Grant Blankenship

Reporter

Grant came to public media after a career spent in newspaper photojournalism. As an all platform journalist he seeks to wed the values of public radio storytelling and the best of photojournalism online.

Ways to Connect

Grant Blankenship / GPB

For almost a decade, a group of women from around Macon of various faiths, Judaism, Islam and Christianity,  have been meeting in an effort to push back against the misunderstandings between their faiths and to foster a sense of community.

Over the years they’ve had book clubs and service projects, but one constant in their group is their monthly lunches. Now, inspired by those lunches, the Women’s Interfaith Alliance of Central Georgia is putting together a cook book full of the recipes that have fed the members along their journey. 


Grant Blankenship / The Macon Telegraph

As the government shutdown stretches on, many of the nation’s immigration courts are at a standstill. That leaves many people in a state of limbo.


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

With 136,911 federal workers in the state, Georgia residents are more affected by the partial government shutdown than the nation’s capital, according to The National Treasury Employees Union.

The state is also home to the largest airport in the world, and more than a quarter of those federal employees work for the Transportation Security Administration. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms recently tweeted the number of TSA workers is just shy of 30,000.

Digital Library of Georgia

Georgia newspapers spanning the years from the end of the colonial period to the start of the Civil War have been made publicly available via the internet.


Mark Lenihan / AP

An offer by a southwest Georgia police chief to test the purity of street drugs is making waves on social media.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

While the year is winding down, cleanup continues in southwest Georgia from Hurricane Michael. But, it likely won't last long past the new year. 

 


Sean P. Graham, Richard Kline, David A. Steen, Crystal Kelehear

A southern salamander that was once the stuff of rumor and legend has now been found to be a new species.

 

The reticulated siren is one of a small but distinctive group of amphibians called, as the name suggests, sirens. And though you may have never seen one, they are abundant in the Southeast, particularly in the wetlands of the Gulf Coast.  

 

 

Some rural Georgia schools will benefit from an infusion of grant money for art education. Twenty-six rural school districts, mostly located south of metro Atlanta, will split $260,000 in grant money.

 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A new report by the Altamaha River Keeper, Environment Georgia and others looks at the Georgia data from a first ever national survey of coal ash storage by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A first-of-its-kind look at how long Americans live shows there is an urban and rural divide in the life spans of Georgians, but where you fall on that divide depends on your race.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

The intensive care unit at Navicent Health’s hospital in Macon is like ICUs everywhere. Nurses and doctors constantly checking in on the seriously ill, all the while trying to keep the noise down. But there’s one sound you can’t escape.

The beeping. 


The parent company of one of the nation’s largest for-profit college chains has abruptly closed all its campuses, including four in Georgia. 

Education Corporation of America announced it’s the last week of classes for about 20,000 students, including those at their Virginia College campuses in Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

When his sons were still in school, Macon artist Charvis Harrell says he was always frustrated by the lack of Black history in their history classes.  

 

“You know, it's just pick cotton and Martin Luther King,” Harrell said. “In between that time nothing else ever happened, you know?” 

 

Which Harrell knew wasn't true. So he made art inspired by overlooked history to keep around the house. The idea was to get his sons thinking, talking and questioning. 

 

In his show “Monuments For Heroes Which Have None” at the Mill Hill Community Center in Macon, Harrell does the same thing for the rest of us. 

 

 

The state agency charged with making sure Georgia’s families have the necessities for living will issue disaster benefits in Southwest Georgia communities hit by Hurricane Michael. 

 

The month of emergency food benefits for many in South Georgia is over.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

When members of the Georgia National Guard’s 48th Brigade deploy to Afghanistan after Christmas, it will be the first deployment for many. It will also be in the same job that resulted in the recent death of a Utah National Guard member. 

The 48th Brigade as an institution is no stranger to deployment to 21st Century conflict, racking up four such missions since 9/11. That includes a a long-ago stint at Guantanamo Bay guarding prisoners of the War on Terror.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Say what you will about the Pilgrim legend, but Thanksgiving at its heart is a holiday about food. But for many people of southwest Georgia still recovering from Hurricane Michael, food is hard to come by, not just this holiday week but likely well into the future.

GPB’s Grant Blankenship spoke with Eliza McCall of the Second Harvest of South Georgia food bank about the challenges to alleviating hunger after the hurricane. This conversation has been edited for clarity.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A flurry of legal actions are extending the deadline for the end of the contentious Georgia gubernatorial race. 

 

In a Federal decision from Georgia’s Northern District, Judge Leigh Martin May ruled that Gwinnett County was in violation of the Civil Rights Act when it rejected absentee ballots where a voter failed to include their birth date. Elections officials there have been ordered to delay certification of their election results until they have counted previously rejected absentee ballots. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Volunteers for Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams raced to make an important Friday deadline to ensure all votes in the gubernatorial race were counted.

Volunteers at phone banks across Georgia called the 21,000 voters who cast a provisional ballot to tell them they had until 5 p.m. to get to their local election board and clear up things like voter ID issues and get their vote counted.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

President Donald Trump traveled to Georgia two days before the deadlocked in the polls race between Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams to be the state's next governor. 

The president chose an airport hangar in Macon left empty when Canadian company Bombardier closed up shop as the place to stump for Kemp. 

Thousands of people attended the rally. A far smaller number of them actually slept out by the hangar overnight to get a good seat. Among them was Lynn White. Like most at the rally, she said the event would have no bearing on how she was going to vote. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

A big shift in how Georgians vote is shaping up in this election year. 

 

Georgia is headed into the last of three weeks of early voting before election day on Nov. 6. According to the independent vote tracking site Georgia Votes, vote totals in the first two weeks of early voting have already surpassed all early votes cast in the last midterm election in 2014.  

 

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Not too long ago, biologists with Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources didn’t know bats in the state were using bridges for roosts.

Caves in North Georgia? Yes. Hollowed out trees down south? Sure. But only recently did they learn that bats were using manmade highway bridges in Georgia the same way you may have seen them in famous places like the Congress Street Bridge in Austin, Texas.


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Hurricane Michael made headlines as it spiraled toward the coast and made landfall in Florida's Panhandle on Oct. 10.

READ MORE: Cat 3 Hurricane Michael Arrives In SW Georgia

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Tucked away in a corner of the Pine Knoll Pecan Grove near the town of Pretoria is one of those things that Mitch Bulger says made the decades he spent living and working  here worth it.  

"I promise you,” he told me. “Stick your finger in that. It’s the coldest water.”


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A little after sun up, the fleet of electrical linemen were on the roads of Dougherty County in southwest Georgia, but at the health department April Smith was on a different mission. She had a tree on the roof, no power and a hungry baby.

“Please, dear Lord I can't take any more,” she said to herself as she walked to the door of the health department. “She's got one can of formula. One can of formula. And I don't have food stamps to go buy it.”

The health department where she was hoping to find the formula was supposed to be open at 7 a.m. At 8:30 it still looked like a ghost town. So, no food for the baby.  Smith wasn’t sure what her next move was.


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Nearly a week after Hurricane Michael barreled in to the Florida Panhandle, more than 50,000 people in southwest Georgia are still without power.

Dougherty County officials said on Monday that 13,000 people are without electricity in Albany and the surrounding area. That includes Tasha Wilson, who was waiting in a long line of cars to get ice, water and ready-to-eat meals from National Guardsmen.

“I have been without power for six days,” Wilson said. “I have a child with diabetes, medical problems. It’s just a disaster.”

David Goldman / AP

President Jimmy Carter is 94 on Monday. To commemorate his birthday, enjoy these photos that chronicle just a little of the life that took Carter from his hometown of Plains to his role on the world stage and, of course, back home again. 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

One morning during the second week of the school year, Principal Shandrina Griffin-Stewart was about to walk the halls of Appling Middle School in Macon. She'd just stepped outside her door when she saw a class of rambunctious sixth graders. She quickly got them in line.

"Raider Pride!" she intoned.

The students responded immediately, if less than enthusiastically.

"Gear up, work hard and do right," they said in a loose unison. Griffin-Stewart tried again.

"Raider Pride!"


Grant Blankenship / GPB

During the 1930s, Macon, Georgia was the nation's most redlined city. That term was not used until much later, but the practice -- denying mortgage loans or municipal services that effectively drew a line around areas based on race or income -- was common. Redlining is now illegal, but as GPB's Grant Blankenship reported in 2016, finding affordable housing in Macon -- and many of Georgia's growing cities -- is tough.


Grant Blankenship

The Macon chapter of the NAACP is asking for action in the face of the  32 homicides in the city this year.  

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Former President Jimmy Carter threw his support behind democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and her vision for rural healthcare in his hometown of Plains Tuesday.

Carter and his wife Rosalynn joined Abrams in front of the brand new Mercer University run health clinic across from the rail depot in Plains.


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