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OFF MAIN STREET

Pleading guilty to being a man

Men unfairly get a bad rap, but a Buffalo man did little to help the cause last week.

The male in question appeared in Housing Court over violations at his home on Tonawanda Street. All of a sudden, Judge Michael Broderick ordered him in front of the bench.

The good judge had received word that the man's wife, who was waiting downstairs, had gone into labor.

With Broderick's blessing, the man rushed out of the courtroom to be with her. A few minutes later, he returned.

"She's all right; she's only six minutes apart," the man said. "Let's get this over with."

Reluctantly, Judge Broderick and Frank DiJames, the city's Housing Court representative, proceeded with the case.

If its any consolation, the man was fined. For code violations. Not for being a man.

Another one bites the dust

Speaking of men, it's hard to imagine a more eligible Buffalo bachelor than Michael Peca. Big-time pro athlete. Good looking. Lots of money.

We even know of a bar where the women break into chants of "Peca, Peca, Peca," at the mention of his name.

Well, there's bad news for Peca's female admirers. He's headed to the altar.

It seems the Buffalo Sabres captain is engaged to Kristin Herzog of Buffalo. The wedding is scheduled for June.

Our only question?

Will Peca shave his trademark, rough and tumble, two-day-old beard for the big day?

An almost-as-busy Bennett

Bob Bennett may be the busiest man in Buffalo.

And in Washington, D.C.

Our Bob Bennett represents Western New York on the State Board of Regents. A handful by itself. That's on top of his day job -- president of the local United Way.

Then there's the other Bob Bennett. He is President Clinton's chief legal counsel. And the prez has been keeping him busy these days.

That gives our Bob Bennett a great closing line at local public appearances.

The other day he joked that he had to leave to depose Monica Lewinsky.

"It's not easy having the same last name as the president's lawyer," he quipped.

But probably easier than being Bill Clinton.

Subjects near and dear

Bill Paxon, it seems, is spending a good part of each day saying good-bye or good riddance to friend and foe.

On a recent tour of his district, the Republican stopped in Attica and couldn't resist telling the story of how he and his predecessor, Jack Kemp, once spoke to a group of corrections officers.

Paxon, well aware of Kemp's reputation for giving speeches on important but mind-numbing subjects, offered him some friendly advice.

"Jack, they don't want to hear about the gold standard," Paxon told him. "They want to hear about the Bills and the death penalty. That's it."

An offer he could refuse

Talk about a bad day.

Police in St. Catharines, Ont., report a local prostitute was working the streets Thursday morning when she spotted a potential customer at a stop light.

Feeling lucky, she flagged the man down. What followed, not surprisingly, was an offer of sex for money.

Oops.

Turns out the man behind the wheel was an off-duty cop. Detective James Leigh promptly made the arrest.

Sometimes, it just doesn't pay to get up and go to work in the morning.

Incensed over a theft

North Tonawanda Police Chief Lloyd Graves is smoking mad.

Graves' wife drove into Buffalo last week to do some volunteer work for the Girl Scouts. Later, Delmar Graves discovered the family car, a 1990, four-door, white Caprice, had been stolen.

"She almost fainted. She couldn't believe it was missing. She was distraught," Graves said. "I just had it repainted and new tires put on it. It was all slicked up. That's why they probably took it."

But that's not what really ticked off the chief.

"Damn," he said, "they took my cheap Dutch Master cigars."

He's a lover, not a fighter

When Springville resident Robert Stockwell read about two political foes from Niagara Falls, Ont., settling their differences in the boxing ring, a bell went off.

With the political tension in the Town of Concord thicker than cheddar cheese, maybe a few left hooks could lay it to rest, Stockwell thought.

Why not put Concord Councilman Mark Steffan, a Democrat, in the ring with Republican Chairman Robert Barnes at the Dairy Festival?

Steffan says he's up to the challenge. But don't expect Barnes to resort to violence. As an elementary school principal, he's a role model, after all.

"It'll never happen," Barnes said. "We teach kids to settle their disputes without fighting."

Off Main Street is written by Phil Fairbanks with contributions by Harry Rosettani and Mary Pasciak.