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BC-Deep South News Digest

December 29, 2018

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 A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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



UNDATED _ Georgia’s contentious race for governor and a hurricane that ruined cotton, pecans, and other crops were among the state’s top stories of 2018. A state law requiring motorists to drive hands-free and a cyberattack on Atlanta’s computer network were also among the Top 10 stories in Georgia for the year. The Associated Press. SENT: 641 words.

AP Photos AX506-1124180533, AX508-1201181544, AX505-1102181032, AX509-1208181314, AX510-1210180101, AX504-1011180359, AX503-1010182124, AX507-1201180749, AX506-1106181742, AX502-0328180127, AX501-0822182254, AX511-1104180657.


ATLANTA _ A historic vote in early 2019 could bring more mass transit to metro Atlanta’s booming northeast suburbs. Gwinnett County residents are set to vote March 19 on whether to join the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, commonly known as MARTA. SENT: 406 words.


_ RABID BLACK BEAR _ North Carolina officials say a dead black bear has tested positive for rabies, the first such case known to the state.



ATLANTA _ Kent Bazemore and the Hawks are coming off an overtime win on the road and have won four of five as Cleveland visits Atlanta. Jordan Clarkson and the Cavaliers have dropped five straight. Both teams are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. By George Henry. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7:30 p.m.


ATLANTA _ No. 8 Michigan will try to bounce back from its loss to Ohio State to end the regular season when it faces No. 10 Florida in the Peach Bowl on Saturday. By Charles Odum. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at noon.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)



COLUMBIA, S.C. _ The year ends in South Carolina with hundreds of people rebuilding homes flooded for the second time in three years and hundreds of thousands of people still paying for nuclear reactors that never generated power. It was also a year of change in the state. Henry McMaster finally won the election he has wanted for decades. A Democrat flipped a Republican seat in the U.S. House. And an investigation into corruption at the Statehouse ended with no lawmaker yet to spend a night in jail. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 1,202 words.

AP Photos AX803-1204180402, SCAND805-1204180402, AX809-1204180402, AX807-1204180402, AX801-1204180402, AX804-1204180402, AX806-1204180402, AX802-1204180402, AX808-1204180402.


_ BUS WASH _ Bus drivers in Charleston no longer have to wait to get their dirty buses washed.



Oklahoma and Notre Dame are standing in the way of Alabama-Clemson Part IV. The College Football Playoff semifinals are Saturday, with the top-ranked Crimson Tide facing No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl in South Florida and No. 2 Clemson playing No. 3 Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl in North Texas. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 11 p.m. NOTE: Will be updated after second CFP semifinal game

_ With: FBC-CFP CHAMPIONSHIP-THE LATEST. Updates throughout the day from both CFP semifinal games.


ARLINGTON, Texas _ No. 2 Clemson faces No. 3 Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl semifinal of the College Football Playoff in a matchup of unbeaten teams. The Fighting Irish are making their first playoff appearance. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 750 words, with photos. Game starts at 4 p.m.

_ With: Sidebar on merit


CULLOWHEE, N.C. _ Cameron Jackson scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds to help Wofford beat Western Carolina 74-54 on Saturday. Matt Pegram scored 15 points and Fletcher Magee added 14 with three 3-pointers for the Terriers (10-4, 2-0 Southern Conference), who outscored the Catamounts 40-20 in the paint and outrebounded them 39-28. Donovan Theme-Love dished four of the Terriers’ 13 assists and had two of the teams’ eight steals. SENT: 210 words.


ROCK HILL, S.C. _ Adam Pickett scored all but one of his 15 points in the second half when Winthrop came from behind to defeat Prairie View A&M 76-62 on Saturday, pushing its win streak to four. Pickett opened the second half with a 3-point play that boosted the Eagles (8-4) into a 35-34 lead and ignited a 17-3 run. Bjorn Broman led with 17 points, and a perfect 7 of 7 at the foul line, Kyle Zunic added 12 points with nine rebounds. Pickett, Broman and Zunic scored the first eight points after halftime and Winthrop capped the turnaround rally with three straight 3-pointers by Josh Ferguson, Austin Awad and Raivis Scerbinskis. SENT: 190 words.

ALABAMA (All times Central)



MONTGOMERY, Ala. _ Alabama’s top news stories of the year included the 2018 elections, the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a major economic development announcement and the opening of a memorial to lynching victims U.S. Sen. Doug Jones was sworn into office in January after becoming the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in a quarter-century. However Democrats’ hopes for additional gains in the state were dashed in the 2018 elections as Republicans swept all statewide and contested congressional offices. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey won her first full term after ascending to the governor’s office last year. SENT: 1,137 words. With AP Photos.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. _ Alabama State University’s nationally known marching band will be performing in the Rose Parade. The Mighty Marching Hornets are among a select group of bands to receive one of the most-coveted invitations among high school and college marching bands nationwide, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. SENT: 403 words.



Oklahoma and Notre Dame are standing in the way of Alabama-Clemson Part IV. The College Football Playoff semifinals are Saturday, with the top-ranked Crimson Tide facing No. 4 Oklahoma at the Orange Bowl in South Florida and No. 2 Clemson playing No. 3 Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl in North Texas. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 11 p.m. NOTE: Will be updated after second CFP semifinal game

_ With: FBC-CFP CHAMPIONSHIP-THE LATEST. Updates throughout the day from both CFP semifinal games.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. _ Unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Alabama is a heavy favorite to advance to the College Football Playoff final for the fourth year in a row when it faces Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray and high-scoring Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night. By Steven Wine. UPCOMING: 750 words. Game scheduled to begin 8 p.m.

_ With: Sidebar on merit


AUBURN, Ala. _ No. 12 Auburn wraps up nonconference play against North Florida at Auburn Arena. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos. Game starts 4 p.m. CT.


AUBURN, Ala. _ Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean says he is skipping his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Dean announced his decision to leave Auburn on Instagram Friday night, hours after the Tigers’ 63-14 win over Purdue in the Music City Bowl. SENT: 146 words.


TROY, Ala. _ Alex Hicks scored 18 points, collected 10 rebounds and Troy won its fourth straight in beating Arkansas-Pine Bluff 71-63 on Saturday. It was Hicks’ second straight double-double and third of the season. Jordon Varnado scored 15 points and B.J. Miller and Charles Norman each scored 14 for Troy (7-5). SENT: 164 words.

LOUISIANA (All times Central)



NEW ORLEANS _ As 2018 comes to an end, Louisiana finally could be close to budget stability and the state has dropped from its spot as the nation’s top jailer. In addition, New Orleans saw its first woman mayor sworn into office and celebrated 300 years of existence. Those were some of the top 10 stories of the year. Also this year, the #MeToo movement snared former Secretary of State Tom Schedler, and a Louisiana teacher was handcuffed and briefly jailed after asking about teacher pay during a school board meeting. By Chevel Johnson. SENT: 853 words.

AP Photos LAGH305-0506182201, LAGH303-0111180952, LAGH304-0314180009, LABAT310-0326182209, LAGH302-0111180421, LAGH306-0506182252, LAGH308-0615180547.


NEW ORLEANS _ The former owner of a company that left thousands of tons of potentially explosive artillery propellant at a Louisiana National Guard facility says he will appeal his sentence. David Alan Smith, 63, of Winchester, Kentucky, filed a notice of appeal Friday with the federal court in Shreveport, where he was sentenced Nov. 29 in connection with what a prosecutor called the nation’s worst-ever dumping of military explosives. By Janet McConnaughey. SENT: 468 words.


THIBODAUX, La. _ The public is getting an opportunity next month to see Lafourche Parish’s new jail. Officials have already toured the $40 million Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex during its grand opening Dec. 19, and now residents will have a chance to walk through the facility, the sheriff’s office said. SENT: 379 words.


_ FRENCH QUARTER-STABBING _ A man has been fatally stabbed in New Orleans’ French Quarter. New Orleans Police say it happened early Saturday.



NEW ORLEANS _ James Harden and the Houston Rockets aim for a fourth straight win when they visit New Orleans on Saturday night. The Pelicans are coming off a win that ended a five-game skid, helped by a big night from Anthony Davis. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Tip-off 6 p.m. CT


MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)



JACKSON, Miss. _ Mississippi elected a new senator while wrestling with its old ghosts, lawmakers approved a new funding stream to improve transportation after Gov. Phil Bryant was forced to close hundreds of bridges, and Mississippi saw the biggest expansion of gambling since casinos were legalized. Those were among Mississippi’s top news stories in 2018 - a year that also saw the death of two police officers and a state trooper as well as a baby who died in an oven in the Mississippi Delta. By Jeff Amy. SENT: 1,152 words.

AP Photos MSRS503-0320181607, MSRS501-1126182137, MSGUL501-0803181745, MSRS502-0726181654, MSRS504-1004180612, MSRS505-0803170301, MSRS506-1016181214.


COLUMBUS, Miss. _ A former school superintendent in northeast Mississippi is suing, claiming his firing was motivated by retaliation and racial prejudice. Philip Hickman filed suit Dec. 21 in federal court in Aberdeen against the Columbus school district and three board members — Jason Spears, Josie Shumake and Fredrick Sparks. Hickman and Sparks are black, while Spears and Shumake are white. SENT: 436 words.


_ PRISON VISITS _ Mississippi’s state prison system says it is hosting a special visit day for the children of more than 300 incarcerated mothers and fathers on Saturday.

_ MISSING WOMAN _ Police in a south Mississippi city are charging a man with hindering prosecution after they questioned him about a woman missing since Nov. 25.

_ DICE GAME SHOOTING _ Police are investigating a shooting that they believe followed an argument over a dice game.

_ CASINO REVENUE _ Casino revenue fell slightly in Mississippi in November, the first decrease since the start of sports betting in the state.



STARKVILLE, Miss. _ Mississippi State coach Ben Howland emphasized beefing up the nonconference schedule this season to boost his team’s NCAA Tournament resume. It’s a strategy that’s been a huge success, and the Bulldogs earned another quality win on Saturday heading into league play. Aric Holman scored a career-high 28 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon had 27, leading No. 19 Mississippi State past BYU 103-81 for the Bulldogs’ ninth straight victory. By Paul Jones. SENT: 598 words.

AP Photos MSRS106-1227181207, MSRS107-1227181223, MSRS104-1227181217, MSRS108-1227181358, MSRS112-1227181218.


OXFORD, Miss. _ Florida Gulf Coast plays Ole Miss at The Pavilion on Saturday. It’s the Rebels’ final nonconference game before SEC play begins next week. UPCOMING: 550 words from 1 p.m. tipoff.


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.

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