We'll drink to that
If Orchard Park Councilwoman Nan Ackerman wants to drown her sorrows, she's prepared.
Ackerman was disappointed two years ago when residents voted to downsize the Town Board she has served on for 20 years. But she's had time to get used to the idea that hers is one of the seats that will be eliminated Sunday.
Among her parting gifts at her last board meeting were Erie County Legislature coasters from Legislator Jack Mills.
"Are you expecting me to start heavily drinking?" she asked.
"No, these are just something to protect your furniture," Mills replied. "If you want to start heavily drinking, go ahead, you deserve it."
The good wife
Tuesday's version of the annual holiday luncheon offered to Town of Aurora employees had roast beef sandwiches, fried chicken, salad and cookies.
Aurora Supervisor Jolene Jeffe, tending to some last-minute lunch setup, was overheard talking to a councilman.
"Next year, it's pizza," he said.
It was said in jest, but the Aurora town holiday lunch has come a long way from the days of the six-foot-long sub, pizza and wings offered under former Supervisor William Green.
In contrast, one of Green's successors, Tom Cotton, became known for extensive spreads, with some of the food prepared by his wife.
Current Town Clerk Martha Librock told us that Jeffe, for her part, is known for "this really good chicken."
The supervisor has her husband pick it up from Eden Seafood & Pizzeria, but putting together a lavish luncheon that doesn't rely on take-out pizza is a challenge.
Told her predecessor Cotton was able to pull it off with ease, Jeffe had a response.
"I don't have a wife," Jeffe joked.
The second wife
The Niagara County Legislature saluted seven departing members at its final meeting of the year, including Renae Kimble of Niagara Falls. The only African-American woman ever to serve in the legislature is leaving after 18 years.
Minority Leader Dennis F. Virtuoso, Kimble's deskmate for 18 years, said Kimble is one of those one-name people like Oprah, Hillary or Madonna.
"In Niagara County you can go anywhere and say 'Renae,' and people know you're talking about Renae Kimble. She has that rock star status," Virtuoso said.
But, he conceded there is some push-back.
"She's a little pain in the neck sometimes," he said.
Virtuoso said that when he's on his feet debating the Republicans, Kimble is often whispering him advice.
"And I lose my train of thought. She's like a second wife. She's always telling me what to do," he said.
All's fair in radio and war
Back in February, Brad Riter, an executive with tiny WECK 1230 AM radio station, launched an 18-minute, on-air rant against the two dominant AM stations in town: WBEN NewsRadio 930 and WGR 550 SportsRadio.
"This is me, effectively, as program director of WECK, declaring war on Entercom and corporate radio in Buffalo. We will win. We are little. We are local. We will beat you," Riter said.
Fast-forward 10 months. Riter, who was one of the WECK staffers laid off in July in advance of a format change, returned to local radio this month.
Filling in for host Tom Bauerle for six shows.
On Entercom's WBEN.
"What changed?" Riter said, repeating our question. "I used to have a job, and now I don't."
He said he's glad that Entercom operations manager Tim Wenger recognized Riter's manifesto for what it was: a publicity stunt and "attempt to put our small station on the map."
Riter said he's heard that some people at Entercom -- where Riter worked for seven or eight years before he was fired by WGR in 2007 -- aren't so glad the rant author is on WBEN.
He's not worried about retribution, but he quipped, "I try to sneak in as quietly as possible."
Written by Stephen T. Watson with contributions from Barbara O'Brien, Karen Robinson and Thomas J. Prohaska.