Maura Currie

On Second Thought Producer/Reporter

We continued our look at Historically Black Colleges and Universities with Atlanta Journal Constitution reporters Eric Stirgus and Ernie Suggs. They recently rolled out a Re:Race series called “HBCUs: A Threatened Heritage.” The project looks at the enrollment numbers, finances, and the overall future of HBCUs in America. We also heard from some alumni and current HBCU students in Atlanta.

On March 1st, Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources will open its second annual Coyote Challenge.

Last week’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida was followed by scenes we have seen all too often. In 2013, a similar scene played out at Decatur’s Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Thankfully, no one was killed. A short film based on that incident is nominated for an Academy Award. We talked with the film’s writer and director, Reed Van Dyk.

For more than a hundred years, America’s historically black colleges and universities have graduated many of our most dynamic and influential citizens.

What would you do for true love? How about travel back in time, to the middle of bloody war you already know ends badly for your beloved? That’s the dilemma of the heroine in the “Outlander” series of novels. Since the first book came out 27 years ago, the story has spawned a television series, a graphic novel and even a musical. All this was born from the mind of author Diana Gabaldon, who holds advanced degrees in marine biology and behavioral ecology. Gabaldon visits with us before an appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, 6 p.m. , February 15.

On Second Thought for Friday, February 16, 2018

Feb 16, 2018

We talked with Atlanta native Tayari Jones. Her latest novel, “An American Marriage,” was included this month in Oprah’s Book Club. Jones is in Savannah this weekend for the annual Savannah Book Festival.

Marvel’s Black Panther is now showing nationwide. It was produced and partially filmed in Georgia. We meet two of the people who worked behind the scenes.

In honor of the Savannah Book Festival, we headed into the Breakroom with an all-authors panel.

Maura Currie / GPB News

Urban archeology has unearthed centuries-old artifacts from beneath Atlanta. And lots of it is simply very old trash, leftover from landfills and dumps. Now, a team from Georgia State University is working with students to catalog the artifacts and teach history, writing and anthropology in the process. It’s called the Phoenix Project, and we had three of the faculty involved with it in the studio: Jeffrey Glover, Brennan Collins, and Robin Wharton.

Lauren Packard / NOAA/Flickr

Right whales are Georgia’s state aquatic mammal, and around this time of year they’re usually right off our coast having their calves. But this year, only three whales have been spotted, and none of them are calves. Environmental changes and human activity seem to be jeopardizing the endangered whales’ livelihoods.

So, how worried should we be? With us by phone was Clay George, biologist and head of right whale work for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

 

 

  

 

It’s been about six months since Atlanta-based credit rating company Equifax admitted it had been hacked. More than 140 million people were exposed by the data breach to possible ID theft. According to documents the company recently handed over to members of Congress, even more sensitive information was obtained as a result of the breach. We talk about latest with the investigation into the breach with Tamar Hallerman, Washington D.C. correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A record number of guns were confiscated in 2017 at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. According to the Transportation Security Administration, 245 guns were caught. All but 23 were loaded. This increase follows a national trend. But for yet another year, the Atlanta airport leads the nation in the number of guns found. We talk about why with Kelly Yamanouchi, a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who focuses on airport-related stories. Also Tom Barton, a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Maura Currie / GPB News

The Breakroom has reassembled to break down the week’s news... in a room. They talked about Valentine’s Day, Justin Timberlake, and that controversial Martin Luther King Jr. Super Bowl commercial. And they discussed the Larry Nassar scandal, Atlanta’s terrible traffic, and whether the Game of Thrones creators can pull off a new Star Wars series.

Georgia could make it more difficult for underage girls to get an abortion. Legislation filed in the Georgia state Senate would require underage girls to justify why they should be allowed to avoid notifying a parent or guardian if they are getting an abortion. At the federal level, President Trump has vowed to see the Roe v. Wade decision overturned. We move away from the political side the abortion debate, and focus on the science. For that, we talked with Didi Saint Louis, an Atlanta-based physician for reproductive health.

Daniel Mayer / Wikimedia Commons

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has seen plenty of turmoil over the past week -- Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned over financial conflicts of interest, and impending budget cuts are forcing the agency to drastically cut its overseas programs. What does all of this mean for the CDC’s ability to do its job? We talked first with Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC. He’s now the President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, a global health initiative of Vital Strategies. Later in the show we were joined by Andy Miller, editor and CEO of Georgia Health News.

A week ago, Brenda Fitzgerald resigned as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The revelation she holds financial stakes in a tobacco company -- and thus has a major conflict of interest -- comes as the CDC faces enormous budget cuts. The agency is preparing to downsize its global epidemic prevention programs by about 80 percent. Should we be worried about the CDC’s ability to do its job? We talked with former CDC director Tom Frieden and Andy Miller of Georgia Health News.

Kintpuash / Wikimedia Commons

When we talk about what to do with Confederate monuments, there are usually two ends of the spectrum: those who want to remove them entirely and those who want to leave untouched. Adding more historical context to monuments might provide a middle ground, but what would that look like, and would it even solve the problem? Andra Gillespie and Celeste Headlee discussed other states’ attempts to contextualize with Anne Marshall, assistant history professor at Mississippi State University. We also heard from Dan Moore, founder of the African American Panoramic Experience Museum in Atlanta.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Last month, the DeKalb County Commission voted to relocate the Confederate monument in Decatur Square. But state law is tricky, and the county’s options are limited. What is the process for getting a monument successfully taken down? What legal barriers will make the effort difficult? We ask these questions with Elena Parent, state Senator for Decatur.

 

 

Noir stories are dark, sometimes scary, and in a new anthology, also distinctly Southern. Tayari Jones is the editor and co-author of “Atlanta Noir.” She joined the Georgia Authors Hall of Fame this year, and we spoke with her back in August.

 

The Tide Pod Challenge has sent dozens of people, many of them young teens, to hospitals across the country. Eating laundry detergent may seem like a new level of stupidity, but kids and adolescents have been doing dumb things to impress each other for a long time. And, despite first appearances, there might actually be good reasons why. Joining us to talk through this are Catherine O’Neal, Assistant Research Scientist at UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Jay Hathaway, Senior Writer at the Daily Dot.

February is Black History Month. Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands also have months to commemorate black achievements. Host Celeste Headlee opens the Gripe Bag and talks about why a month doesn’t cut it.

 

 

HEADLEE: "Black History Month was the brainchild of eminent historian Carter Woodson. Woodson had a doctorate from Harvard in the 1920s, which is pretty amazing history, if you ask me.

 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

The Tide Pod Challenge has sent dozens of people, many of them young teens, to hospitals across the country. Eating laundry detergent may seem like a new level of stupidity, but kids and adolescents have been doing dumb things to impress each other for a long time. And, despite first appearances, there might actually be a good reason why. Joining us to talk through this are Catherine O’Neal, Assistant Research Scientist at UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Jay Hathaway, Senior Writer at the Daily Dot.

This is the first year Atlanta has a police officer dedicated to handling cases of animal cruelty. The position was created at the end of 2017 by the city’s police Chief Erika Shields. The first officer to fill the post is Patrol Officer Amy Soeldner, a 22-year veteran of the force. We talk to Soeldner about solving and preventing crimes of cruelty to animals.

For more than 35 years, The Weather Channel has been on the frontlines of some of the biggest stories in the world. Literally. Longtime meteorologist John Coleman co-founded the Atlanta-based television network in 1982. He died earlier this month. The Weather Channel has played a major role in shaping our understanding of the environment. We talk about this with Weather Channel CEO Dave Shull.

Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Schwen

An Atlanta man with a history of mental illness was put in jail for almost three months recently because he couldn’t pay $500 in bail. He was released earlier this month.

Since then, the city of Atlanta has proposed changes to its cash bail system and there are calls for broader reforms across the state.

 

The GOP tax bill has many concerned the law will negatively impact the middle class while bolstering the rich. But a new study from the union Actors Equity finds another problem: the tax bill could also harm Georgia’s film industry. They looked at how the plan might reduce deductions and reimbursements for contractors and part-time film workers. We talk about this with Chris Joyner with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- he writes the AJC Watchdog column. Also Craig Miller, Film Producer and Founder of Craig Miller Productions.

Fifty years ago, babies in the U.S. were three times more likely to die before reaching a first birthday. And the problems driving infant and maternal mortality were even worse in rural areas. Diane Cantor set out to be part of a change. She left college in the early 1970s to work for a federal program providing prenatal care to women in North Georgia. Her experiences inspired a novel called “When Nighttime Shadows Fall.” Diane Cantor lives in Savannah. We talk to her ahead of an appearance on January 30 at A Cappella Books in Atlanta.

Southern rock band Drive-by Truckers was co-founded by friends Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley in 1996.  They still call Athens home, and they're planning a series of shows next month at the 40 Watt. We talk with Hood about the group’s latest record “American Band,” and his role as a musician in a politically tumultuous time.

Getting the flu is at best unpleasant. At worst, it can kill you.  Seven more Georgians died from the flu this month, bringing this season’s statewide death toll to twelve. And many more people end up in the hospital. The term flu shot is heard and used all the time, but not well understood. We broke it down with Emory University professor Robert Bednarczyk.

 

Maura Currie / GPB

This past weekend marked one year since President Trump’s inauguration. It was also the first anniversary of the record-breaking Women’s March. The 2017 march likely included more than 3 million people. That’s about one-and-a-half percent of the entire US population. This weekend’s marches saw more than a million people participate, and organizers are working to broaden the movement's scope and inclusivity.

 

Last week, the Coca-Cola Company unveiled an ambitious plan to recycle a bottle or can for every drink it sells. It’s the latest move by the Atlanta-based soda giant to address environmental concerns tied to its production. Will this plan work? We talk with environmental historian Bart Elmore, author of the book, “Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism.”

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