Virginia Prescott

Host, On Second Thought

Virginia Prescott is the Gracie Award-winning host of On Second Thought for Georgia Public Broadcasting. Before joining GPB, she was host of Word of Mouth, Writers on A New England Stage and the I-Tunes Top Ten Podcasts Civics 101 and The 10-Minute Writers Workshop on New Hampshire Public Radio. Prior to joining NHPR, she was editor, producer, and director on NPR programs On Point and Here & Now, and Director of Interactive media for New York Public Radio.

Throughout her radio career, Virginia has worked to build sustainable independent radio in the developing world and has trained journalists in post-conflict zones from Sierra Leone to the Balkans. She was a member of the Peabody Award-winning production team for Jazz from Lincoln Center with Ed Bradley and the recipient of a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University.

Virginia loves working as a radio and podcast host, but regrets that so many good outfits go unnoticed.

Kimberly Vardeman / Wikimedia Commons

From the devastation of Hurricane Michael to trade tariffs, Georgia farmers have faced months of uncertainty. After stalled disaster and tariff aid packages, American farmers are still struggling while being shuffled around the political gameboard. 

 

Mark Peele is a cotton grower and president of the South Central Georgia Gin Company. He joined On Second Thought on the line from Berrien County to talk about the outlook — and mindset — of Georgia farmers. Jeffrey Harvey, director of the Georgia Farm Bureau's Public Policy Department, also joined the conversation from GPB's studio in Macon.

 

 

Brian Lawdermilk/ AP Images for USA Swimming

Summer is officially weeks away, but there have already been tragedies reported in lakes, rivers and pools. Georgia officials are investigating two separate drownings at Lake Lanier that occured in less than 24 hours. Bibb County authorities say a man drowned in a Macon pool. Police confirm a teen drowned at a Buckhead Memorial Day pool party.

Drowning is one of the top three causes of unintentional deaths for people under 29.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that African American children between ages 5 and 14 are three times as likely to die from drowning than white children.


Ross Terrell/Georgia Public Broadcasting

This month, GPB launched its "Full Plates" series, looking at hunger in Georgia. One in six Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't always know where their next meal will come from. Food insecurity is often linked to access — in rural communities, as well as neighborhoods in and around metro Atlanta.

More than a third of metro Atlanta is considered a food desert. Ross Terrell met one Atlanta resident who's working to overcome a lack of reliable transportation, which is one barrier for some residents to access fresh, healthy food. Terrell visited On Second Thought to discuss the problems and solutions surrounding food deserts in Georgia's largest city.


Courtesy of The Goat Farm Arts Center

Tucked away down a quiet street, not far from Howell Mill Road on Atlanta's Westside, you'll find the Goat Farm Arts Center. It's a compound of artist studios, residences, and performance and event spaces. While there are some goats, it's long been a community where artists can live, exchange ideas, and get projects off the ground.

The Goat Farm recently announced a $250 million transformation. Anthony Harper, founder and co-owner of the arts compound, joined On Second Thought to explain how this will allow them to both preserve most of the existing structures on the property while expanding the facilities and scope of their programs. He also discussed what they hope this will achieve for Georgia's arts community.


The Goat Farm, an arts community and compound in Atlanta, recently announced a $250 million transformation. Anthony Harper, founder and co-owner of The Goat Farm, joined On Second Thought to share what the expansion will entail, and what it means for the Georgia arts scene.


Courtesy of Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP

Behind the bench in Georgia's Supreme Court, there is an inscription on the wall. It reads "Fiat justitia ruat caelum". It's Latin for "Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall." While Georgia was one of the last states at the time to establish its high court — in 1846 — there have been many firsts since.

That includes electing the first African-American woman as a Chief Justice, anywhere in the country, in 2005. The Honorable Leah Ward Sears broke a number of other precedents in her climb to the state's highest judicial title, and did not stop there. The now-retired Chief Justice joined On Second Thought to reflect on why she pursued a career in the law, the steep climb from lawyer to judge to the Georgia Supreme Court, and life after stepping down from the bench.


Drive through almost any neighborhood in Macon-Bibb County and you're apt to spot some houses with crumbling facades, shuttered windows and overgrown lawns. They're among the county's nearly 4,000 unoccupied properties. Most of them are only in poor or fair condition, but more than 400 are in such bad shape they need to be demolished.


Stephen Fowler / GPB

Access to fresh, healthy food is not a given in Georgia. The U.S. Department of Agriculture tracks areas here that are low-income and have limited access to grocery stores, also referred to as “food deserts.”

This month, GPB News is looking into creative, local solutions to food access issues in a series called “Full Plates: How Georgia Fights Hunger.”  Reporters Emily Jones and Stephen Fowler stopped by On Second Thought to discuss what two communities are doing to get fresh food to residents.


Samantha Max / The Telegraph

Drive through almost any neighborhood in Macon-Bibb County and you're apt to spot some houses with crumbling facades, shuttered windows and overgrown lawns. They're among the county's nearly 4,000 unoccupied properties. Most of them are only in poor or fair condition, but more than 400 are in such bad shape they need to be demolished.

Samantha Max just wrapped a series and a podcast on blight for The Telegraph, where she covers health. She joined On Second Thought from Macon to explain the roots of the problem and what residents and local leaders are doing to fix it. 


www.foodfinder.us

According to the Georgia Food Bank Association, one in six Georgians is food insecure, meaning they don't know how or where they'll get their next meal. This week, as GPB reports on new approaches to food access, On Second Thought turns to a young Georgian who works on solutions to food insecurity on a national level.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

Food insecurity is a pressing issue nationwide — particularly in Georgia, where one out of every four children live in food insecure households. It's a dire picture for seniors, too, with the latest estimates putting Georgia in the top ten worst states for food insecurity among aging populations. 

Residents and officials across Georgia are working to address the problem. GPB's Full Plates series is taking listeners around the state to learn about creative local solutions to food access problems.


Sweet Auburn Works

Alonzo Franklin Herndon founded what would become the Atlanta Life Insurance Company more than a century ago. A former sharecropper, Herndon started his business with a $140 investment – and went on to become the wealthiest black man in Atlanta.

A new public art project and history exhibit called Windows Speak brings Herndon, along with other leaders of the institution, back to Atlanta Life's historic office building on Auburn Avenue. Exhibit curator Amalia Amaki stopped by On Second Thought for a conversation about Atlanta Life's lasting legacy.


Food insecurity is a pressing issue nationwide, particularly in Georgia. The latest estimates put Georgia among the ten worst states for food insecurity among aging populations, and 1 in 4 children in the state lives in a food insecure household. 

Josephine Bennett is assistant news director for GPB News. She found that Georgia is the first in the country to create a state plan for addressing hunger among seniors. She joined On Second Thought from our Macon bureau. 


Alchemy Sky Foundation

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."

 


State officials say more than 100,000 service members from Georgia were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001 and 2012. Nationally, about 20% of veterans coming back from those conflicts have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

The Atlanta organization Alchemy Sky Foundation helps people heal through music. It recently worked with a group of metro Atlanta veterans to create a song called "Adjust Fire." Jaye Budd, a musician and founder of Alchemy Sky Foundation, and Marcus McCreaery, an Army veteran with the project, joined On Second Thought to share details about the experience. 


Writer Steve Oney has been writing for more than four decades for publications such as Esquire, Time, GQ and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over the course of his career, he estimates that he’s written somewhere between 150 and 200 profiles, 20 of which are included in A Man’s World, a collection of essays now out in paperback. 

All the profiles in A Man’s World explore a common theme: how and what it means to be a man. These have always been pressing questions for Oney, who told GPB Political Rewind host Bill Nigut that his father never fully equipped him for manhood. And so Oney looked toward his subjects for lessons in masculinity. He shared those lessons with us, including what he learned about being a man from actor Harrison Ford and Atlanta architect John Portman.


Courtesy André Gallant

Georgia was once a leader in the oyster canning business, but the last cannery closed in the 1960s. In decades since, the local bivalves had a reputation as too wild, too muddy and too much work, so they didn't show up on a lot of menus.

In the past few years, however, a group of people attuned to the estuaries of Glynn, Camden, Liberty and McIntosh counties have helped revive the Georgia oyster — through farming. Their stories are the center of André Gallant's A High Low Tide: The Revival of a Southern Oyster.


KANDACE SPRINGS / Twitter

Kandace Springs covers several genres on her latest album Indigo.

The Nashville native was born into a musical household. Her father Scat Springs was a soul singer who sang backup for Brian McKnight, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and Donna Summer. 


Courtesy Leah Penniman

In 1920, African American farmers owned 14% of all American farmland. Today, 45,000 black growers own just 2% of that land. The vast majority of them live in the South, according to census data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Georgia was once a leader in the oyster canning business, but the last cannery closed in the 1960s.

In the past few years, however, a group of people have helped revive the Georgia oyster — through farming. 

André Gallant, author of A High Low Tide: The Revival of a Southern Oysterjoined us with more on the past, present and future of Georgia's oyster industry.

Bryan Rackely, co-owner of Kimball House — a Decatur restaurant where Georgia oysters are now on the menu —  also joined the conversation about these briny bivalves. 


Georgia’s high school graduation rate has increased over the past several years. For the third year in a row, the state’s graduation rate is above 80%. That’s according to the Georgia Department of Education.


NICK WASS / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Atlanta's professional women's basketball team, the Atlanta Dream, is preparing for the upcoming season. It had a successful run last year and made it to the WNBA finals with Head coach Nicki Collen at the helm. She's been in the top spot since 2017. 

Collen stopped by On Second Thought to discuss her start playing tennis, her passion for the sport and her dreams of bringing a championship to Atlanta.


Atlanta's professional women's basketball team, the Atlanta Dream, is preparing for the upcoming season. It had a successful run last year and made it to the WNBA finals with head coach Nicki Collen at the helm. She's been in the top spot since 2017.

She stopped by On Second Thought to discuss her start playing tennis, her passion for sports and her dreams of bringing a championship to Atlanta.


Arcade Publishing

Members of Congress are working to revive an Obama-era effort to make Harriet Tubman the new face of the $20 bill. A new historical novel about Tubman gives reader a whole new face and consideration of the woman known as the "Moses of her people." 


Joy Harden / Therapy for Black Girls

African Americans are 10% more likely to report experiencing serious mental health problems than their white counterparts, according to the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. Even when people have the resources to access professional help, they might not find psychologists who look like them or share their experiences.

The podcast Therapy for Black Girls promotes mental and emotional wellness for African American women. It offers resources on topics like anxiety, body image and perfectionism. Joy Harden, an Atlanta-based psychologist, hosts the podcast. She joined On Second Thought to discuss her work and the podcast's evolution since 2017.

 


The People Speak! / Flickr

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and concerns around mental health are a big issue in our society at large — and on college campuses.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, and national data indicates that the problem is not unique.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. College students today increasingly report being affected by depression and anxiety. Barry Schreier, director of the University Counseling Service at the University of Iowa and communications committee chair for the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, joined On Second Thought to explain the national scope of this problem and told us why exactly students are more stressed, depressed and anxious now than ever before.


Grant Blankenship / GPB News

Georgia Power customers and taxpayers have been helping foot the bill for the expansion project at Plant Vogtle, which is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.


Courtesy Max Ritter

Kishi Bashi made a name for himself with the shiny, fantastical indie pop of his first three albums. (The singer and multi-instrumentalist also made a pseudonym for himself: his stage name is a mashup of his first initial – K, for Kaoru – and last name, Ishibashi.) 

Ishibashi's newest record Omoiyari (available May 31) takes a more sober turn. From Japanese, "omoiyari" roughly translates as compassion or kindness shown toward others, which stirred in the Athens-based musician after President Trump's administration placed a travel ban on people from specific, predominantly Muslim countries.


Rob Carr / AP

Tens of millions of readers got their first glimpse inside of a courtroom from To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, Harper Lee's 1960 novel remains a staple on middle school reading lists, and the film adaptation has captivated countless social justice warriors, law students, parents and pet owners.


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