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.


Saluting Our War Heroes

Walter Kloc always has been ambitious and active -- even these days at 100 years old. When he attended Central Michigan University, he majored in industrial engineering and history. When  World War II started, he spotted an opportunity. Rather than be told which branch of the military to serve in as a draftee, he gave up his education and enlisted in the Army Air Forc…

Local News

Marian Morreale practiced how to stand for the last three months. She is a 94-year-old World War II veteran and her left leg was amputated last year. But she practiced standing so that she could when the national anthem was sung at the opening game of the Sabres tonight. She wanted to make a point. "I think for these young athletes and the salaries they make, the…

Saluting Our War Heroes

Richard J. Stachowiak desperately wanted to follow in his four older brothers' footsteps. They were all serving in World War II. Benny fought as an Army infantry sergeant in the European Theater. Frank rolled through Europe in an Army tank division. Joseph, a Marine, served in the pivotal battle at Guadalcanal in the Pacific Theater and suffered serious wounds. …

Local News

Earlier this week Jerry Reilly's 91-year-old cousin sat on the porch of her Old First Ward home the two had shared as children. She reminisced about the World War II sailor who died 75 years ago with the five Sullivan brothers and nearly 700 other shipmates aboard the USS Juneau. Betty Barrett did not hold back in sharing Reilly's tough upbringing. She knew it would …

Local News

Buffalo lags the national average for solving homicides, clearing barely more than half of 246 killings in the past five years, and now police and prosecutors say it might take more money to boost the clearance rate. The money would pay for bigger rewards to entice witnesses to come forward with information. "Increased witness cooperation is the key to a lot of these…

Saluting Our War Heroes

Jerry Lagenor dropped out of McKinley High School's sheet metal vocational program after tenth grade. He thought he would be better off working for his father's heating and air conditioning business. But when his dad closed up shop to work for a big contractor, Lagenor considered his options. There weren't many. He could continue working at his new place of employment, …

Local News

Armand J. Jolly stood on the bow of the USS Emmons, looking for Japanese kamikaze airplanes. He and the rest of the 300 sailors on the minesweeper had survived naval battles in the Atlantic and Pacific, and they could tell the war was nearing an end. That afternoon — April 6, 1945 — off shore from Okinawa, Jolly spotted an enemy plane. Then dozens more. The fi…

Saluting Our War Heroes

Stanley T. Witczak wanted to do more than just build airplanes for World War II. He wanted to fly and attack the enemy with them. "I was 17 and told my father I wanted to join the Army Air Corps and he said, 'No, no. They'll get you soon enough.' So I continued working at Curtiss Wright ," he said of the warplane manufacturer. The eighth of 13 children, Witczak ha…

Local News

At least eight double-decker shipping containers in a long freight train toppled shortly before 11:30 a.m. Wednesday when they struck a bridge spanning the tracks on Main Street in Buffalo, but no one was injured. Buffalo police said the Canadian Pacific Railway train that derailed on CSX tracks between Greenfield Street and Rodney Avenue did not threaten public safety.…

Saluting Our War Heroes

A love of animals and a goal of helping heal them as a veterinarian technician put Marlene L.  Roll on an unanticipated path to the First Gulf War. Roll spent her freshman year at Canton Agricultural and Technological College in New York's North Country, but the tuition bills  proved more expensive than she had anticipated. So she enlisted as an Army Reservist to pay …

Saluting Our War Heroes

At 17 years old, Gerry Leo headed from Niagara Falls out to Fort Niagara in Youngstown to look into signing enlistment papers with the Navy. But he needed a parent's signature and his father "was not crazy about the idea," Leo recalled. The Vietnam War had not yet escalated, but the Cold War was nearly ablaze with the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 when Leo had spoken…

Saluting Our War Heroes

When Henry "Cowboy" Kusmierczyk learned he could earn more money serving as a paratrooper in World War II, he jumped at the chance. He said he volunteered for the high-risk job after he was drafted and sent to Fort Niagara in Youngstown for his induction into the Army. "Every penny I made went to help my mother. She was an invalid, and I was youngest of eight childre…

Local News

The Buffalo Police Department was one of only three of the nation’s 100 largest departments that went without a fatal shooting by police from the start of 2013 through 2016, according to Mapping Police Violence, an activist website that collects data on police killings nationwide. The other two were the suburban communities of Irvine, Calif., and Plano, Texas. The …

Saluting Our War Heroes

You may wonder how a burst appendix can play into a decision to join the military and serve in the Vietnam War. It happened that way for Norm Murray. When he was 11 years old, his appendix was removed, and he was so impressed with the surgeon that he wanted to become a physician. Years later, when he attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut, he realized the pre-me…

Local News

Ahoy, Tin Can Sailors Association volunteers, who just completed an annual pilgrimage to polish the USS The Sullivans at Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park, are seeking help to locate the family of World War II sailor Jerry Reilly. Reilly, of Buffalo, died aboard the USS Juneau when it was sunk. The five Sullivan brothers were also on that doomed ship at …