The offbeat side of the news - The Buffalo News

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The offbeat side of the news

Meeting of the minds

A conversation about where to hold future Buffalo School Board meetings took some odd turns this week.

Board member James Sampson suggested all meetings be moved into the community, instead of the cramped and uncomfortable conference room in City Hall. Currently, one of two regular board meetings a month is held in district schools.

Sampson said an average of 120 people attend board meetings held in schools, which offer more seating and better parking. He then pointed to the threadbare audience seats in the board room.

“We have 57 seats here,” he said.

Some board members objected, saying it was difficult for staffers to cart the board members’ supplies – particularly their food – out to these satellite locations. A follower of our live blog wrote in: “It’s called ‘delivery’ for the food.”

A district administrator, meanwhile, stated that the current board room could actually accommodate 100 people. We pondered how that was possible until we realized he was counting the small, windowless waiting room where overflow crowds are typically forced to stand.

Finally, board member Carl Paladino offered his services to knock out some walls and design a bigger, better conference room space for everyone. He said he wants to bring his dog, Duke, to future board meetings, “and he needs space.”

Board member James McCarthy chimed in, “Can I bring my fish?”

Collins alienates scientists

Rep. Chris Collins is known for his skills in business, his love of Lean Six Sigma and his conservative views.

Now, the world also has a window into his television-watching habits.

Wired magazine covered a House Science, Space and Technology Committee meeting this week where the topic was life on other planets.

Astronomer Seth Shostak reminded lawmakers that “the fact that we haven’t found anything means nothing.”

While the researchers were sincere, lawmakers posed questions that Wired deemed insulting.

Collins had only one question.

It wasn’t about science, space or technology. No, the representative from Clarence asked about a television show, according to National Journal.

“I’m going to ask what everyone in the room wants to ask. Have you watched ‘Ancient Aliens,’ and what do you think of that series?”

“Ancient Aliens” is about the “controversial theory that extraterrestrials have visited Earth for millions of years,” according to the website for H2, a History Channel spinoff.

Needless to say, the researchers took a dim view of it and likely their questioner.

A sentence of humor

Ralph X. Gillon, 44, of Niagara Avenue, Niagara Falls, appeared in State Supreme Court in Lockport on Wednesday to plead guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and enter the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. asked, “Are you admitting that on the date in question, that being April 16, 2013, you sold a narcotic drug to a confidential informant, that being cocaine?”

Gillon answered, “Yes. Is there any way I can find out the name of that informant?”

An assistant district attorney told him, “Yes. That would be a trial.”

Kloch told Gillon, “You’ve got to break this drug addiction so you can go into stand-up comedy. You’re really funny. You’re breaking me up here.”

Gillon took the plea without learning who blew him in.

Lockport in tight spot

The City of Lockport has many problems: a financial crisis, streets pocked with potholes, toxic labor relations with its fire union.

So it’s little wonder that the Common Council declined to wade into a new issue raised by resident Susan Wienke.

“I think the city needs a saggy pants policy,” Wienke said this week. “I’m disgusted with looking at underwear.”

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Sandra Tan and Thomas J. Prohaska.


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