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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.


Buffalo

Two Frank Lloyd Wright-designed homes in Buffalo – the ones that don't get all of the attention – take center stage Thursday when the Buffalo Preservation Board will propose designating each a local landmark. It would seem like a slam-dunk, given the historic importance of the William R. Heath House and the Walter V. Davidson House. Except for one thing: Neither of t…

Obituaries

Sept. 13, 1932 – Feb. 17, 2018 Sister Mary Edwardine, a Felician sister for 67 years and an educator, died in Blessed Mary Angela Care Center on Saturday. She was 85. The former Theresa Machnica was born in Buffalo, and was a member of Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in Cheektowaga. She entered the Buffalo Province of the Felician Sisters in 1950 and professed perpetu…

Buffalo

The public is invited at 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 to listen to 11 grant proposals being considered by the Buffalo & Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee. The presentations will be made at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, 726 Exchange St., Ste. 25. Awards will be announced March 23. The committee receives $2 million annually from the New York Powe…

Buffalo

The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center will celebrate a grand opening May 4 to 6 in the former 1863 U.S. Custom House, attached to the new Niagara Falls Amtrak Station. The center at 825 Depot Ave. W. will tell stories of emancipation through the permanent exhibition, "One More River to Cross." There will be re-creations of the Cataract House, an interna…

Buffalo

A steel frame rising four stories above Canalside came as the first mighty sign that a children's museum will come downtown. Today's announcement of a challenge grant marks another. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation will award $6 million to the project if the museum raises $6 million on its own. One-half of the foundation's grant will go toward construction and the…

Buffalo

The 200 red bikes seen across Buffalo were used a lot more in 2017, according to the Reddy bikeshare program. The use-it-as-you-go bicycle network recorded 26,514 trips, up from the 11,986 in 2016. Cyclists pedaled 47,386 miles last year, up from 17,614 in 2016. “While the numbers from 2016 don’t reflect a full season, we are still incredibly excited about the int…

Buffalo

Corrugated metal covers the 14 tall arched windows of a National Grid building on Busti Avenue near Niagara Street. But preservationists and neighbors say the metal covers even more: the building's historic importance. The former Terminal House B was once used to bring power from Niagara Falls in the early 1900s. So Preservation Buffalo Niagara has joined with a neig…

Buffalo

Two Buffalo properties have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Temple Beth Zion, 805 Delaware Ave., and Ziegele-Phoenix Refrigeration House and Office, 835 Washington St., now the Phoenix Brewery Apartments, were listed in mid-January. The Modernist temple was designed by Max Abramovitz and opened in 1967. A 60-foot ceiling extends over a 1,000-s…

Buffalo

An expansion of the historic designation of the 500 block of Main Street will be considered Thursday by the Buffalo Preservation Board. The area was certified as a Local Historic District in 2009. The expansion would involve nine parcels, eight buildings and one vacant parking lot on Main Street adjacent blocks. All have been deemed as eligible for inclusion on the N…

Gusto

What do black people think about being black? Buffalo filmmaker Korey Green and producer Pete Johnson asked lots of people that question, most of them in Buffalo. The result is "The Blackness Project," an hourlong documentary in which African-Americans talk candidly about being black. The film will debut during Black History Month at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Burchfield Pe…

Buffalo

Extend the state historic tax credit five more years. Separate the state credit program from the federal credit program. Don't delay use of the credits, and, make technical improvements to the state program to help rural areas. Politicians, developers and preservationists urged these steps Thursday. They gathered at an industrial building being renovated by develo…

Buffalo

A public lecture on the design and development of the University at Buffalo's Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Hayes Hall 403 at UB's South Campus. The design represents the current approach to design for medical schools, and the talk by Kenneth Drucker, design principal for HOK, will tell behind-the-scenes stories of…

Buffalo

A court challenge regarding the planned demolition of the Shoreline Apartments was dismissed by State Supreme Court Judge Joseph R. Glownia Friday. The Article 78 petition, brought by former tenant John Schmidt and preservationist Terry Robinson, sought to annul the city Planning Board's approval of a redevelopment plan that includes demolition of the remaining 16 build…

Attractions

Multicolored lights will bathe the Botanical Gardens' three Victorian glass domes and connecting greenhouses for the next three weeks. But that's only one of the senses.  The eighth annual "Lumagination" also brings together music, sound effects, theatrical design and interactive displays to the indoor nature attraction's sedate environment for this year's theme, "Under…

Buffalo

When the Buffalo Zoo's renovation of the Reptile House is completed, it will reopen with new and renovated exhibits, new creatures, new mechanical systems and a new name: The Donna Fernandes Amphibian and Reptile Center. Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, who will announce this morning that New York State will provide a $300,000 grant that allows the zoo to reach its …