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Deep South News Digest

February 03, 2020 - 1:29 pm

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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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

AIRBNB-GEORGIA

ATLANTA — Four Georgia communities say that Airbnb isn't paying its fair share of taxes. In a federal lawsuit filed Friday, the three cities and one county are seeking class-action status to include communities throughout the state as plaintiffs. They say the allegations in the lawsuit affect more than 100 Georgia counties and hundreds of municipalities. The suit was filed by lawyers representing Rome, Cartersville, Tybee Island and Hart County. It would be up to a judge to decide whether to allow the litigation to proceed as a class-action suit. SENT: 151 words. UPCOMING: 200 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGE

COW MANURE-RENEWABLES

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Harmful emissions from the agriculture sector are increasingly scrutinized as the climate changes. Now, energy companies want to help dairy farmers reduce emissions. Virginia-based Dominion Energy and Vanguard Renewables Ag of Massachusetts have announced a $200 million partnership to convert methane from cow manure into renewable natural gas. The money will fund projects at dairy farms in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Georgia. By Theresa Davis. SENT: 490 words.

IN BRIEF:

— SEVERE STORMS-DEEP SOUTH — Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South.

— BODY DISSOLUTION — Georgia senators: Allow bodies to be dissolved in chemicals.

— MISSING HUSBAND-WIFE CHARGED — Wife of missing man charged after remains found at home.

SPORTS:

BKN--CELTICS-HAWKS

ATLANTA — The Boston Celtics go for their fourth straight victory when they visit the Atlanta Hawks, who are tied with Cleveland for the worst record in the East. By Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 7:30 p.m. EST.

BKW--T25-GEORGIA-MISSISSIPPI ST

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State attempts to beat Georgia for the second time this season. Mississippi State beat Georgia 73-66 in Athens last month. By Robbie Faulk. UPCOMING: 600 words, with photos. The game starts at 7 p.m.

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:

STATE HELICOPTER CRASH

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. — Federal investigators have determined that last summer's crash of a South Carolina state police helicopter came about after a co-pilot left a control pedal locked and didn't tell the pilot. The investigation report by the National Transportation Safety Board says the State Law Enforcement Division co-pilot locked the pedal when he and the pilot left the chopper with the engine running. The federal report says that's a common, unwritten practice at SLED, but the helicopter's manufacturer does not approve it. The pilot suffered minor injuries in the June 26 crash while trying to move the chopper to refuel it in Summerville. The helicopter was destroyed. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 340 words.

ELECTION 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa — More than two years have passed since the first presidential announcement, nearly $1 billion has been spent and numerous candidates have already come and gone. And yet the Democrats' turbulent 2020 primary season officially begins Monday. By day's end, tens of thousands of Iowa Democrats will have decided the results of their presidential caucus in the contest to challenge President Donald Trump. Democrats enter the first contest with uncertainty and deepening intraparty resentment. The top four candidates are Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. By Steve Peoples, Thomas Beaumont and Alexandra Jaffe. SENT: 1,348 words, photos.

ELECTION 2020-WATCH

DES MOINES, Iowa — The end of the beginning is here. After a year of political drama, the first voting contest of the 2020 primary season will be held Monday in Iowa. The kickoff caucuses could bring the first real sense of clarity to the Democrats' presidential nomination fight. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden appear to be the front-runners, but Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg are within striking distance. And don’t forget about Midwestern favorite Amy Klobuchar. Some expect the candidates to finish locked in a four-way muddle. But heading into New Hampshire there might be some separation within the moderate and progressive lanes, at least. By Steve Peoples. SENT: 999 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

— SEVERE STORMS-DEEP SOUTH — Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South.

— WRECK-THREE KILLED — 3 die in SC wreck, deputies looking for people in other car.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

OIL SPILL-ISLAND RESTORATION

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana island that provides critical nesting habitat for pelicans and other seabirds is being restored to nearly its former size after decades of erosion and a crippling 2010 oil spill. Queen Bess Island on the Gulf Coast shrank from about 45 acres in 1956 to about 5 acres by 2010, when the offshore spill fouled its beaches, killing many birds. Though a blip of an island, it plays an outsize role as one of Louisiana's largest brown pelican rookeries. Louisiana's population of the state bird was killed off decades ago by pesticide use. The population began making a comeback in the 1960s, starting at Queen Bess Island. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 736 words, photo.

IN BRIEF:

— GOODYEAR-ALABAMA LAYOFFS — Goodyear lays off more than 100 workers at Alabama plant.

— SEVERE STORMS-DEEP SOUTH — Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South.

— OFFICER SHOT — Officer shot during robbery investigation out of hospital.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

LOUISIANA-NO EXECUTIONS

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana cleans its execution chamber at the state penitentiary daily, but it's been more than a decade since a condemned prisoner has laid on the chamber's black-padded gurney to die. Sixty-eight people sit on Louisiana’s death row, with no execution dates set. Though the state historically has been tough on crime and holds the dubious distinction as the nation's incarceration capital, Louisiana seems to be doing very little to carry out its death penalty. Louisiana reached the 10-year mark since its last execution this month, joining a trend of falling execution numbers across the country. The Death Penalty Information Center says death chambers in 12 of 29 states with legalized capital punishment have gone unused for more than a decade. Utah will join that list in June. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 954 words, photos.

OIL SPILL-ISLAND RESTORATION

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana island that provides critical nesting habitat for pelicans and other seabirds is being restored to nearly its former size after decades of erosion and a crippling 2010 oil spill. Queen Bess Island on the Gulf Coast shrank from about 45 acres in 1956 to about 5 acres by 2010, when the offshore spill fouled its beaches, killing many birds. Though a blip of an island, it plays an outsize role as one of Louisiana's largest brown pelican rookeries. Louisiana's population of the state bird was killed off decades ago by pesticide use. The population began making a comeback in the 1960s, starting at Queen Bess Island. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 736 words, photo.

OBIT-PAT BRISTER

COVINGTON, La. — A woman who served two terms as president of Louisiana's St. Tammany Parish has died. The family of Patricia “Pat” Brister announced her death in a statement Monday. Brister was 73. She died about three weeks after leaving office following an unsuccessful bid for a third term. Brister was also a leader in the state Republican Party. She had served four years as the state GOP chair. Funeral arrangements are pending. SENT: 258 words.

STOLEN PATROL CAR

NEW ORLEANS — Authorities in southeast Louisiana are searching for a suspect who stole a patrol vehicle from a New Orleans-area sheriff's deputy. The suspect had been captured after crashing his car into a ditch while fleeing a St. Charles Parish sheriff's deputy early Monday. The Sheriff's Office says the deputy had handcuffed the suspect and placed him in the back of a patrol vehicle. But as the deputy investigated the accident scene he saw his patrol SUV being driven away. Another deputy was involved in a crash during the pursuit. The stolen patrol unit was found later in New Orleans. SENT: 214 words.

IN BRIEF:

— SEVERE STORMS-DEEP SOUTH — Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South.

— STOLEN AMBULANCE-CHASE — A woman accused of stealing an ambulance in Texas has been arrested after a police chase in Louisiana ended in a traffic jam

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

OBIT-BERNARD EBBERS

Bernie Ebbers, the convicted former chief of telecoms company WorldCom, has died. He was 78. According to a family statement, Ebbers died on Sunday just over a month after his early release from prison. He had been convicted in 2005 for 25 years on securities fraud and other charges for his role in one of the largest corporate accounting scandals in U.S. history. WorldCom collapsed and went into bankruptcy in 2002 following revelations of an $11 billion accounting fraud. His early release was ordered in December after a lawyer cited severe medical problems. By Mallika Sen. SENT: 840 words, photos.

OIL SPILL-ISLAND RESTORATION

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana island that provides critical nesting habitat for pelicans and other seabirds is being restored to nearly its former size after decades of erosion and a crippling 2010 oil spill. Queen Bess Island on the Gulf Coast shrank from about 45 acres in 1956 to about 5 acres by 2010, when the offshore spill fouled its beaches, killing many birds. Though a blip of an island, it plays an outsize role as one of Louisiana's largest brown pelican rookeries. Louisiana's population of the state bird was killed off decades ago by pesticide use. The population began making a comeback in the 1960s, starting at Queen Bess Island. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 736 words, photo.

IN BRIEF:

— INMATE DEATH-MISSISSIPPI — Another inmate has died in Mississippi, bringing the total to at least 15 in the state prison system since late December.

— SEVERE STORMS-DEEP SOUTH — Strong storms could bring high winds, hail to parts of South.

— SHOOTING-FOUR WOUNDED — A shooting has wounded four people in a parking lot in Mississippi

___

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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