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Rural North Carolina has some of the most beautiful scenery in America, as documented by the growing numbers of tourists. Almost 40 percent of our 10.5 million residents live in the 80 counties considered rural, defined as having a population density of 250 people or fewer per square mile. Demographers tell us rural citizens are older, poorer, more obese, have higher blood pressures, greater instances of diabetes, and a lower life expectancy than state averages. Read moreTom Campbell: Rural healthcare in critical condition

State AP Stories

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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.

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The U.S. military has shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast on orders from President Joe Biden after it had crossed over sensitive military sites across North America. Pentagon officials say an F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Navy is taking the lead in an operation to recover the remnants. Officials have said Biden wanted the balloon downed earlier but was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water. Military officials determined that bringing it down over land would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

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The car owned by a missing 74-year-old Florida Lyft driver has been found in North Carolina and the man who was driving it is wanted in connection with a homicide last week in southwest Florida. Authorities said Friday that Gary Levin has been missing since Monday, when his family believes he picked up a customer in Palm Beach County, Florida. His red 2022 Kia Stinger was spotted in Miami that day and later in north Florida. The vehicle was then seen Thursday evening in North Carolina and driver Matthew Flores was arrested following a police chase. Flores is a suspect in a slaying that occurred nearly a week before Levin went missing.

National & World AP Stories

  • Updated

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.

  • Updated

The U.S. military has shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast on orders from President Joe Biden after it had crossed over sensitive military sites across North America. Pentagon officials say an F-22 fighter jet fired a missile at the balloon, puncturing it while it was off the coast near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Navy is taking the lead in an operation to recover the remnants. Officials have said Biden wanted the balloon downed earlier but was advised that the best time for the operation would be when it was over water. Military officials determined that bringing it down over land would pose an undue risk to people on the ground.

  • Updated

A train derailment and resulting large fire have prompted an evacuation order in an Ohio village near the Pennsylvania state line. Norfolk Southern says about 50 cars derailed Friday night in East Palestine from a train carrying a variety of freight from Madison, Illinois to Conway, Pennsylvania. No injuries were reported. Federal officials said 14 cars containing vinyl chloride were involved and have been exposed to fire, and one car is ‘intermittently releasing' its contents as designed. Officials have said air quality monitors had shown no levels of concern. Residents within a mile were evacuated and others urged to shelter in place.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The life of Los Angeles’ most famous mountain lion followed a path known only to the biggest of Hollywood stars: Discovered on-camera in 2012, the cougar adopted a stage name and enjoyed a decade of celebrity status before his tragic death late last year.