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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

Twenty finalists from a field of more than 100 have been chosen to move on in a competition to design alternatives for the Skyway corridor that could leave the bridge intact or torn down. The first cut from submissions that met the June 28 deadline was made by a team of professionals at Empire State Development, the state's development arm. Pamm Lent, ESD spokeswoman…

Buffalo

Pop-up street projects intended to revitalize the Grant Street commercial strip are expected over the next 12 months. The initiatives will build on work that has reduced litter, improved security and brought new facades to some storefronts. Assemblyman Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said he hopes the next phase will encourage the city to make infrastructure improvements like …

Buffalo

Restaurateur Russell J. Salvatore will fund the fireworks at the Galbani Italian Heritage Festival on July 20-21 at Niagara Square. Salvatore decided to provide the fireworks for the festival rather than on the Fourth of July at Canalside. He made the decision after learning the barge on the Niagara River that launches the powerful fireworks show won't be in use this ye…

Buffalo

Actor Ed Asner, currently touring a one-man comedy-drama about prostate cancer, visited Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center on Friday to shine a light on the need for early detection. The former star of the 1970s hit TV show, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and its spinoff “Lou Grant,” channeled his famous character’s cantankerous personality with a cagey understatedn…

Buffalo

At Buffalo's new children's museum, come for the exhibits – and stay for the view. After years of planning and construction, the $29 million Explore & More Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Children’s Museum will open its doors Thursday promising to be one of the most fun, playful and educational experiences under one roof in Western New York. The design of the four-story, 43,…

Buffalo

Members of a selection jury to help determine the future of the Skyway visited Buffalo Monday to get a look at the aging highway, some for the first time. Their visit comes five days before proposals are due on how to reimagine the Skyway and the land around it. That includes plans that would keep the towering concrete structure or tear it down. Lynn Richards, presid…

Buffalo

Chris Veltri was taught to shut down his emotions in the Marines, and since his discharge in 2010, the Lockport resident has struggled to feel empathy. "You take all of your emotions and shut them off," Veltri said. "You completely detach from them – anger, sadness, joy – they're all a distraction, and we're taught that distraction gets you or someone else killed. "I…

Buffalo

The Buffalo Common Council must decide whether to designate two Frank Lloyd Wright houses as local landmarks, a State Supreme Court justice has ruled. Justice Paul Wojtaszak said the Council, by not acting on an unanimous recommendation from the Buffalo Preservation Board for designation, violated the city's preservation ordinance by not voting for approval or disapprov…

Buffalo

An Uber driver reported being robbed shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday at the corner of Main Street and West Northrup Place in the city's University Heights neighborhood, Buffalo Police said. Richard Mazodze said two Hispanic males in their early 20s struck him in the head and stole $60 in tips from the console. Mazodke said he ran from the car westbound down Main Street t…

Buffalo

A woman reported being struck shortly before 5 a.m. Sunday by an unknown man who ran up to her from behind, struck her multiple times in the face and stole a gold Samsung Galaxy S7 cellphone from her pocket. Erica Goldsmith said the attack occurred at Olympic and Warwick avenues on the East Side. The suspect, who appeared to be in his 30s and wore his hair in a braid…

Buffalo

Native American performers, craftspeople, teachers and healers will be taking part in the Strawberry Moon Festival on June 22 at Artpark in Lewiston. Festivalgoers will experience Indigenous art, food, dance, storytelling, hands on creative workshops, the Smoke Dance Competition and more from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Students from the Tuscarora School will share their tradi…

Buffalo

The Buffalo Green Code was the co-winner of the Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Codes Award, presented Saturday at a ceremony of the Congress of New Urbanism in Louisville, Ky. The Buffalo Green Code was adopted in January 2017 after a seven-year process. Sharing the award was the Lafayette Downtown Code of Lafayette, La. The Canton Village Districts Code of Canton, Conn…

Buffalo

A send-off for the Western New York delegation to the Poor People's Moral Action Congress is occurring at 1:15 p.m. Sunday at the Tri-Main Center, 2495 Main St., in the parking lot nearest to Rodney Avenue and Halbert Street. Over 60 statewide representatives are expected to join hundreds of others in Washington, D.C., on Monday for the Poor People’s Moral Action Congre…

Buffalo

The rain is expected to taper off through the day following a record amount of precipitation Saturday, but it could return in a big way on Thursday. "The big concern for this week will be Thursday or Thursday night," said meteorologist Jim Mitchell of the National Weather Service. "It appears that a potentially heavy rain will be moving into the area into early Frida…

Local News

Doors will open to the public Saturday at three dozen buildings that most people see only from the outside. The public will be invited into theaters, churches and medical buildings from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Government buildings, a community college, banks and media stations are also putting out the welcome mat as part of Doors Open Buffalo. “We have seen Doors Open even…