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Off Main Street

> Toronto is close, but . . .

One of the people who followed Gonzaga to Buffalo last week for the NCAA basketball tournament was Tim Lewis, sports director of KREM 2 TV in Spokane, Wash.

Lewis blogged about his visit, which included the obligatory visit to Niagara Falls, which he had not seen since he was a child, a trip he said he did not remember.

"They really are amazing," he wrote, linking to pictures of the cataracts.

Then he added this line: "Looking at Toronto right across the border is pretty cool as well."

Um, Tim? On a clear day in Youngstown, it is possible to look across Lake Ontario and see Toronto. But that city in the picture you included is Niagara Falls, Ont. (The falls in the foreground should have been a big hint.)

> They need a fourth

Tiger Woods' latest mistress -- if you can believe her -- Florida porn star Devon James has a local connection.

Former Buffalo vice cop Marty Harrington, now an undercover detective with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office in Bradenton, busted James in December on a prostitution charge. Several news and gossip Web sites have linked James and Woods as a couple.

Harrington, who after his retirement from Buffalo was an investigator with the New York State attorney general's office, always got his lady here because of his boyish good looks.

Now a bit past middle age, Harrington still apparently has the touch, as James -- whose real name is Melinda Christine Brinling -- allegedly offered to perform a sex act for $120.

She claimed in a radio interview last week that Woods paid her and another woman $2,000 each for a sexual encounter. She said she continued to see him into 2008, a 2 1/2 -year-stretch.

Woods left golf for months after winning the 2008 U.S. Open. He has said it was for knee surgery. Maybe he was just exhausted.

> Two minutes for algebra

Dozens of students at the Charter School for Applied Technologies learned Thursday that their guest speaker, Willie O'Ree, broke the NHL's racial barrier when he became the league's first black player in 1958.

But many of them left his talk Thursday morning shaking their heads about another side to O'Ree -- math wizardry.

Think of a number, O'Ree told them. Then double it, add 10, divide it in half and then subtract the original number.

While some students were looking desperately for pencil and paper, most kept up with O'Ree. He then opened up a notebook to the answer: 5.

Plenty of jaws dropped.

Actually, O'Ree was just using basic algebra. Let the original number be X. (That sentence no doubt will scare off a few readers.) It becomes 2X, then 2X 10, then X 5. Finally when you subtract the original number, X, you're left with 5.

Ta da.

> Found: Hope for future

Erie County Legislator Christina Wleklinski Bove has a new hero: Erie Community College student Sharon Morreal.

The West Seneca Democrat was on a tour of several ECC buildings March 17 when she dashed into a City Campus restroom.

She rejoined the tour but later realized she'd left behind her new BlackBerry Tour phone.

Bove called Verizon Wireless that night to get a new phone.

"A lot of people said to me, 'Oh, you lost it at a college? You'll never get it back,' " Bove said.

Instead, the next day, an official from the college told her that a student had found the phone and turned it in. Later the same day, someone dropped off the phone at her office with a note with the student's name.

Saying thanks wasn't enough for Bove. She invited Morreal to her office to give her a certificate of appreciation.

And she promised to give Morreal the best reference imaginable when she looks for a job after graduation.

"It's a simple act of kindness, but it really speaks to who the person is," Bove said.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Michael Beebe, Gene Warner and Stephen T. Watson.


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