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In your Aug. 23rd edition, columnist Alexander Jones was at it again, making outlandish statements to fan the flames for pure political gain. Jones made comments like “our legacy of heinous racial oppression continues to reverberate” and “only Democrats can make things right and bring justic…

Many English expressions are derived from the Bible, such as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” from the Sermon on the Mount. The Bible became the source for many English language figures of speech because in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the only book in many working-class homes. And even t…

Features

Across the state of North Carolina, fresh produce is grown and harvested throughout the year. Don’t forget that during the fall, there are still some delectable foods that can be purchased locally such as cabbage, sweet potatoes, greens, pumpkins, turnips and others.

State AP Stories

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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.

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Leaders of College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, thought it was odd when the Southern Baptist Convention recently sent queries about the congregation's LGBTQ-affirming ministry. The church itself had voted to leave the conservative denomination 23 years ago. But it was still on the SBC rolls until last week. That's when the convention's Executive Committee voted to cut ties because of the congregation's “affirmation ... of homosexual behavior.” The Rev. Michael Usey of College Park said the congregation was ousted for the right reason. Said Usey, “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are."

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

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Four people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. These convictions Monday stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. The defendants were associated with Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative in Bladen County whom authorities called the ringleader of the ballot scheme. Dowless died this year before his case went to trial. The State Board of Elections has ordered a new election for the 2018 9th Congressional District because of all the fraud allegations. Cases against six other defendants are pending.

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Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Joe Biden’s top environment official has returned to what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Joined by civil rights leaders and participants from the 1982 protests, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced Saturday that he is dedicating a new senior level of leadership to the environmental justice movement they ignited. The new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will merge three existing EPA programs.

National & World AP Stories

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Cuba remains in the dark after Hurricane Ian knocked out the power grid and devastated some of the country’s most important tobacco farms when it hit the island’s western tip as a major storm. Authorities were working to gradually restore service overnight to the country’s 11 million people, according to a statement from Cuba’s Electric Union. Ian hit a Cuba that has been struggling with an economic crisis and has faced frequent power outages in recent months. It made landfall as a Category 3 storm on the island’s western end, devastating Pinar del Río province, where much of the tobacco used for Cuba’s iconic cigars is grown.

Asian shares have tumbled after a wobbly day on Wall Street as markets churn over the prospect of a possible recession. U.S. futures and oil prices also fell. The volatile trading Tuesday in New York came a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed other major U.S. indexes into a bear market. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%, the Dow fell a bit more and the Nasdaq composite wound up with a gain of 0.2%. With just a few days left in September, stocks are heading for another losing month as investors fear that the higher interest rates being used to fight inflation could help knock the economy into a downturn.

Activists say Iran's current wave of protests are different from previous unrest. Unleashing their anger at the compulsory veil for women, protesters are targeting something central to the identity of Iran's Islamic cleric-led rule. The protests are drawing from a long history of resistance among Iranian women. During the 1979 revolution, the hijab was a sign of breaking with the secular monarchy. But when the new Islamic Republic then made wearing it mandatory, thousands of women marched in protests. Woman have been challenging the rule ever since. The death of a woman arrested for wearing too loose a headscarf has sparked an eruption of anger.

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Hurricane Ian is bearing down on Florida as a menacing major hurricane, and many residents have heeded orders to flee from its path. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian could become a dangerous Category 4 hurricane before slamming into southwest Florida on Wednesday. At least 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate in anticipation of powerful storm surge and flooding rains. One couple from England, Glyn and Christine Williams, got stuck and planned to ride out the storm at a shelter. They said the Tampa hotel where they had been staying closed amid evacuation orders and the airport shut before they could fly home.

Japan and China are getting ready to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 normalization of their ties. But there isn’t much of a celebratory mood. Improved ties between Asia’s two biggest economies are considered vital to the region’s stability and prosperity, but they remain at odds over disputed East China Sea islands and China’s growing military and economic assertiveness in the region.

Environmental groups say the polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry are at risk for leaks or other contamination triggered by Hurricane Ian. More than 1 billion tons are in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds. Florida has 24 such phosphogypsum stacks around the state, mostly in central mining areas. About 30 million tons of this waste is generated every year, according to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute. A March 2021 leak at one stack called Piney Point resulted in the release of an estimated 215 million gallons of polluted water into Tampa Bay, causing massive fish kills. State officials, overseen by a court-appointed receiver, are working with a $100 million appropriation to shut down the location.

Clergy in 33 states are exempt from laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child abuse to police or child welfare officials. That loophole has resulted in an unknown number of predators being allowed to continue abusing children for years despite having confessed the behavior to religious officials. An Associated Press review finds that over the past two decades, more than 130 bills have been proposed in state legislatures to create or amend child sex abuse reporting laws. After intense opposition from religious groups, the clergy privilege remained unchanged. Often, legislative efforts to close the loophole run up against lawmakers who are also church members.

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Asian shares have tumbled after a wobbly day on Wall Street as markets churn over the prospect of a possible recession. U.S. futures and oil prices also fell. The volatile trading Tuesday in New York came a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average followed other major U.S. indexes into a bear market. The S&P 500 slipped 0.2%, the Dow fell a bit more and the Nasdaq composite wound up with a gain of 0.2%. With just a few days left in September, stocks are heading for another losing month as investors fear that the higher interest rates being used to fight inflation could help knock the economy into a downturn.