Rising costs add to pandemic pain for small businesses

NEW YORK — In just two weeks, the cost of pecans for the pies at Peggy Jean’s Pies in Columbia, Missouri, has surged nearly 40%, perplexing co-owner Rebecca Miller and adding to the cost of doing business. Miller will soon have to bump up the price of her Southern Pecan, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, and German Chocolate pies by $2 to $24.

Biden team regroups after court loss on COVID shots-or-test

WASHINGTON — Concerned but not giving up, President Joe Biden is anxiously pushing ahead to prod people to get COVID-19 shots after the Supreme Court put a halt to the administration’s sweeping vaccinate-or-test plan for large employers.

White House: Russia prepping pretext for Ukraine invasion

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence officials have determined a Russian effort is underway to create a pretext for its troops to further invade Ukraine, and Moscow has already prepositioned operatives to conduct “a false-flag operation” in eastern Ukraine, according to the White House.

Goodbye ‘godsend’: Expiration of child tax credits hits home

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time in half a year, families on Friday are going without a monthly deposit from the child tax credit — a program that was intended to be part of President Joe Biden’s legacy but has emerged instead as a flash point over who is worthy of government support.

In vaccination battles, pro athletes become proxy players

LOS ANGELES — The pandemic-era saga of tennis star Novak Djokovic in Australia this week is but one of many: Pro athletes who have refused to be vaccinated have been put at center court in a larger contest — as famous faces who are becoming proxy players in the accelerating worldwide cultural battles over COVID jabs.

Voter registration database questioned

Investigating errors and possible fraud in the state’s voter registration database is the responsibility of the county elections clerks and not the state, Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago told the state Elections Commission on Wednesday.