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This Hour: Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment

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More NC Senate candidates release money totals

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Two more Republicans running for U.S. Senate in North Carolina have announced how much they've raised heading into the final weeks before the May 6 primary.

Mark Harris' campaign said Tuesday it has raised $398,000 during the first quarter, raising his campaign total to more than $800,000. The Charlotte pastor reported more than $400,000 in campaign cash on hand as of March 31.

Greg Brannon's campaign reported this week raising more than $1.1 million for the entire campaign, but did not announce a first-quarter total. The Cary obstetrician told federal elections officials he had raised $525,000 through December.

State House Speaker Thom Tillis is the leading fundraiser in the eight-candidate Republican primary, raising $1.3 million in the first quarter alone.


Ex-NC teacher accused of showing obscene videos

SHELBY, N.C. (AP) - A former middle school teacher in Cleveland County has been arrested and accused of sending obscene videos and pictures of herself to students.

Thirty-four-year-old Caron Elizabeth Blanton of Mooresboro was arrested Tuesday and charged with three counts of indecent liberties with a child under age 16 and six counts of disseminating obscene material to a minor.

Blanton resigned from her job as a sixth-grade science teacher at Burns Middle School in Lawndale late last week. It was not clear if she has an attorney.

Authorities were alerted last week that a male student had an inappropriate video from a female teacher.

Detectives say two boys at the school had received videos and pictures of the teacher.

Sheriff Alan Norman says there is no indication of a sexual relationship with students.


Democrats run ad on Tillis payments to ex-staff

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A political committee supporting Democratic control of the U.S. Senate is spending nearly $1 million on a television ad in North Carolina's Senate race to remind viewers about uncomfortable personnel problems in the office of Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis.

The Senate Majority PAC says the commercial began running Wednesday. It targets Tillis, one of eight Republican primary candidates seeking to challenge Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in the fall.

The ad talks about how two of Tillis' staff members resigned in 2012 after Tillis said then they had inappropriate relationships with lobbyists. Tillis also was criticized at the time for giving severance pay to the workers, which the ad called "taxpayer-paid bonuses."

Senate Majority PAC spokesman Ty Matsdorf says Tillis' record as speaker is part of his Senate campaign.


Iowa authorities suspect man a longtime fugitive

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are awaiting a fingerprint check to confirm that a man being held in Waterloo is a fugitive of more than 40 years from North Carolina.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says the man was arrested after the Iowa Transportation Department's facial recognition system flagged his driver's license photo. Officers say they found information in his residence that identified him as 68-year-old Ronald Dwaine Carnes.

Records say Carnes was convicted of robbery in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area in November 1970 and sentenced to 20 years. He escaped the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Huntersville, N.C., in August 1973.

Authorities say the man they believe is Carnes moved to Waterloo from Washington state last summer. Authorities say he used the name Louie Vance to apply for an Iowa license in March.


NC water authority to settle lawsuits

RANDLEMAN, N.C. (AP) - A water authority in Randleman has decided to settle a legal fight with the owners of seven hydroelectric plants for more than $2 million.

The News & Record of Greensboro reported that the Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority voted 9-1 Tuesday to accept the proposal to end the fight over the Deep River.

Authority director Gregory Flory said the $2.3 million settlement is less than the hydro facilities requested.

Greensboro would pay more than half the proposed settlement because it's the reservoir's majority owner. High Point, Randolph County, Archdale, Jamestown and Randleman would pay lesser amounts.

The operators of the small hydroelectric plants had said Randleman Reservoir diverts water that could be used to make and sell electricity.

Final approval could come by June 1.


Forest Service urges bear safety in North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service urges people in North Carolina to be careful around bears.

Forest Service spokesman Steven Westcott told the Asheville Citizen-Times that black bears are not usually aggressive toward people.

But Westcott said people should be aware of the possibility of danger.

He says close encounters with bears are not unusual, although it's been several years since a bear attacked anyone in the Asheville area.

Westcott said bears claw into tents and backpacks looking for food. He says people should never keep scented items or food in a tent.

North Carolina Wildlife Commission biologist Mike Carraway said he's heard a number of bear-related complaints this spring in western North Carolina as bears become active searching for food.


NC officials urge caution after Hepatitis A cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Officials at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services are reminding residents to always take precautions when preparing food regardless of where they are.

The warning comes as officials help Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties respond after a case of Hepatitis A in a food handler.

Health officials say thoroughly washing your hands before and during the preparation of meals can prevent the spread of Hepatitis A and other food-borne diseases. All surfaces should be washed, including the back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under fingernails, especially after using the restroom and before handling food.

The Centers for Disease Control says vaccination is recommended for all children starting at age 1, for travelers to certain countries and for people at high risk for infection.


Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal expenses

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Bank of America says it swung to a loss in the first quarter, hurt by $6 billion in legal expenses.

The Charlotte, N.C., bank reported a loss applicable to common shareholders of $514 million. That's compares with earnings of $1.11 billion a year earlier.

The loss amounted to 5 cents a share. That missed expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who had expected earnings of 5 cents a share. A year ago, the bank earned 10 cents a share.

Revenue totaled $22.66 billion after stripping out an accounting change. That was down 3.8 percent from last year.

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