Alligator hunting season opens
As many as 1,200 hunters were expected on South Carolina rivers and marshes Saturday as the state opened the monthlong alligator hunting season.
Nearly 3,800 people from across the country applied for a gator hunting permit this season.
Experts think there are about 10,000 gators in South Carolina, mostly in the southern and eastern portions of the state. The state resumed gator hunting season two years ago.
State law requires alligators be captured and brought alongside a boat or to shore before they are killed. Hunters can't simply stand on shore and shoot gators with a rifle.
Juvenile offenders part of service day
Young volunteers were fanning out across South Carolina Saturday to participate in a service day.
The Department of Juvenile Justice says more than 3,000 young offenders and volunteers were participating on Saturday in the agency's second annual service day.
The volunteers were going to be in all the state's 46 counties for projects including food and clothing drives for the needy and beautification and gardening projects for nursing homes and homeless shelters.
The effort coincides with the National Day of Service created by Congress to encourage community service opportunities.
Dead infant found in bin outside office
Police and Planned Parenthood officials say a dead infant has been found in a blue storage bin outside one of the organization's North Carolina offices.
WRAL-TV in Raleigh reported that the body of a white female newborn was found Saturday morning. An autopsy was planned.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Melissa Reed said in an e-mail statement that the container had no identifying marks.
Police were asking doctors and hospitals to contact them if a woman is treated and shows signs of having recently given birth.
North Carolina is one of many states that allows the parent of a newborn to give the baby up within seven days of birth to a health care provider without being punished.
Duke biologist to study glowing fish
Sonke Johnsen, a marine biologist at Duke University in Durham, N.C., recently received a $7.3 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to study the brightness, reflection and other features of sea creatures' bioluminescence.
Johnsen isn't sure how the Navy might eventually be able to use his findings but is glad for the chance to continue his research.
"I don't do any classified research and it's fairly basic, but some of it obviously could have some applications down the road for military purposes," he said.
Soldiers have used bioluminescent creatures in battle for centuries, including Japanese troops who smeared one creature's dried remains on their wet hands to help them read maps and compasses during World War II.
But bioluminescence can be a foe, too, especially for the Navy if its vessels or divers are amid the microorganisms that glow when disturbed.
"Any boat, any submarine any scuba diver, Navy SEAL or whatever can leave a big long trail of light behind them," said Johnsen. "That ultimately is a reason for the Navy to be concerned. With the right kind of camera you could see that from space, or at least from an airplane."
Murder suspect freed after 12 years
A man has been freed from prison to await retrial in a murder case after his attorneys raised questions about lab work done by North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation.
Derrick Allen, 31, of Durham was freed Friday after spending 12 years in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit.
"I'm not awe-struck by this," Allen said. "You have to understand, I've been categorized as a child molester in prison. A long time ago, I had to find a way to find some peace within myself. You put up firewalls."
Judge Orlando Hudson released Allen without bail even though he still faces murder and sexual assault charges in the February 1998 death of his then-girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter. A new trial date hasn't been set.
Last month, an independent review of work done by the SBI's crime lab from 1987 to 2003 called for a thorough examination of 190 criminal cases, stating information that could have helped defendants was sometimes misrepresented or withheld.
"It appears that it is possible that because of some agency problems with the SBI, this may be a case where we may have to re-evaluate our definition of justice," Judge Orlando Hudson, the senior resident judge in Durham, said during the 30-minute hearing.
After Allen left jail for the first time in more than 12 years, he went to a restaurant for a steak sandwich. In anticipation of getting out, he had asked his mother to get him a pager. She explained that cell phones were more common these days.