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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Sabres mania

Even non-Sabres fans can be thankful for the team's ripple effect on town meetings.

This past week, several suburban town boards made it a point to keep the agenda swift and light on game nights so board members could get home before the last period of play.

During a Lancaster Town Board work session, Supervisor Bob Giza promised to watch the clock during the meeting.

"We're going to keep it brief because of the Sabres game," he said. "I've only been told 10 times already."

Only the Amherst Town Board meeting, which notoriously never fails to drag on, ignored the pull of the playoffs.

But as a concession toward the end, Supervisor Satish B. Mohan called out the score.


Competitive edge

Whether wearing the hat of a National Football League coach, general manager and former coach, or serving as a guest speaker, Marv Levy is always looking out for the Buffalo Bills.

So it was no surprise that during an awards ceremony last Saturday in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Levy was trying to pump Chad Pennington for information.

The New York Jets quarterback and the NFL's reigning Comeback Player of the Year was seated next to Levy, waiting to receive an award from a group of Christian athletes for his on- and off-field accomplishments.

Levy grabbed the microphone, gestured toward Pennington and deadpanned: "I spent the last half hour trying to get their game plan against us."


Keep on truckin'

Call it the case of the truck that came back from the grave.

In February 2004, Clyde "Jack" Wherry of Buffalo drove his 1994 GMC pickup truck to Brampton, Ont., for an overnight trip and left it in his hotel's parking lot. The next morning, the pickup was gone.

"I'd only had it for three months," said Wherry, who still remembers the bus ride back to Buffalo.

Wherry was flabbergasted when in February, he received a call from the police in Orangeville, Ont., about 50 miles northwest of Toronto.

"We had a tip somebody was operating a stolen truck," said Constable Aaron Grabowski, who pulled over the operator.

But the truck was different. It had Chevrolet body panels, and the visible VIN numbers were from another vehicle. It was only after an auto autopsy that police found out the real VIN and identified Wherry as the last owner.

"What I think happened was a chop shop got a hold of his truck and put in a whole new transmission and body panels," Grabowski said. "It went from the shop to somebody who had the VIN plates, which he probably stripped off a wreck."

Wherry reclaimed his car in Orangeville, but he had to pay $1,000 to the storage yard.

"People talk about dogs coming back, but I never had a vehicle come back," he said.


What eah-ccent?

Thee-at mee-an named Stee-an hee-ad a fee-at kee-at named eah-Ann.

If you're not from Buffalo, or if you're away for any length of time and return, one of the first things you notice about residents is that nasal accent delivering what is called a "flat" A.

Turns out it's spreading, according to a recent story from the Columbia News Service. Linguists have even given it a name, the Northern Cities Vowel Shift.

"The Northern Cities Vowel Shift, which takes place in several stages and eventually makes words like cat and bat sound like kee-at and bee-at, is spreading quickly," reports Devon Haynie.

The story leads with Buffalo native and University at Buffalo student Krissy Walter remembering the reaction she got when she first went to Colgate University.

"It would always he-appen when I said a word like eah-pple," she said. "Everyone would kind of repeat my words be-ack and lee-augh."

Written by John F. Bonfatti with contributions from Sandra Tan and Deidre Williams.


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