News Briefs

What you need to know in local, national and global news

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The Spectrum

Campus

UB Coalesce unites international scientists for Biological Art research

UB’s Coalesce program is bringing together its third set of artists to explore various combinations of art and science, according to UBNow. 

Research for the fall 2018 semester includes Sam Van Aken’s “Tree of 40 Fruit” and Andrea Reynosa’s “Fox Fire: Overlay 2.0.”

Van Aken, associate professor of sculpture at Syracuse University, designed the “Tree of 40 Fruit” by grafting various tree buds onto a single tree in order to create a hybrid which will produce over 40 species of stone fruit.

Reynosa will work with Alessandra Vertrees, a student at Hunter College, to create “Fox Fire: Overlay 2.0” which is an extension of an experiment which exists at SUNY New Paltz. In the experiment, a two-foot layer of hay mulches the weeds that grow over a nutrient-dense bed of soil. Reynosa’s work will augment this by adding a layer of foxfire, a luminescent fungal colony, to the soil.

Exhibitions will be displayed in the Coalesce BioArt Lab in 308 Hochstetter Hall from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. There will be another series of research conducted in Spring 2019. 

UB Faculty member creates historically driven jazz series

A new jazz series has been formulated by John Bacon, a UB faculty member, to highlight and reflect the monumental year of 1968.

“Jazz Impressions: 1968,” is intended to emphasize the social, political, artistic, and historical aspects of the era, according to UBNow, and will present questions of the ways the rich historical significance of the year has infiltrated our society today.

The UB Faculty Jazz Quartet consists of alto saxophone and flute player Bobby Militello, pianist George Caldwell, Sabu Adeyola on bass and drummer John Bacon. 

The quartet will tour across Buffalo throughout October and November and will perform at UB on Oct. 18. 

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall. The concert is open to the public and tickets can be purchased online at ticketfly.com. Tickets are free for undergraduate students.

Local 

Mucino pleads guilty to tax evasion, hiring undocumented workers

Sergio Ramses Mucino, 44, plead guilty in federal court on Friday to tax evasion and conspiracy to illegally employ over 10 undocumented workers, according to The Buffalo News.

Mucino owned and operated four popular Mexican restaurants in Buffalo: Don Tequila on Allen Street, Agave on Elmwood, El Agave on Union Road and La Divina on Delaware Avenue.

Mucino will give up roughly $40,000 in cash seized from the restaurants, a 2009 Porsche Boxster and another $1 million in profits from his restaurants. Employees previously forfeited $35,000 and two houses where some workers lived, according to U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. 

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, Mucino owed “substantial federal income tax,” as he placed assets in other people's names to avoid payment of more than $1 million in income taxes, didn’t collect payroll taxes, paid workers in cash and concealed cash payments.

Bills setting aside lease money to plan for possible future stadium

Key managers associated with the Buffalo Bills stadium lease agreement have begun diverting some money typically spent on repairs and renovations for New Era Field. The money wil go toward planning for a possible future stadium once the current lease expires, according to The Buffalo News.

According to County Executive Mark Poloncarz, $500,000 of the public money contributed for the Bills stadium lease was set aside, and another $500,000 is expected to be reserved next year.

The stadium lease agreement showed this was the first year that up to half of the money contributed by the state and county could be set aside for a “New Stadium Fund,” although Poloncarz said there are signs that the Bills owners, the Pegula family, do not intend to relocate the stadium.

According to Poloncarz, the Pegulas have indicated that they would like to make a large investment in New Era Field.

National

More than 435,000 still without power after Hurricane Michael

 The death toll from last week’s hurricane is currently stagnant at 18 but authorities say nearly a half a million are still without power across seven states, according to CNN.

 Panama City fire department has received more than 200 phone calls asking for information on unaccounted for residents but it could take days, even weeks, before emergency crews are able to reach them. They need to go door-to-door to check on residents because there is still no power and cell phone service is unreliable.

 A majority of Panama City’s 26,000 students are still unable to attend school due to damages sustained by the buildings.

 Crews are working to remove debris blocking hundreds of roads in Florida, which suffered the worst of the damage. Some Panama City residents have turned to looting to make ends meet during post-Michael and authorities have responded to at least one fatal shooting in the area.

11 infant bodies found in ceiling in Detroit

 Inside the ceiling of the Cantrell Funeral Home, state inspectors found nine remains in one cardboard box, wrapped in trash bags, and two others inside a casket, all of which belonged to children under the age of one year old, according to The Washington Post.

The business was shut down due to code violations in April, including the improper storage of bodies, and is now rumored to be turned into a community center. An anonymous letter was sent to authorities alerting them of the presence of the bodies and the current owner allowed crews in to search the premises.

A representative of the Detroit Police Department stated that the letter brought authorities to a “hidden” compartment in the ceiling between the first and second floors. It was so well disguised that the police department said they probably would not have found the bodies otherwise.

Investigators said the medical examiner was aware of some of the identities of the infants and is trying to locate their families. The Detroit News stated that the infants “appeared to be stillborn”. 

Global 

Hurricane Leslie leaves 300,000 homes in Portugal without power

Central and northern Portugal have been struck by the remnants of Hurricane Leslie, battering buildings and flooding streets, according to the BBC.

It is one of the strongest storms to ever take place in the country, with winds blowing up to 109 miles per hour.

About 1,900 incidents were reported to emergency services. Civil defense officials report 27 people sustaining minor injuries, about 1,000 uprooted trees and a number of cancelled flights because of hurricane damage. Areas most affected by Leslie are the Portuguese capital of Lisbon and around northern Portugal.

The Spanish Meteorological Agency said that Leslie is on a north-eastern path through the peninsula. Southern France has also been put on alert regarding the storm.

Saudi’s reject political “threats” over missing journalist

Saudi Arabian state news agency SPA says the kingdom will respond to any threats of sanctions over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the BBC. 

SPA also said that the country would respond to any foreign action “with a bigger one.” Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A struggle was reported to have taken place after the writer went into the building.

The authorities in Istanbul think the writer was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents. Saudi Arabia denies the allegations.

President Donald Trump said that he would punish Saudi Arabia if it were found to be responsible for Khashoggi’s death. Britain and the U.S. are considering a boycott with respect to an international conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

The news desk can be reached at News@ubspectrum.com