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 A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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

SOUTHERN INTERSTATE

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Supporters of a proposed new interstate that would connect communities in five southern states say it would reduce poverty and improve the lives of residents along the route. The proposed Interstate 14 would run from west Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. SENT: 353 words.

GWINNETT-MARTA-REFERENDUM

ATLANTA — Gwinnett County's board of commissioners has agreed to give residents a new chance to join MARTA, Atlanta's public transit system. But the vote will not occur during November's midterm elections as some transit advocates had hoped and was instead delayed until March. WABE Radio reports the five-person board voted unanimously Wednesday to allow the referendum. SENT: 376 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGE:

EXCHANGE-COMIC BOOK ARTIST

Six feet tall in her red platforms and brilliant sunflower-yellow dress, Afua Richardson sails into My Parents' Basement with an arm full of comic books and her portfolio over her shoulder. The restaurant/tavern/comic book store in Avondale Estates is appropriately dolled-up for Richardson's arrival, with a poster featuring one of the artist's paintings of a glamorous femme fatale, and a display of her prints and greeting cards for sale. By Bo Emerson. The Atlanta Journal Constitution

IN BRIEF:

— PLANT LAYOFFS — Anchor Glass is cutting half of its Georgia workforce, citing a decline in demand for its products.

— FORT CAMPBELL-SOLDIER KILLED — Officials at Fort Campbell say a 19-year-old soldier from Georgia died during weapons training at the Army post.

IN SPORTS:

BBN--BRAVES-METS

NEW YORK — Kevin Gausman makes his Atlanta Braves debut when he pitches against Zack Wheeler and the Mets at Citi Field. Gausman was acquired from Baltimore at the trade deadline Tuesday. Wheeler, who stayed put in New York, has won three straight starts. By Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:10 p.m. ET.

FBN--FALCONS-FREEMAN'S GLEE

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Even as he enters his fourth season, Tevin Coleman is still taking notes from Falcons teammate Devonta Freeman on all the basics that go with being an NFL running back. How to run. How to catch. How to block. By Charles Odum. SENT: 673 words.

AP Photos GAJB104-0802181000, GAJB109-0802181000, GAJB106-0802180955.

— SOC--MLS-TORONTO FC-ATLANTA UNITED. Upcoming: 150 words. Game starts at 4 p.m.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

SHERIFF-QUALIFICATIONS

MCCORMICK, S.C. — Clarke Stearns has been working as sheriff for more than 18 months in McCormick County, but it's still up in the air whether he is qualified to be the county's top lawman. Stearns' Democratic opponent in the 2016 election, J.R. Jones, sued him within a month after his victory, saying Stearns never served as a law officer in South Carolina and therefore didn't meet the requirement of being a certified officer in the state. SENT: 259 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGE:

EXCHANGE-DANGEROUS LAKE

SENECA — Lake Keowee is one of the Upstate's most prized summertime recreation spots. It's also one of the deadliest. By Daniel J. Gross, The Greenville News SENT: 1,100 words as an AP Member Exchange.

IN BRIEF:

— MARCH AGAINST GUNS — Activists are planning a weekend rally at the South Carolina Statehouse to call for stricter gun laws.

— BODY ARMOR BURGLARY — South Carolina authorities say a burglar broke into a home wearing body armor and pointed a pistol at someone in the house.

— MAYOR REMOVED — South Carolina's governor has signed an executive order removing a mayor who pleaded guilty to domestic violence.

IN SPORTS:

FBN--RAVENS-HURST

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Hayden Hurst has finally found a sport, position and team that are best suited for his athletic ability: football, tight end, Baltimore Ravens. After being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2012 draft, Hurst pitched in the Gulf Coast League in 2013. He tried first base the following year before calling it a career. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 628 words.

AP Photos OHTD115-0802182200.

ALABAMA (All Times Central)

TOP STORIES:

SOUTHERN INTERSTATE

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Supporters of a proposed new interstate that would connect communities in five southern states say it would reduce poverty and improve the lives of residents along the route. The proposed Interstate 14 would run from west Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. SENT: 353 words.

ALABAMA GREYHOUND TRACKS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The family of a businessman and long-time gambling advocate who died this year says it plans to continue operating the dog racing tracks he owned, Al.com reported. The general manager of the Birmingham Race Course said recently that Milton McGregor's family intends to continue operating that track and VictoryLand in Macon County. SENT: 261 words.

MOBILE-BIKE SHARING

MOBILE, Ala. — Mobile will launch its downtown bicycle-sharing service on Aug. 15. The launch date means that rental bikes should be readily available during the Aug. 25 Dauphin Street Beer Festival, which serves as an informal kickoff for the downtown entertainment district's busy fall season, and the Ten Sixty Five music festival on Oct. 5-6, Al.com reported. SENT: 402 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGE:

EXCHANGE-OPEN MEETINGS LAW

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — "It was pretty egregious," said Brandon Cox, publisher and editor at the paper as well as the author of the column that sparked the controversy. Prior to his column, Cox said there were rumblings of access issues in the town of about 200 people because officials had closed a school with little notice by adding a last-minute agenda alteration. After that, he received word about rules barring admission to city meetings and what seemed like a overall refusal to grant public records requests. By Brian Edwards, Montgomery Advertiser.

IN BRIEF:

— WHOOPING COUGH — The Alabama Department of Public Health has identified an outbreak of whooping cough in Shelby and Jefferson counties.

— TOURISM AWARDS — Governor to hand out tourism industry awards.

IN SPORTS:

FBC--ALABAMA-QB BATTLE

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Returning starter Jalen Hurts and national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa have set up a Big quarterback battle leading up to the season. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Expected by 4 p.m.

LOUISIANA (All Times Central)

TOP STORIES:

SOUTHERN INTERSTATE

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Supporters of a proposed new interstate that would connect communities in five southern states say it would reduce poverty and improve the lives of residents along the route. The proposed Interstate 14 would run from west Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. SENT: 353 words.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGES:

EXCHANGE-CHRISTIAN GOLF BALLS

Golfers try to stay on the fairways and greens. Someone in Baton Rouge wants them to think about a different sort of straight and narrow. For more than three years, those who play at BREC's City Park and Webb Park golf courses have been finding golf balls with evangelistic Christian messages written on them, say those who work there. They show up daily at City Park, less frequently at Webb Park, but their source is a mystery. By George Morris, The Advocate of Baton Rouge.

EXCHANGE-GENEALOGY-FAMILY REUNITED

A Grant Parish woman's genealogy research over the past decade has been able to reunite her and her husband with biological family members. Patty Griffin Berry's research started with a quest to track down what happened to her paternal grandparents who divorced and left their young children, Patty's father and aunt, to be raised by family in the Colfax area. By Miranda Klein, The Town Talk.

IN BRIEF:

— XGR-EDWARDS-UNSIGNED BILLS — Across 10 legislative sessions, Gov. John Bel Edwards has an unusual distinction: He's never let a single bill become law without his signature.

IN SPORTS:

FBN--SAINTS-ARMSTEAD

METAIRIE, La. — Saints left tackle Terron Armstead only wishes his extensive list of travel destinations had anything to do with the jet-setting leisure a big pro football contract affords. Instead, it's been a protracted search for answers about how to stay healthy, and New Orleans' second-highest-paid offensive player sounds confident that the results will show this season. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. By 4 p.m. ET

FBN--TITANS-SAFETIES

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans have added a pair of safeties to replace injured Johnathan Cyprien, and neither is named Eric Reid. The Titans announced Saturday morning they have agreed to terms with Kenny Vaccaro and Jason Thompson. By Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 238 words.

AP Photos NY169-0322181907.

MISSISSIPPI (All Times Central)

TOP STORIES:

SOUTHERN INTERSTATE

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Supporters of a proposed new interstate that would connect communities in five southern states say it would reduce poverty and improve the lives of residents along the route. The proposed Interstate 14 would run from west Texas across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. SENT: 353 words.

VERTEX-EXPANSION

MADISON, Miss. — An aerospace company spun off from a larger conglomerate will make its headquarters in central Mississippi. Vertex Aerospace announced Friday that it will invest $1.4 million and hire 70 front-office workers over the next two years at its Madison office. The company currently employs 340 there, and 856 more statewide. SENT: 124 words. Will be updated.

AP MEMBER EXCHANGES:

EXCHANGE-PRE-TEEN-BASEBALL SCHOLARSHIP

Elijia Barney is no different than any other 12-year-old baseball player in that he hopes to make his middle school team, but you can be assured he'll be the only seventh-grader to show up for tryouts with a Division I college offer in his back pocket. The Barney family has produced some of the greatest athletes to ever come out of Gulfport, and Elijia appears set to also make a name for himself. By Patrick Magee, The Sun Herald.

EXCHANGE-CHURCH GARDEN

WREN — In 2014, Linda Ludwig and her husband were looking for a church to attend. They had visited every church in the Wren area and the last one on their list was Common Ground Christian Church. "We came here in the middle of the week when no one was around and we saw this beautiful garden," Ludwig said. "We immediately felt so peaceful and relaxed. We came back that Sunday and we've been here ever since." By Ginna Parsons, Daily Journal.

IN BRIEF:

— MEDGER EVERS HOME — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has added the Mississippi home of Medgar and Myrlie Evers to the African-American Civil Rights Network, which was created by federal law this year. With AP Photos.

— EX-3-DOORS-DOWN-BASSIST-ARRESTED — The former bassist for 3 Doors Down is facing another drug charge.

— JUVENILE MURDER CASE-REVIEW — The Mississippi Supreme Court is going to review the case of a man who was sentenced at 15 to life without parole.

— COUPLE ROBBED-UNDERWEAR — Police say a Mississippi couple visiting a friend were assaulted by the friend's boyfriend and robbed of everything but their underwear.

IN SPORTS:

FBN--SAINTS-ARMSTEAD

METAIRIE, La. — Saints left tackle Terron Armstead only wishes his extensive list of travel destinations had anything to do with the jet-setting leisure a big pro football contract affords. Instead, it's been a protracted search for answers about how to stay healthy, and New Orleans' second-highest-paid offensive player sounds confident that the results will show this season. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. By 4 p.m. ET

___

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The Atlanta AP Bureau: apatlanta@ap.org

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The Jackson AP Bureau: jkme@ap.org

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