Lou Michel - The Buffalo News

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Lou Michel

Lou Michel is the main crime reporter for The Buffalo News, coauthor of the bestseller, "American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing." He has received numerous state and national journalism awards.


A slab of concrete caked with snow and ice juts out of frigid Lake Ontario, serving as both relic and reminder of this once-thriving lakeside hamlet's past.The concrete slab was the foundation of a pier that belonged to the 100-room Olcott Beach Hotel. The International Railway Co., the hotel's owner, brought guests in by the trolley loads. Times were good back at the turn…

A 2,400-mile walk tracing the footsteps of runaway slaves who used the underground railroad to gain freedom will lead to even greater numbers of tourists visiting Niagara Falls.Kevin E. Cottrell, president of the Underground Railroad Committee of the Niagara Frontier, made that prediction at a Saturday news conference to announce details of the walk and appeal for financi…

A give-and-take session Tuesday among Town Board members and 150 residents over the town's hefty budget surplus and the spending of tax dollars to assist businesses prompted a litany of explanations, suggestions and complaints.The meeting was suggested by State Supreme Court Justice Jacqueline M. Koshian last week at a hearing where the attorney for 37 petitioners was pr…

Property taxes now can be paid in two equal installments -- one in August and one in November -- thanks to action by the School Board Thursday.The board unanimously approved the installment plan, which was suggested last year by many property owners who said the large amount due in school taxes at one time was a burden."We asked citizens at last June's budget hearing how …

Lockport Common Council members Wednesday expanded the city's annual budget-development process to give themselves and residents a greater chance to provide input on how tax dollars should be spent in future budgets.Work on the budget will now begin July 1 with Council members and department heads meeting in committee sessions to compile anticipated spending needs for the …

An ambitious expansion plan to increase passenger and cargo facilities at Niagara Falls International Airport, based on optimistic projections for future use of the airport, was outlined Tuesday.Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority officials and consultants hired to revise the airport's 11-year-old master plan told the nine people at an update session in the airport…

Arthur Taylor, a fine arts instructor at Niagara County Community College, has a plan for helping young people in the Highland Avenue area to vent their aggression in a positive manner.A Taylor plan to open a dinner theater featuring local youths in July in a Highland Avenue restaurant will leave a good taste in everyone's mouth.Taylor, who writes, directs and often perf…

There is an empty seat at the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy in Sanborn that serves as "a grim reminder" to new police recruits that guns are dangerous and rules for firearms must be obeyed.John Cerminara, a newly appointed Niagara Falls police officer in his second week of training at the academy on the Niagara County Community College campus, died Tuesday after…

A newly appointed Niagara Falls police officer who accidentally shot himself to death while riding in a pickup driven by a friend did not realize the gun was loaded, police said Tuesday.Officer John Cerminara, 26, was off duty at 10:21 p.m. Monday when he shot himself in the right temple with a small-caliber handgun while the truck traveled on Niagara Falls Boulevard near …

A total of $1.2 billion in bridge, highway and mass transit projects for Niagara and Erie counties is proposed in a five-year Transportation Improvement Plan developed by Niagara Frontier Transportation Committee staff members, who outlined the plan at a public hearing Monday in in City Hall.The five-year plan, which is updated yearly, includes 287 projects from all areas…

A decision to allow the Niagara County district attorney's office to prosecute the Newfane man responsible for falsely reporting an airplane crash last month in Somerset has made it possible for the defendant to avoid potentially harsher federal penalties.Wayne A. Michalak, 19, of 6767 Lake Road, who pleaded guilty Thursday in Somerset Town Court to a misdemeanor charge of…

A Niagara County man admitted Thursday that he falsely reported an airplane crash last month in Somerset, triggering a massive land and air search by police agencies and volunteer firefighters.Wayne A. Michalak, 19, of 6767 Lake Road, Newfane, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for using a citizens band radio he had just purchased to report he had been in a plane crash…

A groundswell of grass-roots opposition to the city's reassessment program emerged Wednesday at a meeting attended by more than 600 residents upset over their new property assessments.Dozens of residents, many of them senior citizens, took turns at the microphone in the packed Volare Lodge hall at 56th Street and Kies Avenue to share stories of what they said were reasse…