BC-NC--North Carolina News Digest, NC

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Associated Press

Posted on February 7, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Updated Friday, Feb 7 at 9:30 AM

The Carolinas News Editor is Tim Rogers. The breaking news staffer is Jack Jones. For technical support, please call the AP's Services and Technology Department in Raleigh at 919-881-9974.

COAL ASH SPILL-NORTH-CAROLINA

RALEIGH — The nation's largest electricity provider and an environmental group are reporting conflicting data about the levels of toxins detected in a North Carolina river following a massive spill of coal ash. Duke Energy said Thursday its results from the Dan River downstream from the company's power plant in Eden showed traces of arsenic contamination, but at levels considered safe for both people and aquatic life. By Michael Biesecker. SENT: 600 words.

NC-SENATE

HUNTERSVILLE — The crowd that swamped a recent GOP candidates' forum at a suburban Charlotte sports bar testified to Republicans' hopes of defeating North Carolina's first-term Democratic senator and moving closer to controlling the U.S. Senate. After years of voting Republican for presidents and Democratic for governors, North Carolina now rivals Ohio as a toss-up. No state plays a bigger role this year in whether Democrats will hold their Senate majority. And no Democratic senator has drawn more attack ads than Kay Hagan. By Charles Babington. SENT: 960 words, AP Photos WX104, WX105.

BOEING-NORTH CAROLINA

RALEIGH — Assembling one of the largest package of tax breaks and other incentives in North Carolina history earned the state consideration for as many as 7,250 Boeing aircraft manufacturing jobs — but its $683 million offer was dwarfed by Washington state's winning promise of nearly $9 billion in corporate sweeteners. North Carolina and about 20 other states offered lavish tax breaks, free land and other enticements to land the thousands of jobs needed to build the 777X, a jet designed to be more fuel efficient than Boeing's strong-selling 777 airliner. By Business Writer Emery P. Dalesio. SENT: 720 words.

SCHOOLS-READING

RALEIGH — North Carolina school districts won approval Thursday to administer their own versions of third-grade reading tests in hopes of avoiding a lengthy series of shorter tests. Superintendents said those mini-tests could consume chunks of teaching time this spring. The mini-tests were offered as a solution because of a feared classroom bottleneck in meeting a state law requiring third-graders prove their reading meets standards for their age before promotion. About 65 percent of North Carolina fourth-graders last year read below proficiency levels on a national exam considered more difficult than recent statewide reading tests. By Emery P. Dalesio. SENT: 430 words.

FERRY TOLLS

RALEIGH — Residents on the North Carolina coast are lining up in opposition to the plan by the N.C. Department of Transportation to apply tolls on previously free ferry routes and raise prices on others. The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports (http://bit.ly/1bzpv1G) the first of the hearings in Knotts Island nearly filled a gymnasium at an elementary school. Throughout the two-hour hearing, the crowd spoke against the tolls. SENT: 370 words.

CHARLOTTE-RESTAURANT ROBBERIES

CHARLOTTE — Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report a spike in restaurants robberies during a two-month span, and they're trying to determine if the suspects are organized. The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1bueE6a) that between Dec. 1 and Feb. 3, the number of robberies at restaurants, diners and coffee shops has jumped from 5 to 22 compared with the same time period a year ago. SENT: 190 jobs.

SUBWAY-BREAD CHANGE

NEW YORK — Subway says it's in the process of removing a chemical from its bread as part of an ongoing effort to improve its recipes. The announcement comes after a popular food blogger launched a petition this week asking the sandwich chain to stop using the ingredient, called azodicarbonamide. A representative for Subway says the change was underway before the petition was launched, but did not immediately provide details on when it started or when it would be complete. By Food Industry Writer Candice Choi. SENT: 340 words. Please note food blogger FoodBabe.com is based in Charlotte.

STROKE-WOMEN

UNDATED — Just as heart attack symptoms may differ between men and women, so do stroke risks. Now, the American Heart Association has issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women. They focus on birth control, pregnancy, depression and other risk factors that women face uniquely or more frequently than men do. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. SENT: 760 words, AP Photos OHTD102, OHTD104, OHTD103.

PUBLIC LANDS-CONGRESS

WASHINGTON — The House approved a wide-ranging public lands bill Thursday that would speed logging of trees burned in last year's massive Rim Fire in California. The measure also allows vehicular access to North Carolina's Cape Hatteras National Seashore, extends livestock grazing permits on federal land in the West and lifts longstanding restrictions on canoes, rafts and other "hand-propelled" watercraft in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 530 words, AP Photo WX108.

PROPANE SHORTAGE

PADUCAH, Ky. — The head of a Kentucky propane company that stopped sending the heating gas to business customers in several states said problems with supply and shipping forced the company to halt deliveries. Paducah-based United Propane Gas notified its commercial customers in late January it would be forced to temporarily cease shipments. SENT: 380 words. Please note N.C. angle.

ALSO:

— ATTEMPTED MURDER-CAR SERVICE, from NEW YORK — A North Carolina man has been found guilty of attempted murder in the 2010 shooting of a New York City livery cab driver. SENT: 120 words.

— MCCRORY ADVISER, from RALEIGH — The top jobs adviser to North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is stepping down, the fourth person to leave the administration in the last five weeks. SENT: 130 words.

— CHILD-SHOOTING, from SHELBY — Authorities in Cleveland County say a 17-month-old child is in the hospital after being shot by a 3-year-old sibling. SENT: 110 words.

— NONPROFIT-AUDIT, from FAYETTEVILLE — A report from the State Auditor's office cites nearly $5 million in questioned costs at a Laurinburg-based nonprofit, including improperly paid bonuses. SENT: 120 words.

— THEATER-MOTOWN, from NEW YORK — The musical about the Motown sound is going home. By Drama Writer Mark Kennedy. SENT: 120 words, AP Photo NYET400.

— FLU DEATHS, from RALEIGH — Health officials say 10 more people died from the flu last week in North Carolina, bringing the death toll for the flu season up to 56. SENT: 100 words.

SPORTS:

GLF--USGA-DISTANCE-MEASURING DEVICES

PINEHURST — The United States Golf Association has approved the use of distance-measuring devices in all of its amateur championships and their qualifying events, starting this year. The USGA's championship committee announced the decision Thursday at its annual meeting. The USGA said the ruling reflects a joint decision with the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. SENT: 150 words.

The AP-Raleigh

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