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First Lady Calls Angelou 'a great spirit'

Family, friends and fans remembered poet and teacher Maya Angelou as an important influence on Saturday in Winston-Salem. At a memorial service at Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel,  First lady Michelle Obama called Angelou “one of the greatest spirits the world has ever known.”  

Obama said Angelou’s words have sustained her on every step of her journey.  “She knew our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear, our anger, our shame. And she assured us that despite it all---in fact because of it all---we were good," Obama said.

Angelou died last week at age 86.  Yesterday’s service - officially “a celebration of rising joy”  - lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. Also there were former President Bill Clinton, attorney general Eric Holder, TV host Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, LeeAnn Womack, BeBe Winans and other admirers. 


Dwindling funding and a shrinking audience are bringing the demise of a Charlotte theater company.  Carolina Actors Studio Theater, or CAST, said Friday it will shut its doors after its current production "Gruesome Playground Injuries" closes June 21. CAST has been around for more than two decades, and became a nonprofit eight years  ago. The board of directors says in a message on its website that financial strains were too much to support another operating season.


Federal officials are urging some evacuations after air tests show toxic levels of a carcinogen in the air near an Asheville-area Superfund site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday encouraged 13 people near the CTS Mills Gap Road site to leave after air vapor tests revealed toxic levels of trichloro-ethylene. The CTS Mills Gap Road site was added in 2012 to EPA's National Priority cleanup list. The plant made industrial switches and resistors for more than 20 years before shutting in 1986.


There’s a primary battle underway in South Carolina against Republican incumbent US Senator Lindsey Graham. At the campaign’s only debate on Saturday, the six challengers hoping to unseat Graham tried to position themselves as the right alternative.  For his part, Graham spent his time defending his 12 years in the Senate. He said his challengers are too conservative and would threaten Republicans' chances to win back the US. Senate.   Lee Bright criticized Graham’s support for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court candidates. Det Bowers said Graham isn't principled enough. Richard Cash said Graham was wrong to offer amnesty to illegal aliens. Bill Connor accused Graham of ignoring the U.S. Constitution. Benjamin Dunn said a conservative wouldn't spend millions on his re-election. And Nancy Mace argued that the problem isn't Republicans, but politicians like Graham, who she says are entrenched in Washington.