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One of the many great things about sports is its ability to create opportunities for wonderful memories. I was fortunate to have that exact experience this past weekend.


North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes as little solace to those who lost homes, businesses or, in a few tragic cases, loved ones, on the whole, the situation could have been much, much worse. One need only glance at the devastation that Ian inflicted on southwestern Florida to be reminded of what these storms can dish out and how fortunate we were in comparison.

No, polio is not a threat to the vast majority of Americans. That’s because the vast majority has received a very effective polio vaccine. And that’s also why public officials should stop turning a concern centered on a few under-vaxxed communities into everyone’s problem.

Democrat leaders have failed to do their basic job of passing a budget and spending/appropriations bills via Regular Order or for that matter even as a Continuing Resolution once again. It is quite apparent that Democrats are just too busy with other pressing matters like producing the “Trump Reality Show.”


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

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

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Advocates say schools increasingly are removing children with disabilities from the classroom because of behavior issues related to their disability but not recording the actions as suspension. The practice is known as informal removal, which advocates say amounts to a form of off-the-books, de facto denial of education that evades accountability. Because the removals aren’t recorded, there’s no way to quantify how often they happen. But the assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, says the practice has "taken hold in a way that is dangerous for students and needs to be addressed.”

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A Delaware judge says cigarette manufacturer ITG Brands assumed liability for tobacco settlement payments to the state of Florida when it acquired four brands from Reynolds American in 2015. Vice Chancellor Lori Will also said in Friday's ruling that ITG must compensate Reynolds American for losses due to that assumed liability. Reynolds sold the Kool, Winston, Salem and Maverick brands to ITG in 2014 to gain federal regulators' approval of Reynolds’ acquisition of Lorillard Inc. Before the sale closed, Reynolds American affiliate R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was making payments under a preexisting settlement agreement with Florida for reimbursement of smoking-related health care costs.

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North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is directing county election officials not to engage in signature matching when reviewing absentee ballot envelopes this fall after a judge rejected the GOP appeal of a state board ruling prohibiting the practice. According to a directive sent to county election directors from the board’s legal counsel Paul Cox, the judge’s ruling maintains the status quo outlined in state law. Superior Court Judge Stephan Futrell ruled from the bench Monday afternoon, denying the party’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preventing the use of signature matching in the 2022 general election, state board spokesperson Pat Gannon said.

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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.

National & World AP Stories

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North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles into its eastern waters after the U.S. redeployed an aircraft carrier in response to the North’s earlier launch of a nuclear-capable missile over Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said North Korea’s continued launches were “absolutely intolerable.” The launches Tuesday were North Korea’s sixth round of weapons tests in less than two weeks, adding to a record number of missile launches this year that has been condemned by the United States and other countries. Thursday’s launches came as the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan returned to waters east of South Korea.

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A regional leader says seven Russian rockets have slammed into residential buildings in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, killing one person and trapping at least five in the city close to Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. The predawn strikes Thursday came hours after Ukraine’s president announced that the country’s military had retaken three more villages in one of the regions illegally annexed by Russia. Zaporizhzhia is home to Europe’s largest nuclear plant, now under Russian occupation. The city of the same name remains under Ukrainian control. The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog is expected to visit Kyiv this week to discuss the situation at the power plant.

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Residents of a Greek island pulled shipwrecked migrants to safety up steep cliffs in dramatic rescues after two boats sank in Greek waters, leaving at least 21 people dead and many still missing. The coast guard said 16 of the bodies were of young African women while one was a young man. They were all recovered near the eastern island of Lesbos after a dinghy carrying about 40 people sank. The second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers (miles) to the west, off the island of Kythira, where a sailboat struck rocks and sank. The bodies of at least four migrants were seen next to floating debris from the sailboat.

Leaders from around 44 countries are gathering to launch a “European Political Community” aimed at boosting security and economic prosperity across the continent. The one country not invited to Thursday's summit is Russia. The summit involves the 27 EU member countries, aspiring partners in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as well as neighbors like Britain and Turkey. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell sa “this meeting is a way of looking for a new order without Russia." Critics claim the new forum is an attempt to put the brakes on European Union enlargement. Others fear it may become a talking shop, meeting once or twice a year but devoid of clout.

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Police in Thailand say more than 30 people, primarily children, were killed in a shooting at a childcare center in the country's northeast. They say the gunman opened fire early in the afternoon in the center in the town of Nongbua Lamphu and killed 30 people before taking his own life. A spokesperson for a regional public affairs office says 26 deaths have been confirmed so far — 23 children, two teachers and one police officer. Further details are not immediately available.

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Global stock markets have advanced after strong U.S. hiring dampened hopes the Federal Reserve might ease off plans for interest rate hikes and the OPEC oil production cartel agreed to shore up prices by cutting output. London, Frankfurt and Tokyo gained. Hong Kong declined. Chinese markets were closed for a holiday. Oil prices rose. Wall Street ended a two-day rally after a report showed U.S. employers added more jobs than expected in September. That gives ammunition to Fed officials who say more rate hikes are needed to cool inflation that is at a four-decade high.

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Babies in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region are dying in their first month of life at four times the rate before the war cut off access to most medical care for over 5 million people. That's according to the most sweeping study yet of how mothers and small children are succumbing to deprivation during the conflict. Almost two years have passed since the war cast the Tigray region into twilight, with basic services such as phone, internet and banking severed. United Nations-backed investigators last month said Ethiopia's government is using “starvation of civilians” as a weapon of war.

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The winner of the Nobel Prize in literature will be announced Thursday at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. While the award is notoriously unpredictable, one clear contender is Salman Rushdie, the India-born writer and free-speech advocate who spent years in hiding after Iran’s clerical rulers called for his death over his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.” The 75-year-old was stabbed and seriously injured in August at a festival in New York state. Last year’s prize went to U.K.-based Tanzanian writer Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose novels explore the impact of migration on individuals and societies. The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday. Each prize carries a cash award of nearly $900,000 and will be handed out on Dec. 10.