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The U.S. Coast Guard Marathon 5K race will begin an hour earlier than last year’s race in an effort to give the thousands of runners in the city for the three-day event time to shop and eat at downtown businesses.

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There are a few things this week worth mentioning, none more so than Jeff Charles having broadcast his 1,000th ECU basketball game the other day.

Opinion

According to the latest-available set of comparable data, North Carolina ranks 33rd in the nation in “deaths of despair” — that is, in the combined rates of suicides, fatal drug overdoses, and alcohol-induced deaths. In 2020 our age-adjusted rate was 55.5 deaths of despair per 100,000 residents, slightly higher than the national average of 54.8. From 2018 to 2020, our rate rose by 26%.

North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt seems more concerned with appeasing the Republican partisans who rule the state legislature than making sure every school child has access to a quality public education and their schools and teachers have the resources needed to do it.

The N.C. Local Government Commission revoked the charter of of the town of East Laurinburg. This effectively dissolved the town’s government because it had been unable to maintain adequate accounting controls, and the town had become financially insolvent. Scotland County was forced to assum…

Features

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus reminds us to store up treasure in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves cannot break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-21 reminds us that where you keep your treasure, there also will be the desires of your heart.

State AP Stories

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North Carolina civil rights advocates have denounced a House rule change that could allow Republicans to override vetoes on contentious bills with little notice, saying it subverts democracy and the will of voters. Republicans pushed through temporary operating rules this month that omitted a longstanding requirement that chamber leaders give at least two days’ notice before holding an override vote. The move could allow Republicans to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes while Democrats are absent, even momentarily. Calling the change “a shameful power grab meant to thwart the will of the people,” Jillian Riley of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic said it undermines the functionality of the General Assembly.

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As mass shootings are again drawing public attention, states across the U.S. seem to be deepening their political divide on gun policies. A series of recent mass shootings in California come after a third straight year in which U.S. states recorded more than 600 mass shootings involving at least four deaths or injuries. Democratic-led states that already have restrictive gun laws have responded to home-state tragedies by enacting or proposing even more limits on guns. Many states with Republican-led legislatures appear unlikely to adopt any new gun policies after last year's local mass shootings. They're pinning the problem on violent individuals, not their weapons.

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The families of five passengers killed in a plane crash off the North Carolina coast have settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million. Their attorneys told the court the companies that owned the plane and employed the pilot paid the money. The suits claimed the pilot failed to properly fly the single-engine plane in weather conditions with limited visibility. All eight people aboard died off the Outer Banks. The passengers included four teenagers and two adults, returning from a hunting trip. The founder of the company that owned the plane was killed, and his family wasn't involved in the lawsuits.

A man who caused evacuations and an hourslong standoff with police on Capitol Hill when he claimed he had a bomb in his pickup truck outside the Library of Congress has pleaded guilty to a charge of threatening to use an explosive. Floyd Ray Roseberry, of Grover, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the felony charge in Washington federal court. He faces up to 10 years behind bars and is scheduled to be sentenced in June. An email seeking comment was sent to his attorney on Friday. Roseberry drove a black pickup truck onto the sidewalk outside the Library of Congress in August 2021 and began shouting to people in the street that he had a bomb.

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North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation to codify abortion protections into state law as Republicans are discussing early prospects for further restrictions. Their legislation, filed Wednesday in both chambers, would prohibit the state from imposing barriers that might restrict a patient’s ability to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy before fetal viability, which typically falls between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Current state law bans nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, with narrow exceptions for urgent medical emergencies that do not include rape or incest. House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters he didn’t expect the Democrats’ bill to get considered.

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Supporters of abortion rights have filed separate lawsuits challenging abortion pill restrictions in North Carolina and West Virginia. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday. They are the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications. The lawsuits argue that state limits on the drugs run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy. More than half of U.S. abortions are now done with pills rather than surgery.

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The University of Wisconsin System has joined a number of universities across the country in banning the popular social media app TikTok on school devicies. UW System officials made the announcement Tuesday. A number of other universities have banned TikTok in recent weeks, including Auburn, Arkansas State and Oklahoma. Nearly half the states have banned the app on state-owned devices, including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Dakota. Congress also recently banned TikTok from most U.S. government-issued devices over bipartisan concerns about security. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company that moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2020. Critics say the Chinese government could access user data.

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North Carolina’s elected state auditor has apologized for leaving the scene of a Raleigh accident last month after she drove her state-issued vehicle into a parked car. Monday's statement by Democratic Auditor Beth Wood is her first comment about charges against her that were made public last week. Wood called her decision “a serious mistake” and says she will continue serving as auditor. Wood was first elected to the job in 2008. Raleigh police cited Wood for a misdemeanor hit-and-run and another traffic-related charge. Her court date is later this week. Wood says the collision happened after she left a holiday gathering Dec. 8.

National & World AP Stories

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California has released a plan outlining how it thinks states should reduce their reliance on the Colorado River. The state's plan released Tuesday comes a day after the other six states that tap the river released their own proposal. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has said the states must dramatically lower their use of the critical river as key reservoirs drop to historically low levels. California's plan calls for new water cuts based on the elevation of Lake Mead. It does not want to base cuts on how much water is lost to evaporation and transportation, a move the other states propose.

Omaha police say they have fatally shot a man who entered a Target store with an AR-15-style rifle and 13 loaded rifle magazines of ammunition. He fired multiple times as he entered, but it wasn’t immediately known if he fired at anybody before police confronted him. Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said officers searched the store three times for victims but no injured people were found. Survivors described people running in panic and hiding in bathroom stalls. One worker said she hid in a restroom in fear and texted loved ones. Officers received at least 29 911 calls around noon Tuesday and arrived within minutes. A Target spokesperson said all customers and workers were safely evacuated. The suspect was not named Tuesday.

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The Justice Department has been scrutinizing a controversial artificial intelligence tool used by a Pittsburgh-area child protective services agency following concerns that the tool could lead to discrimination against families with disabilities, The Associated Press has learned. The interest from federal civil rights attorneys comes after an AP investigation revealed potential bias and transparency issues surrounding the increasing use of algorithms within the troubled U.S. child welfare system. Several civil rights complaints were filed in the fall about the Allegheny Family Screening Tool, which social workers use to help decide which families to investigate. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Longtime University of California women's swimming coach Teri McKeever was fired Tuesday following an investigation into alleged harassment, bullying and verbally abusive conduct, the school said in a statement.

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Boeing bid farewell to an icon Tuesday: It delivered its final 747 jumbo jet. Since it debuted in 1969, the 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft. It revolutionized international travel. But over about the past 15 years, Boeing and its European rival Airbus have introduced more profitable and fuel efficient wide-body planes. The final plane is the 1,574th built by Boeing in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Thousands of current and former Boeing workers gathered for a ceremony marking its delivery to cargo carrier Atlas Air.

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Winter weather has brought ice to a wide swath of the United States, canceling more than 1,700 flights nationwide and snarling highways. Authorities say at least two people died on slick roads Tuesday and two Texas law officers were seriously injured, including a deputy who was pinned under a truck. Tracking service FlightAware says more than 900 flights to or from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and more than 250 to or from Dallas Love Field were canceled or delayed. The storm began Monday, and a winter weather advisory is in place in much of Kentucky, West Virginia and southern parts of Indiana and Ohio.

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PARIS (AP) — An estimated 1.27 million people took to the streets of French cities, towns and villages Tuesday, according to the Interior Ministry, in new massive protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age by two years.

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Federal environmental regulators have blocked a proposed Alaska mine heralded by backers as the most significant undeveloped copper and gold resource globally. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the unusually strong step Tuesday. It's concerned about the mine's environmental impact on a rich aquatic ecosystem that supports the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Alaskan Native tribes and environmentalists celebrated Pebble Mine's veto. But Pebble Limited Partnership CEO John Shively calls the move “unlawful" and says a lawsuit is likely. Tribes in the Bristol Bay region in 2010 petitioned the EPA to protect the area under the federal Clean Water Act.