Share this article

print logo

OFF MAIN STREET / The offbeat side of the news

Traveling pants

Chris Collins, the former Erie County executive now running for Congress, decided he needed a couple of pairs of jeans to wear on the campaign trail in the district's rural parts.

The wealthy businessman can afford to buy designer jeans at any high-end clothing store.

So where did he get them? BJ's Wholesale Club.

"For me, BJ's is the place to go," Collins told us. He said he's been buying his casual clothes there for years.

Collins owned only one pair of jeans, so he picked up two pairs of Calvin Klein jeans for $24.99 each.

We heard about this from Linda Soltis, who knows Collins and his wife, Mary, and thought the world should know about Collins' frugal habits.

Collins is campaigning against David Bellavia in the Republican primary, so we asked Bellavia where he buys jeans.

He told us he has a few pairs of Gap jeans he's owned for a while, before joking that he can't afford to belong to an "exclusive club" like BJ's.


Here's THE question

After wooing tourists and a throng of reporters with his plans to walk across Niagara Falls, Nik Wallenda met a group of fifth-graders last week to talk about -- what else? -- making healthy choices.

At least one school administrator noted the irony of a stuntman giving such advice to students. But during the question-and-answer session, one brave Kalfas Magnet School student stole the show.

"I don't mean to be rude," the student said, "but are you crazy?"

Wallenda, for the first time in months, was finally thrown off balance.


A good sport

Talk about taking things in stride.

East Aurora Village Trustee Patrick Shea certainly did so.

In last week's Off Main Street, we wrote of the debate about how certain signs look in East Aurora. Village Trustee Ernest Scheer, who had complained about Dunkin Donuts' signs, backed off his criticism, quipping that he's a regular customer, as evidenced by his physique.

An editing mistake attributed his comment to Shea.

So, of course, the good-natured Shea brought a dozen Dunkin Donuts to Monday's Village Board meeting. And he looked forward to kidding The Buffalo News scribe, who was unable to attend.

"I brought a dozen doughnuts and then you don't show up," Shea told The News this week. "Ernie and I were joking between us and talking about the [quote], and I began to think, 'Am I having mental lapses? Did I really say it?' "

Shea, who found humor in the mixup, said he was thrilled just to get his name in the paper. "I don't usually get quoted, and people were still talking to me about it today. You retract it, and I might sue you," Shea said.


After 15 years, a price hike

Elected officials in Cheektowaga know it can be political suicide to mess with issues important to senior citizens.

Apparently, the message hasn't reached Juan Valdez.

Last week, coffee prices at the Cheektowaga Senior Center doubled.

That's not news to the billions of coffee drinkers who have been shelling out more for a cup of joe the last few years. But seniors in Cheektowaga were insulated from price spikes -- until now.

A "Coffee Service Update" was published in bold letters at the bottom of the senior center's May newsletter. The notice reminded seniors that a cup of coffee in the center's lobby has remained just a quarter for 15 years before alerting them that the price would go up to 50 cents this month.

"The good news is we are offering a slightly larger cup," the notice stated. "We ask that, on your honor, you now put TWO QUARTERS in the cup when you help yourself to coffee. If you are someone using your own larger cup (like a travel mug), we ask you to throw in even a bit more to make it fair for everyone."

The message added: "Thank you for your expected cooperation. We need to cover more of the cost of the coffee service or we may have to discontinue it."

Bold flavor indeed.

Written by Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Charlie Specht, Karen Robinson, T.J. Pignataro and Stephen T. Watson.