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Associated Press

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 7:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 7:06 AM

EDITORS, MANAGING EDITORS, WEEKEND EDITORS:

The Associated Press recommends the following stories of Southern interest for use over the weekend of March 16-18.

For repeats of AP copy, please call the Service Desk at 800-838-4616. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, also can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com.

ALABAMA

For Saturday use:

CUPCAKE COMPETITION

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Since Kimberly Belcher tried to open a local bakery in Montgomery, others have realized the local cupcake scene is a sweet financial opportunity. Belcher planned to open Cupcake Couture in a spot off Atlanta Highway in 2009, before the craze took hold. But she said health inspectors discovered black mold in the walls of that building, preventing the opening and sending Belcher to the hospital. "I got really sick," Belcher said. She is finally opening Cupcake Couture, this time at Bell and Vaughn roads in east Montgomery. But she has a lot more competition now. By Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser.

For Sunday use:

ANCIENT UNDERWATER FOREST

MOBILE, Ala. — An ancient forest found 60 feet underwater about 10 miles offshore of Alabama is much older than originally thought. Al.com collected samples of the trees during a scuba diving expedition to the forest. Those samples were sent to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for radiocarbon dating and found to be more than 50,000 years old. Scientists who examined the trees remarked on how well preserved the wood was. Cut into a piece and the unmistakable aroma of newly sawn cypress blooms up, despite millennia spent at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the pieces still had bark on them. The forest was apparently buried under a thick layer of sand for eons until it was uncovered by giant waves during Hurricane Katrina. By Ben Raines, al.com.

For Monday use:

BANKHEAD TUNNEL-UNIVERSITY

MOBILE, Ala. — Drivers may notice a change in the coming months while driving through the Bankhead Tunnel from Baldwin County to downtown Mobile. A beautification project slated to start this year has reimagined the westbound entrance to the Bankhead Tunnel to showcase the upper Gulf Coast's only major public university. In a recent board of trustees meeting at the University of South Alabama, board members called the planned signage for the tunnel "great publicity." By Theresa Seiger, al.com.

AP Photos Pursuing.

INDIGENT DEATHS

FLORENCE, Ala. — In life, she had a name. In death, she became a county statistic. Wanda Ford, a longtime resident of Cherokee, was 66 when she died of an apparent heart attack Feb. 23. She rented her Seventh Street home, had no family, no life insurance or burial plans and no financial assets to cover her death expenses. She is what the government calls indigent. By Lisa Singleton-Rickman, TimesDaily.

FLORIDA

For Saturday use:

JACKSONVILLE SCHOOL SHOOTING

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — To try to explain the attachment to the sprawling old oak tree in the middle of the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, John Regan describes a photo of his mother he has on his desk in Macon, Ga.

One year ago, she had that photo on her desk when a fired Spanish teacher burst into her office with an AK-47-style assault rifle and nearly 100 rounds of ammunition. The gunman killed her, then himself. By Mark Woods, The Florida Times-Union.

For Sunday use:

STUDENT COMPUTER TECHS

SARASOTA, Fla. — They are the adolescent Geek Squad. Young, savvy, computer experts.

The group of 15 teenagers often do the grunt work to keep the equipment online and running at Pine View School, which has not only the most technology but also the oldest devices in Sarasota County schools, says the group's technology and testing coordinator Lyna Jimenez-Ruiz. By Gabrielle Russon, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

For Monday use:

OBSTACLE COURSE

FELLSMERE, Fla. — Lacey Sovern climbed a log ladder, went over a large round beam about 30 feet up and easily stepped down a cargo net on the other side of the obstacle.

Sovern and about 20 other cadets from the university maneuvered across ropes, under wire and over barriers even before the Florida Tech Challenge Course officially opened recently on an 86-acre preserve along Interstate 95, not far south of the Brevard County line. By R. Norman Moody, Florida Today.

GEORGIA

For Saturday use:

INTERACTIVE FILMMAKING

VALDOSTA, Ga. — In an age of highly evolved technology, advancements in science and economic turmoil, the United States is facing a nearly silent epidemic of small, rural communities virtually vanishing from existence.

Elaine McMillion of Emerson University in Boston, Mass., who was raised in West Virginia, took notice of this problem and spearheaded a project called "Hollow: An Interactive Documentary." The documentary has drawn participation from media professionals nationwide and even sought the help of fellow West Virginian and assistant professor in the department of Communication and Arts at Valdosta State University Jason Brown. By Brittany D. McClure, The Valdosta Daily Times.

For Sunday use:

ONE-ROOM SCHOOL

PERRY, Ga. — Early on a recent Wednesday morning, Ellie Loudermilk stood alone in the middle of a one-room schoolhouse. She grabbed some cleaning cloths and wiped the wooden desks as she prepared for that day's crowd.

It's been decades since the first day of classes has been held at Springhill School. Now, thanks to a community renovation project, the last one-room school in Houston County has reopened for educational events. By Jenna Mink, The Telegraph.

For Monday use:

RARE BIRD SEARCH

STERLING, Ga. — For a group of experienced Department of Natural Resources biologists and birding volunteers, netting the tiny Henslow's Sparrow is far from an exact science.

They were reminded of that recently during an exercise to capture, band and release the birds. By Michael Hall, The Brunswick News.

KENTUCKY

For Sunday use:

STUDENT SERVICE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wearing hairnets and school uniforms, sixth-graders from the West End School brought plastic trays laden with steaming chili, bread and dessert to lunchtime diners at The Lord's Kitchen in Park Hill.

Middle-schoolers from the private school for at-risk boys have been making weekly visits to The Lord's Kitchen from the beginning of the year as a service project — but it's taken on new meaning in recent weeks. By Peter Smith, The Courier-Journal.

For Monday use:

QUILTS FOR KIDS

WINCHESTER, Ky. — While visiting the home of a former Kentucky Children's Hospital patient, Loralyn Cecil spotted a quilt hanging on the wall. It looked so pretty that she mentioned it.

There are similar stories about quilts at the hospital, from patients holding on to them as keepsakes to sleep-deprived parents carrying them while pacing the halls. Whatever the story, it's enough for Rosemary Campbell and the Winchester Chapter of Quilts for Kids to continue their work. By Casey Castle, The Winchester Sun.

LOUISIANA

For Saturday and Sunday use:

NIGHTWOLVES-LAST DAYS

BELLE CHASSE, La. — Lt. Keith Frost and his family moved to the New Orleans area 20 months ago for his tour as a naval flight officer aboard E-2C Hawkeyes based at the Belle Chasse air station. Military assignments are generally short-lived among active duty military personnel, but for Frost, this one was a bit shorter than expected. On March 31, the Navy formally strikes from its list of units Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 77. Known as the Nightwolves, VAW-77 was formed in 1995 as the only Navy squadron solely dedicated to stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States. By Paul Purpura, The Times-Picayune.

SENIOR CENTER

MONROE, La. — Dorothy Sims retired from the real estate business about 30 years ago and grappled with depression over her newfound freedom. She had dedicated most of her life to her career, and when that time ended, she had no idea what to do. By Scott Rogers, The News-Star.

For Monday use:

ALLIGATOR UPSWING

HOUMA, La. — The local alligator farming industry continues its comeback as demand and prices rise. "In 2009, the market was slow because of the recession, and it was pretty rough. You know you never want to see that happen, but we planned for those types of things and we managed well. Since then, demand is back up, and prices look good. Everything is moving along like it has for the past 25 years," said Gerald Savoie Jr., owner of Savoie's Alligator Farm in Cut Off. By Sable Lefrere, The Courier.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS-ONLINE CLASSES

SHREVEPORT, La. — As Southwood High School Principal Jeff Roberts sat next to his fellow principals for a virtual school sales pitch three years ago, he said he couldn't sign up for the program fast enough. "I remember most of the people in the room being pretty skeptical, but I couldn't help but get excited about it," Roberts said. By Mary Nash-Wood, The Times.

MID-ATLANTIC

For Sunday use:

HANDCRAFTED THEATER

DOVER, Del. — As Kendall Messick was growing up, he was always fascinated with his neighbor Gordon Brinckle's 1920s-style, small-scale dream movie palace called the Shalimar in his basement.

As Brinckle's health was beginning to decline in 2006, he worried what would happen to the Shalimar. Messick contracted with a company to go into Brinckle's home, complete architectural drawings of the movie palace and take it apart piece by piece so they would be able to reconstruct it as a traveling exhibition. By Jennifer Kessman, The News Journal of Wilmington.

BIKE & BUILD

FREDERICK, Md. — JoBeth Minniear was not a cyclist until she heard about Bike & Build.

Now she's training for a 575-mile bike trip that will both raise awareness of affordable housing and give her opportunities to work on several home-building projects en route. She will not only be cycling but also learning her way around a tool chest. By Karen Gardner, The News-Post of Frederick.

For Monday use:

TATTOO ARTIST

FENWICK ISLAND, Md. — Once considered a radical branding that would make a parent cringe at the sight, tattoo prevalence has grown tremendously through the years.

Although he claims his craft is continuously being honed, many customers will testify that artist Todd "Noble" Holloway has mastered it. By Jeff Kauffman, The Daily Times of Salisbury.

ANNAPOLIS SHAKESPEARE

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — This is the Annapolis Shakespeare Company, not the Regency Theater. So, what in the name of Jane Austen is the troupe doing putting on "Pride and Prejudice?"

Why, continuing to present the classics, said company founder Sally Boyett-D'Angelo. Annapolis Shakespeare is about all kinds of classics, not just plays by the Bard. By Theresa Winslow, The Capitol of Annapolis.

MISSISSIPPI

For Sunday use:

WOODVILLE REBORN

NATCHEZ, Miss. — When Jan Katz and her husband Jim Derbes opened the door to what is now their second-floor apartment in the Woodville Lofts and Studios building, it was hard to envision what it would become — the room didn't have floors.

Now, after 27 months of work and $1.1 million in improvements, the couple has their apartment — along with five other living spaces available for long-term lease, a guest apartment, three storefront shops and a cafe — in the former Woodville Hotel, an 11,000-square foot building located across the street from the Wilkinson County courthouse. By Vershal Hogan, The Natchez Democrat.

PASCAGOULA HOMELESS

PASCAGOULA, Miss. — World War II veteran Joseph Barber, 91, sat quietly as he huddled around a campfire on a recent morning, just feet away from the newly purchased $200 Coleman tent he's been living in since January.

Barber and his son, 50-year-old Joe Barber, moved into a wooded area after being evicted from their Moss Point trailer park home. By April M. Havens, The Mississippi Press.

For Monday use:

FRENCH ART EXHIBIT

JACKSON, Miss. — The impression: You're walking into a painting.

In a Family Corner of the upcoming major French painting exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art, artist Ginger Williams-Cook has re-created a Renoir painting of Monet's gardens to give pint-sized creators a pretend shot at the easel, beret included. By Sherry Lucas, The Clarion-Ledger.

ORCHARD CHURCH APP

OXFORD, Miss. — Usually, hiding a cellphone in your lap or purse during church is a definite no-no, but the Orchard Oxford is encouraging its congregation to break out their devices during services. Last month, the church released a smartphone app for members to download onto their phone. By Riley Manning, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

NORTH CAROLINA

For Saturday use:

SOLDIER'S BATTLE

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Army Spc. Willie Stewart wants a cigarette, but he can't find the words. Instead, the Fayetteville native turns toward his father and taps on his arm. "Do you need a drink?" James Wilburn guesses. A shake of Stewart's head and the guesses continue until, a minute later, Wilburn is lighting a cigarette in his son's mouth. Less than a year ago, it would have been absurd to think Wilburn, who suffered a heart attack in early 2012, would be the one nursing his son. By Drew Brooks, The Fayetteville Observer.

For Sunday use:

LIFE AFTER THE LEGISLATURE

GREENVILLE, N.C. — The start of the 2013-14 N.C. General Assembly finds Marian McLawhorn and Edith Warren at home for the first time in 14 years. The former state representatives said they are watching the Republican legislative agenda with interest but are pursuing the hobbies and family activities they had postponed. "I am past that need to constantly be out and about," Warren said. "Being quiet with a book is just as good." By Ginger Livingston, The Daily Reflector of Greenville.

For Monday use:

NUCLEAR CLASSROOM

GASTONIA — The nuclear industry will need about 25,000 workers by 2015 as baby boomers retire, and a group at Gaston College could be among the potential employees who fill that work force gap. Gaston College started its nuclear technology program in the fall of 2011 after working with Duke Energy to create a program for nuclear power plant operators. By Amanda Memrick, Gaston Gazette.

SOUTH CAROLINA

For Saturday use:

STILL PREACHING

ANDERSON, S.C. — Ernest Butler is quick to correct the records about his age. His birth certificate says he is 99. But the U.S. Census records state he was born Feb. 28, 1911, he says.

A room he shares with another veteran at the Richard M. Campbell Nursing Home in Anderson is his dwelling place these days. He spends his days singing, preaching to anyone who wants to listen. He gathers with his friends, occasionally, to share a smoke. By Charmaine Smith-Miles, Anderson Indepenent-Mail.

For Sunday use:

MYRTLE BEACH AT 75

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Sitting along the coast boasting valuable beachfront properties and battling destructive hurricanes has enabled Myrtle Beach to constantly evolve since it was incorporated in 1938.

The city celebrated its 75th birthday on March 12 and in the years since Myrtle Beach was incorporated, private companies, natural disasters and changing demands have caused many of the buildings that once stood to be removed, replaced or relocated, according to local historians. By Maya T. Prabhu, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach.

For Monday use:

TOWING TRADITION

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Stevens Towing Inc., is known throughout the Lowcountry for its century-old operation of moving vessels through area waterways and a list of employees who span several generations.

So, it's only fitting that yet another generation recently took the helm. By Tyrone Richardson, The Post and Courier of Charleston.

TENNESSEE

For Sunday use:

NIGHTTIME CEO

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When Param Jaggi dismantled the family computer at the age of 5, it was clear that he wasn't like the other kindergartners. As he grew older, his penchant for dissecting toys and gadgets graduated into inventing things.

This summer, the Vanderbilt sophomore from Plano, Texas, now 18, started a company, Ecoviate, and is in talks with manufacturers in hopes of licensing the emissions device, for which a patent was just approved. By Walker Moskop, The Tennessean.

For Monday use:

CHILDREN'S HOME

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Forty years ago, more than 150 kids lived in seven buildings on the Tennessee Children's Home property.

They were dropped off there when they were young, either by their parents or by the state. And while some returned to their families and others were adopted, most stayed for the majority of their childhood, building a larger family with more brothers and sisters than they could remember names. By Bailey Loosemore, Columbia Daily Herald.

VIRGINIA

For Sunday use:

BEACH CABANAS

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — For 70 years, hurricanes couldn't destroy a row of cabanas that were part of Joe Taylor's summers and a focal point of Virginia Beach's entertainment history. But one day recently, a backhoe turned the wooden structures into splinters, at the request of their owners. By Stacy Parker, The Virginian-Pilot.

STUDENTS-UKULELES

RICHMOND, Va. — In public elementary school music lessons, recorders are often the instrument of choice.

But at Glen Allen Elementary School in Henrico County, a calmer, more distinctive sound fills the classroom as fourth-graders sing and play the ukulele to "I'm Yours" by Mechanicsville native Jason Mraz.

Yes, the ukulele. By Laura Kebede, Richmond Times-Dispatch.

For Monday use:

CHESAPEAKE TREES

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — John Haggerty is accustomed to the attention by now: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, naturalists, writers, scientists, photographers — all tromping through his living room for a peek in the backyard.

When he swings open the back door and shows off his treasure, the reaction is usually the same: ooohs and ahhs at the giant, gnarled tree towering above them. By Scott Harper, The Virginian-Pilot.

SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS

WINCHESTER, Va. — Rusty David starts his day with the sound of a school bell.

After making sure all the doors at Handley High School are secure, the 44-year-old school resource officer monitors security cameras from his office. By Rebecca Layne, The Winchester Star.

WEST VIRGINIA

For Sunday use:

TAYLOR MADE

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Although the country band Taylor Made has recently received MusicRow Magazine's Independent Artist of the Year Award, band member Wendy Williams said she and her brothers, Greg and Brian Duckworth, are staying grounded.

These Taylor County natives definitely deserve the recognition they are receiving though, as their songs keep climbing the charts and hitting the radio stations. By Wendy Holdren, The Register-Herald.

SPACE SAVER

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kyle Campbell, a records specialist, spends a lot of time on the road.

Traveling from courthouse to courthouse, Campbell works not only to preserve court documents, but also help free up space. By Andrea Lannom, The State Journal.

For Monday use:

WILDLIFE PROTECTION

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The pipeline that funneled untold numbers of snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs and salamanders out of West Virginia might finally be closing.

State wildlife officials have proposed regulations to limit the number of reptiles and amphibians taken by collectors. If approved, the regulations would end West Virginia's status as a legal vacuum where unlimited numbers of creatures could be collected and sold for pets or for food. By John McCoy, The Charleston Gazette.

WVA FORESTS

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — West Virginia is known as the Mountain State, but what do people know about the trees covering those mountains?

There are seven state forests and one national forest in West Virginia. The state forests are Seneca State Forest, Kumbrabow State Forest, Greenbrier State Forest, Coopers Rock State Forest, Camp Creek State Forest, Calvin Price State Forest and Cabwaylingo State Forest. The Monongahela National Forest is the only national forest in the state. Randy Dye, director and state forester with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, said West Virginia is the third most forested state in the nation. By Emily Gallagher, Times-West Virginian.

The AP

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