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The Ramble, which are based in Kill Devil Hills, were the winners of Arts of the Albemarle's first-ever Battle of the Bands, held Saturday night in The Maguire Theater. The band was among seven acts competing for $500 and a recording session at Viking Sound Studios. 

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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

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…

Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as a justice of the Supreme Court more than four years ago, on Oct. 6, 2018. His oath followed perhaps the ugliest Supreme Court Senate confirmation process in history — and that, given the previous examples of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, is saying something. But when it was all over, Kavanaugh settled in to the court, where he has, by all accounts, performed admirably ever since.

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) quickly became a global punchline when his multiple, contradictory misrepresentations of his background were revealed after he was elected in November. But there’s nothing funny about Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s refusal to call on Santos to resign, as a few other Republicans have.

North Carolina faces many challenges. You and I may disagree with how to rank those challenges, or what to do about them, but we share a belief that our state could be in a better place than it is today.

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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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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.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will study whether to toughen regulation of large livestock farms that pollute waterways. The agency hasn't revised its rules dealing with the nation's largest hog, poultry and cattle operations since 2008. Farm manure and fertilizer runoff fouls lakes and streams. It's a leading cause of harmful algae blooms. EPA says it reconsidered its intention to leave existing rules in place after an environmental group filed a lawsuit. The agency says it will gather information on how bad the pollution is and what new methods might bring improvements.

National & World AP Stories

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Police Department has disciplined two more officers involved in the arrest, beating and death of Tyre Nichols, the department said Monday, widening the circle of punishment for a killing that has already led to the murder indictment of five officers and outr…

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“I did him so bad.” That’s what a South Carolina investigator testified that Alex Murdaugh had uttered between sobs during a recorded interview three days after Murdaugh’s wife and son were killed. But the audio from the police interview that was played at the disgraced attorney’s double murder trial wasn’t so clear. To some inside and outside the courtroom Monday it sounded like Murdaugh said, “They did him so bad.” Court ended before the defense could cross-examine State Law Enforcement Division Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft. Earlier in the day, defense attorneys continued to question the way authorities collected and analyzed evidence in the shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son.

COVID-19 precautions wiped out most New Orleans’ Mardi Gras festivities in 2021, and a shortage of police officers forced the city to shorten routes for some of its lavish seasonal parades in 2022. Now, city officials and business owners are celebrating plans to let the good times roll on longer routes -- and in front of businesses that welcome the crowds. Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Interim Police Superintendent Michelle Woodfork and Sheriff Susan Hutson on Monday officially announced that parade routes are being lengthened thanks to agreements with other law enforcement agencies that will help New Orleans police beef up parade security.

Multiple news reports say Manhattan prosecutors have convened a new grand jury to hear evidence in a probe of payments made to keep two women quiet about alleged affairs with former President Donald Trump. The reports cite unnamed sources familiar with the proceedings. A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg declined to comment Monday. In a post to his Truth Social platform, Trump blasted Bragg as the “Radical Left Manhattan D.A.” and said the new grand jury was “a continuation of the Greatest Witch Hunt of all time.” Trump has denied having affairs with either woman.

Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall’s Laverne on the popular sitcom “Laverne & Shirley,” has died. Williams' family said in statement Monday that she died in Los Angeles Wednesday after a brief illness. She was 75. Williams credits included the films “American Graffiti" and “The Conversation.” But she was by far best known for playing the straitlaced Shirley Feeney on the ABC sitcom “Laverne & Shirley.” The show, a spinoff of “Happy Days” was one of the most popular shows on television in its prime. It ran from 1976 to 1983.

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A Chicago prosecutor is dropping sex-abuse charges against singer R. Kelly. The decision follows federal convictions in two different courts that ensure the disgraced R&B star will be locked up for decades. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made the announcement Monday, a day ahead of a court hearing. Kelly was indicted in 2019 on multiple crimes and accused of sexually abusing four women in Illinois, including three who were minors. Since then, federal juries in Chicago and New York have convicted him of a raft of crimes, including child pornography, enticement, racketeering and sex trafficking. Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence.

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Officials say a suicide bomber struck a crowded mosque inside a police compound in Pakistan, killing at least 59 people and wounding over 150 more. The bombing caused the roof to collapse, and most of the casualties were police. It was not clear how the bomber was able to slip into the walled compound, located in a high-security zone with other government buildings. A commander for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility, but hours later a spokesperson for the group distanced it from the attack. Pakistan, which is mostly Sunni Muslim, has seen a surge in militant violence since November, when the Pakistani Taliban ended their cease-fire with government forces. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said: “This is no less than an attack on Pakistan.”

A group of House Democrats is urging the Biden administration to suspend all U.S. security assistance to Peru. The lawmakers cite what they call a “pattern of repression” of antigovernment protests resulting in more than 50 civilian deaths. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, which urges the Biden administration to halt all security assistance until it can confirm the end of the crackdown and accountability for human rights abuses. Peru’s foreign minister is in Washington seeking international support for President Dina Boluarte’s increasingly besieged government. Demonstrators are demanding that new elections be held this year for the presidency and Congress.