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For more than a decade we’ve studied the problem exhaustively, we’ve talked about it almost incessantly, we’ve engaged the latest curriculum du jour, and have spent more than $50 million, yet we still can’t solve the mystery of our children’s reading proficiency. Our patience is wearing thin. Now the finger-pointing has begun. We want to know who to blame. Read moreTom Campbell: Get back to basics to make overdue reading improvements

State AP Stories

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North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell says he'll run for governor in 2024. He'll likely be required to best Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson to earn the Republican nomination. Folwell announced his decision at Saturday’s Republican Party convention for Forsyth County. He told The Associated Press he would bring competence to operating government and look out for working people if elected. The state constitution prevents Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper from seeking a third consecutive term. Robinson has scheduled a rally next month to reveal his decision for 2024, but he's been leaning into a gubernatorial bid for some time. Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein announced a campaign for governor in January.

North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed Republican gun legislation that would no longer require sheriff approval before someone can purchase a handgun. His action Friday initiates his first showdown of the session with a GOP majority that is just one seat shy in the House of veto-proof margins. The bill would repeal the state’s long-standing pistol purchase permit requirement that directs sheriffs to evaluate each gun applicant's character. Cooper successfully blocked a similar proposal in 2021. Bill supporters say substantial updates to the national background check system have rendered the requirement duplicative. But Democrats warn that its repeal would create a dangerous loophole.

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The Republican-controlled North Carolina legislature has given final approval to a Medicaid expansion agreement. Thursday's state House vote reverses longstanding opposition to the measure, which now goes to expansion advocate and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature. GOP legislative leaders reached a deal earlier this month, capping years of debate over whether the politically closely divided state should accept the federal government’s coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income adults. North Carolina was one of 11 states that hadn't yet adopted expansion. The bill contains one caveat: A state budget law must be passed before expansion can be carried out.

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North Carolina’s elected auditor has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a December crash in which she drove her state-owned vehicle into a parked car. Four-term Democratic State Auditor Beth Wood told a Wake County judge on Thursday that she made a “grave mistake” and should have remained at the accident. A judge sentenced Wood to about $300 in court costs and fines in the hit-and-run plea. He pointed out that Wood already had personally paid over $11,000 to cover damages to both cars. Wood said in court that she had drunk two glasses of wine at the party but was not impaired.

National & World AP Stories

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An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania Friday killed two people and left five missing, but authorities said one person was found alive in the rubble. West Reading Borough officials said a number of other people were injured by the explosion at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency earlier reported five people dead but later also reported only two dead. The explosion just before 5 p.m. destroyed one building and damaged a neighboring building with apartments. The cause remains under investigation. A spokesperson says eight people were taken to Reading Hospital Friday evening.

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Emergency officials in Mississippi say 23 people have been killed by tornadoes that tore through the state on Friday night, destroying buildings and knocking out power as severe weather that produced hail the size of golf balls moved through several southern states. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency confirmed the death total early Saturday with dozens of injuries and four people missing throughout the state. The agency says in a Twitter post that search and rescue teams from numerous local and state agencies were deployed along with personnel to assist those impacted by the tornadoes. The rural towns of Silver City and Rolling Fork have reported severe destruction as the tornado swept northeast at 70 mph without weakening.

Hungary's foreign minister says the West’s steady criticism of his country on democratic and cultural issues makes the right-wing government reluctant to offer support on practical matters, specifically NATO’s buildup against Russia. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó also said that Hungary has not voted on whether to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO because its lawmakers are sick of those countries’ critiques of Hungarian domestic affairs. Szijjártó spoke to the The Associated Press at the United Nations on Friday. The European Union, which includes 21 NATO countries, has frozen billions in funds to Budapest and accused populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban of cracking down on media freedom and LGBTQ rights.

Retired Formula One champion Nelson Piquet has been ordered to pay $950,000 in “moral damages” for making racist and homophobic comments about Lewis Hamilton. The 70-year-old Brazilian had referred to seven-time champion Hamilton as “neguinho,” a racially offensive term which means “little Black guy,” in 2021. In another interview, Piquet used racist and homophobic language. The court in Brasilia issued a fine for “collective moral damages, to be allocated to funds for the promotion of racial equality and against discrimination of the LGBTQIA+ community.” Piquet has the right to appeal the decision.