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Deep South News Digest

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:
Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 10:33 AM CDT
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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.

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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s mayor says she will sign an executive order mandating masks in Georgia’s largest city Wednesday, defying Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to strongly encourage but not require face coverings. Spokesman Michael Smith said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms plans to sign an order requiring masks, which could set up a confrontation with the Republican Kemp. The governor has already clashed with the mayor recently over policing issues, calling out the National Guard to protect state government offices after an 8-year-old girl was fatally shot by armed people at the site of a fast food restaurant where an Atlanta police officer shot and killed a Black man. By Jeff Amy and Ben Nadler. SENT: 671 words.

AP Photos transref:NYDB777, transref:GAATJ200.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-CHILD KILLED

ATLANTA — Tyler Perry has offered to pay the funeral expenses for an 8-year-old girl who was fatally shot in Atlanta over the weekend, a representative for the actor and filmmaker confirmed Wednesday. “I’m outraged today because I’d rather be paying for 8-year-old Secoriea Turner’s college than her funeral,” Perry said in a statement to People magazine. “When does this end?” SENT: 265 words.

ARREST DEATH-GEORGIA

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — Police in coastal Georgia say a man wanted in a shooting killed himself before police could arrest him. Acting Glynn County Police Chief Jay Wiggins told The Brunswick News that Rashard Alford, 18, shot and killed himself Tuesday in a vehicle outside a motel. SENT: 287 words.

SEVERE WEATHER

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Rains deluged parts of South Carolina and Georgia on Tuesday, washing out roads and forcing the closure of a state park. Augusta, Georgia, set a new record for any July day with 4.6 inches (nearly 120 millimeters) of rain, while a National Weather Service observer in Beaufort County, South Carolina, reported nearly 10 inches (254 millimeters). Heavy rain was also reported at Pawleys Island on the coast north of Charleston. SENT: 379 words.

SAVANNAH DIOCESE-NEW BISHOP

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A Roman Catholic priest who has served for more than two decades in Florida has been named bishop for the Diocese of Savannah in Georgia. Pope Francis announced Wednesday that the Rev. Stephen D. Parkes will lead the diocese that governs Catholic parishes in 90 counties across central and southern Georgia, including Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Albany and Brunswick. The diocese has 75,000 Catholics scattered across that territory, out of 3 million overall residents, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. SENT: 231 words.

CRIME WAVE

NEW YORK — Exhausted American cities are facing yet another challenge in addition to the coronavirus and the street protests over the police killing of George Floyd. A surge in shootings in recent days has left dozens of dead, including young children. President Donald Trump and his conservative allies are warning that a push for police reform, drastic cuts in law enforcement funding and an effort to put fewer people in prison have unleashed a crime wave. By Tom Hays and Colleen Long. SENT: 1,065 words, photos.

NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING-SOUTH CAROLINA

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A Georgia man was arrested and accused of fatally shooting two people in a South Carolina club during the July 4th weekend, authorities said. Jarquez Kezavion Cooper, of Athens, Georgia, was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, news outlets reported. Cooper was being held a Georgia jail. SENT: 255 words.

AP Photos transref:SCRS103, transref:SCRS102, transref:SCRS101.

IN BRIEF:

— FATAL CAR CRASH — Authorities said a driver died Wednesday morning after a fiery crash on a Georgia interstate

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SCHOOLS

COLUMBIA, S.C. — As South Carolina reports spiking numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19, its children are also suffering from mental health and educational consequences of closed schools, health and education leaders told state lawmakers Wednesday. The state needs to reduce its high rate of cases so students can return to school safely, Department of Education Superintendent Molly Spearman told a state Senate subcommittee meeting. Since Memorial Day, the state has seen a spike in reported cases and hospitalizations. By Michelle Liu. SENT: 509 words.

CASINO LAWSUIT

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A yearslong bid by the South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation to build a casino and resort in North Carolina could stall once again following a lawsuit by North Carolina-based Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the latest development in a casino turf war between the two tribes. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians filed an amended complaint against the U.S. Department of the Interior this week, challenging the federal government’s approval in March for a Catawba casino development on land near Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain, just west of Charlotte, into trust for the planned Catawba casino. By Michelle Liu. SENT: 711 words.

SEVERE WEATHER

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Rains deluged parts of South Carolina and Georgia on Tuesday, washing out roads and forcing the closure of a state park. Augusta, Georgia, set a new record for any July day with 4.6 inches (nearly 120 millimeters) of rain, while a National Weather Service observer in Beaufort County, South Carolina, reported nearly 10 inches (254 millimeters). Heavy rain was also reported at Pawleys Island on the coast north of Charleston. SENT: 379 words.

NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING-SOUTH CAROLINA

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A Georgia man was arrested and accused of fatally shooting two people in a South Carolina club during the July 4th weekend, authorities said. Jarquez Kezavion Cooper, of Athens, Georgia, was charged Tuesday with two counts of murder, seven counts of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, news outlets reported. Cooper was being held a Georgia jail. SENT: 255 words.

AP Photos transref:SCRS103, transref:SCRS102, transref:SCRS101.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-EMPTY MONUMENTS

TIERRA AMARILLA, N.M. — The dusty town of Tierra Amarilla perches in the shadows of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Here, five decades ago, this poor northern New Mexico community saw one of the most violent clashes in civil rights history when armed Mexican American ranchers raided a courthouse in a dispute over land grants. It shocked the nation and helped trigger the Chicano Movement. Today, there’s almost nothing in town to honor this historic moment, except for graffiti art on an abandoned gas station and a sentence on a marker. There’s also almost no public art about the event anywhere. By Russell Contreras. SENT: 674 words.

AP Photos transref:RPRC201, transref:RPRC202, transref:RPRC204, transref:RPRC203.

IN SPORTS:

FBN—OFFSEASON UPDATE-STUCK AT HOME

UNDATED — Tim Flynn was looking forward to one final year as the mayoral host of training camp for the Dallas Cowboys in Oxnard, California. So much for that. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 1,032 words.

AP Photos transref:NYSB233, transref:NYSB234.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

AP is moving election test reports for the July 14 Alabama runoff election beginning Monday, July 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: AL—Alabama Primary Runoff Election Testing Advisory.

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The coronavirus outbreak in Alabama is headed in a “bad direction,” the head of the Alabama Hospital Association said Wednesday, as the state reached a new high for people hospitalized with COVID-19 and a new low for available intensive care beds. “I’m worried,” said. Dr. Don Williamson, the former state health officer who now heads the state Hospital Association. “I just think things are trending in a very, very bad direction.” By Kim Chandler. SENT: 455 words.

JUDGE RESIGNS

ATHENS, Ala. — A north Alabama judge accused of misusing court funds and stealing money from clients has resigned from his post. Former Limestone County District Judge Doug Patterson announced he would be stepping down effective July 3, according to a letter to the Alabama Supreme Court filed Tuesday. SENT: 253 words.

SHOPPING MALL SHOOTING-ALABAMA

HOOVER, Ala. — Three people are now charged in the killing of an 8-year-old boy who was shot to death inside Alabama’s largest shopping mall. Police in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover on Tuesday announced capital murder charges against two 19-year-olds, King Gary Williams and Demetrius Dewayne Jackson Jr. They’re charged in the killing last Friday of 8-year-old Royta Giles Jr. Another man was charged on Sunday. Police say the boy was caught in the crossfire of a shootout that began inside the Riverchase Galleria mall. SENT: 204 words.

IN BRIEF:

— ALABAMA WEATHER — Heavy overnight rains quickly swamped the west Alabama city of Tuscaloosa, covering roads with water and leaving guests stranded in a motel. AP Photos transref:ALTUS101, transref:ALTUS103, transref:ALTUS102.

— VIRUS OUTBREAK-PUBLIC SCHOOLS-MASKS — A public school district in Alabama will require students to wear masks for in-person classes when the school year kicks off in August.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA

NEW ORLEANS — COVID-19 is showing an alarming statewide rise in Louisiana, and New Orleans will soon restrict bars and restaurants to table service in hopes of reducing the disease’s resurgence, officials said Wednesday. “We have a statewide epidemic. It’s no longer one or two regions,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said at his weekly coronavirus briefing. By Janet McConnaughey and Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 718 words.

AP Photos transref:LABAT102, transref:LABAT403, transref:LABAT103.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LOUISIANA SCHOOLS

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s K-12 schools and colleges will be shielded from most civil lawsuits if a student or teacher contracts the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus under a bill that Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law Wednesday. Lawmakers agreed in the special session that ended June 30 to give the sweeping protections to schools as they prepare to reopen in August. SENT: 305 words.

CIVIL RIGHTS PROBE REQUEST-LOUISIANA

UNDATED — A nonprofit that advocates for criminal justice reform asked the U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday to open a civil rights investigation into law enforcement in southwestern Louisiana, citing a long history of misconduct. The Promise of Justice Initiative called a federal inquiry “the only pathway to justice” for Jefferson Davis Parish and surrounding communities that are subjected to a “dangerous level of incompetence by law enforcement.” By Jim Mustian. SENT: 409 words.

XGR—LOUISIANA BUDGET-PAY RAISES

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s state workers will get pay raises this year despite the pandemic’s impact on state finances, after Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday he vetoed a legislative effort to withhold $57 million for the salary hikes. Lawmakers sought to stall the pay raises in the budget that began July 1, freezing the money and ordering agencies not to dole out increases. They cited the state’s financial uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic, and said it seemed inappropriate to give pay raises to public employees while private sector workers were struggling so much in the outbreak. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 719 words.

AP Photos transref:LAGH104, transref:LAMD104, transref:LAMD103.

TEXAS-EXECUTION

HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The nation’s busiest death penalty state prepared to resume executions Wednesday evening following a five-month delay during the coronavirus pandemic after the U.S Supreme Court rejected three appeals from a Texas inmate condemned for fatally shooting an 82-year-old man nearly three decades ago. Billy Joe Wardlow was set to die for the slaying of Carl Cole during a June 1993 robbery at his home in Cason, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) east of Dallas in the East Texas piney woods, near the Louisiana and Arkansas borders. By Juan A. Lozano and Michael Graczyk. SENT: 780 words.

AP Photos transref:CER501.

IN BRIEF:

— FIREFIGHTER ARRESTED — A volunteer firefighter has been accused of starting a fire in south Louisiana.

— POLICE KILLING-LOUISIANA — Louisiana state troopers shot and killed a man accused of shooting at a state trooper during the weekend and then fired at more troopers who had come to arrest him early Wednesday, Louisiana State Police said.

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

VIRUS OUTBREAK-MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s governor and top public health official on Wednesday implored people to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus during a rapid rise in diagnosed cases — including at the state Capitol, where at least 26 legislators and 10 others who work in the building have tested positive. The state health officer, Dr. Thomas Dobbs, said the Capitol numbers are just for people who have been tested in recent days in Jackson. Numbers could be higher because some legislators have been tested for the virus since returning to their hometowns. By Emily Wagster Pettus. SENT: 471 words.

AP Photos transref:MSRS101, transref:MSRS103, transref:MSRS102, transref:MSRS105, transref:MSRS104, transref:MSRS106, transref:MSRS109, transref:MSRS107.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-MISSISSIPPI MONUMENT

OXFORD, Miss. — Officials in a Mississippi county unanimously voted to keep a Confederate monument where it stands, saying moving the statue wouldn’t fix racial tensions. In a 5-0 vote, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal to relocate the Confederate statue, which stands in the middle of Oxford Square, news outlets reported. SENT: 297 words.

UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT-CONVICTED

CLINTON, Miss. — A Mississippi judge has found Jackson State University’s former president guilty of misdemeanor charges related to a prostitution sting. Municipal Judge Steve Boone of Clinton found William Bynum Jr. guilty Wednesday of procuring the services of a prostitute, false statement of identity and possession of marijuana., The Clarion Ledger reported. DEVELOPING.

IN BRIEF:

— KIDNAPPING ARREST — A Mississippi man accused of assaulting his girlfriend and holding her and two of her children captive has been taken into custody, authorities said.

___

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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