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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

Political advertisements, most of the time, should not be taken at face value. They habitually omit important context and contain truths that have been watered down into lies. And, in some cases, they simply invent things out of thin air.

Sometimes simple explanations aren’t enough. That’s certainly the case with a North Carolina lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider. The case, Moore v. Harper, is asking the high court to affirm that the North Carolina legislature has absolute and irrefutable power for passing laws regarding elections, especially in setting district boundaries.

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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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As he turns 70 on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin finds himself in the eye of a storm of his own making: His army is suffering humiliating defeats in Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Russians are fleeing his mobilization order, and his top lieutenants are publicly insulting military leaders. With his room for maneuvering narrowing, Putin has repeatedly signaled that he could resort to nuclear weapons to protect the Russian gains in Ukraine — a harrowing threat that shatters the claims of stability he has repeated throughout his 22-year rule. Andrei Kolesnikov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. He says Putin can't blame anyone but himself.

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties. Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the judges wanted to honor "three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence.” The announcement represents a strong rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin whose invasion of Ukraine has outraged the international community and highlighted his authoritarian rule. The award follows a tradition of highlighting groups and activists trying to prevent conflicts, alleviate hardship and protect human rights.

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The Associated Press has learned that the head of the Organization of American States is facing an internal investigation into allegations he carried on a consensual relationship with a staffer that may have violated the organization’s code of ethics. The probe into a relationship between Secretary General Luis Almagro and a Mexican-born woman two decades his junior has not been reported before. But inside the Washington-based organization, some employees told the AP that the long-running romance has been an open secret, one that made them feel intimidated interacting with the boss’ alleged paramour. Almagro declined to comment. An OAS spokesman says Almagro was never the woman's supervisor.

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The death toll from a Russian missile attack on apartment buildings in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia has risen to 11. The regional governor said Friday that more missiles hit the city on Friday along with explosives from Iranian-made drones. He said the Russian S-300 missile strikes on the city a day earlier were “not a random hit, but a series of missiles aimed at multi-story buildings.” As the war sparked by Russia’s February invasion of its neighbor, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to human rights organizations in Russia and Ukraine, and an activist jailed in Russian ally Belarus.

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Relatives wailed and collapsed in grief over the small coffins of children after a fired police officer stormed a rural Thai day care center at naptime and massacred dozens of people. Thailand’s deadliest mass killing left virtually no one untouched in the small community nestled among rice paddies in one of the nation’s poorest regions. Grief also gripped the rest of the country. Flags were lowered to half-staff and schoolchildren said prayers to honor the dead. At least 24 of the 36 people killed in the gun and knife attack were children.

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Good news on the economy is still bad news for Wall Street. Stocks are falling in the early going Friday after a report on the U.S jobs market came in stronger than expected, raising concerns that the Federal Reserve will have no choice but continue its aggressive efforts to slow the economy with high interest rates, the bitter medicine it is using to fight inflation. The worry is that the economy will slow down so much it will enter a recession, putting people out of work and knocking down company profits. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% and the Dow fell 1.2%.

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Police say an attacker killed two people and wounded six others in stabbings along the Las Vegas Strip. Yoni Barrios, 32, was booked on two counts of murder and six counts of attempted murder late Thursday. Police say three people are hospitalized in critical condition and another three are stable after the stabbings that started across the street from the Wynn casino and hotel. Police say Barrios used a large kitchen knife in Thursday morning's attack. Witnesses told Las Vegas TV stations that some of the victims appeared to be showgirls or street performers who take pictures with tourists on the Strip.

South Korea’s military appears to want to conscript members of the K-pop supergroup BTS for mandatory military duties, as the public remains sharply divided over whether they should be given exemptions. The commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration, Lee Ki Sik, told lawmakers on Friday that it’s “desirable” for BTS members to fulfill their military duties to insure fairness in the country’s military service. Whether the band’s seven members must serve in the army is one of the hottest issues in South Korea because its oldest member, Jin, faces possible enlistment early next year after turning 30 in December.