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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Golden forecast

What will 2007 be like?

Nobody knows -- except maybe Bernice Golden, Buffalo's best known psychic.

Off Main asked her what the year ahead looks like, and the news was mixed.

Unfortunately, Sabres fans, she thinks this year's very good edition of the team won't be quite good enough to bring the city its first major pro sports championship.

"I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I'm feeling second place," she said.

Golden also foresees bad news for the workers at "a major corporation, based in the Southtowns." They will lose their jobs when the company closes.

More optimistically, she says the oft-delayed deal to renovate the vacant Memorial Auditorium into a Bass Pro store will be finalized.

But, surprise, surprise, it will be delayed some more.

***

Long distance snow job

Employees at the Erie County Highway Department office downtown were puzzled by a voice message they received from a woman this week who was wondering why the Vista Ridge development had not been plowed.

It was a curious complaint, given that we haven't seen a significant snowfall since early December. Employees were even more curious when nobody in the office could find Vista Ridge.

A secretary called back and asked the woman where she lived.

"Town of Erie," she replied.

A few more questions revealed that the woman was calling from Erie, Colo., near Boulder.

"I looked it up on the Internet, and when I saw Erie, I just called," she explained.

***

Cool place to live

Jersey City, N.J., was deemed a cool place to live in a recent edition of New York Magazine, which prompted a letter to the editor from Wayne Geist of Buffalo.

Geist said he was a native New York City resident who attended the University at Buffalo, then returned downstate. But after 25 years there, he has moved back to Buffalo.

Among the reasons why, he mentions "a town with enough cool bars, shops and galleries to fill 10 Jersey Citys."

Geist also cites amazing real-estate values "in this recently bottomed-out town" and a growing nightlife scene downtown.

"Buffalo is on the verge of a moment," he reports. "It should last at least the 75 minutes it takes to fly here."

Spoken like a true Buffalonian.

***

Cool place to live, Part 2

Buffalo's climb out of its post-industrial blues was also touted recently in an unusual forum, the weekly newspaper The Economist.

An article from its Dec. 19 edition cautiously says "better times may lie ahead" for the city.

"Buffalo officials brim with ideas," the article states, mentioning the reuse of grain elevators to store corn for ethanol production, Erie Canal Harbor and private developers "pouring money into old buildings."

It also quotes Assemblyman Sam Hoyt as saying he believes upstate cities will have a champion in our new governor, Eliot Spitzer.

Hop on the bandwagon, Eliot. In fact, start pushing.

***

A warm place to live

Then again, there are reminders of the many who jumped -- or were pushed -- off the bandwagon.

The Charlotte Observer just did an article on the explosive growth in population, and where those new residents used to call home.

An accompanying newcomers guide lists the 10 ways you know you're from Charlotte.

No. 8 on the list:

"You know which part of Buffalo your neighbors are from as soon as they open their mouths."

Written by John F. Bonfatti with a contribution from Donn Esmonde.

-mail: offmain@buffnews.com

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