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Deep South News Coverage Advisory

February 20, 2020 - 8:58 am

Good morning! 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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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:

SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS

ATLANTA — Legislation to protect some patients in Georgia from surprise medical bills that can run to tens of thousands of dollars is gaining momentum at the state Capitol. By Sudhin Thanawala. Developing.

MISSING HIKER-APPALACHIAN TRAIL

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A hiker who went missing along a feeder route to the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia has been found dead. News outlets report the body of Eddie Noonkester was discovered Wednesday in Dawson County. He had been missing since Friday, after he began a “thru-hike”. That's the term for an end-to-end backpacking trip on a long distance trail like the Appalachian Trail. Authorities say Noonkester became disoriented and may have been experiencing a medical emergency. His cause of death hasn't been announced. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is expected to conduct an autopsy. SENT: 200 words.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

AP is moving election test reports for the February 29 South Carolina Democratic presidential primary beginning Thursday, February 6. These tests are NOT for publication, broadcast or use online. Additional information is available in the election testing advisory sent Mondays and Thursdays, found in advisory queues: SC—South Carolina Democratic Presidential Primary Election Testing Advisory.

TOP STORIES:

ELECTION 2020-DEBATE

LAS VEGAS — New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg played defense in his presidential debate debut, as Democrats savaged the former mayor with questions about his record and past comments related to race, gender and his personal wealth. Bloomberg was firm and unapologetic about his wealth and how he has used it to affect change important to Democrats. While Bloomberg was the shiny new object in Wednesday night’s debate, the Democratic candidates also raised pointed questions about Bernie Sanders' take-no-prisoners politics. The ninth debate of this cycle featured the most aggressive sustained period of infighting in the Democrats’ yearlong search for a presidential nominee. By Steve Peoples, Alexandra Jaffe and Michelle L. Price. SENT: 1,126 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-DEBATE-ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON — Wednesday’s Democratic debate signaled a sharp turn in the party's primary contest. After months of mostly civil disagreements, the candidates engaged in a fierce debate that laid bare both the ideological divisions roiling the party and the personal animosities that have simmered for months. Elizabeth Warren criticized Bernie Sanders for leading a movement that has provided a haven for online harassment. Amy Klobuchar accused Pete Buttigieg of calling her dumb. And all the candidates piled on first-time debate participant Mike Bloomberg, launching aggressive attacks on his record on race, gender and how he is wielding his vast personal wealth in pursuit of the Democratic nomination. By Julie Pace. SENT: 932 words, photos, video.

IN BRIEF:

— WOMAN SET ON FIRE — Police in South Carolina have arrested a man accused of breaking into a woman's home, pouring a flammable liquid on her and then setting her on fire

— CHARLESTON CRUISES — The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled that residents have the legal right to challenge the proposed construction of a new cruise ship terminal in Charleston

ALABAMA (All times Central)

AP is moving election test reports for the March 3 Alabama presidential preference/state primary beginning Monday, February 10. These tests are NOT for publication, broadcast or use online. Additional information is available in the election testing advisory sent Mondays and Thursdays, found in advisory queues: AL—Alabama Presidential/State Primary Election Testing Advisory.

TOP STORIES:

COLUMBUS SHIPS-REPLICAS

BILOXI, Miss. — Replicas of Christopher Columbus' Niña and Pinta ships have arrived at a harbor on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. About a dozen spectators lined a pier Wednesday in Biloxi as the ships arrived. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on the Niña on his three voyages of discovery to the New world beginning in 1492. The original Niña was last heard of in 1501, but the 1991 replica serves as a floating museum. While in port, the ships will be open for public tours. They are scheduled to leave Biloxi on Monday, March 2. After a week-long stop in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the ships will head to Florida. By Stacey Plaisance. SENT: 296 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

— CREDIT UNION KILLING — Police say a north Alabama man is accused of killing his former brother-in-law at a credit union office

— JUDGE-ETHICS COMPLAINT — An long-serving Alabama judge is stepping down after being accused of violating judicial ethics rules

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

MARDI GRAS FLOAT-WOMAN KILLED

NEW ORLEANS — Police in New Orleans say a woman was struck and killed by a Mardi Gras parade float. News outlets report witnesses say the woman tried to cross between a tandem float, which has two sections that are connected in the middle. She reportedly tripped over the hitch connecting the two sections and was run over by the back half of the float. The accident happened Wednesday night during the all-female Krewe of Nyx parade. Authorities ended the parade and diverted the rest of the floats off the route after the collision. Mayor LaToya Cantrell says that was the “proper thing to do.” SENT: 294 words, photos.

CLERGY ABUSE-NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Saints are heading to court to block the release of hundreds of emails detailing the behind-the-scenes public relations work the team did for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese amid its clergy sexual abuse crisis. A retired judge is expected to hear arguments Thursday on the team's request to keep the emails confidential — at least for now. The hearing comes amid claims that the NFL team joined the New Orleans archdiocese in a “pattern and practice” of concealing sexual abuse. The team has denied wrongdoing and says its involvement was limited to PR advice. By Jim Mustian. SENT: 504 words.

LOUISIANA BUDGET-TEACHER PAY

BATON ROUGE, La. — A panel of top K-12 education leaders discusses Gov. John Bel Edwards' budget proposal, which doesn't include dollars for a teacher pay raise, provoking anger from some teacher groups. The influential group will make its own recommendations about education financing. Developing.

COLUMBUS SHIPS-REPLICAS

BILOXI, Miss. — Replicas of Christopher Columbus' Niña and Pinta ships have arrived at a harbor on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. About a dozen spectators lined a pier Wednesday in Biloxi as the ships arrived. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on the Niña on his three voyages of discovery to the New world beginning in 1492. The original Niña was last heard of in 1501, but the 1991 replica serves as a floating museum. While in port, the ships will be open for public tours. They are scheduled to leave Biloxi on Monday, March 2. After a week-long stop in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the ships will head to Florida. By Stacey Plaisance. SENT: 296 words, photos.

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

AP is moving election test reports for the March 10 Mississippi primary election. These tests are NOT for publication, broadcast or use online. Additional information is available in the election testing advisory sent Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, found in advisory queues: MS--Mississippi Primary Election Testing, Advisory.

TOP STORIES:

MISSISSIPPI SHOOTINGS

MAGNOLIA, Miss. — Testimony from a woman whose son and nephew were killed in a shooting rampage that claimed eight lives in a small Mississippi community was so emotional that the defendant ended up in tears. The Daily Leader reports that Shayla Edwards took the stand Wednesday in the capital murder trial of Willie Cory Godbolt. His relatives have described a long history of abusive behavior leading up to the killings. Godbolt has pleaded innocent, and his lawyer said he “just snapped” after confronting his estranged wife. Prosecutors say Godbolt shot five of his in-laws, a married couple and a sheriff's deputy in 2017. SENT: 471 words.

COLUMBUS SHIPS-REPLICAS

BILOXI, Miss. — Replicas of Christopher Columbus' Niña and Pinta ships have arrived at a harbor on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. About a dozen spectators lined a pier Wednesday in Biloxi as the ships arrived. Columbus sailed across the Atlantic on the Niña on his three voyages of discovery to the New world beginning in 1492. The original Niña was last heard of in 1501, but the 1991 replica serves as a floating museum. While in port, the ships will be open for public tours. They are scheduled to leave Biloxi on Monday, March 2. After a week-long stop in Gulf Shores, Alabama, the ships will head to Florida. By Stacey Plaisance. SENT: 296 words, photos.

___

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

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