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BC-Deep South News Digest

January 1, 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 A reminder: this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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:

VOTING MACHINES-GEORGIA

ATLANTA _ Georgia’s outdated election system has drawn criticism from cybersecurity experts and voting integrity advocates, and now a commission tasked with examining potential replacements is preparing to make recommendations to lawmakers. The paperless system was closely scrutinized during last year’s nationally watched gubernatorial race between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, who was Georgia’s secretary of state and chief elections official. Abrams and her allies accused Kemp of suppressing minority votes and mismanaging the election, including by neglecting elections infrastructure. Kemp, now governor-elect, has vehemently denied those allegations. By Kate Brumback. SENT: 900 words.

AP Photos GAMS201-0522180950, GAMS202-1219181420.

CONGRESS-TRUMP CRITICS

WASHINGTON _ President Donald Trump’s most prominent GOP critics on Capitol Hill are days away from completing their Senate careers, raising the question of who — if anyone — will take their place as willing to publicly criticize a president who remains popular with nearly 9 in 10 Republican voters. Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee engaged in a war of words with the president on myriad issues over the past 18 months, generating headlines and fiery tweets from a president who generally insists on getting the last word. Those battles put them on the outs with many in their own party, and they paid a price. Both decided to retire rather than take on a difficult re-election campaign. By Kevin Freking. SENT: 930 words.

AP Photos WX202-1204181855, WX203-1206181637.

STATE PRISON AUDIT

ATLANTA _ A new audit says it costs Georgia more to keep inmates in privately run prisons than in those run by the state. The head of the state House Appropriations Committee tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn’t know whether that accounts for costs such as pensions for state prison workers. UPCOMING: About 350 words.

IN BRIEF:

_POLICE SHOOTING-GEORGIA _ The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says a policeman working off-duty as a liquor store guard shot and killed a gunman who had ordered workers and customers onto the floor late New Year’s Eve.

_NEW YEAR’S GUNFIRE-BOY HIT _ Police say a boy setting off fireworks in Atlanta was hit by a bullet -- possibly from a gun fired to celebrate the new year.

_SMOKE-FREE AUGUSTA _ One city in Georgia is starting 2019 by banning smoking in most bars and retails spaces. A smoke-free ordinance is taking effect Tuesday in Augusta, and the Augusta Chronicle reports it will affect nearly 10,000 businesses.

SPORTS:

FBC--SUGAR BOWL

NEW ORLEANS _ No. 14 Texas gets a chance to continue its rise back to national prominence when the Longhorns face No. 6 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night. By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos from 7:45 p.m. CT kickoff.

_ With: Sidebar on merit

FALCONS OWNER-DIVORCE

ATLANTA _ A newspaper reports that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his third wife are getting divorced. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes an unidentified representative for Blank as saying he and Angela Macuga Blank are getting an amicable divorce. SENT: 135 words.

SOUTH CAROLINA (All times Eastern)

TOP STORIES:

LYNCHED POSTMASTER-HONOR

LAKE CITY, S.C. _ South Carolina’s congressional delegation wants a post office named to honor a 19th-century postmaster who was lynched because he was black and refused to resign. The Post and Courier reports that the entire delegation co-sponsored a bill to name Lake City’s post office after Frazier B. Baker. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: About 300 words.

SOUTH CAROLINA CYBERSECURITY

COLUMBIA, S.C. _ Six years after hackers stole millions of South Carolina tax records, the state has ended a program to monitor victims’ credit records, and is still working to improve cybersecurity. The Post and Courier reports that state authorities are currently working on a system to check on whether more than 100 agencies have protected their records. It says no arrests have been made in the 2012 theft of tax records for more than 6 million people and businesses. UPCOMING: About 300 words.

IN BRIEF:

_POLICE GUNFIGHT ARREST _ South Carolina police have arrested an 18-year-old in connection with a police chase and gunfight that ended when a sheriff’s deputy ran his car head-on into the suspect’s car.

SPORTS:

FBC--NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-DABO’S DECADE

Dabo Swinney promised in 2010 after thinking that he might be done that Clemson was about to have its winningest decade. The No. 2 Tigers certainly have. They will play in their third national championship game in four seasons against top-ranked Alabama. The Tigers have had eight consecutive 10-win seasons and won five ACC titles since that losing record in his second full season. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 850 words, photos

ALABAMA (All times Central)

IN BRIEF:

_SAUSAGE RECALL _ An Alabama company has recalled tons of hot sausages because they may be contaminated with bits of metal.

_TRAFFICKING CHARGE_ An Alabama man is accused of letting another man have sex with a drugged 17-year-old girl in exchange for drugs.

_OFFICER DISARMED _ An Alabama man is accused of fighting and disarming a police officer who arrested him.

SPORTS:

FBC--NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP-DABO’S DECADE

Dabo Swinney promised in 2010 after thinking that he might be done that Clemson was about to have its winningest decade. The No. 2 Tigers certainly have. They will play in their third national championship game in four seasons against top-ranked Alabama. The Tigers have had eight consecutive 10-win seasons and won five ACC titles since that losing record in his second full season. By Stephen Hawkins. SENT: 850 words, photos

LOUISIANA (All times Central)

TOP STORIES:

NEW ORLEANS KILLINGS

NEW ORLEANS _ New Orleans logged the lowest number of killings in 47 years during 2018, but an analyst notes that the murder rate remains among the nation’s highest. The 145 homicides in the city in 2018 marked the lowest total since 116 in 1971. It also marked the second drop in a row: from 174 in 2016 to 157 in 2017 and 145 last year.

HIGHER EDUCATION-BOARDS

BATON ROUGE, La. _ The agencies overseeing Louisiana’s colleges and universities will see a number of new faces including a former gubernatorial chief of staff, a district attorney and a former speaker of the House after Gov. John Bel Edwards made new appointments. New members include James S. “Jimmy” Clarke of Lafayette, a Louisiana State University graduate who used to be former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s chief of staff and is now director of state policy for HCM Strategists, a health and education policy consulting firm. SENT: 430 words.

LSU-SHOOTING INVESTIGATION

Also moved on sports wires.

BATON ROUGE, La. _ A prosecutor says two LSU football players appear to have responded with justifiable force when they fatally shot an 18-year-old man who was allegedly trying to rob them at gunpoint. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore tells The Associated Press that the investigation is still in the preliminary stages and that authorities are not prepared to say whether it was sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire or freshman linebacker Jared Small who fired the shots that killed Kobe Johnson on Dec. 22. SENT: 250 words.

INTERNET OUTAGE-WYOMING

CHEYENNE, Wyo. _ Wyoming regulators said they will investigate problems with 911 calls in their state during CenturyLink’s nationwide internet outage last week. Wyoming Public Service Commission wants to know more about failures in a system that tells dispatchers the phone number and location of incoming 911 calls, senior counsel Chris Petrie said Monday. SENT: 320 words.

IN BRIEF:

_MARIJUANA RAID _ Louisiana authorities say they raided an unoccupied rental house and found a python and two pit bulls guarding more than five pounds (2.3 kilograms) of marijuana, 212 THC vape doses and 200 chocolate cannabis bars.

SPORTS:

BKN--PELICANS-PAYTON PLACE

NEW ORLEANS _ Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton has played in only seven games this season, and his team has won six of them. The latest one came when New Orleans downed the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-114 as Payton returned from a broken finger that caused a 22-game absence. The Pelicans hope he can help steady the club as it tries to climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture. By Brett Martel. SENT: 600 words, photos

College Football

FBC--SUGAR BOWL

NEW ORLEANS _ No. 14 Texas gets a chance to continue its rise back to national prominence when the Longhorns face No. 6 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night. By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos from 7:45 p.m. CT kickoff.

_ With: Sidebar on merit

FBC--FIESTA BOWL

GLENDALE, Ariz. _ No. 7 UCF vies for its second straight undefeated season and self-proclaimed national championship when it faces No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl. By John Marshall. UPCOMING: 700 words. Starts at 11:15 a.m.

LSU-SHOOTING INVESTIGATION

Also moved on news wires.

BATON ROUGE, La. _ A prosecutor says two LSU football players appear to have responded with justifiable force when they fatally shot an 18-year-old man who was allegedly trying to rob them at gunpoint. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore tells The Associated Press that the investigation is still in the preliminary stages and that authorities are not prepared to say whether it was sophomore running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire or freshman linebacker Jared Small who fired the shots that killed Kobe Johnson. SENT: 250 words.

MISSISSIPPI (All times Central)

ARKANSAS CASINOS

(Information in the following story is from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com)

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. _ The outgoing mayor of Russellville chose his last day in office to express support for a Mississippi company’s proposal to build a $254 million, 600-room hotel and casino in Pope County. Russellville Mayor Randy Horton, who was defeated by newcomer Richard Harris in a December runoff, submitted a letter to the Arkansas Racing Commission on Monday expressing support for the plan despite opposition from some local residents and a lawsuit over another official’s similar support. SENT: 350 words.

WESSON-WINE AND BEER

WESSON, Miss. _ A Mississippi town of nearly 1,900 will vote Jan. 15 on whether to allow beer and wine sales. Wesson has lost $2,000 to $3,000 a month in tax revenues since Brookhaven legalized beer and liquor sales in June 2013, officials told The Daily Leader of Brookhaven. SENT: 330 words.

IN BRIEF:

_MISSISSIPPI-LICENSE PLATE _ Mississippi has a new standard license plate that includes the state seal with the phrase, “In God We Trust.”

_BEAUVOIR-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SEARCH _ The board of directors for Jefferson Davis’s last home has hired a company to find a new executive director for the attraction in Mississippi.

SPORTS:

OUTBACK BOWL

TAMPA, Fla. _ Safety Jake Gervase made an interception in the end zone to help preserve a late lead, and ball-hawking Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl 27-22 Tuesday. Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points. By Steven Wine. SENT: 700 words.

AP Photos TPS114-0101191603, TPS108-0101191342, TPS107-0101191323, TPS102-0101191406, TPS104-0101191401.

___

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The Atlanta AP Bureau: apatlanta@ap.org

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