Aaron Mansfield, The Buffalo News
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Aaron Mansfield


Pam Bartkowski will never forget the scene three years ago, when she and her father, Richard Snethen, visited the National World War II Memorial.An Army veteran, Snethen wore his old uniform and all his medals as they visited the monument in Washington, D.C.When Snethen’s shoestring came undone, Bartkowski told him, “Dad, stand still and let me tie your shoe.”A stran…

Say the name Byron Brown Jr. to anyone in Buffalo, and if they know anything at all about him, they recall “the incident.”They know about the crashed SUV, the grainy surveillance footage, the sheepish mayor holding a news conference to admit that he had been wrong – that the perpetrator was, in fact, his son.But they don’t know Byron Brown Jr. How could they? He is…

Laser lights dance on the floor. A guitar solo rings from one arcade game as “pew, pew, pew!” dings from another. It’s like a rave in here.Welcome to John Barsh’s basement.Barsh, of Strykersville, has about 40 arcade games at his home, complete with the LED lights, subwoofers and other customizations he installed. Fifteen of them are pinball machines.On one of his…

Mayor Byron W. Brown scanned the fresh-faced Buffalo police recruits and offered words of optimism that rang with a bit of a challenge.“I look forward to seeing all of you in six months being sworn in,” the mayor said. “I expect each and every one of you to make it through the academy.”Out of the nearly 500 names on the initial police list, 19 people – 11 men, ei…

The video is haunting. Nine teenage boys chase, and eventually catch up with, senior citizen James C. LeGrand. Once they take LeGrand down, the group repeatedly kicks and punches him.LeGrand, now 67, is a member of the Mayor’s Impact Team who was working at Shoshone Park in North Buffalo that day in May 2013. He was cleaning out his car when he saw there was a fight betw…

The Buffalo teenager had just finished a workout. It was 10 p.m. on Monday, and the boy – who recently turned 16 – decided to go for a walk to cool off.He grabbed his phone and popped in his headphones. Music for the walk.While he strolled down the 800 block of Parkside Avenue, a 1999 Mercedes Benz pulled up. A man in his late teens got out of the driver’s side and a…

When the calendars flipped from June to July, Buffalo received a new distinction: It assesses the least expensive fines for parking tickets of any major city in upstate New York.Syracuse jacked up the cost of most parking tickets by $5 at the beginning of July, and the cost of parking illegally in a space for the handicapped – the biggest change – increased by $25.So t…

Three people were rescued Sunday from Lake Erie after their small boat crashed onto the breakwater at Buffalo Harbor. One of the three was thrown into the water.The Coast Guard, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and a good Samaritan helped rescue the people, according to the Coast Guard.A report of an 18-foot boat grounded on the breakwater had been received by the Coast…

Three people were rescued Sunday from Lake Erie after their small boat crashed onto the breakwater at Buffalo Harbor. One of the three was thrown into the water.The Coast Guard, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and a good Samaritan helped rescue the people virtually unharmed, according to the Coast Guard.A report of an 18-foot boat grounded on the breakwater had been rec…

Children jumped around in a bounce house, blew bubbles and soaked each other with water guns – a welcome reprieve on a sunny summer day. Adults danced to live music, shared laughs and rubbed each other with baby powder – a cultural sign of geniality.Everyone enjoyed the food – from fried bananas and spicy chicken kabobs to Burmese dishes like mont lone yay paw, or su…

Candace Cartagena was found guilty on second-degree murder today in the death of her 8-year-old daughter Bianca more than three years ago in her East Amherst home.Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk read his verdict from the bench five days after listening to closing arguments in the nonjury trial. Cartagena, 35, will be sentenced at 2 p.m. Aug. 26.Bianca’s father, Rube…

A heavyset man bounced up and down and clapped along to the glockenspiel as a thick cigar rested between his lips.A woman tilted her head and smiled for a photo while wearing a shirt that read, “Everyone loves a drunk Polish girl.” Another woman sported a shirt with the caption, “It’s not a party until the kielbasa comes out.”A truck bearing the words “Polish a…

For two months straight, Lauren Matz had a date with her dictionary after washing the dinner dishes. Thankfully, she was studying an abridged version – only 1,600 pages. As she flipped through the pages, she would fill up Steno Pads with words that looked to be “good spelling words.” “I studied fiercely,” she said.The dedication paid off. On July 12, Matz, a St. …

This much is known about Jennifer Spillman Martello’s ill-fated walk early Tuesday morning along Big Tree Road in Hamburg: The 29-year-old mother was on a narrow shoulder facing traffic, on a two-lane, unlighted road in the dead of night when she was apparently struck by a vehicle.Martello was about 200 yards from her home on the other side of the road, headed away from …

This much is known about Jennifer Spillman Martello’s ill-fated walk early Tuesday morning along Big Tree Road in Hamburg: The 29-year-old mother was on a narrow shoulder facing traffic, on a two-lane, unlighted road in the dead of night when she was apparently struck by a vehicle.Martello was about 200 yards from her home on the other side of the road, headed away from …