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Mark Sommer

Mark Sommer is an enterprise reporter and former arts editor at The Buffalo News. He writes about an array of subjects, including development, the waterfront, transportation and culture.


Buffalo

After being ignored for decades, the hulking Connecting Terminal became the canvas for a nightly light show three years ago on the Outer Harbor that could be seen from a distance. Now, people might get an even closer look at the 1915 grain elevator. They might be able to walk inside a silo or even view the city skyline from the grain elevator's rooftop. Reusing th…

Buffalo

The northern portion of the former Memorial Auditorium block – criticized last year by elected officials as a hole in the ground – could be closer to a development plan. That hole, if Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state agency that works for him have their way, could one day teem with residences, offices, shops and restaurants. On Monday, Erie Canal Harbor Development Co…

Gusto

Cult fave John Waters made good on his promise "to try to put the "X" back into Xmas" Friday, delivering a raunchy show to an amused and often guffawing audience Friday at Babeville's Asbury Hall. Waters entered to a hero's applause from the near-capacity audience. He offered a fast-paced, 70-minute stand-up routine, and then answered questions for a half-hour on a stag…

Buffalo

Work on a $27.7 million train station coming to downtown Buffalo is expected to begin in early 2019 and be completed by the fall of 2020. The New York State Department of Transportation also announced Wednesday that Hohl Industrial Services and Scrufari Construction will construct the brick, three-story station on Exchange Street using the existing Amtrak station's foot…

Buffalo

Trees along the Elmwood business strip from North Street to Forest Avenue will be lit for the holiday season. A tree lighting ceremony preceded by caroling will be held at 6:45 p.m. Friday at Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. “The business owners on Elmwood love this community and are thrilled to be able to light up the street this year," said Therese Deutschlander…

Buffalo

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is seeking the opinions of 10,000 teens and other participants in Western New York about after-school activities. They are being asked to complete this sentence: “Where I live or work, one thing teens want when they are not in school is ...” The foundation is collaborating with schools and youth organizations to collect data to bett…

Buffalo

The Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy has launched an online survey through January to get feedback from park users on priority projects or needs at the Olmsted Parks. The survey is part of an overall effort to generate community input that will culminate in a five-year update to the Olmsted master plan in May 2019. “We are excited to launch this survey to gather comm…

Buffalo

Volunteers at Concordia Cemetery on the East Side are dealing with the aftermath of a Dec. 1 car accident. A car crashed through the cemetery's fence, sending a fence post through a window and destroying antiques and furnishings in the original farmhouse museum and office. The volunteer staff that looks over the 1859 cemetery at Sycamore Street and Walden Avenue has …

Buffalo

When the North Park Theatre reopened in March 2014, sparkle and splendor replaced decades of dirt and grime. But lost in all the hoopla surrounding the theater's restoration was the work that still needed to be completed in the lobby and outside on the facade. Now, the not-for-profit theater hopes to complete the restoration work by early spring, well before the thea…

Buffalo

Long overdue repairs to breakwalls on the Outer Harbor will take place, thanks to $12.455 million in federal funds announced Monday by Rep. Brian Higgins and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The money will be primarily used to shore up the North Breakwater, constructed in the early 1900s, and the South Breakwater, originally constructed in the late 1800s. "This is a…

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin has been promoted to executive director of the Partnership for the Public Good, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Ó Súilleabháin, deputy director since May 2017, will replace Sam Magavern, who has co-directed or directed PPG since its founding in 2007. Magavern will remain in a half-time position as a senior policy fellow contributing research and writing. …

Buffalo

Penny Myers used musical notes last summer to add more cracks to a glass ceiling. Myers, a cantor at Temple Beth Zion, a Reform congregation, was asked to make a recording in Israel by Mordechai Sobol, a world-renowned Orthodox cantor as well as musical director, arranger and producer. Vocalizing traditional liturgical music is seen as a male-only domain by most Jews wh…

Gusto

John Waters, the 72-year-old maker of campy films with a long-established cult following, will be sporting his familiar pencil-thin mustache on Dec. 7 at Babeville's Asbury Hall while on a 17-city tour for "A John Waters Christmas." Waters' most well-known, low-budget films were made in Baltimore in the late-1960s and '70s. He used local actors, including Harris Millste…

The third and final free distribution of coats for the 23rd annual Colvin Cleaners Coats 4 Kids program will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Lake Erie Italian Club, 3200 South Park Ave., Lackawanna. There is a limit of one coat per person. An identification will be needed for a child not with an adult. Colvin Cleaners has collected, cleaned, sorted and distributed, f…

Buffalo

Sunday marked the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. At Niagara Square, the Zonta Club of Buffalo hosted a gathering to commemorate the occasion and launch its annual "16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence" leading to Human Rights Day. The international organization, which was founded a stone's throw away at t…