Share this article

print logo

Maki Becker

Maki Becker is a staff reporter at The Buffalo News.


The politicians lined up along the "bowstring" pedestrian bridge under the nearly cloudless summer sky Wednesday afternoon, each carrying a little pail filled with a history-making brew of water from Gateway Harbor in North Tonawanda and the murky waters that flowed below their feet."And a one, two and three," a voice boomed over a loudspeaker and the politicians, from Buf…

The state health commissioner has signed off on the historic agreement that will combine Erie County Medical Center and Kaleida Health, clearing the way for a new hospital network for Western New York, state officials said Friday.Sources close to the negotiations said that all parties, including Health Commissioner Richard Daines, have now come to an agreement on the hospi…

Petty Officer 1st Class Michael S. Phelps is free to come home.Phelps was among seven Navy reservists from the Buffalo area who had returned from Kuwait on Monday and were stuck in Norfolk, Va., waiting for their discharge papers.The reservists had completed their medical checkups and other steps necessary to be discharged. All that was left to do was for Navy personnel to…

Four years ago, Tim Russert put us all to shame when he gave his dad the best, most heartfelt gift a child could ever present to his or her father.He wrote "Big Russ & Me, Father and Son: Lessons of Life," a 336-page ode to Timothy J. Russert Sr., the man who steered him through life with his scrappy South Buffalo wisdom and salt-of-the-earth Irish Catholic values.So it wa…

Tim Russert -- who put the world's most powerful people on the hot seat on NBC's enormously influential "Meet the Press" while managing to stay true to his modest yet proud South Buffalo roots -- died unexpectedly Friday after collapsing in NBC News' Washington bureau. He was 58.The Emmy-winning newsman had been recording voice-overs for Sunday's program when he was strick…

Police found a naked, beaten 15-year-old boy lying in the street near McCarthy Park early Saturday after his mother called 911 to report a fight.It was the first of a series of assaults across Buffalo in the predawn hours.Michael J. DeGeorge, police spokesman, said investigators had found no apparent connections among the crimes."Is it possible that some of the incidents m…

A Town of Tonawanda man who police say went on a wild, cocaine-fueled carjacking spree through the Town of Hamburg during rush hour Friday was being held Saturday in Erie County Medical Center on $100,000 bond.Ryan Kirbis, 29, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, was arraigned late Friday on numerous felonies.He is charged with four counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle; th…

Terry Yonker pointed to a black-hooded bird as it dove down into the Niagara River one recent afternoon and scooped up a small fish into its orange beak."That's one," he said.It was a common tern, the much maligned water bird that has been cited as one of the key reasons for scuttling plans to build a striking, two-tower cable-stayed Peace Bridge in favor of a lower, less …

Call him a serial carjacker.A Buffalo man was arrested Friday evening following a rapid succession of four carjackings and two attempted carjackings in the Town of Hamburg before police tracked him down and tackled him on Marie Drive.Charges were pending Friday night against Ryan Kirbis, 29, of Niagara Falls Boulevard, but Hamburg authorities said he faces "numerous feloni…

An audit of the Fredonia Central School District found a series of deficiencies in internal controls that allowed two former superintendents to receive more than $92,000 in health care coverage they weren't entitled to, as well as various payroll problems, State Comptroller Thomas P. Napoli said Thursday."It is imperative that school officials exercise tight control over s…

She looked radiant as she walked down the aisle, her eyes sparkling and wearing a garland of white roses and baby's breath."It's like her wedding day," Mary Ponce Gallagher, her sister, said.Saturday, Sister Agnes Marie of the Eternal High Priest professed her final vows, marking the completion of her journey to becoming a discalced Carmelite nun.The Carmelite Sisters of …

One-thousand-four-hundred-and-fifty-five fillets of haddock into Stan Krolick's quest Friday evening to serve the world's biggest fish fry, he came face-to-face with potential disaster.The vegetable oil in the 14 vats he had up and running on the lawn outside the dining area at the Hamburg Fairgrounds wasn't staying hot enough.The oil needed to be bubbling. It had to be ju…

They left Buffalo on Sunday as three happy couples -- headed south for what was supposed to be a quick, relaxing vacation on the sun-soaked beaches of the Florida barrier islands.Tuesday, they flew back as two widows and just one intact couple, all devastated by unforeseen tragedy.On Monday, John Larry, 48, of Grand Island, and Christopher Gugliuzza, 52, of the Town of Ton…

Judy Tait found an old painting stashed away in her in-laws' garage several years ago. It was of an old white house in Weatherly, Pa., that had belonged to her husband's great-grandfather."Oh, that old piece of junk?" the in-laws said of the picture, and they let Judy and Bob Tait take it home.Saturday, the Amherst couple brought it in to WNED's Antiques Home Show and disc…

Fifty-two playing cards with 52 cold cases.In the hands of criminals, those cases just might be cracked.That's what an upstate couple, whose daughter has been missing for more than a decade, is hoping.They have developed a deck of cards, with each card featuring a victim of an unsolved murder or a missing person from New York State. The cards will be distributed starting t…