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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 2007.


NIAGARA FALLS – A waste incinerator operator in the city violated state law when it started construction on a project before its permit application was approved, state environmental regulators said.The state Department of Environmental Conservation said Covanta Niagara violated state environmental law and agency regulations by starting to build a boiler system at its facil…

Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS –The city Planning Board will hold a public hearing Aug. 14 about $30 million in construction projects at a waste incinerator facility that wants to bring in garbage from the New York City area.Covanta Niagara, which burns garbage and turns it into steam and electricity while emitting pollutants into the air, has plans to add a rail spur that would allow it t…

Food and Drink

NIAGARA FALLS – A long-standing city tradition is coming back in full force this year.The Italian Festival will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Pine Avenue between Portage Avenue and 15th Street. It comes a year after a smaller version of the festival was held.Carmine Bianco, who heads a men’s bocce club in the city known as the Pax Romana Commission, is spearheadin…

NIAGARA FALLS - The city’s damaged sewage treatment plant is back online thanks to the installation of five temporary pumps, the city announced this morning.Most of the Niagara Falls’ sewage had been flowing untreated into the Niagara River after a storm shut down most operations at the Buffalo Avenue plant last Friday night.With the temporary pumps online, the plant will …

NIAGARA FALLS – City lawmakers have approved a six-month contract extension with the Niagara County SPCA.The City Council on Wednesday voted, 4-1, to approve a deal for the remainder of the year under which the city will more than double its monthly payment to the agency for dog control and sheltering services.The move will give the city time to evaluate its options for ho…

NIAGARA FALLS – The City Council majority wants more money for the city-owned land in a $25 million proposed downtown development project, but the developer said publicly Wednesday that he won’t pay any more than what already has been offered.Mark E. Hamister, chairman and CEO of the Hamister Group, said he’s not ready to walk away from the project despite the delay in obt…

Featured

NIAGARA FALLS – The estimated cost to repair damage at the city’s sewage treatment plant from last week’s storm is pegged at about $2 million, officials said Wednesday.But that figure may rise if damage to the Buffalo Avenue plant’s main pumps means that they have to be replaced instead of just fixed.The Falls facility, which also treats wastewater from parts of the Town o…

Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS - City Councilman Samuel F. Fruscione is coming under fire for actions related to a business he operates downtown, which includes selling T-shirts depicting mob figures.Fruscione operates a gift shop called Falls Street Emporium on Old Falls Street, across from Niagara Falls State Park, with his brother David Fruscione and cousin Jerry Genova.Pictures of noto…

Much of the raw sewage in Niagara Falls is being dumped into the Niagara River without being treated because the Falls’ treatment plant was shut down by Friday’s wild rainstorm, officials disclosed Monday.Lockport’s sewage treatment plant also was damaged by a heavy flow of stormwater, but it was not completely shut down.“No waste is being treated more than primary treatme…

NIAGARA FALLS – A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen – which would be the second in Western New York – has been proposed for the corner of Niagara Falls Boulevard and Military Road.A proposal for the project will come before the city Planning Board on Wednesday night.The building, to be located in the Mil-Pine Plaza, which is anchored by an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet, would be a 2,190-…

Niagara County

NIAGARA FALLS – They’ve been greeting visitors to downtown for a couple of months now.Slowly, they’ve been disappearing, but not as fast as many people would like.Tall weeds – sometimes as high as three feet – sprout from the medians on John Daly Boulevard and Niagara Street. For visitors heading into downtown Niagara Falls, especially those on their way to Seneca Niagara …

Business

NIAGARA FALLS – Sitting among chemical industry giants, once the backbone of the Niagara Falls economy, JBI Inc. is turning plastic waste into energy.The company’s processors take shredded plastic pieces and make fuel more cheaply than at typical refineries. They’re also powered by the fuel they produce.The emissions that are released into the air are similar to a natural …

NIAGARA FALLS – Democratic voters in the city will have a September primary to choose City Council candidates for November’s general election.Four candidates, including the three incumbents, turned in petitions to run for the three open Council seats by Thursday’s 5 p.m. deadline.Any petitions being submitted by mail to the Niagara County Board of Elections had to be postm…

The City of Niagara Falls has asked a judge to stop the Niagara County SPCA from cutting off dog control services, which the agency announced on Thursday it planned do after contract talks broke off last week.The city is seeking a temporary restraining order against the agency’s move to terminate some services Monday, a move the agency says is necessary after the city had …

NIAGARA FALLS – City lawmakers have put off a decision on whether to extend the city’s contract with the nonprofit agency that’s been promoting Niagara Falls to potential visitors from across the country and around the world.The City Council on Monday night voted, 3-2, to table a proposed one-year extension of an agreement with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. The …