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The offbeat side of the news

An old Bill comes due

Does the name Daniel M. Darragh ring a bell with any old-time Bills fans out there?

These days, Darragh is the lead attorney for CWM Chemical Services in its effort to win approval for a new hazardous waste landfill in Niagara County.

Back in 1968, he was one of six quarterbacks on the Bills’ roster in a year that, no doubt, qualifies as among the team’s worst. The Bills went 1-12-1, and rookie Dan Darragh, a 13th-round draft pick from William & Mary, was the opening day starter The Bills lost. In fact, they almost always lost with Darragh at QB. He won only one of 11 career starts in three seasons with the team.

Darragh is proud of his only win as the Bills’ starter, a 37-35 victory over the New York Jets at War Memorial Stadium on Sept. 29, 1968. It wasn’t really Darragh’s doing, though. He went 8-for-18 for 79 yards and an interception, but he beat Jets legend Joe Namath in the year the Jets won the Super Bowl.

“Namath threw seven touchdowns, four to the Jets and three to the Bills,” Darragh recalled.

The three interception returns for scores were by Tom Janik, Booker Edgerson and Butch Byrd.

But Darragh’s real moment of glory came two weeks later in Miami. Barely able to walk because of a right foot injury, Darragh came off the bench and directed a 12-play, 80-yard drive in the last two minutes, ending with a touchdown pass to Gary McDermott with 18 seconds left to bring the Bills a 14-14 tie.

“I can’t say enough about his courage,” Bills coach Harvey Johnson said.

An attorney in Pittsburgh for the past 40 years, Darragh is trying to win a permit to keep the only licensed toxic landfill in New York State in business which, given Niagara County’s environmental history, requires a different type of courage.

Special delivery

Someone on Route 93 in Ransomville has a sense of humor.

Atop a mailbox at the roadside is a 15-foot-tall pole, supporting a second mailbox.

On the side of the upper mailbox is a sign that says “Air Mail.”

Unidentified, but not unsung

A couple of Hamburg police officers have some new duties, but the town is talking about only one of them.

Howard Widman was promoted to detective-temporary by the Town Board Monday, as his family and board members stood around him while Police Chief Gregory Wickett presented him his detective’s badge.

At the same time, the board appointed one unidentified police officer as a narcotics officer. Supervisor Steven Walters said the town policy required that he not disclose the identity of narcotics officers, since it involves undercover work.

But that didn’t stop Councilman Michael Quinn from praising the unnamed officer.

“We want to thank the narcotics officer as well,” he said, adding: “He may be sitting next to you right now.”

Brown’s Council sidekicks

Instead of taking questions from reporters Wednesday, Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown fielded queries from a younger set that was assembled in his outer office.

The 50 boys and girls, who were there as part of a “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” activity in City Hall, had a number of things to ask hizzoner. Perhaps the most interesting came from a girl who wanted to know, if Brown could choose, what super hero would he be, and which councilman would he pick as his sidekick?

Brown took a few seconds to think before finally answering. “Superman,” he replied. “I want to leap buildings and see through walls.”

As for a sidekick, Brown gave what he acknowledged was “a politician’s response.” Since he was planning to present the budget to lawmakers on Friday and wanted the entire Common Council’s support, he told the group, that it was perhaps prudent to pick all nine Council members to be his sidekicks.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska, Barbara O’Brien and Susan Schulman. email: