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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

>Bottom shelf

Rick Jeanneret is sitting pretty -- and comfortably -- once again in the broadcast booth for Buffalo Sabres home games.

The venerable voice of the Sabres was the victim of pillow pilfering last month.

Team spokesman Mike Gilbert said Jeanneret has had the cushion in the booth at HSBC Arena for several years, to help him see the ice better and because it was "easy on his backside as well."

But on Nov. 17, as he prepared to call the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, he noticed the pillow was missing.

After his partner, Jim Lorentz, mentioned the incident on the air during a subsequent game, a Sabres fan and former Western New Yorker in Las Vegas sprang into action.

A new pillow, complete with the new Sabres logo, arrived in the mail and Jeanneret has been using it ever since.

"So may you wallow in guilt, whoever you are, be you bozo or bimbo," Jeanneret said on the air to the cushion crook. "I have a new pillow."


>Don't cry for Lancaster

Lancaster High School students attending Monday's Lancaster Town Board meeting got an international lesson in counting blessings.

The message came from Maria Margarita Perrens, a Fulbright scholar from Argentina and visiting teacher at the high school.

Perrens was there to receive a proclamation from the Town Board.

She was warmly welcomed -- in Spanish -- by board member Donna G. Stempniak, a bilingual teacher at Grover Cleveland High School in Buffalo.

Perrens, offered the opportunity to say a few words, said she was impressed by the resources made available to students at Lancaster High School.

Textbooks are not a given in the school where she teaches in Argentina. Teachers there don't even have guaranteed access to chalk, she said.

"It's every teacher's dream to teach in a school like this," Perrens said.

"It would be my dream, too," Stempniak joked.


>You had us at hello

Air America Radio host Randi Rhodes loves Buffalo.

Rhodes was here last Saturday at a fundraiser for WHLD 1270AM, where she's heard weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m.

On Monday, she raved about us to a national audience.

"Usually when you go into a town, they have the red carpet rolled out for you. And you get picked up at the airport in a station vehicle, and you get taken to some five-star hotel and there is like the meet-and-greet, and wine's involved, and platters of handmade food stuffs and hors d'oeuvres, and people working with the white aprons and the white gloves," Rhodes said.

"But this was Buffalo. And you know what was better about it?" she asked. "Everything."

Rhodes praised Buffalonians to the hilt.

"I love Buffalo because it is just exactly the way it's supposed to be in America," she said. "There is no ifs, ands or buts about who they are and what they want, and where they're from and how they treat you."

Rhodes gushed over the locally run radio station, and waxed rhapsodic about the fundraiser at United Auto Workers Region 9 Hall in Amherst.

"It was fluorescent lights, it was pizza, folding chairs, and I couldn't have been prouder to be there," Rhodes said.

Hey, hurry back, Randi.


>Let me clear my throat

For politicians, laryngitis is the closest thing to a career-threatening injury they could face.

But that was Orchard Park Supervisor Mary Travers Murphy's situation Wednesday during a Town Board meeting.

Councilwoman Nan Ackerman took over the running of the meeting, and Travers Murphy never said a word, mostly nodding on the votes.

On her way out, Travers Murphy rasped, "This is driving me crazy. . . . But John [Murphy, her sportscaster husband] thinks it's his early Christmas present."

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Bruce Andriatch, Harold McNeil, Mark Sommer and Elmer Ploetz.


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