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Events are subject to change due to Hurricane Ian. Email announcements to community@reflector.com.

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.

Harvest Festival: Home Place Strawberries & More, 3055 Chinquapin Road, Farmville, will hold its annual Harvest Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The event will feature vendors, a food truck, hayrides, barrel rides, farm animals, a corn maze, homemade ice cream, pumpkins, mums and more.


Local Events

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…

Late in his life, his body broken but his perspective perhaps broadened, George Wallace may have regretted his career as a champion of racism. His daughter, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, certainly thinks so. She has spoken poignantly of his contrition.

BYH to those who complain about fast, reckless, DUI and other problem drivers when there is a simple solution. Get rid of the ones who sentence convicted offenders to a slap on the wrist. They could sentence them to community service like picking up litter, time in jail, a healthy fine (mone…

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.

She looked at me with an interesting smile, so I smiled back at her. I didn’t say anything, though, because I was in the middle of a song. I had been asked, along with some other musicians, to play at a “music in the streets” type of event in Washington, so a lot of people passed by. But, sh…

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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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The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ian's most damaging winds have begun hitting Florida's southwest coast as the storm approaches landfall. The hurricane's center neared Florida on Wednesday after rapidly intensifying overnight, gaining top winds of 155 mph. That puts Ian just shy of devastating Category 5 hurricane status. Ian is pushing a storm surge that could cause catastrophic damage along the state’s heavily populated Gulf Coast. Forecasters say the Fort Myers region is at highest risk of a surge that could reach 18 feet. Florida's governor is urging residents in that area to "hunker down." At least 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate.

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European companies are ramping up security around pipelines and energy prices are climbing again as the suspected sabotage of two pipelines that deliver natural gas from Russia underscored the vulnerability of Europe’s energy infrastructure and prompted the EU to warn of possible retaliation. Some European officials and energy experts have said Russia is likely to blame for any sabotage, while others cautioned against pointing fingers until investigators are able to determine what happened. Russia benefits from higher energy prices and economic anxiety across Europe. Moscow has sharply curtailed natural gas shipments to Europe in retaliation for sanctions the West put in place after its invasion of Ukraine.

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Flag football is rising in popularity, especially among girls. Interest has picked up in youth leagues and also following a push by NFL teams to help start teams for high schoolers. Now, officials in the southern section of the California Interscholastic Federation are expected to vote on making flag football an official girls’ high school sport. State interscholastic sport officials could soon follow. Football enthusiasts say the move could lead more schools to start more teams and give girls more opportunities to play the sport. In Southern California, some high schoolers are gearing up for their second season in a pilot league started by the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams.

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The Bank of England has taken emergency action to stabilize U.K. financial markets and head off a crisis in the broader economy. The move Wednesday comes after the government spooked investors with a program of unfunded tax cuts, sending the pound tumbling and the cost of government debt soaring. The central bank warned that crumbling confidence in the economy posed a “material risk to U.K. financial stability.” The International Monetary Fund also has taken the rare step to urge a member of the Group of Seven advanced economies to abandon its plan to cut taxes and increase borrowing to cover the cost.

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Bond markets around the world are relaxing after London’s central bank pledged to do whatever’s needed to restore calm in its financial markets. The S&P 500 and other U.S. indexes gained ground after wavering earlier in trading Wednesday. Stocks remain volatile amid concerns about global economies slipping into a recession and a long list of other worries. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury fell sharply, part of a global retreat in yields after the Bank of England said it would buy U.K. government bonds following a recent sell-off triggered by the announcement of an aggressive tax-cut plan that markets feared could stoke inflation.

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Clergy in 33 states are exempt from laws requiring professionals such as teachers, physicians and psychotherapists to report information about alleged child abuse to police or child welfare officials. That loophole has resulted in an unknown number of predators being allowed to continue abusing children for years despite having confessed the behavior to religious officials. An Associated Press review finds that over the past two decades, more than 130 bills have been proposed in state legislatures to create or amend child sex abuse reporting laws. After intense opposition from religious groups, the clergy privilege remained unchanged. Often, legislative efforts to close the loophole run up against lawmakers who are also church members.

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A renewable energy facility in Oregon that combines solar power, wind power and massive batteries to store the energy generated there will be the first utility-scale plant of its kind in North America. Clean energy experts say the project, which can power 100,000 homes, addresses some key challenges facing the industry as the U.S. transitions away from fossil fuels. Interest in on-site battery storage to even out production from solar or wind generation has soared, but the combination of wind, solar and storage batteries at one location promises to make the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility particularly efficient.