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Deep South News Digest

March 18, 2020 - 6:24 pm

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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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

AP is canceling election testing for the March 24 Georgia presidential preference primary which has been postponed by the Georgia Secretary of State to May 19 in conjunction with the state primary also on that date. Testing for the combined presidential and state primary will begin May 4. These tests are NOT for publication, broadcast or use online. Additional information will be available in the election testing advisory starting in late April, found in advisory queues: AP—Georgia Primary Election Testing Advisory.

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GEORGIA

ALBANY, Ga. — Hospital officials said Wednesday that two patients with the new coronavirus have died in a southwest Georgia county, one of the hardest-hit areas outside metro Atlanta from the global outbreak. Georgia Department of Public Health spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said she could not immediately confirm whether the new deaths reported in Dougherty County were linked to the virus. SENT: 747 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATH101, transref:GASM101.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-DELTA AIR LINES

UNDATED — The world's biggest airline, Delta, is cutting even more flights and parking at least half of its airplanes to catch up with a plummeting drop in travel. CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday that Delta Air Lines will cut passenger-carrying capacity 70% across its system, including an 80% cut on international routes, "until demand starts to recover." He said March revenue will be down nearly $2 billion from the same month last year, and April revenue will drop even farther. By David Koenig. SENT: 478 words.

HACKING SENTENCE

UNDATED — A California man has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for hacking an Atlanta-based company and trying to extort money in exchange for the return of the company's intellectual property. A federal judge ordered Christian William Kight, 29, of San Clemente, California, to serve seven years and eight months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, federal prosecutors said in a news release Wednesday. Kight was also ordered to pay a $900 fine and $42,000 in restitution. SENT: 300 words.

CANCELED ELECTION-GEORGIA

ATLANTA — A would-be candidate for a seat on Georgia's highest court is asking the state's lower appeals court to step in after a judge this week said the governor had the right to fill the position even though a judge who's resigning won't leave for several months. After a Georgia Supreme Court justice announced he would resign in November, the governor said he planned to fill the seat by appointment. Two would-be challengers sued, asking a judge to order the secretary of state to put the judicial election back on the calendar and allow candidates to qualify. A judge ruled against them. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 532 words.

US-ELECTION 2020-VOTE BY MAIL

UNDATED — Voting rights groups and the head of the Democratic National Committee want the states with remaining primary elections to offer voting by mail as a way to ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots amid the coronavirus outbreak. A quick and easy fix? Not always. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 881 words.

AP Photos transref:AZRF110, transref:ILROR501, transref:FLJC112, transref:ILSPR203.

IN BRIEF:

— CAREGIVER SENTENCED — A Georgia caregiver who stole nearly $20,000 from a client who suffered a stroke has been sentenced to five years in prison

— CRASH-DEPUTY KILLED — Sheriff: Off-duty deputy killed in crash in patrol car

— PAPER MILL FIRE — Investigation temporarily halted at site of paper mill fire

— MURDER SUSPECT RETURNS — Police: Man identified himself as suspect at shooting scene

— UNIVERSITY STUDENT-ARSON — Police say a student accused of setting an off-campus fire is the only suspect in about 20 fires set on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate. News outlets report 19-year-old Brandon Burt was booked in jail Monday on a charge of third-degree arson. The Georgia native is accused of setting a dumpster fire at an off-campus apartment complex

SPORTS:

FBN—FALCONS-FREE AGENCY

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Falcons and Dante Fowler have agreed to a $48 million, three-year contract, reuniting the outside linebacker with one of his coaches in college. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press about the move on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because most teams won’t announce signings until the players pass physicals. The league isn't allowing players to report to new teams immediately for those physicals during the coronavirus pandemic. By Charles Odum. SENT: 438 words.

AP Photos transref:NY180, transref:NY179, transref:NY182.

SOC—MLS-ATLANTA UNITED-MARTINEZ

ATLANTA — Atlanta United star Josef Martinez underwent surgery on his right knee Wednesday, more than two weeks after he tore the ACL during the league-opening match at Nashville. Martinez posted an update on his Instagram page after the operation at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The striker was smiling and giving a thumbs-up as he posed in his bed alongside one of his physicians, Dr. Volker Musahl. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 491 words.

AP Photos transref:NYPS216, transref:GAATJ323.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A citywide curfew goes into effect Wednesday night in South Carolina's capital, Columbia, to help fight the spread of the new coronavirus in the state The Columbia City Council voted Tuesday to impose the restrictions from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., The State reported. SENT: 450 words.

AP Photos transref:SCRS113, transref:SCRS120, transref:SCRS115, transref:SCRS111, transref:SCRS108, transref:SCRS107, transref:SCRS106, transref:SCRS109, transref:SCRS110, transref:SCRS105, transref:SCRS103, transref:SCRS101, transref:SCRS102.

STATE BUDGET-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Earlier this month, the South Carolina House passed a budget starting July 1 that spent nearly $2 billion in additional money on raises for teachers, security upgrades at prisons and tax breaks. Less than a week later, that $10 billion budget is likely worthless. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 752 words.

AP Photos transref:RPJC210.

POLICE LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina city has agreed to pay $750,000 to a man who sued over being jailed for more than four months on charges that he hit an officer, even though a police supervisor said the accusation wasn’t true. Demetrius Jamison's attorney said the Orangeburg City Council approved the settlement Tuesday. The case stems from Jamison’s 2018 arrest on charges of head-butting and assaulting officers. Jamison's lawyer says a police lieutenant's memo said Jamison didn’t strike an officer, but his assault case was still taken to court, where a judge found him guilty. Between his arrest and sentence, Jamison spent 128 days behind bars. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 276 words.

IN BRIEF:

— UNIVERSITY STUDENT-ARSON — Police say a student accused of setting an off-campus fire is the only suspect in about 20 fires set on the campus of the University of South Carolina Upstate. News outlets report 19-year-old Brandon Burt was booked in jail Monday on a charge of third-degree arson. The Georgia native is accused of setting a dumpster fire at an off-campus apartment complex

SPORTS:

FBN—PANTHERS-FREE AGENCY

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers have released Eric Reid just 13 months after giving the veteran safety a three-year, $22 million contract extension. Panthers general manager Marty Hurney gave a new contract in February of 2019 that included a $9 million signing bonus. The decision to release Reid means the Panthers will be on the hook for $5 million in dead money. By Steve Reed. SENT: 225 words.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

ELECTION 2020-ALABAMA-SENATE

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama is postponing its Republican primary runoff between former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions and a rival because of the coronavirus, the governor announced Wednesday. The runoff between Sessions and former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville will now be held on July 14, Ivey said. The winner of the GOP runoff will face Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November. The delay also affects primary runoffs for state and local races. By Kim Chandler. SENT: 541 words.

AP Photos transref:ALVH104, transref:ALBIN228, transref:ALMON501, transref:ALMON504.

ELECTION 2020-VOTE BY MAIL

Voting rights groups and the head of the Democratic National Committee want the states with remaining primary elections to offer voting by mail as a way to ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots amid the coronavirus outbreak. A quick and easy fix? Not always. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 881 words.

AP Photos transref:AZRF110, transref:ILROR501, transref:FLJC112, transref:ILSPR203.

GULF OIL LEASE SALE

NEW ORLEANS — Bidding on federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday was the lowest since gulf-wide sales began in August 2017 — and lower than any sale since 1993 for the productive central Gulf. Twenty-two companies made $93 million in high bids on 71 tracts, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which conducts the sales. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 503 words, with AP Photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BEERS FOR FEARS

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. But with the new coronavirus popping up all over the country, a trip to your favorite tap room isn’t in the offing. So breweries are stepping up, offering curbside growlers to stave off the grumbling. Amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday closing all restaurants and bars, except for takeout. But instead of grumbling, Tar Heels are growling. A number of other states around the country have put similar measures in place. But where one door shuts, another door may open, and breweries are finding that's a car door. By Allen G. Breed. SENT: 548 words.

AP Photos transref:RPAB101, transref:RPAB102, transref:RPAB100, transref:RPAB103.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-BEERS FOR FEARS

WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. But with the new coronavirus popping up all over the country, a trip to your favorite tap room isn’t in the offing. So breweries are stepping up, offering curbside growlers to stave off the grumbling. Amid the growing coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order Tuesday closing all restaurants and bars, except for takeout. But instead of grumbling, Tar Heels are growling. A number of other states around the country have put similar measures in place. But where one door shuts, another door may open, and breweries are finding that's a car door. By Allen G. Breed.

AP Photos transref:RPAB101, transref:RPAB102, transref:RPAB100, transref:RPAB103.

HATE GROUPS

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A recent surge in white nationalism in the U.S. has led to a growing threat of violence by factions that embrace bloodshed and advocate for a race war, according to a report released Wednesday by an organization that tracks far-right extremists. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual report on extremist groups said its count of white nationalist groups has risen 55% over the past three years, from 100 in 2017 to 148 in 2018 to 155 in 2019. By Michael Kunzelman. SENT: 784 words.

AP Photos transref:NYCD404.

IN BRIEF:

— TRIPLE SLAYING — Authorities in Virginia have rescheduled a competency hearing for a man who police say killed the wife, son and mother-in-law of a minor league baseball pitcher for the Montgomery Biscuits.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards cautioned Louisiana residents Wednesday to ready for an expected surge in coronavirus cases as testing capacity grows statewide. His warning was coupled with already grim statistics as the state reported its seventh death from the disease spreading across the country and its number of positive cases rose above 250. “I want people to be prepared for this,” the Democratic governor said. “It is going to get much worse before it gets better.” By Melinda Deslatte and Kevin McGill. SENT: 766 words.

AP Photos transref:LALAF501, transref:LALAF502, transref:LALAF503, transref:LALAF504, transref:labat204, transref:LABAT205, transref:labat201, transref:LABAT203, transref:LABAT206, transref:LAMD101, transref:LABAT265.

GULF OIL LEASE SALE

NEW ORLEANS — Bidding on federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday was the lowest since gulf-wide sales began in August 2017 — and lower than any sale since 1993 for the productive central Gulf. Twenty-two companies made $93 million in high bids on 71 tracts, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which conducts the sales. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 503 words. With AP Photos.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA PASTOR

CENTRAL, Louisiana — Declaring that the coronavirus is “politically motivated,” a Louisiana pastor held a church service with hundreds of people in violation of the state's public health ban on gatherings of more than 50. Police told him that if tried it again, the National Guard would shut him down. The Rev. Tony Spell, who also claims his services cure cancer and HIV, said no “dictator law” should keep people from worshiping God. SENT: 327 words.

FLEEING MOTHER-MURDER CHARGE

LAUREL, Miss. — An Ohio woman accused of killing her 11-year-old son and leaving his body in a Mississippi hotel was arrested in New Orleans on Wednesday, police said. Latina Marie Oates, 33, of Powell, Ohio, was arrested about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Laurel, Mississippi Police Chief Tommy Cox told The Associated Press. Oates has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joshua Oates, Cox said. SENT: 313 words.

US-ELECTION 2020-VOTE BY MAIL

UNDATED — Voting rights groups and the head of the Democratic National Committee want the states with remaining primary elections to offer voting by mail as a way to ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots amid the coronavirus outbreak. A quick and easy fix? Not always. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 881 words.

AP Photos transref:AZRF110, transref:ILROR501, transref:FLJC112, transref:ILSPR203.

IN BRIEF:

— WARDEN REINSTATED-ANGOLA — The warden of the largest maximum security prison in the U.S. has been reinstated after being placed on a week-long leave during a payroll investigation, authorities said Tuesday.

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-LEGAL DEADLlNES — A civil rights group says steps taken by Louisiana's governor to fight the spread of the new coronavirus could leave people stuck in state jails for weeks or months without formal legal charges

— TODDLER STRUCK — Toddler falls out of pickup and is struck by car; 2 charged

— BOATING DEATH — Officials: Man found dead after Louisiana boating accident

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — Leaders at the University of Mississippi Medical Center said Wednesday that physicians and researchers there are working to develop a test for the new coronavirus amid high demand for test kits nationwide. Many Mississippi government agencies, meanwhile, are limiting activities because of the global pandemic. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 620 words.

AP Photos transref:MSRS108, transref:MSRS109, transref:MSRS107, transref:MSRS104, transref:MSRS102, transref:MSTUP101, transref:MSRS201, transref:MSMES401, transref:MSJAD201, transref:MSJAD202, transref:MSVIC108, transref:MSVIC105, transref:MSRS117, transref:MSRS109.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI JAILS

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi jails are not prepared to handle a coronavirus outbreak, and judges should consider releasing people who are waiting for trial on nonviolent crimes but cannot afford to post bail, a human rights attorney said. Cliff Johnson is director of the MacArthur Justice Center at the University of Mississippi law school. The center tracks jail and prison conditions, and it released new figures Wednesday showing a continued pattern of thousands of people remaining in Mississippi jails for months because they cannot afford to post bail. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 444 words.

AP Photos transref:MSRS301, transref:MSRS302.

GULF OIL LEASE SALE

NEW ORLEANS — Bidding on federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday was the lowest since gulf-wide sales began in August 2017 — and lower than any sale since 1993 for the productive central Gulf. Twenty-two companies made $93 million in high bids on 71 tracts, according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which conducts the sales. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 503 words. With AP photos.

FLEEING MOTHER-MURDER CHARGE

LAUREL, Miss. — An Ohio woman accused of killing her 11-year-old son and leaving his body in a Mississippi hotel was arrested in New Orleans on Wednesday, police said. Latina Marie Oates, 33, of Powell, Ohio, was arrested about 9 a.m. Wednesday, Laurel, Mississippi Police Chief Tommy Cox told The Associated Press. Oates has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joshua Oates, Cox said. SENT: 313 words.

IN BRIEF:

— TEEN-MURDER ARREST — A 16-year-old has been charged with capital murder in the shooting death of a north Mississippi man

— UTILITY RATES-DECREASE — Rates are going down for Mississippi Power customers. WLOX-TV reports the Mississippi Public Service Commission voted Tuesday to lower rates for customers in the state, starting with their next billing cycle in April

— JUDGE SHOT-MISSISSIPPI — Authorities say the recent shooting of a Mississippi judge outside a courthouse was “personal"

___

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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