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The offbeat side of the news

Dueling Dyngus Days

Oh, Lackawanna: Home to Our Lady of Victory Basilica, windmills and now the world’s smallest and newest Dyngus Day parade.

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Fire Marshall Bill Tojek received permission to use Engine 2 to take part in two Dyngus Day Parades scheduled for April 21, the day after Easter.

Engine 2 will be carrying Lackawanna’s Polish firefighters in Buffalo’s Dyngus Day Parade, which runs from the Broadway Market to Pussywillow Park at Central Terminal – just like it did last year.

It will also be a major player in Lackawanna’s first Dyngus Day parade, dubbed by Mayor Geoffrey M. Syzmanski as the world’s smallest. Running from the basilica at 767 Ridge Road to Lackawanna City Hall at 714 Ridge, the 397-foot parade starts after the 12:10 p.m. Mass at the basilica.

Council President Hank Pirowski questioned the need to even start the rig.

“Why don’t we just put it in neutral and give it a push?” he said.

Eyeing the prize

Sled hockey star Adam Page of Lancaster – whose team has won back-to-back gold medals in the Paralympic Winter Games, this year in Sochi and in 2010 in Vancouver – received major kudos Monday night when he was honored at the Lancaster Town Board meeting.

Wearing his team jersey, Page proudly showed his gold medal to each of the board members and some town officials, before posing for photos and receiving a standing ovation from residents at the meeting.

As Town Attorney John Dudziak was looking over the medal, Town Clerk Johanna M. Coleman couldn’t resist giving Page a bit of advice. To Dudziak, she said: “John, give it back.”

To Page, she quipped: “Don’t trust him. He’s a lawyer.”

He won’t run; don’t ask him

State Republicans went casting for a candidate with upstate credentials to go up against state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in the November general election, and turned their attentions to Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw.

But it turns out Mychajliw is not seeking that kind of attention right now, so the usually publicity-hungry Mychajliw released the following statement:

“I am humbled by the attention the work in our office has received statewide and that GOP leaders are hungry to replicate our success in Erie County at the state level. However, I am focused on my job as Erie County Comptroller and serving the taxpayers of Erie County and I will not be a candidate for State Comptroller. I leave the politics to politicians.”

Trial and tribulation

Criminal charges against a defendant in a sex crimes case were exacerbated this week.

Allegedly, one day after the start of his trial, the suspect spotted the prosecuting attorney in the case leaving work in downtown Buffalo. It was reported that he aimed his car at the assistant district attorney, narrowly missed hitting her, but did splash dirty water onto her clothes.

Before jury selection resumed, word of the apparently threatening vehicular gesture got back to Erie County Court Judge Ken Case. Case then learned that it had also been leaked to potential jurors, prompting him to declare a mistrial.

“An unforeseen but somewhat significant issue came up that we’ve been wrestling with all morning,” Case told the would-be jurors, “so we’re going to start a new trial in August.”

Case added: “I thank you for sitting through the last day and a half. You probably feel like you accomplished nothing, but you can count on not being called up again for seven years.”

The civic-minded citizens took the news in stride.

“Do we still get our 40 bucks for the day?” one of them shouted at the judge as he left the courtroom.

“Yes, you do,” said the judge, with a grin.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil with contributions from Jane Kwiatkowski, Karen Robinson and Lou Michel. email:

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