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The online version of Bless Your Heart on Monday included a comment that targeted the LGBTQ+ community in a threatening and hateful manner. The column was removed from reflector.com after many readers on Thursday complained. As the editor, it is my job to ensure such comments are not careles…

The Pitt County Board of Commissioners on Monday is scheduled to swear in new members and hear an update on bids for a new building for the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, among other business.

ECU performances: The ECU School of Music will host a performance by the Early Music Collective at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at A.J. Fletcher Recital Hall. The ECU Guitar Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at Fletcher. Both shows are free. Live streaming available at www.youtube.com/ecuschoolofmusiclive. Call 328-6851.

Local Events

The online version of Bless Your Heart on Monday included a comment that targeted the LGBTQ+ community in a threatening and hateful manner. The column was removed from reflector.com after many readers on Thursday complained. As the editor, it is my job to ensure such comments are not careles…

The U.S. soccer team seems to have captured part of the national imagination, again. We appear to have advanced in the World Cup, though I imagine most Americans do not understand how or why we have advanced. Succeeding is important to Americans and our team has managed to appear to be winne…

Golf Digest asks if Tiger would ever drive a cart on the PGA Tour. The short answer is “no.” Tiger is a great driver of the ball, but a car, not so much, BHH.

For the next few weeks, Washington faces a brief, and important, window of opportunity. Suspended in time between an election that’s just over and another that’s already starting, the lame duck session of Congress has a critical question to answer.

Back when my wife and I moved to the country, many of our citified friends were alarmed. One well-meaning fellow even questioned if I’d be safe out in rural Perry County, Arkansas, given my political apostasy. (Trump won 75% of the 2020 vote there.)

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State AP Stories

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The nation’s largest public utility is recommending replacing an aging coal burning power plant with natural gas, ignoring calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority to speed its transition to renewable energy. TVA on Friday announced the completion of its environmental impact statement for replacing the Cumberland Fossil Plant near Cumberland City, Tennessee. TVA says in a news release that solar and battery storage would be more costly and time-consuming than gas. The recommendation still needs the approval of TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. He has previously spoken in favor of gas. The announcement drew immediate backlash from groups that include the Center for Biological Diversity, which calls the plan “reckless.”

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Eight years into a U.S. program to control damage from feral pigs, the invasive animals are still a multibillion-dollar plague on farmers, wildlife and the environment. They've been wiped out in 11 of the 41 states where they were reported in 2014 or 2015. And there are fewer in parts of the other 30. But in spite of more than $100 million in federal money, officials estimate there are still 6 million to 9 million hogs gone wild nationwide and in three U.S. territories, doing at least $2.5 billion a year in U.S. damages. Estimates in 2014 were 5 million hogs and $1.5 billion in damages. Experts say the bigger figures are due to better estimates, not increases.

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Police in Raleigh, North Carolina, have released body camera video from a shootout with a 15-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding two more. Police spent several hours searching for the armed suspect after the rampage seven weeks ago. The teen was ultimately found in a shed behind a residential property. The newly released video images show officers surrounding the structure. Multiple shots ring out from the building, and officers return fire. The video also shows Raleigh Police Officer Casey Clark being shot in the right knee and then dragged to safety behind another building.

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Since the recovery of sunken treasure began decades ago from an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina, tens of millions of dollars worth of gold has been sold. But scientists, historians and collectors say that the real fortunes will begin to hit the auction block on Saturday in Reno. For the first time, hundreds of Gold Rush-era artifacts entombed in the S.S. Central America, known as the “Ship of Gold,” will go on public sale. A few of the items from the pre-Civil War steamship, which sank in a hurricane on its way from Panama to New York City, could fetch as much as $1 million.

North Carolina government is appealing a judge’s order that demands by certain dates many more community services for people with intellectual and development disabilities who otherwise live at institutions. Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley announced the formal challenge on Wednesday. He says his agency has grave concerns about some directives issued four weeks ago by Judge Allen Baddour. One in particular says new admissions to new admissions for people with such disabilities in state-run development centers, privately intermediate care facilities and certain adult care homes must end by January 2028. Kinsley says the decision could shutter small facilities and leave clients without accommodations.

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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.

National & World AP Stories

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Two college students have won $100,000 in tuition after a confusing finish in the SEC championship game’s halftime competition. Boos rained down from the fans in attendance for the game between No. 1 Georgia and No. 11 LSU when one of the two students appeared to win the Dr Pepper ball toss competition in overtime on a technicality. The winner was due to get $100,000 and the runner-up $20,000. Baylor student Reagan Whitaker and St. Augustine student Kayla Gibson exchanged leads multiple times in regulation. In overtime, they tied again, but Whitaker was declared the winner. It was announced on the broadcast in the fourth quarter of the game that Dr Pepper would gift both Whitaker and Gibson with $100,000 in tuition.

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Memphis Depay and Daley Blind scored in the first half and Denzel Dumfries added a late goal as the Netherlands eliminated the United States from the World Cup with a 3-1 victory that advanced the Dutch to the quarterfinals. Second-half substitute Haji Wright cut the U.S. deficit to 2-1 in the 76th minute when Christian Pulisic’s cross hit his trailing foot and popped over goalkeeper Andries Noppert and into the net. Dumfries assisted on the first two goals and scored on a volley in the 81st. The Oranje extended their unbeaten streak to 19 games and face Argentina next.

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The Albert Einstein hospital says Brazilian soccer great Pelé is responding well to treatment for a respiratory infection and his health condition has not worsened over the latest 24 hours. The 82-year-old Pelé has been at the hospital since Tuesday. Get well messages have poured in from around the world for the three-time World Cup winner as he also undergoes cancer treatment. Pelé's daughter posted several pictures on Instagram from Brazil fans in Qatar wishing her father well with flags and banners. Pelé says the messages keep him "full of energy." Buildings in the Middle Eastern nation also displayed messages in support of the former soccer great.

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Russian authorities have rejected a price cap on the country’s oil set by Ukraine’s Western supporters and are threatening to stop supplying the nations that endorsed it. Australia, Britain, Canada, Japan, the United States and the 27-nation European Union agreed Friday to cap what they would pay for Russian oil at $60-per-barrel. The limit is set to take effect Monday, along with an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Saturday that Russia needs to analyze the situation before deciding on a specific response but that it would not accept the price ceiling. Russia’s permanent representative in Vienna warned, "From this year, Europe will live without Russian oil.”

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — The bald man came dressed head-to-toe in full American spirit. A red, white and blue bandana, stars and stripes mismatched socks, shorts that might have been swimming trunks suited for a summer barbeque.

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A 7-year-old Texas girl has been found dead two days after being reported missing, and a FedEx driver who made a delivery to her home shortly before she disappeared was arrested in her death. Authorities in Wise County say the body of Athena Strand was found Friday and 31-year-old Tanner Lynn Horner was arrested on kidnapping and murder charges. Horner remained jailed Saturday on $1.5 million bond. Jail records did not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said late Friday that a tip led authorities to Horner.

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A daunting canoe voyage — covering almost 500 kilometers, or about 300 miles across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean — is underway. It’s the Hoki Mai Challenge, which started in Rapa Nui, a territory in the Pacific that is part of Chile and is better known as Easter Island. The event consists of a canoe voyage by nine Rapanuis, two Chileans and one Hawaiian seeking to celebrate the union of the islands of Polynesia. The 12 athletes have been training six days a week since mid-September, preparing for a three-day voyage that will take them from Rapa Nui to Motu Motiro Hiva, another island in the mid-Pacific that belongs to Chile.