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Off Main Street /

Dumping on recycled name

The proposal to name a Niagara County office building after William L. Ross, the retiring County Legislature chairman, brought some light-hearted criticism this week from one of Ross’ old sparring partners.

Rosemary Warren of Sanborn, a former president of the Niagara Wheatfield Board of Education, came to Tuesday’s Legislature meeting to josh Ross during the public comment period. Besides his service in elective office, Ross worked for 47 years at Niagara Wheatfield as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and athletic director, where, he said, Warren used to ride herd on the bills he submitted with a purple pen.

Ross, 81, has served 22 years in the Legislature, including a record 12 years as chairman, and also has been a town councilman in both Wheatfield and in the Town of Niagara.

Warren said that when she heard that Ross might be honored with a building name, “I wondered why it took so long, and then I went to the archives and found that there wasn’t any building old enough.”

Instead of naming a building after Ross, Warren continued, something new should be chosen.

“It could be a giant recycling dumpster that could have the words on it, ‘In honor of Bill Ross, who’s been recycled in public office many times,’ ” she said.

Harmonious chambers

At last, harmony is coming to the Buffalo Common Council chambers.

At noon Thursday, the Council’s ornate quarters in City Hall will play host to a concert of classical music. The concert is part of a series called Music in Buffalo’s Historic Places, led by University at Buffalo pianist Eric Huebner. It will include music by Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as Bela Bartok and other composers who were active in the 1930s, when City Hall first opened. Huebner, in announcing the concert, waxed rhapsodic about the beauty of the concert venue.

“It is widely regarded as one of the finest City Council chambers in the country,” he wrote. “The chamber features a beautiful stained glass sunburst and inlaid walnut woodwork and is ringed by stone pillars representing the virtues Council members were expected to maintain.”

Shall we not continue to expect Council members will maintain those virtues?

Perhaps that is something on which to meditate as we listen. The concert lasts from noon until 1 p.m. Admission is free.

‘FOILed’ again

Just to be clear, the Town of Amherst has a “FOIL Board,” not a foil board.

The former is a committee that reviews public requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Law, or FOIL. The latter is a cardboard with an aluminum foil lining used to make containers and packaging.

Apparently, there was some confusion about this recently when Town Attorney E. Thomas Jones received an email from a potential customer looking to buy foil board. The email inquired about sizes, prices and whether credit cards are accepted.

Jones quipped: “I might have to consult our Ethics Board to see if we can sell our FOIL Board.”

Flashy state vehicles

The next time you see flashing lights behind you on the road, it could be the governor or some other state official.

According to a story last week in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the state Department of Motor Vehicles adopted a new rule in April allowing Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, as well as two of Cuomo’s top aides and three state commissioners the right to affix emergency lights on any vehicle they own or operate. The official state register now treats their vehicles the same as “authorized emergency vehicles,” exempting them from certain traffic laws, but only when they are officially responding to a disaster or emergency. The idea behind the flashing lights is the officials will no longer need a police escort in such cases.

But will they continue to use police escorts anyway? We’ll see.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions from Thomas J. Prohaska, Mary Kunz Goldman and Jay Rey. email: offmain@buffnews.com.