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Flu virus affects several local agencies

The flu has swept across McDowell County, making many people sick and leaving its impact on local agencies.

  • icon Posted: December 18

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Thursday 12/18/2014
Old Fort students get creative during club time
Posted: December 18, 2014

Colors, shapes and lines are just a few of the things that students have learned about during this year’s art club at Old Fort Elementary.

First Bush, then Cuba: Rubio rides political wave
Posted: December 18, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the 2016 Republican presidential primary lurched ahead this week, no GOP prospect had a ride quite like Marco Rubio.

Williams: time to get tougher on No. 24 Tar Heels
Posted: December 18, 2014

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina coach Roy Williams says it's time to get tougher on his team.

Couple arrested after girl, 1, falls out of window
Posted: December 18, 2014

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut couple is facing charges after the woman's 1-year-old daughter fell out of a second-story window.

IRS head says budget cuts could delay tax refunds
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Budget cuts at the IRS could delay tax refunds, reduce taxpayer services and hurt enforcement efforts, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday.

US regulators label MetLife as potential financial threat
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Major insurer MetLife Inc. says U.S. regulators have labeled it as a potential threat to the financial system, a designation that brings stricter government oversight.

Sheriff to halt squad targeting immigrant ID theft
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona sheriff known for arresting hundreds of immigrants on charges of finding work using fake or stolen identities is planning to close the controversial squad that investigates such cases.

Dow soars 400 points, led by rally in tech sector
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest day in three years, soaring more than 400 points as the stock market extended a rally into a second day.

Officers searching for two suspects
Posted: December 18, 2014

Marion detectives are on the hunt for two suspects involved in separate crimes.

Amid scrutiny, Vegas hotelier wins gambling license
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The nightlife mogul who opened the SLS Las Vegas hotel and casino on the Strip has won a gambling license from Nevada regulators after intense scrutiny into his past business dealings and drug use.

Thousands respond to black rhino import request
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A federal agency is sifting through thousands of comments regarding a Texas hunter's application for a permit to import the carcass of an endangered black rhinoceros that he hopes to kill.

Innovative California Rabbi Harold Schulweis dies
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rabbi Harold Schulweis, an influential Conservative synagogue leader and scholar who fostered bold change, has died in Los Angeles at age 89.

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle clues in the hacking tools left behind and the involvement of at least one computer in Bolivia previously traced to other attacks blamed on the North Koreans.

Young immigrants allowed to get driver's licenses
Posted: December 18, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge cleared the way Thursday for thousands of young immigrants in Arizona who are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy to get driver's licenses.

Bondage 'master' convicted in plot to kill wife
Posted: December 18, 2014

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area man was convicted Thursday of murder in a plot to kill his wife so he could devote himself to a life of bondage and domination in an upper-class suburb with women who called him "Master Bob."

NYC rapper pleads not guilty to gun, drug charges
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Up-and-coming rapper Bobby Shmurda has pleaded not guilty to gun and narcotics charges in New York.

Feds: Uganda-based man counterfeited $2M in cash
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Federal authorities have charged a man with leading a multimillion-dollar international counterfeit money operation based in Uganda and shipping bogus bills to the United States.

Report: Secret Service needs outsider as leader
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — An external review of the Secret Service says the next director should be hired from outside the insular agency.

ECU's Carden, Hardy ready for 1 final test from Florida
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Shane Carden has spent the past five years flinging footballs to Justin Hardy at East Carolina.

Contractors ill-equipped for secret Cuba programs
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — When the U.S. government's global-aid agency launched secret plans to undermine Cuba's communist government, it didn't turn to the CIA for help. Instead, it used little-known contractors to carry out the operations — leading to multiple detentions and the high-profile arrest of American Alan Gross.

Rivera: Newton 'probably' will start vs. Browns
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers' Cam Newton will "probably" start Sunday against the Cleveland Browns barring any physical setbacks this week, Carolina coach Ron Rivera said after the quarterback practiced on Thursday.

World War II bomb defused in German city
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

BERLIN (AP) — A World War II bomb has been successfully defused in an eastern German city after some 9,700 people were evacuated from the surrounding area and a meeting of a state legislature was interrupted.

Putin: West wants to defang, declaw Russian bear
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

MOSCOW (AP) — Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years.

Top Islamic militants killed; more US troops going to Iraq
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senior Islamic State group leaders were killed in U.S. and coalition airstrikes in northern Iraq over the last week, U.S. officials said Thursday, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel approved new orders for several hundred troops to deploy to Iraq to train Iraqi forces.

NC Lottery
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — These North Carolina lotteries were drawn Thursday:

Winning numbers drawn in 'Pick 4 Day' game
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The winning numbers in Thursday afternoon's drawing of the North Carolina Lottery's "Pick 4 Day" game were:

Winning numbers drawn in 'Pick 3 Day' game
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The winning numbers in Thursday afternoon's drawing of the North Carolina Lottery's "Pick 3 Day" game were:

Abu Dhabi's Etihad gets A380, complete with suite
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Abu Dhabi's national carrier, Etihad, showcased on Thursday the arrival of its first Airbus A380, outfitted with "the only three-room suite in the sky."

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents have been posted online, employees and their families were threatened, and unreleased films were stolen and made available for illegal download. The hackers then escalated this week to threatening 9/11-like attacks against movie theaters scheduled to show the Sony film "The Interview." That fanned security fears nationwide and resulted in the four top U.S. theater chains pulling the film from their screens, ultimately driving Sony to cancel the film's release.

US announces protections for transgender workers
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is now interpreting federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people, according to a memo released Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder.

NASA's Orion spacecraft back in Florida after test flight
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA's experimental Orion spacecraft left Florida by rocket and returned by truck.

Q&A: Drones might help explain how tornadoes form
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

DENVER (AP) — Researchers say they have collected promising weather data by flying instrument-laden drones into big Western and Midwestern storms. Now, they want to expand the project in hopes of learning more about how tornadoes form.

NC Zoo to celebrate orphaned cougars' 1st birthday
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

ASHEBORO, N.C. (AP) — Three orphaned cougars who have lived at the North Carolina Zoo since last March are about to get a party.

US stocks rise; Oracle leads technology stocks higher
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks rose sharply Thursday, led gains in by technology stocks as Oracle surged following a strong earnings report. Energy stocks lagged the market as the price of crude oil resumed its slide.

Palestinian leader supports more talks on UN bid
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said Thursday that he supports further negotiations on a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution that sets a 2017 deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from war-won lands the Palestinians seek for their state.

Judge appoints board to sort out polygamous homes
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah judge has appointed a board of trustees to sort out the redistribution of more than 700 homes in a polygamous community on the Utah-Arizona border where Warren Jeffs' sect is based.

NC Rules panel approves new fracking standards
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A state panel's approval of regulations for fracking should allow North Carolina lawmakers to take the matter up next year on the schedule envisioned by Republican legislative leaders.

2 defendants in meningitis outbreak case seek bail
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

BOSTON (AP) — A federal judge is weighing whether two men at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people should be freed until their criminal trials.

Furniture supply firm marks 90 years in business
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Someone recently asked Mike Oliver how his High Point furniture supply business has managed to stay around for 90 years.

2nd security clearance investigation contractor hacked
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say the private files of 48,439 workers may have been compromised by a computer breach at government contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions Inc. The hacking incident is the second this year at a major firm handling national security background investigations of federal workers for the government.

California power regulator to address allegations
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's chief utility regulator is expected to address allegations of backroom dealings with the state's largest utility on Thursday when he presides over his last voting meeting of the five-member commission.

Oklahoma prisons lawyer says he felt pressured
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A longtime lawyer for Oklahoma's prison system says he felt pressured by the governor's and attorney general's offices to make sure executions last spring happened on schedule, despite the lack of an execution method.

Police: Drunk man shot while entering wrong house
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

BENICIA, Calif. (AP) — Police say an intoxicated man was shot by a suburban San Francisco homeowner after breaking into a house he thought was his own.

Icahn promises Taj Mahal casino $20M to stay open
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Billionaire investor Carl Icahn pledged $20 million on Thursday to keep Atlantic City's Taj Mahal casino open indefinitely, eliminating a plan to shut it down early Saturday.

US prepared to veto UN plan for Israeli occupation
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is prepared to veto a United Nations Security Council proposal that calls for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands in 2017.

Florida's Bryan Cox Jr. out for bowl game after hip surgery
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. will miss the Birmingham Bowl following hip surgery.

Md., 6 other states have bans on atheists holding office
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Some freedom-from-religion advocates are pressing Maryland and six other states to remove provisions from their state constitutions that prohibit people who don't believe in God from holding public office.

Sony film took aim at North Korea's biggest taboo
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:02 pm

TOKYO (AP) — If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. The movie, "The Interview," pushed all of North Korea's buttons.

'Pretty horrible' scene; car slams into crowd
Updated: December 18, 2014 - 5:01 pm

REDONDO BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Pedestrians were filing out of a church Christmas service when a car sped around other vehicles at a red light and plowed into the crowd before hitting another car head-on, police and witnesses said. Three people were killed, and several more were injured, California authorities said.