Maki Becker - The Buffalo News

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Maki Becker

Maki Becker is a staff reporter at The Buffalo News.


Six thousand miles from Iraq, Kathleen Kern has been lighting candles and offering countless prayers for the safe return of four members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams held by a group calling itself Swords of Righteousness Brigade.As a full-time staff member of the Chicago and Toronto-based Christian peace group, Kern is hoping that her colleagues' captors will release …

He could have gone to Disneyland or met his favorite sports hero.Instead, Michael Friedman, 16, who is battling a rare and aggressive cancer, made a wish to give a LeapPad laptop toy for toddlers to 23-month-old Alexis Latimore of North Tonawanda, who has a tumor in her eye.And a digital camera to Lacora Wilson, 19, of Buffalo, who has kidney failure.And a portable DVD pla…

Authorities have released a sketch of a suspect in four purse-snatchings outside suburban Tops supermarkets this week.The suspect is described as a 5-foot-10 male with blond hair and glasses who is in his 20s. He is believed to be driving a green or turquoise older-model SUV.Authorities said he is believed to have most recently robbed a woman near the entrance of the Tops …

Therese Smith says she always will be grateful to her 20-year-old grandson for saving her life when she choked on her morning pills.But the 81-year-old Town of Tonawanda woman also marvels at how the young man, who was born with Down syndrome, knew how to administer the Heimlich maneuver."I was choking," she recalled of the harrowing incident, which occurred three weeks ag…

Katie L. Magle had made her mother promise that if anything should happen to her, that she wanted her organs to be donated."Don't talk like that," Diane L. Magle remembered saying to her 17-year-old daughter that day a few months ago when she'd come home inspired by an assembly on organ donation at Mount Mercy Academy, where she was a senior."Promise me," Katie insisted.Th…

Police in the Southtowns were on the lookout for a violent purse-snatcher believed to have targeted female shoppers in the parking lots of Tops supermarkets in West Seneca and the Town of Hamburg in back-to-back incidents Thursday evening.In the first incident, a woman reported that about 6:08 p.m., a man approached her in the parking lot at the Tops on Orchard Park Road i…

Mary Bulas has a special message for State Trooper Randall A. Shenefiel.The trooper, assigned to patrol the lower section of the Niagara Thruway in Buffalo, carried Bulas, 77, and her dog to safety Tuesday when a fire engulfed the vacant house next door to hers on Perry Street."I didn't get a chance to thank him," Bulas said Wednesday evening, still shaken by her close cal…

For the Rev. Darius Pridgen, it was the last straw.The pastor of True Bethel Baptist Church, at 907 E. Ferry St., was outraged when he learned that the two men who robbed the Subway outlet on the church's campus Monday night fired a handgun at the employees.The gun appeared to have misfired. Police believe it may have jammed.Earlier this month, an employee was mugged at gu…

Two children -- a 4-year-old boy and his 12-year-old sister -- were injured in a snowmobiling accident in Warsaw over the weekend when the little boy pressed down on the accelerator and sent the vehicle crashing into trees, according to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Department.The accident took place Saturday afternoon, just hours after an 8-year-old Holland boy was killed …

Friday's snow wreaked havoc on the roads of Western New York, with several accidents, dozens of fender-benders and countless cars swerving off the roads, keeping police and other rescuers busy in late afternoon and evening.The heavy snow began falling in the Buffalo area shortly after 4 p.m., and the entire region was under a lake effect snow warning until midnight, said N…

The bronze statue of a woman with her hands raised up to the sky was not just a pretty piece of art in the back yard of Kenneth and Marilyn Barker.It was a tribute to teenage daughter Dara, who died 13 years ago from leukemia.So it hit the Barkers hard when they noticed that the lovely statue that had graced their back yard on Woodward Avenue for six years now was missing.…

Waking up in the intensive care unit, Donald Lockwood's first thoughts after being nearly beaten to death while delivering a pizza were about his children."What am I going to do for my kids for Christmas?" he remembered thinking.Monday night, his worries were quelled -- and then some.Hundreds of people gathered at Casa di Pizza on Elmwood Avenue, one of the two pizzerias w…

Lottie Jaczewski had a burglar alarm installed in her home, but the 79-year-old woman still gets scared when she sees her curtains move.Rita Steinel always warns her husband, a World War II and Korean War vet, not to answer the door.Patricia Janosek has her 77-year-old friend call her every day to make sure she's all right.The elderly of Buffalo and its suburbs feel vulner…

Sgt. Katrina Flick was the first one off the bus.After a year in Iraq, the 25-year-old Army National Guard soldier wanted nothing more than to scoop her 4 1/2 -year-old son, Austin, into her arms.Flick and 22 other members of the Buffalo-based HQ Company Engineer Brigade were ferried home from Fort Drum Saturday afternoon."It's amazing," she said, with tears in her eyes, a…

An elderly woman whose East Side home had been burglarized repeatedly this summer was found fatally bludgeoned Wednesday evening.Police believe the woman, identified as Dolores C. Carr, 78, was killed during a home invasion and robbery of her two-story house on Domedian Street, off Genesee Street.Carr's body was discovered in her dining room by her son, police said.Her son…