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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Darling inspiration

Moviegoers at Utah's Sundance Film Festival looking for a Buffalo connection needed to search no further than "The Savages," some of which was filmed here, or "Strange Culture," a documentary about the arrest of University at Buffalo art professor Steve Kurtz on terrorism charges.

But "Away From Her," a film set in Ontario that follows a couple's relationship as the wife falls victim to the erosions of Alzheimer's disease, unexpectedly brought back fond memories for Western New Yorkers in attendance.

A loquacious patient at the nursing home the wife checks herself into is said to be the former play-by-play man for the Winnipeg Jets -- now the Phoenix Coyotes.

Off Main's critic at the festival, former News intern Joseph Popiolkowski, said that after the screening, writer and director Sarah Polley was on hand to take questions from the audience.

She revealed that the role was an ode to her uncle, the legendary "Voice of the Sabres," Ted Darling, who died from Pick's disease in 1996.

Sabres fans scattered throughout the house applauded at the mention of Darling's name.


Terrapin Station

Occupants of the first deputy mayor's office hide in their shells.

When word got out that Steven M. Casey adopted two turtles, some assumed the iron-fisted administrator had acquired snapping turtles.

But the critters that grace an aquarium in Casey's second-floor office are non-aggressive vegetarians.

They were donated by the same pet shop owner who provided fish tanks to the mayor's office last year. Paul Brown is president of the Buffalo Building Trades Council and owns the Fish Place in North Tonawanda.

Casey occasionally lets the turtles roam the office. It gives him one more reason to keep his doors closed.

A sign was posted on one door that read "exercising turtles."

Still, he's not sure how much longer he'll keep the turtles in his inner office.

"Some people say they don't fit my personality," he confided. "I'm thinking of getting a piranha."


Just plain Cute

Cute Is What We Aim For, the Buffalo band whose leader said he wasn't thrilled about the band's name, should just call itself Cute.

At least that's what two of Off Main's readers suggested when we asked folks to suggest a possible new name for the band.

A third e-mailer went the entirely opposite way.

"I suggest trimming the 'cute.' Literally," wrote Thom Davis. His suggestion: What We Aim For.


Just friends

The relationship between Olean Mayor David Carucci and members of the Common Council has been strained by the city's bleak fiscal state. He recently referred to his fellow elected officials as "financially uneducated," which offended some aldermen.

Carucci hoped a meeting Tuesday to discuss budget issues would help smooth things over. He called it a "conjugal visit."

Putting aside the widely accepted use of the term -- as in "The warden allowed a conjugal visit from the inmate's wife" -- the only dictionary definitions we could come up with define conjugal as related to husband and wife, or matrimonial.

From the acrimonious tone in Olean City Hall these days, we would guess that the honeymoon is over and this particular couple needs counseling.
Written by John F. Bonfatti with contributions from Brian Meyer and Bruce Andriatch.


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