Naked in Fredonia
A little bit of Canadian culture has made its way to Fredonia, and all because of a small-town dispute over a vacant building downtown.
Owner Lance Wojda bought the building with the intention of opening a bar. He claims the Village Board, specifically Mayor Frank Pagano, orchestrated a letter-writing campaign that led to the state's turning down his request for a liquor license.
He turned around and opened Club 35, a juice bar that just happens to feature nude female dancers.
"You See It All," says a recent advertisement for the Water Street club.
Pagano is outraged and probably a little embarrassed. He vows to close downtown's newest establishment.
"The community is unhappy," Pagano said. "We're a good Christian community. We don't want that type of business."
For now, the law appears to be on Wojda's side. There's nothing in the law that prohibits nude dancing in clubs that don't serve liquor.
Going to the dogs?
Jay Riemersma snuggling with a miniature dachshund. Steve Christie poolside with two dogs. Eric Moulds double-teamed by two kittens.
The annual Buffalo Bills pet calendar is out, and as always, the photos make it.
Where else can you get a picture of Bills owner Ralph Wilson side by side with pal Buffy? Buffy, the one on the right, is seen modeling a snazzy red, white and blue Bills bandanna.
The calendar, sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Western New York, benefits the local SPCA.
Footloose in Kaisertown
Chased by dogs. Doors slammed in his face. Mark J.F. Schroeder, like most political candidates, has seen it all while going door to door.
Until the first Wednesday of this month, when Schroeder, a Democratic candidate for County Legislature, found himself on a porch in Kaisertown in the middle of the afternoon, dancing with 77-year-old Mary Harhigh.
It goes without saying they danced a polka. This was, after all, Kaisertown; his partner, the former Mary Tonaszewski.
Schroeder was giving his standard campaign spiel to Harhigh and her husband, Andrew, when he suddenly revealed a deep, dark secret -- he didn't know how to polka.
"I'm shocked that, after all the time I've spent in Kaisertown, no one has offered to teach me," he said.
"Do you have time now?" Harhigh asked.
When Schroeder said yes, she grabbed him by the hand, started singing and gave him a quick lesson on the do's and don'ts of how to polka.
"It was wonderful," Schroeder said later. "It was the middle of the afternoon, I'm on a porch in Kaisertown, and I'm learning the polka. That's what campaigning is all about. Meeting people like that."
Good look into a bad year
When psychic entertainer Joanna Honsberger made her predictions for 2001, the tone seemed awfully dismal, almost doom and gloom.
In hindsight, the Niagara Falls, Ont., woman seems right on target.
Back in January, Honsberger noted it was the year of the snake, according to the Chinese calender and Western zodiac signs, a sure sign of troubled times ahead.
"The year of the snake has never been tranquil," she told the Niagara Falls Review shortly after the first of the year. "It's considered the strongest negative force in the cycle, and it's very unpredictable. The strike will be devastating."
Among other things, Honsberger predicted a recession, a crumbling stock market and, worst of all, war for the United States.
"This is a year we have to deal with unexpected and unseen dilemmas, possibly war," she said. "Bush is a no-nonsense person. He means business. You see lots of military spirits around him."
Honsberger is quick to add that while the snake can do much harm, it also can do good.
Good? Maybe the nation coming together as no other time in recent memory.
By Phil Fairbanks, with contributions from Michael Beebe.