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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

A ruling for Genny

It was a momentous occasion: The swearing-in earlier this month of the first chairwoman of the House Rules Committee.

It would seem to be the perfect time for the finest champagne. But Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, went local instead, serving Genesee beer.

"She wanted to bring a little of the district flavor to the party," Slaughter spokesman Frank Benenati told Off Main.

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We care, Dale

A lot of folks think State Sen. Dale M. Volker is a big shot.

The Depew Republican has 34 years in Albany to back that notion, but not everybody buys it.

Volker friend Joe Bruno, the state's top Republican, is under FBI investigation for his outside business interests. Volker says lobbying watchdog David Grandeau stirred up the probe.

Not only did Grandeau say that Volker has no proof he was the source, he also implied that Volker has no clout.

"Who cares what Sen. Volker says?" Grandeau told the New York Daily News.

Ouch.

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He's got a brand new bag

Hamburg village officials knew just what to give the outgoing head of public works when he was honored recently by the Northeast-Southtowns Solid Waste Management Board.

Mayor Tom Moses and Trustee Tom Tallman gave Gerry Knoll a clear plastic garbage bag.

It helps Knoll remember his pitched battles with residents who claimed that requiring the bags invaded their privacy -- and the gift is cheap, too.

"Yeah, they really roasted my [buttocks]," Knoll said at Monday's board work session. "And they did a fine job of it."

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Build me up buttercup

We all like to hear compliments, but most of us have our saturation point.

District Judge Richard J. Arcara reached his during a recent legal argument in his federal courtroom.

Attorney Joseph M. Finnerty complimented Arcara again and again, thanking the judge for his "eloquence" and his attention to details of the case.

After about the fourth such compliment, Arcara rolled his eyes and smiled.

"Boy, you sure know how to throw the bouquets," he said.

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Power house

If you own a video camera in New York State, and turn it on, the chances are good that Sen. Charles E. Schumer will run to get in front of it.

His zest for publicity is so legendary even other pols shake their heads at his determination.

But can you blame someone so earnest for failing to make his bed as he seizes the day?

Apparently his roommates can.

When in Washington, Schumer crashes at a Capitol Hill row house owned by Rep. George Miller of California, whose other tenants are Rep. William Delahunt of Massachusetts and Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.

The gaggle of Democratic power brokers, according to a New York Times account, gets along well, even though in a two-bedroom house two people must retire to fold-outs in the living room. (They would be the representative from Massachusetts and the senior senator from New York.)

On the rare evening that all four are at home, they chomp on Chinese food and cereal, and gaze at Durbin's new big-screen TV.

In the morning, they don their power suits then stride off to meet their mighty congressional duties.

Alas, when they fight, they usually fight about one thing: Schumer, who has the good grace to laugh at himself.

If only he could eat less cereal, do more grocery shopping and make his bed.

Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Dan Herbeck, John F. Bonfatti, Donn Esmonde and Elmer Ploetz.

e-mail: offmain@buffnews.com

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