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Sounds of the Season: East Carolina University School of Music will host Sounds of the Season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 401 E. Fourth St. The event will feature ECU Chamber Singers, University Chorale and Concert Choir. Call 328-6851.

Festival of Trees: The Family Support Network of Eastern N.C. will host the 27th annual Festival of Trees from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Dec. 23 at the Greenville Convention Center, 303 S.W. Greenville Blvd. There is no admission charge. The event features a variety of holiday-themed trees, sponsored by various local individuals, businesses, and church and civic organizations. Visit fsnenc.org.

Local Events

Bless your heart to the oil dealers and the kerosene refineries. Why is kerosene $8 a gallon? Please tell me. We use a lot of kerosene. Thank you.

There is a big issue regarding family court and its proceedings: An unprecedented number of cases are being scheduled at the same time leaving families from all different backgrounds more vulnerable than they should have been.

Since I teach part time at a small public university in Alabama, I’m hardly surprised by the voting preferences of the young adults who turned out in surprising numbers for the midterm elections earlier this month. According to exit polls, 63% of young adults voted for Democrats. They obviou…

BYH to the falsely entitled who constantly use the fire lane at every Food Lion in Pitt County. Store managers, grow a set and put a stop to it or remove the fire lane and paint regular parking stripes.

In August 2014 I visited Paris, France. I embarked on a solo afternoon with a short list of to-dos. One, I had to visit the Eiffel Tower. Two, I had to eat crepes filled with cookie butter spread at a food stand and, three, I had to go to a French patisserie to buy and eat macarons.

A recent study showed that physical activity is a simple, cost-effective way of enhancing vaccine effectiveness to lessen the risk of severe COVID-19 illness requiring hospital admission. Don’t let the holidays keep you from exercizing and eating healthy.

When it comes to a dessert, a baked upside-down anything is a winner — even when it’s a mistake. A tarte Tatin is a classic French upside-down fruit tart, traditionally made with apples. It’s named for the Tatin sisters, who created the upside-down caramelized tart, purportedly by accident, …

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State AP Stories

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Incoming and returning Republicans to the North Carolina Senate have chosen a key lawmaker on tax, voting and energy issues to become majority leader for the next two years. The Senate Republican Caucus on Monday elected Sen. Paul Newton of Cabarrus County to the post. Newton succeeds Sen. Kathy Harrington, who didn't seek reelection this fall to her Gaston County seat. The caucus also agreed to nominate Phil Berger to a seventh term as president pro tempore when the session convenes in January. He has held the job since 2011. Senate Democrats meeting separately Monday reelected Sen. Dan Blue of Wake County as minority leader.

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A memorial service will be held this weekend for Betty Ray McCain. She was a longtime North Carolina Democratic Party activist and counselor to former four-time Gov. Jim Hunt who died last week at age 91. McCain was the first woman to chair the state Democratic Party in the 1970s. Hunt named McCain secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources in 1993. She also served multiple terms on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and on many boards and commissions. Current Gov. Roy Cooper called McCain a “trailblazer for women and a powerful force for good in the arts, education and public service."

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Democrats celebrated winning North Carolina's lone toss-up race for the U.S. House this month as Wiley Nickel won the 13th District seat. The victory creates a 7-7 split in the state’s delegation — the best showing for Democrats in a decade. But there’s a good chance Nickel’s district and others will be altered for the 2024 elections, returning the advantage to Republicans. The current lines are only being used for these elections. New lines will be drawn by Republicans, who still control the General Assembly. And a new GOP majority on the state Supreme Court likely will be more skeptical of legal challenges that scuttled previous boundaries.

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A Cherryville woman’s first birthday party ever at age 105 turned out just perfect. Line dancers and square dancers performed routines to entertain her, 12-year-old Lily brought her 10-week-old yellow Labrador named Nina for her to pet and she even got the chance to …

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A helicopter pilot and a meteorologist who worked for a North Carolina television station died following the crash of the station’s helicopter next to an interstate highway in the Charlotte area. WBTV broadcasters who had been reporting on the crash identified their colleagues on air Tuesday about three hours following the deadly incident. The men were identified as meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag. The crash occurred along Interstate 77. Johnny Jennings, chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, said no vehicles were involved in the incident. The chief said preliminary witness accounts indicate that the pilot made some “diversionary” maneuvers and “probably saved some lives."

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It's holiday time at the White House, and President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are plunging into the season. Biden participated in the annual pardoning of a Thanksgiving turkey on Monday. The first lady accepted delivery of the official White House Christmas tree. And both Bidens visited North Carolina later in the day to share an early Thanksgiving meal with members of the military and their families at Marine Corps Air Station, Cherry Point. The burst of holiday activity follows the president's granddaughter's White House wedding and his 80th birthday over the weekend.

The man who was driving a truck that fatally hit a girl in a North Carolina holiday parade has been released on bond. The News & Record reports that Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman confirms that 20-year-old Landen Glass was released on a $4,000 bond. Glass is scheduled to return to court Jan. 26. Raleigh police say the driver of a white pickup truck towing a float in the Raleigh Christmas parade on Saturday morning lost control and hit the girl. She died from her injuries. Glass was charged with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, careless and reckless driving and other offenses. A family member told WRAL-TV that Glass would not be making a statement.

National & World AP Stories

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jada Williams was a social media star and a talented point guard when she moved with her mother from a Kansas City suburb to San Diego, looking to play basketball for a high school powerhouse and parlay her online prowess into endorsement deals.

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The humble French baguette is being inscribed on the U.N.’s list of intangible heritage as a prized tradition and savoir-faire that should be protected by humanity. UNESCO experts gathering in Morocco this week decided that the staple bread flute deserved U.N. recognition after France’s culture ministry warned of a “continuous decline” in the number of traditional bakeries, and the closures of 400 bakeries a year over the past half-century. The “artisanal know-how and culture of baguette bread” was inscribed at the Morocco meeting among other global cultural heritage items, including Japan’s Furyu-odori ritual dances, and Cuba’s light rum masters.

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In a picturesque corner of western Wisconsin, a growing right-wing conservative movement has rocketed to prominence. They see America as a dark place, dangerous, where democracy is under attack by a tyrannical government. They say few officials can be trusted, and believe neighbors might someday have to band together to protect one another. They have felt the contempt of people who see them as fanatics. But they insist they are just normal people who aren't so different from the rest of America. And their views haven't been swayed - not at all - by midterm elections that failed to see the sweeping Republican victories that many had predicted.

Indiana’s Republican attorney general has asked the state medical licensing board to discipline an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect. The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a reporter about the girl’s treatment. That account sparked a national political uproar in the weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Bernard maintains the girl’s abuse had already been reported to Ohio police before the doctor ever saw the child.

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Closely-watched numbers for annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon show the total area of forest loss is down somewhat from last year, but that was a 15-year high. The data was released by the National Institute for Space Research. The agency's Prodes monitoring system showed that the Amazon rainforest that lies within Brazil — which is two-thirds of it — lost an area roughly the size of Qatar, over 11,000 square kilometers of rainforest (about 4,500 square miles) in the 12 months from August 2021 to July 2022. President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who will take office in January, promised cheering crowds at the recent U.N. climate conference in Egypt to end all deforestation in the country by 2030.

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The National Weather Service says record high temperatures in Texas and Louisiana fired up the storm front that spawned tornadoes across the Deep South. The severe weather wrecked numerous homes, destroyed a fire station, ripped the roof off an apartment complex and killed two people when a tree crunched their mobile home. More than 50,000 customers have been without power. Authorities have opened a shelter for storm victims north of Montgomery, Alabama. The threat of destructive weather continued Wednesday in places near the Gulf Coast.