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Off Main Street

> Justice by the slice

It's the sales tax fraud case with a happy -- or tasty -- ending.

In October, a State Supreme Court justice sentenced the owner of a popular Elmwood Avenue restaurant to community service and restitution instead of prison time for withholding more than $104,000 in sales tax from the state.

Justice Russell P. Buscaglia ordered Joseph J. Jacobbi of Casa-Di-Pizza to deliver one dozen sheet pizzas every Tuesday for 52 weeks, beginning Oct. 19, to the Buffalo City Mission.

We wanted to find out how the pizza deliveries were going.

Casa-Di-Pizza drops off 15 or so sheet pizzas -- more than required -- each Tuesday between 5 and 6 p.m., said Aubrey Calhoun, a mission spokeswoman.

Most are cheese and pepperoni.

"He just rotates them," Calhoun said, "so everybody can get a new flavor every week."

The mission serves two slices of pizza to everyone, producing about 152 meals each week.

"Oh, we love it. It's Tuesday pizza night here. It's a great thing, because not everybody can get pizza, so it's a treat for them," Calhoun said.

How much would this cost?

Casa-Di-Pizza's menu lists a sheet pizza with cheese and one ingredient for $25.60. Multiply that by 15, and 52 weeks, and it's a zesty $19,968, not counting tax and tip for the delivery guy.

> The other wet bandit

Cheektowaga police didn't exactly have to call in Sherlock Holmes to solve a recent crime.

At about 9:30 p.m. Dec. 13, Officer Garret Slawatycki saw a man riding his bicycle in a lane of traffic on William Street, creating a hazard for motorists. Slawatycki noticed that the man had two duffel bags with him and that he was covered in ice, as if he had been dipped in water.

Finding this somewhat suspicious, officers backtracked, using the bicycle tracks and footprints in the snow, which led to a garage on Strawn Road that had been burglarized and a commercial property on William.

Inside the bags, officers found property that was missing from both locations.

Why was the bicyclist covered in ice? He apparently also stole copper from a hot water tank, which led to flooding, which led to a predictable conclusion in this weather.

Harold Stuchell, 55, of East Lovejoy Street, was arrested.

Apropos for a man who was nabbed in part because he was soaking wet, Stuchell faces a raft of charges.

> A holiday hero

Mike Roemer, the affable gentleman who heads the clerk's office in Buffalo's federal courthouse, got quite a welcome in his hometown of Lewiston one recent afternoon.

Arriving by helicopter in Academy Park, he was greeted by dozens of admirers. He then boarded a horse-drawn carriage and led a parade down to the Peace Garden Courtyard, where another large group of people applauded him and sang songs in his honor.

Quite a big to-do for a federal court clerk, some would say. But in Lewiston, Roemer is also known by another name, and anybody who saw the clothes he was wearing that day would know it immediately.

In Lewiston, they call him "Santa Claus."

> Sock it to them

Think of it as a tale of two chills.

In this clime, the rule of survival for an arctic blast and horizontal sheets of snow is a six-pack behind closed doors.

Recently, Florida -- the home of such meteorological niceties as hurricanes, tornadoes and wild fires -- experienced a cold snap that elicited a warning on, well footwear.

With homeless shelters filling up at night, Julie Showers, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army in Bradenton, issued this bit of advice for readers of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

"People are so used to wearing flip-flops and not worrying about their feet, but when it gets cold like this, people really need socks," she said.

Popsicle toes, indeed.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Stephen T. Watson and Dan Herbeck.


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