the corn is — it's too late on it. All the non irrigated corn pretty much burned up the last six weeks.

Orlando Montoya: About a quarter of his corn acreage was non-irrigated. Corn was a half billion dollar crop in the 2022 Georgia Farm Gate report, with Southwest Georgia leading the state in production.

Story 2:

Orlando Montoya: Weather is also a concern for organizers of Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race, who ended their July Fourth event early this year after heat and humidity reached unsafe levels. GPB's Amanda Andrews reports on how they're preparing for next year.

Amanda Andrews: About 1,100 runners of the over 43,000 who registered were still on the course when the Peachtree Road Race was called early. Organizers have a series of flags for weather conditions the day of the race, with green being conditions are normal; yellow, moderate; red, extreme and black, unsafe. Race director Rich Kanah says the majority of runners overheat after the race, so they're focusing on providing resources at and after the finish line.

Rich Kanah: And that can be more water, more misting stations, opportunities to cool off more quickly as you exit the park. So, as you go back to MARTA.

Amanda Andrews: This is the second year in a row organizers have black-flagged the race. Last year it was due to rain and lightning. For GPB News, I'm Amanda Andrews.



Story 3:

Orlando Montoya: The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the state of Georgia a C+ in their annual infrastructure report card released yesterday. But as GPB's Sarah Kallis reports, Georgia still fares better than most other states.

Sarah Kallis: Georgia tied with Utah for first place in the assessment. The report card grades a state's infrastructure in 14 different areas, including roads, drinking water and transit. Anita Atkinson, the president of the Georgia chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, said the ranking will help the state target its most pressing needs.

Anita Atkinson: So even though those grades don't seem like they're all A's, it definitely gives us a road map for areas for potential improvement.

Sarah Kallis: Dams, transit and storm and wastewater received the lowest rankings on Georgia's report card. The series of water main breaks in Atlanta in June were not factored into the report, since data collection had wrapped up by that point. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kalis in Atlanta.


Story 4:

Orlando Montoya: New infrastructure is being planned for Southeast Georgia's Bryan and Bullitt counties, as the region faces water supply needs related to growth and the new Hyundai electric vehicle plant under construction. State environmental regulators yesterday released draft permits that would allow the counties to withdraw more than 6 million gallons of water each day from the region's underground water source. Nearby residents and farmers fear the new pumps could cause their wells to go dry.


Story 5:

Orlando Montoya: First lady Jill Biden made a campaign stop in Columbus last night as part of a launch of President Joe Biden's outreach to veterans and military families. The stop came as the president renewed his commitment to stay in the race, amid calls by some Democrats for the president to drop out because of his debate performance last month. In an event streamed by the Columbus CBS station WRBL, Jill Biden, who teaches English and writing, declared her support for the president.

Jill Biden: That's the decision that he's made. And just as he has always supported my career, I'm all in too.

Orlando Montoya: The first lady also touted the Biden administration's support of military families and highlighted the Biden's personal story as a military family themselves.


Story 6:

Orlando Montoya: Delta Air Lines has struck a deal with a startup airline to operate flights between the United States and Saudi Arabia. Atlanta-based Delta and Riyadh Air announced the partnership today that would make Delta the only U.S. airline flying to Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's flag carrier, Saudia, currently flies nonstop between that country and three U.S. destinations. Riyadh Air isn't carrying passengers yet, although it has ordered lots of planes. No timetable or financial details were released and the agreement still requires regulatory approval.

Story 7:

Orlando Montoya: The University of Georgia and the U.S. Army have signed a 10-year, $100 million agreement aimed at identifying climate hazards and potential mitigation strategies for military installations and their surrounding communities. Georgia forts Eisenhower, Moore and Stewart and areas around them are expected to benefit from the partnership, which UGA calls a first of its kind. It streamlines how the Army obtains university services, including infrastructure planning, economic development, and natural resources management.


Story 8:

Orlando Montoya: Georgia energy experts kicked off an annual Clean Energy Roadshow today in Austell, west of Atlanta. GPB's Sarah Kallis reports.

Sarah Kallis: State, local and federal partners at the event spoke about securing funding for more electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the Peach State. Georgia Public Service Commission Vice Chair Tim Echols says while more chargers are being installed, they are not always reliable.

Tim Echols: This is a problem. If you're a new EV driver and you go to a charger and it doesn't work, you're going to think, "well, maybe I should have just bought a hybrid," so we've got to get this fixed.

Sarah Kallis: To help address this, the Georgia Department of Transportation plans to designate some of its federal funding to install and maintain charging stations along the highway. Locally, the Atlanta Regional Planning Commission will spend $6 million to install charters south of I-20 to help improve access to EV infrastructure in the region. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis in Austell.


Story 9:

Orlando Montoya: The River Remedy Brewing Company, a craft brewery based in Rome, Ga., has won two gold medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championship, one of the world's most popular beer competitions. The U.S. Open Beer Championship, held in Oxford, Ohio, this year, is the third largest beer brewing competition in the U.S. and is known for judging more beers than any other competition in the world. An average of 600 breweries submit entries for their beer to the competition each year, dividing the beer into 170 categories. The River Remedy Brewing Company competed against some of the country's best breweries, from Maui to Maine to secure gold medals in two categories American specialty wheat beer for its Oostanaula Great White Ale, known for its citrusy flavor, and the German altbier category for its Sabrewtage Altbier, which stated on its website has, quote, "multigrain bread notes with a hint of bright citrus and molasses-y sweetness to round it out."


Story 10:

Orlando Montoya: Atlanta United defender Caleb Wylie is going to Paris for the Summer Olympics and then to French club Strasbourg next season. That's according to multiple reports, including from The Athletic and the BBC, who say the 19-year-old has inked a seven-year, nearly $11 million deal with Strasberg's ownership group Chelsea. Atlanta United announced yesterday that Wylie had been named to the U.S. men's Olympic team for the 2024 Paris Games. Wylie joined Atlanta United in January 2022, and has made 84 appearances for the team in all competitions. The move to Strasbourg for Wylie would continue a team reshuffling, and as the Five Stripes sit in ninth place in the MLS Eastern Conference.


Orlando Montoya: A lot to chew on on this edition of Georgia Today. A lot to drink from as well with that beer story. And congratulations to all of our Georgia winners and potential winners, as we certainly hope Caleb Riley comes back with a medal for the U.S.. That's it for this edition of our podcast. If you have feedback for us, send that to us at GeorgiaToday@GPB.org. Check out our news website for the latest from all of our news team, and more about the stories that you hear on this podcast. And if you haven't yet, hit Subscribe on Georgia Today. Take a moment to do that now to help you keep us current in your podcast feed. I'm Orlando Montoya. I'll talk to you again tomorrow.


For more on these stories and more, go to GPB.org/news

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