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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 Niagara River Greenway Commission this week endorsed five projects, making them eligible to access an annual pool of $9 million aimed at creating an interconnected system of parks and recreational sites.Without one dissenting vote cast, the commission gave its blessing to:*A proposal from Erie County officials to make improvements at Black Rock Canal Park, al…

About 30 people demonstrated outside the new Yahoo data center Monday afternoon to oppose the state's plan to collect taxes on cigarettes sold by Native Americans to non-Indians.With signs that included "Break a Treaty, Break the Law" and "Honor Indian Treaties: No NYS Tax," the protesters hoped Gov. David A. Paterson, who attended Monday's ceremonial ribbon-cuttin…

Donald Meckle was an armor specialist in the 15th Air Force when he was shot down on a bombing run over Europe during World War II.Meckle, who turned 90 this week, spent six months as a prisoner of war.Meckle and other World War II POWs were acknowledged at a ceremony Friday as part of National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day.They also did some of…

Developer David L. Ulrich on Wednesday continued making his pitch for Niagara County Community College to locate its planned culinary arts institute on Canal Street.The college's current plans -- described as a $13.2 million hospitality and tourism school -- call for the project to be located in part of the former Rainbow Centre mall in Niagara Falls.Ulrich, toutin…

City lawmakers Tuesday night approved a spending plan for next year that would trim a proposed tax increase and reduce the city work force by seven positions.In a series of votes, the Common Council passed a $47.6 million spending plan that carries a tax rate increase of about 5 percent.Under the Council's version of the budget, the tax rate would increase to $13.1…

The first fight in the race to represent an Assembly district that covers more than half of Niagara County hits the voting booth Tuesday.In the Democratic primary, challenger John G. Accardo, a former Niagara Falls city councilman, faces incumbent Francine DelMonte, who is finishing her fifth term as assemblywoman from the 138th Assembly District.When asked why h…

Drivers who got anywhere near the South Grand Island Bridges on Friday morning paid for it with lost time, idling engines and plenty of stress.Because of several problems encountered by a state contractor, the northbound span between the Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island reopened nearly six hours behind schedule, leaving commuters stuck in a morning rush hour tr…

Seneca Nation leaders have renounced violence, urged calm and tried to dampen the emotion in the buildup to the state's attempt to collect taxes on cigarettes.Even so, some emotion -- mostly frustration -- has bubbled up from the Cattaraugus Reservation.With questions about potential economic harm from a successful attempt at tax collection, sometimes it sounds lik…

Erie County risks the loss of state funding and a dip in its credit rating, according to County Comptroller Marc C. Poloncarz, unless County Executive Chris Collins signs off on an audit.That is all that is needed to complete an outside auditor's review of the county's books from last year, Poloncarz's office said this week.In response, Collins said the county face…

City lawmakers Tuesday night removed capital funding to upgrade the city's 911 system from next year's proposed budget, in effect endorsing a move to have Police Department dispatchers work out of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in Lockport.Members of the Common Council agreed to cut $275,000 from Mayor Robert G. Ortt's proposed capital spending plan for 2011 d…

The speeds in the Niagara River near Gratwick-Riverside Park in North Tonawanda could top 170 mph this weekend.But that's not how quickly the water will be flowing -- it's what will be racing on top.Thunder on the Niagara, put on by the Niagara Frontier Boat Racing Association, will be held today and Sunday.The two days of racing feature hydroplane and boat races, wi…

A Lockport developer wants Niagara County Community College to place its planned culinary arts institute on Lockport's Canal Street block.David L. Ulrich has sent a letter to college President James P. Klyczek offering to develop the land for the proposed $13.2 million hospitality and tourism school.The Canal Street site, which overlooks Lockport's Erie Canal locks…