News briefs: What to know locally, nationally and globally
Willie Evans, former UB football player, dies at 79
UB alumnus Willie Evans, a star running back and one of only two African American players on the 1958 UB football team, died Jan. 4 at the age of 79.
Evans was a physical education teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools for more than 30 years, a longtime UB Alumni Association member and was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. His other UB honors include the Community Leadership Medal, Distinguished Alumni Award and the Russell J. Gugino Award, according to The Buffalo News.
UB dental school appoints new leadership
Frank Scannapieco has been appointed the associate dean for faculty and professional development for The School of Dental Medicine. Richard Scott Conley will serve as the new chair of the Department of Orthodontics.
As associate dean for faculty, Scannapieco will organize faculty development programs, manage nominations and awards, and coordinate faculty mentoring, according to the UB website. He will also oversee Continuing Dental Education and intends to expand the dentistry curriculum to include new distance learning and online courses.
Conley, who joined the UB dental school faculty in the fall of 2016, holds a DMD from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Hamilton College, says he wants to focus on teamwork and collaboration in the department.
Buffalo School Board member Carl Paladino sparks controversy
The Buffalo School Board voted six to two on Dec. 29 to call on the state education commissioner to remove Carl Paladino from office. This decision was made amid outrage over offensive remarks he made about President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.
The School Board argued that his statements violated the state’s Dignity for All Students Act and hindered the board’s ability to conduct official business. The Buffalo Parent-Teacher Organization and Buffalo Teachers Federation also plan to petition the commissioner to remove him, according to The Buffalo News
Palladino was not in attendance at the meeting and has said he will not resign. In statement to The Buffalo News reporter, Palladino said he thinks the School Board is calling for his removal so that he will “not disclose their culpability in rigging the recent teachers’ contract.”
Buffalo police officer survives violent encounter with man high on synthetic drugs
Twenty-year old Elijah Davis of Buffalo attacked Central District OfficerJasmine Olmstead inside her SUV patrol car on Jan 8.
Davis later admitted to another officer that he had been smoking synthetic marijuana and had also consumed “mollies,” a lesser known type of ecstasy, according to The Buffalo News.
Both Davis and Olmstead were treated at Erie Country Medical Center. Olmstead was later released and placed on injury leave.
Davis, who remains in police custody, was charged with felony assault of a police officer, and multiple misdemeanor charges of obstructing governmental administration, resisting arrest and harassment.
Five dead, eight wounded in shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport
A lone gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday, killing five and injuring eight others. The suspected shooter, 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, has been charged with federal crimes and could face the death penalty, according to The Washington Post.
Trauma surgeons at Broward Health Medical Center said they received five shooting victims and two needed surgeries, but all of the patients were in stable condition. Hospital officials declined to comment on their specific injuries or release their ages and gender, citing privacy rules and the ongoing investigation.
Senate confirmation hearings to begin without all background checks
As Senate Republicans prepare for several confirmation hearings this week, many of President-elect Donald Trump’s appointees have not yet completed the background checks. Background checks and ethics clearances are typically required before the Senate considers cabinet nominees, according to The New York Times.
Republicans said they want to ensure that the new president has a team in place as soon as possible and they think the background checks will slow that process. However, Democrats are calling for the process to be slowed and for the hearings to be spread out to in order to allow more time to vet the nominees.
The confirmation hearings are scheduled to begin on Tuesday and will continue throughout the week.
Declassified report says Putin ordered intervention in U.S. presidential election
Russia carried out a cyber-campaign aimed at sabotaging the U.S. presidential election, according to a report released Friday by U.S. intelligence agencies. The operation was ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin and ultimately sought to help elect Donald Trump, the report said.
The report states Moscow's role represented “a significant escalation in directness, level of activity and scope of effort beyond previous election-related espionage,” according to The Washington Post.
The report claims that Russia’s cyber campaign looked to discredit public faith in the U.S. democracy and damage Demoratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s public perception. However, Russia eventually “developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump” and aimed to boost his election chances, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Former Iran President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani dies at 82
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran and a founder of the Islamic Republic, died on Sunday in Tehran, according to The New York Times. He was 82. Rafsanjani is known for improving Iran’s relations with the United States and other Western powers. He was also a member of Iran’s dwindling reformist movement, a group that holds more moderate views than the increasing number of conservatives that hold power in the Iranian government.
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