The offbeat side of the news - The Buffalo News

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The offbeat side of the news

The ladle by the lake

The installation of a 24-ton steel ladle as a piece of public art at Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park has wearied the board of the Buffalo Urban Development Corp.

They have been talking about it for years, and it turns out it couldn’t even be secured from a Buffalo steel factory. It was imported from Pennsylvania.

The ladle is finally situated near the Union Ship Canal, and finishing touches at the site could be done before winter.

“I can’t wait until this comes off the agenda,” said Craig Slater, chairman of the Real Estate Committee, which oversees the ladle installation.

The ladle, which the organization spent $113,000 to install, was used to transport molten metal and is meant to remind visitors of the area’s steel-producing past, the board was reminded.

“Pittsburgh’s,” said board member Brendan Mehaffy.

Other board members sarcastically commented that perhaps The Buffalo News art critic could visit the ladle and made horrible puns about how a story on the ladle would be a real “scoop.”

Another board member said that it “seemed like a good idea at the time.”

The board, clearly in a snarky mood, was reminded by the corporation’s staff, not too gently, that the public art is part of a master plan for the park that “your staff helped develop.”

Slater responded, “I think there was a lot of drinking.”

Cash restoration needed

These are tough financial times over at the Buffalo Brownfield Restoration Corp. The organization, which is affiliated with the Buffalo Urban Development Corp. and shares office space with the Erie County Industrial Agency, is best known for owning the Trico complex.

But it doesn’t have much money in the bank. Financial statements show the company had $1,309 in cash at the end of September, and board members expressed concern that the corporation would run out of money during a meeting earlier this month.

“We stress the ‘not’ in ‘not for profit,’ said Vice President David A. Stebbins.

Going the distance

The Buffalo Braves may be long gone, but a local company is helping another National Basketball Association team, this one on the West Coast, tip off its season in quirky fashion. Cenergy, a communications firm based in East Aurora, is working with the Portland Trail Blazers and health insurer Moda Health on the “Rip City Relay.”

A ceremonial game ball will journey up the Pacific coastline and over to Portland on a five-day, 211-mile route, arriving at the Moda Center on Nov. 2, in time for the team’s home opener.

Cenergy presented the idea to the Trail Blazers as a way to connect with fans across the state, and the team signed off on it.

Starting Tuesday, participants will dribble, run, walk and pass the ball through a variety of stops, with NBA alumni, mayors and fans among those joining in.

Safe to say no one will be called for traveling.

A taste of Buffalo

A fixture in Buffalo’s Polish community had an opportunity to meet Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski in New York City recently.

Mira Szramel didn’t greet him with pierogi or Polish sausage during their meeting at the Polish Consulate.

That’s because Szramel is the housekeeping and sanitation supervisor at SweetWorks, a Buffalo-based candy manufacturer.

Szramel, principal of Polish Saturday School and chairwoman of the Pulaski Day Parade, brought the visiting president and his wife a chocolate bar.

“President Komorowski and his wife, Anna, first asked me if the enormous SweetWorks Niagara Chocolate bar was real, and when learning that it was, then they lit up with excitement,” she said.

“I think during a long day of meetings and events, such a simple but sweet gift was appreciated.”

Nice to know even world leaders find that chocolate brightens their day.

Written by Jill Terreri, with a contribution from Matt Glynn. email:

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