Sunday Solutions — Aug. 20, 2023

Today we hike through community safety and wellness, obstacles for health coverage for adults and many children plus accountability questions for Glynn County. We share our favorite fact-check sites so you can do it, too, and we’ll end with reminder that we need to understand history lest we repeat it. In this case, we have two stories dealing with laws regulating child labor. But first: We start with solutions — groups working in support of healthy neighbors and neighborhoods.

Ericka Davis runs through the "victory bridge" to celebrate self care at the end of a GirlTrek walk at Hendrix Park on Saturday, July 29.
Ericka Davis runs through the “victory bridge” to celebrate self care at the end of a GirlTrek walk at Hendrix Park on Saturday, July 29. Credit: Justin Taylor/The Current

Get out…and move around

Regular readers will know that we often pass along ideas to get out and play or learn. This story by summer staffer Sarah Harwell explains why getting out for exercise isn’t so easy for everyone — it’s not always safe. Publicly accessible sidewalks parks, bike lanes and trails are important parts of the exercise equation in a city where nearly 2/3 of the streets don’t have sidewalks. Read about the groups and individuals working person-to-person to make public areas stronger and safer for all to run, work out and walk. After all, a community’s health starts with healthy citizens.

Glynn County Sheriff Neal Jump explains the $160,000 payment from jail telecommunications company to his agency at an Aug. 18, 2023. “It’s a donation slash grant,” he said. Credit: Screenshot, Glynn County Board of Commissioners

A donation by any other name….

When is a donation not a donation, and is instead a payment, bonus or grant? That’s a question the Glynn County Board of Commissioners didn’t ask when it approved a budget change last week to accommodate money given to its sheriff’s office from county vendor Pay Tel Communications. As a refresher, public safety reporter Jake Shore wrote recently about how area jails charge prisoners for phone calls and video communications options with families to rake in big bucks for the operations.

Thursday he wrote about how Pay Tel wanted to give the Glynn sheriff money to cover the replacement patrol cars wrecked in a recent chase — after they signed a revised and expanded contract for jail communications with the company. A state law passed this year encourages donations to law enforcement but it makes it clear that the donations have to go through a non-profit foundation and that none of the gifts come from a vendor. However, the county says that doesn’t apply to this. Glynn commission didn’t challenge the donation/gift/payment, even though it earlier axed the replacement cars from the county budget. The county sheriff says he’s working within the county’s gift law but a reading of that also shows some conflicts of definition. And that might not even matter: A Glynn County spokesperson says the sheriff can follow the policies but it has no oversight of his office. Read Jake’s updates published Friday evening about the quagmire.

Georgians at risk as Medicaid ‘unwinds’

A new Georgetown University study illuminates more cracks in Georgia’s already torn health care net: Rural residents are enrolled in Medicaid at twice the rate of those in urban areas, and they are at higher risk of losing that coverage during the state’s “unwinding” where everyone’s eligibility will end unless verified. For families in rural areas, limited broadband, transportation and health care means they may have more trouble turning in the right information to stay enrolled in Medicaid. GPB News’ Sofi Gratas explains the problem that has already ended coverage for a large number of children.

If you have doubts, here’s how to check

Now seems to be a good time to share some of the fact-checking and news tools out there you can use to evaluate various pieces of information you may hear or see regarding national and world events. Now that info is flying free and can come from anyone, including a dog’s social media account, it’s a good time to remember all information is not created equal. Here are some sites with guides, tools and fact checks to help you figure out what’s real.

  • RumorGuard – tips and techniques to help you evaluate information as well as some fact-checking of new conspiracies and mis- or disinformation.
  • routinely checks common news stories, speeches and other reported info for facts and credibility.
  • is run by the journalism training center at Poynter and checks political speeches, interviews and stories in the U.S. for truth, half-truths and outright lies.
  • looks at a wide variety of stories and social media reports and rumors throughout the country and validates or invalidates them.

new quiz logo

How’s your quiz prowess?

Every week, we give you the opportunity to test your news knowledge with a few short questions that pertain to stories we published last week. Now, we’ve added a News Quiz leaderboard where we share our top scorers from the prior week.

Check out the leaderboard from last week: First Place: Jack and Snoocums (tied), Second Place: Mark, Vicki and dcritzjr (tied), Third Place: Elmer P. Fudd and Lucielle (tied)

Here’s this week’s quiz and a chance for you to move up the leaderboard.

Lewis Wickes Hine, ‘A little spinner in a Georgia Cotton Mill, 1909.’ Gelatin silver print, 5 x 7 in. The Photography Collections, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (P545), CC BY-SA

Your second cup: Children and work

In March, Arkansas enacted a law that loosens restrictions for employers who want to hire children ages 14 and 15. In recent months, several other states have changed laws to make it easier to hire younger workers to ease staffing shortages by tending bar, extending hours and adding work in hazardous industries. Will Georgia follow suit? Here are two stories to add information to the pot as the issue grows warmer. First, we take a look at the history of children and work in the U.S. through the eyes of a photographer in the early 1900s and then we move to reports of how it’s being reconsidered in various states.

NOTE: This week we say good-bye to summer staffer Sarah Harwell, who heads back to the University of Central Florida for her senior year. She’s been working hard with social media editor Julia Capizzi to grow our social media audiences. In the meantime, she’s discovered some favorite spots in Coastal Georgia and that pimento cheese is a thing.

Groups look to grow a healthy Coastal Georgia one person at a time

While citizens say public space is important for their exercise, a survey shows that 73% of city streets do not have a sidewalk, meaning that one of the easiest and cheapest forms of exercise — walking — is more difficult than it should be.

Continue reading…

‘Donation’? More questions after jail vendor’s $160K payment to Glynn sheriff

Glynn County officials believed a $160,000 infusion from the jail’s telecom provider was a “donation” to the sheriff’s office. Documents show it was a bonus in exchange for new costly video visitation.

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Medicaid is ‘vitally important’ for people in rural areas. What’s at risk in Georgia.

Medicaid coverage is “vitally important” in rural areas, Alker said. On average, 52% of kids in rural areas are covered by PeachCare for Kids, Georgia’s Medicaid plan for kids, according to the Georgetown study, while Medicaid covers 13% of non-elderly rural adults.

Continue reading…

Child labor in the US: an embarrassing past that Americans may think they’ve left behind

With numerous reports of child labor violations, many involving immigrants, occurring in the U.S., along with an uptick in state legislation rolling back the legal working age, it’s clear that Hine’s work is as relevant today as it was a century ago.

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States seek to let teens as young as 14 serve booze in restaurants

One state now allows 14-year-olds to serve alcohol, and some allow workers as young as 16 to serve.

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Cobb School Board votes to fire teacher who read book about gender identity

Last year, the Georgia Legislature passed a series of education-focused bills, codifying a parent’s rights to approve classroom or school library materials and forbidding the teaching of some divisive concepts.

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Georgia’s Black churches look to go green

Black churches are looking to federal assistance made possible through the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act to help their congregations benefit from solar panels, EV chargers and energy conservation.

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The Trump indictments: a seven-year timeline of key developments

States Newsroom has put together a timeline showing the accusations and legal battles that have swirled around the ex-president, from Trump’s first presidential campaign in 2016 until today.

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Susan Catron is managing editor for The Current GA. She has more than two decades of experience in Georgia newspapers. Susan served as executive editor of the Savannah Morning News for nearly 15 years,...