The offbeat side of the news - The Buffalo News
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The offbeat side of the news

Shovel off to Buffalo

Here’s another recent example of a Buffalo connection way, way off Main Street.

The U.S. Navy Pacific Command earlier this month recognized the crew of the USS Buffalo for its heavy lifting when it came to making a sizable number of blood donations to the Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Brig. Gen. Dennis Doyle visited the fast attack submarine’s home port in Pearl Harbor to honor the crew, including – you guessed it – a Buffalo-area native, Daniel Wacek.

Wacek, 24, is an Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class.

He hails from Clarence and is among the USS Buffalo crew members who regularly donate blood that ends up going to military families and, in some cases, soldiers and sailors wounded in forward positions.

A recent email exchange with Wacek pointed up what many Western New York families might recognize about loved ones who leave mother ship Buffalo:

What does Wacek miss most about Western New York?

“Chicken wings in general, specifically from Duffs though, and Wing Fest.”

When he comes home, where are the first places he stops?

“Mighty Taco, then usually my parents’ house and my friends’ houses.”

Being based in Hawaii, does he ever miss the Buffalo weather?

“No, tropical weather is better than snow any day of the week. I don’t care what Don Paul says!”

Long story short

Anyone who has seen Lancaster Supervisor Dino J. Fudoli in person knows that he is, um, diminutive in stature.

He’s also muscular in build from working out, and can often be observed sipping energy drinks during Town Board meetings.

Near the conclusion of a recent Town Board meeting, Fudoli abruptly rose from his chair to speak as the rest of the board’s members remained seated. After a few minutes, Fudoli explained that he was standing because his back hurt.

Barely seconds had passed following Fudoli’s explanation, when Depew resident Dan Beutler stepped to the microphone and quipped: “Oh, you’re standing up?”

The inevitable laughter followed from residents, town officials and others at the meeting. To his credit, Fudoli maintained his sense of humor, and afterward indulged in a bit of self-deprecation about his size. When town resident Tom Kaczmarek approached Fudoli to inform the supervisor that he planned to miss the next board meeting because he was heading out of town for a conference, Fudoli replied: “I’m going with you. I’m little and can fit in your suitcase.”

By the way, Fudoli admits to being 5 feet, 3 inches tall.

A listed city

Longtime Western New Yorkers are already well acquainted with the Buffalo region’s abundant gifts in the realms of art, architecture and cuisine.

But for prospective inhabitants who are less informed, the online real estate Movoto Blog can catch them up to speed with its list of “27 Things You Need to Know About Buffalo Before You Move There.” Of course, that could also ruin the sense of discovery for the more adventurous would-be transplant.

Topping Movoto’s list is the fact that Buffalo is the home of the Buffalo wing. It’s hard to believe anybody anywhere doesn’t already know that.

Perhaps less well known is that the Buffalo Zoo is the third-oldest in the nation and that it is home to two incredibly cute polar bear cubs named Luna and Kali. Again, given our winter weary reputation, that’s probably to be expected.

On the less well-publicized side is the fact that Buffalo boasts six Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes (4); is, outside of the occasional blizzard, generally spared Mother Nature’s wrath (16), and relatively tidy amongst American cities (17). OK. Those are definitely worth shouting about.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions from Scott Scanlon and Karen Robinson. email:

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