News briefs

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

The Spectrum


UB Nomas earns first place for transit station design

UB’s National Organization of Minority Architecture Students won first place in the 2018 Barbara G. Laurie NOMA Annual Student Design Competition on Friday. 

The team proposed a design for transit development for a site in Chicago’s Woodlawn community, according to UBNow. The team has won awards in the national competition for the last three years. 

The design, “Roots: Woodlawn’s Gateway,” proposed a new transit station along with an elevated avenue to connect the site to an existing transit station. 

NOMAS provides its members with opportunities to compete in national events such as this, workshops and visits to Buffalo firms to give students hands-on experience in the workforce.

UB research team finds spike in businesses in recovering communities

A UB-led research team reported communities recovering from natural disasters see a spike in business and non-profit development, according to the UB News Center.

These businesses help improve the economic well being of the areas, but do not necessarily benefit the growing poverty rates that accompany the disasters. This also does not reflect how existing local organizations are affected during recovery. 

The research suggests that optimal recovery occurs when there are organizations in place which have a broad reach within their communities.


Man testifies on California to Buffalo drug ring

Jose Ruben Gil was tried for running a drug ring stretching from California to Buffalo, according to The Buffalo News.

Gil previously served five years in federal prison for drugs, and is on trial for his role in shipping drugs by mail and truck.

Gil confessed that Aguirre handled the money laundering, distributing approximately $19 million amongst local banks, while Gil dealt drugs in the Buffalo region. It is estimated that the group moved 3,300 pounds of cocaine and heroin in a nine-month period.

Aguirre is thought to be connected to the Sinaloa Cartel and a number of witnesses are already in protective custody, as threats on their lives have been made.

Cellino & Barnes post record numbers as Cellino tries to break up the firm

Ross Cellino Jr. is petitioning to break up local law firm Cellino & Barnes, citing irreconcilable differences and an inability to work with Stephen Barnes.

The local injury firm has settled over 2,300 cases, as of October, for a total of roughly $155 million, according to The Buffalo News.

Barnes said the supposed differences can be resolved for the good of the firm.

The trial to determine whether the breakup will go through was scheduled to take place in early December, but the case was delayed until April 29th.


Ex-convict gets 40 years for plotting to bomb Target stores

 A Florida man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison on Wednesday, after being convicted of planning to bomb 10 Target stores in three states on the east coast. 

Mark Charles Barnett, 50, of Ocala was planning to use bombs to drop stock prices for personal gain, according to NBC.

 He anticipated Target would face bad publicity after the bombings, causing a massive stock sell-out. He planned to purchase the cheap stocks and sell them once they recovered.

 Witnesses testified Barnett offered $10,000 for someone to plant bombs in food packages in New York, Florida and Virginia stores. The bribed individual notified federal investigators.

 Experts from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives concluded the bombs would have had enough force to cause serious injury and death. 

California wildfire death toll rises to 80

 Almost 1,300 people are unaccounted for as recovery crews work through the remains of California towns, as of Monday morning.

Many searchers have lost their own homes to the fires and are seeking remains of neighbors and friends. Officials hope to find missing people in shelters or finding refuge somewhere without phone service, according to CNN.

 The Camp Fire has taken more lives than any fire in California’s history. Over 9,800 homes have been destroyed and 149,000 acres have been scorched by flames. 

The statewide death toll is 80 and is increasing as more remains are unearthed. 


Israeli prime minister expresses concerns for early elections

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said early elections would be disastrous for Israel, according to BBC.

He said the comment during a political crisis in the country, which started last Sunday after a firefight between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. On Tuesday, Hamas and Israel made an agreement for a ceasefire after arbitration by Egypt.

Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman stepped down in opposition to the motion, stating that a ceasefire is equivalent to surrender. Naftali Bennett threatened to pull his party out of government if not chosen to be the new defense minister.

Protests in France over fuel prices leave one dead and hundreds injured

Over 400 people were injured in France during protests over rising fuel prices, according to BBC. A driver panicked and accelerated to get away from a demonstration, killing one protester.

The government reported approximately 300 protesters were questioned and 157 were arrested.

On Saturday, 288,000 people attended demonstrations in nearly 2,000 locations across the country. Protesters, known as “yellow vests,” set up roadblocks across the country.