Leighton Rowell

On Second Thought Producer

Leighton Rowell is a producer for On Second Thought.

Prior to joining GPB, Leighton lived in Brazil, teaching English through a Fulbright Award and eating far too much pão de queijo.

Leighton's previous reporting has appeared on TIME.com, The Trace and in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; she also interned for NBC Sports during the Rio 2016 Olympics. For her work on investigations at the AJC and WSB-TV, Leighton was honored with two Larry Peterson Memorial Awards in 2016.

An Atlanta native, Leighton attended the University of Georgia, where she was a Foundation Fellow and managing editor of The Red & Black student newspaper. She also began her public radio career in Athens as an intern for WUGA's classical music program Afternoon Concert.

Leighton graduated from UGA summa cum laude with bachelor's degrees in history and Romance languages. She speaks Portuguese and French. 

State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20 percent of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Alchemy Sky Foundation is an Atlanta organization that helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire." 


Leighton Rowell / GPB

According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, domestic violence and sexual assault are the leading causes of injuries for young women and girls over the age of 15 in Georgia.  To understand why, we spoke with Michelle White, who is a child and youth project manager for the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She explained how to identify and prevent teen dating violence as well as why teens are less likely to report it. White also described the characteristics of healthy relationships. 


It takes about a decade to grow a productive pecan tree, but only a matter of minutes to take one down. Five months after the storm, a University of Georgia specialist estimates that Hurricane Michael left 75 percent of pecan crops unviable in several south Georgia counties. Combined losses in the state's agricultural sector run around $2.5 billion. 


It's hard enough to eat well and stay in shape, but, in several parts of Georgia, residents don't even have access to nutritious foods.  The Georgia Farmers Market Association is trying to bring awareness to the issue and help overcome barriers to access. Its initiatives connect small growers with communities that don't have good options to buy fresh, high-quality meat and produce. 


We're in the final weeks of the 2019 legislative session, and lawmakers are not going out quietly. They're debating changes to Georgia's abortion laws. House Bill 481, otherwise known as the "heartbeat" bill, already passed the House last week. Republican Rep. Ed Setzler of Acworth, the bill's sponsor, says he aims to prevent doctors from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler and "Lawmakers" Capitol correspondent Donna Lowry stopped by "On Second Thought" with an update on that legislation and other bills making their way through the Gold Dome.


Pixabay

Precocious students from around the state gathered in Atlanta on March 15 for the Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee. The winner could advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington in May.

We asked a few of the champion spellers to share their secrets for successful spelling. Braden Flournoy, Ananya Augustine and Abhi Kapaganty also told us their favorite words to spell. 


Dulcé Sloan Facebook

Georgia native Dulcé Sloan is a comedian, actress and correspondent on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah." Sloan started her stage career at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County. After earning her degree in theater from Brenau University in Gainesville, Sloan was convinced to try her hand at comedy in Atlanta's stand-up circuit. In 2016, she made her big break: a late-night debut on "Conan."

Sloan joined "On Second Thought" from NPR in New York for a conversation about "The Daily Show," MARTA expansion, Waffle House and Georgia politics.


Courtesy Shepherd Center

In 1973, Atlanta native James Shepherd Jr. graduated from the University of Georgia. He then backpacked through Europe and Africa before heading to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. There, in the waves off Rio’s famous beaches, Shepherd suffered a near-fatal accident. Teams of doctors in Brazil and the United States said he would never walk again.

Then, he did. After two years of intensive rehabilitation, James; his parents, Alana and Harold; and Dr. David Apple founded Shepherd Center in Atlanta. What began as a six-bed unit with a long waiting list now treats nearly 1,000 patients each year.


Caroline Ervin and Cristen Conger made a splash with their How Stuff Works podcast “Stuff Mom Never Told You.”  Now, the Georgia duo has transitioned to entrepreneurship with a company called Unladylike Media.  The two host a weekly, feminist podcast that shares their company’s name.  Caroline says it’s, “where we investigate what happens when women break the rules.” Along with the podcast, they also have a book out called, “Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space.” Caroline and Cristen talked feminism and journalism with “On Second Thought” host Virginia Prescott.

 

Daylight saving time is behind us, and spring is just around the corner. To celebrate, "On Second Thought" is reflecting on a Southern icon: The Quercus virginiana is Georgia's official tree. It's better known as the live oak tree and has held the title since 1937.

These majestic, ancient trees are symbols of the South in postcards, films and online travel sites. Greg Levine, co-executive director and chief program officer at Trees Atlanta, stopped by the show to explain the history and nature of live oak trees. 


Eighteen miles of I-85 could be an on-ramp to the future. The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, or The Ray, stretches from West Point to LaGrange. Named for a carpet manufacturer once called the "greenest CEO," The Ray is now a proving ground for technologies that could make infrastructure safer and more ecologically sustainable. So, how would it work? We asked Allie Kelly, executive director of The Ray.


Randolf Rautenberg / Flickr

Eighteen miles of I-85 could be an on-ramp to the future.

The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, or The Ray, stretches from West Point to LaGrange. Named for a carpet manufacturer once called the "greenest CEO," The Ray is now a proving ground for technologies that could make infrastructure safer and more ecologically sustainable.

So, how would it work? We asked Allie Kelly, executive director of The Ray.


On today's show, GPB reporters recapped events from crossover day at the Capitol, "Macon Conversations" addressed issues of identity, and the Dining for Women founder helped preview GPB's International Women's Day Panel.

During crossover day, bills must be clear of one chamber or the other to remain in play for the rest of the legislative session. Both chambers passed a wave of legislation by the deadline, including a "heartbeat" abortion bill. GPB politics reporter Stephen Fowler and Capitol correspondent for GPB TV's "Lawmakers," Donna Lowry, joined "On Second Thought" to discuss this week in Georgia politics.

Friday, March 8, is International Women's Day. To mark the occasion, "On Second Thought" host Virginia Prescott is moderating a panel of powerful women at GPB


Women's educational opportunities in the 19th Century were few and far between. Finishing schools focused on women's socialization and skills like art, music and French, rather than a rigorous academic curriculum.

The Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens aimed to change that. It opened in 1859 and taught women finishing school skills alongside math and science classes. The institute cemented Athens as a place for women's education in the South.

 


Last week, the governing body of the United Methodist Church voted to uphold a ban on same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.  The “Traditional Plan” won by a narrow margin at the annual meeting of the General Conference.  It defeated the “One Church Plan,” which would have allowed local congregations to make their own decisions on LGBT issues.

Dean of the Emory’s Candler School of Theology, Jan Love, was at the conference.  The school is one of thirteen Methodist seminaries in the country. During “On Second Thought,” Dean Love explored the implications of the vote here in Georgia.

 


(AP Photo/Sid Hastings)

Last week, the governing body of the United Methodist Church voted to uphold a ban on same-sex marriage and openly gay clergy.  The “Traditional Plan” won by a narrow margin at the annual meeting of the General Conference.  It defeated the “One Church Plan,” which would have allowed local congregations to make their own decisions on LGBT issues.

Jan Love, dean of Emory University's Candler School of Theology, was at the conference. The school is one of 13 Methodist seminaries in the country. During “On Second Thought,” Love explored the implications of the vote here in Georgia.


A tornado whipped through Southeast Alabama Sunday evening along the Georgia border, causing injuries and property damage through both states. Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in Grady, Harris and Talbot counties on Monday due to storm damage. The Lee County sheriff said 23 people have died thus far in the Alabama county where the tornado touched down.

GPB's Grant Blankenship joined "On Second Thought" to discuss his reporting on the storm's impact in Georgia. He said affected areas in Georgia are some of the same ones still recovering from Hurricane Michael.

 


This week in Georgia politics involved the ongoing discussion over House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) and calls for his resignation, Gov. Kemp's Medicaid waiver plan and possible state control of Atlanta's airport.

GPB reporter Stephen Fowler joined "On Second Thought" to discuss the Georgia legislature and Crossover Day, the last day bills have to pass out of one chamber or the other in order to be considered during the session.

 


President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen blasted his former employer in front of the house oversight and reform committee this week.

While pundits and social media chew over the content of his testimony -- and how it's affecting the White House -- "On Second Thought" talk about how it looked and what that means with Patti Wood. Based in Atlanta, Wood consults for companies all over the world as a top nonverbal communication and human behavior expert. 


Courtesy The Brinsons

He's been called the South's best-dressed man. She was a fashion editor at Condé Nast. Together, they're Sid and Ann Mashburn, the husband-and-wife design duo behind the eponymous fashion and lifestyle brand Mashburn.

The Mississippi and Midwest-born, New York-bred couple opened their flagship store on Atlanta's Westside in 2007 following careers at Vogue, Glamour, Ralph Lauren and J.Crew, among other big names in fashion. Today, with a booming online business and five brick and mortar shops across the country, the Mashburn name has become synonymous with style


Hip-hop has evolved from the streets of New York in the '70s to become the most popular music genre today, but it hasn't always been "evolved" in representing women. It's often singled out as being harmful or degrading to women. 

A recent study from Georgia State University looked at political rap music's influence on black feminist attitudes. The results may surprise you.


The folk-pop duo Lily & Madeleine are touring the country with their fourth album, "Canterbury Girls." They're a family duo, too – Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz are sisters – and they performed Tuesday at Eddie's Attic in Decatur.

Before continuing on their tour to Louisville, KY, the singer-songwriters stopped by "On Second Thought" for a conversation about finding their sound, leaving home and taking care of themselves – and one other – as they move up through the world and the music industry. 


Southern accents are inexplicably linked to a sense of culture, identity and community. They can also summon stereotypes about intelligence and education, something writer Laura Relyea found when her family moved from Charlotte to Chicago when she was young.

Relyea explored her relationship to her own North Carolina drawl on a recent episode of "The Bitter Southerner Podcast." Her story of losing and finding her way back to her accent resonated with listeners all over Georgia. She joined "On Second Thought" to discuss how accents form a pillar of Southern identity.

 


Georgia is one of five states without a hate crimes law on the books; however, legislation proposed last week could change that.  Sponsored by State Rep. Chuck Efstration, a Gwinnett Republican, House Bill 426 would introduce enhanced penalties for hate crimes if signed into law. According to the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 27 such crimes were reported in 2017. 

 A similar bill didn’t make it out of committee last year, despite wide support from law enforcement. We spoke with that bill's sponsor, former State Rep. Meagan Hanson, about why that legislation was a priority for her. Rachel Glickhouse, partner manager for ProPublica's Documenting Hate project, also joined the conversation. 


Georgia is one of five states without a hate crimes law on the books; however, legislation proposed last week could change that.  Sponsored by State Rep. Chuck Efstration, a Gwinnett Republican, House Bill 426 would introduce enhanced penalties for hate crimes if signed into law. According to the most recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 27 such crimes were reported in 2017. 


This week in Georgia politics was all about the state's voting system. Rep. Barry Fleming (R-Harlem) filed a bill that proposed changing the voting machines from touchscreens to a new ballot-marking device. The bill also suggests changes to absentee ballots and voter registration.

GPB's Stephen Fowler stopped by "On Second Thought" to discuss the voting changes.

 


Dr. Curtis L. Jones Jr. is the second superintendent from Georgia since 2015 to win the national honor. He spoke with "On Second Thought" about the honor and reflected on how, in a relatively short time, he has rebuilt trust with the community, improved student success and created a positive culture for teachers and staff.

He also shared his priorities for the future of education in Georgia.

 


Courtesy Bibb County School District

Dr. Curtis L. Jones Jr. was met with a standing ovation when he walked into work after the Presidents Day holiday. Over the weekend, the Bibb County School District superintendent was named National Superintendent of the Year.

Jones is the second superintendent from Georgia since 2015 to win the national honor. 


In 1832, playwright and peformer Thomas Dartmouth Rice used theatrical make-up to create a supposedly black character. The character's name was Jim Crow. That name later came to represent a system of extra-judicial terror and racial segregation laws that ended in 1965, but the recent political crisis in Virginia shows dressing up in blackface did not.

A poll published by "The Washington Post" has Virginians split over whether Gov. Ralph Northam should resign after a photo from his 1984 Medical School yearbook surfaced. It shows a character in blackface next to a person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood. Last week, a Pew Research Center poll found about 34 percent of all Americans say, "Dressing up in blackface is always or sometimes acceptable for a Halloween costume." 

 


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