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Legislative leaders are baffled. We all should be. After pouring more than $200 million additional dollars into helping our children read at grade level, they (and we) want to know when we are going to see results. Just before Thanksgiving we learned that the 2021 test results showed only 47 percent of third-grade students were proficient in grade-level reading. End of grade tests further demonstrated that 53 percent of students in grades three through eight were “not proficient” in grade level reading. Read moreTom Campbell: Time to go back to basics of reading

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State AP Stories

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Pulled from a sunken trunk at an 1857 shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina, work pants that auction officials describe as the oldest known pair of jeans in the world have sold for $114,000. The white, heavy-duty miner’s pants with a five-button-fly were among 270 Gold Rush-era artifacts that sold for a total of nearly $1 million at an auction in Reno last weekend. There’s disagreement about whether the pants have any ties to the father of modern-day blue jeans. Officials for Levi Strauss & Co. say any claims about their origin is speculation because they predate the first jeans the San Francisco-based company officially manufactured in 1873.

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North Carolina drag performers and LGBTQ community members fear for their safety after an attack on the electrical grid in Moore County left tens of thousands without power for several days. Authorities have said two power substations were shot up by one or more people with apparent criminal intent Saturday evening. The attack cut power to a drag show happening simultaneously in Southern Pines that had been the target of protests. While police have not drawn a connection between the drag event and the outages, the incident intensified concerns in the local LGBTQ community.

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Authorities in North Carolina are seeking search warrants related to the shooting of electric substations in Moore County that caused widespread power outages. FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch confirmed Thursday that the agency is seeking cell phone records that could indicate who was near the substations Saturday night. She said such search warrant applications “are a normal step in a law enforcement investigation.” Richard Maness, chief deputy of the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, told The News & Observer that detectives have requested court approval for several warrants. He declined to provide specifics. The shootings had cut power to 45,000 customers as well as schools and a hospital.

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One of the world's most ruthless pirates hid in plain sight in the American colonies, according to new evidence. A historian and metal detectorist in Rhode Island says that he’s unearthed 26 silver coins with Arabic inscriptions that notorious English pirate Henry Every once seized from an armed Indian ship. The 1695 heist made Every the target of the first worldwide manhunt. Detectorists say that before he fled to the Bahamas and then vanished, Every first hid out in New England.

National & World AP Stories

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The former Minneapolis police officer who held down George Floyd’s back as one of his colleagues kneeled on the Black man’s neck has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison. J. Alexander Kueng pleaded guilty in October to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. He is already serving a federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights, and the state and federal sentence will be served at the same time. Kueng appeared at his sentencing via a video feed from a federal prison in Ohio. When given the chance to address the court, he declined.