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The offbeat side of the news

Skunks in the news

The news has spread far and wide that the pleasant smell of Cheerios has been replaced with the smell of skunks in the Old First Ward because the city is killing the animals there.

A column on the topic appeared in The Buffalo News on Wednesday, when Washington, D.C.-area Buffalo natives gathered for Buffalo Nite, where they shared chicken wings and roast beef.

NBC News reporter Luke Russert tweeted, “2day’s @buffalonews given out at #Buffalo night, nothing like reading hard copy of a skunk slaughter.”

Some people didn’t take the news lightly and started a petition to get the city to leave the skunks alone, or ship them to Tifft Nature Preserve.

Ninety-seven people have signed a petition on that calls the practice “an inhumane waste of city resources.”

Back in the Old First Ward, John Hofmann, who owns Buffalo Bar and Grill, across the street from the shuttered police station where skunks were being shot, has lived with the smell for six months but hasn’t noticed it in a few days.

He seemed to take the smell in stride and didn’t try to hide it from his patrons.

He put up a sign in the bar’s patio, “Home of Pepe Le Pew,” with a picture of a cartoon skunk, and he doesn’t blame the smell for any lost business.

“I didn’t complain because I figured they’d be moving it eventually,” he said.

The judge holds court

Unlike some other jurists, Housing Court Judge Patrick M. Carney isn’t afraid to tell the public what he thinks, even when he’s off the bench and out of his robe.

Carney spoke this week before about 50 people who had gathered for a public hearing on housing issues in Common Council Chambers.

He was not shy about describing his frustrations dealing with banks and said even he can’t get them on the phone.

He roamed around the floor of the chambers, not unlike a preacher, and rejected a microphone, telling the audience he didn’t need one, until someone pointed out the television audience at home wouldn’t be able to hear him.

The second he can cite a bank for property violations, he does. But while homeowners who are trying to stay in their homes have limited legal options, banks have skyscrapers filled with lawyers, he said.

“They don’t answer their phones,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re doing all day long.”

Wide right forever

Another week, another reminder from national media outlets about the Buffalo Bills’ reputation.

Even when the story isn’t football.

Listeners to National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” woke up Friday to host David Greene describing Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in a story previewing Major League Baseball playoffs.

“We wanted to feel what it’s like to be on the cusp of either a championship or a disaster,” Greene said.

After the fateful clip is played, the one that still makes a Bills fan cringe 22 years later, where sportscaster Al Michaels says, “No good, wide right,” Greene reminds listeners: “Instead, the New York Giants are Super Bowl champions.”

Thanks. We forgot that.

GQ magazine, in a list of the “20 Worst Sports Franchises of All Time,” puts the Bills at No. 17.

“Their most famous player was O.J. Simpson, and their greatest feat was losing a record four straight Super Bowls,” writes author Rob Tannenbaum. “And that was two decades ago. Things have gotten so bad for the Bills that they now play one home game a year in ... Toronto.”

The teams on the list have this in common, Tannenbaum writes:

“All of them torment their fans, confronting them with the same question, over and over, year after year: Have you considered rooting for somebody else?”

Buffalo fans can revel in Tannenbaum’s pick for No. 16: The Toronto Maple Leafs.

Written by Jill Terreri email: