Sunday Solutions — Jan. 22, 2023

From the Okefenokee Swamp to the Savannah River, there’s plenty to talk about this week in Coastal Georgia. For your second cup, we’ll explore the scary collision of marketing, college athletes and disrespect. Let’s roll.

Paddlers enjoy the water and views at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, the largest refuge in the Eastern U.S. Credit: Stephen C. Foster State Park

Regulators, miners and public scrutiny

You may have read where the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has opened a 60-day comment period for public review of the Draft Mining Land Use Plan for the much debated titanium dioxide mine near the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge. What you might not have read is that documents show the same state agency may be poised to levy fines on Twin Pines Mining for earlier work to collect data at the proposed mining site. The Current’s environment reporter Mary Landers writes about the company’s work on the edges of regulations to move this project along. The story also looks at how the state regulators who are tasked with protecting the taxpayers’ environmental protection interests have — or have not — responded to the actions.

Georgia needs nearly 700 doctors to meet basic needs, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Only 39.94% of areas have their needs met. 156 of 159 counties need more providers.

Need a doctor? We all do.

GPB News brought us a nugget this week that continues to remind us that health care access in Georgia remains poor by almost any data set you can find. This week’s nudge comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation survey that shows only 40% of Georgians have their primary care needs met. Federal standards show that only 3 of Georgia’s 159 counties have adequate numbers of primary care doctors. A state report released this month agrees, saying retiring workers aren’t being replaced and uninsured and aging patients are straining a system already aching from the pandemic and workplace violence.

Title Max employees
Former TitleMax employees Ted Welsh Lupica and Cordelius Brown say that many of the Savannah, Georgia-based company’s policies were unethical. Credit: Malcolm Jackson for ProPublica

Inside sales practices of title lender

The second installment of The Current’s and ProPublica’s series on the title-pawn business published Thursday. If you haven’t checked it out, the piece by Editor-in-Chief Margaret Coker looks at how the state’s largest title lender, Savannah’s TitleMax, trains its managers to avoid telling customers the actual cost of the high-interest loans. One manager, who eventually sued the company, said she still carries guilt about the work she did that targeted low-income workers who were already struggling. “My community trusted me. What the company was selling to the community wasn’t good for them,” said Cordelius Brown, who worked for TitleMax in two cities. See the ongoing series pieces here to catch up.

Know your news

Here’s a quick plug for something near and dear to The Current: News literacy. And while it’s always a great time to learn more about the sources of information and how to discern their credibility, this week is set aside for exactly that. The News Literacy Project has 7 webinars on various topics this week you can view for free, and Georgia Humanities has a terrific web site, Know Your News, with information on questions to ask when you view a source and how to determine if you’ll trust it. We like it so much, we gave it a permanent link on

Desaray Gilliard, 15, killed in Savannah on May 6, 2022. (Screenshot from GoFundMe) Credit: GoFundMe

Mother sues Housing Authority after child killed

Desaray Gilliard, 15, was shot and killed last May in Yamacraw Village. On Wednesday, her mother filed suit against the Housing Authority of Savannah. The Current’s Jake Shore writes the suit alleges the 315-unit apartment complex is unsafe and the authority knew about violent crime in the common areas there. It’s one more problem for the authority, which was sued over security after the death of community activist Shawntray “Puff” Grant in 2018.

Let’s read

We know you like to read, and we’re here to help. The Savannah Book Festival is coming up, and over the next few weeks The Current staff will be suggesting books and authors to check out while you’re there. We’re a Community Partnership sponsor for the event because we’re all about great writing and storytelling. Need info for the festival? Here’s the link. Festival Saturday on Feb. 18 has free events all day.

Your second cup: NIL, security and athletes

When the NCAA opened the ability for college athletes to make money from managing their own name, image and likeness, it was hoping more athletes would stay in the college systems longer and blunt some of the accusations of profiteering from the student-athletes’ work. What it didn’t account for was the effects enhanced popularity would bring to some teams and stars through unbridled social media. Olivia Dunne, a gymnast at Louisiana State University, is an example of what can go sideways under NIL rules set mostly for men who have professional careers to look forward to. The 19th, which focuses on women’s issues, takes a look at the fallout from the new system and the debate over the double-edged effects on women, which reach far beyond personal or institutional marketing. The work is an Editors Choice for good reason.


Despite ongoing investigation and scientific disputes, a plan for strip mine near Okefenokee advances

While weighing fines for the mining company, state regulators open a comment period on its […]

Nearly every Georgia county faces a shortage of primary care providers

156 counties are considered Health Professional Shortage Areas, a designation to identify areas lacking health […]

Inside the sales practices of nation’s biggest title lender

Former TitleMax store managers told ProPublica and The Current about how they were trained to […]

Mother of Savannah teen killed sues public housing agency

The mother of Desaray Gilliard, a 15-year-old killed in Yamacraw Village in May, filed suit […]

Olivia Dunne’s rise to fame is fueling the earning power of college athletes — but who is keeping her safe?

The NIL policy has created a kind of double-edged sword for women student-athletes, allowing them […]

New Georgia House speaker says state tobacco tax hike is possible, dims hopes for Medicaid expansion

Burns said he believes Gov. Brian Kemp’s more limited expansion plan should be given a […]

Chancellor forecasts lean times for Georgia university system; K-12 schools to get cash infusion

Perdue, who was Georgia’s governor between 2003 and 2011, imposed deep state budget cuts during […]

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Join The Current on Feb. 8, 2023, at the 40th Anniversary Georgia Economic Outlook Luncheon, Jekyll Island Convention Center. Details here.