Mark Sommer, The Buffalo News

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Mark Sommer

I have worked at the Buffalo News as an enterprise reporter, and as arts editor, for the past 17 years.


From the start, the quest to find Buffalo Police diver Craig Lehner was full of obstacles and headaches. That continued into the evening Sunday, after stormy weather led searchers to call off the official recovery effort for the day. Then, a motorist on the Niagara Parkway reported seeing what appeared to be a wetsuit floating in the Niagara River about 30 yards from th…

Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County will receive $25,000 as part of a $240,000 state effort to assist agencies across New York State serving aging Holocaust survivors with medical and counseling needs. "This was really spurred by The Buffalo News project featuring biographies of Holocaust survivors in Western New York," said Assemblyman Sean Ryan, part of…

Dozens of Buffalo's tarnished gems have been restored in recent years because of historic tax credits that came out of Washington. The Hotel @ the Lafayette. The Guaranty Building. And the Richardson Olmsted Campus to name just a few. Now the federal historic tax credit looks in danger of being eliminated. That worries developers and preservationists, who credit …

A panel of leading architecture critics will explore several issues at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Martin House's Greatbatch Pavilion. Christopher Hawthorne of the Los Angeles Times, Mark Lamster of the Dallas Morning News and Inga Saffron of the Philadelphia Inquirer will discuss the relationship between the media and architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright's historic place in th…

Sen. Charles E. Schumer on Monday called on the Environmental Protection Agency to resume cleanup efforts of radioactive locations in Lewiston and Niagara Falls, warning they still pose a serious threat to public health. The EPA recently abandoned cleanup activities to clean up hot spots that resulted from radioactive waste byproducts from prior industrial uses. The thr…

What to do with Port Terminal A? That's the question facing the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. over the future of the mammoth and vacant building on 50 acres of prime Outer Harbor property. The site is eyed for future development, everything from apartments and condominiums to restaurants, bars, and light manufacturing. What happens to it would likely affect oth…

Terry Tempest Williams is an acclaimed writer and advocate for conserving public lands. Her most recent book, "The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks," offers a collection of essays on the value of national parks, the regenerative power they offer and the need to fight for their preservation against private interests. Williams will be spe…

Explore & More Children’s Museum CEO Douglas Love on Friday announced his resignation, effective in November, due to a personal issue. “The decision to resign from Explore & More was an extremely difficult one and comes with a very heavy heart,” Love said in a statement. “I am leaving for a personal, private reason and nothing related to the museum promp…

The new pieces of art at the Botanical Gardens blend effortlessly with the nature surrounding them. The 16 sculptures are intended to accent the plant collection and help see the familiar in a new light. "Whispering from the Woods," on display through Nov. 5, was created by Finger Lakes artist Kim Bellavia. Her work is heavily influenced by nature, mythology and symb…

NONFICTION Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to The Craziest Campaign In American History By Katy Tur Dey Street Books 291 Pages, $29.99 Katy Tur was the first national TV news reporter to cover Donald Trump's presidential campaign. She visited more than 40 states in 17 months and filed 3,800 live reports for NBC and MSNBC about his improbable campaign . Sh…

Alan and Judy Duchan love their backyard garden. A riot of Dutchman's pipe vines, holly, elephant-eared hostas and ornamental grass offer serenity, along with the gurgling sounds of a stone water fountain. Nine 12-foot-tall evergreen trees form a wall of privacy by the wooden patio table where the couple enjoy their morning coffee and lovely summer evenings. The shad…

A horse-drawn wagon used to sell Jell-O more than a century ago was unveiled Saturday at the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum. The wagon, which dates between 1902 and 1904, advertises Jello-O Ice Cream Powder, "America's Most Famous Dessert." It was purchased for the museum by Jim and Mary Ann Sandoro, the not-for-profit museum's founders. The story of the …

Developers, activists and municipalities were recognized Thursday at the Partners for a Livable Western New York Livable Community awards gala at Lafayette Hotel. Larkin Square was honored for urban innovation, followed by Canalside, 500 Seneca Street, Lafayette Hotel, Remington Lofts and Riverworks. Justbike's Justin Booth won in the citizen activist category, follo…

The name of Playboy magazine and the Playboy clubs once owned by the late Hugh Hefner had a Buffalo connection. It's explained inside the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce-Arrow Museum, where a white, 1947 Playboy roadster is displayed with information panels that include a photo of the dashing car in front of the then-named Albright Art Gallery. Hefner planned to name h…

The Buffalo Billion has helped fund big-ticket projects in Western New York, but it also fueled the rebirth of a key small business in the heart of University Heights: Parkside Candy. A $125,000 matching grant from the Buffalo Billion's Better Buffalo Fund was used to restore the iconic candy store and ice cream parlor  to its former 1927 art deco glory. Work at …