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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

A burning Bills fan

Forbes magazine claims the Bills are likely to leave town. The Wall Street Journal says our fans are too rowdy.

How about some comments about our team from someone who actually knows sports?

Talker Jim Rome heaped praise on Buffalo following an interview with receiver Lee Evans on Thursday. The host of "Jim Rome Is Burning" insisted he never roots for teams to win -- but admitted he makes exceptions.

"I would like the Buffalo Bills to be good," Rome told his national audience on ESPN. "It's better for the show, I respect Buffalo as a community that loves their football team. I respect their fans, I know how badly they want it, I know how tough it's been.

"And maybe I probably shouldn't be biased that way, [but] I like it when Buffalo is good, and they are."

As Rome would put it, sounds like some good "Jungle Karma."


The real Canada

Sarah Palin was born in Idaho, rose to political prominence in Alaska and has become a hit with adoring crowds in small towns across the United States.

But the Republican vice presidential nominee, who freely professes her love of "Real America," might want to cast her rhetorical net a little farther north.

The political phenom has Canadian roots, according to a recent article in the St. Catharines Standard and other Ontario papers., a genealogical Web site, found that Palin's great-great-great-grandfather was born in Kingston and married in St. Catharines.

Officials with the site speculated that Palin might have living Canadian relatives.

Keep that in mind if you see someone at the outlet mall wearing designer Japanese glasses and walking with a dude dressed in snowmobiling gear.


Heavy duty

When the San Diego Chargers departed Buffalo after last Sunday's lights-out loss to the Buffalo Bills, they made local travel history.

The team, headed to London to play the New Orleans Saints, boarded a chartered Boeing 747 and flew nonstop to Heathrow Airport. It was the first direct, "across-the-pond" flight out of Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The jumbo aircraft, chartered through Northwest Airlines, also turned a lot of heads because aircraft that large rarely make a Buffalo appearance.

The last time a 747 touched down at the Cheektowaga airfield was April 20, 2004, when President Bush flew into town on Air Force One.

Weight limits for overpasses at the airport prohibit regularly scheduled flights by 747s and other jumbo jets.

A Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority official noted that the heft of all those Chargers -- led by 348-pound tackle Jamal Williams -- combined with the size of plane, probably made it the heaviest flight the airport will ever see.


Officer Whatshisname

Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to introduce me?

This week, the East Aurora Village Board got a chance to meet recently hired Police Officer Dustin Waldron.

The new officer, a former Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputy, sat patiently through a long, emotionally charged board meeting about a lot of hot-button issues.

When it finally came time for the introduction, Police Chief Ronald Krowka presented "Officer Dustin Hoffman."

This broke all the tension in the board room. When Krowka wondered why residents and board members were chuckling, he was told he'd just introduced the officer as the famous actor.

"Did I say that?" Krowka asked aloud.

Village Administrator Kimberly Reichert, also laughing, replied: "Yes."

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Matt Glynn, Sharon Linstedt and Karen Robinson.


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