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North Carolina endured the wrath of yet another powerful hurricane last week. And while it comes as little solace to those who lost homes, businesses or, in a few tragic cases, loved ones, on the whole, the situation could have been much, much worse. One need only glance at the devastation that Ian inflicted on southwestern Florida to be reminded of what these storms can dish out and how fortunate we were in comparison. Read more

No, polio is not a threat to the vast majority of Americans. That’s because the vast majority has received a very effective polio vaccine. And that’s also why public officials should stop turning a concern centered on a few under-vaxxed communities into everyone’s problem. Read more

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State AP Stories

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A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election. Jeremy Joseph Bertino is the first Proud Boys member to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge. Bertino also pleaded guilty on Thursday to a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms. Bertino has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Former Proud Boys national chairman Henry “Ënrique” Tarrio and four other group members also have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival. He's even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can help restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to build a plant in upstate New York that could create 9,000 factory jobs. It’s a commitment made in a GOP congressional district that Biden and the company credited to the recently enacted $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act. Biden's goal is to keep opening new factories in states where Democrats’ footholds are shaky at best.

In Georgia’s pivotal U.S. Senate race, Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, have each sought to cast the other as an abortion extremist. At the same time, they deflect questions about the details of their own positions on the issue. The sidestepping reflects the sensitivity of abortion politics in a post-Roe v. Wade America, where the procedure is open to regulation by state governments and, potentially, by Congress. But Walker’s strategy may not work much longer after The Daily Beast reported Monday that he paid for a girlfriend’s 2009 abortion — a blatant contradiction of his claims that there’s “no excuse” for a procedure he characterizes as “killing.” Walker called the report a lie.

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Advocates say schools increasingly are removing children with disabilities from the classroom because of behavior issues related to their disability but not recording the actions as suspension. The practice is known as informal removal, which advocates say amounts to a form of off-the-books, de facto denial of education that evades accountability. Because the removals aren’t recorded, there’s no way to quantify how often they happen. But the assistant secretary for the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, says the practice has "taken hold in a way that is dangerous for students and needs to be addressed.”

National & World AP Stories

The nuclear-powered U.S. aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has begun a new round of naval drills with South Korean warships. The two-day training that began Friday came a day after North Korea fired two ballistic missiles toward the sea and flew 12 warplanes near the border in an escalation of its weapons tests. The Reagan and its battle group returned to the waters near the Korean Peninsula after North Korea earlier this week launched a nuclear-capable missile over Japan in response to the carrier group’s earlier training with South Korean navy ships. North Korea views U.S.-South Korean military exercises as an invasion rehearsal. South Korea's military says the latest drills occur off the peninsula's east coast.

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Authorities say the suspect in the kidnapping and killing of a central California family was a former employee who had a longstanding dispute with them. Relatives of the slain family told investigators that Jesus Salgado had sent angry text messages or emails about a year ago after working with their trucking business. Authorities say Salgado kidnapped an 8-month-old baby, her parents and uncle on Monday and killed them, leaving their bodies in an almond orchard. The remains were discovered in the remote area by a farm worker late Wednesday. Investigators say they're seeking a person of interest who may have acted as Salgado’s accomplice.

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Hurricane Ian’s death toll has climbed into the triple digits. The number of recorded storm-related deaths rose Thursday to at least 101 in the eight days since the storm made landfall in southwest Florida. Of the total deaths, 92 were in Florida, according to reports from the Florida Medical Examiners Commission. Other storm deaths include five in North Carolina, three in Cuba and one in Virginia. Ian is the second-deadliest storm to hit the mainland United States in the 21st century behind Hurricane Katrina, which left more than 1,800 people dead in 2005. The deadliest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. was the Great Galveston Hurricane in 1900 that killed as many as 8,000 people.