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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Veep written all over him

You might not think they have much in common. But Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown shares at least a couple of executive traits with Sarah Palin, the ex-mayor on the Republican presidential ticket.

A recent New York Times story said Palin, as mayor of Wasilla, slapped a gag order on city employees. Nobody could talk to reporters.

One of Brown's more controversial moves was to forbid all but top city officials from speaking to the media.

The two are also on the same page when it comes to driving privileges.

Buffalo's mayor recently moved to cut the number of city employees who get take-home vehicles. However, Brown retained the rights to his own city-owned, take-home car.

When Palin became mayor, she used city funds to buy a white Suburban for take-home use.

We don't want to jump to conclusions, but it sounds like Brown has what it takes to be a vice presidential candidate.


The sidewalk lady

Amherst resident Maureen Roeder may have received her ticket on the fast train to fame, or at least a sidewalk citation on the uneven stroll to notoriety.

The Wisteria Avenue homeowner came to Monday's Amherst Town Board meeting and complained that she and her neighbors had received letters stating they had to 60 days to repair their sidewalks.

The sidewalks are uneven because the roots of town trees have lifted the slabs, and she estimated she'd have to shell out a whopping $800 to fix hers.

Times are tough. Christmas is coming. And it's the town's fault her neighborhood's sidewalks are damaged, she figures.

Bottom line, she just can't afford it. So she's bracing for the consequences.

"They say they're going to charge me $25 0/1 5 days in jail," Roeder said. "I would make national news. I would be like the deer lady from Cheektowaga."

Let's hope it doesn't come to that. And even if it does, Anita Depczynski spent only seven days in jail after eight violations. So, that's good, right?


Doubles partners

Billionaire Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano caused a stir Wednesday when he brought onetime tennis star Monica Seles to the announcement of his $10 million gift to Niagara University.

When the Paychex founder took questions from the audience, Channel 2 Red Coater Addie Bradshaw yelled from the back, "We're all dying to know why Monica Seles is here."

Golisano replied that the pair met at the Ice Bowl and "we've been friends ever since."

We're told Seles has been a Sabres fan for a while, an interest that rubbed off on her from Jimmy Arias, a Grand Island native and former tennis pro.

Seles, 34, went to the Sabres game in Tampa last October.

She mentioned then that she'd like to attend the Winter Classic outdoor game in Buffalo. When Golisano, 66, found out, he invited her to sit in his box at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The rest is history, but not everyone is happy.

"[G]olisano dates monica seles and it seems as though he's lost his interest in owning the team ever since," someone wrote on the team's Web site.


Chip off the old Bucki

Sept. 8, 2008, is a day that U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Carl L. Bucki, and his lawyer son, Craig R. Bucki, will not soon forget.

Craig Bucki, 25, an Amherst native who graduated from Yale University and Columbia Law School, was officially admitted to practice law in federal court.

His father stood beside Bucki and made the motion that is required for him to be accepted to practice in federal court. District Judge John T. Curtin admitted the younger Bucki.

"I was proud and delighted, because I was admitted, also by Judge Curtin," Judge Bucki said. "That was 30 years earlier, almost to the day."

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Donn Esmonde, Sandra Tan, Jay Rey and Dan Herbeck.


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