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Off Main Street /

Gastronomical warfare

After a week of Canal Fest, harmonious feelings between the Tonawandas are high.

Except when it comes to the gridiron. Then all bets are off, except one. Alumni of the Tonawanda Warriors and North Tonawanda Lumberjacks squared off July 11 in the second annual alumni football game.

The T-NT rivalry is one of the fiercest in local high school sports.

Tonawanda 4th Ward Alderwoman Jenna N. Koch proposed a gastronomical wager to her counterparts in the North Tonawanda Common Council: Nite-mare subs (steak, cheese, sausage and peppers) from Galassi’s Sub Shop in North Tonawanda for her Council if the Warriors won, or Warrior Combos (beef on weck and five chicken wings served with french fries) from Squire’s Tap Room for North Tonawanda’s lawmakers if the Lumberjacks were victorious.

Second Ward Alderwoman Donna Braun – and a member of the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame — accepted Koch’s challenge and will soon be chowing down on a Warrior Combo. NT won, 18-0.

No word on if the bet included a side of antacids.

His cup runneth over

Restaurateur Russell Salvatore has a well-earned reputation for giving to local charities, including the Variety Club of Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and various civic causes in his own backyard of Lancaster.

Recently, Salvatore donated $34,000 worth of gym equipment to the Cayuga Club Lancaster Police Benevolent Association for its first-ever fitness room at the new police station on Pavement Road, allowing officers to work out before their shifts or after, or during their lunch breaks.

The cops are grateful, of course. Monday, they will hold a brief ceremony to recognize Salvatore with a plaque to be displayed in the fitness room.

Salvatore is not bashful about acknowledging his generosity to the community.

“Over the years, I think I have given enough to Chinese auctions, benefits and other charities that I could probably settle the national debt,” he posted on the website for his grand hotel and Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More.

“But that’s OK. I love doing, it and I love working this hard to be able to do it,” he added.

Initial impressions count

When is it worth using the middle initial in your name?

When the name is something simple, like Matt Smith, and the reason is something pretty important.

Matt G. Smith, subject of a story today in WNY Refresh, heads a nonprofit agency on Linwood Avenue that’s in the business of preventing addiction.

He wanted the “G.” firmly ensconced in the story.

“Please do,” he said. “When I tried to get the background check to buy my home, we were there for half the day. I’m not the Matt Smith that sold the lemon car, I’m not the Matt Smith that stood you up at the prom.

“I might be the Matt Smith you owe 20 bucks to,” he said. “That’s possible.”

Double rainbow tour

A rare sight followed the brief torrential downpour that threatened to halt pop-rock singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles’ performance Wednesday at Artpark in Lewiston.

It was the elusive double rainbow, acknowledged in some cultures as a sign of good luck.

A couple of days after the event, the Grammy-nominated singer posted pictures of it on Instagram.

A note of appreciation to her Western New York fans for their loyalty and resilience during the raging storm also was posted on Bareilles’ Twitter account.

“Double Rainbow for the most resilient crowd ever. Thank you Lewiston. Fuh real.”

The Eureka, Calif., native has released four studio albums and has been nominated for four Grammys. She is, perhaps, best known for her 2007 hit, “Love Song.”

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

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