- - Friday, January 29, 2010

GEORGIA

Navy sued to halt training near whales

SAVANNAH — Environmental groups are suing the Navy in an effort to halt plans for an offshore training range that they say would threaten endangered right whales.

The Southern Environmental Law Center says in the lawsuit filed Thursday that the Navy did not properly assess how the range would affect whales off the coasts of Georgia and Florida.

The Navy last year announced plans to begin laying underwater cables and sensors across 500 square nautical miles for training exercises involving ships, submarines and aircraft. The Navy has maintained it would have a negligible impact on the whales.

Conservation groups say the planned training area is too close to waters where right whales migrate each winter to give birth to their calves. Researchers estimate as few as 300 of the giant whales remain.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Teen gets prison in cashier killing

NORTH HAVERHILL — A New Hampshire teenager convicted in the revenge killing of a developmentally disabled Wal-Mart cashier is going to prison for it.

Nineteen-year-old Michael Robie, who was heard plotting the 2008 attack in tape-recorded telephone calls from his New Hampshire jail cell, was sentenced Thursday to 20 to 40 years but could serve 15 if he completes education programs.

Robie, of North Haverhill, pleaded guilty previously to assault and conspiracy in the stabbing death of Christopher Gray, of Groton, Vt. Gray, a developmentally disabled 25-year-old, was targeted because he’d been flirting with Robie’s girlfriend at the Wal-Mart where they worked together, in Woodsville.

NEW JERSEY

3-year-old dials 911 for relative

MAPLE SHADE — A 3-year-old New Jersey boy called 911 when his grandmother had a seizure, something his mother says he learned to do just days before.

Jaden Bolli was at his grandmother Patricia Bolli’s home in Maple Shade on Jan. 22.

When the 54-year-old woman went to get out some puzzles, she had a seizure.

The boy found a phone and dialed 911 for help, calmly describing what happened.

Burlington County 911 coordinator Monica Gavio says the call was very unusual. Usually, when a child that age dials 911 she says, it’s an accident.

NEVADA

Convicted bomber gets life sentence

LAS VEGAS — A 29-year-old convicted bombmaker from Nicaragua has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for killing a hot-dog stand vendor outside a Las Vegas casino in 2007.

Porfirio Duarte-Herrera also was sentenced Thursday to 19 to 50 years for attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon and transportation of an explosive device.

Convicted co-defendant 34-year-old Omar Rueda-Denvers, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, was sentenced earlier to life in prison plus 16 to 40 years.

The two men were convicted of killing 24-year-old Willebaldo Dorantes Antonio, of Mexico.

Prosecutors say Rueda-Denvers supplied the motive for the slaying - his ex-girlfriend was dating Dorantes Antonio - and Duarte-Herrera built the pipe bomb that was hidden in a coffee cup.

PENNSYLVANIA

FBI: Heist suspect ‘sick of being poor’

ERIE — The FBI says a Pennsylvania man told authorities he robbed a bank because he was “sick of being poor.”

The FBI says 23-year-old Cameron Minniefield was arrested Tuesday at a bus station in Erie, his hometown. They say he was planning to go to Cleveland.

Police say Mr. Minniefield took a bus to Meadville, about 30 miles south of Erie, Tuesday afternoon and robbed the First National Bank. Police say Mr. Minniefield gave a teller a note, left with $1,010 and took a taxi back to Erie.

Police say witnesses saw Mr. Minniefield at a library across the street from the bank before the heist and later identified him as the robber.

The FBI says Mr. Minniefield confessed.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Safety fears mean empty bleachers

CENTRAL — Well, at least there won’t be any hecklers.

The bleachers will be barren Friday at a high school basketball doubleheader between two rivals in northwestern South Carolina. School officials say no fans will be allowed in because of safety concerns.

Attendance at the boys’ and girls’ varsity games in the town of Central will be limited to players, coaches, officials, game personnel, school administrators, police and the media.

Seneca Police Chief John Covington says he supports the decision because disturbances and violence have recently been spilling into the parking lot and neighborhoods after games.

School officials say they met with police and the South Carolina High School League on the decision.

From wire dispatches and staff reports