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

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COAL ASH SPILL-NORTH CAROLINA

NC State study: Dan River water safe for farm use

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina State University scientists say farmers along the Dan River can use surface water for crops and livestock despite a massive release of toxic coal ash more than two months ago.

A report by three university researchers says lead, arsenic, copper and other contaminates have settled to the river bottom. The report says none of the hundreds of water samples tested exceeded guidelines for cattle.

The sludge spilled into the Dan River comes from byproducts of burning coal at a Duke Energy power plant. Company spokesman Jeff Brooks said Friday the company did not pay the N.C. State scientists for their research.

The nation's largest electric company has spent $15 million so far cleaning up the Feb. 2 spill that polluted 70 miles of the Dan River.

UNEMPLOYMENT-NC

Feds: NC saw nearly 20k more find jobs in March

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A new federal report says North Carolina workers are finding more doors opening to jobs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday that North Carolina showed the country's second-largest employment increase in March, adding nearly 20,000 jobs. Florida led the 34 states where nonfarm payrolls increased last month.

North Carolina's jobless rate also was below the national average for the second straight month. The state's unemployment rate fell to 6.3 percent, the lowest it's been in more than five years and below the national average of 6.7 percent.

North Carolina trailed only South Carolina for the states with the largest unemployment rate declines in the past year. North Carolina had an 8.5 percent jobless rate in March 2013.

State officials report a more-detailed jobs report for March on Monday.

TEACHER RESIGNATIONS

Wake has 41 percent hike in teacher resignations

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Wake County school officials say the number of teacher resignations has increased 41 percent this year.

School officials said Thursday that 612 of the county's 9,000 teachers have resigned since the beginning of the school year. That compares with 433 resignations during the same time last year.

School officials said the increase shows the need to raise teacher salaries. They also say the state should reconsider changes lawmakers have made to phase out tenure and to eliminate extra pay for advanced degrees.

Assistant superintendent Doug Thilman says teachers are finding better jobs elsewhere.

North Carolina is 46th in the nation in average teacher pay.

Republican House Speaker Pro Tem Paul Stam of Apex says he's not sure the situation is as serious as Wake school officials say.

COLLEGE-FIRE CODE

Salisbury praises Livingstone for improvements

SALISBURY, N.C. (AP) - Officials in Salisbury are praising Livingstone College for working to reduce the number of fire code violations at the school.

The Salisbury Post reported that City Manager Doug Paris said a recent meeting with college President Jimmy Jenkins had been productive.

Officials say Livingstone has had more than 1,000 fire code violations in the past four years and accrued more than $63,000 in fines. City officials say as of last month, all but eight of the violations have been resolved.

Jenkins has thanked the city for helping Livingstone develop a plan to reduce violations and false alarms.

Jenkins says the school's staff is working on a proposal to cover the fines.

FLU DEATHS

North Carolina flu deaths reach 100

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - State health officials say 100 people have died from flu in North Carolina this season.

Officials said two people died from the flu last week, bringing the deaths from the viral illness to 100.

The worst week came in late January, when a dozen people died.

Officials say at least 59 people died from flu in North Carolina last year. The last deaths in 2013 occurred in May.

Health officials say young and middle-age adults are more vulnerable to the H1N1 strain that was the dominant form this season.

OREGON INLET-CHARTERS

Clogged Oregon Inlet keeps charter boats docked

HATTERAS ISLAND, N.C. (AP) - Boat owners are concerned that the start of charter fishing season may leave them high and dry because the Oregon Inlet is clogged with sand.

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports the inlet is clogged because of storms from the north that generally push sand into the channel. Winds from the south tend to push the sand out.

The week, the Army Corps of Engineers said the channel under the Bonner Bridge connecting Hatteras Island and the northern Outer Banks is only about 2 feet deep and too shallow to dredge.

Charter fishing season typically begins Easter weekend. Fishing boat owners have a choice of detouring some 50 miles south to Hatteras Inlet or risk passing under a narrow span of the Bonner Bridge south of the marked channel.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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