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The young and the inquisitive

From the mouthes of babes . . . come questions that put politicians on the spot.

During a highly charged debate Wednesday among the three candidates for Lancaster town supervisor -- incumbent Robert H. Giza and challengers Arthur J. Rago Jr. and Henry R. Gull -- the toughest questions came from the school-age members of the audience.

Such as: "How would you stop people who smoke?"

(For the record, Giza said he has never had the habit, Rago is a "reformed" smoker, and Gull still lights up but was quick to add, "It's not a good thing to do.")

And: "Would you make the lunches longer at school? They give us lunch time but we never get time to finish."

(Giza was the only candidate to tackle that one: "I would encourage longer lunches, sure. I love lunch.")

This should perk him up

If Superintendent Robert McClure thinks he's leaving the heat of controversy as he departs the Ken-Ton school district for a new job in calmer waters, maybe he should think again.

McClure's predecessor as superintendent at the Shenendehowa Central School District endured student protests, evacuations caused by pranks and -- the last straw -- the middle-of-the-night firebombing of his van in his driveway.

Police never made any arrests in the torching of John Yagielski's van April 14. The incident occurred not long after Yagielski suggested the district add a few days to the school year to make up for lost snow days. Police also questioned some maintenance workers who were going to lose their jobs due to budget cuts.

McClure starts his new job. Jan. 5.

The high cost of education

Always proud to see the kids put their educations to good use.

How about the high school students in Niagara Falls who used a scanner in the art room to counterfeit a $5 bill and then succeeded in passing it in the cafeteria?

The cashier was busy and accepted the bill even though the back side was blank, officials said. Three students have been suspended.

Signing off on signs

Just a thought.

But perhaps two law enforcement types running for a certain office in Erie County might take a hint from two candidates in North Tonawanda. The two northern pols have promised not to put up any campaign signs and instead donate the money they would have spent to the high school sports booster club.

May it displease the court

In her latest "President's Letter" in the Erie County Bar Association Bulletin, Erin M. Peradotto, president of the lawyers group and head of the Buffalo office of the state attorney general, notes that Judge "Tom" Drury got a well-qualified rating in this year's Erie County Court race. That was news to veteran jurist Timothy J. Drury, once one of the area's top prosecutors.

When asked about it, Ms. Peradotto blamed it on a "typo." But some can't help but wonder if the fact that Drury, a lifelong Democrat, has been endorsed this year by the GOP, somehow confused the legal eagle.

Sweet smell of excess

Who said local governmental officials don't have the best interests -- to say nothing of the tastes and smells -- of their constituents at heart? Just ask the East Aurora Village Board.

At Monday night's work session, Mayor John V. Pagliaccio reminded his colleagues that their annual inspection of the waste-water treatment plant was scheduled for Saturday.

"We should wear our nose plugs?" Trustee Don Nieman asked.

There's no need for that at the state-of-the-art plant, Village Administrator Patrick Richey replied.

Nieman then suggested the tour include an "all-you-can-eat" buffet in the employee lunch room.

Perhaps the event could be called a "stinkfest," Richey responded.

And Pagliaccio reminded the board that one of the problems at the plant is grease.

"They don't know when we're pouring the bacon fat down the drain, do they?" Nieman joked.

Sweet smell of excess

Sam "He's Everywhere" Hoyt has taken on the mighty New York Times and its recent distribution change that resulted in area residents getting the edition aimed for the Midwest rather than the Metro edition, which contains most of the New York State and New York City news we crave.

Assemblyman Sam reports some progress, quoting a Times Circulation Department executive as saying that, while a change in the weekday distribution pattern is not likely, the paper is looking for ways to return the Sunday Metro edition to us.

But why anyone would want to read the Times when we already have . . . well, never mind.

Contributions from Niki Cervantes, Tom Dolan, Matt Gryta, Pat McDonnell, Charity Vogel and Paul Westmoore.