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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

> Eye on the Peace Prize

Come October, Buffalonians might be able to claim another Nobel laureate as one of their own.

Or at least one, one-thousandth of a Nobel laureate.

Sister Rosalie Bertell, a Buffalo native and former Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher, was named earlier this summer to the list of "1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005."

This group -- which includes 40 Americans -- was proposed to the Nobel Prize Committee in February as a symbolic way to recognize all women who contribute to world peace.

Bertell, 76, is a Grey Nun of the Sacred Heart who left Buffalo in 1978 and now lives in Yardley, Pa.

> Call it a repo-lice car

Hamburg police soon will get the keys to a 2004 Ford Mustang, bought from Ford Motor Credit for $5,000.

How did they get such a great deal?

Robert Piwowar, who owned the low-mileage car, is spending 24 years in prison for killing his estranged wife, Michelle, last year.

Her body was found in Tifft Nature Preserve, and she was last seen getting into the car with Piwowar. The car was repossessed, and an officer working on the case suggested the town buy it.

Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak said at last Monday's board meeting that the car mainly will be used as an unmarked vehicle in undercover work.

"Anytime we can get a good car for a great price, it's great for the taxpayers," Assistant Police Chief Carmen Kesner told Off Main Street.

And, in case you're wondering, no, it isn't a convertible.

> Gaughan, but not forgotten

Civic leader Kevin Gaughan didn't win his underdog battle in Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary. But he easily bested Byron W. Brown when it came to primary night humor.

Although Brown -- the candidate of party leaders -- scored a comfortable victory, early returns had the race close for more than an hour after the polls closed.

Just after 10 p.m., WBEN radio's Barbara Burns reported from Gaughan headquarters that "the race is still too close to call."

Gaughan, overhearing her, quipped: "That may be my favorite phrase in the English language."

When Brown pulled away later, Burns asked Gaughan whether people have seen the last of him.

"That's just wishful thinking, Barbara," he replied.

> He said, she said

This is what happens when talking points collide.

In Iowa last week during his presidential rumination tour, Gov. George E. Pataki lashed out at critics of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

"There will come a time to sort out what can and will be done better. But for today, shame on those who would point a finger of blame, instead of lending a helping hand," he told a Cedar Rapids business group.

A day later, his wife, Libby, was in California, where she didn't mind sharing her concerns with a women's group.

"If we can draw two conclusions, it's that we were clearly ill-prepared for Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic aftermath, and we clearly are not responding fast enough," the Daily Pilot newspaper in Newport Beach quoted Libby Pataki as saying.

Pataki aides noted that the governor did tell an Iowa newspaper that the response was "inadequate," but that, like his wife, he didn't blame anyone specifically.

> Buffalo on the bayou?

James E. Campbell, a political science professor at the University at Buffalo, knows a little bit about politics in flood-drenched Louisiana.

Formerly a professor at Louisiana State University, he cites a history of corruption and ineptitude in government in the state and the city of New Orleans as factors in the post-storm chaos.

And while hurricanes don't generally rise up off Lake Erie, Campbell said politics here remind him of what he saw down South.

"It's very similar to Buffalo," Campbell said. "It's a good thing we don't have levees."

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Barbara O'Brien, Donn Esmonde, Tom Precious, Jerry Zremski and Jay Tokasz.

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