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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.

National & World AP Stories

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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 has officially opened as 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.

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Shares of Biogen and other drugmakers researching Alzheimer’s disease have soared after Japan’s Eisai Co. said its potential treatment appeared to slow the fatal disease in a late-stage study. Eisai announced results late Tuesday from a global study of nearly 1,800 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s. The drugmaker said early results showed that its treatment, lecanemab, reduced patient clinical decline by 27% when compared to a placebo or fake drug after 18 months of the infused treatment. Patients were monitored using a scale that measures how they do in areas like memory, judgement, problem solving and personal care.

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Hurricane Ian has made landfall in southwest Florida as one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S.. It swamped city streets with water and smashed trees along the coast while moving at a crawl that threatened catastrophic flooding across a wide area. Barely an hour after the massive storm trudged ashore Wednesday, a coastal sheriff’s office reported that it was already getting a significant number of calls from people trapped in homes. The hurricane’s center struck near Cayo Costa, a protected barrier island just west of heavily populated Fort Myers.

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A Danish official says the Nord Stream gas leaks in the Baltic Sea could emit the equivalent of one third of Denmark’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions. That would also be five times the amount of the potent greenhouse gas as was emitted during the Aliso Canyon well disaster in California in 2015-2016. A chemical engineer estimated the amount will turn out to be less, but still double what escaped at Aliso Canyon. Methane is a very potent greenhouse gas, able to warm the atmosphere 82.5 times more than carbon dioxide.