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Piano concert: East Carolina University School of Music will host guest artist Sookkyung Cho, associate professor of piano at Grand Valley State University, at 7:30 p.m. Monday in A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall. Free. Call 28-6851. Live stream available at youtube.com/ecuschoolofmusiclive.

Greenville law enforcement said parents could expect an added law enforcement presence at the area’s schools in light of a threatening social media post that named schools in Pitt, Wayne and other North Carolina counties.

Business After Hours: The Greenville Pitt County Chamber of Commerce will hold its Business After Hours membership networking event 5:30-7 p.m. on Thursday at 5th Street Hardware Restaurant & Taproom, 120 W. Fifth St. Visit a chamber member business and network with other business leaders out of the office and off the clock while enjoying great food and beverages. Register at greenvillenc.org/events. Contact Aileen Peacock or call (252) 752-4101, ext. 2223.

Local Events

I feel sure that many citizens who know basic right/wrong are wondering why Trump, plus many of his enablers, aren’t in jail. The lip service from Attorney General Merrick Garland that “no one is above the law” is a crock full of it. Talk is cheap. If we want to, we can take our heads out of…

“We have no choice but to make hard decisions,” Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern recently said. He leads the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 160 Republican lawmakers that recently called for making cuts in Social Security.

No decent citizen could fail to be appalled by the video, released Friday, showing Memphis police officers beating a 29-year-old Black man, Tyre Nichols, so badly on Jan. 7 that he died three days later. No feeling citizen could fail to be moved by the anguish of his mother, RowVaughn Wells,…

The cartoon “Family Circus” by Jeff Keane appears in the DR. The cartoon’s charm derives from its depiction of young children responding to their new world. A recent panel shows a little boy entering a room suddenly darkened by his sister at a light switch. He says, “Hey! Who turned on the d…

Q I have shared my home with pets my whole life. I am now a 76-year-old widow, and my menagerie is down to two small dogs. I just saw on the news that pets keep you mentally sharp. Is that true? I’d like to be able to reassure my sons that my furry companions are a boon and not a burden.

When it comes to flavor, say yes to bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Chicken breasts often get a bad rap for their dryness and lack of flavor. Leaving the bones and skin on the breast helps to solve this problem.

Uncle Rich appreciated time. He would especially appreciate a completed time cycle. He collected stopwatches, he wrote music and he was a systems manager with IBM. In leisure and in business, these are the utensils of modern Eastern Standard time.

State AP Stories

Some North Carolina senators want tougher punishments for intentionally damaging utility equipment in light of the December attacks on two Duke Energy substations in Moore County that left 45,000 customers without power. The legislators filed a bill on Wednesday that would make it a high-grade felony to intentionally destroy or damage any “energy facility.” Current state law only makes it a misdemeanor to vandalize equipment that interrupts the transmission of electricity. A perpetrator also would face a $250,000 fine and potential lawsuits. Someone also fired at an electric cooperative's substation in Randolph County two weeks ago, causing damages but no outages. No arrests have been in either attack.

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A bill advancing in North Carolina’s Senate would prohibit instruction about sexuality and gender identity in K-4 public school classes. The proposal approved Wednesday by the Senate education committee would require schools in most circumstances to alert parents prior to a change in the name or pronoun used for their child. The measure defies the recommendations of parents, educators and LGBTQ youths who testified against it. The bill now heads to the Senate health care committee. A version passed the state Senate last year but did not get a vote in the House.

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North Carolina civil rights advocates have denounced a House rule change that could allow Republicans to override vetoes on contentious bills with little notice, saying it subverts democracy and the will of voters. Republicans pushed through temporary operating rules this month that omitted a longstanding requirement that chamber leaders give at least two days’ notice before holding an override vote. The move could allow Republicans to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes while Democrats are absent, even momentarily. Calling the change “a shameful power grab meant to thwart the will of the people,” Jillian Riley of Planned Parenthood South Atlantic said it undermines the functionality of the General Assembly.

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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.

National & World AP Stories

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A furry critter in a western Pennsylvania town has predicted six more weeks of winter during an annual Groundhog Day celebration. People gathered Thursday at Gobbler’s Knob as members of Punxsutawney Phil’s “inner circle” summoned the groundhog from his tree stump at dawn to learn if he has seen his shadow — and they say he did. According to folklore, if he sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, spring comes early. The annual event in Punxsutawney originated from a German legend about a furry rodent. Meanwhile, New York City’s Staten Island Chuck made his prediction for an early spring during an event Thursday at the Staten Island Zoo.

Ayahuasca is a psychedelic tea whose roots go back hundreds of years to ceremonial use by Indigenous groups in the Amazon rainforest. Ayahuasca supporters found a foothold in the United States in the 1980s and interest has intensified more recently as celebrities like NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Hollywood star Will Smith talked about attending ceremonies. Many people who take the tea claim that ayahuasca brings them closer to God and thus have formed churches to celebrate it. Many believe it helps treat a range of mental health problems but others caution there haven’t been large-scale studies to support those claims.

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Growing numbers of people are flocking to U.S. churches that center their practice around a bitter psychedelic tea known as ayahuasca. Organizers and their legal advisers argue a 2006 Supreme Court ruling protects them from prosecution and participants say they are taking part in a religious service. Some experts raise concerns that the benefits of ayahuasca haven’t been well studied. Many who attend the ceremonies, which can last for days, argue their experience on the illegal substance brings them closer to God than they ever felt at traditional religious services. Surveys have also found many come away feeling better afterwards, with some saying it helped with depression and problems with risky substance use.

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A protracted legal fight over how city council districts were drawn in Jacksonville, Florida, reflects an aspect of redistricting that often remains in the shadows. Political map-drawing for congressional and state legislative seats captures wide attention after new census numbers are released every 10 years. No less fierce are the battles over the way voting lines are drawn in local governments, for city councils, county commissions and even school boards. A group of Jacksonville residents and civil rights organizations successfully sued the city last year, alleging the council’s redistricting plan amounted to racial gerrymandering by packing Black communities into a handful of districts.

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Ukrainian officials say Russian missiles have struck residential areas in an eastern city for the second time in 24 hours. Thursday’s attack came while top European Union officials held talks in Kyiv with the Ukrainian government, as the war with Russia approaches its one-year milestone. The latest strikes in Kramatorsk came as rescue crews searched for survivors in the rubble of an apartment building struck by a Russian missile late Wednesday that killed at least three people and wounded 21 others. The regional governor attributed two rocket strikes to Russian forces. He said civilians were wounded in the latest strikes, which hit residential buildings in the heart of the city.

Growing numbers of people are flocking to U.S. churches that center their practice around a psychedelic tea known as ayahuasca. Organizers and their legal advisers argue a 2006 Supreme Court ruling protects them from prosecution and participants say they are taking part in a religious service. Some experts raise concerns that the benefits of ayahuasca haven’t been well studied. Many who attend the ceremonies, which can last for days, argue their experience on the illegal substance brings them closer to God than they ever felt at traditional religious services. Surveys have also found many come away feeling better afterwards, with some saying it helped with depression and problems with risky substance use.

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A mess of ice, sleet and snow is lingering across much of the southern U.S. as thousands in Texas endure freezing temperatures with no power. A warming trend is forecast to bring relief from the deadly storm Thursday. But an Arctic cold front is expected to enter the northern U.S. with snow and windchills of more than 50 below. More than 400,000 customers in Texas lack power. At least eight people have died on slick roads since Monday. Winter watches and warnings extend from The Texas-Mexico border through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana and into western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.

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Futures on Wall Street were mixed one day after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy is moving toward lower inflation but that more interest rate increases are planned. Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.4% before the bell Thursday, while futures for the Dow fell 0.4%, one day after markets climbed to their highest levels since summer. The rally Wednesday came after the Fed increased its key lending rate by 0.25 percentage points, smaller than previous hikes. Thursday brings another slew of corporate earnings reports, with Alphabet, Amazon and Apple posting results after the bell. Ford and Starbucks also report.