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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

She's the Topps

Hero-hood was rightfully conferred upon Shana the Dog in 2006, when she rescued her owners during the October storm.

Now, she is a genuine, four-legged pop icon.

Shana is featured in a new set of Topps Trading Cards celebrating American heroes, and the 10-year-old wolf/dog mix is the only animal featured in the series, said Eric Eisenberg, a contractor who coordinated the selection of the card subjects on Topps' behalf.

Eve Fertig of Alden, Shana's proud owner, said the competition included a dog who rescued a person from an overturned car in a ditch and another canine who barked at a snake headed for a baby in a playpen, scaring it away.

But maybe no dog is more deserving than Shana, who might have saved her owners' lives twice.

First there was the well-documented rescue in '06, when she dug under a fallen tree to rescue Eve and Norman Fertig on that fateful October night.

A few months later, Fertig said, Shana might have saved their lives again when she woke them in the middle of the night and tried to pull them outside. A subsequent inspection of the house uncovered a defect that could have led to the furnace exploding.

Forget the trading card; this dog should get her own statue.


School daze

A prospective juror who took the pretrial questionnaire a bit too literally provided a laugh at the recent start of the racketeering trial of John Gotti Jr., the New York Daily News reported.

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel dug up the amusing response while sifting through the forms from dozens of potential jurors.

"I have to share with you my personal favorite," Castel told the courtroom.

The juror, according to the judge, was answering Question No. 11: "How far did you go in school?"

"To which the response was 'Buffalo,' " Castel said.


To air is human

The owners of Bing's restaurant in Amherst sent an e-mail to regular customers this week alerting them to the restaurant's participation in Local Independent Restaurant week.

There was just one small problem -- OK, two small problems: The e-mail had the restaurant's phone number wrong and the wrong price for the deal.

So a follow-up e-mail/mea culpa followed the next day with the correct information and this postscript from Tom Schratz, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Shelly: "Think Shelly gave me some heat over the mistake?"

Let's hope she wasn't too hard on him. On the plus side, he did spell Bing's correctly.


Whose side are you on?

We know that the actors who play Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly on the NBC comedy "The Office" were in Niagara Falls last month to film scenes for the big wedding episode, scheduled to air in two weeks.

To ramp up the excitement a little more, the imaginary couple now has a Web site -- -- with information for guests attending the fake nuptials.

One section under the "Guest Info" tab is a primer on things to do in the area. Fifteen area attractions are listed, including Casino Niagara, the Minolta Tower, the Butterfly Conservatory and the Floral Clock.

Leaving aside the Maid of the Mist, which operates on both sides of the Niagara River, the only attraction in New York that made the list is Dave and Buster's in Clarence.

So despite the fact that the wedding scenes were filmed on the U.S. side of the falls, 14 of the 15 places where guests are encouraged to spend time are on the Canadian side.

You know there's a problem when we can't even persuade fictional tourists to spend time on this side of the border.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Stephen T. Watson.

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