Aaron Besecker - The Buffalo News

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Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker is a breaking news and criminal justice reporter for The Buffalo News. He has been a News staff reporter since '07.


The city administration is working with a group looking to land an outdoor theater project and a 700-seat amphitheater in the Lumber City.Officials have begun talks with the Erie Canal Theatre Project to possibly host historical dramatic plays in one of two city parks.All sides admit it's early in the process, as representatives will be invited to discuss their plans befor…

The region's air quality has shown slight improvement in recent years, according to a report from the American Lung Association of New York State.For the first time in its annual "State of the Air" report, smog levels in two of three area counties received a grade above failing.Tests in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties indicated the area's air quality has followed a s…

Another dispute surfaced Wednesday between federal officials and some members of the community over whether enough information has been collected and is being considered as part of an ongoing investigation into environmental contamination.Several residents who spoke at a public information session in the Lewiston Senior Center questioned the adequacy of data gathered by th…

Some members of the city Planning Commission will meet with state Transportation Department officials Thursday to discuss the agency's view on the expected traffic effects of a proposed Wal-Mart.Regional Transportation Department representatives -- who recently provided the city written comments on the development's impacts but declined an invitation to attend a public mee…

The Common Council will consider a measure Tuesday that calls for the return of an ousted cable television talk show host.The resolution calls for the Lockport Community Television board of directors to reinstate Tom Christy, the long-time volunteer host of "Legislative Journal," an interview and call-in program that featured interviews with area government officials.The s…

About 650 residents and parents packed the Wilson High School auditorium and gymnasium Thursday night to talk with school and police officials in the aftermath of an alleged incident of sexual abuse on a school bus involving members of the baseball team.Many residents expressed support for the two teachers who have been charged in the case. Others criticized the media cove…

Business along the Erie Canal got off to a rocky start this year for Mike Murphy.After successfully pushing to keep the canal's locks and lift bridges open past 5 p.m. for most of the season, the owner of Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises sees another hurdle.For the first time in three years, the state will impose tolls for recreational boaters when the New York canal …

The Niagara Power Coalition agreed Wednesday to have its members review a "simplified" set of spending rules for projects on the planned Niagara River Greenway, the latest move in a continuing disagreement with the New York Power Authority.The new proposal would permit a majority of an eight-member review panel to determine whether a proposed project meets the standards of…

A leading advocate for cleanup of Niagara County hazardous-waste sites has resigned from her post in a community advisory group.Amy H. Witryol, 49, of Lewiston, has stepped down as a member of the steering committee of the Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board.The group, known as the LOOW RAB, was formed to connect the public with the U.S. Army Corps of E…

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. brought his message of preserving the environment here Saturday afternoon as he took aim at what he called "the corrosive impact" of corporate influence on democracy in the United States.Speaking to a crowd on the campus of Stella Niagara, Kennedy also faulted the American media for what he said was failing to live up to their important duty of proper…

LOCKPORT -- It's all about the little things for Jane Whitmore.From taking care of the flowers in front of City Hall to dissecting the origins of visitors to the Lockport Locks on the Erie Canal, Whitmore waits for no one to help move her adopted hometown forward.And for her dedication, she will receive the Erie Canal Discovery Center's "Key to the Locks" award during an e…

A newly restored artillery exhibit that features reproductions of 18th-century cannons will be dedicated during a ceremony this afternoon at Old Fort Niagara.The five-gun, fully functional Dauphin Battery was built by the French in 1756.The project, which cost about $180,000, was funded through a 2006 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant."One of our prior…

Those waiting for a decision on a proposed Wal-Mart Supercenter here can see the light at the end of the tunnel.The city Planning Commission could decide in 10 days whether it has enough information on the environmental effects of a proposed retail store to move forward with a final decision, the head of the commission said Thursday.When the body holds its next meeting May…

Chris and Kelly Bossert hoped to make their neighborhood safer for their son with autism.And now they want to turn their triumph into an opportunity for other parents of children with developmental delays.Their 5-year-old son, Aiden, sometimes doesn't listen to his parents and will run out into the street.Wednesday morning, city crews installed four caution signs that read…

The battle against a deteriorating housing stock may be waged through a proposed requirement for landlords to register with the city.Members of the Common Council on Tuesday discussed a tool that would strengthen their leverage over owners of property in need of repairs or improvement.The Council reviewed an existing proposal in the City of Lockport and promised to adjust …