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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Bullish on Liz Taylor

Wednesday's passing of Elizabeth Taylor produced a flood of remembrances from friends and fans of the legendary screen star.

A guy with a long memory, attorney Tom Kobus, passed along one we didn't see anywhere else:

Taylor visited Buffalo on Sept. 20, 1957, with Mike Todd -- aka Husband No. 3 -- and she only got third billing in that day's Buffalo Evening News, after Todd and a 300-pound bull.

"Mike Todd Arrives in Town With a Bull and Some Advice" was the headline on the article, which noted Todd would soon crown "Miss Greater Buffalo."

"Mr. Todd's first official business was to present a 7-month-old 300-pound Black Angus bull to UB as a mascot," it read. Taylor wasn't mentioned until the third paragraph, and "Mrs. Todd" wasn't quoted at all.

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Not much at stake

Clarence Town Engineer Timothy M. Lavocat was puzzled at Wednesday night's Town Board meeting. He was having trouble finding the property of a resident with the last name Porter, who had raised concerns that week.

"You know where it is?" Councilman Joseph N. Weiss said. "Right in front of the house there's a stake -- and it is called a Porter house stake."

"Were you saving that?" Supervisor Scott A. Bylewski asked Weiss after a few snickers.

"It's a slow night," Weiss said.

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Weather or not

Maybe this was one tournament we're better off losing. The Weather Channel is conducting an online poll, using an NCAA Tournament-style bracket, to answer this question:

"Which city has tougher weather, considering cold, heat, humidity, rain, snow, wind, fog, severe t-storms, tornadoes, and hurricane risk?"

Not surprisingly, considering our snowy reputation, Buffalo made it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen out of the 64-city field.

We beat Norfolk, Va., and Burlington, Vt., in the Northeast region before running into Caribou, Maine, which took down Syracuse in the opening round.

The Weather Channel posted a tale of the tape for each combatant. Caribou: 114 inches of snow and 44 days of subzero cold. Buffalo: 96 inches of snow and 64 days with measurable snow.

In voting this week, Caribou beat us 55 percent to 45 percent.

Caribou lost to Bradford, Pa., which is in the Final Four with New Orleans; Fargo, N.D.; and Juneau, Alaska.

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Known unknowns

Albany excels in producing busywork for local agencies.

Our state government now is requiring members of various agency boards to complete a four-page, unsigned assessment form. The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency board learned of this requirement for members of two of its committees at a recent meeting.

They also learned that it may be hard to enforce any penalties for not turning in the form.

"I was involved in this at the NFTA," Chairman Henry M. Sloma said. "Some people were delinquent, but since it's anonymous, no one knows who they are."

Written by Stephen T. Watson with a contribution from Charlie Specht, Bruce Andriatch and Thomas J. Prohaska.

e-mail: offmain@buffnews.com

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