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Off Main Street The offbeat side of the news

> The a-bridged version

Uh-oh. Someone's talking about building another bridge.

If that thought gives you heartburn -- and why not, given our community's decade-long Peace Bridge saga -- we can recommend where to go for help.

It might not be a far walk.

The $291 million Gates Vascular Institute recently opened on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

Western New York ranks second for heart disease compared with other parts of the state. And that's not lost on the physicians and researchers who have moved into the state-of-the-art research center to work on new therapies and medical tests.

"People ask me how come Western New York," Dr. L. Nelson Hopkins III, chairman of the Gates Vascular Institute Physician Board, told WBFO.

"And I point to a picture of Teressa's Anchor Bar, and I say 'chicken wings.' That's why it's so high," he told the radio station of the community's high heart disease rate.

"And isn't it ironic that Teressa's Anchor Bar is right over there?" Hopkins said of the iconic establishment, a block away from the new institute. "We're thinking about building a bridge directly from Teressa's into the vascular center."

> Justice delayed -- again

The trial is about horses.

But the 74-count animal cruelty case against Beth Hoskins has moved at a snail's pace.

The long-awaited nonjury trial -- which opened more than two years after the SPCA Serving Erie County's raid at her Aurora horse farm -- started at 4:15 p.m. Monday in Aurora Town Court.

To the surprise of many, including Town Justice Douglas W. Marky, her attorney and a few SPCA board members tried to reach a "global settlement." That went nowhere.

Opening statements ended just past 5:30 p.m. Marky decided that did not leave enough time for the prosecution's first witness.

The East Aurora Village Board needed the courtroom, he said, because it doubles as the board's meeting room. The board had a 7 p.m. meeting.

So the trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

> World's best hyperbole

We like the enthusiasm for Marv Levy shown by the promoters of the Get Motivated! business seminar coming to town next month.

We are not sure about their math.

Levy is one of 10 notable speakers scheduled to appear at the motivational event June 12 in the First Niagara Center.

In full-page ads in The Buffalo News to promote the event, promoters call the Hall of Fame football coach "The Greatest Football Coach of All Time."

In the same ad, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is called "one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history."

Montana won all four of the Super Bowl games he started.

Levy lost all four of the Super Bowl games he coached.

So why isn't Montana "the greatest" and Levy just "one of the greatest?"

We do not quibble with the promoters billing Bill O'Reilly as "the most popular man on cable television," given his show's 4.14 million viewers.

But it's a good thing Nickelodeon's SpongeBob Squarepants won't be speaking in Buffalo. He pulled in 4.15 million viewers.

> Good news, bad news

How to react to our latest Buffalo Ranking Watch depends on whether you see the glass as half full or half empty -- or whether the road seems half full or half empty.

USA Today recently reported on the findings of Inrix, a company that compiles traffic data. Buffalo ranked among the 10 metropolitan areas with the biggest decreases in traffic congestion. Only Cleveland, Syracuse and Youngstown, Ohio, had bigger decreases.

Who likes gridlock? So good news, right? Maybe not.

The cities with the biggest increases -- Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami, just to mention the Florida cities -- can point to economic recovery as partly responsible for their increased congestion.

Written by Patrick Lakamp with a contribution from Karen Robinson.