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BC-Deep South News Digest

February 25, 2019

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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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 shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

GEORGIA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

GEORGIA SPEAKER

ATLANTA _ Georgia’s Republican House Speaker David Ralston is firing back at reports that he has used his elective position to delay court proceedings for his clients as a criminal defense lawyer. He said Monday that he’s assembling an advisory group to review the legislative-leave law he’s accused of abusing. An investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV found Ralston has asked judges to reschedule court cases at least 57 times in the past two years. By Ben Nadler. SENT: 360 words, photos.

DEEP SOUTH WEATHER

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ With rivers still rising after days of storms that dumped more than a foot of rain on the Southeast, authorities searched Monday for two missing people along Alabama waterways as a Mississippi community cleaned up from a killer tornado. Crews looked along the Cahaba River near Birmingham for a woman who disappeared Sunday. A spokesman with Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue said her vehicle was found near the waterway. SENT: 480 words, photos, video.

WITH:

_ DEEP SOUTH WEATHER-THE LATEST _ The latest developments.

OSCARS-SPIKE LEE

LOS ANGELES _ Spike Lee’s first-ever competitive Oscar award turned a mostly staid ceremony into a joyful and passionate one. Lee captured the best adapted screenplay trophy for “BlacKkKlansman” and jumped into the arms of presenter Samuel L. Jackson when he took the stage Sunday. The veteran filmmaker had waited a long time to be recognized by his peers in the movie industry beyond the honorary Oscar he received in 2016 for his contributions to movies. But he lost best picture to “Green Book.” By Lynn Elber. SENT: 545 words, photos, video.

IN BRIEF:

_ XGR-NEEDLE EXCHANGE _ The Georgia House has overwhelmingly passed a proposal that would legalize programs giving drug users clean needles in exchange for used ones.

_ COCAINE SEIZURES-GEORGIA _ Federal agents have announced the seizure of millions of dollars of cocaine hidden in pineapples and decorative figurines at two different Georgia ports of entry.

_ SEA OTTER DIES _ The Georgia Aquarium is mourning the death of an 18-year-old sea otter that had been part of the aquarium when it opened in 2005.

_ PLAYER’S TABLET STOLEN _ Atlanta police say a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player’s team-issued tablet and passport were stolen from his Jeep.

_ BENNETT COLLEGE-ACCREDITATION _ One of the two remaining historically black private women’s colleges in the United States is suing to keep its doors open after losing its appeal to have its accreditation restored. A federal judge in Atlanta granted a temporary restraining order, preserving Bennett’s accreditation while the court case continues.

SPORTS:

BKN--HAWKS-ROCKETS

HOUSTON _ James Harden is questionable with a neck injury as the Houston Rockets, who are coming off a win over the Warriors, host the Atlanta Hawks. By Kristie Rieken. 750 words. Photos.

CAR--NASCAR-IN THE PITS

HAMPTON, Ga. _ The verdict is still out on NASCAR’s new competition package, which made an innocuous debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The new rules didn’t magically create an amazing race, but it wasn’t unwatchable and that’s a win for NASCAR. By AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. 700 words. Upcoming. By 6 p.m.

FBO--AAF-LEGENDS ROCKY START

ATLANTA _ The new Alliance of American Football’s Atlanta Legends are winless after three games and struggling to establish their offense behind quarterback Matt Simms after the unexpected exits of coach Brad Childress and offensive coordinator Michael Vick before the season. By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 500 words, file photos by 3 p.m.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

DUI ARREST-DEATH

COLUMBIA, S.C. _ The family of a South Carolina man who died days after a crash where he was charged with driving under the influence says a Charleston police officer signed a form for him refusing medical treatment. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 534 words.

IN BRIEF:

_ STUDENT STABBED _ Authorities say a 17-year-old girl has been taken to the hospital with serious injuries after she was stabbed in a South Carolina high school.

_ GUNMAN APPREHENDED _ Authorities say a man wanted on several charges barricaded himself inside a home and fired gunshots when U.S. Marshals showed up to arrest him on a warrant.

_ INTERSTATE 85 CLOSED _ All southbound lanes of Interstate 85 near Spartanburg have been closed so crews can make emergency repairs to the pavement.

_ PEDESTRIAN KILLED _ A woman has been struck and killed while crossing a road in Spartanburg County.

_ MOTORCYCLIST KILLED _ Authorities say a motorcyclist has been killed in a crash near the South Carolina coast.

_ HBO SERIES-CHARLESTON MALL _ A new HBO series is being filmed at a mall in Charleston, South Carolina.

SPORTS:

BKC--T25-COLLEGE BKB POLL

RALEIGH, N.C. _ Gonzaga’s first stay atop the AP Top 25 this season ended following a pair of losses to highly ranked nonconference opponents. Now back at No. 1, the Zags look like they could stay there through the rest of the season. Gonzaga moved up a spot Monday to begin a second stint at No. 1, both times replacing Duke at the top. By Aaron Beard. SENT: 840 words, photos.

ALABAMA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

DEEP SOUTH WEATHER

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ With rivers still rising after days of storms that dumped more than a foot of rain on the Southeast, authorities searched Monday for two missing people along Alabama waterways as a Mississippi community cleaned up from a killer tornado. Crews looked along the Cahaba River near Birmingham for a woman who disappeared Sunday. A spokesman with Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue said her vehicle was found near the waterway. SENT: 480 words, photos, video.

WITH:

_ DEEP SOUTH WEATHER-THE LATEST _ The latest developments.

IN BRIEF:

_ GAS TAX _ Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will announce a gas tax proposal this week as infrastructure improvement takes center stage in this year’s legislative session.

_ CAGED PETS-FLOOD _ Authorities say two animals among cages of pets left near a flooding river in Alabama have died and that their owner has been arrested.

_ BODY FOUND-MAN SHOT _ Authorities say a body with a gunshot wound has been found off a road in a rural area in Alabama.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

MEDICAID CONTRACTS

BATON ROUGE, La. _ Louisiana is searching for private companies to manage the care of 1.5 million Medicaid patients, as the existing contracts expire at the end of this year. The Department of Health announced Monday that it is seeking bids from companies interested in the work. The new contracts, which are among the most lucrative in state government and worth billions, will begin in January. By Melinda Deslatte. SENT: 130 words. Update planned.

ESSENCE FESTIVAL LINEUP

NEW ORLEANS _ The 2019 Essence Festival will feature headlining performances by Mary J. Blige and rappers NAS, Pharrell, Jermaine Dupri and Missy Elliott as Essence Magazine’s “party with a purpose” turns 25 this year. By Chevel Johnson. SENT: 280 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

_ OLD STATE CAPITOL _ Louisiana’s Old State Capitol is opening a new exhibit commemorating the 25 years since the historic building was restored.

_ DISASTER FARM AID _ Louisiana’s agriculture department says farmers in 17 parishes may be eligible for federal disaster assistance because of rain and flooding late last year.

_ JOHN DEERE-LSU JOYRIDE _ Louisiana State University police say three men stole a John Deere utility vehicle from the football locker room and took it for an early-morning drunken joyride.

_ OCCUPIED VACANT HOUSE _ A Louisiana woman is accused of living in a vacant house and selling its furniture and appliances.

SPORTS:

BKN--76ERS-PELICANS

NEW ORLEANS _ The Philadelphia 76ers visit the Pelicans on Monday night with center Joel Embiid sidelined by knee soreness. Anthony Davis is expected back in New Orleans’ lineup after being rested during a victory over the Lakers on Saturday night. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Tip-off 7 p.m.

BKC--SEC-REF’S PHOTO

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. _ Southeastern Conference referee Anthony Jordan has told the league he didn’t mean to show favoritism toward any particular school when he posed for a picture holding an LSU T-shirt five years ago while traveling abroad. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 150 words, photos. Updates planned.

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

DEEP SOUTH WEATHER

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ With rivers still rising after days of storms that dumped more than a foot of rain on the Southeast, authorities searched Monday for two missing people along Alabama waterways as a Mississippi community cleaned up from a killer tornado. Crews looked along the Cahaba River near Birmingham for a woman who disappeared Sunday. A spokesman with Cahaba Valley Fire and Rescue said her vehicle was found near the waterway. SENT: 480 words, photos, video.

WITH:

_ DEEP SOUTH WEATHER-THE LATEST _ The latest developments.

OVERDOSES-CRIMINAL CHARGES

STAFFORD, Conn. _ The opioid crisis is spurring many states to take a tougher stance against drug dealers, including creating laws that treat fatal overdoses as murder and manslaughter. Lawmakers in Connecticut, Hawaii, Mississippi and Virginia have proposed bills this year that would allow murder and manslaughter charges for fatal overdoses. Other states have passed similar laws in recent years. But opponents say such laws discourage people from calling 911 for help for overdose victims. By Dave Collins. SENT: 845 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

_ MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR 2019 _ The third-term district attorney for Mississippi’s largest county has filed to run for governor.

___

If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email 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

If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.