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Maki Becker

Maki Becker is a staff reporter at The Buffalo News.


For the second year in a row, AmericanStyle magazine has named Buffalo the top arts destination among the nation's mid-sized cities, beating out Chattanooga, Tenn., which took second, and Pittsburgh, which placed third.The designation comes as the result of an annual reader poll, which named New York City as the top city with a population over 500,000 and Santa Fe, N.M., a…

A memorial service for Edtition Thompson, 33, of Buffalo, was held on March 2 in Forest Lawn.But Thompson, it turns out, wasn't dead. He was hiding out in California.Law enforcement sources told The Buffalo News that the service for Thompson had been faked in an attempt to throw authorities off his trail. But it didn't work.Thompson had been wanted by the police for allege…

The death three years ago today of Sister Karen Klimczak is wrought with many terrible coincidences.A nun, she had devoted herself to Jesus Christ.She was slain on Good Friday, the day the Bible said Jesus died on the Cross.She was killed in the very same house where her friend, the Rev. Joseph Bissonette, had been beaten to death 22 years earlier by two men asking for foo…

An alert Erie County sheriff's deputy responding to a call about a disturbance at a Boston home helped discover a hydroponic marijuana growing operation, officials said.Shortly after midnight Saturday, Deputy Christopher Butera, who is assigned to road patrol, was dispatched to the 7000 block of Boston Cross Road.Apparently, there was some sort of party going on at the res…

It was opening day at Grover Cleveland Golf Course in Amherst on Saturday. A gentle, but chilly, breeze was blowing. The trees were still bare. There was even a little patch of snow on the grass.But dozens of die-hard golfers paid little notice as they hit the county course for the first time this season."We couldn't wait," said Dan Kucharski, a Cheektowaga auto technician…

This grandma has guns. The muscle kind.Lisa Hawley, a 51-year-old banker with M&T, has a 3-year-old grandson. She also is a bodybuilder.Hawley was one of 65 contestants in the 2009 Can/Am competition, a bodybuilding contest that emphasizes a drug-free environment. Steroids are strictly banned, and all contestants are required to undergo drug testing.This year's competition…

The pastor of Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, one of the region's largest congregations, announced Thursday that he will be leaving to become the chief executive officer of World Hope International, a Washington, D.C.-based Christian relief organization.The Rev. Karl D. Eastlack said it will be difficult for him and his wife to say goodbye to the giant church he fostered fr…

Three young men -- two of them Geneseo State College students -- were indicted Tuesday in connection with the binge-drinking death of a college sophomore, authorities said.Geneseo students Daniel Wech, 21, of Amherst, and Alex Stucki, 20, of Brighton, were arraigned in Livingston County Court along with Devin McClain, 21, of Mount Morris.After a grand jury inquiry, they we…

The son of real estate developer Carl Paladino was critically injured in a one-vehicle accident on Grand Island early Saturday morning, officials said.Patrick Paladino, 29, of Buffalo, was driving a black SUV at about 1:20 a.m. on South Parkway, just outside the entrance to Beaver Island State Park.Paladino was traveling west in the eastbound lane, when he failed to negoti…

Emergency medical workers said last week that they're upset at the protracted contract negotiations with their employer, Rural/Metro Medical Services.Management says they, too, are frustrated and are hoping to come to an agreement with the workers' union."We're at the point where we are a little frustrated with the way it's been going," said Jay Smith, spokesman for Rural/…

Following a scathing report about how the city continues to mismanage anti-poverty funds, Mayor Byron W. Brown vowed a "full and immediate accounting" of city officials responsible for overseeing the funds."If it is confirmed that any of these findings in the [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] report are the direct result of staff mismanagement, I will take…

A first-grader at St. Mark's School in North Buffalo died unexpectedly Thursday night, officials with the Buffalo Diocese said Saturday.Brazill Bridgers, whose age was not known, died after falling ill, officials said.They did not have any details but said the death does not involve an accident or a crime."Bishop [Edward] Kmiec and everyone at the Diocese of Buffalo are pr…

Moxie Mania is legal.A state judge in Albany County has thrown out a ruling by the State Liquor Authority that the touch-screen video games that had popped up in hundreds of Western New York bars last year were illegal gambling devices.In November, the SLA board ruled that Moxie Mania, a complicated electronic version of tick-tack-toe that pays out money, was a game of cha…

Spring officially began at 7:44 a.m today, and while today's morning flurries and chilly temperatures probably won't inspire anyone to prance barefoot about a meadow, warm weather and sunshine are on their way soon.In fact, most of March has been mild and sunny, and it's been a welcome break from the frigid temps and heavy snow Western New York endured during December and …

More than a month after Continental Connection Flight 3407 fell from the sky, snuffing out the lives of 50 people, loved ones of Clay Yarber believe they will finally be able to bid him a proper farewell.Just this week, they learned that some of the remains of Yarber, 62, of Riverside, Calif. -- who had set aside his fear of flying to meet up with his long-distance girlfri…