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Deep South News Digest

March 31, 2020 - 6:19 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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GEORGIA

SAVANNAH, Ga. — The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in Georgia exceeded 3,800 on Tuesday, with more than 100 people dead, as mayors pressed for Gov. Brian Kemp to impose greater restrictions statewide in hopes of slowing the new virus. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson told a news conference Tuesday that mayors on a conference call the to discuss the virus response a day earlier had largely agreed the Republican governor needs to take more robust action. By Russ Bynum. SENT: 763 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATJ, transref:GAATJ206.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPECIAL EDUCATION

BOSTON — At school, Rose Hayes, 8, works with a team of teachers and therapists trained to help with her genetic condition. They set goals for her reading, give her physical therapy to improve her balance and make sure she stays on track. But for the last two weeks, her only connection to school has been through a computer screen. Rose, home amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered schools across the country, now watches lessons her teacher posts to YouTube. Her therapists check in via video chat. In between, she works through daily assignments. By Collin Binkley. SENT: 1,120 words.

AP Photos transref:BX601M, transref:BX601.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-GARDEN THERAPY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Dig. Plant. Breathe. As spring's arrival in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with government stay-at-home orders, the itch to get outside has turned backyard gardens into a getaway for the mind in chaotic times. By John Raby. SENT: 945 words.

AP Photos transref:VASH101, transref:VASH102, transref:VASH103, transref:VASH104, transref:AMB807, transref:VASH201, transref:VASH20, transref:VASH203, transref:VASH202, transref:NYLS301, transref:NYLS303, transref:NYLS305, transref:NYLS304, transref:NYLS302, transref:NYLS307.

JOSEPH LOWERY-FUNERAL

ATLANTA — A small, private funeral service for the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery will be held this week out of concerns about the coronavirus, but a large public memorial for the civil rights leader will be held this fall, family members said Tuesday. This week's private service will include 10 family members, Lowery's daughter, Cheryl Lowery, said Tuesday. Specific details of the private service are not being made public. By Jeff Martin. SENT: 302 words.

AP Photos transref:NYDB111, transref:NYDB105.

CANCELED ELECTION-GEORGIA

ATLANTA — A lawsuit filed Tuesday said Georgia's secretary of state violated the law and deprived citizens of their right to vote by canceling a schedule election for a state Supreme Court seat. The civil rights suit against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was filed in federal court in Atlanta by three Georgia voters. It is rooted in Raffensperger's decision to cancel a scheduled May 19 election for Justice Keith Blackwell's seat on the state Supreme Court. Blackwell had announced his intention to resign in November and Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said he planned to fill the seat by appointment. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 452 words.

WHITE SUPREMACISTS ARRESTED

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A Maryland man linked by the FBI to a white supremacist group and arrested ahead of a gun rights rally in Virginia must remain in federal custody while he awaits trial, a judge ruled Tuesday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Boardman refused to set bond for Brian Mark Lemley Jr., who was indicted on gun-related charges. A different magistrate judge previously refused to set bond for two other men who were arrested in January on related charges. By Michael Kunzelman. SENT: 627 words.

AP Photos transref:MDHO201.

SOUTHERN STORMS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An apparent tornado slammed into an Alabama neighborhood, shattering more than a dozen homes Tuesday while people were hunkered down inside because of the coronavirus outbreak, as storms caused damage from Mississippi to Georgia. Near the Alabama-Georgia line in Eufaula, a midday twister pulled the roofs off homes in a neighborhood near the Country Club of Alabama. The area was left littered with pieces of about 15 houses and trees, but Mayor Jack Tibbs said only one minor injury was reported. By Jay Reeves. SENT: 352 words.

AP Photos transref:ALHO101.

TIMBERLAND SALE

KALISPELL, Mont. — The new owner of large tracts of Montana timber land does not intend to break longstanding access agreements allowing people to use the lands for hunting and fishing, officials said. Georgia-based Southern Pine Plantations Inc. completed a purchase on March 26 of 984 square miles (2,549 square kilometers) from Washington state timber giant Weyerhaeuser Co., The Flathead Beacon reports. SENT: 265 words.

IN SPORTS:

BKN—NBA 2K TOURNAMENT

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant and Trae Young will lead a 16-player field of NBA players in an NBA 2K20 tournament airing on ESPN. The NBA, the players’ association and 2K announced the NBA 2K Players Tournament on Tuesday. Play begins Friday, and the winner of the week-long competition will receive a $100,000 donation to a coronavirus-related relief effort of their choice. SENT: 251 words.

AP Photos transref:WX205, transref:GAJB126.

FBC—GEORGIA-SMART-QB SEARCH

UNDATED — Georgia coach Kirby Smart says the cancellation of spring football across the nation due to the coronavirus pandemic hurts quarterbacks more than any position. For Smart's Bulldogs, the timing is especially bad. By Charles Odum. SENT: 745 words.

AP Photos transref:GAATH201, transref:NY150.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Henry McMaster has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in South Carolina, his latest in a stair-step escalation of measures aimed at quelling the new coronavirus outbreak. The order, announced by the governor during a news conference on Tuesday, takes effect Wednesday and applies to thousands of businesses across the state, from tattoo parlors and hair salons to spas, nightclubs, theaters and museums. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 579 words.

AP Photos transref:SCMYR301, transref:SCMYR101, transref:SCMYR103, transref:SCMYR303, transref:SCRS106.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPECIAL EDUCATION

BOSTON — At school, Rose Hayes, 8, works with a team of teachers and therapists trained to help with her genetic condition. They set goals for her reading, give her physical therapy to improve her balance and make sure she stays on track. But for the last two weeks, her only connection to school has been through a computer screen. Rose, home amid the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered schools across the country, now watches lessons her teacher posts to YouTube. Her therapists check in via video chat. In between, she works through daily assignments. By Collin Binkley. SENT: 1,120 words.

AP Photos transref:BX601M, transref:BX601.

WHITE NATIONALIST

YORK, S.C. — A white nationalist jailed in South Carolina on a domestic violence charge was granted bond after requesting release because of concerns about the new coronavirus while behind bars. Augustus Sol Invictus, 36, was granted a $10,000 bond Tuesday on charges of domestic violence and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, The Herald reported. SENT: 269 words.

IN BRIEF:

— TEEN DROWNS — A South Carolina high school student has died after a swimming trip, authorities said.

— BICYCLE CONFESSION — A South Carolina man suspected of shooting and killing another man after a dispute tried to ride his bicycle into the crime scene shouting, “I killed him,” police said.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama's official death toll from the coronavirus rose to 13 Tuesday but the state is investigating others. The Alabama Department of Public Health said Tuesday that it will begin including information on reported deaths from coronavirus in numbers released on its website. The state said on Tuesday there have been 18 reported deaths of people who died after testing positive for COVID-19. The state has confirmed 13 of those as being caused by coronavirus. SENT: 315 words.

AP Photos transref:ALDEC218.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTIONS

AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals court on Tuesday put on hold a victory for Texas abortion providers who are trying to stop the state from shuttering clinics during the coronavirus pandemic. The order by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reflects the court battles still ahead for abortion providers across the U.S. during the outbreak, even after clinics in Texas, Ohio and Alabama secured at least partial triumphs Monday. SENT: 215 words.

AP Photos transref:OHTD302.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCARCE INTERNET

NEW YORK — In Sandwich, New Hampshire, a town of 1,200 best known as the setting for the movie “On Golden Pond," broadband is scarce. Forget streaming Netflix, much less working or studying from home. Even the police department has trouble uploading its reports. Julie Dolan, a 65-year-old retiree in Sandwich, has asthma. Her husband has high blood pressure. Dolan doubts her substandard home internet could manage a remote medical appointment, and these days no one wants to visit the doctor if they can help it. That leaves 19th-century technology -- the phone. “That is all I would have,” she says. By Tali Arbel and Michael Casey. SENT: 1,083 words.

AP Photos transref:NHCK203, transref:NHCK202.

UNIVERSITY DEMOLISHES BUILDINGS

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alumni from an Alabama university are calling on the state to stop the demolishing of old campus buildings by enforcing a law designed to protect Confederate statues. Alabama A&M University alumni have asked the state's Attorney General to stop the university’s plans to destroy several historical campus buildings to make space for new facilities, including a $50 million event center, WAFF-TV reported. SENT: 237 words.

ELECTION 2020-MAIL VOTING

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As the coronavirus pandemic knocks primary election after primary election off schedule, Democrats argue the outbreak shows the country needs to move toward one of their longtime goals — widespread voting by mail — to protect the November election. But Democrats' hopes for using the crisis to expand voting by mail face firm Republican opposition as well as significant logistical challenges. In some states, it would amount to a major revamp of their voting system just eight months before an election. By Nicholas Riccardi and Rachel La Corte. SENT: 1,219 words.

AP Photos transref:WX201, transref:WX202, transref:WX203.

SOUTHERN STORMS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An apparent tornado slammed into an Alabama neighborhood, shattering more than a dozen homes Tuesday while people were hunkered down inside because of the coronavirus outbreak, as storms caused damage from Mississippi to Georgia. Near the Alabama-Georgia line in Eufaula, a midday twister pulled the roofs off homes in a neighborhood near the Country Club of Alabama. The area was left littered with pieces of about 15 houses and trees, but Mayor Jack Tibbs said only one minor injury was reported. By Jay Reeves. SENT: 352 words.

AP Photos transref:ALHO101.

POLICE OFFICER-RAPE

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A judge has denied any release on bond for a former Alabama police lieutenant convicted of raping a teen relative after his sentencing hearing was delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. On Monday, Circuit Judge Stephen Wallace denied the motion requesting that Birmingham Police Lt. Pete Williston be released on bond while awaiting his hearing, news outlets reported. SENT: 325 words.

HIGH MISSISSIPPI RIVER

NEW ORLEANS — A major flood control structure on the Mississippi River may have to soon be opened up to ease pressure on New Orleans levees, federal authorities said Tuesday. The river is expected to crest above 17 feet (5.2 meters) at a key New Orleans gauge as early as Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release. SENT: 354 words.

IN BRIEF:

— GUNSHOT WOUND-CHILD — A 12-year-old boy has died after being shot in the head while he and his older brother were playing with a gun, authorities in Alabama said.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana saw its deadliest day of the coronavirus epidemic Tuesday, as the state awaited a promised shipment of ventilators from the national stockpile to help care for its most fragile COVID-19 patients and braced for a looming weekend deadline when New Orleans hospitals are expected to run out of the breathing machines. Fifty-four more Louisianans have died from the virus, bringing the state's death toll to 239, according to the Louisiana Department of Health. Increased testing shows more than 5,200 people have confirmed infections, according to the figures, up more than 1,200 in the largest single-day spike in the number of new virus cases Louisiana has seen since its first infection was reported March 9. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 742 words.

AP Photos transref:LAGH106, transref:LAGH114, transref:LAGH112, transref:LAGH115, transref:LAGH110, transref:LAGH101, transref:LAGH105, transref:NYDD203, transref:LABAT209, transref:LABAT201, transref:RPMD101, transref:LABAT101.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA-CHURCH SERVICE

BATON ROUGE, La. — A Louisiana pastor charged with six misdemeanors for holding church services in violation of a ban put in place to control the coronavirus said Tuesday that he would continue to ignore the ban because God told him to. Pastor Tony Spell was issued a summons Tuesday for holding services at the Life Tabernacle church in the city of Central in violation of an order from Gov. John Bel Edwards prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, said East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore. Each violation carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine, Moore said. By Melinda Deslatte and Chevel Johnson. SENT: 522 words.

AP Photos transref:LAGH114, transref:LAGH108, transref:LAGH113, transref:LAGH119, transref:LAGH109.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-JUVENILE OFFENDERS

MINNEAPOLIS — For the tens of thousands of kids locked up in juvenile detention centers and other correctional facilities across America, experts have issued a gloomy warning: The coronavirus is coming. Already this week, Louisiana confirmed that a staff member and three children in state custody had contracted the virus, including one living in a group home in Baton Rouge. Delaware, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Connecticut are among the other states that have reported positive tests among youth or staff. By Robin Mcdowell and Margie Mason. SENT: 683 words.

AP Photos transref:NY885

HIGH MISSISSIPPI RIVER

NEW ORLEANS — A major flood control structure on the Mississippi River may have to soon be opened up to ease pressure on New Orleans levees, federal authorities said Tuesday. The river is expected to crest above 17 feet (5.2 meters) at a key New Orleans gauge as early as Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release. SENT: 354 words.

AP Photos transref:NYSP103.

INVESTIGATORS RESIGN

NEW ORLEANS — Four Orleans Parish investigators have resigned amid an internal investigation inside the sheriff’s office. The Times-Picayune The New Orleans Advocate reports the departure of the head of the Orleans Parish investigative unit and three other members of the team happened Friday. The internal investigation concerns irregularities involving work hours and private employment. The sheriff's office says all four employees voluntarily resigned. SENT: 266 words.

IN BRIEF:

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-SHELL DEAL — Shell has pulled out of a multibillion-dollar deal to renovate a liquified natural gas terminal in Louisiana in order to preserve cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

— FATAL HIT-AND-RUN — A Louisiana teen has been charged with fatally hitting a man with his car and fleeing the scene, authorities said.

IN SPORTS:

RAC—VIRUS OUTBREAK-SANTA ANITA

LOS ANGELES — Another Kentucky Derby prep is off — for now. The Santa Anita Derby, the West Coast's major prep for the Kentucky Derby, was to be run Saturday. However, it will be postponed until later in the season while Santa Anita remains closed for live racing during the coronavirus pandemic on orders of the Los Angeles County Health Department. By Beth Harris. SENT: 423 words.

AP Photos transref:CAMT107, transref:CAMT104, transref:CAMT102

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued his first stay-at-home order Tuesday against the new coronavirus, but it is only for one of the state's 82 counties. Reeves said Lauderdale County, on the state line with Alabama, has seen a recent rapid increase in positive tests for the highly contagious virus. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 829 words.

AP Photos transref:MSJAD401, transref:MSJAD102, transref:MSMES101, transref:MSMES201, transref:MSMES602, transref:MSMES603, transref:MSMES601.

HIGH MISSISSIPPI RIVER

NEW ORLEANS — A major flood control structure on the Mississippi River may have to soon be opened up to ease pressure on New Orleans levees, federal authorities said Tuesday. The river is expected to crest above 17 feet (5.2 meters) at a key New Orleans gauge as early as Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a news release. SENT: 354 words.

AP Photos transref:NYSP103.

SOUTHERN STORMS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — An apparent tornado slammed into an Alabama neighborhood, shattering more than a dozen homes Tuesday while people were hunkered down inside because of the coronavirus outbreak, as storms caused damage from Mississippi to Georgia. Near the Alabama-Georgia line in Eufaula, a midday twister pulled the roofs off homes in a neighborhood near the Country Club of Alabama. The area was left littered with pieces of about 15 houses and trees, but Mayor Jack Tibbs said only one minor injury was reported. By Jay Reeves. SENT: 352 words.

AP Photos transref:ALHO101

MISSISSIPPI LAWMAKER RESIGNS

JACKSON, Miss. — A Mississippi lawmaker is resigning as of Tuesday because he will not be able to collect his state government pension while serving in the state House. Republican Rep. Billy Andrews of Purvis is the second House member to resign for this reason since the four-year term started in January. Republican Rep. Ramona Blackledge of Laurel stepped down Jan. 31. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 389 words.

IN BRIEF:

— INMATE DEATH-MISSISSIPPI —An inmate has died at South Mississippi Correctional Institution, and the state Department of Corrections said Tuesday that no foul play is suspected.

___

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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