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Hasidic man, 18, gets 7 years in attack

WHITE PLAINS (AP) -- A Hasidic man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for the firebomb attack that badly burned a neighbor during a religious dispute in an insular Jewish enclave.

A defense attorney said the sentence was fair, but he worried about prison life for an 18-year-old who has "never seen TV, never been on the Internet, doesn't know who Babe Ruth and Derek Jeter are."

Shaul Spitzer, of New Square, had been charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to assault. A trial would have brought unwanted attention to New Square, a New York village where nearly every one of the 7,000 residents is a member of the Skver Hasidic sect.

Spitzer admitted he attacked Aron Rottenberg outside Rottenberg's home in May. He said he did it because Rottenberg defied New Square's grand rabbi by worshipping with nursing home residents rather than in New Square's main synagogue. Rottenberg claimed in a lawsuit that Spitzer was acting at the direction of the rabbi, David Twersky. The rabbi denied involvement and was not charged.



Firefighter who died at blaze is honored

FARMINGVILLE (AP) -- Black and purple bunting adorned two firehouses Tuesday, one in New York City and a second on Long Island, both paying tribute to the same man: a veteran New York City firefighter and longtime volunteer who collapsed and died battling a warehouse fire in Brooklyn.

Lt. Richard Nappi, a 17-year veteran of the FDNY, overheated and suffered exhaustion before he collapsed trying to put out the fire at a warehouse building in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Monday night.

The mayor noted that Nappi, 47, was among the hundreds of firefighters who responded to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and worked for more than a decade to help recover from the tragedy.

"Outside his family, his life's work was keeping New Yorkers safe from fires," Bloomberg said. "And by any measure, he succeeded magnificently."

Nappi also was a volunteer in his town's volunteer department.



Ban sought on seizing condoms as evidence

ALBANY (AP) -- Advocates for sex workers want New York to become the first state to ban police officers from confiscating condoms as evidence in prostitution cases, saying it has a chilling effect on disease protection. To bolster their case, a group issued a report Tuesday showing that fear of police harassment and arrest has prompted some prostitutes to carry fewer or no condoms and have sex without them, despite massive government giveaways.

"We did find, which is a good thing, that sex workers generally carry condoms and use condoms," said Sienna Baskin, an attorney with the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center in Manhattan

"We are not endorsing prostitution," said State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn, sponsor of the bill to ban condom evidence. "It is simply related to the fact that over 100,000 people right now are infected with HIV and AIDS in New York City." Calls to the New York Police Department and Manhattan District Attorney's Office were not immediately returned.