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Just when you thought that politics — and those who participate in it — couldn’t sink any lower, along comes Kevin McCarthy, the man who wants to be the next speaker of the House in Washington. Before all the midterm votes were counted and certified, McCarthy appeared on Fox news boasting, “We have fired Nancy Pelosi.”

One of the few issues most Americans can agree on when it comes to the thorny topic of immigration is that longtime residents who were brought into the United States illegally as children should be granted permanent status. Congress should seize the opportunity during the lame-duck session to pass such legislation before the end of the year.

It’s an age-old, chicken-and-egg discussion: Is it extant societal forces of exclusion, hatred and reaction that give rise to authoritarian politicians who in turn foment division, prejudice, and violence? Ir does it work the other way around?

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Over the past five years, North Carolina’s economy has continued steady growth, despite all the obstacles that have been put before us, including ongoing workforce shortage needs. To keep growing and thriving, we need to ensure we’re supporting our workforce and building toward the future. For business owners and leaders like me, this means updating our immigration system — which has not been substantially updated in more than three decades — or facing the consequences of inaction, which are creeping closer and closer.

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“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the rev…

State AP Stories

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Since the recovery of sunken treasure began decades ago from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina, tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold. But scientists, historians and collectors say that the real fortunes will begin to hit the auction block on Saturday in Reno. For the first time, hundreds of Gold Rush-era artifacts entombed in the S.S. Central America, known as the “Ship of Gold,” will go on public sale. A few of the items from the pre-Civil War steamship, which sank in a hurricane on its way from Panama to New York City, could fetch as much as $1 million.

North Carolina government is appealing a judge’s order that demands by certain dates many more community services for people with intellectual and development disabilities who otherwise live at institutions. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley announced the formal challenge on Wednesday. He says his agency has grave concerns about some directives issued four weeks ago by Judge Allen Baddour. One in particular says new admissions to new admissions for people with such disabilities in state-run development centers, privately intermediate care facilities and certain adult care homes must end by January 2028. Kinsley says the decision could shutter small facilities and leave clients without accommodations.

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Incoming and returning Republicans to the North Carolina Senate have chosen a key lawmaker on tax, voting and energy issues to become majority leader for the next two years. The Senate Republican Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County to the post. Newton succeeds Sen. Kathy Harrington, who didn't seek reelection this fall to her Gaston County seat. The caucus also agreed to nominate Phil Berger to a seventh term as president pro tempore when the session convenes in January. He has held the job since 2011. Senate Democrats meeting separately Monday reelected Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County as minority leader.

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A memorial service will be held this weekend for Betty Ray McCain. She was a longtime North Carolina Democratic Party activist and counselor to former four-time Gov. Jim Hunt who died last week at age 91. McCain was the first woman to chair the state Democratic Party in the 1970s. Hunt named McCain secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in 1993. She also served multiple terms on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and on many boards and commissions. Current Gov. Roy Cooper called McCain a “trailblazer for women and a powerful force for good in the arts, education and public service."

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Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat. The victory creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation — the best showing for Democrats in a decade. But there’s a good chance Nickel’s district and others will be altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans. The current lines are only being used for these elections. New lines will be drawn by Republicans, who still control the General Assembly. And a new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that scuttled previous boundaries.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Cherryville woman’s first birthday party ever at age 105 turned out just perfect. Line dancers and square dancers performed routines to entertain her, 12-year-old Lily brought her 10-week-old yellow Labrador named Nina for her to pet and she even got the chance to …

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A helicopter pilot and a meteorologist who worked for a North Carolina television station died following the crash of the station’s helicopter next to an interstate highway in the Charlotte area. WBTV broadcasters who had been reporting on the crash identified their colleagues on air Tuesday about three hours following the deadly incident. The men were identified as meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag. The crash occurred along Interstate 77. Johnny Jennings, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said no vehicles were involved in the incident. The chief said preliminary witness accounts indicate that the pilot made some “diversionary” maneuvers and “probably saved some lives."

National & World AP Stories

Shares have advanced in Asia after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the chair of the Federal Reserve's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. U.S. futures were higher and oil prices slipped. While citing some signs that inflation is cooling, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period. The S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%. Treasury yields fell broadly. Major indexes ended November with their second straight month of gains.

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Since the recovery of sunken treasure began decades ago from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina, tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold. But scientists, historians and collectors say that the real fortunes will begin to hit the auction block on Saturday in Reno. For the first time, hundreds of Gold Rush-era artifacts entombed in the S.S. Central America, known as the “Ship of Gold,” will go on public sale. A few of the items from the pre-Civil War steamship, which sank in a hurricane on its way from Panama to New York City, could fetch as much as $1 million.

Word of anti-lockdown protests in China spread on domestic social media for a short period last weekend, thanks to a rare pause in the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country’s gargantuan censorship machine. Chinese authorities maintain a tight grip on the country’s internet via a complex, multi-layered censorship operation that blocks access to almost all foreign news and social media, and blocks topics and keywords considered politically sensitive or detrimental to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. Videos of or calls to protest are usually deleted immediately. But at moments of overwhelming public anger, experts said, the system can struggle to keep up.

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A Hong Kong court has postponed a pro-democracy newspaper publisher's trial. Jimmy Lai faces a possible life sentence if convicted under a national security law imposed by Beijing. Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee asked Beijing to decide whether foreign lawyers who don't normally practice in Hong Kong could be rejected for national security cases. The objection came after judges on Monday approved Lai’s plan to hire British human rights lawyer Timothy Owen. The trial is being delayed from Thursday until Beijing makes a decision. If Beijing intervenes, that would mark the sixth time the Communist-ruled government has stepped into the city’s legal affairs.

With his death, former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin leaves behind a very different China than the one he tried to shape. Now it’s Xi Jinping’s nation. It’s also a country in the throes of protests against “zero-COVID” lockdowns that saw protesters take to the streets of Beijing and Shanghai and call for an end to Communist Party rule. Jiang’s exit came smack in the middle of the most visible demonstrations since the 1989 bloodshed on Tiananmen Square. Looking at his leadership underscores the difference between the China of the late 1990s and early 2000s and today’s more insular and, in some cases, more authoritarian society.

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Shares have advanced in Asia after a rally on Wall Street spurred by the chair of the Federal Reserve's comments on easing the pace of interest rate hikes to tame inflation. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Hong Kong surged more than 1%. While citing some signs that inflation is cooling, Fed Chair Jerome Powell stressed that the Fed will push rates higher than previously expected and keep them there for an extended period. The S&P 500 jumped 3.1% Wednesday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 4.4% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2%. Treasury yields fell broadly and crude oil prices rose. Major indexes ended November with their second straight month of gains.

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Rose Bowl game organizers have cleared the way for the College Football Playoff to expand to 12 teams starting in the 2024 season. They've told CFP officials they are willing to alter agreements for the first two years of the larger playoff. A person with knowledge of the discussions between game organizers and CFP officials told The Associated Press that the Rose Bowl is prepared to be flexible and wants to continue to be part of the College Football Playoff beyond 2025. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the presidents and chancellors who oversee the playoff still needed to give final approval on expansion plans.

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As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future. The vigil was held in honor of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The four students were stabbed to death in a home near campus earlier this month, and police have yet to make an arrest in the case. Goncalves' father Steve Goncalves told people at the vigil that the only cure for pain is love. He urged mourners to honor the students' memories by being kinder and more loving to each other.