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The offbeat side of the news

All eyes on border war

The Peace Bridge never had so much attention.

In a recent front-page headline, the New York Times described the dispute over improvements at the bridge as the “Cuomo-Canada War.”

In a political cartoon published by Newsday, cartoonist Mark Wilson called Cuomo a “War of 1812 re-enactor” and shows him crossing the bridge to Canada with a bayonet strapped to his back.

Canada’s Globe and Mail took the opportunity to revive some favorable Canadian history: “Not since the Battle of Queenston Heights – the first major clash of the War of 1812, when the Canadian militia, Mohawks loyal to the Crown and British troops handily defeated invading Americans – has the Niagara River seen such fireworks.”

Higgins stays focused

Rep. Brian Higgins wants to make sure everyone knows about the work that Benderson Development Co. is doing downtown – but without drawing attention to another developer.

At a news conference announcing the arrival of the outdoors retailer Cabela’s to a Benderson property in Cheektowaga, Higgins reminded the crowd about the developer’s transformation of the Donovan State Office Building into One Canalside, the future site of a new hotel and law offices. “As you know, they are currently engaged in the $30 million development at Canalside,” Higgins said of Benderson. “They are doing an outstanding job. You just need to drive down the Thruway, ignore the building with the billboard on it, and look at the building that’s developing, and that’s Benderson Development.”

The, uh, “building with the billboard on it” is owned by Carl Paladino’s Ellicott Development Co. And the billboard depicts Higgins as a puppet of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Taste of yogurt humor

Members of the Muller family descended on Batavia this week for the grand opening of the Muller Quaker Dairy yogurt plant and brought some humor to the occasion.

Stefan Muller, a board member of the Theo Muller Group, which is partnering with PepsiCo on the plant, mentioned he had brought along three of his eight brothers and sisters.

“We couldn’t bring more because it was too expensive. We have everything invested behind us,” he said, pointing to the plant.

Muller moved to the United States about a year ago and talked about getting acclimated. “You really know what it’s like to get a Social Security number, to get a driver’s license, to get a credit rating. I’m around 400 – still a long ways to go.”

His father, Theo Muller, whose remarks in German were translated, marveled at how quickly the yogurt project secured the permits it needed.

“In Germany, that would have taken at least three years,” he said. “You would have to send a whole case of yogurt over there to get anything done.”

The verdict is: lazy

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas was in fine form Thursday when she sentenced Jamarius D. Scott, of Niagara Falls, for a burglary.

Farkas wasn’t sure whether to send Scott to prison or place him on probation. She concluded Scott is simply lazy.

Farkas placed Scott on interim probation for 90 days to see if he can earn a full five-year probation sentence. Scott must perform 50 hours of community service and get a regular job.

“If you’re as lazy as I think you are, I’ll send you to state prison boot camp, OK?” Farkas said. But Scott was silent.

“See how lazy you are?" Farkas said. “You don’t even talk. Move your lips.”

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Jonathan Epstein, Matt Glynn and Thomas J. Prohaska.