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RiverSplash, the arts event that’s been underway in downtown Elizabeth City since Tuesday, will play a large role in today’s First Friday ArtWalk. No fewer than seven ArtWalk venues will feature artists participating in the five-day “artists retreat” that wraps up Saturday.


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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.

Opinion

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.”

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After a two-year hiatus, the Elizabeth City Historic Ghost Walk is back, bringing local history alive with its signature combination of home tour, history lesson and live theater. The 24th annual Ghost Walk takes place Oct. 14-15, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. each evening.

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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A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election. Jeremy Joseph Bertino is the first Proud Boys member to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge. Bertino also pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms. Bertino has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former Proud Boys national chairman Henry “Ënrique” Tarrio and four other group members also have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

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.

National & World AP Stories

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Authorities say the suspect in the kidnapping and killing of a central California family was a former employee who had a longstanding dispute with them. Relatives of the slain family told investigators that Jesus Salgado had sent angry text messages or emails about a year ago after working with their trucking business. Authorities say Salgado kidnapped an 8-month-old baby, her parents and uncle on Monday and killed them, leaving their bodies in an almond orchard. The remains were discovered in the remote area by a farm worker late Wednesday. Investigators say they're seeking a person of interest who may have acted as Salgado’s accomplice.

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Hurricane Ian’s death toll has climbed into the triple digits. The number of recorded storm-related deaths rose Thursday to at least 101 in the eight days since the storm made landfall in southwest Florida. Of the total deaths, 92 were in Florida, according to reports from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Other storm deaths include five in North Carolina, three in Cuba and one in Virginia. Ian is the second-deadliest storm to hit the mainland United States in the 21st century behind Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005. The deadliest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. was the Great Galveston Hurricane in 1900 that killed as many as 8,000 people.

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Judy Tenuta, a brash standup who cheekily styled herself as the “Goddess of Love” and toured with George Carlin as she built her career in the 1980s golden age of comedy, has died. She was 72.  Her publicist says Tenuta died Thursday afternoon at home in Los Angeles, with her family around her.  She was among a generation of performers who drove the popularity of live comedy in clubs nationwide including the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, Laff Stop in Houston and Caroline’s in New York City. A typically male-dominated field found room for women, including Tenuta. She first gained national attention in 1987 with “Women of the Night,” a HBO special.

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A former police officer facing a drug charge burst through a locked door at a day care center in northeastern Thailand, killing dozens of preschoolers and teachers and then shooting more people as he fled. At least 36 people were killed Thursday in the deadliest rampage in the nation’s history. The assailant took his own life after killing his wife and child at home. The attack took place in Nongbua Lamphu province, in one of the country’s poorest regions. Police identified the attacker as a former police sergeant fired this year because of the drug charge. Authorities said the main weapon used was a 9mm pistol that the man had bought himself. He also had a shotgun and a knife.