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Adoption and donation drive: An adoption and donation drive will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina, 3520 Tupper Drive. Lacey’s Legacy and HSEC will have animals available for adoption. Pet Food Pantry will be accepting donations to help pet owners in need. Blount’s Country Cooking & Concession will offer food for sale during the event.

Pitt County’s sheriff has reassigned a pair of deputies working within county government ahead of a vote on a budget that does not increase the salaries of deputies and detention center officers above a proposed 6 percent raise.

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The East Carolina baseball team is coming off a loss in its most recent game, but that defeat in the championship game of the American Athletic Conference tournament didn’t do anything to crack the team’s confidence heading into the NCAA tournament.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has announced he's in.

He's running for president.

I caught DeSantis' remarks in Orlando at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters the day before he formally announced.

It was immediately clear that this is no ordinary politician.

It has been said that there are two types of people. Those who want to be someone and those who want to do something.

DeSantis is clearly that latter. And at age 44, he has already done a lot.

Yale baseball captain, Harvard Law School, Navy veteran — including serving in the war in Iraq —three-term U.S. congressman and two-term governor of Florida, the nation's third largest state in population and fourth largest in economy.

What immediately spoke to me, and probably most of the 4,000 Christian broadcasters in the room, was DeSantis started right off talking about bringing water from the Sea of Galilee in Israel to Florida to baptize his three children.

This is a man who stands firmly in cement regarding his view of the world in terms of right and wrong, and man's ability and responsibility to make the right choices.

His battle against woke culture is really a battle for freedom and against indoctrination.

And hence DeSantis' remarkable achievement of making school choice available practically throughout the whole state of Florida.

This puts parents in charge of their children's education — not politicians, bureaucrats or unions.

This defines real conservativism. You start with clarity about right and wrong and then give people freedom to live their life as they choose.

DeSantis' list of accomplishments as governor in many important areas is long. But the headliner is his bold and courageous move in opening his state's economy and schools during the pandemic, when most other states were still closed.

He has made the point that Disney, which has fought him in his battle against sexual indoctrination among youngsters in school, profited handsomely because they were able to operate their business in Florida during the pandemic while being forced to close in California.

It speaks much about the widespread unfortunate realities of many corporations today, which on the one hand profit from freedom and capitalism and at the same time promote policies that undermine that very freedom.

One line of criticism that has been aimed at DeSantis is that he is not charismatic and that, in the words of The Wall Street Journal, "He's a cultural brawler more than a likeable unifier." The Journal suggests he adopt a little of "Ronald Reagan's self-deprecating humor."

But DeSantis is a soldier, not a socialite, motivated, as was Reagan, to do what is right for the country. He is not going to reinvent himself based on alleged wisdom from political consultants about what voters want to see and hear.

More importantly, the leadership challenges today are even greater than those faced by Reagan. Our fiscal and cultural challenges are daunting.

Our national debt today is about 100% of GDP. When Reagan ran in 1980 it was less than 25%. Federal spending today is almost 25% of GDP. When Reagan ran it was 20.6%. The federal budget deficit now is 5.4% of GDP. In 1980 it was 2.6%.

As result of dramatic expansion of government, our economy today is growing around 2% per year, well below the historic rate over 3%.

As a result of the breakdown in traditional values and family, the country is aging. The percentage of Americans over 65 stood at 16.9 % in 2020, compared to 11.3% in 1980.

The birth rate of babies to unwed mothers is now 40%, compared to 18% in 1980.

If there is any hope in turning it all around, it's more important that our leadership is tough than jovial.

From what I have seen so far, Ron DeSantis has exactly what America needs in 2024.

Star Parker is president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education and host of the weekly television show "Cure America with Star Parker." To find out more about Star Parker and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


Last Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2023 15:19:32 -0700

Nationwide traffic violence, injuries and deaths are rapidly rising. North Carolina is now required to spend at least 15% of its federal safety funds on preventing the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians because it is among the states with the deadliest roads for such.

Here we go again.

A strong, prominent woman in the political arena comes under attack for being too strong, too ambitious, having too big a role in her spouse's campaign.

Sound familiar? Painfully so. Sexist? No question.

Only this time, the target is not Hillary Clinton, although the treatment is the same.

This time, the target is not a self-described feminist, but the wife of a hardcore right winger, Casey DeSantis. It doesn't matter. Sexism comes in many colors, red as well as blue.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is married to a former television anchor and breast cancer survivor who is the mother of three young children and, reportedly, a powerful voice in her husband's campaigns. Sort of like Bill and Hill. The presidential campaign has yet to formally begin, but already she has been the target of criticism because she is her husband's partner in many ways and plays a powerful role in his innermost circle of advisers.

Why shouldn't she? Why should she be attacked for it? Haven't we gotten to the point where the spouse — whether it be husband or wife — has a right to play any role their spouse wants them to play in the campaign?

In a much-quoted article last week, Politico described Casey DeSantis as her husband's greatest asset and his greatest liability, with the emphasis on the latter. The Lady Macbeth analogy was attributed to Roger Stone, a longtime Trump supporter and opponent of DeSantis, who remarked in a Telegram post: "Have you ever noticed how much Ron DeSantis' wife Casey is like Lady Macbeth?" — an agent, in other words, of her husband's undoing.

Maybe Roger Stone is an agent of his Don's undoing?

I probably don't agree with Casey DeSantis, and I certainly can't imagine any reason I'd ever support her husband, but the best thing I've heard about him is that he has a strong, outspoken wife, and I'll be damned if I've spent most of my life in politics promoting powerful women only to see the same old shabby treatment heaped on a woman I disagree with.

Take her at her word and disagree with her. About something she says or does. Not just for being her. Not for being too bright, too charming or, even worse, not charming enough.

Not for bragging too much about her husband's accomplishments, as Politico did about Casey (and isn't this what wives are supposed to do?) or not bragging enough. It's time to stop judging wives for being too involved, or not involved enough, too powerful an influence on their husbands or too removed from what matters.

Casey DeSantis has three young children to raise while her husband runs for president. Anyone and everyone can find something to fault her for in how she chooses to balance her family and the campaign and on her roles as wife, partner and mother, which is why none of us should be sitting in judgment. I talk about spouses, but let's be real. What Casey DeSantis faces is uniquely a woman's problem, and Stone's comment is sexism 101.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at


Last Updated: Friday, May 26, 2023 16:48:42 -0700

“Summertime… and the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high.” Anticipation of summer parties, cookouts and pool parties. Beach trips and lake trips, and our favorite, the Neuse River. My memories are thick with the good times of summer. That is the privilege of growing up Wh…

In a perfect world — or even a really good one — there’s no doubt that the debt ceiling agreement President Biden struck with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy over the weekend would be a frustration and a disappointment. The agreement will inflict all manner of painful cuts to core public struct…

Q I am baffled that what used to be a thorough and comprehensive physical exam is now just a few questions, taking some vital signs and a few blood tests. No checking your eyes, throat, glands or reflexes. No breast exam. Why has this changed? What constitutes a complete physical these days?

Eat your lasagna and have your vegetables, too, with a veggie-enhanced rendition of a family favorite. This layered gratin resembles a lasagna, with one key difference: There are no pasta sheets.

We all know the story of “The Little Mermaid” — that fairy tale about a young mermaid willing to give up her life in the sea to gain a human soul. It was written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837. Other tales by him include “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Princess and the Pea,” “The Ugly …


Do you support action by the N.C. General Assembly to ban access to abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy?

You voted:

State AP Stories

  • Updated

Fort Bragg shed its Confederate namesake Friday to become Fort Liberty in a ceremony some veterans view as a small but important step in making the U.S. Army more welcoming to Black service members. The change is part of a broad Department of Defense initiative to rename military installations bearing the name of confederate soldiers. It was prompted by the 2020 George Floyd protests. A naming commission estimates the cost of renaming the base will be about $6.37 million. The commission visited the base and met with and members of the surrounding community to solicit their input. The North Carolina base was originally named in 1918 for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg.

  • Updated

Toyota will invest another $2.1 billion in an electric and hybrid vehicle battery factory that’s under construction near Greensboro, North Carolina. The plant will supply batteries to Toyota’s huge complex in Georgetown, Kentucky, which will build Toyota’s first U.S.-made electric vehicle, a new SUV with three rows of seats. The plans announced Wednesday won’t immediately create any more jobs at either factory.  Toyota plans to have 2,100 employees at the battery factory. The investment will prepare infrastructure to expand for growth. Production is to start in 2025. It brings the total investment to $5.9 billion. The huge Kentucky complex now employs 9,500 people.  The company says jobs will shift to the new electric vehicle when production starts in 2025.

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The North Carolina General Assembly’s chief advocate for legalizing medical marijuana in the state has revealed how he smoked pot over 20 years ago to withstand intense chemotherapy during his fight with cancer. Sen. Bill Rabon of Brunswick County has previously described himself as a colon cancer survivor. But he had been reticent on details like whether he used marijuana until pitching his legislation on Tuesday to the House Health Committee. The measure passed the Senate three months ago. Rabon recalled how a physician told him to obtain marijuana when he sought a more aggressive form of treatment. Medical pot opponents say marijuana may cause harm to patients.

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As the Supreme Court decides the fate of affirmative action, most people in the U.S. say the court should allow consideration of race as part of the admissions process. Yet few believe students’ race should play a significant role in those decisions. A poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 63% say the Supreme Court should not stop colleges from considering race or ethnicity in their admission systems. The poll shows little divide along political or racial lines. People are more likely to say grades and standardized test scores should be significant factors. Lawsuits are challenging admissions systems at Harvard and the University of North Carolina.

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Two North Carolina state House Republicans have lost their caucus leadership positions following recent comments directed at Democratic colleagues questioning their religion and educational attainment. A top House GOP leader announced on Thursday that Reps. Keith Kidwell and Jeff McNeely, who are both white, are no longer deputy majority whips after their resignations were sought by other GOP leaders. The Democrats who were the subject of the comments are both Black. McNeely took criticism during debate last week on legislation to expand the state’s private-school voucher system when he asked a question about a colleague's time at Harvard University. A television station reported that Kidwell disparaged a colleague's religion as she debated a bill restricting abortion.

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Thousands of United Methodist congregations have been voting on whether to stay or quit one of the nation’s largest denominations amid intractable debates over theology and the role of LGBTQ people. The dividing line isn’t just running between congregations. It’s running right through the pews of individual churches, separating people who had long worshipped together. Those who come up on the short end of a disaffiliation vote face the dilemma of whether to stay or go. Some United Methodist regional conferences have begun designating what they call “Lighthouse” congregations – ones that actively welcome people who wanted to stay United Methodist but whose former churches voted to leave.

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A wave of newly approved abortion restrictions in the Southeastern United States has sent providers scrambling to reconfigure their services for a region with already severely limited access.  South Carolina’s governor signed a bill Thursday banning most abortions around six weeks of pregnancy, setting up an anticipated legal challenge from providers. The law Thursday goes into effect immediately. Pending bans at varying stages of pregnancy in North Carolina and Florida are threatening to further delay abortions for patients as appointments pile up and doctors work to understand the new limitations. The states had been holdouts providing wider access to the procedure in the region.

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Guam residents facing down the strongest typhoon to hit their remote U.S. Pacific island territory in decades had identical twin meteorologists helping them get ready and stay safe this week. The National Weather Service’s Guam office employs Landon Aydlett as its warning coordination meteorologist. His brother Brandon Aydlett is the science and operations officer. The 41-year-olds tag-teamed Facebook live broadcasts watched by thousands as Typhoon Mawar approached. Landon Aydlett said Thursday morning that working with his brother is like working with his best friend. He says they never planned to work together but the jobs fell in their laps and they followed their heart and passion for the work.

National & World AP Stories

Stocks are rallying after a strong report on the U.S. job market eased Wall Street's worries about a possible recession. The S&P 500 was 1% higher early Friday and on pace for a third straight winning week. The Dow was up 372 points, while the Nasdaq gained 1%. An unexpected acceleration of hiring last month means the job market remains remarkably solid. More importantly for markets, increases for workers’ pay also slowed in May. That could allow the Federal Reserve to hold off on raising interest rates in two weeks, though traders still expect it to hike again this summer.

  • Updated

Fort Bragg shed its Confederate namesake Friday to become Fort Liberty in a ceremony some veterans view as a small but important step in making the U.S. Army more welcoming to Black service members. The change is part of a broad Department of Defense initiative to rename military installations bearing the name of confederate soldiers. It was prompted by the 2020 George Floyd protests. A naming commission estimates the cost of renaming the base will be about $6.37 million. The commission visited the base and met with and members of the surrounding community to solicit their input. The North Carolina base was originally named in 1918 for Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg.

  • Updated

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says there can be no cease-fire in the war in Ukraine unless it is part of a “just and lasting” peace deal that includes Russia’s military withdrawal. Blinken said Friday that “a cease-fire that simply freezes current lines in place" and enables Russian President Vladimir Putin "to consolidate control over the territory he has seized, and rest, rearm, and re-attack — that is not a just and lasting peace.” Blinken said in a speech during a visit to Finland that Russia must also pay a share of Ukraine’s reconstruction and be held accountable for its full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February last year.

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Dev Shah is the champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old from Largo, Florida, had his spelling career interrupted by the pandemic, then didn't make it out of his regional bee last year. He was brimming with confidence in his final opportunity, asking precise questions about obscure Greek roots. His winning word was “psammophile,” and his root knowledge made it a layup. Dev takes home the winner's trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. Charlotte Walsh, a 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, was the runner-up.

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In the year since the Supreme Court struck down the nationwide right to abortion, America’s religious leaders and denominations have responded in strikingly diverse ways. Some celebrate the state-level bans that have ensued. Others are angry that a conservative Christian cause has changed the law of the land in ways they consider oppressive. The divisions are epitomized in the country’s largest denomination – the Catholic Church. National polls repeatedly show that a majority of U.S. Catholics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Yet the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports sweeping bans. Among Protestants, a solid majority of white evangelicals favor outlawing abortion. But most mainline Protestants support the right to abortion.