Sunday Reads — July 10, 2022

The Intern Edition: This week The Current’s summer reporting fellows and interns pick up the slack while the Reads editor took a moment to breathe mountain air.

From boating tragedy to thinking ahead about what’s next, these are the things Sonia Chajet Wides, Jeffery Glover, Kate Griem, Olivia Scott and Nick Sullivan are pondering this week.

Looking at clinic closings, effects

Savannah Medical Clinic, Coastal Georgia’s only surgical abortion provider, closed two weeks ago immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The clinic has not provided much public comment beyond the date they closed, so the reason behind the shutdown and its timing is unclear — Georgia law still allows abortion. 
This story from The New Yorker chronicles the final hours of an abortion clinic in Houston on the morning of the decision. Unlike in Georgia, abortion became immediately illegal in Texas with the news of the decision, so the clinic’s staff spent the day turning scheduled patients away while grappling with the future they face. The story is a deeply intimate view of the on-the-ground effects of the Supreme Court’s decision — and potential future situations for Georgia clinics like Savannah Medical when stricter laws do go into effect.

— Sonia Chajet Wides

Videos raise more questions … again

This story from Akron, Ohio, rings familiar. It’s about a 25-year-old unarmed Black man who was shot by multiple police and later died after fleeing the scene of a routine traffic stop. Jayland Walker suffered more than 60 gunshot wounds from the incident and, as of now, eight officers who were directly involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave. Walker had no criminal record and was known as a quiet, peaceful, and funny guy among his peers. 

The story is important to read because the common issue of police brutality against Black citizens needs to be addressed. Officers should have the correct training on how to address certain situations. This shooting happened June 27, and there has been very little press coverage of this matter.  These types of events in the Black community have happened so many times that we as a people cannot become desensitized to it. These stories are important to follow to their ends because the cycle won’t change if we don’t understand that people should be treated and policed the same way.

— Olivia Scott

Bipartisan law brings help where it’s needed

Just a few days ago, on July 1, a new piece of bipartisan legislation went into effect expanding access to mental health care for Georgians. The key aspect of the new law? Private health care insurers will have to treat mental health ailments the same way they do physical health ailments, a change that aims to address the state’s consistently low mental health care rankings and the logistical difficulty many residents experience trying to seek care, driven by persistent stigmas surrounding mental health conditions.
Those difficulties are put into color by a piece from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Georgia students’ private battle: Anxiety disorders in the classroom. Following the pandemic, the prevalence of anxiety and depression among young people doubled nationwide — up to 1 in 5. Via the story of Latha Wright, a 16-year-old from Atlanta who contends with anxiety, the piece illuminates historically systemic obstacles to care like chronic shortages of child psychiatrists in Georgia and the insurance spiderwebs that make finding care a nightmare for parents. The piece does so without losing sight of the intensely human nature of the issue underlying these legislative and bureaucratic contentions — a rarity in a political moment where “bipartisan” is, too, a rare word to hear.

— Kate Griem

Basic advice often most useful

It’s already been a deadly summer in places where we should be safe — boating or swimming with family and friends. Whether you spend your summer at the pool, beach, or on a boat with loved ones, safety should be on your mind. In the beginning of the summer there were incidents that resulting in injury, and death. These incidents could have been prevented if people were paying attention. This story from savannahnow takes a necessary, practical approach by outlining tips to follow that can keep you safe through your summer.
The advice seems easy, but it just isn’t: Pay attention and wear life jackets. Simple advice could be the deciding factor in the life of someone you love.

— Jeffery Glover

We didn’t use, now we lose it

Life sure does feel more normal these days, especially considering where we were just a year ago. Mask policies are lifted, concerts and festivals are back in full-swing and … vaccines are being thrown away?

The Wall Street Journal reports that millions of doses are being tossed as supply has finally outpaced demand for many manufacturers’ COVID-19 vaccines. Just over 10% of the United States’ COVID-19 vaccine supply has been thrown out since they became available. It’s important to note that the need for vaccination hasn’t yet disappeared. Cases have once again been trending upward since April, meaning the virus is very much still a part of our lives. Another booster push is expected in the fall with the release of updated vaccines. 

— Nick Sullivan

Your second cup: Go outside!

This last contribution comes from Editor in Chief Margaret Coker, who appreciates the outdoors more than ever, passes along data to show we’re adding to the economy whenever we adventure out.

Hikers, campers, picnickers and rafters spent more than $350 million in Georgia last year while visiting National Parks Service lands. The federal agency says that besides enjoying nature those visitors also helped support more than 350,000 jobs.

The NPS released its annual report on the economic ripple effects that national parks, monuments, recreation areas and other lands it oversees across the United States. It also created a useful tool to help you drill into data about your own favorite park in each state. Handy if you are still planning a vacation this year! 

Catching up after a short holiday week? Here you go:

Experts question safety of fuel export at Chatham’s Elba Island, other sites

By Nick Sullivan

Regulations governing LNG export facilities including Chatham County’s Elba Island could have dangerous errors, experts warn.

Continue reading…

Camden budget cuts all Woodbine library funding

By Sonia Chajet Wides and Kate Griem

Following a budget showdown in Camden County, Georgia, a local library was left with nothing. Advocates worry that low-income and at-risk kids will suffer.

Continue reading…

Savannah spends $489K on ShotSpotter but doesn’t keep data on effectiveness

By Jake Shore

Savannah Police Department doesn’t keep statistics on effectiveness of ShotSpotter gunshot detection program in leading to evidence, stops, or arrests; months after city council approved expansion to more districts.

Continue reading…

It’s hot. Is that normal or is it climate change?

By Mary Landers

Do you think hotter daytime temperatures in Georgia are due to climate change? A new tool shows why warmer nighttime weather is even more worrisome.

Continue reading…

Georgia COVID-19 daily statistics

By The Current

Today’s cases, change, deaths, hospitalizations, testing, vaccination sites and tracker

Continue reading…

New Georgia data: There are more of us, we’re getting older

By Rebecca Grapevine/Capitol Beat News Service

Most cities, except Albany and Columbus, gained population. Areas outside Atlanta are drawing more families.

Continue reading…

Georgia Supreme Court’s spaceport case pits 1st Amendment vs. county home rule

By Stanley Dunlap

Most county laws that affect residents are passed by local officials as opposed to the Georgia General Assembly, the referendum affords residents the ability to veto measures like the Camden spaceport where many residents felt they were being ignored by […]

Continue reading…

Georgia prosecutors, candidates set lines on abortion rights

By Sonia Chajet Wides

Seven Georgia DAs pledge not to prosecute future abortion crimes, raising questions about how the new state prohibitions will be enforced.

Continue reading…

‘It’s not a religious service’: Are prayers after football games harmless?

By Ray Glier/Georgia Recorder

Coaches have been leading teams in prayer or participating in player-led prayer so ruling had little impact in most schools, but some believe it locks out players who do not believe in a Christian god.

Continue reading…

Ex-Savannah Police officer alleges use-of-force indictment instigated by chief’s ‘personal bias’

By Jake Shore

Former Savannah Police Department Sgt. Octavio Arango argued that his excessive force indictment should be thrown out, because it was pushed by Chief Roy Minter. Arango and officer Daniel Kang have suggested Minter retaliated against them for signing onto a […]

Continue reading…

Support non-partisan, solutions-based investigative journalism without bias, fear or favor on issues affecting Savannah and Coastal Georgia.