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The offbeat side of the news

Electric slide

A lot of people worry that the development boom downtown isn’t benefiting distressed city neighborhoods, so we welcomed this news release: Gov. Cuomo Announces Opening of New Offices on Buffalo’s East Side.

The secondary headline promised 71 new jobs in the “growing business district.” That might be an optimistic description, but if the governor’s bringing that many jobs here we’ll allow him a bit of artistic license.

But wait! The company, Blue Bridge Financial, is moving from Williamsville into offices in the Electric Tower, which has stood at 535 Washington St., in the heart of downtown, since 1912.

It is true that Washington Street is east of Main Street, but that’s like saying City Hall is on the West Side.

We don’t know why Cuomo’s staff moved the grand old landmark. In fact, an advisory we got a day earlier accurately placed the tower downtown.

If we had less pride, we’d cite the tower’s key role in the annual New Year’s Eve celebration and say someone in his office “dropped the ball.” But we’re better than that.

Destroyer of dreams

Sam de Castro travels in international waters, but he is Buffalo through and through.

The Nichols grad grew up in the Elmwood Village and followed his father and grandfather into the Navy.

Today, de Castro is commander of the USS The Sullivans.

Not the decommissioned Navy destroyer that has been moored in Buffalo since the 1970s, but the modern guided missile destroyer that also bears the namesake of five Sullivan brothers killed together at sea in World War II.

De Castro returned to Buffalo last week with Kelly Sullivan Loughran, granddaughter of one of the five Sullivan brothers, for a ceremony aboard the original USS The Sullivans.

The trip brought back memories for de Castro of touring the decommissioned destroyer as a boy in Buffalo and dreaming of one day leading its charge.

But de Castro found out his dream needed one revision.

“I didn’t really realize that I couldn’t command a mothballed ship,” he said.

A winning wager

It is not usually the winner of a bet who winds up digging in his pockets to settle the score.

Just don’t tell that to Erie County Legislator Edward Rath. The Amherst Republican placed a friendly wager with his colleagues on which team would win the Buffalo & Erie County Library’s 16th annual “Battle of the Books.”

The team representing the Clarence Library – which is in Rath’s district – won its second straight battle. Rath claimed victory and this week upheld his end of the deal by ponying up for a pizza party for the winning team.

“It was more for bragging rights,” said Jessica O’Neil, communications director for the Legislature’s majority caucus.

The “Battle of the Books” brings together groups of teens from middle school through high school, with the older students mentoring the younger ones in a competition to correctly answer the most questions about the books they were assigned to read over the summer.

Celery stick optional

We thought we’d run out of foods that could be given the chicken wing treatment: Buffalo chicken pizza. Chicken wing soup. Chicken wing dip. There was even a doughnut at the State Fair this week filled with wing sauce, courtesy of Tim Hortons.

But we looked twice when we spotted Buffalo Wing Soda in East Aurora.

Vidler’s 5&10 started stocking the fizzy drinking a few months ago.

The taste: “Orange flavor with a subtle aftertaste of Buffalo Wings,” said Don Vidler.

There’s just one thing the California-based soda maker got wrong. Clearly, it ought to be called “Buffalo Wing Pop.”

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Stephen T. Watson, Denise Jewell Gee and Harold McNeil. email: