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Deep South News Digest
AP

Deep South News Digest

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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.

Want to know more about the AP’s coverage plans for the week? Sign up for our Monday and Friday lookahead newsletters.

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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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

VOTING BILLS-ABRAMS

ATLANTA — Georgia’s well-known voting rights advocate, Stacey Abrams, is taking a carefully balanced approach in response to new laws many people have said are an attempt by Republicans to suppress votes by people of color. When asked about the law changes, Abrams is critical but measured. Abrams acknowledges the laws are a response to an increase in voting by people of color. But Abrams is discouraging boycotts while reassuring Democrats they can still win races under the new rules, even as she hopes those rules are struck down in the courts. Abrams is a past candidate for governor and could be again. By Bill Barrow. SENT: 1,147 words, photos.

VOTING-DROP BOXES

ATLANTA — Atlanta-area voters looking to return their ballots using a drop box in next year’s gubernatorial election will have to do some searching. Georgia is one of several states controlled politically by Republicans that are seeking additional restrictions on voting, citing security concerns. A favorite target is ballot drop boxes, which have been used for years in states with expansive mail voting and which millions of voters used last year as a way to avoid polling places during the pandemic. By Christina A. Cassidy. SENT: 1,140 words.

US HOUSE-GAETZ-GREENE

WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are presenting top House Republicans with a test of how to handle a new breed of Trump-era, social media-savvy firebrands. Both have attracted more public attention lately than most junior lawmakers, and much of it hasn’t been positive. That’s confronting House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy with questions about whether the two hard-right provocateurs might hurt the GOP’s goal of capturing House control in next year’s elections. By Alan Fram and Brian Slodysko. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

COCA-COLA-RESULTS

Coca-Cola Co. says its sales are steadily improving as vaccination rates increase and venues like stadiums, restaurants and theaters reopen around the world. The company said its sales rose 5% in the January-March period this year, helped by strong growth in China and India. But the recovery is uneven. Case volumes declined in North America and Europe, where many dining rooms and other venues remain closed. Atlanta-based Coke said its net income dropped 19% to $2.2 billion in the first quarter. Excluding one-time items, the company earned 55 cents per share. That exceeded Wall Street’s forecast. Coke’s revenue rose 5% to $9.0 billion. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 600 words, photo.

FUGITIVE ARRESTED

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — U.S. Marshals in Alabama said they captured a Georgia man who had been on the run for more than three years after he failed to show up for the final day of his trial on murder charges in his ex-girlfriend’s death. Authorities said Maurice Nesbitt was free on bond during his 2017 trial for the 2014 killing of Rashawn Jackson and cut off his electronic monitoring anklet and fled, Al.com reported. His case was featured last week on America’s Most Wanted. SENT: 210 words.

VALDOSTA MAYOR-ETHICS COMPLAINT

VALDOSTA, Ga. — An ethics board has dismissed a complaint that a south Georgia mayor violated the city’s ethics language by making offensive comments on his politically conservative radio talk show. The Valdosta board voted 2-1 Wednesday, local news outlets report, to dismiss the complaint against Mayor Scott James Matheson. Opponents say they hope the City Council will revive the issue when the decision is presented to them. SENT: 415 words.

POLICE SHOOTING

NEWNAN, Ga. — A sheriff’s deputy shot a metro Atlanta man after officials say the man shot at a deputy during a manhunt. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says 26-year-old Mario Paul Clarke was shot in Newnan on Sunday afternoon and taken by helicopter to an Atlanta hospital, where he was in critical condition. SENT: 230 words.

IN BRIEF:

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-OTTERS — Georgia Aquarium otters test positive for coronavirus.

— LAKE LANIER HOTEL — More state money keeps Lake Lanier project on track.

SPORTS:

BKO-OBIT-ANTRON PIPPEN

Antron Pippen, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen and once a top college prospect, has died. He was 33.

Scottie Pippen announced the death on his social media platforms, saying his oldest child died Sunday. He did not give a cause. Antron Pippen was an accomplished high school player in Georgia, then played college basketball at South Georgia Tech and Texas A&M International. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 315 words.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern):

TOP STORIES:

POLICE SHOOTING-NORTH CHARLESTON

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A judge has upheld a 20-year prison sentence for a white former police officer in the killing of an unarmed Black man in South Carolina. Federal judge Richard Gergel ruled Monday that ex-North Charleston officer Michael Slager’s lawyer did not do a poor job. Slager had appealed his sentence, saying his lawyer never told him about a plea offer from prosecutors that could have cut years off his eventual prison term. By Jeffrey Collins. Sent: 780words. AP Photos.

COVID LIABILITY PROTECTION

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s governor is pushing state lawmakers to approve a bill that would prevent people who contract COVID-19 from suing businesses and other groups that have followed federal and state health guidelines. In a letter sent Monday to House members and provided to The Associated Press, Gov. Henry McMaster wrote that the state’s business “should not be placed at future risk for following the recommended safety protocols which allowed them to operate and employ people during the pandemic.” By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 415 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine Monday morning, nearly four months after testing positive for the virus. McMaster and first lady Peggy McMaster both got the first of two Pfizer doses at a CVS pharmacy in Columbia, South Carolina, according to a tweet from the governor’s office. SENT: 310 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGE:

LAW FIRM-COOKBOOK

COLUMBIA, S.C. — In online reviews, clients praise personal injury attorney Davis Rice for being “a pit bull” who refuses to settle for less than he thinks workers deserve for falling off a ladder or otherwise getting hurt at work. None of them, though, mention the quality of his macaroni-and-cheese, topped with buttered breadcrumbs and baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Rice’s recipe was among the breakout hits in the Joye Law Firm’s cookbook, first issued in 2013 and now undergoing an update. By Hanna Raskin, The Post and Courier. SENT: 550 words.

IN BRIEF:

— FATAL WRECK — 3 in car die in head-on wreck with tractor trailer.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

ALABAMA PRISONS

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The underwriter for a project to build two prisons in Alabama announced Monday that it was pulling out of the project following criticism that it was breaking a promise not to get involved with for-profit prisons. By Kim Chandler. SENT: 635 words. AP Photos.

AMAZON-UNION

NEW YORK — The retail union that failed to organize Amazon workers at a Alabama warehouse wants the results of a recent vote to be thrown out, saying that the company illegally interfered with the process. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said in a filing that Amazon threatened workers with layoffs and even the closing of the warehouse if they unionized. It also said Amazon fired a pro-union employee, but declined to name the person. By Joseph Pisani. SENT: 590 words, photos.

CENSUS-PRIVACY

A leading census historian says the U.S. Census Bureau didn’t consult with the 50 states on its decision to introduce a controversial statistical method used to protect the privacy of participants in the 2020 census. Historian Margo Anderson said in a court filing Friday that the lack of state participation is a significant departure from 40 years of practices. The court filing is part of a lawsuit filed by the state of Alabama challenging the practice of adding controlled amounts of errors to the data to obscure any given individual’s identity. SENT: 375 words.

BIRMINGHAM POLICE-REVIEW BOARD

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A five-member board of civilians is being established to review complaints of police misconduct in Alabama’s largest city, Mayor Randall Woodfin said Monday. The Civilian Review Board, which was recommended by a task force that reviewed public safety following the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and nationwide protests last year. SENT: 210 words.

FUGITIVE ARRESTED

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — U.S. Marshals in Alabama said they captured a Georgia man who had been on the run for more than three years after he failed to show up for the final day of his trial on murder charges in his ex-girlfriend’s death. Authorities said Maurice Nesbitt was free on bond during his 2017 trial for the 2014 killing of Rashawn Jackson and cut off his electronic monitoring anklet and fled, Al.com reported. His case was featured last week on America’s Most Wanted. SENT: 210 words.

IN BRIEF:

— WOMAN SLAIN-CHASE — Authorities say an Alabama man suspected of killing a woman and shooting her 4-year-old son led officers on a chase through two counties before shooting himself to death.

— INMATE ESCAPE — An inmate serving time for assault has escaped from a Department of Corrections facility in central Alabama.

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALABAMA — A large school system in eastern Alabama will no longer require masks to be worn by students or employees.

LOUISIANA:

TOP STORIES:

OVERTURNED BOAT-RESCUE

CUT OFF, La. — U.S. Coast Guard says the search for crew members who disappeared when a lift boat capsized off Louisiana will be suspended at sunset Monday. The Coast Guard does not expect to find more survivors from the vessel. The grim news comes after days of searching for the missing workers from the oil industry lift boat Seacor Power, which capsized Tuesday during a fierce storm in the Gulf of Mexico south of Port Fourchon. Six of the 19 workers on the boat were rescued within hours of the wreck; five more bodies were found in the water. Eight remain missing. By Stacey Plaisance. SENT: 430 words. AP Photos, video planned.

GUN LAWS-LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE, La. — State senators have started advancing a bill that would strip Louisiana’s requirement that gun owners must have a permit to carry concealed firearms. A Senate judiciary committee narrowly backed the proposal by Republican Sen. Jay Morris. Monday’s 3-2 vote sending the bill to the full Senate fell along party lines. Republicans supported the measure while Democrats opposed it. The measure would allow anyone 21 years or older in Louisiana to carry a concealed handgun if the person isn’t legally barred from having a firearm. SENT: 520 words, photos.

TRANSGENDER RESTRICTIONS-LOUISIANA

BATON ROUGE, La. — Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday that he will oppose legislative proposals to add new medical and sports restrictions on transgender youth in Louisiana, calling the measures “unnecessary and discriminatory.” Lawmakers have introduced bills to ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams in schools and to restrict transgender youths’ access to medication and other health care used in transitioning to match their gender identity. SENT: 210 words.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LAWMAKERS VACCINATED

BATON ROUGE, La. — At least 68% of Louisiana lawmakers say they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, while the top leaders of the House and Senate have refused to reveal whether they’ve gotten their shots, according to a survey conducted by The Advocate. Ninety-eight of 142 lawmakers polled said they have received the coronavirus vaccine, while 30 said they haven’t been vaccinated. SENT: 590 words.

CHILD'S PARTY-SHOOTING

LAPLACE, La. — Authorities say nine people under 18 were injured and two of them remained in the hospital following a weekend shooting at a 12-year-old’s birthday party in Louisiana that was rooted in an ongoing feud. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported that eight of the victims of the Saturday night shooting were boys and all were between the ages of 12 and 17. The sheriff’s office had previously said six people were injured but updated the number to nine on Monday. SENT: 335 words.

SEAHAWKS-ALDON SMITH-WARRANT

CHALMETTE, La. — A sheriff’s office in Louisiana has issued an arrest warrant for newly signed Seattle Seahawks defensive end Aldon Smith. Sheriff James Pohlmann said in a post on his agency’s Facebook page that deputies responding to a call for medical assistance in Meraux on Saturday found a man who said he had been assaulted by an acquaintance outside a business in Chalmette. Detectives identified the suspect as the 31-year-old Smith and took out a warrant for second degree battery. SENT: 315 words.

PRISON GUARDS-COVER-UP-CHARGES

ANGOLA, La. — Four guards at Louisiana’s maximum-security have been accused of using excessive force on an inmate and then trying to cover it up, the state Department of Corrections said Monday. SENT: 267 words.

IN BRIEF:

— LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR — Louisiana lawmakers pick new auditor to inspect finances. — SCHOOL BUS HIT-FATALITY — Police: Car hits school bus; 1 driver dead, 1 driver hurt.

MISSISSIPPI:

VOTING RIGHTS-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — Three groups will sponsor an initiative to try to simplify the way Mississippi restores voting rights to people convicted of some felonies, a person involved with the effort said Monday. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 625 words. AP Photos.

MISSISSIPPI-WATER SYSTEM PROBLEMS

JACKSON, Miss. — The city of Jackson, Mississippi, has denied a TV station’s public records request for email about problems with the city water treatment system. WLBT-TV recently requested all city email related to the Environmental Protection Agency telling Jackson in March 2020 to bring its water treatment system into compliance with federal law. SENT: 340 words.

DRUG OVERDOSES-MISSISSIPPI

OXFORD, Miss. — A county in north Mississippi is reporting an increase in drug activity and overdose deaths that is alarming law enforcement. The Oxford Eagle reports that 10 people have died from drug overdoses in the last six months in the Lafayette County area, according to the Oxford Police Department. Seven of those deaths occurred in 2021. At least five people have survived overdoses this year. SENT: 300 words.

PRISON GUARDS-COVER-UP-CHARGES

ANGOLA, La. — Four guards at Louisiana’s maximum-security have been accused of using excessive force on an inmate and then trying to cover it up, the state Department of Corrections said Monday. SENT: 267 words.

IN BRIEF:

— COLLEGE ATHLETE LAW-MISSISSIPPI — Mississippi athletes will be able to earn money for likeness.

— MISSISSIPPI-ALCOHOL DELIVERY — Mississippi legalizing home delivery of alcohol as of July 1.

— BUS CRASH-MISSISSIPPI — Two students hospitalized after Lee County school bus crash.

— JACKSON HOMICIDES — Police in Mississippi’s capital city reported a half-dozen homicides in a span of 24 hours.

———

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

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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