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It's only a housing project

Eloquence and agitation go hand in hand in the Town of Lancaster, it seems.

At a Zoning Board meeting last week, the air was rife with purple prose, Biblical references and similes that likened the proceedings to a dictatorship.

All this over a variance for a senior citizen complex planned for construction off North Maple Drive.

And this was before and after the police were called in to calm things down.

"You have left your droppings on the people of Lancaster," said one board member in lambasting the developer.

Town resident Jack Scherlein, a former Alden supervisor, compared the meeting to a Nazi gathering after residents were told they could not address the board on the issue.

"It's terrible. It's like the Third Reich," Scherlein said after leaving the board room. "It was totalitarian. . . . This has the taste of some type of dictatorship."

But our favorite part?

Hands down, it was when one board member cited the Bible against the developer, calling for the punishment of God on "you and your children and you children's children."

The project passed, 5-1.

Hug a landmark today

His passion for architecture is well known. To this day, he counts the restoration of downtown's Guaranty Building as one of his proudest achievements.

Just last week, while in Buffalo, Sen. Pat Moynihan referred to the 101-year-old masterpiece as "the soul of this city."

Well, there's a new love in his life. Moynihan recently toured the Darwin Martin House and as always found himself gushing about its beauty.

At one point, he even grabbed a pillar and hugged it with both arms.

"God, I love this house," he said.

Ariel going public

From the day she arrived, the question has been, where will she go to school?

Public or private?

Hizzoner, always reticent about giving them more money, gave city schools a big vote of confidence last week. Daughter Ariel, now 4, is going to public elementary school.

"We agonized over it, no question about it," Masiello said last week. "But after looking at all our options, we both became very comfortable and confident with public school."

Masiello announced the news at a recent meeting with city school officials. His predecessor, Jimmy Griffin, sent his kids to private schools.

Sad-eyed Lowlands lady

More often than not, the Federal Register is a dry collection of bureaucratic rigamarole. But a recent edition told a sad story of a lover spurned.

Here, in the words of an anonymous bureaucrat, is the tale of Zira, a jilted gorilla at the Buffalo Zoo. It seems Zira is childless and therefore at the very bottom of the gorillas' three-tiered social ladder.

"Although she would like to be with the primary male, she has been rejected by the other females who have attained a higher status than she," the register tells us. "She has taken her ostracism poorly and will not fit in with the other two groups. She is no longer eating, and is suffering physically."

Not surprisingly, the federal government granted the Zoo's request for an emergency permit to get Zira out of the country. She's now looking for love at a zoo in Granby, Ont.

If you can't relate to Zira's problems, Zoo director Thomas Garlock offers a less bureaucratic version of her story.

"It was like: he doesn't love me anymore!" he said.

Off Main is written by Phil Fairbanks with contributions from Charity Vogel, Tom Dolan and Jerry Zremski.

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