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Paula Dance made it a point, quite literally with the point of her finger, to remind Pitt County residents who the backbone of their sheriff’s office is at her swearing in ceremony Monday morning.

Local Events

East Carolina’s women’s basketball team turned in another impressive defense-to-offense performance on Tuesday night and strolled past visiting Maryland Eastern Shore, 67-42, in Minges Coliseum.

In my dotage, I have come to rely on the Bless Your Heart column for the real semblance of truth in America today. I once looked to the church for the truth built upon the rock, but these days the church reinterprets Scripture faster than changes to the Dollar Menu at Mickey D’s. At least my…

“A Massive Fraud of this type and magnitude,” former US president Donald Trump wrote on his pet social media platform, Truth Social, “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution.” In reference, of course, to his fantasy that the 20…

Nothing that Elon Musk is doing in the wake of his takeover of Twitter should be considered controversial. The fact that the world’s richest person and self-described “free speech absolutist” is currently taking endless flack for attempting to limit online censorship and gatekeeping in the i…

To the BYH-er who wanted to know why Biden hasn’t called for hammer control, because hammers don’t kill people, crazy white guys do, silly. Let’s ban them instead.

I love sandwiches. They are easy to make, easy to eat, packed with a wheel of healthy colors and offer up a world of flavor combinations. It’s no wonder Americans consume millions of sandwiches per year. This brings me to this week’s Hot Dish. Let me introduce you to Kings Deli, located in t…

The holiday season is full of traditions. Traditions bring pleasure and reassurance. They give us something to look forward to, and in times of difficulty or uncertainty, traditions root and comfort us. Sharing and repeating traditions connect us to our past and reinforce our relationships w…

The seniors in Pitt County have done well in getting their vaccines; younger people not so much. If you are going to be around older adults this holiday, please get vaccinated and boosted. Eat healthily and be physically active. You don’t want to be sick and miss out on the holiday fun.

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State AP Stories

The Supreme Court is taking up a case with the potential to reshape elections for Congress and the presidency. The justices are hearing arguments Wednesday over the power of state courts to strike down congressional districts drawn by the legislature because they violate state constitutions. Republicans from North Carolina who are bringing the case to the high court argue that a provision of the U.S. Constitution known as the elections clause gives state lawmakers virtually total control over the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections, including redistricting, and cuts state courts out. The Republicans are advancing a concept called the independent legislature theory, never before adopted by the Supreme Court but cited approvingly by four conservative justices.

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Duke Energy says it expects to be able to restore power by Wednesday night to a county where electric substations were attacked by gunfire. Duke Energy spokesman Jeff Brooks said the company expects to have power back Wednesday just before midnight in Moore County. The company had previously estimated it would be restored Thursday morning. About 35,000 Duke energy customers were still without power Tuesday, down from more than 45,000 at the height of the outage Saturday. Authorities have said the outages began shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday night after one or more people drove up to two substations, breached the gates and opened fire on them.

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Two North Carolina Democratic government lawyers have argued on competing sides at an appeals court in a case over whether the Wake County district attorney can prosecute Attorney General Josh Stein or others for a 2020 campaign commercial. Private attorneys for Stein and Wake District Attorney Lorrin Freeman met Tuesday before a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. At issue is a state law that makes certain political speech a crime. Stein's campaign ad criticized his then-Republican challenger for AG over untested rape kits. Stein and his allies say the 1931 law is unconstitutional and want the judges to block its enforcement.

A U.S. Supreme Court case involving North Carolina's congressional districts could have ramifications for the way voting districts are drawn in other states. At issue in Wednesday's arguments is whether state courts can strike down U.S. House maps passed by state lawmakers for violating state constitutions. North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are asserting an “independent state legislature” theory — claiming the U.S. Constitution gives no role to state courts in federal election disputes. The outcome could affect similar lawsuits pending in state courts in Kentucky, New Mexico and Utah. It also could have implications in New York and Ohio, where state courts previously struck down U.S. House districts.

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Two power substations in a North Carolina county were damaged by gunfire in what is being investigated as a criminal act. A spokesman for Duke Energy said at a news conference with local officials on Sunday that the damage caused the night before could take days to repair. Power was out for roughly 37,000 customers Sunday. In response, officials announced a state of emergency that included a curfew from 9 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. County schools will be closed Monday. Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields says authorities have not determined a motivation.

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The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case that could dramatically alter voting in 2024 and beyond. A Republican-led challenge is asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is hearing arguments Wednesday in a case from highly competitive North Carolina, where Republican efforts to draw congressional districts heavily in their favor were blocked by a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court. The question for the justices is whether the U.S. Constitution’s provision giving state legislatures the power to make the rules about the “times, places and manner” of congressional elections cuts state courts out of the process.

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

National & World AP Stories

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Officials say thousands of police officers have carried out raids across much of Germany against suspected far-right extremists who allegedly sought to overthrow the government in an armed coup. Federal prosecutors said some 3,000 officers conducted searches at 130 sites in 11 of Germany’s 16 states on Wednesday against adherents of the so-called Reich Citizens movement. They said 22 German citizens were detained on suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organization.” Three others, including a Russian citizen, were held on suspicion of supporting the organization. Officials have repeatedly warned that far-right extremists pose the biggest threat to Germany’s domestic security.

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Dissident Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is taking heart from recent public protests in China over the authorities’ strict COVID-19 policy. But he doesn’t see them bringing about any significant political change. He tells The Associated Press in an interview at his home in Portugal he doesn't think that’s possible. He acknowledges that the recent unrest in several Chinese cities that has questioned Beijing’s authority — going so far as to demand President Xi Jinping’s resignation in what have been the boldest protests in decades — is “a big deal.” But he says it is unlikely to go further.

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BANDUNG, Indonesia (AP) — A Muslim militant and convicted bomb-maker who was released from prison last year blew himself up Wednesday at a police station on Indonesia’s main island of Java, killing an officer and wounding 11 people, officials said.

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MOMBASA, Kenya (AP) — Scientists around the world are warning governments who will be gathering in Montreal this week for the United Nations biodiversity summit to not repeat past mistakes and are urging officials to “avoid trade-offs” between people and conservation needs in a report Monday.

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China has rolled back rules on isolating people with COVID-19 and dropped virus test requirements for some public places. That's a dramatic change to a strategy that confined millions of people to their homes and sparked protests and demands for President Xi Jinping to resign. China has enforced some of the world’s strictest curbs, disrupting global manufacturing and trade and the lives of ordinary Chinese. The latest announcement is the second easing of rules following a Nov. 11 change that fueled hopes the Communist Party would scrap its “zero COVID” strategy. Experts warn that because millions of elderly people still need to be vaccinated, it will be mid-2023 or later before restrictions can be lifted completely.

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The next World Cup will be the biggest ever after world soccer body FIFA took the leap from a 32-team field to 48 teams in 2026. It means more of soccer’s so-called “little teams” that didn’t make it to Qatar will be given a chance-of-a-lifetime when the World Cup goes to the United States, Canada and Mexico. Great news for everyone who was entertained by Saudi Arabia’s stirring underdog upset of Lionel Messi’s Argentina and Morocco knocking out Spain. More surprises surely await in four years. Only it’s not clear for some that bigger is better at the World Cup.

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MESAIEED, Qatar (AP) — Thirty feet (9 meters) deep into the waters of the Persian Gulf, angel fish swim in and out of rusted trucks and SUVs. Plastic bags and water bottles, blown in from the nearby shoreline, float across the ocean floor.

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Chinese leader Xi Jinping is attending a pair of regional summits in Saudi Arabia amid efforts to kick-start economic growth weighed down by strict anti-COVID-19 measures. The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday Xi will attend the inaugural China-Arab States Summit and a meeting with leaders of the six nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. His state visit to Saudi Arabia will end on Saturday. China is the world’s second-largest economy, a leading consumer of oil and source of foreign investment. China imports half of its oil, and half of those imports come from Saudi Arabia. Chinese economic growth rebounded to 3.9% over a year earlier in the three months ending in September.