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HERTFORD — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt said during a visit to Perquimans County Schools Wednesday that awarding a school an A, B, C, D or even F grade might not be the best way to provide useful information to parents and others about how schools are doing.

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With Queen Elizabeth II’s death and the smooth accession of her son, now King Charles III, we are witnessing a moment of history. But let’s not forget dynastic struggles that led to over 150 years of turmoil for Britain. From the moment in 1534 that King Henry VIII established the Church of England, defying the pope, English men and women who clung to their Catholic beliefs and practices were considered heretics and traitors to the crown. Henry even executed his own friend and chancellor Thomas More for not dutifully parroting the king’s anti-papal stance.

Poll numbers for political races in North Carolina have shifted slightly toward the Democrats. For example, Ted Budd, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, was leading Democrat Cheri Beasley by several percentage points during the summer, but recent polls now have the race a statistical tossup.

On Aug. 25, more than 20 residents of Greenville made their opinions known at a public hearing hosted by the state Division of Air Quality. These citizens, among them members of North Of The River Association, spoke out against DAQ granting a Title 5 permit to World Cat, a boat manufacturing facility located in north Greenville.

Partisanship aside, how did we get to this low period in our nation’s history? Its clear we have an extremely biased media where any news, big or small that could discredit or damage any Republican, especially former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, will be the top story.…

The Bible commands Christians to welcome and care for the most vulnerable among us; that includes the immigrant and sojourner. In Hebrews 13, for example, we are called upon to “show hospitality to strangers” as though they were angels. It is with this knowledge, and faith in God’s love, that we pray for the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the hundreds of thousands of young people who depend on it.


I was talking with a dear friend just today who was feeling extremely stressed and beat up by other church members. I reminded my friend that ministry could often be thankless work. There are certainly people in the church world who are quicker to tear others down than they are to build them…

State AP Stories

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Emergency responders are seeking to evacuate residents from the largest barrier island off Florida's Gulf Coast, and survivors there spoke of the terror of riding out Hurricane Ian in flooded homes and howling winds. A volunteer group, Medic Corps, was flying residents off Pine island by helicopter on Saturday. The bridge to Pine Island was heavily damaged by the hurricane, leaving it reachable only by boat or air. Some residents said they hadn’t seen anyone from outside the island for days and spoke of being trapped in flooded homes as boats and other debris crashed around their houses in the storm surge. Some feared they wouldn't make it.

Local election officials across the United States are bracing for a wave of confrontations on Election Day in November. Emboldened Republican poll watchers, including many who embrace former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the 2020 election, are expected to flood election offices and polling places. The Republican Party and conservative activists have been holding poll watcher training sessions, but in many states they've barred the media from observing those sessions. Some Republican-led states passed laws after the 2020 election that require local election offices to allow poll watchers and give them expanded access to observe and challenge ballots.

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The remnants of Hurricane Ian have downed trees and power lines across North Carolina, and at least four storm-related fatalities.. The Johnston County Sheriff's Office says a woman found her husband dead early Saturday morning after he went to check on a generator running in their garage overnight. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's office says there were also two storm-related traffic fatalities in Johnston County on Friday, and a drowning in Martin County. Damage reports across the state were less severe than in South Carolina and Florida. But over 90,000 people statewide were without power Saturday afternoon. That was down from over 330,000 earlier in the day.

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A revived Hurricane Ian has pounded coastal South Carolina after causing catastrophic damage in Florida. The storm washed away parts of piers and flooded streets in parts of South Carolina. The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian rose to at least 27 as Florida authorities confirmed several drowning deaths and other fatalities. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday that the deaths included a 22-year-old woman ejected in an ATV rollover because of a road washout. Many other deaths were drownings, including that of a 68-year-old woman swept into the ocean by a wave. Authorities expect the death toll to rise further.

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The GOP is pursuing its latest legal challenge to North Carolina electoral procedures established by the Democrat-led State Board of Elections. Republicans made the move one week before North Carolina election officials begin processing by-mail ballots in the closely watched Southern swing state. The North Carolina Republican Party filed two motions in Wake County Superior Court this week, asking the court to block the board from enforcing its prohibition of county election officials scrutinizing signatures on absentee voting documents. The GOP motions mark Republicans’ latest attempts to mold election laws to their liking in a state that could shift the political balance locally and nationwide.

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision striking down a constitutional right to abortion and sending the issue to the states has groups on both sides of the debate focusing more than ever on races this fall for state supreme courts. Whether abortion access is maintained, restricted or eliminated in any state could depend on whether a state's high court has a majority of Democratic or Republican justices. Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio are among the states where the races are drawing heavy interest and spending as the midterm elections approach.

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The U.S. death toll from Hurricane Ian’s passage has risen to four overall after an official said late Thursday that two residents of a hard-hit barrier island on Florida’s western coast were confirmed dead. Dana Souza, city manager of Sanibel, said the deaths were confirmed by fire officials but offered no other specifics.Two other people have also died. A 38-year old man from Lake County died Wednesday in a motor vehicle accident after his vehicle hydroplaned and a 72-year old man in Deltona was confirmed dead on Thursday. Officials with the Volusia sheriff’s office said the man went outside to drain his pool and fell into a canal.

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

National & World AP Stories

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Brazilians are voting in a highly polarized election that could determine if the country returns a leftist to the helm of the world’s fourth-largest democracy or keeps the far-right incumbent in office for another four years. The race pits far-right President Jair Bolsonaro against his political nemesis, leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Recent polls have given da Silva a commanding lead, pointing to a chance that he might win the first round outright, without need for a runoff. Da Silva would have to get more than 50% of the votes cast Sunday, topping the total vote for Bolsonaro and the other nine candidates.

An exit poll in Bulgaria suggests that the center-right GERB party of ex-premier Boyko Borissov, a party blamed for presiding over years of corruption, is the likely winner of the country's parliamentary election. The Gallup International poll showed the GERB party earning 24.6% support and the reformist We Continue the Change pro-Western party of former Prime Minister Kiril Petkov capturing 18.9%. But will be an uphill task for Borissov to produce a stable governing coalition, since most political groups have already rejected any cooperation with his GERB party. The early election came after Petkov lost a no-confidence vote in June. He claimed afterward that Moscow had used “hybrid war” tactics to bring his government down.

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Mediators in the West African nation of Burkina Faso say ousted coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba has agreed to resign so long as his security and other conditions are met. Hamidou Yameogo, a spokesman for the negotiations by religious leaders, said Sunday that the country's new junta president has accepted those conditions. There was no immediate corroboration of Damiba's official resignation, but the religious leaders said he made the offer in order to spare the country further bloodshed. Capt. Ibrahim Traore was named the country's new leader on Friday in an announcement made on state television. Damiba, who came to power in a January coup, saw his popularity plummet as violence linked to Islamic extremists continued.

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Rescuers have evacuated stunned survivors cut off by Hurricane Ian on Florida’s largest barrier island, and the state’s death toll has risen sharply amid recovery efforts. Hundreds of thousands of people are still sweltering without power in the state, days after Ian’s rampage from Florida to the Carolinas. Florida now has 47 confirmed deaths. Ian was one of the strongest U.S. hurricanes on record when the Category 4 monster smashed ashore at midweek. Many storm victims were left isolated with limited cellphone service and lacking basic amenities like water and power. As of Sunday morning, nearly 850,000 customers in Florida were still without electricity.

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Police firing tear gas after an Indonesian soccer match in an attempt to stop violence triggered a disastrous crush of fans that has left at least 125 people dead. Attention immediately focused on police crowd-control measures at Saturday night’s match between host Arema FC of East Java’s Malang city and Persebaya Surabaya. Witnesses described officers beating them with sticks and shields before shooting tear gas canisters directly into the crowds. President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation of security procedures and the president of FIFA called the deaths “a dark day for all involved in football and a tragedy beyond comprehension.” While FIFA has no control over domestic games, it has advised against the use of tear gas at soccer stadiums.

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The Gladiolus Food Pantry usually hands out supplies on Wednesdays to about 240 families. But when Hurricane Ian swept through last week it canceled their distribution and laid waste to much of their supplies. Food bank founder and director Miriam Ortiz couldn't even get out of her nearby house the day after Ian because of the floodwaters. Over the weekend, she and volunteers were cleaning up while people from around the region were dropping off food and other supplies to donate to families in need. Ortiz says many of the people the pantry serves were already struggling with rising rents and inflation before the hurricane hit.

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Moviegoing audiences kicked off the month of October with a horror movie. Studio estimates Sunday show Paramount’s “Smile” easily topped the North American charts with $22 million in ticket sales and left Universal’s rom-com “Bros” in the dust. Billy Eichner’s high-profile but modestly budgeted “Bros” launched with an estimated $4.8 million to take fourth place behind “Don’t Worry Darling” and “The Woman King.” But opening weekends likely aren’t the final word on either film. Horror movie audiences are generally front-loaded. “Bros" got great reviews and an A CinemaScore. That suggests strong word-of-mouth potential that could allow it to continue finding audiences through the fall.