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Deep South News Digest

Good evening! Here’s a look at how AP’s news coverage is shaping up today in the Deep South. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to:
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 2:03 PM CDT
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Good evening! Here’s a look at how AP’s news coverage is shaping up today in the Deep South. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to:

The Atlanta AP Bureau at 404-522-8971 or apatlanta@ap.org

The Columbia AP Bureau at 803-799-5510 or apcolumbia@ap.org

The Montgomery AP Bureau at 334-262-5947 or apalabama@ap.org

The New Orleans AP Bureau at 504-523-3931 or nrle@ap.org

The Jackson AP Bureau at 601-948-5897 or jkme@ap.org

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

Deep South Editor Jim Van Anglen can be reached at 1-800-821-3737 or jvananglen@ap.org. Administrative Correspondent Rebecca Santana can be reached at 504-523-3931 or rsantana@ap.org. A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive broadcast versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

GEORGIA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

GEORGIA CHASE-DEADLY SHOOTING

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The Georgia man who filmed cellphone video of Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting was arrested Thursday and charged with murder in his death. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 50-year-old William “Roddie” Bryan was arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. By Russ Bynum. SENT: 514 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATJ101M.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-DATA-GEORGIA

ATLANTA — Data on coronavirus infections that was a key driver in Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s aggressive push to reopen the state was flawed and may have distorted perceptions of progress against the virus. Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said in an emailed statement Thursday that the department included antibody tests when calculating the total number of tests conducted “since early April.” She said about 57,000 of the 407,000 total tests reported to the state have been antibody tests. By Ben Nadler and Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 404 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATJ501, transref:GAATJ503, transref:GAATJ504, transref:GAATJ502.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-EMPLOYEE CHARGED

ATLANTA — A Georgia man faces charges after authorities say he lied to his employer that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Santwon Antonio Davis, 34, is charged with defrauding his employer, the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta said in a news release Thursday. Because Davis said he’d tested positive, his employer had to shut down its plant for sanitizing and put several other employees on paid leave while they quarantined, causing the company a loss of more than $100,000, prosecutors said. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 647 words.

GEORGIA BUDGET

ATLANTA — A 14% cut in state spending in Georgia would lead to more than a thousand employees being laid off or bought out and thousands more being forced to take unpaid days off. It would mean fewer state troopers on the road, less money to keep senior citizens at home instead of in nursing homes, fewer scientists in state crime labs, and less spending on hospitals that treat trauma patients. By Jeff Amy. SENT: 873 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATJ, transref:RPJA201.

GEORGIA-UNEMPLOYMENT

ATLANTA — Georgia set a new all-time high for unemployment in April, with the jobless rate rising to 11.9% as waves of workers lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The state only in February hit an all-time low of 3.1% unemployment and now has surpassed its previous all-time high of 10.6% set in December 2010. The jobless rate had begun to climb in March as the first effects of coronavirus related shutdowns showed up, rising to 4.2%. By Jeff Amy. SENT: 638 words.

AP Photos transref:GAJB102, transref:GAJB101, transref:GAATJ101, transref:GAJB103.

TAMING STORMWATER

NEW ORLEANS — For more than a century, New Orleans has depended on canals and pumps to get rid of stormwater in a city where about half the land is below sea level. Now the bustling Mississippi River port that expanded by filling in wetlands is spending $270 million to create spaces for rainwater, such as the water garden planned on a 25-acre site provided by nuns who lived there before Hurricane Katrina. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 897 words.

AP Photos transref:LAGH204, transref:LAGH205, transref:LAGH203, transref:ORHO201, transref:ORHO202, transref:ORHO203, transref:ORHO204, transref:LAGH202, transref:LAGH201, transref:GAHO201, transref:GAHO202.

AP Video

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-ABRAMS ENDORSEMENTS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alongside discussions of her own national political ambitions, former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is wading into elections outside her home state, endorsing the campaigns of seven Democrats vying for U.S. Senate seats. On Thursday, Abrams announced that she was backing Democratic candidates in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 482 words.

AP Photos transref:WX204, transref:WX208, transref:GAATJ723.

STREET RACING-ACTRESS ARRESTED

ATLANTA — An actress with credits from a 90s TV sitcom was among 44 people arrested in Atlanta after police disbanded what they described as an illegal street racing event. Maia Campbell, 43, was arrested Saturday and charged with being a pedestrian in the roadway, news outlets reported Wednesday. SENT: 250 words.

IN BRIEF:

— FIREFIGHTERS FIRED — Authorities say two firefighters in Georgia were fired after they were caught cheating in a fire instructor training class

SPORTS:

FBN—FALCONS-OLIVER

ATLANTA — Whenever some sense of normalcy returns to the NFL, Isaiah Oliver knows there will be a new role waiting for him as a leader in the Atlanta Falcons’ secondary. A second-round draft pick out of Colorado in 2018, Oliver is suddenly one of the most experienced cornerbacks on the roster after the team cut longtime stalwart Desmond Trufant in a salary cap move. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 809 words.

AP Photos transref:NYPS208, transref:NY156.

FBC—VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS-LESSONS FROM 1918

UNDATED — The image is striking: Fans watching a college football game in the midst of a pandemic, wearing masks with a smidge of social distance between them on row after row of bleacher seats. The photo is 102 years old. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 1,026 words.

AP Photos transref:NYPS215.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s unemployment system has mostly weathered the first part of the COVID-19 storm as more than 500,000 people have filed claims in the nine weeks since the virus partially shut down the state, the leader of the state’s jobless agency said. But the next step might be harder — finding jobs for as many of those people as possible, Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director Dan Ellzey said Thursday. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 567 words.

AP Photos transref:SCRS111.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-ABRAMS ENDORSEMENTS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alongside discussions of her own national political ambitions, former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is wading into elections outside her home state, endorsing the campaigns of seven Democrats vying for U.S. Senate seats. On Thursday, Abrams announced that she was backing Democratic candidates in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 482 words.

AP Photos transref:WX204, transref:WX208, transref:GAATJ723.

RACIAL BIAS-POLICE CHIEF

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The police chief of a South Carolina city has defended the actions of his officers who are accused of racial bias and excessive force after video of a black man being detained by officers sparked outrage. In a 21-minute response posted online Wednesday, North Charleston Police Chief Reggie Burgess details three encounters earlier this month with Joshua Lewis. SENT: 547 words.

ODD-SUNKEN SAFE-MYSTERY SOLVED

JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. — A 6-year-old boy helped crack open a nearly decade-old robbery case when he reeled in a locked safe from the bottom of a South Carolina lake. Knox Brewer of Johns Island took up “magnet fishing” and began hunting for metal objects underwater as a way to pass time during the coronavirus pandemic, his family members told WCIV-TV this week. SENT: 267 words.

AP Photos transref:NYPH300, transref:NYPH301, transref:NYPH302.

BEST BEACHES

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida state park has been named as having the best beach in the country. Grayton Beach State Park earned the No. 1 spot on a list of top 10 U.S. beaches released Thursday by Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman. Nicknamed “Dr. Beach,” Leatherman says he chose the Gulf coast park in part because of its sugar-white sand and its clear, emerald-green water. Leatherman has been releasing the list for 30 years. This year’s compendium also includes beaches in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York and South Carolina. By Brendan Farrington. SENT: 632 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

— SCHOOL WEBEX MEETING-PORN — A high school principal in South Carolina is trying to find out who hijacked his WebEx meeting and played pornography for the students and parents who had joined him online

— FIREFIGHTERS FIRED — Authorities say two firefighters in Georgia were fired after they were caught cheating in a fire instructor training class

— RACIAL ATTACK ALLEGATION — A white woman is charged with assaulting an 11-year-old black girl in what the child’s lawyer calls a racially motivated attack

SPORTS:

CAR—NASCAR-XFINITY

DARLINGTON, S.C. — NASCAR’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway has started after a rain delay of 4½ hours. Noah Gragson is on the pole for Thursday’s race, the first for the series since the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. It was originally set for Tuesday night, but heavy storms washed out that plan. More rain at the old, country track also delayed Thursday’s start. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 128 words.

AP Photos transref:SCMH107, transref:SCMH108, transref:SCMH110.

CAR—NASCAR-NEXT FEUD

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Kyle Busch is NASCAR’s reigning Cup champion and the resident villain of the series. Chase Elliott has been voted most popular driver the last two years and is quickly building a loyal and rabid fan base. Their on-track tussle at Darlington Raceway this week very well might be the start of a new rivalry NASCAR needs. By Jenna Fryer. SENT: 971 words.

AP Photos transref:SCMH183, transref:SCMH168, transref:SCMH136, transref:SCMH144, transref:SCMH158, transref:SCMH159.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama will revive more of its economy by letting entertainment venues, athletics and schools reopen Friday afternoon despite shaky progress in taming the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Kay Ivey announced new rules Thursday that allow casinos, tourist attractions, bowling alleys, youth sports practitices and arcades to resume along with schools, child care facilities and summer camps. All remain subject to capacity, social-distancing and sanitation rules, she said. SENT: 601 words.

AP Photos transref:ALBIN604.

LITTLE RICHARD

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Little Richard was remembered not just as a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer but a man of generosity and faith at a memorial service at his alma mater where he was laid to rest Wednesday. Mourners gathered at Oakwood University to pay their respects, many wearing face masks and standing a few feet apart at the outdoor service at the school’s cemetery. SENT: 505 words.

AP Photos transref:NYET904, transref:NYET907.

AP Video

POLICE CHASE-REALITY TV

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An Alabama man has been charged in the death of his 15-year-old son, who died in a car crash after the man led officers and a reality television crew on a high speed chase. Reico Terry, 41, was charged Wednesday with reckless murder in the death of Jaylen Derrell Terry, news outlets reported. SENT: 291 words.

IN BRIEF:

— FBI-FATAL SHOOTING — The FBI says an agent in Alabama shot and killed a man who was a suspect in a killing in North Carolina

— FIRE THREAT-SOUTH ALABAMA — The state says it’s lifting a fire danger advisory that covered 15 counties in south Alabama

— SEX CRIMES-ARREST — An Alabama man accused of raping a 13-year-old girl has been arrested

IN SPORTS:

FBC—ALABAMA-ARIZONA SERIES

TUCSON, Ariz. — Alabama and Arizona have agreed to a home-and-home football series in 2032 and 2033. The first meeting between the Crimson Tide and Wildcats will be Sept. 4, 2032 in Tuscaloosa. The rematch will take place in Tucson on Sept. 3, 2033. SENT: 136 words.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA

NEW ORLEANS — About 28,800 Louisiana residents filed for unemployment last week -- more than 12 times as many as a year earlier, but the lowest number since pandemic restrictions began pounding the state’s economy. The number of was down nearly 11,300 from the previous week, according to state and federal data. The agencies said about 321,700 Louisiana residents were receiving state unemployment payments last week as the coronavirus outbreak continued. That edged down about 3,400 from the previous week’s peak but was nearly 24 times the 13,500 on unemployment a year earlier. SENT: 432 words.

XGR-VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOCAL GOVERNMENT AID

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan for steering more than $800 million in congressional aid to local government agencies struggling with the coronavirus outbreak ran into roadblocks Thursday with House Republicans who want a say in how the dollars are spent. GOP lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee proposed their own approach for using the dollars. They raised objections that the Democratic governor charted plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal virus aid without engaging the House and Senate. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 542 words.

AP Photos transref:LAMD103, transref:LAMD102.

XGR-VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA BUDGET

BATON ROUGE, La. — House Republican leaders Thursday started advancing a budget plan that largely mirrors Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ proposal to use federal coronavirus aid to close a $1 billion gap caused by the pandemic without deeply slashing state services. The House Appropriations Committee rewrote the package of budget measures to account for state tax and fee dollars lost because of the virus outbreak. The bills would rebalance this year’s budget without cuts and would craft spending plans for the upcoming 2020-21 year with only modest reductions. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 766 words.

AP Photos transref:LAMD104, transref:LAMD103, transref:LAMD102, transref:LAMD101.

TAMING STORMWATER

NEW ORLEANS — For more than a century, New Orleans has depended on canals and pumps to get rid of stormwater in a city where about half the land is below sea level. Now the bustling Mississippi River port that expanded by filling in wetlands is spending $270 million to create spaces for rainwater, such as the water garden planned on a 25-acre site provided by nuns who lived there before Hurricane Katrina. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 897 words.

AP Photos transref:LAGH204, transref:LAGH205, transref:LAGH203, transref:ORHO201, transref:ORHO202, transref:ORHO203, transref:ORHO204, transref:LAGH202, transref:LAGH201, transref:GAHO201, transref:GAHO202.

AP Video

LOUISIANA LOTTO CHANGES

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana is upgrading its flagship state lottery game. The Louisiana Lottery said it will begin offering starting jackpots of $500,000 for the Louisiana Lotto with the Aug. 5 drawing. The change doubles the starting jackpot and marks only the fourth time Lotto has changed in its 28-year history, KATC-TV reported. SENT: 229 words.

OFFICER FIRED-CORONAVIRUS COMMENTS

KAPLAN, La. — A Louisiana police officer has been fired after posting racial comments about the coronavirus on Facebook. Kaplan Chief of Police Joshua Hardy said Officer Steven Aucoin commented under a live feed of the governor’s news conference last Friday. SENT: 220 words.

IN BRIEF:

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-OFFICER SWORN — A New Orleans man whose father died due to the novel coronavirus was sworn into the city’s police force wearing his late father’s badge.

— REPUBLICANS-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR — A former state GOP leader in Louisiana is now running day-to-day operations for the North Carolina Republican Party

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — Some casinos in Mississippi reopened Thursday for the first time in two months, following state guidelines to try to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. At least three dozen people stood in line waiting to get into WaterView Casino in Vicksburg as it opened. A manager came outside to do a countdown until opening. Customers were allowed to enter one at a time. They were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and were offered masks, although many already had their own. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 537 words.

AP Photos transref:MSRS108, transref:MSRS115, transref:MSRS101, transref:MSRS114, transref:MSRS102, transref:MSRS105, transref:MSRS106, transref:MSRS110, transref:MSRS113, transref:MSRS107, transref:MSRS106, transref:MSRS112, transref:MSRS111, transref:MSGUL101.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-CHURCH FIRE

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Thursday condemned a church fire that’s being investigated as an arson. First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs burned on Wednesday, about a month after it filed a lawsuit challenging city restrictions on gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. News outlets reported that investigators from the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office found graffiti in the church parking lot that read: “Bet you stay home now you hypokrites.” SENT: 353 words.

EX-PRISONS LEADER-TAXES

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi court has affirmed a ruling that says an imprisoned former corrections commissioner and his wife must pay more than $69,000 in state income taxes. A Hinds County chancery judge ruled last year that Christoper Epps and his wife, Catherlean, waited too long to challenge the Department of Revenue’s order that they must pay $69,489 in individual income tax for 2007 to 2014. The Mississippi Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed that judge’s ruling, the Clarion Ledger reported. SENT: 359 words.

ELECTION 2020-SENATE-ABRAMS ENDORSEMENTS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Alongside discussions of her own national political ambitions, former Georgia gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is wading into elections outside her home state, endorsing the campaigns of seven Democrats vying for U.S. Senate seats. On Thursday, Abrams announced that she was backing Democratic candidates in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 482 words.

AP Photos transref:WX204, transref:WX208, transref:GAATJ723.

LOUISIANA LOTTO CHANGES

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana is upgrading its flagship state lottery game. The Louisiana Lottery said it will begin offering starting jackpots of $500,000 for the Louisiana Lotto with the Aug. 5 drawing. The change doubles the starting jackpot and marks only the fourth time Lotto has changed in its 28-year history, KATC-TV reported. SENT: 229 words.

___

If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them them to:

The Atlanta AP Bureau: apatlanta@ap.org

The Columbia AP Bureau: apcolumbia@ap.org

The Montgomery AP Bureau: apalabama@ap.org

The New Orleans AP Bureau: nrle@ap.org

The Jackson AP Bureau: jkme@ap.org