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OFF MAIN STREET / The offbeat side of the news

Northern exposure

Brian Williams, lead pastor of the NorthPoint Church in Lancaster, stood up at the Village Board meeting to tell board members about the church's upcoming Family Fun Day.

After hearing Williams speak, it was clear he isn't from around these parts.

"Are you from the south part of Lancaster?" quipped Village Attorney Art Herdzik, drawing laughs.

"I'm from the Southtowns," Williams responded.

In fact, Williams told Off Main Street, he grew up in West Virginia but lived in North Carolina for 12 years before moving his family to the Buffalo area in 2010.

He started the Free Will Baptist Church in Lancaster last September, and said he and his family are getting accustomed to how people speak up here.

"We've learned to say 'you guys' instead of 'y'all,' " Williams said.

As for sharing his name with the "NBC Nightly News" anchor, he said, "I tell people I have better news to deliver than he does."


You've been 4 warned

Channel 4 meteorologist Don Paul has a reputation for getting a wee bit defensive when viewers or critics point out that his weather forecast turns out to be inaccurate.

But even Paul turned self-deprecating this week, following the winter storm that wasn't.

On his Facebook page Tuesday, Paul posted this status update: "Say what you will about a Fizzled Forecast at lower elevations, but we set a New Record for Snowfall today at our official record-keeping site, the Airport: .9"!!! (a story to tell your grandkids and great grandkids about 9/1 0 of an inch, baby!"


Not exactly a company car

Buffalo's Common Council was recently asked to shuffle around some paperwork so the Police Department could buy a command bus with expiring grant funds.

The purchase would be one of those giant buses that get set up at the scenes of big emergencies.

Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda signed a one-page memo to lawmakers outlining the budget change he was asking them to approve.

The paperwork was missing some key information -- it didn't say exactly how much the vehicle will cost.

It did, however, include some vital information -- a part that was even underlined for emphasis.

"I like the way they say this is a non-take home vehicle," Council President Richard A. Fontana said.


But seriously, folks

Though given to a good laugh, Buffalo's chief of detectives, Dennis J. Richards, seems in need of fine-tuning when it comes to serving as a master of ceremonies.

A captive audience packed into the training academy at Buffalo Police Headquarters recently and enjoyed his jokes, which were along the lines of the chicken crossing the road.

"I ate some red food dye and went to see the doctor," Richards said. "He told me I looked fine and I said, 'Doc, I'm dying inside.' "

Dying on stage, too. His other joke:

"My uncle accidentally drank shoe polish. He died, but what a great finish."

Richards later said an old timer in the front row told him, "Don't quit your day job."


Destroyer dress code

As we learned from the recent profile of 81-year-old Dick Beyer in The News, the onetime professional wrestler barely goes out in public without his trademark Destroyer mask -- not even to an event as formal as a funeral.

A reader from Texas tells the story of Beyer attending the 2003 funeral for "Classy" Freddie Blassie, an American professional wrestling villain.

Beyer wore his mask to Blassie's funeral, Pat Murray of Beaumont, Texas, said in a message he posted in the story's online comment section.

"When I asked him why, he said, 'Freddie wouldn't recognize me without my mask.' "

Written by Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Bruce Andriatch, Lou Michel, Aaron Besecker and Stephen T. Watson.