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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

Move over, Morty. Fester, another corpse flower at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens, shows signs it could soon bloom after years of being dormant. Fester's awakening comes on the heels of Morty's bloom last week. Fester should flower in two to three weeks, said Kristin Pochopin, the director of horticulture. "He's growing like gangbusters, and wa…

Buffalo

Jerry Young and Shawn Wright can be excused these days if they measure their excitement in bushels. On or around July 1, the owners of Young + Wright Architectural will move their firm into an abandoned malt house and grain elevator complex last occupied by Buffalo Malting Corp. in 1986. The Valley neighborhood property will eventually offer residential and more office …

Books

The Larkin Square Author Series on June 25 will feature Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for the Washington Post, and author Lauren Belfer. The free event is scheduled from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. at 745 Seneca St. in Larkin Square. "We are honored that Lauren Belfer and Margaret Sullivan will appear together for a talk in Larkinville," said Leslie Zemsky, Larkin Square'…

Local News

Some of the most rare and vintage automobiles in the world are about to descend on Buffalo. They're coming for the 2018 Great Race, which will bring more than 120 antique cars and possibly tens of thousands of onlookers to the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum on June 23. It's there, at the corner of Seneca and Michigan streets, that the 2,300-mile Great Rac…

The Industrial Heritage Committee's annual tour of the Col. Francis G. Ward Pumping Station will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The pump house's five 60-foot tall, triple expansion steam engines built by the Holly Manufacturing Company of Buffalo will be on display. Each engine weights 1,100 tons, with a pumping capacity of 30 million gallons per day. The tour is fr…

Buffalo

One of the best viewing spots from Hoyt Lake's western shore just got nicer. A 20-feet-by-40-feet area was dedicated Wednesday as the Siegel Landing, featuring a rectangular base of pavers and two new benches. A $400,000 endowment to the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy from Herb Siegel and his son Aaron Siegel paid for the restoration. Herb Siegel, an attorney and …

Buffalo

Morty the corpse flower has become Morty the unpredictable. After blooming around 10 p.m. Sunday, the flower was expected to open up on Monday to reveal a deep burgundy color and emit a hold-your-nose smell resembling a rotting corpse. The flower – its actual name is Amorphophallus titanum – got off to a good start at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens ear…

Art

Torn Space Theater, headquartered on Buffalo's East Side, has received the largest grant in its history. The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation has awarded Torn Space $310,000, which will be used by the theater company to finish the exterior renovation of its performance space in the Adam Mickiewicz Library and Dramatic Circle. "The Wilson grant concludes stage one of th…

Local News

Let the stink begin! Morty the corpse flower began blooming at around 10 p.m. Sunday in its home at the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens. The bloom started the 24- to 48-hour clock in which the plant emits a smell compared to rotting flesh and flowers. "It's disgustingly beautiful," Erin Grajek, marketing director for the Botanical Gardens, said Monday mor…

Featured

Sam Hoyt has been exonerated of sexual harassment and assault charges by the state ethics commission. The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics concluded Thursday that Hoyt had not abused his public position when he entered into a personal relationship with Lisa Marie Cater. The commission also rejected Cater's claims that Hoyt had harassed and physically ass…

Art

Robert Indiana's "LOVE" sculpture – with the letters stacked in a block pattern, and the "O" tilted on its side – is one of the most iconic artworks of the 1960s and '70s. The pop art sculpture is in museums and public areas, and the concept has turned up on all kinds of tchotchkes like T-shirts, coffee mugs and post cards, as well as on a U.S. postage stamp. On Frid…

Buffalo

Morty the corpse flower is getting ready to bloom – and to smell like rotting flesh. The plant last bloomed in 2014, setting an attendance record at Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens in the process. "All the signs are pointing to it happening at any time," said Kristin Pochopin, director of horticulture. "The outer bud sheets have fallen and the height has pl…

Buffalo

Explore & More Children's Museum is now expected to open in spring 2019. Museum CEO Michelle Urbanczyk said delays due to weather this past winter slowed the process. The first exhibits are now expected to arrive in December, which had been the initial opening date. A soft opening is expected prior to the spring opening for small groups, whose presence will help …

Buffalo

For years, a nearly two-acre hole where Memorial Auditorium once stood has remained untouched. A replica canal, used for ice skating, opened nearby three winters ago, and other Canalside projects have advanced. But nothing happened in the hole. Now that is about to change, state waterfront officials say. This fall, Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. plans to adve…

Attractions

Chris Berman likes long shots and underdogs. The longtime ESPN sportscaster is a Bills fan, after all. On Tuesday, Berman will get behind another – the BFLO Hall of Fame Experience, which calls for the creation of a museum featuring three local halls of fame dedicated to sports, music and broadcasting. Proponents have worked on the project since 2010, but with only $…