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Pitt County commissioners directed staff to develop a request for proposal to seek options for recycling services after an executive for the current provider said the county would have to pay “significantly more.”

Local Events

In June of 2022, my father, Van Harrington Jr., died from complications of frontotemporal degeneration/dementia (FTD). When he passed, I was 40-years-old, but I lost him shortly after graduating from college. After three misdiagnoses because he was “too young” for dementia to be taken into a…

I am grateful for your page’s attention to domestic violence over the years, and there is good news many readers may have missed: Recently, Congress passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and PUMP Act, both of which will help prevent domestic violence and help pregnant or lactating domesti…

Q I live in Boston, and the news here seems to be fixated on a brand-new COVID-19 variant. Omicron was all everyone talked about for a long time. Does this mean the new variant we are hearing about is worse? What are we supposed to do to protect ourselves?

State AP Stories

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North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bill requiring teachers to alert parents in most circumstances before calling a student by a different name or pronoun. Sponsors say the bill is needed to keep parents informed about what their children are being taught in public schools. Critics say it would make schools unsafe spaces for LGBTQ and questioning children to explore their identities. The proposal passed the Senate 29-18 on Tuesday. It would also prohibit instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. It now heads to the state House, where Republicans likely would need some Democratic support to push it through.

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The daughter of a South Florida Lyft driver who went missing more than a week ago has confirmed that the man has died. Lindsay DiBetta posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the family would be announcing information on services for her father, 74-year-old Gary Levin, in the next few days. Levin went missing Jan. 30 after dropping off a customer north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. His family reported him missing when he didn’t return home. Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami, Okeechobee and Gainesville, in north Florida last week. It was stopped Thursday night in North Carolina, and the driver is being held on $2 million bond.

Former longtime North Carolina state Sen. Jerry Tillman has died at age 82. A funeral home confirmed Monday that Tillman died Saturday at a Greensboro health facility from natural causes. The Randolph County Republican was a retired public schoolteacher, administrator and coach first elected to the Senate in 2002. He served as a Senate majority whip, education budget writer and finance committee co-chair after Republicans took over the Senate. Tillman often pressed for legislation that promoted school choice and tax relief. He retired in mid-2020. A funeral is set for later this month in Archdale.

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Republican lawmakers are accusing China of deliberately surveilling sensitive U.S. military sites with a suspected spy balloon. And they say the Biden administration has given Beijing an intelligence opening by not downing the balloon during its high-altitude drift through American airspace. Democrats are defending Biden and they note that there were similar incursions while Donald Trump was president. A missile from an F-22 fighter jet downed the balloon on Saturday off the South Carolina coast. A U.S. official tells The Associated Press that those involved in the recovery of the balloon are planning to take it to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for further analysis.

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Amid high egg prices, social media users are claiming that common chicken feed products are preventing their own hens from laying eggs. Some have gone a step further to suggest that feed producers intentionally made their products deficient to stop backyard egg production and force consumers to buy eggs at inflated prices. But experts say high egg prices are caused by bird flu and inflation. And while feed quality can affect egg production, there are more mundane explanations for backyard flock owners’ reported low egg yields, including environmental reasons like cold weather or insufficient light, rather than a broad conspiracy.

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China is threatening what it calls “further actions” after an American fighter jet shot down a suspected spy balloon off the East Coast of the United States on Saturday. The U.S. says the massive balloon was a surveillance craft that spent days crossing over sensitive military sites in North America. The White House says President Joe Biden approved the downing, and followed the advice of military officials by waiting to bring down the craft over water rather than risk debris falling on populated areas. But China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs insists again that the craft was civilian and its flight an accident. It is criticizing the U.S. for what it terms “an obvious overreaction and a serious violation of international practice.”

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Eyes were locked on the Carolina skies Saturday as a suspected Chinese spy balloon ended a weeklong traverse over the U.S., drifted over the Atlantic Ocean and was shot down by a fighter jet. In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina people lined a boardwalk and cheered as a missile from an F-22 fighter struck the balloon and it plummeted into the water. As the balloon came over Myrtle Beach, software consultant Haley Walsh says she saw it floating in the clear blue sky. She felt and heard a boom and ran outside where she saw the balloon tumbling down.

National & World AP Stories

DALLAS (AP) — A 24-year-old man now linked to an unusual string of crimes that kept the Dallas Zoo on the lookout for missing animals told police that after he swiped two monkeys from their enclosure, he took them onto the city's light rail system to make his getaway, court records show.

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North Carolina’s Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bill requiring teachers to alert parents in most circumstances before calling a student by a different name or pronoun. Sponsors say the bill is needed to keep parents informed about what their children are being taught in public schools. Critics say it would make schools unsafe spaces for LGBTQ and questioning children to explore their identities. The proposal passed the Senate 29-18 on Tuesday. It would also prohibit instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms. It now heads to the state House, where Republicans likely would need some Democratic support to push it through.

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Jurors in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial in South Carolina are hearing evidence about what crime scene technicians discovered when they tested a rain jacket found three months after his wife and son were killed in 2021. A state agent testified Tuesday gunshot residue was found inside the jacket, likely after someone shot a gun wearing it inside out or wrapped it around a recently fired weapon. Defense attorneys had asked the judge in the case to prevent further testimony about the raincoat after the caretaker for Murdaugh’s ailing mother testified that she she saw him bring a “blue something, looked like a tarp” into his mother’s home nine days after the killings. They say nothing links Murdaugh to the jacket.

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NASCAR star Kyle Busch was detained at a Mexican airport last month when a handgun and ammunition were discovered in his luggage. A judge in Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun and Tulum, sentenced Busch earlier this month to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered him to pay a $1,000 fine for illegally possessing the gun in Mexico. But the federal Attorney General’s Office said the judge decided to allow a conditional punishment and let Busch leave Mexico after he paid an unspecified bond. Busch has apologized for the incident and called it a mistake. A NASCAR spokesperson says Busch informed the sanctioning body of the incident and isn't facing any punishment.

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JINDERIS, Syria (AP) — Residents digging through a collapsed building in a northwest Syrian town discovered a crying infant whose mother appears to have given birth to her while buried underneath the rubble from this week’s devastating earthquake, relatives and a doctor said Tuesday.

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The daughter of a South Florida Lyft driver who went missing more than a week ago has confirmed that the man has died. Lindsay DiBetta posted on Facebook on Tuesday that the family would be announcing information on services for her father, 74-year-old Gary Levin, in the next few days. Levin went missing Jan. 30 after dropping off a customer north of Florida’s Lake Okeechobee. His family reported him missing when he didn’t return home. Levin’s red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami, Okeechobee and Gainesville, in north Florida last week. It was stopped Thursday night in North Carolina, and the driver is being held on $2 million bond.

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Rescuers are hoping to pull survivors from the rubble before they succumb to the cold two days after an earthquake tore through southern Turkey and war-ravaged northern Syria. The death toll climbed above 7,700 on Tuesday and was expected to rise further. The last two days have brought dramatic rescues, with even some small children rescued from mounds of debris more than 30 hours after Monday’s pre-dawn quake. But there was also widespread despair and growing anger at the slow pace of rescue efforts in some areas, particularly Turkey's hardest-hit province of Hatay. In Syria, residents found a crying newborn still connected by the umbilical cord to her mother, who was dead.