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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

More than a power failure

Silver Creek residents got some less-than-breaking news from the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office this week.

Sometime between 11:30 p.m. Monday and 2 a.m. Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office used its newfangled reverse 911 system to send two recorded messages to all village residents notifying them of a power failure.

One problem: The power went out in Silver Creek at 6:35 p.m. Monday.

So pretty much the entire village already knew that it didn't have electricity.

The late-night rounds of calls did little but wake up residents and force them to answer their phone -- twice -- in the dark.

The calls warned that electricity may be out until 4 a.m., but power was restored by about 1.

Some residents didn't get the second call until after their power had come back on, while others who never lost power still got the calls.

Next time, the Sheriff's Office might just want to send a deputy on horseback riding through the village to shout out emergency information.


Die-hard hockey fan

Even dead, Vito Spatafore likes a little action. So when Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown went looking for a bet on the Sabres-Rangers series, the "Sopranos" character came to town, eager to take his wager and his wings.

"I'm going to book his action," said Vito, aka actor Joe Gannascoli. "In fact, I'll give him really good odds, 5 to 1. He puts up one order of chicken wings. I'll put up five Coney Island hot dogs."

Fans of the New Jersey-based show will know him as the closeted gay family member who drifts in and out of the mob before finally getting whacked by fellow mobster and cousin Phil Leotardo.

A resurrected Gannascoli was in Buffalo Friday to promote his line of Rocky Patel cigars, as well as Batavia Downs' role in Sunday's "Sopranos" episode.

The show includes a brief race scene at the 67-year-old racetrack with the voice of track announcer Joe Zambito.

The actor, a huge New York fan, predicted a Rangers win and said he planned to watch Game Two as the guest of Sabres owner Tom Golisano.

"I hope the mayor doesn't run from this bet," he said, sounding like Vito. "I know everything about the guy. I got him."


Win-win situation

When the Buffalo Sabres and the Goo Goo Dolls teamed up on a music video for the hockey club's playoff drive, both hoped it would ignite fan emotion.

While it certainly has done that, it also has sent Sabres fans clambering for Goos tunes.

Since the game-opening video debuted April 12, online downloads of playoff theme song "Better Days" have increased 999 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

During the week of April 15, "Better Days" was No. 7 among the Top 100 singles downloaded in the Buffalo metropolitan area. The song wasn't even on the charts in the prior week.

Meanwhile, sales of the Goos' "Let Love In" CD, which contains "Better Days," saw a 133 percent sales leap, earning it the No. 40 spot on the local Top 100 Albums chart. The CD also didn't chart the week before.

"We're in the hockey business, not the music business, so we didn't expect to impact people's music purchases. We were pretty surprised," said Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn, who selected the song to be used as a motivator for both the fans and the team.


A one-sport town

The Mel Ott Little League in Amherst began its baseball schedule this week and posted this poll question on its Web site: Are you ready for the start of the season?

The results, as of Wednesday: 25 percent said they were; 7.5 percent were not; and 20 percent said it was "too cold."

The most popular response, with 47.5 percent of the vote? "Go Sabres."

Written by Stephen T. Watson, with contributions from Phil Fairbanks, Sharon Linstedt, Susan Chiappone and Bruce Andriatch.


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