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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

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.

Have you ever encountered a klansman at the grocery store? I have. I instantly recognized him as a member of the Ku Klux Klan because I’d seen him speak (sans hood) at a Klan rally (I was one of the protesters, not one of the klansmen) and on local TV repping the organization.

A rising force in state politics, Carolina Forward — a center-left policy organization to which I am also a contributor — held a recent post-election discussion forum that yielded provocative insights about the state of North Carolina’s political field. If I could distill a single message fr…

BYH: To all who support "Toys for Tots." There are enough dollar stores around where everyone can afford a toy for their own children's Christmas. Only a few special groups benefit from "Toys for Tots." It is time to force others to buy for their own, and stop asking for handouts, and asking…

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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The Biden administration is designating the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species. Officials say that the bat's situation has worsened since it was classified as threatened in 2015. The species is among a dozen U.S. bats suffering from white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that causes bats to emerge early during hibernation, sometimes burn up winter fat reserves and starve. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will work with timber companies and landowners to protect trees where bats nest. The agency will also seek cooperation from the wind energy industry to reduce the likelihood that bats will strike turbines. The bat is found in 37 eastern and north-central states, plus Washington, D.C., and much of Canada.

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A Walmart employee who survived the mass shooting at a store in Virginia has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company. Employee Donya Prioleau claims in her lawsuit that Walmart continued to employ the shooter “who had known propensities for violence, threats and strange behavior.” The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court. Walmart,  which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Prioleau’s suit alleges that she has experienced post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing the rampage in the store’s breakroom. Police said that store supervisor Andre Bing fatally shot six employees and wounded several others. Police said he died at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes.

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BERLIN (AP) — It is time for China to move away from massive lockdowns and toward a more targeted approach to COVID-19, the head of the International Monetary Fund said days after widespread protests broke out, a change that would ease the impact to a world economy already struggling with hi…

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says war-torn Ukraine will one day become a member of the world’s largest security alliance. It's a commitment that NATO leaders made to Ukraine 14 years ago. But some say it led in part to Russia's invasion. Stoltenberg's remarks came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his NATO counterparts gathered Tuesday in Romania to drum up urgently needed support for Ukraine, including deliveries of electrical components for the war-torn country's devastated power transmission network. Ukraine’s grid has been battered since early October by targeted Russian strikes. Some countries also promised military aid, including artillery and armored vehicles.

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Stocks edged lower in unsteady trading on Wall Street as investors closely watch developments in China and economic data amid worries about stubbornly hot inflation. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% in afternoon trading Tuesday. The Dow and the Nasdaq also slipped. Small-company stocks were mostly higher. Energy stocks rose as crude oil prices climbed about 2.5%. Several big health care and technology stocks slipped and checked gains within the broader market. Hong Kong's benchmark index jumped overnight and other Asian markets also rose. Treasury yields were higher. A business group reported that consumer confidence remained strong in November.