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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.

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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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Polls have closed in Brazil 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.

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The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention is a staunchly conservative small-town preacher who touts biblical inerrancy, opposes women serving as pastors and supports abortion bans. Bart Barber also says he wants to be a unifier, a healer and a reformer as the United States' largest Protestant denomination reels from a major sex abuse crisis in which SBC leaders were found to have stonewalled victims for decades. Barber, 52, is a highly educated historian and expert on SBC polity. But he seems most at home on his Texas pastureland, communing with cows that he gives SBC-inspired names like Bully Graham, after the late Rev. Billy Graham.

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The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention is a staunchly conservative small-town preacher who touts biblical inerrancy, opposes women serving as pastors and supports abortion bans. Bart Barber also says he wants to be a unifier, a healer and a reformer as the United States’ largest Protestant denomination reels from a major sex abuse crisis in which SBC leaders were found to have stonewalled victims for decades. Barber, 52, is a highly educated historian and expert on SBC polity. But he seems most at home on his Texas pastureland, communing with cows that he gives SBC-inspired names like Bully Graham, after the late Rev. Billy Graham.

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The United Nations says that negotiations between Yemen’s warring sides have failed to extend a nationwide cease-fire, after an agreement was not reached before a deadline on Sunday. In a statement, the U.N.'s envoy to Yemen called on all sides to refrain from acts of provocation as the talks continue. The development dampers hopes that the 6-month-old ceasefire could have turned into a longer peace. The truce, which initially took effect in April, is the longest lull of fighting in Yemen’s civil war, now in its eighth year. The brutal conflict began in 2014, when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized the capital of Sanaa and much of northern Yemen and forced the government into exile.

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Diplomats say that Burkina Faso's ousted coup leader Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba has left the country and headed to Togo. Mediators had said earlier Sunday that Damiba agreed to resign so long as his security and other conditions are met. The junta now in charge in Burkina Faso earlier in the day had declared that Capt. Ibrahim Traore was head of state. The formal announcement came after the new coup on Friday, the country's second this year. Damiba, who came to power in a January coup, saw his popularity plummet as violence linked to Islamic extremists continued across the country.

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The lights are out at a coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that has provided electricity to millions of people across the southwestern U.S. for nearly a half-century. The closure of the San Juan Generating Station follows years of legal battles by environmentalists and mounting regulatory pressures aimed at curbing pollution and climate change. The realities of closing the plant and the adjacent mine are now setting in for surrounding communities, many of which are home to Native Americans. Hundreds of good-paying jobs are evaporating along with tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue that's used to fund local schools.

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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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Russia has attacked the Ukrainian president’s hometown with suicide drones. This comes as Ukraine has pushed ahead with its counteroffensive that has embarrassed the Kremlin. Ukraine took back control of the strategic eastern city of Lyman, which Russia had been using as a transport and logistics hub. That's a new blow to the Kremlin as it seeks to escalate the war by illegally annexing four regions of Ukraine. Photos circulating online pointed to some battlefield movement for Ukraine, showing Ukrainian soldiers entering what appeared to be newly retaken settlements in the south and east. Pope Francis, meanwhile, on Sunday decried Russia’s nuclear threats against the West and appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop “this spiral of violence and death.”