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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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Oil cartel OPEC and its allies are cutting production. And that means oil prices are likely going up. The OPEC+ alliance says they're trying to support prices against future sagging demand from an uncertain and slowing global economy. Saudi Arabia's energy minister says the alliance is bringing stability to the oil market. Yet high oil prices are contributing to fears of a slowdown and have been criticized by Washington. Meanwhile, supply could take another hit as the U.S. and allies try to impose a price cap on Russian oil to reduce the money flowing into Moscow’s war chest after it invaded Ukraine.

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Christine Barrett and her family had to climb on top of their kitchen cabinets because of flooding that surged into their house during Hurricane Ian. They put water wings on their 1-year-old, and were rescued by boat the next day.  Their community of North Port is about 5 miles inland. And the Barretts _ like many neighbors _ live in areas where flood insurance isn’t required. And therefore they don’t have it. Now many wonder how they’ll afford much-needed repairs.  There are concerns that not enough people nationally have flood insurance at a time when climate change is believed to be making storms wetter. The Insurance Information Institute says only about 4% of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance although 90% of catastrophes in the U.S. involve flooding.

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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 an intimate 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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Stocks are slumping on worries that a still-strong U.S jobs market may actually make a recession more likely. The S&P 500 was 2.1% lower Friday after the government said employers hired more workers last month than expected. Wall Street is worried the Federal Reserve could see that as proof the economy hasn’t slowed enough yet to get inflation under control. That could clear the way for continued, aggressive hikes to interest rates, something that risks causing a recession if done too severely. Treasury yields rose after the report's release, while oil prices were on track to close out their biggest weekly gain since March.

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The back-to-back shipwrecks of migrant boats off Greece that left at least 22 people dead this week has once again put the spotlight on the dangers of the Mediterranean migration route to Europe. The Greek shipwrecks came just days after Italy commemorated the ninth anniversary of one of the deadliest Mediterranean shipwrecks in recent memory, the Oct. 3, 2013, capsizing of a migrant ship off Lampedusa, Sicily in which 368 people died.  U.N. refugee officials note that overall numbers of migrants seeking to come to Europe by land or sea has decreased, to an average of around 120,000 annually. Officials call that relatively manageable compared with the 7.4 million Ukrainians who fled their homeland this year.

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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.

The mother of an Iranian teenager is disputing official claims that her daughter fell to her death from a high building. Nasreen Shakarami says her teenage daughter was killed by repeated blows to the head as part of Iran's crackdown on anti-hijab protests roiling the country. Shakarami also said in a video released Thursday authorities kept her daughter Nika’s death a secret for nine days and then snatched the body from a morgue to bury her in a remote area, against the family’s wishes. Nika Shakarami has become the latest icon of the protests, seen as the gravest threat to Iran’s ruling elites in years. The unrest was sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police.

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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.