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Cleaning debris from storm drains and inspecting the routes of electric lines are among the actions local utility providers are taking to prepare for whatever storm system passes over eastern North Carolina during the weekend.

Magnolia Arts Center: Magnolia Arts Center, 1703 E. 14th St., will present performances of “Over the Hill” and “Southern Comfort” at 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, with matinee performances at 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students and seniors. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com or call 888-622-3868. Visit magnoliaartscenter.com or call 888-622-3868.

Authorities and residents in the Greenville area are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Ian as it makes its way north with rains that could cause flooding across the region.

Blessing of the Animals: Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1801 S. Elm St. Greenville, will celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with a drive-through Blessing of the Animals from 3-4 p.m. on Sunday in the church parking lot. Free-will donations will be accepted to benefit Pitt County Animal Services and their rescue group Pitt Friends.


Local Events

"Arrests at the southern border will set new records this year," Joe Walsh reports at Forbes. "Border Patrol apprehended 1.998 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border from October to August, already blowing past the 1.659 million arrested in all of fiscal year 2021, which was the agency’s b…

Georgia Meloni’s right-wing populist coalition just defeated the establishment in Italian parliamentary elections, despite European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s comment a few days ago suggesting that the European Union has “tools” to deal with those who don’t fall in line with…

Betty Joyce Nash, in her piece on Saturday’s opinion page, wrote that overturning “Roe v. Wade denies women the right to control their own bodies.” This statement is blatantly false. A woman has the right to control her own body, which means that she can control her actions that can lead to …

Can someone tell me where people are working to be able to afford the new rents in Greenville, especially in the new apartment buildings? I never thought that I would be priced out of a decent place to live. Also management companies, if you want new tenants or to keep existing ones, how abo…

It’s officially autumn, so wave farewell to summer, wrap yourself in something cozy, and make some meatballs. Meatballs are like a warm hug. They are unpretentious, homey and unfailingly comforting — just like that sweater you’re about to put on.

It’s officially autumn, so wave farewell to summer, wrap yourself in something cozy, and make some meatballs. Meatballs are like a warm hug. They are unpretentious, homey and unfailingly comforting — just like that sweater you’re about to put on.

With as many as 1 in 5 adults who had a COVID infection developing long COVID, it is smart to get your vaccine and booster when eligible and eat healthy, be physically active, wash your hands often and when in a crowd, put on your mask — like I do — even if people stare at you.

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State AP Stories

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The head of a national group working to elect women who support abortion rights is backing efforts in North Carolina. EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler spoke at a Raleigh news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Roy Cooper and state legislative candidates. She also planned to visit college campuses with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheri Beasley. An arm of EMILY's List already spent $2.7 million on pro-Beasley ads. Butler says General Assembly races will determine whether abortion restrictions that Republicans are likely to seek can be vetoed by Cooper. Republicans could earn veto-proof majorities if they win two more Senate seats and three more House seats.

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Leaders of College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, thought it was odd when the Southern Baptist Convention recently sent queries about the congregation's LGBTQ-affirming ministry. The church itself had voted to leave the conservative denomination 23 years ago. But it was still on the SBC rolls until last week. That's when the convention's Executive Committee voted to cut ties because of the congregation's “affirmation ... of homosexual behavior.” The Rev. Michael Usey of College Park said the congregation was ousted for the right reason. Said Usey, “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are."

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Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning Roe v. Wade appears to be sending more teens to their doctors in search of birth control, including long-acting reversible forms like intrauterine devices and implants. Waits for appointments are growing in some areas, Planned Parenthood is getting a flood of questions and doctors report demand even among teens who aren’t sexually active. Some patients are especially fearful because some of the new abortion laws don’t include exceptions for sexual assault. Dr. Peggy Stager said dedicated spots for insertion of the Nexplanon implant are consistently filled at her Ohio practice and requests for contraceptive refills have increased 30% to 40% since the Court's June ruling.

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Four people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors for their roles in absentee ballot fraud in rural North Carolina during the 2016 and 2018 elections. These convictions Monday stemmed from an investigation that in part resulted in a do-over congressional election. The defendants were associated with Leslie McCrae Dowless, a political operative in Bladen County whom authorities called the ringleader of the ballot scheme. Dowless died this year before his case went to trial. The State Board of Elections has ordered a new election for the 2018 9th Congressional District because of all the fraud allegations. Cases against six other defendants are pending.

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Forty years after a predominantly Black community in Warren County, North Carolina, rallied against hosting a hazardous waste landfill, President Joe Biden’s top environment official has returned to what is widely considered the birthplace of the environmental justice movement to unveil a national office that will distribute $3 billion in block grants to underserved communities burdened by pollution. Joined by civil rights leaders and participants from the 1982 protests, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan announced Saturday that he is dedicating a new senior level of leadership to the environmental justice movement they ignited. The new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will merge three existing EPA programs.

National & World AP Stories

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Russia says it will formally annex occupied parts of Ukraine where it held Kremlin-orchestrated “referendums” in which it claimed that residents had voted overwhelmingly to live under Moscow’s rule. The Ukrainian government and the West have denounced the ballots as illegal, forced and rigged. Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend a ceremony on Friday in the Kremlin when four regions of Ukraine will be officially folded into Russia. Putin's spokesman says the pro-Moscow administrators of the regions will sign treaties to join Russia during the ceremony at the Kremlin’s St. George’s Hall.  Russian shelling hit several parts of Ukraine on Thursday, as Russian troops appeared to lose more ground around the key northeastern city of Lyman.

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Stocks are dropping in early trading on Wall Street as bond yields get back to rising, putting the squeeze back on markets. The S&P 500 was 1.6% lower Thursday and on pace for its seventh drop in the last eight days. A day before, stocks jumped and bond yields tumbled in relief after the Bank of England moved forcefully to keep borrowing rates there from spiking further. But U.S. Treasury yields were marching higher again on Thursday on expectations the Fed will continue its rate hikes to slow inflation. A better-than-expected report on U.S. layoffs only bolstered those expectations.

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Hurricane Ian has left a path of destruction in southwest Florida, trapping people in floodedhomes, cutting off a barrier island with thousands of residents and destroying a historic pier. More than 2.5 million people are without power, and one death in the state has been confirmed. Now a tropical storm, Ian is moving over the Atlantic coast near the Kennedy Space Center and is expected to regain strength before hitting South Carolina on Friday.  Ian is one of the strongest hurricanes to ever hit the U.S., and many people remain stranded in its wake.

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The Vatican says it imposed disciplinary sanctions on Nobel Peace Prize-winning Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo in the past two years following allegations that he sexually abused boys in East Timor in the 1990s. The Vatican spokesman said the office that handles sex abuse cases received allegations “concerning the bishop’s behavior” in 2019 and within a year had imposed the sanctions. They included limitations on Belo’s movements and exercise of ministry, and prohibited him from having voluntary contact with minors or contact with East Timor. The statement says the measures were “modified and reinforced” in November 2021. Belo is a revered East Timor independence hero, and the Catholic Church wields enormous influence in the Southeast Asian nation.

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NATO says it will retaliate for any attacks on the critical infrastructure of its 30 member countries as it suggested that damage to two gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea is the result of sabotage. The alliance said Thursday that the damage to pipelines between Russia and Germany “is of deep concern.” NATO added that it seems that “this is the result of deliberate, reckless, and irresponsible acts of sabotage. The Swedish coast guard has confirmed a fourth leak on the Nord Stream pipelines off southern Sweden.

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Coolio, the rapper who was among hip-hop’s biggest names of the 1990s with hits including “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “Fantastic Voyage,” has died. Manager Jarez Posey tells The Associated Press that Coolio, whose legal name was Artis Leon Ivey Jr., died at the Los Angeles home of a friend on Wednesday. The cause was not immediately clear. Coolio was 59. He won a Grammy for best solo rap performance for “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the 1995 No. 1 hit from the soundtrack of the Michelle Pfeiffer film “Dangerous Minds” that sampled Stevie Wonder’s 1976 song “Pastime Paradise.”

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Nearly a dozen candidates are running in Brazil’s presidential election but only two stand a chance of reaching a runoff: former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. Eight of 10 Brazilians say they will vote for one of these two political titans on Sunday, leaving little space for challengers. The election could signal the return of the world’s fourth-largest democracy to a leftist government after four years of far-right politics, a pandemic that killed nearly 700,000 people and a poorly performing economy. Polls show da Silva with a commanding lead that could possibly even give him a first-round victory without any need for a runoff.

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In a show of defiance, North Korea has fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea hours after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris flew home from a visit to South Korea during which she emphasized the “ironclad” U.S. commitment to the security of its Asian allies. It was the third round of missile launches by North Korea this week, extending a record pace in weapons testing as it accelerates a push to expand its arsenal and pressure Washington to accept it as a nuclear power. Harris earlier capped her four-day trip to Asia with a stop at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula, where she addressed the threat posed by the increasingly hostile North.