Georgia Today: Vogtle plant expansion; rebates for electric school buses; MLB considers Negro League statistics

Peter Biello: Welcome to Georgia today Podcast from GPB News. Today is Wednesday, May 29th. I'm Peter Biello. In today's episode, Georgia's Plant Vogtle celebrates the completion of another expansion in Augusta. Nine Georgia school systems receive state grants for cleaner school buses, and Major League Baseball changes the way it counts. Statistics from the Negro Leagues that give a Georgia-born baseball player a major stat. These stories and more follow in this edition of Georgia today.

Story 1:

Peter Biello: Georgia Power officials today celebrated the completion of the nuclear power plant expansion at the Vogtle Power Plant south of Augusta. Grant Blankenship of GPB was in attendance at the ceremony.

Grant Blankenship: The long-awaited completion of Block 4 actually took place a few weeks ago. The public waited with great excitement –

(To sing)

Grant Blankenship: – for the ceremony where Governor Brian Kemp described the potential of the completed Vogtle plant and the associated carbon-free energy as key to attracting new electric mobility industries to the state.

Brian Kemp: This creates literally tens of thousands of jobs. One of the first questions they ask themselves is: Can we provide what they need? Thanks to days like today, we can confidently answer that question with a “yes.”

Grant Blankenship: Southern Nuclear vice president John Williams is in charge of Vogtle units 3 and 4, which are the world's first and second Ap1000 units, respectively. Williams says both foreign and domestic utilities have started asking him how they can build their own plants.

John Williams: They will use the Vogtle theme as the standard theme that will be implemented worldwide.

Grant Blankenship: and maybe in Georgia? At the conclusion of his remarks, Governor Kemp told the crowd:

Brian Kemp: And now we start planning for Vogtle 5!

Grant Blankenship: For GPB News, I'm Grant Blankenship in Waynesboro.

Story 2:

Peter Biello: A Republican member of the Fulton County Board of Elections is suing the board, the county elections director and Fulton County over the certification of the May 21 primary election. Julie Adams joined the board in February. She claims she is being prevented from carrying out her committee duties and wants access to, quote, “important election materials and procedures.” In a complaint, Adams says she voted against certifying the March 12 presidential primary because her request for information was denied by the board, the chairman and county officials. The lawsuit has no impact on the results of the primary election because the Fulton County Board of Elections certified the May 21 primary election yesterday.

Story 3:

Peter Biello: The state's highest court has overturned the murder conviction of a man who beat his cousin to death outside a gas station in northeastern Elbert County, Georgia in 2017. The Georgia Supreme Court ruled today that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the less serious charge of manslaughter against Sherman Lamont Allen. He is serving a life sentence and could be tried again.

Story 4:

Peter Biello: The Libertarian Party has nominated an Atlanta-based political activist as its presidential candidate. GPB's Sarah Kallis reports extensively on his candidacy.

Sarah Kallis: Chase Oliver secured the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination at the Libertarian Party convention last weekend, despite appearances by former President Donald Trump and independent Robert F. Kennedy. Oliver's campaign is aimed squarely at Generation Z voters.

Chase Oliver: This is not just about the short-term successes we can achieve in 2024, but also about how we can build our party in the long term so that it is sustainable for the next generation.

Sarah Kallis: Oliver ran for the Senate in 2022 against Senator Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker and for Congress in 2020. He has been a vocal opponent of the construction of the police training center in Atlanta and is an advocate for criminal justice reform. For GPB News, I'm Sarah Kallis in Atlanta.

Story 5:

Peter Biello: Grant Martin, 24, couldn't make it to his college graduation, so the graduation came to him. Over the weekend, Emory University Hospital held a graduation ceremony for Martin, who was unable to attend Columbia State University earlier this month because he was waiting for a heart transplant. CSU confirmed Grant had completed all graduation requirements. Martin was born with a congenital heart defect and says he hopes to receive a donor heart soon.

Story 6:

Peter Biello: Nine Georgia school systems will receive $19 million to phase out diesel school buses. The Environmental Protection Agency announced the funds today. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Natalie Quillen said the investment will help students and create jobs for workers at the Blue Bird bus factory in Fort Valley, south of Macon.

Natalie Quillen: Just last week, these workers ratified their first collective agreement, which brings higher wages and a significant improvement in job quality.

Peter Biello: The funding comes through the EPA's 2023 Clean School Bus Program rebate competition. These rebates will help school districts purchase more than 3,400 clean school buses across the country, 92% of which will be electric. It's part of the Biden administration's effort to clean the air around schools and disadvantaged communities. In Georgia, Clayton County in the Atlanta metropolitan area will receive the most funding, nearly $9 million.

Story 7:

Peter Biello: After a three-year process, Major League Baseball announced today that it has included the statistics of over 2,300 players from the Negro Leagues, putting West Georgia native Josh Gibson at the top of one of baseball's most prestigious rankings. Gibson now has the best batting average in baseball. During his 19-year career, he batted .372, topping Northwest Georgia native Ty Cobb's .367. Gibson's .466 average for the 1943 Homestead Grays also became the single-season standard. Gibson also became the career best in slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging, surpassing Babe Ruth in all categories. MLB's move today follows the recognition of seven different Negro Leagues players who played between 1920 and 1948, including, for a brief time, the Atlanta Black Crackers.

Story 8:

Peter Biello: The Braves and Nationals face off tonight after a strong performance from starter Max Fried last night. Fried threw eight innings in a 2-0 shutout, allowing seven hits and one walk and striking out six players. Marcell Ozuna hit his 16th home run this year. Tonight, the Braves debut right-handed pitcher Spencer Schwellenbach, who was called up from Double-A Mississippi after just two starts this year.

Story 9:

Peter Biello: One of two Georgia students competing in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee outside Washington, D.C., has been eliminated in the quarterfinals of the competition. 14-year-old Matthew Baber of Peachtree City, south of Atlanta, was eliminated this morning with the word “BICTITAXI,” which means bicycle taxi or rickshaw, in 60th place with 89 other spellers. After his spelling error, he said he didn't mind being eliminated because competing in the competition was, quote, “a pretty big accomplishment.” That leaves just 10-year-old Sarv Dharavane of Dunwoody, north of Atlanta, the only Georgian competing in the semifinals tonight at 8 p.m. Dharavane made it through the quarterfinals by correctly spelling “SOGUM,” which means a coat made of coarse wool.

Peter Biello: And that’s it for this edition of Georgia today. If you want to hear more about these stories, go to And if you haven't subscribed to the podcast yet, I highly recommend you do so now. We'll be back tomorrow with all the news of the day in your podcast feed. And if you have any feedback, send it our way. Our email address is I'm Peter Biello. Thanks again for listening. See you tomorrow.

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