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:
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Deep South Editor Jim Van Anglen can be reached at 1-800-821-3737 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Administrative Correspondent Rebecca Santana can be reached at 504-523-3931 or email@example.com. A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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)
HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL-GEORGIA
ATLANTA — The Biden administration is reevaluating a plan by Georgia officials to overhaul how state residents buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act as federal officials try to boost former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law. In a letter to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services raised concerns about the state’s proposal to have the private sector, not the government, engage in outreach to get state residents to sign up for insurance under the ACA. By Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 389 words.
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ATLANTA — A judge on Friday granted a request from the district attorney in Atlanta to recuse her office from prosecuting the police officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks and instructed the state attorney general to appoint another prosecutor. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who took office in January, had argued that actions by her predecessor, Paul Howard, made it inappropriate for her office to handle the prosecution of Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe. She had asked a judge to determine who should handle the case after state Attorney General Chris Carr twice rejected her requests to recuse herself. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 599 words.
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VOTING BILLS-ANTI-DEMOCRATIC FEARS
UNDATED — Seven months after Election Day, former President Donald Trump’s supporters are still auditing ballots in Arizona’s largest county and may revive legislation that would make it easier for judges in Texas to overturn election results. In Georgia, meanwhile, the Republican-controlled state legislature passed a bill allowing it to appoint a board that can replace election officials. Trump loyalists who falsely insist he won the 2020 election are running for top election offices in several swing states. And after a pro-Trump mob staged a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to halt the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory, Republicans banded together to block an independent investigation of the riot, shielding Trump from additional scrutiny of one of the darkest days of his administration. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 1,098 words.
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— GEORGIA LABOR COMMISSIONER — Georgia state Sen. Bruce Thompson is beginning his campaign for commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor.
— PORSCHE CRASH-BUSINESSES TORCHED — A sports car plowed into an Atlanta strip mall, touching off a fire that heavily damaged several businesses. AP Photos transref:GAATJ804, transref:GAATJ803, transref:GAATJ802, transref:GAATJ801, transref:GAATJ800.
— RIGHT WHALE BABIES — Scientists who track a rare species of whale said more pairs of mother whales with babies have been spotted this year than the previous few.
In this NBA, this much is already clear: There will be a new champion. A lot of first-time champions, too. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 946 words.
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ATLANTA — If Trae Young is the unquestioned star of the Atlanta Hawks, then Clint Capela is the backbone. A pretty good trash talker, too. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 778 words.
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PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid’s status for Game 1 of Philadelphia’s playoff series is still unknown because of a cartilage tear in his knee. The 76ers center remained day to day, and coach Doc Rivers said no decision has been made on the All-Star’s availability for Game 1 against Atlanta. SENT: 211 words.
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ATLANTA — Ian Anderson will look for his fifth win when the Atlanta Braves open a weekend series against Julio Urias, who will try for his eighth win, and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night. By George Henry. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 7:20 p.m.
BKL--DREAM-LYNX. Upcoming: 150 words. Game starts at 8 p.m.
SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)
SMALL PLANE CRASH-SOUTH CAROLINA
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — A small private plane that crashed in South Carolina last month, killing the pilot, had a key part installed upside down and backward after maintenance, according to a federal report. James Harper, 60, died in the May 21 crash of his Piper PA-31 just after taking off from Myrtle Beach International Airport. He was a pilot with American Airlines, authorities said. SENT: 244 words.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — About two dozen correctional officers and teachers at South Carolina’s beleaguered juvenile justice agency joined an impromptu walkout Friday, protesting what they describe as low staffing, poor pay and mismanagement. The walkout from the agency’s Broad River Road complex in Columbia follows weeks of legislative scrutiny into the agency after an audit released in April found an uptick in violence, a failure to maintain adequate security staffing and many other deep-rooted problems. By Michelle Liu. SENT: 743 words.
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DEATH PENALTY-SOUTH CAROLINA
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The inmate scheduled to be the first put to death under South Carolina’s recently revamped capital punishment law has filed a last-minute request seeking to halt his execution in the electric chair, arguing that the state hasn’t exhausted all methods to procure lethal injection drugs. On Thursday, attorneys for Brad Sigmon filed papers in federal court asking a judge to put a stop to his execution later this month. By Meg Kinnard. SENT: 713 words.
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The head of an American Legion post in Ohio stepped down Friday amid criticism following the decision of Memorial Day ceremony organizers to turn off a retired U.S. Army officer’s microphone while he was speaking about how freed Black slaves honored fallen soldiers just after the Civil War. American Legion leaders in Ohio also suspended the post’s charter and are taking steps to close it. By John Seewer. SENT: 448 words.
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CONCERT SHOOTINGS-SOUTH CAROLINA
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Four people were charged with manslaughter in a shooting last month at an illegal concert in South Carolina that killed a 14-year-old girl and hurt 13 other people, North Charleston police said. The May 22 shooting happened when two gangs were at the same vacant lot where a stage was set up and food and drinks were being sold, investigators said. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 341 words.
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Former Vice President Mike Pence says that he isn’t sure that he and former President Donald Trump will ever see “eye to eye” over what happened on Jan. 6 but that he would “always be proud of what we accomplished for the American people over the last four years.” Pence, speaking at a Republican dinner Thursday in the early-voting state of New Hampshire, gave his most extensive comments to date on the events of Jan. 6, when angry Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, some chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” after the vice president said he did not have the power to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory. By Michael Casey. SENT: 887 words.
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— FATAL CRASH-INOPERATIVE TRAFFIC SIGNAL — The Florida Highway Patrol says a woman and her adult son from South Carolina were killed when the vehicle they were riding in collided with a flat-bed tractor-trailer at a Florida intersection with an “inoperative” traffic light.
— RUNNER KILLED — A woman faces reckless homicide, driving under suspension and other charges after police said she was driving a stolen SUV that struck and killed a woman as she ran with her dog on a sidewalk.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Wes Clarke hit his nation-leading 23rd home run of the season and South Carolina opened the Columbia Regional with a 4-3 victory over Virginia on Friday. Clarke homered in the first to break a tie with Florida State’s Mat Nelson for the NCAA lead. SENT: 206 words.
ALABAMA (All times Central)
SHIP CHRISTENING-USS CANBERRA
MOBILE, Ala. — The Navy will christen a ship made in Alabama on Saturday, naming it after Australia’s capital city. The littoral combat ship will be the second ship named the USS Canberra, according to a Navy news release sent Friday. SENT: 234 words.
DEAD TEEN’S DIPLOMA
DOTHAN, Ala. — A woman whose 18-year-old son was shot to death just months before his high school graduation has received an honorary diploma for him from the principal and school system superintendent. Cecilia Newby also was given a graduation cap and tassel for Majic Collins as his friends and family watched on Thursday at Wiregrass Angel House, The Dothan Eagle reported. SENT: 296 words.
MISSING INFANT-MURDER CHARGE
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama man who pleaded with the public for information about his missing son later led authorities to a shallow grave where the infant was buried and asked a police officer to shoot him before he was placed in handcuffs and charged in the death, testimony showed Friday. Testimony in a hearing for Caleb Michael Whisnand Sr. revealed new details about the death of 5-week-old C.J. Whisnand and how authorities found the baby’s body, news outlets reported. The man told police the child’s death was accidental, evidence showed. SENT: 396 words.
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A federal regulatory group will not take action against the Alabama Public Service Commission over fees allowed on home solar panels, but the group’s chairman expressed concern that the state might be violating federal law designed to encourage alternative energy sources. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a request from environmental groups to take enforcement action against the Alabama regulators that approved Alabama Power’s fees on home solar panel s and other home power generation. However, two members of the five-member panel, Commission Chairman Richard Glick and Commissioner Allison Clements, issued a separate statement Wednesday to express concern that Alabama regulators may be violating federal policies designed to encourage the development of cogeneration and small power production facilities and to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. By Kim Chandler. SENT: 529 words.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Police in Alabama say an internal review has found that an officer violated policy by repeatedly stomping on the leg of a man during an arrest attempt. The Huntsville Police Department says it reviewed multiple video recordings before deciding that the officer will now face disciplinary review by the police chief. Video broadcast through Facebook Live Sunday night showed an officer repeatedly stomping on the leg of a man who was struggling with another officer during an arrest. The man’s mother described him as mentally ill. He now faces charges of resisting arrest. Police have not publicly identified the officer facing disciplinary review. SENT: 255 words.
— BODY FOUND — A woman’s body has been found near a bridge in Alabama and police are asking the public for help in identifying her.
— EVICTION BAN — Groups representing landlords on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to end the federal moratorium on evicting tenants who aren’t paying rent during the coronavirus pandemic.
LOUISIANA (all times Central)
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s state education superintendent says that school ratings should give more weight to student improvement — something that would cut the number rated D or F. DEVELOPING.
— NUNGESSER-ALASKA TRIP —Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser is heading to Alaska next week for a seafood promotion trip.
— DEADLY TIRE CHANGE — Two men are dead following a car accident on the shoulder of a Louisiana interstate.
NEW YORK — Five months after breaking his right leg, Kendrick Carmouche needed to get back on a horse. “I start watching those horses go around the track,” he said, mimicking goosebumps popping up on his arms and tingling in his fingers. “That itch came back.” By Stephen Whyno. SENT: 702 words.
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NEW YORK – Absent the drama of a horse trained by Bob Baffert and shot at a Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes attracted what could be the most competitive field of any of the three races in 2021. The 1 ½-mile “test of the champion” features Preakness winner Rombauer, Kentucky Derby favorite Essential Quality and third-place finisher Hot Rod Charlie along with others back on the Triple Crown trail. By Stephen Whyno. SENT: 700 words, photos
MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)
JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s top health official said Friday that lack of access isn’t the reason the state is last in the nation for COVID-19 vaccinations — it’s apathy. State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said he guarantees the state is among the easiest in the country to get a vaccine but many people refuse because they don’t think they need it. By Leah Willingham. SENT: 427 words.
ODE TO BILLY JOE-MEMORIAL
GREENWOOD, Miss. — A group of Mississippi residents gathered on a sleepy, dusty Delta day to remember the fictional Billy Joe McAllister where — as the 1967 hit song had it — he ended his life when he jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge. The Greenwood Commonwealth reported that members of the society calling themselves the June Bugs held a ceremony Thursday and talked about Billy Joe as if they knew him. The group included Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Bill Luckett, an attorney and blues club owner who once ran for Mississippi governor as a Democrat. SENT: 249 words.
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NATCHEZ, Miss. — Federal funds are coming to a Mississippi city to help stem a serious erosion problem threatening parts of the Natchez National Cemetery, Mayor Dan Gibson said. “The National Cemetery Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been working together to engineer a long-term bluff stabilization project at Natchez National Cemetery,” Gibson said. SENT: 237 words.
— CHILD SHOT BY TODDLER — Police say a 9-year-old Mississippi boy has died one day after being accidentally shot by his toddler sister.
— TRIBAL MEMBER-SENTENCE — A former member of the Tribal Council for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians has been sentenced to two years in prison for wire fraud, federal prosecutors said.
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