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Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Snow joke

Despite our reputation, it’s probably not a surprise that the Buffalo area is not home to the snowiest college campus in America.

According to a list posted at Fox News online, the University at Buffalo comes in at No. 3, with an annual average of about 94 inches of snow.

The dubious distinction of having the snowiest institutions of higher learning went to our neighbors to the east.

The title, to no great surprise, went to Syracuse University, which annually picks up an average of 124 inches of snow. Coming in at No. 2 is the University of Rochester, with an average 99 inches.

Oddly, the upstate schools were far ahead of the University of Alaska Fairbanks – which came it at only No. 9, with an average annual snowfall measures only about 62 inches.

The new wing king?

Given the winter we’re currently having, it’s no real loss ceding top snow honors to Syracuse, but when did Central New York become home to the world’s best tasting Buffalo wing?

Well, apparently, it happened when most of us weren’t looking. The, er, changing of the guard is, however, documented in a new film called “The Great Chicken Wing Hunt.” The documentary film – which is also part love story – follows the exploits of a Wayne County, N.Y., native, his Slovakian film crew and an assortment of volunteer wing enthusiasts as judges, all on a mission to find the world’s best-tasting Buffalo-style chicken wing. According to several reviewers of the film, their taste buds aren’t whetted anywhere in Western New York.

After spending 16 days traveling around New York State (and a small portion of southern Ontario) to sample some 270 different flavors of Buffalo wings at 72 eateries, the chicken wing hunters zero in on two establishments in Central New York which, according to reports, is the meaty center of the film.

That would have to leave a bad taste in the mouths of many Western New Yorkers.

The filmmaker and ostensible star of the piece, Matt Reynolds, does give props to the birthplace of the Buffalo-style wing, Frank and Teresa’s Anchor Bar. However, when compared to a variety of newer recipes, the original Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and butter recipe that was accidentally developed there 50 years ago to coat the humble wing just didn’t wow Reynolds and his judges.

According to the Syracuse Post Standard, the winner was narrowed down between two Central New York eateries, a neighborhood bar in Syracuse called Shifty’s and a restaurant in Waterloo called Abigail’s.

A horror story

As anyone who’s had the misfortune of being pulled over on the Thruway knows, troopers tend to take a “just the facts, ma’am” approach to their jobs.

But at least one of them has a whimsical sense of humor.

We learned that through one of the numerous news releases the State Police send out to the media each day. The headlines on the statements summarize the incidents with “State Troopers arrest woman for DWI in the Town of Dunkirk” or “Olean man arrested for Unlawful Possession of Marijuana.”

The name of the suspect is never in the headline, at least until we got this on Wednesday: “Frankenstein arrested for drug possession after traffic stop in the City of Buffalo by Clarence Troopers.”

That shocking news raised a swirl of questions: Was this just a guy wearing an old Halloween costume? Was Igor in the car, too? And when did Frankenstein learn how to drive?

The driver, Adam G. Frankenstein, of Buffalo, is facing a host of charges, and tickets, after troopers say they found marijuana and Lorazepam, a potent, anti-anxiety drug.

We figured the State Police public information officer for this area, Trooper Victor Morales, had sent out the release. (He does share a first name with the Dr. Frankenstein who brought the monster to life in Mary Shelley’s novel.)

But Morales said, no, it came from the Clarence substation. The author declined our request for an interview, but he has our undying – undead? – gratitude.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with a contribution by Stephen T. Watson. email: