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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.


Jaleel Younger, a freshman at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School, goes to the Father Belle Community Center on a daily basis.The 14-year-old started doing that nearly three years ago, volunteering to help teach 9- and 10-year-olds at a summer camp.He liked it so much, and saw himself as being able to work well with children, that he began helping with an after-school…

For the second straight night, state environmental regulators took a lot of heat for their draft plan many believe would, if adopted, pave the way for the expansion of CWM Chemical Services.Thursday evening's public hearing took place at ground zero for toxic landfilling in New York -- the towns of Lewiston and Porter, home to CWM, the Northeast's only hazardous waste land…

Members of the public Wednesday night denounced a draft plan from state environmental regulators that they said proposes to keep Niagara County as the state's only place to landfill hazardous waste.More than 70 people gathered in Niagara Falls Public Library to voice their opinions on the Department of Environmental Conservation's preliminary framework for handling the tre…

The sister of a Niagara Falls man who earlier this month fatally shot his estranged wife in front of family members and later killed himself in an Amherst motel room has been arrested on charges of hindering prosecution.Valerie J. Holliday, of Lockport, turned herself in to Falls police Friday, her 32nd birthday, said Detective Capt. Ernest C. Palmer.Her brother, Charles R…

A South Buffalo group home under fire after complaints by neighbors will remain closed, at least for now, operators say.City inspectors imposed a cease-and-desist order on the property at 175 Potters Road, owned by Gateway-Longview, after two weekend drug arrests at the house.The arrests, including one of a 16-year-old, were just the latest signs of trouble that neighbors …

NIAGARA FALLS -- The Rev. Theresa Kime wanted to know where she was in her life.An important relationship had just ended. Raised a Methodist, she had long given up on organized religion.In her search, she found what she was looking for while listening to a preacher in San Francisco.In what she describes as "kind of a flash," Kine said she connected with what she heard from…

For more than two years, a panel of local health and academic experts has been asking federal regulators to pay attention.After all, the members of the Restoration Advisory Board for the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works are trying to help with the cleanup of radiological and chemical contamination left by agencies of the United States government starting almost 70 years …

The legal battle between Mark S. Zito and the Niagara Power Coalition is expected to end soon, according to representatives on both sides.That's hardly a reason for Zito to celebrate.Zito has had two heart attacks, several strokes and lost much of his vision since the legal fight started last year, his attorney, Steven M. Cohen, told The Buffalo News."I think I'm going to …

Charles R. Holliday's trail of violence ended inside an Amherst motel room with a single gunshot wound to the head.Police who found his body Monday morning said the wound was self-inflicted.The mother of his estranged wife only wished the end had come sooner."I wish he would have done that a long time ago, and not killed my daughter," said Norine Vathy, of Niagara Falls. "…

Tuesday, city voters have more on their plate than just the choice between Barack Obama and John McCain. Five proposals to change the structure of city government will appear on the ballot in North Tonawanda, as offered by the city's Charter Review Committee.The proposals to alter the document that establishes how the city government is set up will be voted on individually…

As Election Day approaches, the political rhetoric in the Lumber City is sizzling even though there are no local races this year.But Tuesday's ballot will include five proposed changes to the City Charter, the document that establishes the structure of city government.Two of the changes would alter top city positions.Accusations, meanwhile, are flying back and forth betwee…

Mounting financial strain has forced the city's hospital to look at cutting some medical services.Officials of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center say they plan to change their focus to "core" services -- a move needed as uncompensated care continues to take its toll on the hospital balance sheet.In what they call a "re-invention," they said they expect the hospital to c…

City voters should be wary of a few of the proposed changes to the City Charter that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot, two former members of the committee that drafted the changes say.Bill L. Paton and Paul B. Wojtaszek said they believe voters should think twice before pulling the lever for altering two city positions.Even though supporters argue the moves will save taxpa…

A package containing an unknown substance caused emergency officials to respond to an Amherst collection agency Monday morning, though an investigation found no adverse health effects in any employees.Four mailroom workers at National Action Financial Services on Lawrence Bell Drive encountered the material and called 911 at about 10:40 a.m., Amherst police said.The four w…

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Pennsylvania native who spent part of his military career stationed at Fort Niagara has been recognized for helping to bring to life the area's military history in Fort Niagara State Park.Donald J. Gibbons recently received a formal "thank you" from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for hundreds of hours of volunteer work to be…